-*- Website Homepage      Previous post cribblog          Next post cribblog   Next post sjvisit2017

Cribblog 2017 - Sjvisit 2017

 Sj and Js arrived from the States with a complicated itinery of Catslide, Cribbit, Romania, South Africa, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Sj has sent me her journals for this year's visit and also for her last two visits in 2014 and 2015. This post is about their arrival in the UK and our time at Catslide and on Cribbit and will link up to all the other bits eventually.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

A fairly uneventful day finalizing my preparations for my trip. Made a quick run to school to drop off the receipts from my grant application and then headed south to Jason's house. Flight not unti 10pm, so far more time than I knew what to do with.

Long lines to clear security at Logan but no matter, I knew an alternate checkpoint that never has anywhere near as many people. Much faster for me but it didn't have a designated precheck lane, JS of the opinion that it would have been faster for him to go the other way, particularly as he was subject to all sorts of additional screenings.

Flight delayed about an hour so time for a quick dinner, sj amused by the chopstick wrapper decorated to look like a fish and purporting to hold "fish sticks".

Fish sticks.

Flight itself uneventful, js slept, and sj watched movies as she remains as always incapable of actually sleeping on flights.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Changed in Frankfurt, a process that first involved a bus ride across the tarmac from our plane to the terminal and then walking several miles in order to get right back to the other side of the wall where we started from when the bus originally dropped us off, but at least we got to ride the monorail says sj!


In the exit row for our uneventful Flight from Frankfurt to London. Sj very impressed by the signage on the emergency door. The first two steps basically gave instructions as to how to remove the cover that protected the emergency controls, those steps were printed on the cover itself such that once you had disposed of the cover you had likewise disposed of the completed instructions and were left only with the bits that were still relevant.

Relevant instructions.

before we knew it we were in the arrivals hall. Sj getting through and collecting the baggage with her U.K. Passport a good 20 minutes before js.

Cj was waiting when we emerged so into the car and off to Catslide. Thanks to our connecting in Frankfurt arriving far later in the day than usual we cancelled our afternoon naps in favor of staying up a bit longer and simply going to bed early. So showers and dinner and the handing out of presents. Sj had lasercut two swallows and amazons maps, one of the lake in the north and the other of wildcat island, one for cj and the other for tw. As the UK Was our first stop cj given first choice as to which one he wanted. All in agreement that tw would probably prefer the one of wildcat island, and cj very pleased to hear it as he fancied the one of the lake for himself. Ra seemingly disappointed to learn that he intended to hang it on the boat as opposed to in the house.

Swallowdale aka 'The lake in the North'.

Wildcat Island

Duck and roast vegetables for dinner and lots of talk of sailbot and mystery hunt then off to bed as we were exhausted.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Js not actually on holiday yet so he spent the day sitting at the kitchen table working while cj and sj wandered about doing a bunch of errands. First stop Headington where we paid our respects to the shark (sj disappointed that if he'd had to sell catslide cj hadn't bought that house instead) and then popped our noses into the various charity shops. Both disappointed with the offerings, when had charity shops gone so up scale? Not a single tatty treasure to be found. Also, how was it possible for one high street to contain so many?

The Headington shark.

Nipped into Waitrose so that we could buy everything on tw's list whilst simultaneously allowing sj to do her usual British shopping. Jaffa cakes the only overlap between the two lists. Cj quick to warn sj that Cadbury had been bought out by nestle and the chocolate was no longer as good so rather than the usual pile, some sample sweets were purchased. A taste test confirmed that he was right and flakes and buttons no longer worth purchasing. In addition to things like tea (buy the biggest box you can find, and shove the bags into your boots), 2-4 packages of imperial leather soap, and lots of extra strong mints, tw also wanted a year's supply of ibuprofen. As you can apparently only buy 2 packages of 16 pills per day in the U.K. Sj had offered to bring a bottle of 500 ( or even 1000) from the USA but tw had expressed so much derision she hadn't bothered and as cj hadn't realized he was in charge of this purchase he hadn't yet started stocking up, so purchased 2 packets each. Now we just need to go back a couple more times.

