Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The begining of the end

Last night at our final pub quiz with our closest, daftest, dearest friends. We’ll miss them all so much…
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Sad smile

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

TT Trickery

Has presented us with another watery problem…

I’ve already mentioned the two inconveniences that have only manifested themselves since “the floating palace” heard us talking about the move… We have the toilet that won’t flush, unless you press the button about 10 times, and the dripping tap. It sounds a lot like a drum in the middle of the night, so we have to switch the water off...
  
Seeing as it’s all about the bathroom I gave the shower a dam good talking to the other day. And it repaid me this afternoon by getting stuck on the jet setter jets setting. Just the one was available for use, the rest were on strike (relevant word there), try as I might it wouldn’t budge.

Dave wasn’t here to come to the rescue, hence I ended up contending with a jet of water firing itself at me with all the force of a water cannon… Funny ha ha…

Meantime, notice how the weather is nicely building itself up to a gale force crescendo ready for Monday…? There’s trees, rooftops and fences flying about all over the place here, and the forecast is for it to get worse. Just marvellous that…

To think we were worried about {ICE} never even considered a hurricane, this is a whole other thing. Dave keeps trying to reassure me that “it’ll have blown itself out by weekend.”  Ha! They’re stacking up out in the Atlantic, a bit like planes do for airports, oops, won’t be many of them up there tomorrow…

It’s all a wind up whichever way you look at it…

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Well it had to happen sooner or later

I know it’s traditional that a mutiny is usually caused by humans, but as you probably know, on this boat it’s actually the other way round. “Mutiny on the Bounty” has nothing on this…

Yesterday afternoon sometime I pushed the flush button on the toilet and nothing happened, so I tried again 5 times before it actually did what I’d told it to. When I mentioned it to Dave he said he’d already noticed it was going mental temperamental. And calmly added that he’d sort it when we get to Mercia. What if it dies completely in the meantime? It’s most inconvenient (excuse pun) but the timing is spot on…

One of the fancy taps (that won’t come to bits) in the bathroom has sprung a leak too, so it appears that the rebel TT is starting in there first. It’s keep hearing those words “she’s being hauled out the water and plonked on the back of a wagon” that’s done it. So she’s starting off with sabotaging anything that’s got something to do with water… I know this boat too well.
Anyway, we were sat out back earlier and suddenly got talking about all the things we’ll have to remove from outside the boat while it’s in transit. It’s only when you think about it you realise how much stuff there is:
  • The luxury conservatory will have to be folded back with the stainless steel supports strapped together a bit more securely than when we go out. with it down.
  • The front screen will have to be folded forward like we do when we go out. Thing is, under normal circumstances there’s no need to securely attach it when we’re just tootling along at 4 miles an hour. I mean its not like it creates a slipstream with the power to rip it off it’s hinges or smash you in the face. But that too will have to be “fixed” in place and strapped down securely – SOMEHOW.
  • Then there’s 4 chairs from out here, a table and more to be stowed away.
  • Remove the chimley.
  • Remove poles (well that’s obvious).
  • Remove fenders.
  • Remove middle ropes, plus 2 from bow, plus 2 from stern, plus 2 thick ropes with clips front and back.
  • Re-plant all my plants inside.
Then after discussing all that I heard “I’ll have to clean me mushrooms too.” What made him think of that? Because he reckons they’ll stand out like a sore thumb. And he’s probably right…

PS: Curry night was fantastic, but I forgot to take any colourful photos of the highly colourful food. There was almost enough to feed the whole marina… 

Friday, 25 November 2011

The partying begins!

See, our friends round here are so glad to get shut of us so happy for us, the partying has already begun in earnest…
 
Last Thursday we got taken out bowling, then for a meal, then for a drinky poos at the local yokel pub before staggering back to the marina…
 
Here’s Liz doing the biz at the bowling alley…
 
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And that was when my smart phone’s battery died, typical…
 
Last Saturday was a birthday meal for another friend of ours…
 
Check out them two daft buggers on the left…
 
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Smart phone back online…
 
Last Tuesdays pub quiz whereby we came joint third, Dave discussing tic tacs tactics with Mark the Spark…
 
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Liz the Wiz and Mark Bee...
 
