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.


  1. Good to hear from you both again! Hope you had a great anniversary - Nicky doesn’t look old enough to have been married for 28 years! Badger Sett looks good with the new paint job - keep up the good work and don’t leave it so long before you blog again!!!!

    1. Hi Carol. I do keep meaning to blog more regularly, but time just seems to pass me by and then I notice I've missed a whole month. The blog is normally also prompted by photo's so maybe now that we'll have our camera with us more often it might be possible to blog more regularly. Will try better (but no promises) :-( x Oh, and I'm guessing that I DO look old enough to have been married for 28 years and my defence for that is that I've got a wife to wear me down whereas she's only got a loving and devoted husband that doesn't cause her any stress or grief . . . . . . .