Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Taking out the rubbish

The cottage we are renting is about a quarter of a Mike along a single lane track. The bin men do not visit. Our options are to take the bin to the end of the track or to put the sacks on the car and drive the 3 miles to the household waste site. We chose the latter. Today we just kept on going....getting back about 3 hours later after stopping for walks and to admire the views. Never more than 10 miles away. 95% we haven't seen before and had no idea how stunning it was. 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Feeling Festive?

We've emerged from the West Wing long enough to put up a few decorations and order a goose. Oh..and buy the Christmas edition of the Radio Times. I think that is it for this year!
We wish you all health and happiness. Been an odd year all in all but more convinced than ever about our move to Ireland.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Time spent on QISMA is seldom wasted.

A few trips to QISMA this week to.....get things done. The winter job lust is starting to shrink. She is only 8 miles away so easy to pop over.

Other than that it has been a week of swimming, for me, up yo 2000 metres now in a pool that you think crowded if there are 5 swimmers in and some marathon sessions of.........

It finished on TV over 10 years ago but seems so current. A credit to the creator. Perfect winter afternoon viewing. Yes...we are vegging out... #official

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Above the snow line

we now know that's where we some 300 yards.

We're up here because it's quiet with fantastic views. The house is so warm .. even with the winds howling round us. Hey...we have one set of neighbours and the wind farms for company. And... and ...the postman can find us. He is our new best friend. 

For those who have asked about LJ and so many have been in touch to wish him well, thanks for all your messages. He is on the mend. 

Saturday, 12 November 2016

All ashore who are going ashore ...oh that's us!

It flooded here last winter. Badly. As it's our first winter we decided to be cautious and rent a cottage for the worst 3 months. We moved in last Saturday. It's quiet and secluded with great views over Upper Lough Erne. Gets every bit of sunshine and all the wind. But very warm. 10 miles from QISMA and 5 from the village. Alistair is down at QISMA now getting a 'fix'. LJ and I just chilling after our off lead walk to the wind farm and back.  LJ doesn't know it yet but he has an operation scheduled for Monday. Removal of fatty lump that will soon impede his back leg. Time for it to go but another worry to add to world peace and thin thighs etc etc. Being in the cottage means there is room for the dreaded cone which he will probably wear for two weeks. His turning circle here is a tad bigger. The biggest shock will be no breakfast for him on Monday morning.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Back where we started from

The weather was just too good to miss so...Lough Erne it was. Three days or was it 4 to bimble the 14 miles to Enniskillen. Only some local fog to slow us down..... 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

well...that was fun!

After just over 1400 kilometers our official 2016 cruise which began in March is over. We reached Killynick on Thursday. We had forgotten there were to be new residents....... Jamie and Oliver are  in the field next to the boat. Two rather cute goats. LJ is getting used to them! 

I say the official cruise is over because, with the weather staying lovely, we will be bimbling about for a bit longer locally. It would be foolish not to!!

It has been a fantastic year's boating. The coming back just as good as the going out. Our list of favourite spots is...well...extensive to say the least. Some we didn't manage to revisit on our return as the weather was against us at the wrong moment but there is always next year!!

well...that was fun!

After just over 1400 kilometers our official 2016 cruise is over. We reached Killynick on Thursday. We had forgotten there were to be new residents....... Jamie and Oliver are  in the field next to the boat. Two rather cute goats. LJ is getting used to them! 

I say the official cruise is over because, with the weather staying lovely, we will be bimbling about for a bit longer locally. It would be foolish not to!!

It has been a fantastic year's boating. The coming back just as good as the going out. Our list of favourite spots is...well...extensive to say the least. Some we didn't manage to revisit on our return as the weather was against us at the wrong moment but there is always next year!!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

A fish and chips sort of day.

With the weather forecast turning to the miserable spectrum we came down Lough Allen and moored at Drumshambo on Friday. No plans as to when we would leave...rain depending. wasn't going to be Saturday morning! The first three locks are controlled by one Lockkeeper and there was not a snowflakes chance we would take her out in torrential rain.