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Checkout the drinks cabinet…
 
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Spent all our winnings on this lot because the jackpot had to go…
 
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Needless to say, none of those numbers came up…
 
Ah well, tomorrow night is “curry night,” all cooked on other folks’ boats, and carried round to the TT restaurant - for a HOT night in. Could be a bit smelly on here but never mind, we’re worth it… HA…!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

We´ve got a date!

I said we’ve got a date!!!

But it’s complicated, (figures), we always end up being unique, even when we don’t want to be. But there ya go nothing’s ever eezy when it’s got anything to do with our boat, fortunately we’re used to it now, well, sometimes…

So TT is being craned out of this marina on Monday 5th December and craned into Mercia Marina on Tuesday 6th December. Work that out…

In fact, this must be the only boat I can think of that’s come out of the water on one day, only to arrive at the destination point the next day – deliberately. Signed sealed and delivered, with an overnight stop in a motel wagon depot… Why??

Because there was a conflict of interest dates with the lorry. Hence the arrival time has been delayed and they aren’t allowed to drive a wagon carrying a boat in the dark. Which sorta makes sense in an elf and safety way – especially when it’s your boat…

Meanwhile today’s been a nightmare, have you ever tried coordinating two massive cranes, a lorry, and output / input from one marina to another at the same time? Makes the old saying piss up in a brewery sound like a walk in the park…

So tickets for the 6th December “gig” at Mercia are now available from takeytezeyboatjettydotcom. 9am sharp at the venue…

We’ve also hired a grandstand (also to be craned in the day before) and the brass band (also to be craned in the day before). After all a perch in the trumpet is worth two in a trombone…

Anyway back to the seating arrangements, the tickets come in 3 different flavours:
The bottom tier = Standing room only
The middle tier = Sitting room only
The top tier = The penthouse box with cucumber drinks and champagne butties

Right, well I’m off to book a hotel for the 5th Dec, seeing as they won’t let us stay aboard the boat (while it’s staying aboard a lorry overnight). I’m certainly not sleeping in the car. In fact on that particular night I won’t be able to sleep anywhere, neither of us will…

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

S-T-R-E-S-S

Or:

Seriously
Troubling
Re
Entailing
Some
Sorting out

What is it about crane companies? I mean we’ve been juggling about six different ones over the past couple of days, and none of them seem to want the work…

I know that with such a big thing (literally) we’ve got to look at all the options. The price of the crane at Mercia is acceptable, but HERE? The darn thing must be encrusted with diamonds…
 
So we asked for a quote from another company based just a couple of miles away, the price sounds reasonable, they were supposed to get back to us later today,, we’ve heard nothing. A safety survey has to be done first, which is the norm. Sounds like they know what they’re doing eh?

But I’ve got a bad feeling about it, I mean Dave mentioned the weight of the boat needing a 60 ton or is it tonnes (?) crane. Either way, what they didn’t seem too savvy about was the fact that a widebeam not only requires a bigger crane, it has to have the steel beam thingy up near the top, and the straps have to be stronger and W-I-D-E-R…

Here’s a photo of TT being dumped in the water for the first time…
 
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Those straps hook up to the steel beam thingy which dangles hangs a fair way down from the top of the crane…

So do we pay less and go with the (potentially) cheap n’ uncheerful version, or do we pay more and go with the diamonds…?   

Sunday, 20 November 2011

It´s all coming together now, well we can but hope

With ref to the “To Do” list I blogged about the other day. Bill couldn’t make it to service the boiler, but it’s a good job really because we’d never have got everything done otherwise…

I’ve found myself beginning to lose track of what day it is, and the fact that my watch has broke doesn’t help. Especially when I used the alarm clock as a ticker and it lied to me. There I was thinking I had an extra 40 minutes to get ready for the birthday meal last night – turned out to be more like 10…

This is the bit where you’re supposed to get a vision of me stood amidst last nights selection of clothing. Each item deliberately conspired to get me all tangled up in knots and it worked. Somehow I even managed to put my dress on back to front, the air was blue…
 
“More haste less speed” as me mother would say.
 
