Sunday, 20 July 2014

Jersey Post #4

Hi There

Well here are all of The Boys together, both human and doggy variety.

Aaron (AKA Fat Boy) with white T-shirt and Benji in front and Declan (AKA Little Rash) with Binks. Whilst on the topic of names, for some reason they call me Dweeb !

Don't be fooled by the coat it was a hot day, although I was assured that the wind was cold. No it wasn't darling, it wasn't a cold wind it was a warm breeze. I'm sure she must have been reptilian in a previous life. Oh, and Nicky is fondly known by me as Toad.

Binks had found something in the heather, well he hadn't actually found it as he spent about ten minutes looking for it whatever it was. Kept sticking his head right in and we were half expecting a yelp and for something to come out attached to his nose by the teeth.

Family shot on one of our walks whilst we are all over, Mum, two sons, one daughter, other halves, two of the eight grand children and three great grand children yet to arrive.

And Jersey almost looking like a tropical Island.

Back to the car park and found this little fella wandering around. The Boys thought we'd order a takeaway for them, but we managed to keep them from having a midday snack.

Not daunted in the slightest by a crowd of people and two (hungry) dogs and in the end had to be shooed away so we could move the cars to go home.

 And for a change, a nice cooling walk in the woods close to home.

Well not that cool, as The Boys still needed a pit stop to take on some water.

Bye for now.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Jersey Post #3

Hi There

The Boys normally get around two to three hours of walks a day, but with the hot weather we've been having over here they've only really been getting a couple of 30 - 40 minute walks so they don't get to hot.

We've done a couple of early(ish) morning walks of an hour or two and aim to be back home somewhere between eight and nine, but I had the bright idea of giving them a full one the other day so was up and out the door at 06:01 in the morning.

Nicky's mums home is about ten minutes walk from accessing one of the north coast cliff paths where we usually take The Boys, but the paths do actually stretch along the whole of the north coast from Les Landes on the North-West of the Island to Rozel in the east.

I was travelling east and into the sun, so I could only photograph where I'd been and not where I was heading as with a low bright sun the pictures would have come out dark. So my starting point above was Crabbe (pronounced Crab-ay) and looking back towards the west of the Island.

About five years ago The National Trust of Jersey released a flock of Manx Loaghtan sheep on the headland between Devils Hole and Sorel Point in an attempt to return this section of headland to a mixture of bracken and areas of pasture as the bracken had taken over the whole area. They are free to roam the whole area and live there for twelve months of the year.

Seems like they've had their summer haircut.

This little chap was a bit weary of The Boys, but stood his ground so I could get the photo. There have unfortunately been some dog attacks over the years so you have to keep dogs on their leads along the whole section now, which is a bit of a shame, but better that than further incidents.

Looking back again and about an hour and a half into my walk.

The first bay you come to along the cliff path from where I set off was Bonne Nuit Bay. There are a lot of smaller bays and coves along the north coast, but not all are easily accessible or accessible at all so there are only two or three points along my route today where you come down this close to the waters edge. The building in the middle left of this picture is apartments, but used to be a hotel and was where we spent our wedding night all those years ago.

I'd estimated my route to be about ten miles and thought it would take just under three hours so had asked Nicky to pick me and The Boys up at nine o'clock. I eventually 'stumbled' down the last section of cliff path to my pickup point at Bouley Bay at 09:20 so only about twenty minutes later than was planned that I was pretty pleased with. And did I get a cuddle for my efforts, no, although I can't blame Nicky too much as after three and a bit hours of walking up and down cliff paths in a gaining heat I must admit that my shirt was a bit 'damp' to say the least.

And so my finishing point, Bouley Bay.

Oh and another bit of trivia for you, Bouley Bay is where Nicky's mum and dad taught me to dive along with a group of others, some of whom are still very good friends to this day.

And whilst on the topic of diving, Nicky had learnt to dive many, many, many years before me and here she is aged 7 and flanked by her brothers as diving was a big part of their lives for many years.