1215 it stopped and we were on our way.

This makes us think of....

Not sure if we were going to stop in Leitrim or tackle the 11 self service electric locks on the flight up to Keshcarrigan.

The sun got brighter as we went along and the decision was easy ...en y va!

The first two locks were in our favour...happy days. Then the lock keeper for the flight appeared and said ...your luck just ran out! Oh well.

Two locks later the lockeeper was waiting for us. Give me your card and I'll go ahead and help you up. Hallelujah!  We came out of the last lock at 1724. Opening hours on this stretch end at 1730 from October to March. We don't know....and didn't want to find out....if the card reader just stops working!
Thank goodness for lock keepers.....I often say.

Lock free for the last stretch. Hoping to moor before the sun went down. I was hoping there would be no need for cooking. Phoned the landlord at Gracie's Bar and yes....he would provide takeaway fish and chips...or whatever else was on the menu. Magic. 

A great run into Keshcarrigan and no worried that the moorings would be full. We hadn't seen a boat moving since getting back onto the Shannon.

The bar was just as it should be, roaring fire and a landlord who could not have been nicer. Coffee offered while I waited. Fish and chips fab. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

As everybody!

Onto Lough Allen today. We left it for our return trip as a flotilla of heritage boats were here as we went down the Shannon in August.The canal and locks on the passage up from Leitrim look familiar but....boy are those locks fierce....and no way of slowing them down!! Thank goodness for lock keepers!! Even so....the second lock had the better of us and between me and the lock keeper the two of us we couldn't quite hold the bow and we were across the lock and just caught the wall fortunately ... not at full tilt.

The pic doesn't do it justice as I was a bit busy when the lock was in full flow.

The one thing everyone,told us about Lough Allen was that themweather say the least...unpredictable. We certainly saw that today. Fortunately after we were safely moored.

And it is absolutely stunning.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

A naked pics!

A lazy start to Sunday. We are moored at the end of  a jetty. View on blog below. No-one can really see into the boat....guess where I'm going,on this...UNLESS they are on the boat!! So...Alistair...naked...walks from bathroom into find someone knocking on the glass panel of the door!! Shock! Horror! A naked boater!!

Not frightened away.. she stayed to talk boats and bringing boats to Ireland. Great chat. Let us know if it works out.

We got mail!

Into Carrick on Shannon on Tuesday. Chance to catch up with our mooring owner Colin on Wednesday at Carrickcraft. And pick up some mail. And reprovision. And get LJ to vet for some ear drops. And get my haircut..... Anna's Hair Studio if you're in this area and need an excellent cut. And top up Internet on Irish PAYG. Busy busy.

Then it was off to the peace of Lough Key. A favourite stop on our way south. Moored in the Forest Park. Fantastic walks in beautiful autumnal sunshine.

All being well next week will see us on new waters in Lough Allen. 

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Deprived of Internet and other horror stories

Well...not exactly horror stories...or only related to the weather. Wet and very windy weather has had us grabbing weather Windows and had us off Lough Ree sooner than we would have liked but we would have liked and once again, sitting out bad weather in Ballyleague where you can get the magical combination of water and supplies.

We left and headed to Richmond Harbour and moved on. A bit full. Possibly of boats that don't move very often. Just a guess. Great lock keeper. We kept on and moored at Roosky. Lovely moorings and good weather. Two nights there and

the short hop to Dromod where the weather closed in again. A convoy of 10 very large cruisers came in yesterday. A Swiss group of 53 who cruise together somewhere in Europe every year. Fortunately, they were all off to Carrick today, so not fighting them for limited space at  Kilglass. What a stunning spot.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Coffee with the First Lady

Alf, owner of barge First Lady, came out to give us a wave as we were cruising,past his winter mooring yesterday. We were way north last time we saw him. Coffee was offered and accepted and we moored alongside him amd went onboard. We could probably have sat there all day chatting and laughing but...move on we did. Into Quigley's Marina for fuel, water and made use of their skip. Such a helpful team there.....though that is no surprise. Then up to the Inny River for some peace and quiet! We had intended to stay two nights but........

