A pictorial post of Barry’s journey from Stourport to Etruria

I may be confusing some people by going back in time a few weeks, but I believe you’ll understand why it’s worth the wait.

I’m also, of course, rather biased in my opinions! I love Barry’s photos. I fondly recall my first visit to Gisborne, from 2001 to 2002. I used to love looking at the images on display at his photography studio on Gladstone Road, Gisborne. I had no idea, at that time, who’d taken them, or that one day he’d become my best friend and husband.

Barry’s a little busy (hurrah!) at the moment running his business The Home Brew Boat, but he’s also managing to begin to focus on photography once more which pleases me a lot. He has such an amazing talent. Finding this passion again is wonderful to witness.

Check these out – there won’t be a lot of labels or commentary, the pictures are perfectly able to do most of the talking …

Stourport Basin

Stourport Basin

The Helter Skelter at the charming fun-fair by the River Severn

The Helter Skelter at the charming fun-fair by the River Severn

Up the Stourport lock

Up the Stourport lock

Doing it single-handed again for a few days

Doing it single-handed again for a while – until he meets his voluntary helper

Watching the wildlife

Watching the wildlife on the way – time to stop and stare

Barry's idea of heaven - a real ale pub

Barry’s idea of heaven – a real ale pub – and no TV or music

One of Barry's favourite backgrounds, the church in Kidderminster

One of Barry’s favourite backgrounds, St George’s Parish Church in Kidderminster

Jovial Jim, previously from Nb Starcross, who met Barry and stayed a couple of nights to help with locking - thank you again Jim

Jovial Jim, previously from Nb Starcross, who met Barry and stayed a couple of nights to help with locking – thank you again Jim

Another take on the church

Another take on the church

Happy at the tiller

Happy at the tiller

You don't see blue lock paddles very often

You don’t see blue lock paddles very often

Reflecting on the journey - such peace and solitude - magnificent

Reflecting on the journey – such peace and solitude – magnificent

Catching a heron in flight

Catching a heron in flight

A quintessential canal image - narrowboats and a country pub

A quintessential canal image – narrowboats and a country pub – The Cross Keys

Barry has a penchant for swans - they even kiss his feet!

Barry has a penchant for swans – they even kiss his feet!

Taking off ...

I’m outta here …

All set up for the Middlewich FAB festival

All set up to convince punters of the merits of brewing your own at the Etruria festival

Etruria Junction - a bit of a bottle neck at times

Etruria Junction – a bit of a bottle neck at times

Serenity in the evening light

Serenity in the evening light

I think Barry's found another passion - for herons - such grace and style

I think Barry’s found another passion – for herons – such grace and style

I'm off ...

I’m off …

Our new friends Sue and Dave from The Spud Boat

Our new friends Sue and Dave from The Spud Boat

Lovely people

Lovely people

How cute is this little chap/chapess?

How cute is this little chap/chapess?

A puddle duck I believe, having a ponder

A puddle duck I believe, having a ponder

A moorhen chick checking something interesting out

A moorhen chick checking something interesting out

A gaggle of goslings - is that the correct term?

A gaggle of goslings – is that the correct term?

I adore this image! The historic Working Boat Maria glided slowly past, being punted. It's a horse drawn boat, but they couldn't use the horse on this stretch due to the moored boats

I adore this image! The historic Working Boat Maria glided slowly past, being punted. It’s a horse drawn boat, but they couldn’t use the horse on this stretch due to the moored boats

There’ll more magnificent shots in the near future, of our travels from Etruria to Middlewich, and then on to Manchester where we’re currently moored until tomorrow.

Watch this space!

 

Fourth Fantastic Festival full of fun …

Life’s returned to a semblance of normality recently, as I’ve been back on board Areandare since Friday evening. My elder sister, Kath, covered me for the weekend so I could return ‘to work’.

I find that quite amusing, as the ‘work’ we do is so different and variable in comparison to anything I’ve previously experienced.

I enjoy the Life Coaching I do, which is very part-time by choice. I’m also currently collaborating with a small group of coaches and it’s likely that sometime in the not too distant future we’ll be launching a new business venture.

The facepainting is magical. I’ve spent a small fortune on colourful paints, glitters, brushes, sponges and a myriad of tools to create fantastic faces, and added glitter tattoos to my repertoire for Etruria Festival which were very popular – especially as we were fortunate to see the sun shining so face paint and sweaty faces don’t gel too well!

