Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Christmas to all

Well it's come to that time of the year where we like to take a break from the blog, so we would just like to say a big thank you to all our followers. We have really enjoyed our travels this year and we hope you have too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More Snow!!! (I'm dreaming of a White Christmas)

Woke up to more snow this morning and it just kept snowing... We ended up getting about six inches and the roof of Derwent6 was so heavy we were swaying when we walking about inside. The good news is that it had warmed up a bit and any frozen pipes in the engine room had thawed so the central heating was working fine... When we checked the engine fluid levels we were nearly out of water and luckily we had some antifreeze on board. We are having to run the engine for two hours a day now, as with the cold weather and the short daylight hours we use more power, but the batteries seem to be couping well.

We went for a walk to get rid of our rubbish in the snow, on a circular route back to Derwent6 and it was so pretty, but we did get soaked and it took the rest of the day to warm back up.
We weren't able to take many photos as the batteries went flat on the camera!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lazy Day!

Today was one of those shut yourself away days.... We had a lay in and then stoked up the fire and watched a few films and a bit of Christmas telly. It was nice having all the time to ourselves..

Derwent6 is performing brilliantly (touch wood) in the freezing conditions... but the brasses do need doing!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Feed the Birds

Minus eleven last night...bloody cold but we slept well. All this cold weather is making us very hardy... The fire just about stayed in and we could only have the central heating on for a hour. This was because the overflow pipe from the clarifier has frozen and is causing too much pressure in the system. It normally runs at about one bar and is at three bars pressure at the moment, so we don't want to blow a pipe or even split the clarifier.

After breakfast (a good fry up) we decided to go shopping, so we took a walk into Whittington village where they have a Co-Op.
The roads were still bad, but with the freezing fog over night, was very pretty. We were amazed at how bad things are for the pubs. At this takeaway, they were offering you to take your food to the pub, and the pub would supply plates and irons, as long as you bought a pint. Good idea we thought!!!!. We got all the essentials and made our way back. After our exercise we just snuggled down to cups of tea and a mince pie in the afternoon with a good Christmas film on the telly.

All the birds are really struggling for food, so they are getting as much food as we are at the moment. Our water seems to be lasting out as does our diesel and waste tanks. You just have to be a bit conservative. Washing clothes is always the biggest problem, having to hand wash everything with as little water as possible, but we get by....... Del's pants need a good scrub!!!

Derwent6 is warm & toasty and just like a little grotto in the evening with the Christmas lights on and the fire roaring in the corner....

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Good Old Buckby Can

We didn't get much sleep last night as we still have a lot on our mind due to what has happened over the last few weeks. It was also showing minus ten on the outside gauge, the lowest we had ever seen it. Derwent6 has got clear glass in the cratch but you can see why they call it frosted glass. This glass was frosted by the real thing and it looked so pretty.
We are still OK with water and waste, but we are now being very careful on water usage. The Buckby can is now filled with snow and standing along side the loo for flushing water. We felt like getting out today so we walked along to the pub. It was lovely sitting by the big log fire and taking down a few beers and glasses of wine. It just goes to show what us boaters are like as one guy in the pub said to us "take some logs off the roof of my boat if you need them, I've got plenty". We didn't need any, but how nice was that...We then walked back and got into the Christmas spirit with an afternoon film and cuddling up by the fire in the evening.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

So cold outside, but very tender inside

It was so nice to be waking up on Derwent6 again, but we were reminded of how cold it is. The heating had come on at 7.00am and the fire had just about stayed in, but the porthole bungs were still frozen in again. Soon Derwent6 had warmed up and we had some breakfast. It was still minus three outside so it was one of those stay indoors days. We had planned to walk down to the shop but we couldn't be bothered to go out in the cold. We were lucky enough to have been given a joint of beef from Al's dad (Alf) and we cooked it on the stove. It cooked beautifully and was so tender, and we had a lovely roast dinner, our highlight of the day, we will never be cooking beef in the oven again....

The evening (you guessed it) was watching Strictly, and Al wasn't disappointed.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Back before the snow

After raising chairs and checking things were alright with Al's dad we set off back to Derwent6. Al had been away for over three weeks and was missing the life on the cut soooo bad..

We had also checked the weather knowing that snow was on the way again with dropping temperatures. We needed to be back to Derwent6 before night full and we also knew it would take a couple of hours to get it warmed up.