Plans for the weekend revised after an up to date weather forecast. We won't run back into Athlone but head for Lecarrow tomorrow and continue north from there.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

After the highlife!

Well ..perhaps highlife is an exaggeration but after last weekend in Ballinasloe and Thursday in Athlone it was time for a weekend of quiet. And...we found,the ideal spot  in Killinure Lough to do just that. With Nene ladser in place ..with minor H&S adjustments to allow for steepness.. Humans and woofer are happy. LJ was doubtful but ok now.

We are on the edge of Glasson Country hotel and Golf Course. Very lovely all round. Intrigued and amused by the bench with two champagne flutes on it. No-one in sight ..a,proposal,gone wrong...left for a couple who never,go there...I can see a book and film deal ahead!!

Friday, 16 September 2016

A lot of history.

Over 250000 visitors a year go to Clonmacnoise. It was,extremely busy when we went down the Shannon in August. This trip, we shared it with just four other boats overnight. It was a monastic settlement in the 6th century. The high kings of Ireland used to be buried there. More recently, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass there in his 1979 visit to Ireland. 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Timing is all!

Timing has been particularly good this weekend which....unlike the weather we are reading about in UK has been very windy with intermittent showers. 

Six years of living on a boat have made us expert shower dodgers and our wind avoidance skills are improving by the day. 

First round,on the haircuts went to me. Getting a recommendation from lovely Irish woman who walked me in the direction of Tesco. Great conversation that covered ..  with no particular connection.... disenchantment, families, boating, foreign travel and affairs of the heart. Not bad on 5 minutes acquaintance. All that and a great hairdresser recommendation as well. 

Ballinaslone has one of oldest horse festivals in Europe. Happens in a few weeks. The town will look very different then...with upwards of 80,000 descending!!  No... we won't be here! 

LJ gets his haircut tomorrow and we hope to leave on permitting.

Thursday, 8 September 2016


Not the number that have read this blog...the distance we have travelled since QISMA went in the water here in March.  A bit  more now as we reach that milestone as we crossed over to Terryglass on Sunday.

Terryglass is a regular winner of tidiest village in Ireland. It's small but...perfectly formed. We'd been told by a few boaters that it was a bit of a boat park and it did look that way. The majority of the boats that left Portumna on Saturday were there.....once again without owners on board. A bit of a weekend shuffle. 

Still, there was the ideal QISMA size mooring I a very easy place to manoeuvre into so all was well. 

Since then we have moved back onto the Shannon and even further...onto the River Suck. 

With overnights at Meelick Quay ...a very Great Ouse like mooring... And with Carickcraft at Banagher  ..  we can't get LJ off in the public harbour because the jetty is high with the roof of the boat level with the ground.  To high to jump and too heavy to lift ....LJ not me! 

The forecast for the weekend...wet and windy!! So up early today and away by 0830 for the run up to Ballinasloe where LJ has a hair appointment and I might do the same. Ballinasloe has mainstream shops ...a Dunnes included. Some shopping might be in my future. 

Friday, 2 September 2016

Would you like that delivered?

I just love mooring at Portumna. A great mooring in the grounds of the castle. Forest,walks for LJ and a Supervalu in the town that asks...would you like that delivered when you mention you're on a boat.

There is a lot of movement in and out of the harbour as it's a last stop on Loch Derg before or after Portumna Bridge which currently opens 5 times a day to allow boats through, stopping traffic on a main road to/from the West in the process.

We are having, for us, a slightly extended stay. This will be our third night and although there is a steady turnover of boats traffic is less than 50% of  when we first came onto Loch Dergh.

We have managed to upset one boater. Just by existing! He likes to moor along the wall as he has a motorbike he manoeuvres onto his boat. We like to moor along the wall so that LJ can get on and off.  Unfortunately for him...we were here first. He left.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Worth getting up for!

A few more pics like this would be nice to share with you!! 

