19. Jan, 2019


And oh my time has really flown since my last blog back in October. I must apologise for my tardiness in not keeping you updated.

Right where were we. Well at the end of the last blog we had just left Fradley Junction and the Swan heading back to our winter moorings in at Swan Lane. As many of you know I work during the winter and I had started to check out suitable jobs on line.

To get back to Swan Lane we travelled on the Coventry Canal through Fazely, and then up the Atherstone flight of locks. We like Atherstone, it has a couple of good pubs and a brilliant butchers called ‘Bates’, who make the best faggots in the world. Whilst moored in Atherstone we received news that Mark and Fern, who where joining us at Swan Lane, were heading our way. Mark would be single handing through the locks as Fern was at work, so being good neighbours we decided to wait and give him a hand.  It was nice to meet Mark and our help was much appreciated

After doing our good deed we continued on our way towards Coventry, stopping off at the Anchor at Hartshill for a pint. I am sorry to say I can’t really recommend this pub, as we found the landlord to be not the friendliest, and his 2 large poodles were given free roam of the pub and proceed to pee up the wall in the restaurant. It truly put us off, and from what we have heard it wasn’t the first time.

So back to Swan Lane and a welcome home drink in the Brickies with our fellow moorers. It was great to catch up with everyone.

So back to the job hunting and I had seen an advert for Amazon. Now after all the bad press they had garnered last year I was dubious to say the least, but when they announced a pay increase to £9.50 per hour (most jobs I do only pay minimum wage) I had to give it a go and arranged to go and register with the agency in Coventry on Friday afternoon. So we decided to spend a couple of nights in the basin before taking up full time residency in the Wharf.

First night, and after an enjoyable few pints in town, we settled in for the night and Bubbles decided  go off and explore, but he didn’t come back after the normal amount of time. We decided he had found a comfortable spot and would return in his own time. Lo and behold he did reappear sometime later, and around his neck was a paper collar. He had been catnapped by some well meaning people and taken to the nearest vets. The vet had examined him, and because it was obvious he was well looked after, advised the people to return him to where they had found him and release him to find his own way home. We rang the number on the collar and explained about him living on a boat, and how friendly he was, and they advised us to get him micro chipped in case it happen again.

I went to register on the Friday, well me and about 40 others, so of course it was chaos and it took an age and it would be dark soon, so I phoned the Captain and it was decided that he would take the boat back to Swan Lane on his own, and I would catch the bus when I was finished.

Then the big shock, and the main reason I haven’t written a blog until now. On being asked when I could start I said immediately, and that’s what happened, induction on the Saturday  and start on the Sunday (I was on the Sunday-Wednesday shift). The hours were 7.30am to 6pm so 10 and a half hours a day, so yes a 40hrs week. But then the mandatory overtime kicked in, meaning for 7 weeks I was working 50hrs per week, so as you can imagine I was exhausted the 2 days I was off, and of course in the run up to Christmas we go and visit family back in Ripley and Wigan. I had no time or energy for anything else.

I must say working for Amazon was a positive experience and they treated us very well, and the money was amazing, but the long hours were killers.

I was laid off after Christmas, I can’t say I was sorry as my back and feet had had enough.

It is lovely being back on the Wharf with all our friends, and we have had a number of trips to the pub, but the highlight was the Christmas party. Last year we had a Christmas curry organised by our illustrious leader Keith, so this year we thought it was our turn to organise something for our fellow moorers. So the Captain and I did a very nice buffet and quiz, we decorated the meeting room and got a Christmas tree and sorted out some festive tunes, we had a great night with everyone who came.

Christmas on the boat is a quiet affair for us, we had some wonderful presents from our family and friends, the Captain ended up with 6 bottles of rum and I got 4 bottle of different flavoured gin, should keep us going a while. Of course we had our usual couple of pints in the Brickies before our Christmas dinner, which this year consisted of Spiced Parsnip and Carrot soup followed by ham and beef and all the trimming and our usual pud of lemon meringue.

New Years eve was spent at my daughter Jess’s and Stuarts house and my son Adam and his wife Julie joined us to see 2019 in. We had a great time playing silly games and singing karaoke.

So a new year and a new job, back to UTL were I worked in 2018, but this time I am working in the call centre for Vodafone and I get to sit down all day YIPPEE.

The Captain has been volunteering with CRT cutting back the offside vegetation from our Wharf to Hawksbury Junction. It’s once a week, but it gets him out and he seems to be enjoying it. They have also sent him on a course on how to use a chainsaw. It’s a great way to give something back to the canals on which we live.

Now to some more sombre news, I have already mentioned Bubbles and his little trip to the vets. Well he had to go again just after Christmas, but the outcome was not what we wanted to hear. He had got very fat, but this turned out to be fluid in his little tummy, which was a symptom of something much more serious. The vet basically said it could be his heart, liver or a tumour, and whichever one it was, was at an advanced stage, and even if they did tests on him to pinpoint the problem there would be nothing they could do. So we have him at home and it is just a waiting game. He is eating and drinking but sleeping a lot, if it comes to the point that he is in any distress we will do the right thing and not let him suffer.

As you can imagine the news hit us very hard, but slowly we have come to terms with what’s going to happen.

And Sam, our old lady, well she just keeps going and going.

And on that sad note I will say bye for now.