The trains were OK on the way back but the snow was coming in flurries. We could also see the canal and at Kings Langley it seemed very patchy with ice on the shady bits. But as you got past Milton Keynes it just got worse, and the ice just got thicker in the shady bits. Derwent6 was covered in snow and ice when we arrived and we had trouble opening the cratch cover, it was minus two, and the sky looked full of it. When we opened the doors it didn't seem so cold, and Al saw the decorations for the first time (with a few tears). The first thing was to start the engine. It turned over very slowly but did burst into life... Good girl we both shouted!!!

The heating was then turned on and the top of the rads were ice cold, but slowly the heat came through as the boiler fired up. Next the fire, which was soon roaring in the corner and last of all the kettle was put on. We sat with our coats on for two hours while Derwent6 got up to full temperature. We were very lucky and had no leaks (well not yet anyway). It was lovely to sleep in our own bed..........

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mum home at last

After our lives being a complete rollercoaster for the last three weeks, (hence we hadn't blogged) we had the news that Al's mum could be out of hospital for Christmas.. Fantastic News!!!

We went in and collected her at midday and managed to get her into the car and into her favourite chair. We had put up some decorations for her and we all were very grateful she was making the family complete again.

We were both down in Kent and Derwent6 was sitting in the cold. We had never left Derwent6 in such cold temperatures and what would we expect when we returned. We should all sleep a bit easier then we have been of late and the plan is we return back tomorrow.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Big Thaw (we hope)

Woke up this morning to see water again on the cut... But it's still thick under the surface. When the bread was thrown out for the ducks it just looked like it was floating on the water. Del then got the train down to Kent with the snow slowly thawing. Del was then reunited with Al and her dad Alf, and they went up to the hospital. Pam (Al's mum) was sitting up in a chair next to the hospital bed and looked very cheerful.. "Will I be home for Christmas?" was the story of the day, and the answer is "we dam well hope so" It was also great to see her getting out of the chair on her own, a vast improvement. The three of us then went out for something to eat, together with everyone having their Christmas dinners and getting in the mood. In the evening we all tried to get into the Christmas spirit with telly in the comfort of the Christmas decorations.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Blimey it's Hot in here!!!!

Another cold night and we're getting used to it now... Not much sleep though!!! When Del went to bed he banked up the fire and the lower tray draw must have come open. Del was woken at 1.00am by hot air so hot, you couldn't breath. The fire had been going full bore all night and even the galley worktops were red hot. You could hardly get near the fire. Luckily the fresh coals were wet and by opening a few windows, and minus four outside, it soon cooled things down a bit. The kettle was still on the top and had boiled dry. The fire was then shut down the right way. It just shows the dangers of open fires if you're not careful.

Derwent6 is now down to it's last half a bag of coal, and we are lucky enough to have a coal boat iced in just round the corner from us. When we got there no one was around so a quick phone call was made. " When I get back, I'll chuck a couple of bags on the roof for you to collect" he said.

Well Del went down there at midday and at 2.00pm but still no coal and on walking back got tied up with some guy trying to get his generator going. After a hour and removing brushes and checking wiring it was decided that the regulator had blown. Del checked on line for availability and price, and the guy was very grateful for the help. It was starting to get dark, but low and behold the coal bags had arrived. Del then had to lug these a few hundred yards back to Derwent6 just before it got dark. The towpath again was a sheet of ice. So we are all ok for a few more shut the fire down correctly tonight..........................

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A walk to Whittington

Another cold night at minus four again but the fire kept Del warm all night. We are down to our last bag of coal now and will have to try and obtain a bag or two if we can. The fog soon cleared and the sun came out again so Del decided to go for a walk to the village of Whittington. It was only a twenty five minute walk along the towpath and then along the road into the village. The road was a ice rink, but you soon get to the Co-op and a Post Office. Del picked up a few bits and pieces and walked back along the very icy road. In the afternoon he was doing some song writing and playing his guitar. With the football in the evening the day was complete.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

So Pretty!

Minus four outside but with all that fog it looked very picturesque.... It looked like it had been snowing. With the fire ticking overnight Derwent6 stays at a constant ten degrees which is a nice sleeping temperature. Del is getting good at bacon sarnies in the morning but is putting on weight. He is also missing his eggs with a kiss......
Al's mum is slowing improving and could be out of hospital soon, we hope!

