Thursday, 27 December 2007

Caught An Unusual Break

Couldn't do any more work at the house today, we were waiting for another coat of paint to dry. Does that sound like an excuse?

So, we went to TT in the afternoon and stayed overnight, it was good to get away for a bit.
There's a problem with one of the ropes at the front of the boat, Dave noticed one of the guy ropes was fraying last time we went for a pump out, so as a temporary measure he shortened it. 

Thing is, with the canal being frozen since then, the front end’s so taut and the back end so slack in comparison, there's a bit too much room for manoeuvre! I thought we were going to end up in the middle of the marina by morning...

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Christmas Day Already

We all went round to my sisters for Christmas day and had a great time. 
Being as our dining room is currently a building site with no table and chairs. It would've been a brick dust, plaster, paint and a few wood shavings Christmas menu at our house. Oh and then we'd all have had to sit on the bare floor to eat it...
We managed to contribute by cooking the turkey and a few other things in the morning, at least the cooker works. Even so, it wasn't an easy task because the darn thing was still frozen when my mum brought it over to us last night. It was supposed to be well defrosted by then! No worries, Dave "the chef extraordinaire" took control of the situation and with a minor tweak or two in the cooking instructions turned it into a success. Close call though.
Anyway it was real nice for us all to be together – doesn’t happen very often because there's too much co-ordination involved. (Think it's the same for everyone these days). We had a lovely meal, presents, party poppers, crackers, and a silly game or two amidst much hilarity – all the usual stuff…!

Monday, 24 December 2007

Christmas Eve Already

Spent the day running round like you do on this particular calendar date. Everything has to be ready, too late to catch up with anything during the following week! Some friends of ours came round for a drink, we all had a good laugh and it was real nice because we haven't see them in ages.
We feel like we have no choice but to stay at the house over Christmas. What with Liam being here, friends and family to see and visit,, it's impossible getting to the boat.
But we wouldn't want to unless they could all come with us...!

Friday, 21 December 2007

Forced Reluctantly Into Action

We finally started work on the stairs at the house today, "priming spindles" on the new staircase. Oh the excitement,, another step nearer to putting it up for sale so needs must.

With house prices plummeting we feel under pressure to get on with it, even if we are but a few days away from Christmas! Liam went on a lads night out while we were working like slaves.

We're following a design from a magazine, white painted spindles and stairwells, staining the handrail with oil, and the wood at the bottom with clear varnish. Same on the landing too. I looks very effective in the book – just hope we can achieve the same "chic" look.

Thanks to the credit crunch we figure APPEAL will be the biggest selling point these days,  
I hope the downturn doesn't have too much influence as to when we sell up and move on.

Just our luck eh? The housing market has been good and steady for years, then when we decide to get our house ready for sale all the banks decide to collapse... Stay positive and hope it picks up again next year eh? Doubtful.
Went to the boat after tea, the canal is still frozen, it probably never had chance to thaw out the weather's been so cold here. Took TT a while to warm up which makes sense when she’s been surrounded by ice, with no heating during the day (for a week). So we left the central heating on well into the night, looks like we'll have to do the same tomorrow.

There’s even more Christmas lights on the boats now, and the office across the way is lit up too,, it looks really nice...

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Welcome Home Son!

Dave's finished work now till after New Year – NICE…!
Also, our son Liam flew home from his Army base in Germany today, he’s on leave for 3 weeks over Christmas. It's been 4 months since he was last here, so it's GREAT to see him…!


Monday, 17 December 2007

Oh What A Sight

I remember being at Dave's parents years ago when the canal was frozen. Their garden literally backed onto the Staffs / Worcester at Penkridge, and it was a memorable sight.
When we woke up this morning it was hard to believe the extent and thickness of the ice across the whole marina, even under the pier. We'd saved some bread for the ducks before we left, we could see them all huddled together at the far end. So we went to the front of the boat and started throwing it onto the ice. We could see they were interested whilst at the same time apprehensive.

The brave ones set off first, and the others followed. It was so funny, some came running whilst slip sliding along all over the place. Others were brave enough to actually fly over, but those that did carried on "skating" on their bottoms for about 20 foot further than where they landed!
Meanwhile we were both crying laughing – it was so undignified, and they knew it...

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Shiver Me Timbers

Well we knew it was going to be cold, BUT NOT THIS COLD!
The canal froze around us during the night,, didn’t expect this…
We could hear a creaking / cracking noise around the boat which woke us up, this wasn't simply ducks tapping on the side - it was ice forming. Yet another new experience here.
It didn't bother us after that, I guess that's another step to the "I can live here full time" experience. I mean being surrounded by ice is ok, provided there's the boat in between it and us...!

Friday, 14 December 2007

OMG We Need A Bow Thruster!

ALSO, even a small but gusty breeze can cause havoc, it works something like this:

A crosswind causes the boat to keep on meandering, even after the wind has dropped for a few seconds. However, if it's constant then you're in trouble trying to fight it. The experts say, if you can learn to use the wind in your favour then you don't need a bow thruster. So we've still got a long way to go then, even though TT responds well from the tiller.This particular scenario has happened to us before and it happened again today when we "merrily" trundled across the marina for a pump out and fuel top up. It's easy going over there, the wind usually blows the same way, and helps us glide gracefully over to the Service Area.
BUT the trouble starts on the way back – it took us half an hour to get to the mooring to secure the boat, thanks to being blown every which way but where we wanted to go. Must've been comical to watch, dignity? What’s dignity?

