Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Schematic of the UK canals


This very useful map can be found on dozens of websites, but I can't for the life of me discover if there is a copyright holder. If you know, please notify me.



Friday, March 17, 2017

"March brings breezes..."

"...loud and shrill"! And the daffodils are most certainly stirred (* see footnote )

I've just been looking back at this blog's posts at the same sort of time in past years.

In 2012, we'd only just returned to Kantara, and it was raining.

In 2013, we were preparing to go to Debdale to have the hull blacked. We went on 18th, and it had snowed the day before.

It snowed very hard on 23rd.

On March 19th 2014, I wrote, "We're going to do just a short trip to Market Harborough next week." But a week later I reported, "Strong, cold wind; rain; very strong, cold wind; heavy rain; sleet; thunder and lightning; more wind – strong. OH! Sunshine! But still the wind! We were expecting to start a week's cruise this week, but the weather outlook is miserable, so it might have to wait. Skies have been amazing, though!"

Monday, March 9th 2015. "Well, I'd like to be able to report that we're halfway to Llangollen, or about to turn onto the River Stort, but the weather's waaaayyyy too hostile for that. The winds just won't let up, and we've had a fair drop of rain, too."

And last year? On March 19th, we started our epic trip down through London and up the Lee and Stort Navigations. And look at that sky!
Today, I'd only go out if I were paid handsomely to do it! The wind is rocking the boat in traditional Yelvertoft Marina fashion, and it's a chill wind, too, driving some very wet rain.

Sarah and Trevor have taken AtLast out for a short trip to meet friends at Welford. I don't envy them, much as I love cruising.

So we're staying put until... I don't know when! We're trying not to make any plans. I'm putting a lot of time into my new book, and really enjoying it. I'm using Blogspot to host the photos for this one, and it's working out so much better than the Flickr gallery I used for the first book that I'm going to move those photos over to Blogspot as soon as I can. That'll mean editing the content of the book and republishing it, and I'll probably do that to coincide with the publication of "Moving home with our feet under water".

Meanwhile, "Hints and tips for life with your feet under water" has had a fantastic review in April's Towpath Talk.
It's been highly recommended by Cruising the Cut and Gongoozler TV, too. Have a taster of it for yourself here on Amazon before committing your paltry £1.99 to buying it!


The Garden Year
by Sara Coleridge (clearly not a patch on her dad)

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

March brings breezes, loud and shrill,
To stir the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children’s hands with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots, and gillyflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.

Warm September brings the fruit;
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

Fresh October brings the pheasant;
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast;
Then the leaves are whirling fast.

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.

(with apologies!)


Friday, March 10, 2017

Slideshow - Repainting the boat

I'm working hard on my new book at the moment, and still not back at the boat, so I've not got a lot to blog about. However, I put this slideshow together this afternoon, including it in the picture gallery that accompanies the book. It's a selection of photos taken when Kantara was repainted two years ago. We found the whole process really fascinating, so I hope you're at least vaguely interested!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

To return or not to return...?

It's March 1st tomorrow. Theoretically, we ought to be going back to Kantara. Well, actually we are, but not to stay. We need to collect post from the office, and a few things from the boat, but we'll drive straight back to the house afterwards. The thing is that we're enjoying the greater space of the house, and the opportunity to tidy up Grace's study and various other rooms, cupboards and cabinets whose chaos has been ignored for over five years. She's making herself some clothes, too, and that's not an easy task on the boat. And she's doing the artwork for The Company of Players' debut album. So, what with the very unwelcoming weather as well, we're not yet feeling compelled to move back. It's all very odd, though, because last year we said that we'd make our winter visit to St Albans briefer than in previous years. There's no point in planning, is there!?

We do wish we'd been on board to experience the 60 mph winds Yelvertoft was said to have had on Doris Day. It distressed a lot of boaters - it distressed a lot of people, full stop! - but there's a certain fun to be had when the water's rough. Naomi's just told me that Storm Ewan's on the way now. There seems to be something of a pattern emerging in this new, damaged climate of ours.

I love strolling around the garden here. Or simply looking out the window at it if the weather's rubbish. It's one of the things I miss when we're on Kantara. Naomi took these photos just a few days ago. The flowers at least think that winter's over. We're not so sure any more.

I was thrilled by this review of "Life with our feet under water" the other day. It's posted on by an American reader. I keep forgetting that different countries have their own Amazon site. This has to be one of my top three favourite reviews.
He reviewed "Hints and tips..." too.
Short, but very sweet!

I think I've said before that Said the Maiden are releasing their second full album in November, and doing a nationwide tour to promote it. It would seem, though, that Whitby Pavilion think they're hosting an Iron Maiden tribute band!

Now I'll go and look at the weather forecast...

Oh! Storm Ewan's been and gone already! It was the fifth named storm to visit our shores in two months. Aren't we doing well?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A whiter shade of surreal?

Grace was tidying her study yesterday, and came across this.

I walk gingerly in the park
where a man with a metal head
eats candle wax.
He gazes up at the iodine sky,
and disappears in a puff of pink.
All that is left is a polystyrene dog
made of cast iron.
Sniffing the air (pungent with
the smell of halibut),
I walk on to better things.

(Steve Distill, aged 11)