Happy New Year!
I found this on Facebook today, and it’s dedicated to all of you out there who have had to say goodbye to much loved pets this year. You know who you are….
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
AT RAINBOW BRIDGE
T'was the night before Christmas, at Rainbow Bridge too.
We Bridge kids were thinking as always of you.
We'd seen how the holidays weren't bright this year,
Heard you whisper so often, "I wish you were here!"
We know how you wish you could just stay in bed
And sleep through the holiday lying ahead,
When all celebrate with their loved ones so near...
Unless they have loved ones on this side this year.
But we're no less alive here, on the other side.
If you could just see us, you would've laughed and not cried.
The dogs all in harness, pulling the sleigh.
The cats all in Santa hats pointing the way.
The pet birds all flying back over the rainbow,
Bound homeward in spite of Earth's darkness and snow.
All the pets that you've lost, pets for whom you've cried,
Flying home on this Christmas to be by your side.
If you feel warm fur brush you when no pet's around,
Hear a soft bark or purr, just a ghost of a sound,
We're trying to tell you we're visiting this way,
And our visits, even rainbows, can be on any day.
But for Christmas we have something special to do,
A sleigh full of happy dream visits for you.
On doggy, on kitty, on winged friend and ferret!
The love that you lavished, we mean now to share it!
We're fetching that love home, the way we once played,
With the closeness we shared and the memories we made.
Our Earth lives with you were too short for us, too,
And on this Christmas Eve we have so much to do.
So all through this night as you sleep in your beds,
Sweet visions of fur babies dance in your heads.
This one special night we can bring you Home for a while,
Your true home in Heaven, where again you will smile.
Over the rainbow you'll fly, for a short while this night,
Hours that you'll be happy, hours that will feel right,
Hours to cuddle and hug us, to run and to play,
Before the return to Earth in our magic way.
And when you awaken and face Christmas Day,
We pray you'll remember your trip on our sleigh,
But in case you forget, just remember our love.
Remember us watching you, your angels above.
Sending love wrapped in rainbows, shining and bright,
Love that will guide you through the darkest night,
Love found in each memory unwrapped through the year,
Replacing dark sorrows with Christmas cheer.
Leave the toys to St. Nick, we Bridge kids bring dreams,
Sweet visits to remind you all is not as it seems
When you look all around you with tired Earthly eyes.
If you saw as we do, there'd be joy and surprise.
There are fur angels waiting by those Christmas trees,
Always there for you and hearing your pleas.
We're never more than a thought away from your home,
You're never forgotten, you're never alone.
Nor are we alone here, with our Rainbow Bridge friends.
We know only joy here, the celebrating never ends,
And after our reunions with you Christmas Eve,
We Bridge kids will party like you'd never believe.
But we'll slip away often to be by your side.
Sitting there watching you, eyes open wide,
Praying you'll be able to catch a glimpse of us, too.
But whether or not you see us - Merry Christmas to you!
Cindy Morgan (2007)
This is just to let our readers know that we are still alive and kicking! Some of you will already know that we have once again had to move from our rented house, our landlords deciding that they had to sell the house, after assuring us when we took the tenancy in April that we would be able to stay there long term. As you can imagine we were not happy! Having got really fed up with paying other sod’s mortgages, but being unable to pay one of our own without selling the boat, we decided that we would buy a static mobile home to live in when we aren’t boating. So, we are now the proud owners of a ‘landlocked widebeam’ at Overstone Lakes Park just north east of Northampton. At least we won’t be given notice when we’ve been here six months! We have once again had to sell all our furniture as our new home has fully fitted furniture. All we have kept is the washing machine and tumble dryer which will live in a shed, and my grannie’s old blanket chest! We are now moved in and have found homes for the majority of our ‘stuff’, some of which is in my Mum’s loft.
We haven’t forgotten about boating, and just to prove it, Rog found this in a wonderful local ‘Emporium’ and had to have it.
The focus isn’t wonderful, so in case you can’t make it out, it’s called T’owd Navigation, and has an old boatman and his boat on the label.
Never fear, we will be back boating in the spring.
P.S Ozzy is doing well and doesn’t seem to miss his left eye at all.
Ozzy is home from hospital! Apart from looking like a car crash he seems to be fine. He HATES his ‘lampshade’ and is spending most of his time time trying to get out of it. His wound is very swollen but will go down over the next few days, and when his hair grows back he’ll look much better. Here he is giving me evils because I won’t take it off!
Some of our regular readers who are on Facebook will already know that Ozzy has had a problem, but for those of you who don’t, I’ll start at the beginning.
