Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Teeth and resprays

Nothing canal related. Having checked my extensive list of RSS feeds for canal updates and there not being many I thought I'd at least post something (even if its drivel)
So the aching tooth is no more. I had it taken out today. Dentist got a right sweat on getting it out as its roots were twice as big as he expected so I have a large hole in my gums now :-(

I am hoping for a bigger than normal payout from the tooth fairy based on its size (yes i did bring it home) Remember the Brompton - still very much enjoying riding it. Here is the link to the 'converters'. I used it to get across Derby to the dentist today in just 11 minutes, I'm sure I could not have done it quicker in the car.
I am thinking of getting my Ducati resprayed. The tail cowling fell of it the other day and is now nicely scratched to bits so rather than just get that resprayed back to blue I fancy a proper red Ducati - like this ......

Anyway, no more drivel - I'll get onto the collection of Waterlily next.....

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Mercia Marina update

True to his word Robert Neff the new marina manager sent the information pack for the new marina. I think the costs are too high for us and the thought of being in such a large community, albeit of boaters, does not appeal. So for now we will stay put on our very rural home moorings.

There is an open day over the May bank holiday weekend. Also Robert has invited me down at any time to meet him, which I intend to do.

I still have reservations about the number of marina being built on the T&M see my post about it earlier Not so much about marina as I think they are better than long lines of moored boats. I do enjoy boats moored on the cut as I am very nosey and I also think they maintain the character of the canal, but they should be less long lines - anyone doing the Shroppie north of Market Drayton will know what I mean.

I just hope the proliferation of marinas on the T&M and BW's one in ten rule don't impact on my mooring - I hate the sight of blood, no so bad when its not my own !


Unexpected blast.....

As I arrived home last night my next door neighbour was doing the same and suggested it was a fine evening for a ride out on the bikes (Motorbikes that is) So as he had not seen my boat we decided a run to Fradley was in order.

We went via Ashbourne and the A515. He had new tyres on his bike so we took it relatively slowly (Ha) It was a fine run. When we got to Fradley Junction the pound above Hunts lock was about half full and emptying. Some prat had left the bottom gates open and not fully shut the top paddles. In fact they had left the lock in as bigger mess as you might imagine, gates open and paddles up, just thoughtless and dangerous for the fish in the pound above the lock. We sorted it with the help of another boater on the moorings.

A faster blast back down the A38 saw a new record of boat to house set........

These unexpected visits are great - we had a coffee on the boat and a walk up to the Swan - no beer as we were on the bikes. Fradley was superb, just as I like it, all the excitement of the day lost and a few gongoozlers left, people drinking at the pub tables and a few boats on the moorings cooking their tea. (I still have breakfast, dinner and tea) All in all a very tranquil and relaxed scene, only problem was I had to leave the boat. No Problem as I intend to commute from the boat a few times over the summer to enable me to drink in the atmosphere of a Fradley Junction evening........

So, just need a summer now?


Saturday, 19 April 2008

Posting from the canal

Yep, we are out on Waterlily this weekend. As she was facing south and we arrived a little later than expected on Friday, we ambled down to Branston waterpark on Friday afternoon. we were mainly headlong into a very brisk and cold easterly wind. It made boat handling tricky but we managed ok until mooring when I got the boat across the cut after changing my mind about mooring locations at the last minute. Two guys came off their boats and helped pull her in against the wind - much appreciated.

Last time we tried the bridge pub at Branston it was empty and not serving food. This time it was the opposite - full, very full. We then realised the menu was pizza or pasta. we stuck it out only to be given a table (6 seater) with four guys out for a loud Friday night drink. we advised our hosts that it was just too noisy and left. The landlady was very nice about it. The pub is very small and needs to segregate its eating and drinking......

we retired back to the boat and ate..............pasta and drank our own wine, much better atmosphere and much cheaper. We tried to watch a DVD but we were both worn out - some late nights earlier in the week.

Today (Saturday) we were planning a trip to Willington, but further cold wind changed our mind. We winded at Jannell boat yard and took on some diesel 68p per litre and coal £7.85 per 25kg bag ( have put these in to remind me what I paid in time to come....)

