I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Brittany - May 2018 (Part four)

Wednesday 16th May

Benodet was our destination for today.  Penny and Jim had had a holiday near there 38 years ago and Penny wanted to go back there for old times sake - what she found was that a lot has changed in 38 years!!! 

We went down a road that had the most amazing rhododendrons on either side - my photo doesn’t really do it justice.

It was lunchtime when we arrived in Benodet and we found a nice restaurant to eat in.  We then went for a walk along the sea front (no dogs allowed on the beach).  

This is the Hotel Ker Vennaik which we thought looks a bit like a ship from the back!

I love lighthouses and saw this one on the opposite shore and managed to zoom in on it.

Sainte-Marine on the other side of the River Odet and where a passenger ferry runs from there to Benodet.

Thursday 17th May

We had a quiet day on Thursday.  I was still feeling rough with my cough and Jim had rather been overdoing things and needed a day of rest - hooray!!

In the afternoon Richard and I went to Kerplunk (oops sorry Tregunc) to try out the supermarket there and were disappointed with what we found.  It was a rather old Casino - I think we will stick to Intermarche.  We tried the swimming pool out on our return to the site.  The indoor one was like a bath and much too warm for a lovely hot day so we gave the outdoor one a go, which was lovely.  There are some slides and a flume (which we didn’t try!) but I have to admit, did look inviting.  It was so nice not having to share the pool with hoards of children - there was just one and she only played at the edge.

In the evening Penny said that she would go and get pizzas from Nevez, however it was closed so she went on to the Intermarche and bought ready to cook ones for the men and we had ours from the site take-away.  Cooking four pizzas would have taken ages in the caravan and Penny’s chalet doesn’t have an oven.  Richard and Jim both like really hot pizzas and the take-away menu didn’t have anything hot on it so some pepperoni and jalapeños on supermarket pizzas and they were quite happy.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Brittany - May 2018 (Part three)

Tuesday 15th May

Tuesday we went off to Pont Aven - well known as home to the artist Paul Gaugin or so we were told, however there seems to be very little in the town that connects the two.  Gaugin made his first visit in 1886 and in 1888 he met Emile Bernard and they formed the Ecole de Pont-Aven art movement, which focussed on colour and symbolism.

Pont Aven is a nice little town sitting on the River Aven and was, in its day, a big centre for flour milling and as a port.  

Today Pont Aven is better known as a stop for tourists from all over the world.  There are some amazing houses lining the river today.

We walked up into the town square, it had been market day and all the stalls had either closed or were closing.  We were on the lookout for a lunch spot and discovered that one of the local hostelries was starting to put out their tables and chairs were the stalls had been so we waited for a while and then sat down in the lovely warm sunshine.  (Of course I forgot to take any photos of the square!)

We decided that after lunch we would follow the river down to the sea, or as close as we could by car.  As we were walking back to the car I noticed that there was a trip boat preparing to go which would take us down the river so we could see it all.  We duly bought our tickets and queued up with about 10 other people to get on the boat.  Suddenly a coach appeared and a whole hoard of elderly seniors debussed and embarked the boat.  By the time they had all got on there were hardly any seats left so we asked for our money back and were pretty peeved to say the least!!

The next place we wanted to visit was a small place further down the river called Henan but the road was closed - in fact all the roads to the place appeared to be closed!  More by chance than judgement we arrived in Kerdruc - a very pretty place and so reminiscent of Devon and Cornwall.

From Kerdruc we drove to the mouth of the river at Port Manec’h.  A very pretty, but dog free beach.

We also found this little place and wondered what it is.

There wasn’t very much to see in Port Manec’h itself but I took this photo looking back to the beach with an amazing house.

It was then back to the site and a quiet evening.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Brittany - May 2018 (Part two)

Monday 14th May

Monday saw us out early, 10am is early for us, but we wanted to go to Concarneau, not only to see the town but also the market which packed up at lunch time.  It was a glorious day and while Penny and I scoured the market, Richard and Jim sat drinking coffee in the sunshine.  I bought a top and Penny and top and crops.

We then wandered into the old town and stopped for some lunch.  Jim was not feeling well and didn’t eat and when we had finished eating he said that he was going to the car as he felt far from well.  Penny went back with him and I know she was very worried as Jim had a serious stroke back at the beginning of November.  Richard and I had a quick look round the old town before returning to the car.

When we got back to the car Jim had had a short sleep and was feeling a little better so we headed off up the coast to a scenic view point.  Jim stayed in the car while the rest of us, the dogs of course were with us, walked through a lovely wood while Jim had another sleep. All the wood needed was some bluebells and it would have been perfect.  It was a long walk to the view point and it was nice but I have seen better!