Home to catslide to drop off our purchases then back out, this time to Rectory farm pick your own to acquire some black currants with the intention of making a pie. Quite a large operation but most people seemed more interested in picking their own strawberries than black currants. As the strawberries in question were being grown in waist heigh troughs and as such didn't involve bending over or crawling around on the ground to pick, the whole operation very civilized.

Signage to the black currant bushes missing but we found them eventually. The picking advice we were given suggested picking clusters of ripe berries together on the stalk but both disregarded this advice. Cj in favor of picking clusters of not quite ripe berries, and sj in favor of picking just the ripest and most appealing looking berries from each cluster.

Filled two containers and declaring that to be enough for a pie headed back to catslide where cj made a crust and sj washed the berries and removed any remaining stems. Some debate over how to decorate the top of the pie but in the end a shark won out over a fluffy little bunny.

Beware of sharks.

Plan for the evening called for a visit to the Indian restaurant in Long Crendon, where we had quite the feast. Proprietors even more confused than usual with our American credit cards, we'd finally gotten chips in our cards, but no pins so still forced to sign on paper, looks like they may have inadvertently charged js' card 3 times as a result.

Pie and then bed when we got home. When we'd made the pie, we put in what looked to us like quite a lot of sugar, but no where near enough as on eventual sampling even cj forced to conclude that it was far too tart to eat as is so spoonfuls of sugar added to our bowls as we ate it, no doubt due to all the not quite ripe ones that cj had acquired

Friday 30 June 2017

Roused early from our beds at catslide by cj winding the clock or at least would have been were it not for js' Darth Vader mask drowning out that and and all other noises. Breakfast and showers and then off to Kintbury for a few days on the boat. Drove by the Headington shark on our way out of town so Jason could admire it, he loves sharks. Appalled by the contents of the American section at the grocery store, all the very worst things that the US had to offer.

The American section.

Quick visit to Kintbury town center to acquire what the sign proclaimed to be world famous sausage rolls. Not bad but possibly a tad too high end for the likes of us.

Mildenhall and Bullock, butchers and bakers of homemade sausage rolls.

As we'd also stopped at Sainsburys on our way down quite a pile of goods to carry to the boat. Set off, js getting a crash course in lock operation. Did forget to tell him to look for up traffic so he may have inadvertently stolen a lock from someone.

Sj Struck up a conversation with the person in question, were we from Canada? He asked. "No the US", "I never want to assume" he answered". Sj quick to say that sometimes it was hard to admit to especially right now. He got a confused look on his face, why now? The current state of politics. " I reckon he's the right man for the job." He replied to sj's horrror.

Sj soon established in her favourite position on the roof.


Sj very pleased to find a key operated swing bridge as we were entering Newbury, alas nobody to inconvenience anywhere to be found.


Approached by a woman as we were closing the bridge, were we a couple and if so could she take a photograph of us for her website? Apparently she'd just written a book and had a webpage all ready to go to promote it. She actually intended to post it one chapter at a time in hopes of getting feedback from her readers so that she could add more tension to the story.

Approached by a woman as we were closing the bridge.

Pretended to be loveydovey so that she could fake the requisite photo. For some reason she was reluctant to tell us the plot of her novel so shall have to wait and see. For some reason she only needed a back view for the photograph. She and dog Bella joined us as we boated through Newbury and then for a pint at the Lock, Stock, and Barrel All rather taken with Bella who was friendly and responsive so we were not surprised to learn that she was a therapy dog and visited old people's homes to interact with the inhabitants.


Pretended to be loveydovey so that she could fake the requisite photo.

For some reason she only needed a back view for the photograph.

She and dog Bella joined us as we boated through Newbury.

then for a pint at the Lock, Stock, and Barrel.

Newbury High street and canal bridge.

Moored by Victoria park for the night which would have been fine but for the drunks who seemed to enjoy jumping on and off the stern of the boat in the night.

