Sunset Mania by Daquiri (Edenderry and back)

And we’re off… moving after several weeks locked down…. freedom!!

It was a gorgeously hot sunny day as we departed Edenderry & turned left at the end of the arm to retrace our steps back to Lowtown. Mum had the music playing & was happy once again. She hates having to stay in one place. Boating is completely under her skin & she loves adventuring. We love it too especially all the new walkies.

We intended to get to the lock & just moor up below it till Monday as we didn’t want to call Alan the lockie out on a Saturday but as we approached as if by magic he appeared. Apparently a fisherman we’d passed had kindly called him to help us at the lock. So we went above the lock & moored up there.

It was absolutely wonderful to be out in the countryside again. Mum was ecstatic & so were we.

The water here is so clear & there’s an amazing view looking back down from the lock where we saw many wonderful sunsets. Mum was able to set her table out & we all had dinner al fresco.

We stayed at Ticknevin lock for a couple of days but then had to move to Allenwood for shopping. so we were back on our lovely little mooring there where we could still sit outside the boat.

We had a great time here for a few days chilling in the grass.

Then we headed up to Lowtown to get pumpout turned round & came back to Allenwood. This time mum decided to try & moor up at the bridge before as it was much nearer for shopping but it looked shallow & was outside someones house. She managed it & then could buy all the heavy stuff at the garage even treating herself to a rare bottle of wine.

We just stayed here one night then headed back to our new favourite spot at Ticknevin lock. Now we were facing the lock so mum could sit on the front & watch the sunsets.

Whilst we were there mum took part in a virtual boating challenge. Each year there is a BCN (Birmingham Canal Navigation) 24hr marathon challenge. You enter in teams & have to travel as much of the BCN as you can accruing points for mileage & locks whilst solving quizzes & challenges along the way. We entered this in 2013 with Uncle Alan & Auntie Sally as crew. Much of the challenge is in the tactical planning of routes to accrue the maximum points. This year as the challenge can’t happen they decided to run a virtual challenge where you can not only just cruise the current canals you had a time machine & could cruise the 60 miles of canals that are closed down.

Virtual BCN Challenge

We entered a team with friends from Urban Moorings & Tom also from Ireland. We had a daily quiz & challenge to do plus had to type up our blog of our virtual journey each day. It was great fun but hard work. We ended up coming 5th out of 14 teams. Our virtual blog is here:

Team Urban Moorings Virtual Blog

Here’s our team on one of the trips back in time!!!

We eventually had to wrench ourselves away from Ticknevin as we started to run low on food & headed back to Edenderry.

I’ll leave you with some of mums wonderful sunset photos but here’s some photos of two handsome fellas who live aboard Golden Boyz enjoying themselves at Ticknevin.

And as promised here are the spectacular sunsets

Peekaboo!!

Our Wings Have Been Clipped by Daquiri

It’s hard to believe how much the world has changed in the last week or two since we last wrote our blog with all our exciting plans for cruising in 2020. Coming to Ireland has been a dream of ours for a couple of years now with plans to cruise the entire waterways taking our time to visit local attractions & hiring a car along the way, joining up with other boaters for rallies & events. Now due to the rapid advance of Coronavirus we’re pretty much confined to the boat only allowed out for necessary journeys & shopping. Pubs & schools have been closed for over a week now & we rarely see another person. Who could ever have envisaged this? We dreamt of sitting in pubs singing along to traditional Irish songs. However on certain counts we’re lucky we’re a good excuse for us all to get some fresh air as we have to have walkies, we can moor up fairly remotely so although mum in the high risk category due to her asthma due to our lack of contact with anyone hopefully we’ve a much lower risk of catching the virus. Well actually dogs can’t catch it but we’re looking out for mum of course. Mum works remotely anyway so although we are losing some customers some are stepping up their online activity. So who knows what will be happening by our next blog but for now we’ll fill you in on our curtailed adventures.

We enjoyed our stay on the front at Robertstown but mum had her eye on a private jetty just through the next bridge which had a smaller partly fenced in area & was away from the main road. So off we set a short ten minute cruise. But then we hit a snag one we think we’ll hit often. It was so shallow we couldn’t get so near on the mooring

Now we were very brave & managed to jump the huge gap today get on & off. We were doing well but then mum came up with this ludicrous scheme of it being a good place for us to have plank lessons. Now I can tell you I Think this was totally unnecessary & I was quite happy doing a kamikaze leap but mum wouldn’t be deterred.

