Friday, June 05, 2020

The Feeling of Freedom!!

We were up early as today was the day. Yep!, we can move without restriction's..
Del got things ready to cruise and then pushed over Derwent6 so we could do a pump out and fill with water..

Al walked up the shop for the first time and posted a letter and got some BBQ bits including some Kentish Strawberries, while Del polished the side he hasn't been able to do for 11 weeks..  Yes! eleven weeks we have been here but we have loved it. Welford has been kind to us in lockdown, in fact it was sad to leave.. We said our goodbyes to Tim and Dana and also Carl and Lara on nb Book and Spud.

Even the Swans seemed a bit sad to see us go and gave us one last look on Derwent6, and then from the nest as Al walked up to the lock..

 Del followed and it was just so good to get everything turning again.
 We went through the lock with ease and then cruised to the end of the arm..

We took a sharp turn to Port and when back on mainstream Derwent6 felt at home..
  The sun was out and it really felt like we were free again and another adventure had just started, but we always remembered that the new wildlife would not understand boats and we just idled along to give them a good chance of surviving just like our Blue tits and six cygnets  ..
We can't tell you in words what it felt like to be out there..

We cruised for about 2 hours and moored up in a nice sunny spot..
The cat Tooty had a bit of a sad face on when we left Welford, but when we moored up in the middle of nowhere he was ecstatic and was rolling around on the towpath like a dog would do, happy as larry!!
We chilled in the sun and just took in the sights and smells of the countryside..

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Life is full of surprises!

So we are getting prepared to go cruising. We have been told that we can stay put for 14 days after the 23rd May on our lockdown moorings.. We can move if its essential, but have been asked not to use locks..
We did have a surprise when Maxine and Graham turned up after a business visit to Leicester. They had driven from Kent and had brought a pizza and some nibbles with a bottle of wine and London Pride beer, a real treat..
It was a lovely evening, socially distancing on the grass, and then they left for the journey home.. We have also been enjoying our quizzes with friends and families on video chats and also our chats with other local boaters...
We have really enjoyed staying here and have got very attached to the wildlife.. The swans are still doing well and we have six cygnets, but with more people around they are so much on edge and don't stay with us as long now as the water is safer..

As the for Blue tits, well it turned out that there were two chicks in the nest in the wall and we could see the Mum and Dad didn't have room anymore to get in the hole due to the size of them..

We then got a head poking out of the hole and he took the leap of faith and managed to just make it on the other side of the canal, and landed in the stinging nettles and then managed to get up into the trees.. He was then fed by the Dad and sat there until he had the strength to search for his own insects.. the second one found it a bit more difficult..
He fled the nest and had trouble with his wings, and was obviously weaker. He managed to just stop himself going into the canal and landed on the towpath.
Del rushed round in case he tried to fly again over the canal, as he was never going to make it.. We ushered him into some bushes by the wall, under the nest, where there was some insects and he could build up his strength.
We left it alone, as that is always the best thing to do, because the Mum and Dad were watching.. sure enough, they came down after hearing his cry's of help and fed him, and you could see giving advice..  He tried to fly again and landed on a fence, and the next thing was we heard a splashing sound and he had fallen in the water . Del rushed round with the net and he had managed to find a small ledge in the brickwork on the water line..
We could see the Mum and Dad trying to help and they did manage to feed him, but it was difficult to get to.. We had no choice, but to let them get on with it, but if the water line came up just an inch it would drown the little fella..  The Mum even showed him how to get up but he was just too weak from the swimming lesson he had..  We went to bed and hoped he would recover..

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Birthday Girl and friends

Well we have given things a break for a bit as we are still static ... But a lot has happened!!
First we had a Birthday, and Al was just a little bit older..
It was difficult to have a birthday in lockdown but we made the most of it. We were also lucky with the weather, which has been amazing, and it gave us the excuse to open a big bottle of prosecco and some nibbles to get us started..
Al opened all her cards in the morning and she had a couple of presents, one of them being chocolate..
In the afternoon we were visited by Del's Mum and Keith and the chairs were spread across the grass.
They had brought along some lovely cupcakes and they went down well with a coffee to sober up a bit..
 They left after a couple of hours in the sun. As the weather was so good we decided to keep the momentum going so we lit the BBQ and got back on the drinks..

A big thank you for all of Al's cards and to Hannah for posting them up to us..

So we have been out for a nice walk and had visitors we didn't expect..
Kev (who with Ann used to have n.b Rock and Roll) , had biked down from Yorkshire and found us. We had a good catch up about everything.
  We have really been watching our own wild life programme, and have a pair of swans and their cygnets on our port side, and blue tits nesting on our starboard side, we are so lucky here..