A glitter tattoo 'selfie'!

A glitter tattoo ‘selfie’!

All set up next to the lock for more fantastic facepainting

All set up next to the lock for more fUntastic facepainting

 

Glitter tattoo and painted flowers - this lovely girls wanted both!

A glitter tattoo AND painted flowers – this lovely girl wanted both! And why not 😉

We’d enjoyed a fish and chip supper on Friday evening, in the beer tent, courtesy of the fabulous organisation of Elisabeth and Richard. On Saturday night there was a delicious Indian buffet organised too, so we booked into them both. It was such a blessing not to have to worry about planning, preparing and cooking before or after the first day’s trading.

Helen and Andy, from Wild Side Preserves, were also trading. You’ll have guessed that we all get on well, enjoying each other’s company as well as learning heaps of useful tips from more experienced trade boaters.

There were only three narrowboats trading, moored above the lock. Our new neighbours and friends are Suzie and Dave, who sell baked potatoes, oat cakes, bacon sandwiches and a selection of hand painted canal ware.

Helen ready to sell her jams and chutneys

Helen ready to sell her jams and chutneys

Sign up to the email list

Sign up to the email list – marvellous marketing

Suzie selling her spuds

Suzie selling her spuds

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The three trading boats looking lovely

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Barry ready to use his kiwi charm to sell the benefits of home brew to the people of Stoke-on-Trent

 

 

 

 

 

A few working boats at the start of the walkway to the festival field

A few working boats at the start of the walkway to the festival field

The main festival was focussed around Etruria Industrial Museum, with a large collection of working boats stationed there.

We’ve visited this stretch of canal a few times, but not once has the museum been open. Sadly we didn’t get to visit this time either, due to being too busy trading! One day we’ll see what it has to offer …

Brewing on board and a brewers meeting

During my 48 hour boat-break pass last weekend, Barry put a home-brew beer batch together. I grasped the opportunity to capture the process for posterity – and of course for this blog, The Home Brew Boat blog, and our Facebook page.

Experimenting with a new beer brewing method

Barry decided to try out Captain Ahab’s method. This involves commencing the brew in a sterilised bucket, then transferring into the pressure barrel half way through fermentation to complete the process and carbonate the beer at the same time. The brew is a ‘Bulldog Brew’ Triple Tykes, described as “Smooth, strong, malty with fruity notes and hints of vanilla and toast. Perfect balance between body and bitterness with a clean finish.” 

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Barry with his kit ready. Note the bucket was last used to make a batch of 5 day RosĂ© wine, it’s multi-functional once you have one!

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Step one – pour in the mixture …

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The consistency you’ll see is rather black-treacle-like

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Next, the water – it needs to be a certain temperature when it’s all added …

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So Barry’s giving it a stir and checking with the thermometer …

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Next up is the yeast – a vital component!

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Mix it up and make it nice …

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Last step for this part of the process, lid on and add boiled water to the airlock, now wait 5 days before transferring …

I’ll let Barry inform you how tasty the beer is once completed – I’m more a wine and cider person.

Meeting with fellow kiwi brewers and bloggers!

We were thankful I’d not left on Monday morning (which almost happened, dad wasn’t too good), as Barry would’ve left Great Haywood and travelled up to Stone for a delivery. Had that happened we’d have missed the opportunity to meet up with Andrew and his lovely wife Michelle from narrowboat Ashdown, who dropped in for a taste of strawberry cider. Andrew has purchased a kit from The Home Brew Boat and is loving making his own.

Andrew and Michelle previously lived in Christchurch, and moved to UK a couple of years ago. Andrew is originally from UK, Michelle from South Africa, and fortuitously gained her British passport five years after being married to Andrew. Oh those were the days! If only it was that simple now for Barry, though I can totally appreciate that the system may’ve been abused by some unscrupulous people at that time.

Michelle is an amazingly talented photographer, so do visit their blog and check some out.

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Cheers!

Our next trading event

Tomorrow I’m heading back to the boat for a few days, and we’ll be trading at the Etruria Canal Festival in Stoke-on-Trent. Do come and see us if you’re anywhere nearby. We can’t promise to be able to chat during busy times, but we’ll do our utmost to be friendly and helpful!

We’d love to hear how you’re getting along with any home brewing you may be undertaking, or if you have any queries comment below or contact Barry at barry@thehomebrewboat.co.uk