I say up early, but by the time LJ was walked and boat maintenance brass rubbing in this..... It was 0930 when we set off on the short cruise across the bay. Back to Drumaan. Even since we were last here there has been a huge difference. Only a few boats here...looking as if moored up for the week. There isn't a lot of property either but a fair number look as if they have been closed up for the winter.  We had our choice of moorings against the wall. No facilities other than water but for peace and quiet this is on the list of favourite moorings. 

Got to make the most of our last week on Loch Derg. We will start to move slowly North. It won't all be retracing of steps. We saved somethings for the return trip ...  in fact, we've saved some things for next year but ... LJ has a date with a dog groomer in Ballinasloe. 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Dromneer. Great mooring and a man to take my shopping order!

They love the boat and LJ here. We were still being asked what make of dog LJ was on his last walk round at 2300 yesterday! Current record.

We had great arrival in Dromneer. Coleman, who we met a couple of weeks ago and discovered Alistair had been in contact with him over charts, had his car here. He was just about to get in to go for supplies when he saw us coming in. He gave us a hand to moor and took my shopping order! A man with true boating instincts!!

Dromaneer is very popular. Good tea room, pub busy enough to tell us the food there must be worth a visit. Great Aqua Splash for kids and small pebble beach.

Also on the wedding photo route!  I am cheating the time I ran back got my phone bride and groom were getting back in the limo but the pic would have looked something like this!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Let's go!!

Woke to a rare day of flat calm and sunshine. Quick but very easy decision to get some shopping done and get on the move. What a fantastic cruise up to Mountshannon.  Already noticeable that not so many boats around on Loch Derg.

A crew were out to offer us help in mooring. Ex narrowboaters!!  Brought their boat across three years ago, loved it. Sold their boat ... it went back to UK. They bought a property with river frontage  and a cruiser.  I hope I haven't revealed too much of their business!!

The sunset last night even got me out of my chair and away from GBBO! Just got a second or two. 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

End of the road

Great weather yesterday as we made our way down Loch Derg, onto the Shannon and down to where Killaloe and Ballina face each other across the river. Very pretty. This is as far as we go this year. We will start to slowly, very slowly, head north again from here.

Theoretically, it is possible to go on to Limerick but it depends on tides, good weather and the operating schedule of electricity generating turbos. All too problematic to have confidence in getting there and back with the weather we have had. Add to this the closure for repair of some of the Limerick moorings and .........

Last night the sunset was magnificent. One of the best I have ever seen. Pics do not do it justice. As the sun disappeared dramatically over the hills about 1000 crows took to the skies. We had no idea why but a helicopter came along about 10 minutes later ....was it that? Who knows. Certainly added to the spectacle.

The boys  on jet skis were certainly enjoying themselves. Too fast to photo! 

Friday, 19 August 2016

Struck Gold in Scarriff

Tweet buddies may know that the unthinkable happened....I ran out of Clipper Earl Grey about 10 days ago...12 actually. I had hoped to resupply in Athlone but non in stock. They kindly offered to order some for me if I let them know when we were heading back. But, The Grainery in Scarriff I struck Clipoer Gold. Probably the best selection I have ever seen.

Sheltered at Scariff

Two reasons for taking advantage of  flat calm yesterday morning...well three if you count the flat calm...a grim forecast for the weekend and the possibility of buying a Sunday chicken in Scarriff.
One biat ahead of us and some fishermen out but other than that we had Loch Derg to ourselves. Mist  behind us but a lovely run down the loch and onto the River Scarriff. It seemed very strange to have banks and turns.

Plenty of room on the moorings and a hire boat left whilst we were deciding where to park.  That freed up space to give us the preferred full length bank option. Easy access for LJ, water and electricity and the Sunday chicken a stroll away.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Room at the inn ...but not for us!

Every time we've mentioned Garrykennedy we've been told how pretty it is and how good Larkins is.
Well, Garrykennedy is very pretty. We will never know about Larkins.