There is very little moving on the cut - passing Barton turns I counted 9 Shakespeare boats moored up, another boater told me there would be 4 more near the new pub. To contradict myself we then met three boats at Wychnor. Rachel took the tiller for the river section back to Alrewas and skippered excellently in the wind.

We are now moored up just after bridge 46 in Alrewas, the boat is toasty warm and we are about to enjoy a veg curry with beer/wine. No TV tonight as I couldn't be bothered with setting the satellite dish up so its Classic FM on the DAB and a book or maybe a DVD later...... I'll read this at work next week and wonder why I haven't retired (very early) yet.


Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Mercia Marina

I recently left a post on Andrew Denny's Grannybuttons blog criticising Mercia Marina for not following up on my requests for an information pack about their new marina in Willington.

Well top marks for the new marina manager Robert Neff (the same Robert Neff who left Priory marina) who picked up on the comment and made contact - a pack is in the post.

This bodes well for Mercia as Robert comes with a pedigree - not least someone who uses the internet to communicate. I am sure Andrew will be impressed.

Good luck Robert, now lets just see if the pack arrives and how competitive the berth prices are......

Monday, 14 April 2008

The Whilton experience

Whilton is the subject of a discussion on Canal World discussion forum at the moment. We purchased Waterlily from them. I would say that at all times they were friendly and professional.

Anyhow, we had sold Comet and sold our share in Sylph and were very keen on Waterlily. I had sorted out the funding for the purchase - it was just down to the survey. At this time we had done some haggling on the price and got a couple of thousand off the boat subject to survey - that is what I had thought.

We got in touch with Balliol Fowden who did the survey on Comet and between us we arranged for a date to get the survey done.

I was a little annoyed when I turned up at Whilton to be told the boat had already been out of the water. This frustration was tempered a little by the news the base plate was actually 10mm not the 8mm Whilton were quoting. Balliol spent some time taking me through the issues with the boat and spent some time discussing the issues around the engine.

A few days later we received the survey. Main problem was the gas installation was poor - would not pass the BSC and the stove has a superficial crack in the back edge. There was also some surface rusting on some of the cabin welds. Not a bad survey, basically a sound boat.

This is when I had some disagreement with the salesman at Whilton. I went back and offered a lower amount based on the works being needed. Whilton man said he had told me that the offer they had accepted was final and they would not take a lesser offer post survey - he suggested this had been explained to me, something I certainly did not recall.

The boat was for sale due to the death of her owner and his widow was selling it. Whilton told me they has taken a hit on their commission in order to accept the lower offer I had made. I would like to think this was the case as I did not wish to take advantage of the position. I eventually took a pragmatic view and went through with the purchase of the boat and arranged for Whilton to fix the gas installation prior to collection.

Waterlily was ours
Owning a narrowboat was a long term plan, we had achieved it much earlier than expected. I picked up a chronic condition a few years ago that changed my outlook on life. Nothing life threatening but life changing. I made my mind up to live as much for today without impacting on other family lives too much. I have never regretted buying Waterlily early. She is expensive to own and a large depreciating asset, but the enjoyment we get owning her is bigger than any monetary value.
So we started to plan the collection, little did we know we were going to collect her in the middle of one of the worst storms in recent memory.........

Saturday, 12 April 2008

It was an Abbott self propelled gun actually

It was still a buzz to drive.

We spent a few days at our friends (John and Carrie) farm house in Scotland. On the Monday we drove over to Galloway tanks and took the Abbott self propelled gun for a spin.

We all had a go. For our sins Carrie and me were passengers when Tom, our eldest son, had his go. He was encouraged to give it some and we got roundly bounced around as a result.

Tom in action below.....

We went for a lovely walk on the Tuesday - about 6 miles from Portpatrick. This part of southwest Scotland is very remote and does not get many visitors - so its very attractive for people like me, who like nothing more than empty roads and friendly but limited people contact.

A few pics from the walk on the Tuesday....

It was so sunny we all got a little burnt - roll on the summer.

Now Waterlily and the Whilton experience........

Monday, 7 April 2008

No boats but tanks today......

I'll give a much fuller account later, but today I was mostly driving this bad boy......

Anyone care to guess what it actually is?