Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Meanwhile back on QISMA ...

One of my occasional spooky days yesterday.

I'd disembarked to go to Midhurst to mind Max and Oscar for my friend Marion. Not sure if Max would be as welcoming as usual as I wasn't bringing his mate - LJ that is, though knew Oscar de la Rente, the cat, wouldn't object.

Marion met me at Chichester station. Had a mooch round Chi. Drove back to Midhurst, lovely cuppa and home,made jam tarts, walked Max. Pottering around about 1845 when I got a text from my friend Karen, who I don't see nearly often enough, to say she was in the pub in Singleton where we'd gone to celebrate my 50th with Graham, her Dad and Rollo, the chocolate lab. Marion lived in the village until last year.

They had to drive past the end of Marion's street to get home so she immediately said call in for a coffee.

We were very quickly off the mark with subjects ranging  to the fashion for tomotoes in hanging baskets. Karen's Dad, Norman, who is fant attic AND a Yorkshire man, tells us 'they are all the rage'.

I was telling the story of my early retirement and Karen remembered that after a lifetime of being a MOD 'warrior' or faceless bureaucrat who ruined the lives of service personnel, whichever corner you are in, that I finished my career at the Ministry of Justice. She asked me if I'd ever come across one particular person, chances seemed slim but  no, not only did I know her, I'd must been talking about her, without naming names and she was a close colleague. Now moved on to MOD and is Karen's boss.

Meanwhile, back on QISMA, Alistair went down to the Marina at Cowroast, fuelled etc and bought, what he hoped, would be replacement glass for the cracked glass in our much loved headlamp. I have to say I was a tad nervous but ....

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Moving day

We were still debating moving up to the summit today when, just as the rain started to ease, a hire boat came along, complete with volunteer lock keeper. We were out onto the tow path like, well like a very very quick thing and off we went.

What a lovely team to share locks with. Dad,  Mum and two under 10s on their fourth boating holiday.  At the second lock we met a single handed coming down so lost Keith, the co,integer lock keeper  but it didn't matter. Shame I didn't get chance to tell him I saw a terrier cocking his leg on what may have been Keith's lunch!

It is so quiet here that it's hard to believe it's a Bank Holiday weekend.

Up safely and off to Tring. Alistair and LJ will sit here until Friday whilst I go off to see some friends. I did the 5 minute trip by train into Berkhamstead to stock up before I depart on Monday. We reckon nearly 3 hours by boat!

As we came along we saw a couple of convoys. Followed one with a second following us. Only one boat in each with an engine working. We reckon it's keep the enforcement team off our backs day.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Ladies who lunch

Ladies who lunch is the QISMA expression for boaters who don't come off the boat to work the locks. We adopted the phrase after following, in teaming rain, what we thought was a single hander up the Stratford Canal last year.  I may have told the story before, if so, sorry!

We pulled off a mooring behind this chap, with a lock ahead I walked up. He stayed onboard and let me work it for him. I don't notice anyone else on his boat but my head was down and I was busy. Off he goes, I empty the lock, we go in etc etc. get to the next lock and he's waiting for me. Bit of a cheek but ... up I go. Then I spot her. Wifey sitting nice and snug inside playing Sudoko. The look on my face must have given the game away. 'Oh' says he' 'my wife is having her lunch'. Undaunted, off he goes to the next lock and YES, he waits for me. Waited in vain. I got onboard QISMA, told the Captain to pull over and put a clear lock's distance between us.

If he'd said she had a bad back, or was feeling crook, whatever, but having her lunch!!

We saw them again near the Hatton Flight, fortunately we were teamed up with our friends

I am very nearly at the point ...  Our paths crossed today! Fortunately going in opposite directions! 

They remain second on my list of boats never to share a lock with. 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013


Sunshine and boating and a long walk along the tow path. What could be better? Milton Keynes is ideal for this as a cycle path runs alongside the towpath for several miles. Screened by a hedge it means the towpath is perfect for walking. Not sure the cyclists get to see as much of the canal as they might like. How PC of me to think of that!

AND we've been really adventurous and found a new mooring for tonight.