You have got to be kidding mum!

Anyway of course clever clogs Cosmo got it straightaway. I was not impressed & kept still leaping the gap which was now more difficult as there were 2 flipping planks in the way. Eventually I did get back onboard partially using the plank just for one millisecond. However at night everything changed. When we came to go out in the dark you couldn’t even see where the bank was so I confidently strutted on & off using the plank confidently watched by a flabbergasted mum. Honestly I don’t know what all the fuss was about!

After a couple of days in our marooned in the middle of the canal mum rang up Waterways Ireland & arranged for the lovely lock keeper Allan to help us through the lock. We’d walked forwards & sussed out a mooring spot at the next but one little village of Allenwood as Lowtown was looking full. Once through the lock we moored on the pumpout & waterpoint but we couldn’t get the pumpout to work with the card though we did manage to get water. Luckily Waterways Ireland managed to find an override switch on the pumpout control panel so we got a free pumpout bonus! Mum also met a couple of boaters & chatted to then while we did a lot of barking!

Once we were all sorted we set off again it was a truly beautiful day. The canal is quite wide straight & shallow. Apparently it gets pretty much overgrown with reeds in summer so best time to be doing it now.

Waterways Ireland had advised mum if she went past the mooring bollards at Allenwood & through the next bridge there was a jetty with a small park area. Well it was a fantastic recommendation as it is perfect for us & we even got into the bank so no planks needed. We could sit out on sunny days as virtually no one ever walked past the boat.

Well we loved it here. Mum found the village about 30mins walk away had a garage with a spar & a butchers so we were able to stay a week. The village also had a pub but that has now closed & the spar has social distancing markers taped to the floor.

We walked forwards & found the remains of an old swing bridge that was once used for transporting turf by rail. Oh & we met a couple of friends too.

We’re finding it hard to tear ourselves away from this mooring but soon we’ll need to move for water & diesel. We really have no plan anymore & are taking life one day at a time. With evenings like in this photo below it’s not hard to see why.

Silent Dublin Adventures by Cosmo

So once we were safely moored in Robertstown mum & Auntie Joy set off to an IWAI (Inland Waterways Association Ireland) meeting aka a pub night. Mum was wanting to find out the next information for this years Dublin Rally. The Dublin Rally takes place every year where an organised convoy of boats crosses the River Liffey in Dublin from both The Royal canal & The Grand Canal directions. Mum kind of likens it to doing The Ribble link as you have to book & do a scarey big river bit! Oh gawd!! Better hang on by our claws Daquiri.

But then there is a real bonus this year in that the IWAI is running the 2020BC or 2020 Big Cruise which is a whole host of fabulous boat rallies & events that can be linked together. The aim is to encourage folks out & about onto the waters & to promote the waterways. Not that mum needs any encouragement but she’ll be able to cruise with other boats. We have fallen very lucky that this is on this year. The link is here for 2020BC

So at the pub night the good news is mum managed to pick up this marvellous chart with the dates of all the events on.

The bad news is there’s a major breach on the way into Dublin on The Grand Canal which has now been delayed & is not going to be finished in time. Discussions are being held with Irish Water to find workarounds eg craning all boats out & transporting round or building a temporary route round. But it all sounds quite major expensive & complicated so at this stage we’re not sure what’s happening.

So we have a plan B of not going into Dublin & joining in with events on The Grand Canal & the Barrow first then going out into the Shannon & up onto The Royal canal for August for the Float to the Fleadh event that we’ve already booked & paid for. So the situation & our route at the moment is rather fluid.

But we do have a plan for our next month… we’re going to head to Edenderry for St Patrick’s Day to watch the parade then further along to Tullamore for the Tradfest then back to Edenderry for the Easter Rally. By then we should know the verdict of the Dublin Rally & if it’s not to be we’ll just have to do it next year.

