Sunday, 25 January 2015

All the usual suspects?

It has been a quiet week. We were promised some of the white stuff, but in the end it was just damn cold. The marina iced up again and we were woken up one morning by the swans crunching through the ice like a fleet of icebreakers.
On thursday it thawed and the Captain took the oportunity to get off the pier and reverse down to the service dock for some diesel. Seems the cooking and central heating has used nearly 100ltrs. since we came in at the end of November.
On Friday we met up with all the usual suspects at the Exchange in Stone for a pint or three. It was the usual hilarious gathering, almost breaking into song at one point.
We were invited on board NB Ewn Ha Cul by Dot & Gordon afterwards to help scoff  a chicken and chickpea curry which had been bubbling away ready for us. It was delicious, and with the banana and mango tart the captain had made, we returned to Oakapple full to bursting.
On saturday we all caught the bus to Stoke to visit a store which stocks a vast range of world foods before returning to Newcastle under Lyme where we found the local Spoons for lunch.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

At The Royal Exchange

Since the excitement of the 'Queen Concert' last week things have quietened down somewhat. We popped into Stafford the other day for some bits and pieces, but mostly for a trip out. The wind that hit the country this week howled across the marina setting us bobbing about on some quite big waves and had the captain tying down the lifebelt and spare fenders to stop them flying off down the canal.
It's times like that, you realise why we are in a marina for the winter, safely on a pier and plugged into the mains. The other bonus is having other boaters around to stop us getting bored. No chance of that on Friday when we all met up at the 'Royal Exchange' for a few jars and some lively banter. This pub is one of those rare places that is not trying to do the foody thing. It obviously pays as the place was full, even though it was only 6.00 pm. Great atmosphere with a roaring log fire had us all glowing. Well done to the Titanic Brewery. We have even got a loyalty card!
Yesterday we caught the bus to Hanley with Dot & Gordon to look for some pots and pans that are more suitable for the range. After finding some cast iron pots in TK Max (very reasonably priced) we inevitably ended up in 'Spoons' for lunch. Very curious building, once a slaughter house, and later a meat market. How do they find these fascinating places?

Monday, 5 January 2015

It's a kinda Magic!

On Friday we walked up the towpath to Stone where Diane was waiting for us to help her move on up the locks. It was a good hours exercise, much needed after the Xmas. festivities, but rather offset by a visit to Spoons afterwards.
After a quiet day on Saturday due to heavy rain most of the day, we were looking foreward to Sunday. Six of us met up at the Victoria Hall in Hanley to see a 'Queen' tribute band in a show called, One night of Queen. From the moment the Freddie Mercury lookalike strutted on stage twirling his mike, we knew we were in for a treat. Our ears were pounded with everything from 'Fat Bottomed Girls' to 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. The guitarist who took the part of Brian May was truly exceptional. A very memorable evening.
Today we are back to the boring stuff like shopping at Aldi. Yawn, Yawn!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Christmas roundup.

We are now back on board for the new year after a great time with all the family for Xmas.
We spent the big day in the traditional fashion. Turkey with all the trimmings followed by a race with the dogs for the best chairs. As usual the dogs won.
It was a bit of a slow journey back, with the M6 very busy, however we were looking forward to the new years eve gathering at the Royal Exchange in Stone. Some of the gang were missing as they are moving a boat for friends and battling the ice which has had the boats in its grip for the last few days. Looking across the marina felt like we were on a quest for the North West passage.
We had a fine time seeing the new year in, with some great company, both boaters and non boaters. This was preceeded by drinks and nibbles on board NB Ferndale which is moored above Star Lock in the town. (Thanks Diane)
We are having a quiet day today, catching up with chores which have been neglected during the holiday  period. The plan is to help  Diane with the locks tomorrow as she wants to move further into Stone. We might be forced to go to 'Spoons' after. Well, it is fish friday!