Monday, April 19, 2010

No Fly Zone

Living, as I do, in Stratford and about 15 minutes from City airport and also being on the flight path for those long haul flights that come in low to follow the Thames at silly o'clock in the morning. I have enjoyed the peace and quiet of the skys.

I know it has caused problems for a lot of people, and for that I am sorry, but some of those long haul flights are louder than when they are taking off from Heathrow (Due to noise abatement proceedures, which do not apply over our side of London).

They'll be back today, but it has been nice.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Birthday present & The legend of Poo Bridge

Christine presented me with a photo album. On the front was a photo of me aged 14 months and as I opened it, there was a photo of my Mum and Dad with a little narration.

She had filled it with old photo's of me and friends along with little stories they had told her about me. One from my friend Sue cracked me up with laughter. Christine had decorated the photo of us with a ship in full sail. Many years ago I had gone on a boating holiday to the Norfolk Broads with Sue and her family, and as teenagers do, we had found an off license and smuggled a bottle of gin back to the boat. Needless to say we had both got very drunk, and as I climbed onto my bunk the curtain had opened and I swear I saw a ship with full sails just floating backwards and forwards and told her I was looking at a ghost ship!! Obviously it wasn't (although I have no idea WHAT it was but I did see something) and there it was in the album.

There were poems and photos of my grandchildren as babies and then a photo of a canal bridge along with a comment 'Poo can tell that story' So this is the story of Poo bridge. Its not pleasant but very funny.


I was with friends on our first ever canal boat holiday I have written about it here

On our last afternoon we had moored up by a pub and Christine (my friend)and I had decided to walk to the marina to get a paper. The marina was about a mile away along the canal and off we set. I suppose we were probably about 2/3rds of the way there when I was suddenly overcome by terrible stomach cramps and just knew I was not going to make it to the marina, I was desperate, and I am not going into detail, but surfice to say, deli belly had nothing on me that day. Luckily I shouted to my friend to keep a look out for boats and managed to find a little area tucked away by a canal bridge. I did the obvious and then asked my (usually) very efficient friend Christine 'Do you have a tissue on you?' She looked at me, felt in her pockets and replied 'no' So I am stuck there now are't I? So then I asked her 'Have you got anything on you to so I can wipe my ****?' Her reply was 'Well I have some bread to feed the ducks'.....................So I used the bread. Sorry ducks but I had no choice and if it is any consolation, the bread wasn't very fresh so left crumbs in rather uncomfortable places. So that bridge became 'poo bridge' and it is there in my album too which made me laugh even more.

Christine (My daughter) isn't working at the moment so she made the album and decorated it and I have to say, I laughted and cried. It has been made with lots of love and she has taken the trouble to contact a lot of my friends asking for stories and quotes and it is certainly the best present she has ever given me.

Friday, April 09, 2010


I woke up to lots of cards and a few pressies! Then I got a call on my mobile from my grandchildren. I was so happy as along the canal I rarely had a signal but we had moored back at Tal-y-bont where the canal is high on an embankment. Kai was singing happy birthday, while Sian was crying because SHE wanted to speak to me first. I must admit, for one split second, I did wonder why I had decided to celebrate being 50 without them but then the cake came out.

As we had a few hours to kill until Christine, Sharon and LM arrived from Crewe (And what we didn't realise was that we would end up with a LOT more hours to kill)we decided to take a nice hike up the hill to Talybont reservoir On the way up I came across a lovely little villiage called Aber. It really was a delightful little place as you can see

It was raining on an off, but again the views were fantastic!!

We then went back to the boat and waited for my guests to arrive. Now, when I was arranging it with Sharon some weeks previously, she pointed out to me that there were 2 Talybonts (in actual fact, there are 5) so I established that I would be at Talybont on Usk and she duely booked the B & B. About 2pm I got a text to say they were running late as they had left late, then about 4pm my niece got a call from my daughter to tell her they were just coming into Talybont, so I stood on the tow path and waited for them to come along the road, there were no cars to be seen and then I could hear Elizabeth telling Christine to look out for the post office and it was obvious by the one way conversation that they couldn't see a post office, in fact, they could see the sea!!! They had gone to the wrong Talybont and were in the one close to Cardigan bay (hence the view of the sea!!) I have to admit, I was upset at first but then gradually began to see the funny side of it, because if it was going to happen to anyone, it would have to be Sharon!!

Eventually we went out for some dinner and caught up with them at their B & B at 9pm!! The poor things had been in the car for 9 hours, and as Sharon has some serious health issues, was a little stressed. But they said they had seen some of the most beautiful scenery, and as the rain stopped, seen a really lovely sunset along with most of Wales.

Christine presented me with her gift, and that deserves a blog of it's own. It made me cry, it made me laugh, and I have to say, was the best present any girl could give her Mum

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Day 3 Last day of 49

On Thursday we decided to leave Llangynidr and go up the canal a bit before turning around, we had aranged to meet my best friend Sharon, my daughter Christine and Sharon's daughter Linn Marie the following day to celebrate me 'not being 49 anymore' The views were fantastic and there wasn#t another boat in sight as we slipped over an aquaduct and turned into a turning point.............Where, we got stuck, Solid!!

