Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Exotic Food.

Hi Everyone,

This has been a good week for us as we’ve had more progress on getting things together for Chyandour,and,since our last blog,we’ve spent a bit more time in Mansfield and also been to my home town of Nottingham.Last Wednesday we went into town so we could have a look around the local museum,a lot of it was devoted to the Olympics,but there were bits and pieces about the local industry and local coal mining.There was some reference to Clipstone Colliery with its unusual headstocks,which were the tallest in Europe.I do like browsing through pictures past and present of the local area so it is possible to see the changes that have happened.From the museum we walked down into Mansfield to the Market and there I saw a delicacy from my past.As a kid I remember going into Nottingham on a Saturday to the covered market,the Victoria Market,if I remember correctly,where  we always had a tub of hot Mushy Peas with Mint Sauce and pepper,delicious.There was a stall on Mansfield Market selling Mushy Peas and another of my favourites,Mussels.This was the first time I’d had them both together,awesome.Lisa was happy with a Hot Dog,she can’t handle exotic food.Also,in one of the shops we saw our first Christmas Tree with some Christmas Cards on display,the tree actually had lights on.We have heard that Christmas has arrived in Perth too,I love it,but not in August.

On Thursday we went into Nottingham for the day.We drove to the Park and Ride and then went into town on a tram,right into the centre next to the Town Hall.The area in front of here was the old Market Square which has been turned into a beach for the school holidays,with rides,stalls and of course,sand,called the Nottingham Riviera.Nottingham has changed a lot since I was last there,no trams then,or a Riviera,and some of the places I could remember were no longer the same.No Victoria Market for one,but it was nice to go back though,just for a while anyway.We had a good walk round,saw the statue of Robin Hood below the Castle and then into Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem for lunch.The “Trip” is a must see for anyone visiting Nottingham,carved into the Sandstone below the castle,it is said that it formed part of the castle as a brewhouse before becoming an inn in 1189.From here we walked over to the Nottingham Canal and the old Fellows,Morton and Clayton warehouse which is now a pub and a restaurant.We watched a narrowboat going up the Castle Lock and wished it were us and then from there it was over to the Broadmarsh Centre,and the City of Caves.We hadn’t heard of this so we were curious to see what it was all about.Apparently,when building the centre,a large number of old,and not so old,caves had been found in the sandstone below the houses that were demolished to make way for the centre.The conducted tour round these caves was good,it was interesting to see the uses that the caves had been put to over the years.

We’ve had an interesting time over the last week or so trying to get a particular washing machine and now,it seems,we have been successful,fingers crossed.If the emails we have been getting are anything to go by we should be the proud owners on Friday.John will then be able to build it into Chyandour over the next few weeks and Lisa wont have to go down to the river and beat our clothes on the rocks.We went down to see Chyandour yesterday,Monday,as usual,but as it’s a Bank Holiday the yard was closed,John and Mick having a well deserved long weekend.We had the afternoon with Jan and Dai on their boat and got a glimpse at some of the progress on Chyandour through her windows.She looks good and there will be some good pic’s on our next blog.

Today,Tuesday,we had a day out in Matlock Bath at the Heights of Abraham,and a great time was had by all.It’s a lovely place for kids and adults with a Cable Car,play areas and conducted tours of the old Lead Mines,plus panoramic views of parts of the Peak District.

Ok,picture time.

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The Nottingham Riviera above and to the right,Robin Hood’s statue.He still has his arrow,which I seem to recall,used to be pinched on a regular basis.

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Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem and then a narrowboat going up the Castle Lock on the River Trent,lucky devils.

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A kitchen from one of the less salubrious properties that were demolished to make way for the Broadmarsh Centre and Lisa in the cellar of a former pub carved out of the sandstone.

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The Cable Cars at the Heights of Abraham with a view down on to the canoe slalom,on the River Derwent,from the cable cars.

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The Heights of Abraham were opened by the Victorians in 1780 and,being somewhat patriotic,they named it after a famous battle that took place in Canada in 1759.Here we have a couple of views of the surrounding Peak District.

That’s all for this week,we will be going to see Chyandour on Thursday and then off up to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on Friday so next weeks blog will have a much more boaty theme.Take Care.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A few Merry Men.