So back to Robertstown. Auntie Joy left us in the middle of the night n the pitch dark to return back to the U.K. so now we’re all totally alone over here but if feels rather good to be so free. We have really fallen in love with this village. It has a great embankment just behind the boat where we’re able to have lots of offlead fun as we’re “contained” as mum calls it. We’ve had mainly beautiful sunny days so spent lots of time on walkies & mum has been able to get back into the swing of things with her google work.

One day we had a mixture of rain & sunshine & we looked out of our window to just catch the most beautiful rainbow.

And another morning we caught a beautiful sunrise. Well mum did out of the window we were still fast asleep.

On Saturday mum decided to abandon us again & she went off on another Dublin adventure. After sussing out the buses by visiting the pub & asking in there I mean any excuse!! She says the info is confusing as it says no buses on Saturdays on some of timetables & on the bus stop anyway she was relieved when one turned up.

After a journey of 1.5hrs & a 17.60 euro return ticket she hopped off at Ha’Penny Bridge right in the centre of The Temple Bar area of Dublin. You’ve guessed it more pubs!

Once she’d partaken in a delicious dish of beef & Guinness stew (where’s ours?!) she was off on another of her crazy ideas. This one is called a Silent Disco. I mean what the feck is the point of that! A disco with silent music. Anyway apparently everyone wears these headphones where they can hear the music & they dance their way round Dublin looking like total prats. But mum assured us it was the most incredible fun tour. God I hope she doesn’t put earphones on us for walkies.

Should you wish to partake in this silliness the link is here Silent Adventures

Apparently afterall that jigging mum was thirsty so had to go into another pub. Though this one had live music playing so she stayed there killing time before her long bus journey home listening to Wild Rover amongst other tunes . Apparently though she didn’t drink much but only because of wanting a pee on the long bus journey home.

Hopefully that’s the end to her shenanigans. .

oh dear lord no…… how much is a single ferry ticket to England please??!! Look what she’s done to us!!!

Our first Irish Cruise by Daquiri

After storm Jorge passed & before Auntie Joy left it was time to confront our fears & tackle a few Irish Locks. There are just 3 to Robertstown. We fell lucky as a fellow trader Julie was over for a few days so she joined us too enabling us first to do a car shuffle.

We’d not managed to see Waterways Ireland yet so we were going to give the locks a go with our English windlass. There’s quite a difference in size but the larger hole on the English one we thought might work.

English windlass on left. Irish Lock key on the right.

The weather looked promising so we had fallen lucky as we bid farewell to Sallins.

We were first tracking our morning walkies route with Auntie Joy passing over Leinster Aqueduct

Then it was onto new waters as we apprehensively approached our first lock at Digby Bridge. But like a guardian angel Martin from Waterways Ireland was waiting for us with the lock ready & 2 lock keys for us to purchase!

Now in a lot of ways the locks are not that different to U.K. ones. The gates are bigger & the ground paddle they call the land rack & presumably the gate paddle is referred to as the gate rack. A windlass is a lock key. The gates & racks & lock key are all much bigger, harder to move/turn but the principal is the same. But the BIG issue for mum is a lot of them are impossible to singlehand. None of them have ladders so the only option is bowhauling in & out but many of them have wide bridges (road bridges) over one end of them so that counts that out too. So Mum will be a bit more dependent on getting help from passers by, other boaters, crew or Waterways Ireland staff. In the guidebooks all the lock keepers tel no’s are there but We think with there being so few boats the lock keepers get to know who’s where. Martin said he’d tell (warn!!) next lock keeper about me travelling on my own lol

Martin left us to the next two locks as We had crew. The girls did the next one & mum did the third one. Boy were the racks hard to turn. Mum might be coming back to the UK eventually looking like Popeye!

It was a beautiful stretch to Robertown. Part of it was very shallow so slow going. I doubt We’ll be moaning about dredging in the UK when we get back!

Soon we were approaching Robertstown where we’d already sussed out a mooring by car. It was however shallow so we couldn’t quite get into the bank but with some creative ropework we’re settled & me & Cosmo can easily get off the front.

Robertstown is the kind of vision We had of Boating in Ireland. A small village or I think this is a township with 2 pubs (one which is combined with the stores & the otter with windows like someone’s front room), a post office, a Chinese take away & this one has a tiny coop type supermarket. The water here is so clear you can see the bottom of the channel & fish swimming around. Here’s a selection of photos from around Robertstown

It has great walkies up the canal towpath mum even let me off the lead. Not Cosmo though as she doesn’t trust him not to bomb off.