Stir fry for dinner, much improved by ra's spinach.

Saturday July 1 2017

Js refusing to write tonight's log entry so shall have to write all sorts of terrible things about him so that he never makes that mistake again.

Sj still abed when we set off from Newbury so that's why we ended up moving down the canal to stop at Tesco instead of visiting the one we were moored right along side, apparently nobody else had noticed it.

Fairly uneventful day, lunch underway for no other reason than that tw wasn't there to complain about it.

Lunch starts to arrive, in bits.

Locked down with a progression of boats. Most interesting lock was the turf sided, Monkey Marsh Lock, though it took ages to fill.

Bit of a hold up at Monkey Marsh lock.


Another lock took ages because the people working up through it were being so particular (and precious) about everything they did. As such opened the gate sluices ever so slowly so as not to upset them, it wasn't until the lock was nearly full that we realized they were a hire boat and they were being particular because they hadn't a clue what they were doing. Slammed the sluices the rest of the way up.

Moored for the night in Woolhampton so that js and cj could visit the Row Barge pub. Cj off by train to fetch the car. Dinner at the pub and well entertained watching cars queueing to cross the swing bridge that was apparently out of order but closed so boats couldn't get thru and with gates down so cars couldn't either. Js and cj hung up the map of the lake in the north while I wrote the log.

Beer at the Row Barge, Woolhampton.

Js and cj hung up the map of the lake in the north

Sunday July 2 2017

Cj off to move the car up to Aldermaston wharf, while sj and js showered and dressed. Swing bridge was back in operation so while js and cj worked the lock, sj raced off to open it. Alas still no motorists to inconvenience. A pleasant few hours boating amongst the trees. Canal and river together in places the current sending us along at a good pace.

First the swing bridge at Woolhampton.



Boating amongst the trees.

20170702_103412.jpg 20170702_103427.jpg

Sj very comfortably perched in her usual spot on the roof until js' steering took us right into a low hanging tree and everyone was forced to cower lest they be kabobed by the sharp branches. Js desputes this account and claims that it was actually cj who was steering at the time.

120170702_103444.jpg 20170702_103504.jpg

20170702_103513.jpg I20170702_103519.jpg

20170702_103748.jpg 20170702_103926.jpg

20170702_110215.jpg 20170702_110745.jpg




Our arrival at Aldermaston Wharf the highlight of the trip as it involved a lift bridge on a fairly busy road. We stopped just before it so that cj could empty the bog but sj kindly offered to operate the bridge for the people we were locking down with. They commented to cj how nice that was of her to offer.


How nice of sj to operate the bridge for the people we were locking down with.

Nice?stopping traffic one of sj' favorite activities. Bridge in question was actually on a timer so necessary to wait 15 minutes in between openings and unavailable to open for an hour each morning and afternoon during weekdays so as not to interfere with rush hour traffic.

Man came running just as sj put the barriers down, he was trying to get to his train so while too late to turn it back, sj paused in her button pressing so that he could duck under the barriers. Everyone else had to wait! Final count 35 cars, 2 motorcycles and 5 pedestrians. Sj well pleased with herself, and she'd get to do it again in a few minutes when cribbit was ready to come through. That second time only 29 cars, 5 pedestrians and a dog.

Meanwhile a slight detour for Cribbit to make use of the facilities..

Then its our turn.

The control panel of POWER!

Bridge availability.



Through we go.


Tied up at Aldermaston Wharf.

Stopped at the wharf once we were through so cj could discuss some work that needs doing on the boat, alas the yard was too busy to get to it in the next few weeks so made arrangements instead with one of the employees who is about to strike out on his own with a mobile welding business.

Nipped first into the tea room and souvenirs shop (which apparently only served instant coffee and sold postcards) and then into the chandlery which had a much more satisfying selection of bric-a- brac. Lunch on the go as we headed down a little first, sj getting to operate one more swing bridge (this one netted her a further 7 cars and a whole bunch of pedestrians). "That's quite a lot of power you have" one of the pedestrians commented. "Yes, rather. "

sj getting to operate one more swing bridge.

this one only netted her a further 7 cars and a whole bunch of pedestrians.