After all the hard work and running round earlier, we somehow made it to the church pub on time and the meal was lovely. Another great night, another great hangover today…

I also had a rather strange dream whilst in the land of nod last night. Turned out the bottom of the boat had to be dried out before it could go on the lorry, so they placed it in a nearby field first. That’s as far as it went (literally) because I woke up… If anyone out there is good at interpreting dreams, please let me know what that means, (it rhymes). Alternatively just call me weird – I do…

The only thing holding us back at the moment is organising cranes, obviously there’s a crane required at this end to put TT in a field for an hour or two, then onto the lorry. There’s also another crane required at Mercia to dangle, drop, plop, plonk, place her gently in the water…

Warning to oneself: One or more of the words in the sentence above could come back to haunt me, and may have to be repeated sometime in the near future…

So we’ve got several crane companies in a bidding war at the moment (one of which we’re still waiting for a quote from). Perhaps a wheel’s dropped off their bestest boat crane or something…
 
Then there’s another company suddenly appeared amidst the confusion and given it all a good stir by pricing up the cheaper option. Which involves putting TT in at a boatyard somewhere near Mercia, then driving it round to the marina for us! How weird is that? Must all be part of the service for insurance purposes otherwise known as cover your own ass purposes…

All I want is a date for the big day, then I can inform the palace when to wheel out her majesty and the corgi’s for the big farewell. Also, the local brass band needs booking in advance – that’s so they get plenty of notice re; dusting off their trumpets and polishing their boots…

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Have I got news for you!

You know all that waiting and “being patient” (Ha), that I’ve been moaning about? We found out yesterday that all systems are GO! The shroud of secrecy has faded away.

It was circumstances that dictated timing, (don’t ask) those circumstances have now changed completely. Later on we ended up with an impromptu afternoon champagne party for six of us on the back of the boat! It was a celebration that our plans are finally going to happen – even if they don’t work out right, (?) Remember it’s Heth and Dave we’re on about here. But even so, what a difference a day makes…!

We went round Mercia Marina on Sunday looking for a mooring, we found one and the marina is gorgeous. We met up with the crew of Widebeam Jenique and stayed for a couple of hours just chatting.

Afterwards we went back to the office, said which mooring we’d like, but alas, because of the “dictated timing” thing, we couldn’t put down a deposit and came away feeling deflated…

Even so, I couldn’t curb my enthusiasm so I wrote a blog post about it. Then I had to take it down because it felt like I’d got carried away, getting ahead of myself. Just before I deleted that post I got a message from Barry and Sue, letting me know they’re at Mercia over winter…!  So things are moving fast, they have to before we get iced in, says she with lack of optimism…

Today we paid the deposit on the mooring at Mercia – no going back now…! We´re down to earth with a bump now, had to hit the ground running. There’s so much to do in such a short space of time and practicalities rule the waves. We can’t leave the move till after the first week in December, because we could well be iced in.

Dave’s also in the process of arranging cranes and a lorry. Then there’s all the boring stuff like doctors, dentists and all that kind of thing – no they aren’t going on the lorry…

When we found out all this was possible and we could go ahead with everything, Dave got the phone call that changed our lives. But he was out at the time, so when he got back here he kept a straight face and told me the score. Don’t know how he did that, but I do know we ended up with arms round each other jumping up and down whilst crying with relief, yes really…

After the champagne party we all went down the pub. Our friends have also arranged to take us bowling tomorrow, a meal afterwards, and back to the pub for a drinky poos (again).

Then another one of our friends is having a birthday meal / party on Saturday night and we´re going to that too. Hang on a minute, did I mention getting down to practicalities earlier…? Well fun comes first, and we’ll miss them all sooooo much, it’s also really heart-warming that they’re so happy for us. We’ve had a great time at this marina. But when it’s time to move on, and if it feels right, then go for it…
By the way, I couldn’t get any photos of Mercia because the camera on my smartphone stopped working! I mean that was one of the reasons I’d bought the dam thing. Anyway the good news is someone reset it for me when we got back here and saved all my files at the same time – must learn how to do that before we go. So it’s now working again, till I drop it in the canal – or throw it in…

The waiting isn’t over till it’s over, but it might be now…?  

Sunday, 13 November 2011

For soldiers everywhere

We might be going looking round a marina today, but we will not forget...
 