We are going to stay here a week while mum sorts the rest of the boat out & catches up on some work to pay the bills. Auntie Joy is with us for a final night & her & mum bombed off into Dublin to find out about the events taking place on the waterways as part of the 2020BC (2020 Big Cruise) programme. We’ll let you know all about those in our next blog. But we leave you with the sublime view out of our window here in Robertstown. We think we’re going to like it here a lot!

Finding our Paws by Daquiri

Now we’re afloat in Ireland it was time to find our way around our new life. To us Ireland has a more European feel than an English feel. Of course mum is having to pay for our biscuits in euros, some of the signs are in Irish, we’re currently on data roaming & everyone talks with the wonderful Irish lilt.

Within an hour of being on the water several boaters had been by to say hello. We were struck immediately by their friendliness & helpfulness even despite us barking at them. Martin from Waterways Ireland also popped by & said he’d return soon with lock Keys for us.

We’re currently not in an ideal mooring spot as we’re on the pumpout but given it’s broken anyway we’re not inconveniencing anyone. With the imminent arrival of Storm Jorge we just tightened the ropes & added spring lines & mum deemed we wouldn’t move till after the storm had passed. We were all quite scared as we’d not seen forecasts like this in England but as it came & went it actually wasn’t too bad though we were quite sheltered down a steep bank.

Mum & Auntie Joy did quite a lot of exploring & shopping whilst we had a car available. Of course they had to test the Irish pubs out!

The cost of living is much higher over here but some boating costs are cheaper. Mum bought a waterways smart card from the nearby garage which is used up on the Shannon for the electric locks as well as for things like toilet emptying (charges for both chemical & pumpout here), showers & soon to be introduced payable rubbish disposal.

So this card cost 12 euros 70 & is a 20 unit card. pumpout is 2 units so considerably cheaper than U.K. (when it’s working) which is about £20. But in the U.K. we don’t pay for Elsan or rubbish disposal. Mum has pumpout So gains here & also has a compost/waterless toilet too onboard so shouldn’t ever be stuck or she’ll Have to use doggie bags like us! But these new bins are nearby at Sallins where you pay per bag but they’re not currently wired up & operational. In Ireland householders pay a company to collect their rubbish so it kind of follows that boaters can’t dispose of it for free. Incredibly the country so far that we’ve seen has been relatively litter free which is not good for us as we like scavenging. Here’s the new bins coming in…

The waterpoints are free but everyone moors on them so a bit tricky to access. We managed to reverse back & breast up & get water in the hail & wind as we’d not wanted to be very full of water & increase the weight coming over.

The rules & etiquette over here are much more relaxed. You’re kind of supposed to move every 5 days here but so far we’ve only seen a trip boat moving & everyone else not moved for weeks even months. We learnt that the season doesn’t start till St Patrick’s Day so no one really moves till then apart from one mad Englishwoman with 2 golden retrievers! Also when I asked about the 8 to 8 engine rule that wasn’t known about either.

So whilst we had the car as Auntie Joy Is with us till Tuesday mum did lots of exploring. Firstly they went & sussed out the next 2 locations along the Grand Canal Robertstown & Lowtown. There was space at Robertstown but Lowtown was choccabloc. So mum decided once the weather has passed that’s where we’d head as it had some little shops too.

Lowtown

Mum also had a look at an Irish Lock to see how difficult they are to singlehand. It was deemed this particular one would be impossible for mum to do. However, each section has lock keepers so when we’re there we’ll need to ring for help. But we’ll cover locks in more detail in the next blog.

After that we also checked out Edenderry where there’s going to be an Easter rally which we’re hoping to attend. We really liked it there plenty of space moorings & shops.

The above map shows the section of waterways we’re on. We’re on the Grand Canal at Sallins. The Naas branch & its 5 locks are currently closed for winter maintenance so we’ll come back & do that another time. Robertstown is west on the Grand then Lowtown is by L19 at the junction of The Grand & The Barrow Line. The Barrow is Canal at the top then bevones the Barrow river further south at Athy. Edenderry is down its own little branch further along The Grand Canal.

