Dan and I were not born and raised in Derbyshire, we hail originally from Sussex, another stunning part of England's wonderful landscape. We relocated about 6 years ago swapping the seaside for some spectacular scenery, and while I may occasionally daydream of the days the beach was a mere 100 yards from my doorstep I have fallen in love with our new surroundings and shall never tire of the amazing countryside of Derbyshire.
Intrigued by the shoe tree I have done a bit of 'googling' once home and cannot find what the significance of it is. There is some reference to a tradition of throwing the shoes of the recently deceased onto tree branches so that their spirit can walk closer to heaven. Other articles refer to "Shoefiti" and say the goal is to create a living, evolving art project, or possibly it begins with one impulsive gesture that catches on with others soon following suit. I have found that the tree has it's own Facebook Page with 59 followers, but there is no useful information there, only two random posts from 2014, and I have found that the tree pre-dates this by at least 10 years. If anyone can enlighten me as to how long the shoe tree has been there and what it's significance is I'd love to know. Does it have pagan roots? Is the tree at the end of a walking route and this started as an impulsive gesture by a walker discarding his old boots??? Who knows?!
In the UK alone, 11.7 million working days are lost annually due to stress, depression or anxiety. The average person spends 65.2 hours a week on the internet, while research shows that social media can negatively impact your mental health. So switch off, take a break, and surround yourself with nature to increase your happiness and better prepare yourself for day-to-day stresses.
Part of the joy of a holiday on the British waterways is the wildlife surrounding you. Waking up to the sound of chirruping coots; watching ducks land on the water and seeing swans gliding past your window are just a few of the delightful moments you can experience.
The nearby Attenborough Nature Reserve offers a great opportunity to spot native wildlife. It attracts large numbers of wintering wildfowl, as well as a variety of waders during spring and autumn migration. These include the little ringed plover and greenshank, as well as rarer visitors such as Temminck's stint and the curlew sandpiper. Other migrant birds that regularly pass through the reserve include whinchat, wheatear, osprey, black tern and little gull.
You can read more about waterways wildlife on our Wildlife page here
This week is National Farmhouse Breakfast week, so what better time to introduce our hearty Derbyshire breakfast offer. For only £7.50pp, we'll supply you with everything you need to kick off your holiday in the traditional way.
Local butchers sausages, back bacon, free-range eggs, black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes and -this is what makes this unique to our corner of the East Midlands - Derbyshire oatcakes, which are delicious, yeasted Katy pancakes. You probably won't even need to stop for lunch!
You can view our optional extras here: bit.ly/GNBExtras
#Shakeupyourwakeup #sustainabletourism #greentourism #ecotourism #narrowboat #holiday #dogfriendly #ecofriendly #visitderbyshire #visitbritain #britishholidays #ukholidays #selfcateringaccommodation #derbyshire #nottingham #derby #staffordshire #canalholiday #trentandmerseycanal
With this month being renamed 'Veganuary' by some it seems an appropriate time to be adding our vegan hamper to the website. This is an optional extra we offer in addition to the welcome hamper, which is included as standard.
As ever, we have tried to source as much as possible from local independent suppliers, but we have been a little surprised at how difficult this has proved, so we have had to rely on bigger name brands too.
You can find more information about the contents of this hamper and others we offer here:
We think Responsible Travel's 'Trip for a Trip' project is a wonderful idea, so we have been in touch with them and have committed to supporting the scheme.
For every holiday booked with us, we will fund a great day out for a disadvantaged child or youth.
You can read more about their project here
We are very pleased to announce that we have a loyalty scheme which local businesses are getting 'on board' with. Our customers will have a discount card to use for the duration of their holiday which enables them to receive discounts at local eateries and attractions.
Standing at the helm of the Silver Ann 2 you’ll certainly look the part on the Trent & Mersey. But will you sound the part as well? Here are some interesting and amusing terms you might want to add to your boating vocabulary, taken from ‘A Glossary of Canal Boating' at:
An interesting read for canal enthusiasts; the editor of the website welcomes contributions of any words you find he has missed. All of the following were commonly used by boatmen on England's canals. Most are still in widespread use but some are beginning to die out now that, sadly, the last of the working boatmen are no longer with us. Try and keep this bit of canal heritage going by using as many as you can!
If you'd like to stop gongoozling and get on board, you can book your holiday here
bobby dazzler A tiny light fitted to rear of cabin-top or stern of motor, shown at night or in a tunnel for benefit of butty steerer.
bread and larders Boatmen working between Napton and Oxford on the Oxford Canal.