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As parents of a soldier its hard to deal with the fact that our own son is doing a remembrance parade in Germany where he’s based, without us lining the streets cheering his troop on. Crying while I’m writing this…
 
They’ve just done an interview on TV now with the parents of a soldier who died that our son knew, still crying…
 
We’re with you in our hearts son as you proudly parade, head held high in a place where no-one comes outside to pay their respect. No offence to any Germans, they like the Brits, but they’re apathetic about the war in Afghanistan.
 
We all hate the war in Afghan but even so, we openly show MASSIVE respect for our troops…

Friday, 11 November 2011

Roaming Update

We’re at a very nice hotel with lovely views. Being here has made me realise how boringly flat large parts of Lancashire are…
 
View from the window taken with the new smartphone…
 
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Very pretty beer garden even in winter…
 
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Anyway, we’ve looked at a couple of places so far, not been to the marina yet, that’s on the agenda for Sunday… If I sound a bit dull, I’m not, there’s just such a lot to think about…!
Right, that’s it we’re off to the also very nice pub now so we can get a free starter before the 6.30pm deadline – garlic mushrooms me thinks…
 
The words “very nice” keep appearing in this post, I’m only talking about a hotel and  a pub. It’s also about where we are though, hmm, where could that be exactly…?

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Sat on my suitcase

Well, we dug one of the suitcases out this aft, and brought it into the light of day ready to throw stuff in. Being on the move to another marina further south involves a lot of research, which is best done when you´re actually in the area. So we´re staying in a hotel while we do just that. 

Much as we´ve thoroughly enjoyed our life here with our friends, it´s time to move on to pastures new, and those pastures need investigating.

Where we headed is in the midlands, the heart of the canal system, so we can get out on canals and rivers combined. TT will be moved there BY ROAD, but we haven´t go a set date for that yet.

I suspect Tilly thought she was coming with us…
 
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However, “chucking stuff in” willy nilly isn’t an option because as you may already know, it has to be all lastminutedotcom for me, else I forget things, lots of things. So it isn’t worth even pretending that there’s some kind of organisation involved, even with a list, being a bit previous still doesn’t work…

So we’re (almost) set for tomorrow, going to the hotel and spending three days looking round at pastures new for the TT crew…

Wish us well – with our luck, we’re going to need it… See ya tomorrow, somewhere in England, not too far from a canal…

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Crossroads

Oh what can I say? Have you ever been at a crossroads in your life? I think perhaps us boaters have all been through the “walking towards an alternative lifestyle” stage. (Smiley). As opposed to “running away” for all the wrong reasons, like some people do when they move house. (Sad)…

Personally we’ve found that some (brick based) friends and relatives thought that’s what it would be for us at first, “running away" simply because they just didn’t understand the concept of being brave enough to change lifestyle. How wrong could they be?!

We proved that to be incorrect ages ago, and people soon accepted that it wasn’t just a whim, we’re happy…

Basically, if dreams, hopes and desires can be attained, then go for it, after all you’re only here once…

I’m finding it difficult to blog about anything at the moment because we’re focused on yet another crossroads in our life. Again though, it’s about moving on, not running away. Wish I could say more, but for various reasons I can’t ---- yet…

But whichever direction we go in, TT goes with us. This could be a really exciting time for us, then again nothing’s ever eezy. [Well not for us it isn’t]. But we’ll pull it all together somehow, we always do, so:
 
BANG POP WHIZZ POW
 
That’s supposed to represent the fireworks. It´s loud enough to blow your socks off here. Being rural we get an echo, echo, thrown in for free. Guy Fawkes has a lot to answer for...  

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Pumpkin Effect

As the sun was going down last night, everything around us took on an eerie orange glow…
 
The timing was quite bizarre really seeing as vast numbers of luminous orange pumpkins were hanging out everywhere, like they do with ref to the date yesterday…
 
Fact or fiction…?
 
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Some trees like it more than others…
 
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I know churchy people “aren’t keen on Halloween,” but even the church roof joined in…

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Make believe is fun, but this was the real cause. The sun was going down where a large gap in the clouds had cleared on the horizon. With heavy black cloud everywhere else, the rays of the sun hit the edge of the “curtain” and reflected in a spectacular autumnal way…  

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I’m guessing it’s all about these conditions coming together at the same time, (forget the pumpkins). And the sun isn’t strong enough to light everything up pink like it would in summer…
 
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Even with big skies round here, I’ve only ever seen this happen a couple of times…