Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Christmas quilt blocks

Last Christmas I bought a piece of blue snowflake fabric in Germany and this year I bought some red fabric to make blocks to remind me of the Christmases spent in the UK.

Here they are :

The Peak District

Here I am again with catching up to do!

We had a quiet day of boat chores on Saturday after we got home.  Mick installed the new water pump, and set about fixing up the old one as a spare. 

Sunday morning the pontoons were icy.  It's the first time since we've been in the marina although we've been told it was like this a couple of times while we were away.  We went out in the car for the day for a drive around the Peak District.  What absolutely stunning countryside.  I can't imagine living up in those hills though.  We had a glorious sunny day, although quite chilly, but imagine if it was icy and snowy and you had to drive home on the steep, narrow, winding roads.  I don't think I'd like that much.

We thought we'd have lunch at the farm shop at Chatsworth.  Being a very sunny Sunday it was crammed with people.  The carpark wasn't coping and the queue for the restaurant was well out the door.  Instead we bought some goodies in the farm shop and drove around to Edensor.  We parked with a nice outlook over the countryside and ate our lunch in the car. 

There were plenty of ramblers out and cyclists too.  So many cyclists without helmets.  My photos just don't do the day justice.  The views were outstanding and sometimes 270 degrees.  It was a very enjoyable day out.

We picked up some groceries on the way back and lit the fire on nb Winton's Folly so it would be warm when Barry and Carol arrived home late at night.

Another quiet day today.  I worked this morning and we wiled away the afternoon catching up on our Christmas news with Barry and Carol.  It was very windy overnight and Winton's Folly appeared to be missing a plank.  Mick had seen something floating in the water when he went over to take our rubbish to the bins.  The "something" turned out to be the missing plank... now way over the other side of the marina basin.  Barry managed to retrieve it with his boat hook. 

We have the resident swans and their two youngsters knocking at our kitchen window.  They actually paddle their feet really hard against the side of the boat to raise themselves up out of the water enough to look in.  It seems every time I stand at the kitchen sink I have a swan peering in.  Our fault of course... we've been giving them scraps.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Home again

We had to be out of the cottage by 10am this morning.  We were up early and easily organised and on our way.  We stumbled upon a fabulous antique / pine furniture store we first discovered in 2007.  It was a new owner, equally as chatty as the first, and we enjoyed having a browse.  They had all sorts of other pretty things for sale too.

The weather forecast for today wasn't good and we were hoping to get back to the marina before it turned too nasty.  By the time we'd done our browsing in the shop the heavens had opened and it was pelting down.  There was one other customer looking around the shop at the time Mick peered out the door to see how heavy it was raining.  "Fair dinkum!" he said.  There was an explosion of laughter from the other side of the room.  The lady thought it was absolutely hilarious.  I'm sure she went home and told her story.

We reached the marina just after midday and much to our amazement there was no rain and we managed to unpack the car without getting wet.  It was incredibly windy though.  We spent a couple of hours unpacking and sorting out the carload of stuff.  The boat's been rocking back and forth in the wind all afternoon.  It's nice to be back onboard our floating home.  I'm sure we'll sleep well tonight.

I've spent the evening posting my blog entries for each day while we were away.  I typed them in Word each day but there were photos to add.... many of them!

Catchup - 26/12/13

Leaving Chipping Campden this morning the sky was bright blue and sun was out.  It was the coldest morning we’ve had here so far and the car was covered in ice.  By the time the village was out of sight and we were over the hill we could see thick fog ahead.  It was so difficult to see other cars!

We read of an annual event in Bibury on Boxing Day – a decoy duck race.  We left with plenty of time to spare for the 45 minute drive and arrived half an hour early so we’d have time to find parking.  It’s the teeniest village and we suspected it mightn’t be easy to park.  We were right.  We followed the stream of cars right out the other side of the village and up the steep hill into Arlington where we struck it lucky. 

There was a good crowd of welly wearers lining the little stream through the village and the bridges over were crammed with people.  A couple of enterprising folk were selling tea or coffee and mince pies.  It was popular in the cold.  The racing ducks are “sold” for £10 and each has a number on it.  The person who wins gets to choose a charity for the proceeds to be donated to.  A lovely idea.

The ducks were released just around the bend of the waterway and before they arrived into view a fellow shot his gun into the air to scare off the live ducks that were swimming in the path of the race.  I think I got a bigger fright than the ducks although all but one of them flew away.  The last one stood his ground with the decoys rushing towards him.  There was quite a flow in the water and they were pushed along at a good pace.  A few turned upside and a few got caught up in the growth at the sides but a couple of brave souls were in the water in waterproof suits to set them free and turn them right.  It was all a bit of fun.  We saw a black swan for the first time in the UK!

We walked back to the car before the race was over to avoid the inevitable rush of all those cars trying to exit one tiny village.  We drove back to Bourton on the Water to wander the last section that we missed the other day due to the heavy rain.  There was very little open but we managed to find a pub open for lunch and had Mick had a club sandwich and I had a hoisin duck wrap.  Delicious. 

We spent the remainder of the afternoon driving around the area…. Stow on the Wold, Winchcombe, Snowshill, Upper and Lower Swell.  The narrow, winding country lanes are such an enjoyable drive. It was a lovely day!

Tonight we went to the Eight Bells for dinner.  It was ok…. nothing special but not bad.  We enjoyed getting out for a walk in the night air and seeing the lights of the main street of town.