Mum is still undecided which way we are going & is waiting to get dates of the rallies so we can join in those but we are aiming to be back around this area to join the big Dublin Rally which crosses the River Liffey in May.

We also went down & explored Athy on another rainy day. The River Barrow is currently very much in flood resembling more of a lake than a river!

Naas is a fairly large town & has a much needed Three shop or Tree shop as the Irish say. We’re on an unlimited contract in the U.K. both on a wireless router for days & another for the phone. Mum likes to have two as she needs Internet for work & next venue how many phones have been dropped in the Cut it’s good to have a backup. Now we’re over here in Ireland the router & SIM card don’t be work at all & the phone is capped at 20Gb on data roaming. This has devastated mum as she daren’t play her Pokémon in case it uses all her data up. She is now however very happy as in the Three shop she managed to get an unlimited data, texts & calls SIM for 20 euros a month. We are going to have to switch to an Irish mobile no of course though. So mum also bought a cheap secondhand phone which she’s going to use her U.K. SIM in & switch the to PAYG so she can keep that no & use it if she comes back to the UK at any point. She’s now happily back playing Pokemon which keeps us happy as we get longer walkies while she’s hatching Pokemon eggs.

But the best day was Sunday. Mum & Auntie Joy deemed enough sorting out boat stuff & they Day was fun day & a huge reward for us being so good. So we were taken off to Sandymount Beach near Dublin where there was miles of sand for us t free run & run we did. We had such a brilliantly fun time running, paddling & digging. Happy days.

Check out our next blog to find out how we got on on our first cruise on Irish waterways doing the locks to Robertstown.

We’re only fecking going to Ireland!!

Well how the devil are you all? It’s been a while since we blogged but we are back now with some exciting news…. we’re only fecking going to Ireland!!!!

Passports

So we’ll be back blogging soon with gusto telling you of all our Irish furry tails.

But quick summary of 2019… we ended up having a busy year in the Midlands & the north trading as The Doggie Boat. Mum then sold The Doggie Boat business on to the wonderful Tracey & Tim Clarke who are doing a marvellous job with it. So please do continue to support them (www.facebook.com/TheDoggieBoat)

Then we headed south as mum did Aylesbury Calendar Club for a second year in a mahoosive shop this year! But on the way the really big news is nb Golden Boyz had a big repaint so she’s looking rather marvellous for her trip to Ireland. Uncle Toastie painted her so we had a great 2 weeks moored up with him. Here’s a photo of the finished job complete with new logo (you may recognise it!) & 2 handsome furry chaps sitting next to her.

New Golden Boyz

Now we’re in full scale preparations for Ireland.

So the boat gets craned out at Willowbridge marina on 12 Feb for blacking. We’ll be doing a mad circuit round the UK saying bye to all our pals while the boat is out of the water.

The boat goes on an overnight ferry on 26 Feb & is put in the water at Sallins at 8.30am on 27 Feb ready for our new adventure.

We’re going over separately in Auntie Joys car on the Fishguard to Rosslare route at lunchtime. Then we have a drive up to near Sallins where we’ll stay in a doggie friendly B&B for the night ready to watch nb Golden Boyz go in the water the next day.

Mum is busy doing lots of preparations. We’ve had our horrible rabies jabs & then even more horrible blood tests where we had to have a bit of our legs shaved.

 

We passed our blood tests so then our doggie passports were issued.

Mum is getting lots of work done on the boat – everything possible is being serviced as well as it being blacked. We’ve bought a new longer warp for our anchor & lots of map books this week. Mum is trying to think about the plank issue as a lot of the moorings are a bit less accessible in Ireland but Cosmo is a wuss & probably won’t use a plank! She’s bought her waterways Ireland license a bargain at 126euros (ours here is just under £1000) & sorted her insurance out to cover Ireland. Mum is sitting her vhf course so she can get a vhf radio something about backup in case we break down in the middle of a lough with no signal (sounds scarey!) & she’s trying to sort phone contracts with not much success & euros to take.

So thats our big news. Expect to hear a lot more from us as we embark on our big trip.. oh we’re not sure how long we’re going for .. provisionally 18 months… but could be longer.. could be shorter… who knows with mum!