That's quite a lot of power you have

Yes, rather.

Moored just after the bridge and packed up our stuff and headed out.

Took the long way home which involved a driving tour of the UK's Amesbury, stopping for cherries in a layby, whizzing past stone henge lots of tank crossing signs near the military base, a quick glance at the devises flight (js very please not to have had to work that one), and a view of a Victorian era white horse in the chalk hills. Alas too early in the season for crop circles but apparently quite a common occurrence in that area. Js really surprised by just how much the countryside reminded him of California.

UK's Amesbury.

tank crossing signs.
Stopped in Headington to acquire fish and chips ( from the other Headington shark) and then dinner in the garden with rosemary. Off to the pub for the weekly quiz. Js and sj just as rubbish as would be expected, though we did know the names of all the humans in th Scooby gang. Alas both of the opinion tht the mouse movie they were inquiring about was an American tail and not Stuart little. Somehow (most likely because of the 5 bonus points from coming in last place last week) our team came in 3rd.
Fish and chips from the other Headington shark at Posh Fish.

dinner in the garden with rosemary.

Home to catslide and bed.


Monday July 3 2017

Had done laundry the night before and it had been hanging on the line all night but alas wasn't all dry. Turned on the heat and hung it over the radiators in an effort to speed the process so that sj and js could pack.

Js apparently watches a show called Midsummer Murders which is filmed in a local town so off to Brill (which must be the murder capital of the U.K. Based on the amount of dead bodies on the show) to show him around. He seemed to recognize a few places and we stopped at the windmill just because, then repeated the process in Long Crendon (which is apparently a much bigger town than sj ever suspected).

Back at catslide we had lunch and finished packing before saying, goodbye, see you next week and heading off to heathrow.

Another long ridiculous walk at Frankfurt, the airport starting to look oddly familiar. Just time to grab a sandwich then onto our flight to Bucharest. This one involved a long bus ride out onto the tarmac to board the flight where we discovered that while we were on a different plane we had the same flight crew as we had had on our London to Frankfurt flight.


Raining when we landed in Bucharest which was apparently for the best as it had been unbearably hot for days prior to the storm. Stairs down onto the tarmac once again and bussed to the terminal, was this a Lufthansa thing? Breezed through immigration, collected our luggage and headed through customs. Man with a clipboard featuring Jason's name waiting for us on the other side, his work had arranged a car for us which was excellent as the only bad thing wiki travel had to say about the country was that the cab drivers would try to scam you and to avoid them if possible.

Short ride to our hotel, showers, and bed.


☀ Allotment
☀ Boating
☀ Catslide
☀ Computing
☀ Cooking on Cribbit
☀ Family and friends
☀ Mouldy Oldies
☀ Natural Philosophy
☀ New
☀ Recipe list
☀ Walking


☀ Adham Fisher
☀ Alex's Mutterings
☀ Alex's website
☀ Alex on facebook
☀ Peter's website
☀ Jim on Ruskin
☀ cribBlog
☀ Gnomes
☀ Jason Lee-Dear
☀ Little Old Man Weekly
☀ theBloG


☀ About this website
☀ Contact me
☀ Site history
☀ Site statistics
☀ Visitors
☀ Updated this year
☀ Toggle handheld


News & views

 Mother Jones
 Boing Boing


 Vixra LHC
 LHC Updates
 Last word on nothing
 Bad Astronomy
 New Scientist

Personal sites

 10 Century
 Strange History
 Wise words
 Mind Hacks
 Roger Marchant
 Ant and Kate bike trip
 Gaping Silence
 On the wander
 Living in London


 Sam Pepys
 English Russia
 Questionable content
 Softer world
 Money not art
 Laughing Squid
 Bizarre history


 Unicode Map
 A list apart

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional