Recuperating, farewells, flooring and retreating!

It’s difficult to adequately describe the sense of freedom and relief Barry and I have felt for the past three days. You’ll have gathered that the truck finally arrived two and a half hours late to collect the eight loaded pallets that had been our Calendar Club shop. It took over an hour to complete the task (a story I shan’t elaborate on here), and we fell wearily into bed sometime after midnight.

Tuesday wasn’t seen until around 10am. Total bliss!

I’d love to say we’ve rested since then and will do for the foreseeable future. In many ways we have, and we will. The challenge is there’s now so much to catch up on before we begin our travels east, north, west and north! And to be honest resting isn’t as exciting as being adventurous and living as if today could be the last day … Continue reading


Trading Tales – The Jam Boat

This week’s Trading Tale features a couple who’ve been greatly missed on the cut so far this year. Sometimes life throws us a curved ball and we take time to readjust and refocus.

We’re hoping to see them at the three events they currently have scheduled in September …

Introducing Helen and Andy

Wild Side James and PreservesWhat’s the name of your boat, and what business do you run from it?

We make and sell preserves including Jam, Marmalade, Chutney, Vinegars and Cordials and wherever possible we try include a wild ingredient, foraged from the hedgerows and towpaths.

We make a lot of our produce on ‘Wand’ring Bark‘, the motor boat, and use our butty as a pop up market stall at canal festivals. There was only one name for that: ‘The Jam Butty‘! Continue reading

Some selected images from the lower Shropshire Union

One of the reasons we changed to WordPress from Blogspot, was to source an improved showcase for Barry’s images.

However, regular readers will know we often wait a wee while to see these.  It takes a modicum of patience, and anticipation, of him finding the right time to download his camera’s SD card onto his computer, then check and edit the chosen images. He’s a busy boy you know, keeping on top of running The Home Brew Boat, and day-to-day maintenance of our floating home.

Then there’s the moving from place-to-place which nowadays takes up a fair proportion of most days.

During our 2009 and 2010 journeys, we’d spend hours each day writing and editing images in order to post on the blog daily. That’s not a luxury we have available any more, but we do have a treasure trove of priceless history on the Northern Pride Blog, so the time, on reflection, was well-spent.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s some of Barry’s ‘work’ (I’m not sure that’s the appropriate word anymore to be honest?) from our travels along the lower section of the Shropshire Union Canal a few weeks ago …


Wheaton Aston and The Hartley Arms a very friendly and hospitable to boaters canal-side pub


Passing by Captain Ahab and Helen’s ‘Jam Butty’ for their Wild Side business – work in progress to get it ready to launch, at Stretton Wharf


Stretton Aqueduct, straddling Watling Street Roman Road (aka the A5)


A very quaint mini-narrowboat


Must be a Rastafari on board this colourful boat?


Giffards Cross Bridge, not far from Brewood (pronounced Brood). One of the local structures named after the Giffard family of Chillington Hall owned by the same family since the 12th century


The delightful Avenue Bridge, a private balustraded bridge carrying the driveway to Chillington Hall. It would have been a condition of the landowner to have such a magnificent structure built in order to give permission to use their land


The other side of Avenue Bridge


Autherley Junction, where in 1830, Thomas Telford joined his ‘Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal’ to join the much older Staffordshire and Worcester Canal (opened in 1772)

Tomorrow’s featured images will be of our recent meanderings around the Birmingham Canal Navigations.