Forecast looks good and settled for a while yet so we'll try to get out to some different places with our camera for some more posts.

Bye for now.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Jersey Post #2

Hi There

Well the weather over here continues to impress and is probably my first summer holiday in the Island having previously worked through the summers or been off Island on holiday.


This is Greve De Lecq bay on Jersey's North-West Coast and close to where Nicky grew up. On the left, but out of the picture, is a pub called the Prince of Wales where we first met back in the 80's, probably about 1984 I think.

And here's the little lady herself (AKA Nicky) second from the right from about the time we first met. I could almost fancy her again  . . . . . . well almost.

 Benji having a dig on the beach

 And Binks waiting for someone to play with him rather than taking silly pictures.

Nicky was dragged down for a morning swim with her mum, brothers and uncles, unfortunately for her high tide was at eight o'clock though so it was up early for her. Binks, pictured here with Nicky, has always been a good swimmer, but

 Benji's never been keen on the water although that won't stop him when mum's in . . . . .

 But that's enough for now.

The closest shape bobbing in the water is Binks after Nicky sent him back in as she wasn't sure how long he'd be able to keep swimming, as you can see, he'd gone out quite a way.

And Benji's on the right standing guard and making sure everyone is okay.

Well that's all for now, if the weather keeps up I'll hopefully get some more nice snaps from around the Island and maybe whet your appetite as Jersey for a holiday destination for you one day.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

An Unscheduled Trip Back Home

Hi There

Well as the title suggests, we are unexpectedly back home in Jersey for a month or so and whilst we love the scenery that the waterways has got to offer, it's difficult to beat Jersey on a nice summers day.

Pictured here is the headland above Beauport on the south coast.

Unfortunately the reason for our return is that Nicky's dad died last week and here he is at the helm of Badger Sett on the Llangollen Canal when they last came over to see us.

Sad times, he will be greatly missed, but many good memories.

I won't be signing off with our log details of Badger Sett as she's patiently moored up and waiting for us on the Ashby Canal.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Ashby Canal

Hi There

Well the title of this post is simply because this is the canal we have been on for the last four weeks and will probably be another two weeks before we leave it. All of 22 miles long (44 miles there and back), one tunnel, not a lock in sight and predominantly rural. If you like 'not a lot' then this is definitely a canal to come to.

Shops are sparse though, so make sure you come on the canal with full cupboards and top up at Hinckley as after that you've just got a small co-op at Market Bosworth and then nothing else.

Our stay has been a bit 'extended though' as Nicky went back home to Jersey for a week so I'd stayed put at Snarestone and then our eldest son and his girlfriend came back for a week and we cruised down to the Bosworth Battle Ground and then back to Snarestone. We're also doing some work on the boat, more of that a little later on, so that'll add to our stay before we start journeying towards the Coventry Canal.

Anyway, backtrack a bit now to our last blog and you may remember that we'd gone Vegetarian for a month and have clearly survived to tell the tale (almost) as Nicky decided to 'contaminate' one of our veggie dishes with a BEEF stock cube. Not intentionally, but we don't like to see wine wasted in food so when called for we use a beef stock cube with a bit of red wine vinegar, which Nicky did without thinking. We had a good month though, came across some really nice recipes that was the whole idea so we had to try something different, but, looked forward to and enjoyed my bacon butty when the daily countdown reached zero.

One thing we came across in a recipe book was how to grow your own bean sprouts using Mung beans that we'd brought for some of the recipes.

Simply soak in water overnight. This is three tables spoons worth of beans.

Rinse out each morning for anything between four and seven days.

And voila, bean sprouts. Leave them in a dark place for white ones or in the light for green ones. How simple is that. . . . . .

Now to the Boys and in particular Binks. They are a breed classed as Gun Dogs and have a good nose for pheasants and for some reason squirrels. They've never been raised or trained as working dogs, but they've still got the instinct and it's interesting to watch them out in the fields when there is something nearby and they go very still, lower their backs, raise a front paw and just wait and then amazingly, no more than two or three feet in front of them a Pheasant takes off that we'd not seen. Anyway, back to the 'in particular Binks' bit of the story. He has clearly got some instinct to mask himself in other scents and occasionally roles in something that really stinks and normally results in him needing a wash to get it out as can be seen in the following picture.