It has been amazing here as we have made friends with the male swan and he has now made friends with Tooty the cat. They do keep social distancing and have an agreement that they just don't bother each other.. We think Tooty protects them from the birds and foxes which might threaten the cygnets,  and Tooty doesn't get hissed at or bothered when he goes out at night.. Here the Dad is showing the babies how and where to get out of the water..

Del has been building and watching the full size gliders in the engine room, and now can't wait to fly when we get into the middle of nowhere, which will be soon.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

Lockdown and Crankshaft check

So good news! We have been told by CRT that from the 23rd of May we should be able to move more freely BUT! not through locks unless it is essential to do so for water, diesel or pump out..  From this date we are allowed to stay on our lockdown moorings for another 14 days to avoid the rush and let CRT get their staffing levels back to normal.. The whole canal system will be open from the 1st June when we can again move where we want, and what we would class as back to normal cruising.. This is a relief for everyone here, as we all do this to travel and have some adventure in our lives.. We have been out walking and trying to stretch our legs a bit..

Del used the time to check out the engine again, even though we are not doing the engine hours like we used too.. We have to check the engine every 600 hours according to Beta Marine because of this modification clamp we have had to have fitted on the crankshaft end..  Yes we have only done 622 hours since we have had the solar panels and batteries fitted last April 2019. It has been such a saving on diesel and engine wear and tear..  We looked at the year before and we had done 933 hours April 2018/19 so a saving of over 300 hours on the engine, this is idle and propulsion hours.
Checking the engine is a bit of a saga on Derwent6 because of the acoustic box the engine is in, and how tight it is to get to things.
It was a nice surprise to see that the pulley paint mark hadn't moved and the pulley didn't need to come off..
The belts were all removed and then play in the pulley could be checked for side to side and up and down movement.. The belts were then fitted back on and left a little on the loose side so as to not put too much pressure on the pulley, and also allow for expansion when the pulleys get hot..
Let hope we are good for another 600 hours, fingers crossed..

Waiting to spread our wings

Well its been a pretty static week, and we have kept ourselves busy as always.. It has been very quiet most of the time around here at Welford and only a couple of days over the bank holiday did it seem busy, if only we could spread our wings?
The wildlife are loving it and even a swan has taken over on Tooty's patch, which he doesn't seem too happy about, but they have to work together on this one..
We have seen bats flying during daytime and one even hit the side of Derwent6 and Del had to pick it up to safety..

We have only had to run the engine five times since the Lockdown on the 23rd March as the solar has been so good, and the lighter evenings are now helping..
  Mark on the coal boat turned up again and we needed another gas bottle as Al has been doing a lot of cooking and baking.
Its weird but there are loads of jobs we could do, but we really are finding it hard to do any of them in this glorious weather..  Oh well there's always tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Lockdown in this lovely weather

Well we have been sitting tight in a place where we are content.. We are now a bit itchy to move, as we're sure everyone is, as that is why we do this, but we could be in a worse place.. The weather has been amazing and to be honest it has been reasonably quiet round here.. We have had loads of wildlife with the ducklings sprouting out in the non human world at the moment..

We have had to keep our eye on the cat as he has a eye on the ducklings.. We have a swan who sits next to us every day but he knows how to handle Tooty..
Oh the BBQ has been out a few times now and saving us on the gas bottle..
It is also nice for Al as Del does the cooking when we have a BBQ..
We have still been good and not hit the wine or beer hard, but we do have a little binge occasionally.
We didn't get a reply from CRT regarding the grass cutting, but it did get a mention in the latest news letter, so fair play something did get done about it.. Here is what they put in the News letter:

"Keeping the canal side safe

Some people have expressed concern that we have carried on grass cutting and other vegetation maintenance on some parts of the network.  We want to reassure you that wherever possible we have stopped these works and large tranches of our programme are on hold including the general suspension of mainline grass cutting.  However, there are some instances where we believe that it is essential that we should continue on safety grounds. These include:
  • Lock sides, where people may still need to navigate and there is equipment that if hidden can become a danger
  • Landings and mooring for the same reasons
  • Maintaining accesses to towpath moorings
  • To make sure that we can still carry out our essential safety inspections on key assets – embankments, reservoirs and the like"

We have now been given a month extension on our licences, which is better than nothing..  Del even cut the grass close to us, well it is our garden at the moment.
We are still managing to get our shopping for us and Del's Mum.
Del went out on his bike and did 15 miles to pick up a prescription from the nearest pharmacy, and Al has read another two books..
  Oh and Del cleaned the oven lol....