Thursday, 31 March 2011

HS2 Stars

Watch this amazing little film about the proposal to build a high speed rail link between London and Birmingham

To sign the  petition to Stop HS2 here is the link

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Before and After

 We finished the blacking on Saturday and spent Sunday and Monday doing some painting and other chores which are more easily  accomplished when the boat is out of the water. this gave the blacking time to cure before dunking it in the cut again.

Of course you cannot tell from these pictures whether we blacked both sides
or just one side for the photographs.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

My  Landmark  of the  Week
New  Inn, Peasenhall,  Suffolk


The Cottage

Built as a medieval hall-house and subsequently divided, The Cottage is one of three cottages with the main hall in the middle for all to use. The building was in use as an inn by 1478. Peasenhall is a long, open village, with a stream running beside the road. It is much-visited by connoisseurs of sausages and ham, sold in more than one of its excellent shops.

Sleeps: 5      Beds:

High End

Built as a medieval hall-house and subsequently divided, High End is a cottage formed from the higher status set of rooms leading off the main hall in the middle, which is now for all to use. The building was in use as an inn by 1478. Peasenhall is a long, open village, with a stream running beside the road. It is much-visited by connoisseurs of sausages and ham, sold in more than one of its excellent shops.

Sleeps: 2+2      Beds:

Low End
Built as a medieval hall-house and subsequently divided, Low End is one of three cottages with the main hall in the middle for all to use. The building was in use as an inn by 1478. Peasenhall is a long, open village, with a stream running beside the road. It is much-visited by connoisseurs of sausages and ham, sold in more than one of its excellent shops.

Sleeps: 4      Beds: D

This Medieval Hall House (try saying that quickly) was our first Landmark.  The boys were aged eight and ten.  We travelled there by bike and train and so carried no provisions. Whilst the elders took tea in the cafe the boys were sent off to the shop to buy essentials for breakfast.  They returned to inform us that the shop which we had seen open on a Sunday did not open on Saturday afternoons. The kind lady in the cafe found us bread, butter milk and jam for the morning so all was not lost.
We stayed in the High End with its Solar room..  Two families with children were staying in the other parts of New Inn and one evening we all had dinner together in the grand hall - at the colossal table.
The boys also made friends with the local butcher and obtained bacon rind and string from him to go crabbing at Walbleswick.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Flying Boat

The serious work of blacking the hull commenced this morning.  First our neighbour for the night had to pull away. They had originally intended to drop off the Section 8 boat but realised that the crane was on hire for a week and so they ought to get their money's worth and departed in search of other prey.
Meanwhile we took to the skies and flew to roost on trestles where we could access the underside of Gecko.

The slime and grime of the past few years was blasted off with a jet wash the like of which you cannot buy from B&Q.  This is so much easier than scraping away manually as I did the first time we blacked the hull.

By this evening we had managed to get the first coat of blacking onto the hull before collapsing in a heap.

Up early tomorrow to apply the second coat.  What joy!
8 till Late
We arrived in Bridgewater Basin near Croxley yesterday afternoon  and breasted up alongside a WIP boat as the crane was occupied with a tiny tug called Tiny.
Around 8pm we were surprised by voices on our water side! A peek through the curtains and we found a 14ft wide  dumb barge with crane trying to come alongside.  It appeared to be the one that had passed us at The Grove, heading north.   But now it had a cargo - a plastic boat due for *Section 8 destruction although there was not much more destruction to do to it.  We previously saw this  craft sunk just below Lady Capel's Lock.  Fortunately we have acquired a few extra fenders over the last year or two and so were able to prevent damage to Gecko.
*Section 8 of the BW regulations gives them power to remove and dispose of boats  for a variety of reasons including license arrears.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Autumn Venture - FOR SALE

Sadly  our friends Nigel and Janette are selling their lovely narrowboat due to ill health.  It is on brokerage with ANBN and details can be viewed by clicking this link:

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Apsley Ever After

The old site of Bridgewater Boats is now being redeveloped but the house next door is still inhabited.

The bridge by The Boat PH has been given a face-lift and a sign in case you have made a wrong turn and think you are on the K&A

Boating still appears popular in Apsley although some people tend to take the corners a little fast.