Hi again,

Another week over and this time we’ve been out and about a bit visiting a couple of local attractions.Thursday saw us in Newark on Trent,a lovely little town that sits,surprise surprise,on the River Trent.The river flows past warehouses,through a large lock and then on past the ruins of the castle.Lisa and I spent all afternoon wandering around some of the towns pleasant narrow streets market square,all dotted with some picturesque historic buildings.We first walked along the river,watched a couple of boats navigating the Newark Town Lock,and then crossed to the other side,after we passed the Canals and Rivers Trust yard.It was here that we found the Millgate Museum,housed in the old Trent Navigation warehouse.It’s quite an interesting place that catalogues the history of the area in and around Newark.If you ever find yourself anywhere near Newark it’s well worth visiting,you can also walk into the castle grounds and look down on the river traffic as it goes through the town lock.

Sunday was a tad different.We went out just to have a walk around somewhere away from our caravan,nothing special,just somewhere to have a gentle stroll for a few hours.We had looked for somewhere in the local tourist guide that would fit the bill and wasn’t too far away,The Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve seemed to be the ideal place.As we got closer there were signs warning of road closures,but,not knowing the area,and as the sat nav said keep going,we pressed on,until,that is,we got to the back of the queue.This was when I stated that had I known,we would not have been anywhere near there,but it was too late,we couldn’t turn on the narrow road so we had to stay with it,the queue,that is.Vowing to go straight past the entrance,when we got there,proved to be futile too,’cos this was where the road was closed and the only way forward was into the car park.I have to admit the queue wasn’t too bad so we paid a fiver and went into what turned out to be a very entertaining afternoon.Sunday was the last day of the Robin Hood Festival,people were arriving in their thousands and a quick look at the What’s on pages of the tourist guide would have told me this.

Now,I was born in Nottingham not so many years ago,and I spent my formative years in the area,but,believe it or not,I had never seen the Major Oak.The reason I guess,is,it’s just one of those things that’s on your doorstep so you never get around to visiting.The Major Oak is probably the highlight of The Sherwood Forest Nature Reserve on an average day but Sunday was not an average day.The Festival was a celebration of Robin Hood with all sorts of events taking place,people dressed in medieval costume were demonstrating crafts and skills like Falconry,Archery,Alchemy,music and pottery making.The Visitor Centre has an exhibition dedicated to the history of Robin Hood as well as the ecology of Sherwood Forest,the Major Oak is a thousand years old,would you believe.The highlight of Sunday though,was the medieval jousting with Robin and some of his Merry Men pitched against the dastardly Sheriff and his motley crew.No prizes for guessing who won,and what a great day we had.

On Friday Kingfishers posted their blog and on it where the latest photographs of Chyandour,so we were able to see the progress that had been made since our visit on the previous Monday.Check out the Photo’s here if you would like to see all of them.I have pinched one or two again for this blog and they will be added to the pictures that we have taken through the week since our last blog.

We made our usual trip down to Trent Lock again this Monday so we could see the progress first hand and get updated on any details that required our attention.It is good to see how Chyandour is coming along,each visit gives us something new and this week was no exception.Our first surprise was the Tiller Pin.This was something that we have given a lot of thought too ‘cos we couldn’t find one we liked.While we were in Rye a few weeks ago,Lisa found a metal casting of a Dragonfly,and with the help of her Brother in Law,Steve,we got it made into a Tiller Pin.On one of our visits to Trent Lock we had a chat to Jan Deuchar,who lives on a narrowboat there,and is also a brilliant artist,famous for her Narrowboat Art.Click here if you would like to see some samples of her work.


There’s the finished Tiller Pin above,it’s about the size of the palm of your hand and when we bought it,it was jet black.Jan has done an excellent job.

Ok,photo’ time.Below are some of this weeks pictures taken at the places we have visited.First of all,a couple of Newark.On the left is Newark Town Lock as seen from the castle and on the right is a Dutch Style Broadbeam  as it enters the lock,with the castle in the background.

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Above left is the world famous Major Oak surrounded by a trees equivalent of a Zimmer frame.At a thousand years old who wouldn’t need a bit of support.No,that isn’t Robin of Sherwood on the right,he was pretty good with a Longbow though,he could hit all of the targets that can be seen at the top right,and gave an interesting and entertaining exhibition.

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On the left we have the world famous Sheriff of Nottingham.Here he is taunting the crowds.The right hand pic’ is Robin Hood,in the green obviously,and the Sheriff having a bit of a joust.

Now for a picture or three of Chyandour as she was on Monday

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The one on the left is the beginning of the tv shelf and corner cupboard.On the right of this will be some more shelving. Then on the right we have the dinette almost finished.Just bits of trim,the table and the cushions to fit.This converts into a double bed for guests,but most of the time serves as our dining room and underneath the seats will be more storage.

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Above is our hearth,on here will be the solid fuel stove,all of this has had to be built to conform to all the safety regulations required now days,with insulation and air gaps behind the tiles.