From Concarneau we headed home for a well earned cup of tea before Penny and I ventured out to the supermarket.  We couldnt decide what to get for dinner and ended up buying the makings of a BBQ.  Richard cooked some very nice paprika flavoured pork and turkey kebabs while Penny and I made the salads.  This was all rounded off by strawberries and sqiuirty cream - why don’t the French have proper cream?

If you are very observant you will see a box of tissues on the ground. I’ve been suffering with a rotten cold and a hacking cough and not feeling the brightest 🙁.  I don’t often get ill and have had a bad tummy and now a cold in about 10 days.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Brittany - May 2018 (Part one)

Sunday 13th May

We are in France with our caravan.  We arrived on Thursday 10th having caught the overnight Brittany Ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre - we choose this crossing as it is the only one that has dog friendly cabins.  We had a very smooth crossing and arrived in Le Havre at 8am. We had a wait to go through passport control, when it was our turn I handed the three passports to the Gendarme. He looked at mine and said Melinda (yes my real name is Melinda) - I smiled at him.  He then looked at Richard’s passport and said Reechard - Richard smiled at him.  He finally looked at Muffin’s passport and said Moofin, where is Moofin!!  Richard and I tried so hard not to laugh!!

We had a 295 mile journey to our destination in Brittany which passed quite quickly.  The whole trip was on at least a dual carriageway except for the last few miles - and there wasn’t a pot hole to be seen!  

The caravan site, La Raguènes Plage, is near to Nevez and very nice and we had soon had our camp set up which is to be home for 10 days.  We tried the campsite’s takeaway for dinner, I had a pizza which was OK but Richard had a lasagne which looked more like cheese sauce with sheets of pasta - it definitely got the thumbs down.

In the evening Richard and I took a walk on the local beach. The camp site has a special gate which leads to it and we found a lovely sandy beach but the waves were a bit big for Muffin who declined a swim!

Friday was a quiet day as I had been poorly with a very bad tummy upset the weekend before - it went on for 4 days!  I hadn’t really had chance to recover before having to pack up to come away.  We took a trip to Nevers to do some shopping and bought ready meals for the evening - that was the highlight of our day!

Penny and Jim arrived on Saturday and have a chalet just up from us.  Muffin was thrilled to see his “cousin” Freddie again and there was lots of dashing around in circles and play fighting!  We went out for a meal in the evening for an OK meal in a restaurant that had a great view of the sea.  I had a burger and the others had moules all of which were served with fries which were flat and, to my mind, weren’t cooked enough.  I was the designated driver so we drove on up the coast a bit to Pointe de Trevignon where we found an “old” fishing village which has been spoilt by making all the buildings into restaurants and bar however the little harbour is still there.  (I forgot to take any photos but will post some when we next go back).

Sunday was another quiet day to allow Penny and Jim to recover!  We decided to have lunch out and drove to Nevers but it was dead so we headed to the coast at Trevignon where we had seen a creperie the night before.  The crepes were amazing and we ended up by having a savoury one followed by a sweet one.  In the evening we had a bread and cheese supper in P & J’s chalet followed by Murder on the Orient Express on DVD.

Sightseeing starts tomorrow!!

This very old London bus towing a car  was on the ferry with us. 

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Dunchurch Pools (North Oxford Canal) – Monday 23rd April

We were up early as we had two appointments to see boat painters.  Mary H has never been repainted and is now 10 years old – so the time has come.  Also, she is Flag Blue which has faded really badly. 

It wasn’t far to Hillmorton Locks where we moored up and went to see Hillmorton Boat Services.  We had a look round and were very impressed with what we saw.  They spray paint the boats and the finish does look good.  It was then up the locks (I don’t know how anyone could do a lock in 1 minute 20 seconds (see Sunday’s post).  Our next stop was Willow Boats.  We were equally as impressed with them.  They hand brush the boats and the finish is equally as good.  So, which one will we choose.  I’m not going into prices.

We had a fun time getting into our berth.  Dunchurch Pools is an excellent marina but what they can’t control is the wind!  There is an island in the middle, so Richard went around it and in – it was a bit scary and I’m glad I wasn’t steering!

We went to the Boat House for dinner – it has always been good food in there – nothing special just well cooked.