Monday, 21 March 2011

New World Kazoo Record
For those of you unable to listen to R3 on Friday evening ............
Yes we did establish a NEW  WORLD  KAZOO  RECORD
To view the BBC clip click on the link above
Give them an Inch...
When we arrived at Marsworth yesterday afternoon we found Too Sassy already there.  No sign of Paul, however. He arrived later carrying boxes.  He and Sue have sold their house in Kings Langley and are buying one in Spain so lots of things to move around.
We also met Martin from Tegu but without Tegu!  He has sold it and bought an even smaller boat - Rascal. We always felt an affinity with Tegu as it is a S.American gecko.

A lovely bright morning  to climb the seven Marsworth locks up to the Tring Summit and then descend another seven to Berko.
We were surprised not to find Pengelanty somewhere  amongst the Marsworth locks  but passed her moored south of Cowroast.

On the descent to Berko we had trouble opening the top gates due to the level of water.  At one lock She Who Must be Obeyed called in the assistance of a passing man.

Some of the gates down here have been refurbished and even have modesty panels below the balance beams.

Its good to see that the anglers are still being looked after.  Although there are no nice platforms to fish from as on the Aylesbury arm they are only banned from fishing on four inches of the main line.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

A Cut Hair Cut

After five months in Aylesbury basin we set off at 9am today and negotiated the six miles and 16 locks up the arm to Marsworth, where it joins the Grand Union main line.

Barber Ann at work

The Aylesbury Canal Society is very strict in enforcing the canal regulations so I had to have my hair cut before leaving.

Not having driven the  boat since last year it takes a little while to get back in the swing
Here we are  weaving around  Xillion Rose and Autumn Venture

At several locks BW have installed these fishing points with  dinky little black and white seats.  One would usually expect a landing to tether the boat whilst preparing the lock but these are only 30ft long and are apparently for the use of anglers.

As a special treat we had dinner at the Anglers' Retreat which was very good. We both had the steak pie which arrived with proper pastry (not the inflated stuff) and nine different vegetables.  I think Home-made actually means what it says at this pub. The White Swan appears to have closed down which is no loss to us as we never used it anyway, preferring the more homely atmosphere at The Anglers. (and the superior food)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

My  Landmark  of the  Week
Martello Tower

This is the largest and most northerly of the chain of towers put up by the Board of Ordnance to keep out Napoleon. Built in the shape of a quatrefoil for four heavy guns, nearly a million bricks were used in its construction. It stands at the root of the Orford Ness peninsula, between the River Alde and the sea, a few hundred yards from Aldeburgh. We bought it, sadly damaged, in 1971, with eight acres of saltings. We removed the derelict 1930s superstructure (once rather elegant, by Justin Vulliamy), repaired the outer brickwork and parapet (a tremendous job) and restored the vaulted interior, which has a floor of teak and an intriguing echo. The bedrooms are screened from the central living area but not fully divided, so that, lying in bed, you can still have a sense of being in a larger loftier space – and you can enjoy some conversation with your fellow guests.

Martello Towers were built to deter the French, not the elements, and inevitably, in this exposed position, some of the water finds its way inside. Purpose-made canopies over the main living space now provide significant protection, giving an agreeable nautical resonance of sails and campaign tents. Here you may live with the sea, the wind and rain sometimes, the light at Orford Ness flashing at night, and Aldeburgh at just the right distance.

The stone-flagged battery on the roof, with the mountings of guns and a high, thick parapet for shelter, is a very pleasant place to be. Amber and bloodstones, brought by glaciers from Scandinavia, have been found on the beach.

Many visitors bring sailing dinghies.

The ultimate beach hut! 
This really has to be seen to be believed!

Sleeps: 4
Beds: 2T 

  • Solid fuel stove
  • Roof terrace
  • Parking nearby
  • Shower only
  • Dogs allowed

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

World Kazoo Record
The current record for the largest kazoo ensemble is 3861 players established in Australia.
On Monday night, in aid of Red Nose Day BBC Radio 3 attempted to beat this record during their concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
The evening featured the unrivalled BBC Concert Orchestra with guest performers including Julian Lloyd-Webber.  Sue Peerkins conducted two pieces and Basil Brush assisted Katie Derham with presenting the evening.
It was a wonderful evening and somewhat different from the usual Radio 3 concerts.