Buckby/Buckby Can Common nickname nowadays for decorated water can (q.v.). The village of Buckby (on the 'Junction') was only one of a number of places where these were produced but name now seems to be all embracing.
cabbages Derogatory term for poorly painted roses on a decorated narrowboat.
canalcoholic (1) A hopelessly passionate canal enthusiast! (2) Same as (1) but who also is an over-zealous supporter of the canal-side pubs!
clough (pronounced clow or clew) A northern waterways word for a lock paddle or sluice
dolly An upright cylindrical metal deck fitting, with either concave sides or a button head, on a motor's counter to which ropes may be secured for tying up or towing. See also T-Stud.
ellum Traditional term for the steering apparatus of a narrowboat (mispronunciation of helm) .
engine hole (pronounced "engine'ole") (1) Narrowboat's engine room (2) Boatman's euphemism for w.c. (as in e.g. "I'm off to the engine'ole" - meaning going to the toilet) as this is where the toilet bucket woluld normally be kept in a commercial narrowboat.
fettle Tidy up a boat, making minor repairs and touching up paint.
fore-and-aft Both at the bow and the stern – often used to describe how a boat should be tied up.
gongoozler A term of unknown origin for someone who idly stands and stares, particularly at boats and especially at locks.
gonguzzler Another term of unknown origin for someone who not only idly stands and stares but also copiously drinks extra-strong lager, and its like, until they have to sit or lie down before they fall down; frequently to be seen alongside urban canals.
greasy ocker Boatmen's name for those working for the carriers Fellows Morton and Clayton, perhaps due to that company's Birmingham tallow trade or to a reported practice of protectively greasing their horses' hocks when towing paths were particularly muddy.
guillotine gate A lock gate raised and lowered vertically from overhead framework, common as a bottom gate on the Nene navigation.
gunnel Alternative (phonetic) spelling of gunwale.
gunwale The wale, or upper edge, of a boat's hull sides next to the bulwarks, if any. (So called because in fighting ships the upper guns were pointed from it). Pronounced 'gunnel'.
haling way Fenlands name for a towpath.
hand signals Much preferred on the canals to sound signals and usually far more effective. Boaters can devise their own provided they are clear and unambiguous. Commonly used ones include: -
-"I'm about to wind" = Arm straight up in air, describing wide circles.
-"There's a boat approaching" = Arm + pointing finger straight up in air.
-"There's a wide beam approaching" = Arm & finger up in air followed by arms held out wide to the sides.
-"I want you to pass me on the starboard (i.e. the "wrong") side" - 1) Wave right arm from side to side above
your head (to attract steerer's attention), 2) point right arm to boat ahead (meaning "you") then swing
arm round to point to your right, then 3) with left arm, point down to and touch your head (meaning
"me") then point to your left. (IMPORTANT - if the other steerer does not acknowledge his
agreement then you must pass him on the "default" side i.e. port to port).
- "No" or "I don't agree" = Crossed arms held up high.
helm The steering apparatus. Properly, the wheel of a ship but loosely, if incorrectly, used to refer to the combination of tiller and rudder (see 'ellum)
legger Historically, one of a group of poor, otherwise unemployed, workers who would wait at the entrance to a tunnel with no tow path, in hope of being selected by passing horse-drawn boatman to help leg boat through for just a few pence for, in the longer tunnels, up to 2 – 3 hours' hard labour. Frequently would have own board (or wing) sometimes roughly shaped to better suit his body to lessen the pain and physical injury from this arduous, back-breaking work.
legging Method used to propel unpowered boats through tunnels with no towing path. Involved the boatman lying on his back and using his feet to walk along the side or top of arch.
noddy boat Derogatory term for a very small boat or cruiser.
Rodney boatman Derogatory term for a boatman who did not keep his boat smart.
roses and castles Traditional and highly stylized manner, along with simple geometric shapes and playing card suit symbols, of decorating a narrowboat's cabin exterior and interior, doors, deck equipment etc. Close up the roses seem almost diagrammatic and each should comprise of no more than four? colours. The castle is the main element of what is called the 'landscape'
sound signals Many warning sounds that are required or recommended under IRPCSand by various navigation authorities seem to be widely misunderstood on the canals where hand signals are much preferred. However, every boatman should know at least the following:-
-1 long blast (c.5 secs) - " I'm here" - used on canals when approaching hazards e.g. a
blind bend or to warn a boat you think has not seen you..
-1 short blast - "I'm turning to starboard" - unecessary and rarely heard on canals as boats
always meet head on and by default pass 'port to port'
-2 short blasts- "I'm turning to port"
-3 short blasts- "My engine is going astern" (often usefully employed as 'I'm
giving way to you')
-4 short blasts- "Your intentions are unclear"
-1 long & 1 short blast - "Give way to me, I am not in proper control of my boat"
Starvationers Nickname for boats, approx. 50' by 4', that brought coal out of Duke of Bridgewater's mines and on to Bridgewater Canal.
On the return journey the marina looked great in the gathering dusk. We strolled around the boardwalk, enjoying all the boats adorned with their fairy lights, and the new 'bird of happiness' sculpture outside the art gallery. Isabelle and James wanted to sleep on the Silver Ann 2. Another time...
If you would like to stay on the Silver Ann 2 you can book your stay here
If you have any questions you would like answered before booking your stay, then get in touch for a chat here
We are Dan & Mary-Ann Griffin. Husband and Wife. Parents to Isabelle & James.