11.22 miles
3 locks

Tuesday – 24th April

Time to go home.  It was raining but fortunately it’s not far from the boat to the car.  Packing is easy, but the cleaning is harder!  But why is it that I always leave something behind?  I have a list which we checked off as usual, but I hadn’t put down the lead for the Bose speakers – just the remote, so another addition to the list!

We were away about 11am and home at 2.45pm – that included a stop for lunch.

To sum up the time spent on the boat.  We did 98.97 miles and 8 locks.  I reckon we had more rain than sunshine but the sun was hot on those days. 

We are forsaking Mary H in 2 weeks time and are off to Brittany with the caravan.  Richard will be back in the first week of June with a friend while I help my Step-father sort out his flat and get rid of the things he no longer wants.  Richard and I will be back in July for a couple of months – where to?  Who knows!!!

Here are my two favourite photos taken this time – favourite for different reasons.  This one as it epitomizes Spring for me.

But this one is extra special.  4 months ago on Sunday Richard had his quadruple heart bypass.  He didn’t have a heart attack he just had angina pains, so the diagnosis was a great shock to us all.  I really didn’t know how he was going to be and what sort of life we were going to have.  This photo just shows that he is now back to his old self – 100% better 😊

Monday, 23 April 2018

Easenhall Lane Bridge – Number 34 (North Oxford Canal) – Sunday 22nd April

Well we didn’t get the forecasted thunderstorms during the night thank goodness.  We had some rain during the evening but not much.

I took this photo at Hawkesbury Junction.  I’m not sure why Muffin is up on the bridge and I don’t think he knows either!

We were staying put today so had a lazy morning followed by a lazy afternoon – well for me anyway.  Richard was crossing things off his list with gusto!  I’m so glad I haven’t got a list for the boat though my list for home is getting longer  

We found this bat box attached to Bridge 34.  We weren’t too sure what it was to start with but then noticed that it has a bat on the front!

Richard installed a water gauge during the winter of 2016/17.  It has made life a little easier as we always used to fill up with water every couple of days whereas now we can see how much is in there.  It means we are only filling up about every four or five days (we are hungry water users!).  In the shower this morning I was wondering how much time it has saved us, but we are on canal time and does it matter anyway?!

This blackboard was outside the Greyhound at Hawkesbury and amused me!

When the North Oxford Canal was straightened it challenged the capacity of the three locks at Hillmorton, the first on the canal after the stop lock at Hawkesbury Junction. The solution to the congestion was to duplicate or twin the existing locks at Hillmorton, creating three pairs of two parallel narrow locks, which allowed for twice the traffic to pass the lock at any time. The work to double the locks was completed in August 1840. Not only was the capacity to pass the lock doubled, but the time taken was decreased as the locks were narrower. Tests showed that the locks could be operated in as little as one minute and 20 seconds – I assume that is just one lock.  We are going up the locks tomorrow so I will have my stopwatch with me but I don’t hold out much hope!

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Easenhall Lane Bridge – Number 34 (Ashby / Coventry / North Oxford Canal) – Saturday 21st April

Another lovely morning to wake up to, however they are threatening thunder storms overnight.  That’s OK I hear you say but no, not for Muffin.  He hates loud bangs and even sometimes when Richard sneezes (he has a very loud sneeze!) Muffin will run and hide – usually under the spare bed at home.  He has been in a bad way while we have been away as there are so many bird scarers going off.  We quite often don’t hear them, but Muffin obviously does, and he scurries down below and into the bedroom – he can’t get under the bed so I don’t know what he is thinking.

I saw my first baby ducks this morning sadly I didn’t get a photo - they are quick little buggers!

At Marston Junction there was another boat coming onto the Ashby, so Richard had to come to a grinding halt to let him through.

We passed Charity Dock and there are a few more mannequins now.

Richard went passed Hawkesbury Junction to empty what needed to be emptied and then went to reverse back but a hire boat was coming through from the North Oxford, so he had to stop, thank goodness!  I could see the hire boat was going too fast and of course couldn’t get round the corner in one.  One of the crew shot to the front and tried to fend off the wall with the pole – which promptly broke in two!  I wonder how they will explain that one!

We motored on to Brinklow where we had stopped last Saturday.  We got the last space – well on the Armco anyway and moored up.  It was a lovely evening and we sat out on the towpath enjoying the aromatic smell of next door’s fire pit.  We had noticed when we arrived that next door had quite an encampment set up with included a fisherman’s type of tent which just took two chairs.  Later on, when it was dark, they had masses of pretty lights all around their camp and under the hedge.  I would have taken a photo but didn’t want them to know I was being nosy!

13.15 miles
1 lock