On Thursday last, Ozzy didn’t seem quite his normal self and it was obvious his mouth was hurting as he squealed when he tried to pick up toys and dropped them again quickly. When he woke after his morning nap his left eye was slightly swollen. We took him to the vets, and after a thorough examination it was decided that he had a conjunctivitis type infection and a sore mouth due to teething. We went home with painkillers/anti inflammatory tablets and eye drops. On Friday morning his eye looked a lot better and he was back in normal ‘cockerdile’ puppy mode. Saturday saw a downward turn again, but his eye still didn’t look any worse. Sunday morning arrived and it was immediately evident that another trip to the vet was required as his eye had swollen up considerably overnight, so we cancelled our plan to meet up with the crews or nb Yarwood and nb Matilda Rose, and off we went to the vets. After tests to check the pressure in his eye, he was referred to the Willows Veterinary Hospital in Solihull, and the afternoon saw us driving up the motorway to keep a 4pm appointment. He was seen by a wonderful lady specialist called Christine, and before too long she had examined him and given him an ultrasound scan. The verdict was dismal! His eye was already damaged beyond repair, and his retina detached. There was also a huge amount of infection. He was kept there overnight, and given large doses of antibiotics, but this morning he was worse so they went ahead and operated to remove his eye and drain the infection. They discovered a nasty barbed grass seed which had penetrated the roof of his mouth behind his last molar and gone up into his eye! He is now recovering from his op and, all being well, we will be able to collect him and bring him home tomorrow.
Obviously, we are shocked and devastated by all this, but we do know that he will do perfectly well with just one eye, and he will be all the more special to us because of it. The one bright spot in all this is that it isn’t glaucoma, where he would have lost the eye anyway and the other would have been at risk in the near future. He has been such a brave little boy, given how much pain he must have been in!
We aren’t sure how much more dog-related trauma we can take, so we hope that he will be healthy in the future. Our last 2 Golden Retrievers were been really unlucky in regard to their health. We were hoping that in having a change of breed we would be ‘third time lucky’…obviously not.
Our friends Shirl and Andy came to visit on Saturday, so we took them out on the boat for a trip to Bugbrooke, lunch in the Wharf pub, and a trip back again. A lovely day was had by all, with much chat as we caught up with each others doings over the past year or so since we had last got together.
It was also Ozzy’s first trip to a pub, so armed with cow’s ear chews we sat and had lunch in the pub garden. Ozzy behaved well, apart from occasionally trying to cut us all off at the ankles as he got tangled in his lead while under the table! He slept for a time back on the boat, having squeezed himself under the back steps, but soon wanted to come back out with us.
Andy and Ozzy
The rest of us!
Having had his second jab and now being safe from all the nasties, Ozzy had his first proper walk this morning. Of course, it had to be a canal walk! We took him to the locks on the GU Northampton Arm as we knew it would be quiet, with very few people or dogs. We wanted to let him off the lead for a while, as I am a firm believer that if you let them off while they are still tiny, they won’t go far as they are afraid of loosing you – it worked with Cassie so hopefully it will work with Ozzy. He had a lovely time, and was very good, both on and off the lead. We only walked a short way as he’s still very little and easily tired. We stopped by the top lock for a little while as there was a boat about go down, just so he would see and hear the lock working. He wasn’t bothered – ignored it mostly!
Sorry that the photos aren’t up to much, he doesn’t stay still long enough to take a decent one!
The cottage at the top lock is being renovated and extended – and a superb job they are making of it too – it’s going to be lovely!
A couple of days ago we took Ozzy over to the marina to introduce him to Windsong. After letting him explore the boat and have a good old sniff around Rog started the engine. Ozzy pricked up his ears, but didn’t seem bothered so we just let him run about a bit more and then came home again (we had put the kettle on, but we had a failure on the coffee front as there wasn’t any left! Whoops – my fault)
This morning we decided to take the boat out for a little while and give Ozzy a taste of boating. I put the kettle on as soon as we arrived (I’d remembered to bring more coffee!) as we only planned to be out for half an hour or so. We still can’t put Ozzy on the ground where other dogs might have been as he hasn’t had his second jab yet, so we couldn’t be too long as he needs to pee very often (in any event he decided to christen the galley floor before I managed to get the newspaper down!)
I tried sitting with Ozzy on my lap on the side locker, but he was too wriggly and couldn’t see anything, so I put him in his bed on the hatch, put a lead on him and stood beside him. We had a bit of stress induced panting and yawning for a few minutes, but soon settled down, so all in all a successful introduction to boating for our new crew member. The photos tell the story!
Not sure I like this, Mum!
Ok, maybe it’s not so bad
Getting used to it now
Where are we going then?
Ok, bored now!
Meet Ozzy – our new addition!! He’s a blue roan Cocker Spaniel, 11 weeks old and he came home today! I’m now exhausted, I’d forgotten what it was like to have a new baby in the house!
Taken last Tuesday when we went to meet him at the breeder’s
Kill the pony!!!
