Pop the champagne corks

It’s felt a little like waiting for the baby to be born today. Anxiety and excitement do not make for a peaceful nights sleep. Today we had our wiring inspected by Sandra the marine electrician and ….. Big drum roll please…… We are pleased to announce that we passed with flying (cruising) colours. And I can’t tell you what a relief that was.

The standard of Eric’s wiring skills has never been in doubt. Wiring a bespoke electric boat, that doesn’t come with an instruction manual but several sets of standards that sometimes require “a little interpretation” and a lot common sense, was a complete unknown.

We haven’t received the actual certificate yet but we’re happily celebrating, secure in the knowledge that not only did we pass but Sandra was extremely complementary about Eric’s workmanship. There are a few more bits and bobs at Braidbar to do before we can get our licence but hopefully that shouldn’t take too long.



Bluebell Woods

I knew I’d find a bluebell wood somewhere around here, it was only a matter of finding the right footpath.

My aim was to walk to Poynton Pool, an ornamental lake, built in the 18th century by Lord Vernon who owned all the coal mines in this area.

And this meant me using another of the many footpaths and I discovered Princes Wood and incline and Rabbit Burro Farm. (The inclines being the tramways and rail tracks that brought goods too and from the canals.)

The Lake was lovely,

But I think I found Bluebell Heaven

Essential repairs

A several weeks ago we realised we had a leaking diesel tank. Luckily it was right at the top so was only a problem when we filled up the tank, and then even more luckily the diesel spilt over into our inspection hatch rather than into the canal so we were able to skim it off before it caused any significant pollution. As soon as we let Braidbar know, they liaised with Tim the hull builder to come out and fix it. Today we’re back in the yard and Tim has worked his magic. No more leaking diesel.

We’ll spend the night in the yard guarded on each side by Blue Pearl and Elizabeth Anne, Jo and Lawrence’s boats. It’s a bit of an odd sensation because they are still bare hulls so they tower above us.


Buxton Spring Fair

Buxton is a beautiful Spa Town,

the spring water is cool, fresh and freely available from St Annes shrine and has been enjoyed by visitors for centuries, the Romans took advantage and built a thermal bath, the Georgians built the crescent, the Victorians built the pavilion gardens.

And in 1903 the opera house was opened  It’s the highest market town in England and I think it deserves its popularity.

(amendment I received this information from John one of our followers “….For the sake of completeness I would like to mention that Alston in Cumbria also claims to be the highest market town in England. Having checked the Ordnance Survey it seems that various parts of both towns range from 960 to 1040 feet. ”  Thankyou John

On May Day it hosts a spring fair where the whole of the centre is lined with a veritable feast, of food,drink, arts, crafts and entertainments.

And lots and lots of people. The day started of in true bank holiday style with grey clouds and showers but the sunshine battled it’s way through and the atmosphere was carefree and happy.

In my opinion Buxton only has one failing, it doesn’t have a canal. However it does have a trainline that roughly follows the Peak Forest canal

What a waste

But we won’t make this mistake again. Firecrest sits quite deep in the water and we’re finding it hard to tuck in for oncoming boats because we’re running aground and tilting more than we’d like. It’s frustrating for both us and the oncoming boat because we are trying desperately hard to be considerate boaters. Today however, despite slowing right down, the unseen roots and rocks on the offside bank caused us to bump boats and as we rocked I heard an almighty crash and oh no, there goes the bottle of wine I’d bought for tonight’s dinner.

The moral of this is if you must drink red wine, don’t leave it on the worktop, put it safely away if you’re cruising.

Perhaps the heron in today’s photo has the right idea, when Firecrest is on the move its safer to watch the world go by from an elevated roost. I know herons nest in trees but we’d never seen one perched above us like this before.


Wonderful Wonderwool

Last weekend Heather and I got in the car and drove to Wales for the wonderful Wonderwool festival. Two days of self indulgence where 200 mainly independant fibre and yarn producers exhibit their wares to 1000’s of happy yarnies like us who can’t resist 1 or 2 or 3 ….. (Bagfuls) to feed our creative dreams. I reckon a lot of purchases don’t ever become a completed project, and remain as stash although as everyone knows wool makes excellent insulation so should be encouraged not frowned upon.

We browsed

And drooled

And oooed

And arred (angora bunnies)

And smiled (I think these are the mohair goats)

And yes we brought home a few goodies


And we took two mini classes, one with Jenny Barnet who showed us how to make a needle felted lamb and the other to make some dyed yarn using food colourings.

It was a great weekend and of all the fibre festivals we’ve visited over the past few years, this one was possibly the best. There are a few more around the country that we shall visit in time but for now we have work to do.


One of my joys is having the time to take advantage of these beautiful surroundings. Last week I turned off the canal and took a footpath through the woods, and oh what a mystical and magical place. A hidden woodland stream surrounded by bluebells and wild garlic. Now when we were in Bolligton for the market we saw a stall selling wild garlic preserves, chutney and pesto, hum I think to myself there’s enough garlic here that I could take a bagful of leaves home without damaging the natural growth or spoiling it for anyone else.

So yesterday I took a carrier bag with me and helped myself to a bag full of garlic leaves. And tomorrow I shall buy some pine nuts and make wild garlic pesto. Mmmm yummy.

I resisted picking a bunch of bluebells because I know they don’t last indoors and bluebells in woodland ought to be classed as a national treasure for all to enjoy.

Whatever the weather

We’ve had a whole years worth of weather today, and it all started when I got up to make an early morning cuppa and saw there was ethereal  mist rising from the canal so I threw on some clothes and rushed outside to take photos.

And then again this evening after tea, whilst I was sheltering inside from the snowstorm I realised the light had changed and there was a complete rainbow outside the boat, it even had a reflection.

We’ve had,warm sun, followed by rain, snow and gales during the day but I wasn’t venturing out to capture any of that for you.


Oh I do love to be beside the seaside

I’m back in Suffolk for a few days while Eric stays on the boat ploughing on with the wiring, he assures me it’s almost complete. What do I miss most about this beautiful part of the country? My friends, the seaside and gardening, so I have enjoyed two glorious days.

It wasn’t quite bikini weather, more like keep the thermals on, but it was sunny. Aldeburgh was beautiful as always. The sea is brown and murky from the North Sea shipping lanes but the pebbles were crunchy underfoot and the Victorian houses desirable and unaffordable. Of course not that I took much notice, I was too busy catching up and eating cake with my best friend.

I don’t miss going to work these days but I did have some amazing colleagues, who will always remain friends whether we’re on the same pay roll or not. My visit coincided with their team-meeting lunch out so I was included. And I think they chose the Maybush at Waldringfield deliberately for me thinking I might arrive by boat, sadly Firecrest isn’t really suited to the Deben Estury 

After all that good food and company I did get out for an afternoons gardening although Heather is doing a great job without my help.

Two days just isn’t long enough to do all the things I want to do and see the people I miss. Although I hope I won’t feel the need to give Eric space to work on the boat again, there will be a next time. And to quote Arnie…..”I’ll be back…..”


An exciting day

Especially for Lawrence, one of our Braidbar friends as his boat Elizabeth Ann was launched today.

Lovely looking boat, Lawrence, some great design features, an exciting few months ahead as the Braidbar team work their magic. Thanks for asking us to share your special day. It bought back happy memories of our launch.