Released by Daquiri (Ferbane to Tullamore)

Well we managed our 6 weeks lockdown which meant we were actually at Ferbane for 7 weeks as we’d arrived a week earlier. Mum achieved lots of her goals; all of Game of Thrones has been watched, all the crochet squares are done for the blanket so they now need the big job of joining them all together when mum has got more wool & the big one mum finished her virtual cycle ride around The Ring of Kerry.

Of course never one to rest on her laurels she’s doing the Grand Canyon now. Mum has also progressed our cratch revamp; all the wood has been varnished & the paint redone with us getting a new colour of blue for the front door.

Mum also thought she’d make some plant holders for the cratch in macrame which is something she’d never tried before. These are still a work in progress!

Other goals are still ongoing including the blasted tin whistle one!

Partway through our stay at Ferbane we tried out the excellent fuel delivery services of Flaherty Fuels which turned out to be a vey good move. The lorry reversed down to the boat & we filled our tank & our cans so we can keep our stove on & stay toastie warm. No diesel boats here like in the UK.

As we had to untie to pull back a bit for fuel mum took the opportunity to go & turn round as we knew at some point we needed to head back to Shannon Harbour for pumpout. It was even harder to moor up the other way as water levels had dropped so we ended up right on the tips of our 8ft planks. Miraculously none of us went in.

The last few months mum hadn’t been feeing well so seeing as we were stuck in one spot she thought she’d try registering with a Dr here. What a difference to the UK where it is so hard to get on the books of any Dr. One phonecall then she was rung back in ten mins & an appointment the same day. No bother at all not having an address they just rung mum instead. Mum had to have full blood tests which all came back healthy & clear but she was also sent for a scan to Tullamore Hospital. The lovely Ann took mum in & she got to go in a supermarket too which was a major excitement. Anyway poor mum has to have an operation so we have an appointment to see a consultant & we’re hoping the op is done over winter so we can go cruising again. But until it is we will stay within reasonable distance of Tullamore. We’re being good boyz & looking after mum lol.

Anyway finally the big day of 1 Dec arrived & we went out of our level 5 lockdown which meant we were now allowed to cruise within our county not just 5km. So that was it we bid farewell to Gallen for now & we were off on a very misty day to Shannon Harbour.

Unfortunately there disaster struck. Mum had luckily just turned round & got pumpout & was setting off back past Ferbane towards Pollagh when Golden Boyz alternator belt went. Mum pulled up immediately as to be honest at least we were near help. Another boater Gavin on one of the barges took mum the next day to a place out past Banagher that was a treasure trove of supplies for vehicles & they had the right belt for us phew! We bought 2 so we now have a spare & Gavin fitted it for mum.

While we were stuck at Shannon Harbour we went for walkies down towards the Shannon where we’d been before & it was incredible to see how it had spread across all the fields. Apparently this is normal in winter without even flood conditions. It was amazing to see.

Mum also cycled down to Banagher to see the difference in river levels there too. The harbour walls were above our roof in the summer now you’d step down to them & apparently it sometimes gets much worse than that! Let’s just say we’re glad we’re on the canal for winter!!

We departed Shannon Harbour on a beautiful but bitterly cold morning headed for Pollagh.

We were nice & warm & cosy indoors by the fire while mum braved the arctic outside.

After Alan saw us through the three locks mum decided to keep going to try & make it to Pollagh in one day despite the cold so she could have a lie in & a nice warm day inside on Saturday. All was going well albeit cold till Derry Bridge when the weather got even worse. It started raining & the rain was so hard & cold it almost felt like hail & the wind picked up gusting across the bog & rocking Golden Boyz from side to side disturbing our sleep! Eventually after passing the guys working on the new greenway Pollagh jetty came into sight, However mum had real fun & game mooring up as the wind blew her across the other side. Anyway after nearly giving up & mooring diagonally she finally managed to use the centre line as a pivot & get the bow across the same side of the canal as the stern. None of it was helped that by now she couldn’t feel her fingers or her toes. Once tied up we were only let out for a quick cockaleggie as mum was too cold to walk us. I think we saw an icicle hanging off her nose!!

Anyway we’d achieved our mission as mum was aiming to get to Pollagh for the Xmas lights switch on & decorate our boat up too. So on Saturday we had great fun joining in with that.

And we got a huge bonus as Santa came to visit & brought us (well mum) a present too which has been put away till Xmas.

We also had another surprise as a boat pulled up next to us & it was Dennis & Mick so mum was invited onboard for a coffee before they departed for the night. It was lovely to have a chat & a bit of company. Sunday was another very foggy day but mum went out on Falcon & cycled up to the next mooring then round in a big circle to get some km towards her Grand Canyon challenge.

Monday morning early we set off in the freezing fog once again & made our way up to Rahan.

Mum wanted to moor there as it was right by the road so we could again get a fuel delivery. Of course Tuesday when we weren’t cruising was a nice day!

Mum also had a fair bit of work to do too. So we had a day stationary. Wenesday we were back off again up to Tullamore. It was finally not foggy just pouring with rain instead! We passed Ballycowan & Srah castles & tied up on our favourite jetty at Tullamore.

The plan is to stay here till after Xmas. Mum has her hospital appointment tomorrow so hopefully we might be a bit clearer after that whether we can cruise further or not. It’s nice for mum to be near shops & she’s hoping to visit the swimming pool here & there’s a good stretch of grass here for us & nice walkies up the towpath past the castles so alls good at our new home spot for a while.