A quick 3 hours this morning saw us pulling into Gayton Marina – we were lucky with the weather, it was raining slightly when we set off, but soon stopped. We spotted fellow bloggers nb No Problem moored at Bugbrook and stopped for a hug and a quick chat – Sue and Vic know how we are feeling as they lost their beloved collie Lucy just a few months back.
So here endeth our curtailed 2012 cruise – we need to get back on an even keel, then, to mis-quote Arnie, “we’ll be back”!!!
8.1 miles and 0 locks
Today we had a very pleasant day, weather-wise. We awoke to a blue sky and sunshine. We set off for Braunston, stopped for water at the Stop-house and indulged in our favourite brunch from the Gongoozlers Rest. As usual the bottom lock at Braunston was a right buggar’s muddle – boats all over the place. We were 5th in the queue and subsequently ended up as ‘Billy-no-mates’ as we ascended the 6 wide locks alone! Braunston tunnel came next, and, for once, we met no boats coming the other way. At Buckby Wharf, we debated whether we should call it a day and go to the pub, but there was a boat in the top lock awaiting our arrival, so we decided to make the most of having someone to share with, and go down. We are moored now not far short of Weedon Bec, with about three and a half hours cruising to Gayton Marina, and home. It’s raining now, but if it’s raining in the morning at least we have no more locks to do.
Yesterday evening we had a very heavy and prolonged rain shower, but were rewarded later with a lovely rainbow, a full one stretching right across the sky, and double for a time. I’ll leave you with a photo – not of the whole rainbow as we were too close, but half of it. It’s a week now since we lost Cassie, and we are beginning to recover our equilibrium, but it would be nice to think that Cassie sent the rainbow especially for us!
12 miles and 13 locks
Tues 10th July, Just before Atherstone Locks to Hawkesbury Junction.
Managed to do Atherstone Locks in the dry yesterday, but as soon as we finished them it started to rain, and rained steadily on and off for the rest of the day. We moored at Hawkesbury, above the stop lock, on the North Oxford.
14.6 miles and 12 locks
Wed 11th July, North Oxford Canal. Hawkesbury Junction to Barby Wood Farm (Bridge 78). Another day of sunshine and showers, some prolonged and very heavy. Moored now in the sunshine.
18 miles and 3 locks
Sun 8th July. Shugborough to Fradley Junction
12.3 miles and 4 locks
Mon 9th July. Coventry Canal. Fradley Junction to Bridge 50 (15 mins from the bottom of the 11 Atherston Locks)
The only thing of note to happen today is that it hasn’t rained – yet!!!!!
17.6 miles and 2 locks
We decided yesterday that we hadn’t the heart to continue on this journey, so after a horrendous day yesterday, the weather matching our mood, when it dawned dry and clear this morning, we left Aston Marina and set off for home. There won’t be many blogs over the next week or so, unless something worth writing about occurs, so this one consists mostly of photos of the flooded conditions we encountered today. We are moored below Haywood Lock for the night, opposite Shugborough Hall, and as I write this, it has begun to rain again.
Last night in the marina – the water rose about 6 inches yesterday. Only another couple of inches and the pontoons would have been under water!
Nb Potty Bucket, moored a few slips along from us, with a huge list on before her ropes were loosened!
The Trent, which runs alongside the canal – usually not much more than a wide stream
Flooded fields each side of the river
Flood water pouring from the fields into the canal
The river at Weston – more like a lake!
The two photos above are taken from Essex Bridge at Shugborough
Haywood Junction in the sunshine
8.5 miles and 4 locks
It is with great sorrow that I write this blog. Yesterday afternoon, while I was writing yesterday’s blog, Cassie snuck off the boat onto the pontoon, wandered along it to the gate, and somehow fell in the water. We don’t know how she came to fall, but we suspect that she may have had a fit. She was fished out fairly quickly, but her breathing was very laboured and a very kind family loaded her into the back of their estate car and took us to the local vet. She was put on oxygen to try to help her breathing, but she deteriorated very quickly. When it became obvious that she wasn’t going to recover, the vet suggested that the kindest thing was to put an end to her suffering, which we did.
So rest in peace our gorgeous girl. You’ve crossed the rainbow bridge to doggie heaven where there are lots of feet to sit on and legs to lean against, and every narrowboat bow has someone on it to give you a treat.
Trent and Mersey, Weston-on-Trent to Aston Marina
Having got soaked yet again yesterday morning, and having seen the weather forecast for the next few days we decided that enough was enough and pulled into Aston Marina for a few days. I’ve used the laundry here to wash and dry bedding and towels – we have a washing machine and a dryer on board, but the dryer is a small one and although it will do towels, it takes ages as it’s a condenser dryer, and it’s a bit too small to dry a king size duvet cover, so it’s always nice to take the opportunity to use a big washer and dryer. We sat out the rain yesterday afternoon, and this morning we got a taxi into Stone to do a bit of shopping. Tomorrow is set to be very wet indeed, according to the forecast – the heaviest rain is due to be in Staffordshire! Ironically enough, today has been dry, with sunshine and cloud, but very humid.