As the sun came out it just looked prettier and prettier as the sun glistened off the frost. It was still so cold that it wouldn't thaw. It was funny as one side of Derwent6 was at minus three and the sunny side was at eighteen degrees. Yes, Derwent6 was creaking and groaning all over the place.
This was one of those good to be alive days!!!!!

Monday, December 06, 2010

You just don't get far in this

Even though the ice had been broken yesterday it is now double the thickness in places where it has overlapped and frozen solid again. The boat that passed us yesterday as expected is moored just round the corner and in a worse situation as he couldn't get right into the bank due to the ice.
It is very pretty on the trees with all the frost around and the minus three's we are getting. Everyone round here is getting panicky as they are getting low on water but Derwent6 still has half a tank......Oh the joy of a big tank in situations like this.............
Al's mum is still in hospital but they will be looking at getting her more physio this week to get her moving again. The good news is that they have found the problem which caused the seizure, being a furring of the arteries in the brain, which she can take drugs for that will prevent it happening again. It won't however improve her memory loss. She still may be out this week, fingers crossed!!

Still we're all very Christmassy on Derwent6 and it cheers us up a bit.....
Del in the evening went up the pub because he fancied some chips with a pint and was talking to some other boaters in there. Everyone seems to be struggling, with water being the biggest problem, but we seem to be OK at the moment.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Another cold and frosty morning and everyone's moving

Bungs are iced in again this morning and the fire went out last night for the first time in 5 days. On trying to save coal we shut it down too much..Well if you don't try these things!!!!!!

On lighting the fire, you could hear this cracking noise in the distance, yep someone had decided to move. The ice was at least three inches thick and thicker in the shade but he was determined to get through. Worried about it piercing the side of Derwent6 Del run the engine in reverse, and then stood down the side in wellies breaking the ice before it hit the side. It did the job but this guy was doing a hell of a lot of damage to his boat and must have done more damage inside. "I'm out of water and got itchy to move" he said. I bet he only gets round the corner, its worse there....

The rest of the Christmas Dec's got put up today and Derwent6 looks like a little grotto.

Al on the other hand had been to see her mum again. Pam is making good progress, and it's lovely to see her smiling, even though she has been in hospital for 12 days now.

Meanwhile, Del was attacked by a Hot Air Balloon. I bet it was cold up there... well it just missed the railway electric cables and hit a few trees and then landed in a field. Luckily everyone was all right just a bit shook up. They all went into the pub for a stiff drink after that.....

Saturday, December 04, 2010

It's warmed up a bit (just a bit)

It just wasn't so cold last night and the windows were wet with no frost so it must be warming up. Del is still on Derwent6 while Al is still down in Kent, and he was running out of milk and bread. So it was rucksack on and a walk into Lichfield. Just past the station there is a massive Tesco's Extra next to a Lidl's. It had started to pour with rain, so he never got right into the town and was drenched by the time he got back to Derwent6. Even though it was warmer it didn't move the ice on the cut. Oh and by the way those berries were right on the holly trees....

It looks like we could be getting this cold weather for a few days yet so buckle up and snuggle down all you boaters out there....

Friday, December 03, 2010

Happy Birthday Derwent6

Well after one of the coldest nights, Derwent6 has survived two years on the cut. It just doesn't seem like two years and we have had so much fun. When we tried to take out the porthole bungs this morning they were frozen in, and the cratch cover was like a bit of cardboard.

We cleaned out the fire and prepared it for coal for the first time this year as the wood has run out.

Al down in Kent had another three inches of snow and was desperate to get her dad in to see her mum. So it was out with the shovels and dig the car out.After 2 and a half hours and back ache they were able to get out and after some stressful driving they got to the hospital. Things were all OK but they did feel Pam's memory loss had got worse. They still don't know why all this happened even after a scan. The good news is she could be home for Christmas.

Del on the other hand was enjoying himself. Alan and Carol had called in on their way back from Birmingham as Alan had just brought a new guitar. When you have a new guitar you want someone to play it with so Del came back to their house and was treated with a lovely meal by Carol and a good guitar lesson from Alan..It was great to see them and good fun. Thanks guys!