Right now,, "using the wind in your favour" seems impossible, give me a bow thruster any day. Yet there's just the teeny tiny matter of cost to consider, at a mere £3500, it's asking a tad too much at the moment.

Just to make us feel worse, we've just discovered that most of the other widebeamers on the marina have them fitted when the boat’s being built – not afterwards. From experience we've come to the conclusion that it's more of a necessity than we originally thought, hmmm...

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Mrs Christmas!

Went to watch our grand-daughters school Christmas play this afternoon, she played the starring role of Mrs Santa.
Bless her, she put her heart and soul into it, (they all did). The story was called "Santa's Lost His Hat" so here's a picture of "Mrs Santa" after it had been found again!
After last rehearsal yesterday she'd had a little moan to her mum:
  • The top part of her costume was too big
  • The pants had one leg longer than the other
  • And the welly’s made her feet hot!
Oh I don’t know, the stresses and strains of being a celebrity. Ahh...

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Twinkly Lights

Today Dave and I went for the walk down the towpath, that´s the walk that never happened yesterday, because the whole family would've got frostbite. The wind's dropped a bit, but it's just as COLD, and with the towpath still being like a bog we didn't go far.
We took some photos of TT with the lights on the roof from the towpath, but they didn't come out so good because it was too dark. It never actually was light all day.
Here's one I took earlier from the back of the boat, but it doesn't look any better really, especially when it’s been taken through the back screen! {GLARE} Dave reckons they must be visible from the moon, (but I can't confirm that). However they look awesome at night and we´ve had some really nice comments about them.
They're in a "V" shape from front to back...

We’ve also got some nice LED lights for inside TT as well. The fancy Christmas lights that used to adorn our bay window (at the house), are now hanging from inside the doors at the front of the boat. And we bought some new ones for under the gunnels, very pretty.

It’s much more fun dressing up a boat than a house for Christmas,, and less hassle…!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

A Family Visit In Terrible Weather Conditions

Dave got up early, the wind was howling, the rain was pouring, and there he was, on the roof putting Christmas lights up. Such determination, (round of applause), it really is the most horrible day so far this year which is saying something of late.
Just typical when six members of my family were coming to visit, two of them have never seen TT before. Clearly not the best situation where good first impressions are concerned, amidst what appeared to be a hurricane!We'd arranged this get-together a couple of weeks ago, the idea was for them to come to the boat for a brew. Then for us all to go for a walk along the towpath. Afterwards, we´d go to the marina cafe for a free meal because mum and dad were picking up the tab. So Dave said he was going to order the biggest steak on the menu…
Anyway, thanks to the weather things didn't quite go to plan. Towards the end of the week we'd already abandoned the idea of a walk down the towpath. We’d watched the horrendous forecast on TV. Plus the fact that the snow had turned to sludge didn’t help.
Everyone came here to the boat first, then we all struggled just to walk over to the marina cafe / restaurant, for the Christmas meal we’d booked. It was really nice, but I don't usually have very much for lunch, so it was a bit too much for me.
Honestly though, walking over there (and back) the wind was almost enough to knock you off your feet. I literally had to hold my forehead because the accompanying rain was icy cold and caused real pain... YES I KNOW I SHOULD'VE WORN A HAT!!!
Even so, come rain, hail, sleet or snow, that cafe means a lot to us. It’s where Dave and me used to go and sit outside in summer, after a walk along the towpath. It's also where we first noticed the sign in TT's window...!

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Christmas Decorations Where?

We brought 3 sets of lights with us to put up both in and on top of the boat this weekend, but it was way too windy to be faffing about on the roof. So we gave up with the idea for now.

Thing is, this year we've decided not to put any decorations up at the house, (scrooge comes to mind). No it's not that, it's a few things rolled into one really. We can´t do the entertaining at our house this year because there´s no table and chairs! With the place being in such a mess, it's a year free from being responsible for the traditional feast for us... (Phew).

Another reason for no decorations at the house is that they don't exactly mix and match very well with bare walls and floors. Yet even so, in an effort to stay festive I HAVE allowed Christmas card holders.

And last on the list is attempting to get on with some work there, it's been the least of our priority's since we bought TT, but it's going to have to be up top soon...
So the whole family is going to my sisters on Christmas day. She only lives just down the road from our house. Y
et somehow, even though we’re at the boat we still seem to have got stuck with cooking the turkey. Got stuffed good and proper there didn't we...?
However, we WILL be tastefully decorating the boat in STYLE! Even if we won't be there on the day...

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Looks Like A Busy December Ahead

The beginning of December already, I can’t believe it’s come round so quickly – probably got something to do with all the work we’ve been doing at the house AND the boat.
It'll certainly be different for us this year, because we'll be able to get away to the boat. That’s in between running round seeing folks, and trying to do some more jobs at the house while Dave's off work. Then again, having just done a re-assessment of all that lot, maybe we won't get chance to visit TT much over Christmas at all…!Dave did some insulation around the front doors of the boat today (in the bedroom) whilst I stained the wood that surrounds them mahogany, to match the doors themselves. There's nothing else mahogany on the boat, so it looks really effective as a contrast.
The weather's awful again, this will be really testing to see if we can “hack it” over winter.
Without a multi fuel stove, we have to rely on the central heating…