Benji on the other hand has never done this, but normally whatever happens to Binks (nail clipping, cleaning ears, flea/mite sachets applied to the back of the neck etc) usually ends up with Benji getting the same treatment. So here's Benji who isn't going to get the wash treatment, but doesn't know it yet, just lying down in submission waiting the for what he thinks is in store for him next.

Slight digress from boating life for a minute, but it was our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary in June and here we were all those years ago.

You'll see that I haven't got as much hair now as I did in those days and Nicky clearly left youth behind a long time ago now.

For our honeymoon we went to a place called the Echrehous that is off the north east coast of Jersey. At high tide it's little more than a hundred or so metres across, but at low tide, the uncovered rocks are almost the size of Jersey. The hut we stayed in was literally just four walls and a roof, no gas, electricity, toilet so anything we needed to survive had to be taken out there. In some ways, not much different to living on a boat I suppose. So here are some photos that a Facebook friend of Nicky's has just posted when they went out there recently.

Anyway, digress over with, back onto boating and a quick picture of Nicky's allotment. Courgette plant, with four or five courgettes in varying stages of growth and lettuces on the left and parsley, lettuce and pepper plants (both normal bell peppers and chilli peppers) on the right. For some reason our tomato plant has only got about three tomato's under production so at a £1 for the plant, it doesn't seem like it will be a good return on that investment at the moment.

A quick photo of mummy swan with a signet getting a ride which is just as well as we'd seen this being done a few weeks previously, but the photo hadn't come out so second time lucky.

We've just brought ourselves what I'd call a point and click camera that's small enough to just slip into a pocket as our other one was a bit cumbersome and whilst it does take good photo's it's bulkier to carry around, takes time to get it out and set up by which time you're too late for the photo you want and half the time you haven't bothered to bring it out with you in the first place. So a couple of photos from the Ashby Canal to be going on with.


We came across some fellow Channel Islanders the other day from Guernsey, Peter and Sue I think their names were, who had spotted us by our Jersey flag we fly from the tiller.

I've wondered how many other narrowboat owners there are from back home in the Channel Islands and they know of one other Guernsey person and maybe one from Jersey so seems like we could be what you might class as a few of not many.

I went fishing a couple of mornings at a carp lake close to Market Bosworth with our son when he was over recently and didn't do too badly.

It was a fresh start to the day with mist rising from the water . . .

but soon warmed up when the sun came out . . .

and with the sun came the fish . . .

Unfortunately he ended up catching the most carp and the heaviest carp, the one above weighing a little over 10lbs, and whilst not the largest we've ever caught, we're still pleased to get into double figures.

Oops nearly forgot, mentioned above about some work we were doing on the boat, well correction, work I was told to do when Nicky went back home for a holiday !

We'd brought some paint months ago, as well as some rust inhibitor stuff and primer even further back in time and it was time for me to get it out, dust it off and get it out of the tins and onto the boat. The paint job on the main side walls of the boat seems to be a good one and stills looks (well we think so) really good for seven years old. The gunwales on the other hand were a messy rough dirty old battle ship grey type colour that I assume was in someway reference to a Badgers colours in keeping with the name of our boat as in Badger Sett for those of you who don't know.

So here was Badger Sett before . . .

and then after with her go faster cream gunwales . . .

I'm writing this post whilst waiting for a coat of undercoat on the stern to dry before applying a second one and then I've still got the cratch to do that will be a relatively small job, but the worst is behind me.

And last but not least, my latest attempt at French Bread, seen here before it goes into the oven, that I seem to be getting closer with as I tweak the recipe a bit each time.

Nicky seems to have escaped much micky taking this time, so I'll do my best to include some of her 'not brightest moments' in my next blog or just make something up if need be.

And so in signing off,

Day 571 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 1123 miles and 470 locks further on from when we started.