We haven't tried to eat in a bar/pub since we came south. My policy is always to phone and check the dog in bar situation before we go to a new pub. We're aware that dog friendly pubs are few and far between here so we're delighted when I phone Larkins to be told it would be fine to take LJ into the bar. My last words were....and we can bring the dog? Again I was assured it was.

You are, no doubt, ahead of me. It was not fine. As we go in a young man immediately tells us no dogs allowed I said I'd phoned. He went for his boss. I didn't expect that to make a difference but was glad of the chance to 'identify a training need'! Our options were sit the rain...or, obviously under sufferance, in a room on our own shared with large, empty ice cream fridge.... shades of the dog friendly pub in Ripon here! Or, obviously, we could leave. Off we went.

The guides tell us how fantastic Larkins is. That people travel long distances to eat there. Luckily we were back on the boat within five minutes of being turned away.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Mixed Economy


Wind in the wrong direction and bouncing around on our mooring had us on the move on Monday. The crossing not to bad though and into the very sheltered harbour at Dromaan. Then summer arrived!!! Hoorah! It's not meant to last but very welcome whilst it's here.

Dromaan has an almost Knysna (fave spot on the Garden Route in South Africa) feel to it. A mix of lovely houses overlooking the Loch. The road so quiet that we felt safe walking LJ off his lead. Confident of hearing cars in time to grab his collar before they reached us.

In the afternoon we watched a regatta on the Loch. Holiday feeling all round.  A combination of small craft, cruisers and yachts in the harbour. We the only barge.

This morning I met a lovely and interesting couple from 'Inshalla'  enjoying the 'beach'. In a conversation ranging from Sprotborough to Dolphins  I found that Alistair had been in email contact over charts. Could have sat chatting to them for hours.

Still admiring Puzzler's pics of a flat calm Loch Derg!!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Peace and Quiet

Seems odd to say we have finally found peace and quiet. By UK waterways traffic it is quiet all the time...well almost... But, it is August and hire boat jetties are empty so moorings  have been quite busy.  We moor early... To avoid disappointment. We are the equivalent of a 71ft boat on the K&A or Nantwich in high summer. So far so good. 

 Yesterday was different. We moored at Rossmore well before lunch and had it to ourselves until early evening when we had company. Both boats left very early this morning. So peaceful. We can see the main channel in the distance. A mountain in the distance, Perfection. 

Saturday, 13 August 2016

A Black Art


Weather forecasting is, as we all know, a highly developed skill with millions spent on sophisticated equipment. Such a shame we can't have any faith in it. 

Our forecast was fine, sunny and very light winds. Fortunately...the wind part was right. But the rest was showers and misty. At 0930 we couldn't see across the Loch. 

At 0940 the promised sunshine arrived. Our cruise took us around 90 minutes with almost constant drizzle. Still ... the wind held off...I was inside....and it was...absolutely worth it. Our only company an empty yacht and two German holidaymakers (of a certain age) in a camper van who were about ready to leave. They arrived in Dover at the start of July and have covered the UK and Ireland. Heading to a ferry in Cork via the delights of the west coast. 

We are here,for the weekend.....bad weather forecast tomorrow.....this is where I came in!!

Any Portumna in a storm!

I would never call Portumna any port but it certainly was popular over the last coup,e of ads with bad weather on the Derg. Luckily...with help waving people in who were about to turn round and head back out into filthy weather and some shuffling every boat that tried to come in was squeezed into a berth. 

I saw the best but if mooring ... In fact parking if any description in my entire life. Big cruiser swept in, reversed and put himself between two other pretty big cruisers with an inch on either side. I think one fender was moved. Amazing and accomplished before I could get back to QISMA for the camera. 

These guys surprised us as they passed. Some engine trouble. Had great chat with the crew later. 

The moorings are a popular stopping off point before or after the bridge transit. A lot of work has been done here. Not quite finished ..the facilities block isn't open yet but not far off. 

The castle and grounds are just lovely. Forest walks.

What else? A Supervalue in the town...I love Supervalue...which will deliver if you phone. 10 min walk from the moorings and if they deliver you will miss the most excellent butcher.

Friday, 12 August 2016