Archive for April, 2008

Love is in the air

Friday, April 25th, 2008

When Anne and I arrived in Penkridge we met up with our good friend Jeff – and his new lady Sandra. Romance was definitely in the air and Jeff was pleased to tell us that he and Sandra will be getting married in November. Congratulations!

Jeff and Sandra with Anne

Our trip with Anne

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

We left Market Drayton on the Tuesday in fabulous sunshine. I felt like I was on holiday – the joys of boating with none of the responsibilities. Anne and I travelled at an easy pace, though we put in some long days. We always found time to stop for lunch and to enjoy the scenery.

Pippy and Anne

Anne and Pippy have different ideas about scenery. Pip is miffed because Anne has run out of food, and if Anne thinks she can sit and quietly enjoy the view, well Pip has other ideas…

Pip tells Anne

Working challenges

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

I have been moored up in a place where the 3G signal is just good enough for me to access an online conference. The best places are restricted mooring times (e.g. 24hrs) so I out of town a bit. The funny thing about internet signals over 3G is that they come and go, weather, time of day, passing large steel boat, can all influence the strength and connectivity.

The key issues seems to be that the signal is “just good enough”. The technology is getting better but so are the demands on what is being expected from the bandwidth required. A couple of years ago I managed fine on a slow link for email. Now I am jsut about managing on a 1.8Mbs link when I need to audio conference, participate in second life etc.

 I hear wide area WiFi is just around the corner 🙂

Anne’s boat

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Anne bought her boat Grey Heron last year. The boat is fairly modern, about 45ft long with a nice open layout. Pippy and I really liked it.

Anne in kitchen


The bedroom

Skiving Off

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

I’ve been and left Paul for a week to help Anne move her boat from Market Drayton to Brinklow. Anne found that her mooring on the “Shroppie” was too far away and on the wrong side of the country. Hence the move back to the North Oxford Canal to the new marina at Brinklow, which is near her Mum and brother. Nearer to us too!

I got the train up to Stafford, and Anne drove us to the boat in glorious sunshine.

Grey Heron at MD

Friends and more friends…

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Had a fabulous weekend down in Devon a week ago. My thanks to Jane F. for the free lift down to Exeter and back for Pippy and me. Also big thanks to Dan’s friend Kane and to Von for having me stay, and thanks to Gabi for a lovely meal Saturday night.

Gabi and Von

At Von’s I had a wonderful night’s sleep on a “memory foam” mattress. Enthused, I persuaded Paul that we had to have one on the boat – we had never been very comfortable on the sprung mattress we bought a couple of years ago – so we ordered a very small double (3ft 9 ins x 6ft 2 ins) via the internet. 2 days later it was delivered to “the green boat opposite the Watermans Arms”.

Sarah and Stuart kindly took the old mattress down to the local recycling centre and to say thanks we invited them to join us for a cruise up the Thames in the balmy April weather.

Sarah and Stuart

I think Sarah is wishing she was somewhere warm and cosy!

The next day we were joined by Chris, Rhona and their two boys, and Rhona’s friend and work colleague Pat for a little boat trip.

Rhona and Patsy

Dylan helped Paul at the business end of things, and somehow his hand seemed to become attached to the throttle control. It was a little un-nerving for Paul when – coming to a particularly tricky tight bend lined with moored boats – the revs died completely, leaving him with no steering! No harm done, as a relayed message to throttle control, got the revs up again and the boat safely round.


Lunch was at the Rock of Gibralter where Chris and Corrick played the lemon game ie who coul keep a slice of lemon in their mouth longest without pulling a face

Chris & Corrick lemon game

A great day, and though a bit warmer than the previous day, a bit of sunshine would have made it perfect.

Oh, saw the first swallows of the summer at Thrupp……… cant be long now to nice long, hot days!

Visit from Aunt Edith

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

As some of you may remember we Woolers had a big family reunion last summer and I got to meet aunts and uncles and cousins I’d not really met before. One of my Aunts who couldn’t be there was my Aunt Edith, who now lives in Milton Keynes. Edith caught the bus over to Oxford and walked with me to the boat which was moored on the Thames outside Christ Church College.

CC College

It was lovely sunny day and some brave men were having a go at punting. Edith was impressed and asked them to pose for picture and they kindly obliged.


We admired the geese and their newly hatched goslings and walked back to the pub called appropriately enough “The Head of the River” for lunch.


Edith and I had a lovely day catching up with family news and she also told me stories of when she was a girl and young woman training to be a nurse. I must write these up and ask her if I can publish them, as they are fascinating to hear. Is anyone else involved in researching their family history?

What a difference a week makes…

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

Well it is certainly a change from last Sunday, no snow (yet).

Karen is off visiting people in Devon so I have had a weekend to my own doing boat jobs (greasing the drive shaft, changing the fuel filter, cleaning the sink pipes..).

Nik and Gemma came by yesterday in the last leg of yet another dramatic boat move. Burst water hose coming out of Clifton lock left them on the weir. Hose fixed they arrived in Oxford last night in time for Nik to do a Kareoke gig at the Hollybush. An entertaining evening of local singers.

Sunday morning at Folly Bridge starts with a steady flow of rowers up the Thames, the comes the race practice in groups. At least they seem to have managed to not hit the boat yet, that comes later in the day, also when the day boat hirers come out from the bridge who can’t row. No men on bikes with magaphones shouting across the boat yet – maybe I’ll get one and stand outside one of the colleges shouting, when they are trying to work. But as Karen says – we can always move.

Apart from that it is very quiet moored here, we’ll move off later in the week.

April “snow” showers

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

Moored at Thrupp for a few days. Met up with Caz and Simon in Oxford, for a few beers and an excellent meal at Chutneys. Caught the bus back to Kidlington and set off walking back to the boat, asked directions from someone getting in a ca, who then kindly gave us a lift the rest of the way.

 Thrupp Apr Snow

Woke up this morning to find snow covering the ground, hard to believe in April. Karen was up to take photos for the calendar before it disappeared – so don’t be surprised to see a snow scene for April in next years calendar.

bye bye Eynsham

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Quit our jobs at the boatyard Monday, followed our friends who reseigned due to boatyard politics. We could have stayed on and worked for the hire company, but we really didn’t want the stress. It only took 24 hrs of people finding out for the offers of more consultancy to take up our “spare” time to come in.

We plan to work a bit and cruise around. Probably stay in the Oxford area for a few months then go North for the summer when work calms down. Alt-C (September) is in Leeds this year, so that may make a suitable target.

Karen is promising a newsletter as so much has happened in the last month. She should have the time to write this now. 

More later as we start to move up the Oxford Canal for a few days.