Our friends Janice and Dai were at Trent Lock when we got there on Monday,their boat Jandai is going into the dry dock to have her bottom blacked,her propeller replaced and the Bow Thruster repaired.Here you can see Dai manoeuvering towards the dock.It looks like he’s on the lawn.

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The right hand picture is a family of ducks,Mum showing her kids how to feed in the weed that covers this stretch of the Erewash Canal.

That’s all for this week folks.We aren’t going down to the boatyard next Monday ‘cos it’s a bank holiday,so we will be going on Thursday before we go on holiday on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal for two weeks.There will be a blog of our travels this week though.Take care.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Chopping Board.

Hi All,

This week has again seen us staying close to the caravan and not doing any sightseeing.The weather has been good so sitting outside in the sun has seemed like the best idea,and of course we have had the Olympics to enjoy.Listening to the action on the radio has enabled us to keep up to date with the events and we have been amazed at the performances from all our athletes,they have really done us proud.We did manage to get to see the closing ceremony on television though,and what an amazing spectacle that was.Not the surprises of the opening ceremony,but there were some fantastic special effects and music to enjoy.A lot of people deserve a very big thank you for what they have done over the last two weeks,and over the last seven years since we won the right to stage the Olympics.

We have been down to see Chyandour a couple of times since our last blog.The first time was on Wednesday,after getting an email from John to ask about the position of the solid fuel stove.There have been some new regulations introduced regarding the stoves and,as always with new regulations,there is extra work involved,and John wants to get the stove positioned as close as he can to our requirements.The samples of the material for the soft furnishings had arrived too,so now we can start looking at carpets to match.After we left Trent Lock we nipped over to Willington to see Janice and Dai on their narrowboat Jandai,and after a reasonably priced and well presented lunch in the tearooms in Mercia Marina,we spent a very pleasant afternoon chatting while sitting on the towpath.If you are ever in the area of Mercia Marina at any time the tearoom is well worth the visit.We tend to browse Midland Chandlers shop in the marina while we are there too.On our travels,a couple of weeks ago,we found some 4ft bedding in a shop in Mansfield and we had shown the fitted sheets to Janice,their bed is the same size as ours and 4ft bedding is not easy to get hold of at a reasonable price,she liked,so we went back to the shop and bought up all they had and shared them with Jan and Dai.

On Friday,John from Kingfishers updated their blog so we got to see some pic’s of the weeks endeavours.Things are coming along nicely,some of the shelving and cupboards are installed and the little cutlery drawer and tin cupboard has a nice feature.John has made a detachable top for it that we can use as a chopping board.We also wanted some additional shelving in the galley and we now have a tidy little set of shelves for our mugs etc.

Sunday saw us at Walton on Trent,just a mile or so from the Trent and Mersey canal,where we got the chance to see the closing ceremony.Before we settled down to watch the tv we nipped round to the local hostelry for a few pints of my favourite tipple,Marstons Pedigree,and a roast from the carvery.They have a very nice pub in Walton,called the White Swan,it’s a shame that it isn’t easily reached from the canal.The road has no footpath and is a bit narrow,but there is a new bridge over the River Trent being built so maybe that will improve the access.

We left Walton on Monday morning and after a quick visit to our storage container we went down again to Trent Lock to see Chyandour and to look at Johns handiwork in the flesh,so to speak.Everything is looking good,we took some more pictures of various bits and pieces,had a chat about the progress and the things we require for the future.We now have to order a washing machine and this is not like going into Curry’s,looking at what’s on display and saying “that one please”.Our washing machine is a bit smaller than your average household one and there aren’t many to choose from,the prices can be a bit eye watering too.We have done our research so we know what we want and where we can get it from,now is the time we get to understand the meaning of logistics.We left Trent Lock and made our way firstly to Weston Lock on the Trent and Mersey canal,where Jandai is moored.There we got one of the finest cups of tea I’ve ever tasted and had our usual chat about this and that,and then we made our way back here to the caravan before the rush hour started.

Ok,photo’time.Again,it’s not what you see that’s so different,it’s what you don’t see so enjoy.

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Here we have the cutlery drawer and tin cupboard,no doors or drawers till nearer the end of the fitting out.The top is detachable and we can use it as a chopping board.

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The place where we will keep our mugs and the tea making ingredients,nothing is more important than this,the captains tea is vital to the efficient handling of the ship,and the peace and wellbeing of the crew.