Aston Marina is quite large. it has a Farm Shop and Bistro, and all the normal amenities. The staff are very friendly, and at £10 a night, it’s not too pricey, as marinas go.
A new development of canal-side cottages at Weston, very sympathetically designed, we thought
All four above pictures are Aston Marina
6.25 miles and 2 locks
Trent & Mersey, n of Rugeley to Weston-on-Trent
It was still very dull and damp when we set off this morning. We were soon queuing at Colwich Lock, but only 2 boats in front of us, so not so bad. After Colwich we were in the run up to Hayward Junction, passing Shugborough Hall. We spotted fellow bloggers nb Piston Broke, moored at Little Hayward. We gave them a toot but nobody appeared.
We continued on to Hayward Junction and stopped to fill with water, empty cassettes and try and get a new drive belt for the engine as the Anglo Welsh yard there are Isuzu dealers. No luck, but they said if we phoned them a couple of weeks before our return journey they would order one in and keep it for us. While hanging around waiting for them to look for the belt I spotted Beacon’s No 5 boat, Goldcar Lily, possibly waiting for an engine service or some-such.
Again Joyce and Derek were nowhere to be found – shame, it would have been nice to see them again. We set off again, under a darkening sky and decided that we’d moor up when we found a suitable spot. Passing Great Hayward Marina, we spotted another Beacon boat there, but couldn’t see the stern to find out which it was, but it was in Beacon’s unmistakable livery of black, red and cream, as are we. It had to be either No 4, Ethelron, No 7, Seventh Heaven or No 10 Singing Hinny, as they are the only 3 in original Beacon livery that we don’t know the whereabouts of.
We found a nice little visitor mooring between Hoo MIll Lock and Weston Lock. Nice and quiet and with only room for a couple of boats - just as we like it, and got tied up before the rain arrived. We’ve had showers most of the afternoon, but not nearly as bad as yesterday.
Tonight’s mooring, and the view
4.25 miles and 3 locks
Trent and Mersey, Handsacre to north of Rugeley
Not a lot to say about today really, apart from it’s bloody raining again! Getting fed up with it now. We left Handsacre this morning, made a quick stop at the Morrison’s in Rugeley, and then continued on a while to a mooring we have stopped at before, near Wolsey.
5.2 miles and 0 locks
Hopwas, Coventry Canal to Handsacre, Trent and Mersey Canal
This morning we left Hopwas after saying farewell to a fellow blogger on nb Kanbedun Again. We had a long chat yesterday evening, but it was only after we’d parted that I realised that I didn’t ask her name! A lovely boat and a very brave lady single-handing around the country!
The plan was to moor at Fradley Junction, and we hoped we’d find a spot as we had worked out that we’d be there by lunchtime. We spotted Beacon’s No 14 boat, nb Post Combustion moored a Huddlesford and gave them a toot and a wave. The couple who own her came to have a look at Windsong and Serenity when we were moored at Bradford on Avon in 2010, when they were considering Beacon as their boat fitter – obviously they were impressed as Post Combustion is the result.
We spotted a new Marina being dug just north of Huddlesford, and before Streethay Wharf – it could do with one around there as there isn’t much mooring to be had.
New marina site
Streethay Wharf – always busy even on a Sunday
We have a lot of boating history around this part of the world and it’s always nostalgic for us to come this way, although not always in a good way. We were towed to Streethay Wharf once in our old boat ‘Teasel’ after the engine conked out – the lads at Streethay took it out and sent it to Derby for a re-build – it wasn’t much better afterwards!
Soon after Streethay we arrived at Fradley and there wasn’t a spot to be had! We were disappointed as we’d hoped to have Sunday Lunch in The Swan. This is the first time we’ve EVER had to sail on by! Mind you, we always try to arrive about Friday lunchtime and stay the weekend.
Fradley and The Swan
We turned to port at the junction onto the Trent and Mersey, and continued up the two locks, hoping to squeeze in on the moorings at the top – again no luck. We did spot our old Ownerships share boat at the top though – nb Kinver.
I think Fradley is her permanent mooring as we’ve seen her here before.
We continued on. And on. And on. We eventually managed to find a mooring at Handsacre. There is a chippy here, but again we are unlucky as it’s closed on Sundays. It’s been one of those days! Cold too, in the wind, with grey cloud and no sunshine until now. We can’t believe that it’s the 1st July today and we were huddled up on the back with jumpers and fleeces on!
12.4 miles and 3 locks