We couldn't jump off as we were too far away from the bank, we couldn't pole off as trying to use the pole just resulted in the pole going about 18 inches into the mud! Which was also why we couldn't jump off into the water! We stood there for about 20 minutes when a group of teenagers came around the corner with the hugest back packs I have ever seen. They were on the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and how fantastic they were. They caught the back rope and heaved, and I do mean heaved until they managed to pull us around the way we had already been facing, it meant going to the next turning point and I had no idea if it was as bad as one we had already been jammed in, but we left them with a promise to gee up the others on the scheme who were behind them. About 5 minutes later we came across them having a rest and a fag!! Then immediately after them the turning point. Blink and you'd miss this one, but I turned in and got stuck when we were almost turned round. Again we couldn't pole off but The Duke of Edinburgh lots came to our rescue again and we were able to start our criuse back to Tal-y-bont.

It started to rain heavily but it was still beautiful, as you can see

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Boating continued.

Wednesday, it rained all day, but it wasn't windy and with good waterproofs who cared? I was about to do my first ever tunnel and OMG what a tunnel it was!!! The guy at the Marina had warned us that it sagged in the middle and sag it did, to the point that I steered the boat on my knees with my other friend squatted down beside me and the ladies at the front shouting LEFT! NO! NO! RIGHT!!! It was really funny, but only after we emerged from it. At one point I thought we had stopped, but you could see the opening either end and it was only 375 yards long. We emerged into the rain unscathed, with painful knees and big sighs of relief.

We cruised through 5 locks at Llangynidr one in a boat hire base, he had all his boats moored up and one was moored on the lock mooring which meant I had to hold the boat outside the lock and then got stuck in the silt!! The marina owner was very nice about it but I was so worried about bashing his boats I was a bit rude to him for mooring his boats at the lock!! He did make it up to me though, by jumping on and poling the boat off of a massive tree we had got wedged against.

We found a lovely mooring spot in Llangynidr amongst the trees. While we were cruising down a frog had jumped from the lock gate into our boat and was sitting quietly hidden in the hose reel, my niece took this picture. Finally I have found my prince!!

We took a look around the villiage. Sadly the villiage shop was almost empty, she was hanging on by the skin of her teeth but admitted she had a cash flow problem so couldn't stock the shop up fully. With the new boating season starting I hope she manages ok.

For our evening meal we went to the Coach and Horses,it would seem that Bollocky Bill had been there before us. As we ordered our dinner the rather distinguished looking landlord came to our table and began to recant this tale!

(Imagine strong Welsh accent with very good story telling skills)

'The tom tom drums were going. There is a boat full of women stuck in the mud! The cry went out!! Send out a rescue party!! 200 volunteers went in search of the women but they couldn't be found for they were here eating dinner'
We all laughed, surely a boat full of women isn't that unusual? The food was great though and so were the locals. He even lent us a torch to go back to the boat with as our boat didn't have one.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brecon Boating Birthday Bonanza

On Monday the 22nd of March we set off to not so sunny wales and picked up Delyth from Cambrian Cruisers. After a little run through Jonathon jumped off and we made our way to Brecon marina. There was only one lock on the way, but they have to be left empty with the bottom gates open, and as we were going up, it was twice the work. I got the boat in the lock and then we started to fill it up and we waited and waited and waited, silly us had forgotten the basic rule of lock operation! The bottom paddles were open slightly, once we sorted that out we were out in no time. Brecon is a lovely little town with a big population of Gurkha's and the marina has been refurbished with some lovely cottages for the elderly. That first evening we ordered a Chinese and I have to say, it was the best I have ever tasted! Lovely

This is the motley crew, taken as 2 pics because someone had to take a photo.

Being some of the first boats of the season there were quite a few shallow places and inevitably we kept getting front of the same boat. So picture this, there in the boat behind, is Mr Super experienced (Fondly named Bollocky Bill by one of the all female crew!!) sitting smugly by the tiller while the wife has to jump on and off and do a lot of the graft, dispensing his wise words like 'Oh just reverse when the front floats out' Or 'Aquaduct? What aquaduct?' All the time, watching us trying to pole ourselves off with this smug self satisfied look on his face because he wasn't stuck!! Eventually we got the hang of staying no matter what in the middle of the channel and actually caught him up at Tal-y-Bont on Usk where he kept the electrically operated lift bridge open for us.

Now we all know it rains in Wales, and it did, continually, but the views? Stunning, we would cruise around a tight little bend, and there were the most spectacular views of the brecon mountains. New lambs in the fields, woodpeckers, long tailed tits, wrens. It was magnificent. By the end of day two we moored at Tal-y-Bont on Usk. A pretty little place with a fantastic post office/store/cafe. Bollocky Bill had gone ahead..............

Friday, March 19, 2010

Off cruising

Gosh it's been a long time since I blogged. My old manager took VR in July and I have been busy ever since.
Anyway I have been reading with envy about Akelamalu's lovely cruise and I am off on a cruise myself on Monday, but a cruise of a different kind.

No lovely Caribbean beaches (Or weather) for me but a weeks cruise along the Brecon and Monmouth canal with 3 friends and my niece. I'm 50 you see, my half century will be upon me next week and my daughter, best friend and her daughter will be meeting up with the boat in Talybont on Usk to help me celebrate my 'not 49 anymore' birthday! I am soo looking forward to the break and seeing the beautiful Welsh countryside, I am determined to take it easy and get off and look around properly. It's only 33 miles long, and I could get to the end and back but what would be the point of that?

So when I get back I will be uploading some pics so you can celebrate my 'Half Century' with me.