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That’s me on the left.At the moment the Erewash Canal has a covering of weed at Trent Lock and though it looks like a carpet or a lawn,it can’t be walked on.Believe me when I say that it has been tried.There are two pubs very close to here,one is only opposite where I am on my knees,so you can imagine the scenario.It’s funny stuff,it’s thousands and thousands of tiny plants floating on the water,not bound together like a mat,they are all separate but close together.The picture on the right is Weston Lock on the Trent and Mersey,just along from where Jandai was moored on Monday.You come up this lock when traveling west from Trent Lock and there is a one of the waterpoints I have mentioned in past blogs,just behind me.

Well,that’s all for now,there should be a photo’ or two this Friday on Kingfishers blog and we will be over to see Chyandour next Monday so we could have enough material for a blog next week.Take care.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Just the Trim.


We don’t have a lot to tell you in this blog ‘cos we haven’t done any sightseeing this week,instead we’ve had a relaxing time at the caravan.We had hoped to get a bit of sun but the rain has been here on most days to keep us indoors for some of the time.Some people are beginning to hope we are going to get an Indian summer this year,what do you think?,we’ve certainly earned it,as our own summer has been pretty much of a washout so far,and I thought things were on the up last week.Fortunately,the weather has given us the chance to enjoy some of the Olympics.We don’t have a telly yet ‘cos we are waiting till we are sure what size we need for Chyandour,and to be honest,we haven’t missed one.Well.I haven’t,Lisa may not quite agree with that.After the opening ceremony on Sunday,which we did get to see,we have only been able to listen to the Olympics on the Radio,and surprisingly,the coverage has been very good.Lisa got to listen to the tennis,didn’t he do well?and what about all the other athletes,aren’t they something else?Whether they have won a medal or not,there have been some exceptional  performances in all of the disciplines.Well done all of team GB, you all deserve gold.

We did take the opportunity to do some exploring a bit nearer to where we are staying in the caravan.Close to here is the Maun Valley Trail,part of which runs alongside the River Maun,on the edge of Sherwood Forest,the forest of Robin Hood fame.It’s a very pleasant walk away from the hustle and bustle of the roads around here,but we didn’t see any trace of Robin or his Merry Men.

Last Monday,and again this Monday,we have had our usual trip down to Kingfishers at Trent Lock to see how Chyandour is coming along,and again,we haven’t been disappointed.John and Mick have worked hard on her,and we took a few more pictures of what has been done.It may be difficult to see a lot of what they have achieved because they have been concentrating on the fiddly bits that all add up to make a great boat,much of which is out of sight during everyday use.A lot of the trim has been fitted with something like 200 dowels to cover the screw heads.John has been fitting the trim and things like door locks,catches and handles and sanding down.Mick has been tiling,he’s commissioned the central heating,which,I’m told,is excellent,and fitted the smartgauge.This is a useful bit of kit that helps us to understand how much power we have in our batteries.No mains electricity for us,every bit of electricity we need we have to generate ourselves and store in six 100 amp/hour leisure batteries.The engine will do a large part of the generation as we cruise,with the two alternators that are fitted,and we will have solar panels to help out when the sun is shining.The central heating is just a backup for those odd occasions when its a bit nippy first thing in the morning but not so cold that we have to have the solid fuel stove going 24/7.Our hot water comes from the calorifier which is heated mainly by the engine but the central heating can give us hot water if necessary.Our central heating runs on LPG which we also use for cooking.

Right then,here we have a photo’ or two of our boat as she was on Monday.

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Above are the bow doors open,and closed.John has done the door surrounds and fitted all the catches and locks.The space below the doors is where the steps will be and they will also be used for storage.

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The above photo’s show some more of Johns handiwork.On the left,if you look closely,you can see some of the couple of hundred or so dowels that are used to hide the heads of the screws,not finished off yet,in case you’re wondering,incidentally,John makes the dowels himself.On the right is the side door,with the surround and furniture done.This is in the galley and gives Lisa some fresh air and a nice view when slaving over the stove.

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We couldn’t go without showing some of Micks play areas.Unfortunately quite a lot of his handiwork is hidden from view.He tends to be responsible for the plumbing and electrics and has to work in the more confined spaces and I can assure you that his work is first class before it gets covered up.It has been said that I can be a bit fussy,so you can take my word for it.On the left are the electrics and the Smartgauge is the small rectangular panel to the right of the ignition key with the tag on it.Not much to look at you may think,but it will pay for itself in no time as we judge how long to run the engine to generate some electricity.The pic’ on the right is another view of the galley,this time with the tiles done and the sockets fitted.

Ok that’s all for now,we are going down to Trent Lock tomorrow,Wednesday,to have a look at the solid fuel stoves position,before John builds the hearth.If there is enough material I may do another blog this weekend.Take care everyone.