The Travels of the Jones Family, and Narrow Boat "Keeping Up"


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December 2017

You have found Allan & Debbie's Home Page. Here you can read all about us and our exploits on the canals as well as our journeys further afield to such places as Portugal, Iceland, the Norwegian Fjords, Sweden's Gota Canal, the American Northeast, the Alaskan Coast, RussiaEgypt and Antarctica.

To help you find your way around this site as it continues to grow, as well as the comprehensive index you will see a navigation bar at the top of this page as well as on our home page. You can click directly on to any of the 6 headings or you can click on any of the sub-menus that drop down from them. This navigation bar should help you to find any one of our journeys, as well as taking you directly to many of the more spectacular places that we have visited.

If you travel by canal and like watching TV, you may need help finding the Sky satellite. I have devised the Satellite Sundial which you may find useful.

A few days into our canal trip this year, Debbie fell and broke her wrist. We had to change our plans drastically, to allow Debbie time to recover, but we followed this with a glorious few weeks in the sunshine on the River Thames before completing almost 1250 miles on the English canals and rivers.

Towards the end of the summer we left the boat in a marina while we travelled to Portugal for a marvellous 10-day holiday on the River Douro. This spectacular journey converted us thoroughly to the delights of a good Port Wine, culminating in us spending an afternoon harvesting and treading the grapes. The river trip was marvellous, and included passage through several of the deepest locks in Europe.

Early in 2016 we had adopted a new dog into the family, a handsome black labrador whom we named Jessop. He had really enjoyed being on our boat for our 2016 travels, and had learned how to behave extremely well; we were delighted that he seemed to enjoy himself even more on our 2017 travels, and again he behaved himself perfectly. He particularly enjoyed being on the River Thames in the hot weather; to him it was a doggie Paradise of swimming, chasing tennis balls across riverside fields, and going for long bank-side walks. His behaviour has become so good that he qualified this year to become a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog.

Previous canal trips include Pennine crossings on both the Rochdale and Huddersfield Narrow canals, visits to Boston including the Witham Navigable Drains and Chesterfield Canal, passage through Froghall Tunnel on the Leek & Caldon canals, a ride on the Anderton Lift, and a rough-weather trip from Sharpness to Bristol, so there are a host of new canal pictures for you to look at - as well as some old ones I have added with reminiscences from the 1940s, 1960s, and 1970s. These include the sights and sounds of the working boats at the 2001 festival in Milton Keynes.

All the pages are packed with pictures; I hope you enjoy them. The pictures are shown as thumbnails to help the pages load quickly, but clicking on any picture will bring up a larger version. Don't forget that the top and bottom of every page also includes a link to a slideshow of that page's pictures on my Flickr site (although the slideshow may not work if you are using a tablet or smartphone). The photos are all available at higher resolution so e-mail me if you'd like any of them sent to you or if you'd just like to get in touch.


Allan and Debbie



Milton Keynes, where even concrete cows do their Shopping



The canal pages have now got the pictures from our recent canal trips, as well as our earlier trips including the Bristol Channel, the Fens, the Great Ouse, the Thames and the Trent. Recently added are the stories of our two boats: "Thistle" the boat that survived two sinkings as well as being cut in half, and "Keeping Up" that we commissioned to replace her. You can also see and hear the working boats at the 2001 National Waterways Festival. There will be more trip reports and pictures added later, and hopefully I'll be able to scan in some old photos from our earlier trips - a task which I've just started with a few pictures and reminiscences of the River Shannon and the Norfolk Broads in the 1960s and 1970s, the canals in the 1970's, and our trips on Thistle from 1987-1991.



For Debbie's birthday in 2015 we took a short break to Iceland, with plans to see the Northern Lights (we didn't, although the camera did) to go whale watching (we didn't see any) and swim in the Blue Lagoon while it was snowing (we did, but it didn't snow). But it was a fantastic trip anyway!



We flew to New York to see the amazing autumn colours of the American Northeast, travelling inland on a small ship to Quebec and Montreal via the Hudson River, Erie Canal and St Lawrence Seaway.



In 1832, Thomas Telford built a canal across the south of Sweden from Stockholm to Gothenburg. In 2013 we travelled in his footsteps on one of the canal's vintage passenger boats, and with my new camera at  the ready I was able to record much of this canal's unique atmosphere.



Two travel reports from Russia with Love. In 2007 we spent 2 weeks cruising from Moscow to St Petersburg, and in 2011 we returned to take the longer voyage from St Petersburg to Astrakhan and Rostov-on-Don. There are pages of pictures and descriptions of the major towns and cities, and of the cruises between including the Volga-Don canal. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.



Another of our travel reports, our pictures from Egypt. In 2004 we spent 2 weeks in Cairo, on Lake Nasser, and on the Nile and I have selected the best from all the pictures I took there.



Next there are our pictures from the Antarctic and the Chilean Fjords. We went there in 2003 for a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the last unspoiled place on the Planet. I've just finished uploading our logbook and I've selected the best examples of the 1000 pictures I took there. If you really like looking at penguins let me know and I'll email you hundreds more pictures!



The second fjord trip, in 2001, was to Alaska on board the last remaining great American Steamship SS "Universe Explorer"



The first of our BIG holidays, in 1999, was our Norwegian cruise to the land of the Midnight Sun.




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