Thursday, 30 September 2010

Boats, Gin and Oatcakes

We are just back from our week on Jemima D. The boat feels so much nicer to use with her snug dry new top, and she performed flawlessly throughout the week, despite her elderly little engine being scheduled for a thorough overhaul and rebuild. Life on a narrowboat, watching the world go by at three miles per hour, with pauses to work through locks, is a great stress-buster.. We found a handy canal-side damson tree. We put Jemima's bow into the bank and filled a bucket with ripe fruits to take home for damson gin making.

As nearly all of our boating was on the glorious Caldon Canal, we were in North Staffordshire for the week - homeland of the scandously over-looked Staffordshire Oatcake. These divinely-inspired creations, rolled up with fillings such as bacon, cheese, eggs or balck pudding are the ideal boater's breakfast. Recipe here.

Staffordshire is a lovely county, and I would urge UK "staycationers" to go and check out its waterways and scenery. There's lot more to the place than Alton Towers and The Potteries.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


We've spent many happy times on Jemima D. Jemima is an elderly narrowboat that would have been the pride of a holiday boat hire fleet forty years ago. Now, she is owned by a 12 member co-operative, and provides a great low-cost way to boat. I left the co-op with much regret when I became unemployed and needed to cut my outgoings. However, I remain friendly with the co-op, and we've been invited to join a member for a week's boating starting this weekend. We can look forward to a leisurely potter about through Cheshire and Staffordshire about the trusty rusty craft. The trip will take us through the 2926 yards of the Harecastle Tunnel. We'll hope, as we always do, that Kit Crewbucket is resting easy as we pass through. So far, the worst I've suffered in Harecastle is a few rusty stains on my boating hat caused by the drips that fall from the tunnel roof. It takes the best part of an hour to boat through the tunnel - it's a weird experience.

We're picking the boat up in or near Macclesfield, and we'll head south onto the Trent and Mersey Canal, through Harecastle, and onto the Caldon Canal. A nice varied stretch to boat on, and in reach of a good few of our boaty friends. It's been too long, I'm looking forward swinging a windlass at a canal lock again.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Another Viral Straw in the Wind

An interesting little story reported by the BBC today - link here

The story was given a quite positive spin on the BBC Radio 4 Today prog. today - it mentioned that disbelief was a common problem for ME sufferers, and that therefore a finding suggesting a viral cause for ME was a positive step for the morale of sufferers, let alone the prospect of a cure.