What a setting for an attempt on the world kazoo record

The Masters of the Kazooniverse tried valiantly to lead us in the attempt.

Scrutineers from Guinness World Records were there to count how many of us played for the whole of our two chosen pieces - The Ride of the Valkyries and The Dambusters' March..
But you will have to listen to Radio 3 at 7pm of Friday March 18 to find out how we got on..

Sunday, 13 March 2011

We will be setting off from our winter mooring in Aylesbury basin on Sunday and there are still jobs to do before we do so.  She who must be obeyed is doing the Grandma bit with our latest member. So that is my main excuse for neglecting the blog.  This has been exacerbated by my rushing off to London to attend free BBC radio recordings and other unavoidable social commitments. In the early days of TV when transmission was interrupted a sign would appear thus:


Saturday, 12 March 2011

My  Landmark  of  the  Week
Beamsley  Hospital

Almshouses are a familiar ingredient in our towns and villages, but the Hospital at Beamsley is more unusual. Set back from the conventional row of dwellings on the main road lies this circular stone building. In it were rooms for seven women, encircling a chapel, through which most of them had to pass to reach their doors, a daily encouragement to piety. Until the 1970s the little community of Mother and Sisters lived here, their lives governed by ancient, and ferociously strict, rules.

The Hospital was founded in 1593 by the Countess of Cumberland, at a time when the poor had only private charity to depend on.

Her building is an Elizabethan conceit, alluding both to the six circles, or annulets, on her husband’s coat of arms and to the round churches of the Templars. Her daughter, that formidable northern heroine Lady Anne Clifford, added the front range. She also furnished the chapel and, almshouses being of their nature conservative places, these fittings survive.

Finding the buildings no longer in demand, the Trustees offered them to us. The front range we have let to long-term tenants; and you can stay in the other. Using its oddly shaped rooms and repeatedly crossing the chapel is a curious experience, bringing you close to the subtle yet vigorous Elizabethan mind. And all around is Yorkshire at its highest and most unadulterated.

She who must be obeyed stayed here and enjoyed the circular layout and the views.  

Sleeps: 5

  • Solid fuel stove
  • Garden
  • Parking a short walk away
  • Dogs allowed

Saturday, 5 March 2011

My  Landmark  of  the  Week

Goddards was built by Edwin Lutyens from 1898–1900 and enlarged by him in 1910. It is considered one of his most important early houses, designed in the traditional Surrey style and with a garden laid out in collaboration with Gertrude Jekyll.

The commission was an unusual one. In the words of Lawrence Weaver, writing on Lutyens’ houses in 1913, it was built ‘as a Home of Rest to which ladies of small means might repair for holiday’. This was the idea of Frederick Mirrielees, a wealthy businessman who had married an heiress of the Union Castle shipping line. A central range with common rooms on both floors divided two cottages, the southern of which also contained a bowling alley. Here Lutyens played a game of skittles in 1901 with the three nurses and two old governesses then staying here. They all loved the house and ‘invariably weep when they leave it’.

In 1910 Mirrielees adapted the house for his son to live in. The upper common room was divided and the cottages were extended to provide large bedrooms over a dining-room and library: two diverging wings, which hold the courtyard garden in loose embrace.

It was in a state little changed from this that the house was given to the Lutyens Trust in 1991 by Mr and Mrs M.W. Hall, its owners since 1953. The Trust, having found its care too costly, has now leased it to us, and it is once again a place to repair to for holidays and skittles. The Lutyens Trust retains the use of the Library.

Goddards stands on a little green, approached by lanes so deeply sunk as to be almost tunnels. Large estates (one of them John Evelyn’s Wootton) and the National Trust guard the surrounding country, in whose wooded landscape and brick and tile villages are concealed many masterpieces of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Sleeps: 12
Beds: 4S 2T 2D 

  • Open fire
  • Adjacent parking
  • Dogs allowed
  • Large enclosed garden

Please Note

Part of the ground floor and the garden are open by appointment only for guided tours on Wednesday afternoons, from the Wednesday after Easter to the last Wednesday in October

We have visited here several times and even had a game of skittles but have not yet managed to get a party of twelve together yet. The design and craftsmanship is something to wallow in.