Monday, 26 May 2008

Leia update

Leia is settling in very well, and the really good news is that the cat is accepting her. Yesterday they were sniffing each other and the cat meows at her rather than hisses - its great they look like getting along. Tamsin was in the garden with her yesterday which is great. The other cats bully Tamsin - so we are hoping the dog in the garden will keep the other cats out.

We are still house training Leia - which means breakfast and plenty of cups of tea and coffee in the garden while she does her stuff. Here she is with me (excuse the dressing gown) sitting in the summerhouse (still being built)
The first is her trying to work out where the camera sound is coming from - the second is me laughing at her reaction and her trying to lick my face. The images are from the web cam on the laptop as I'm blogging in the garden today.
It'll be another couple of weeks before she can go out for walks on the local park.
Now some boating stuff......

Carpets grass and fast boats

We took the Saturday sunshine as a cue to get to Waterlily for some carpet cleaning. The carpets were not bad but it was nice to freshen them up after our first years ownership. The first years ownership was reminded to me by the renewal notes for RCR and the insurers.

While Rachel did the carpets I did BW's job of trying to get the grass down. Last year they were very good and cut the moorings a few times. This year nothing. I did ask one f their guys who said he would talk to his boss......... He would have done it there and then but he was getting close to his 3 hours mowing and due to vibration he could mow no more..I really really hate this H&S bulls**t. I accept there should be common sense because we all have that and those with less, well that's natural selection for you !

In the end I only got half done - as the strimmer gave up and the spool just fell apart leaving a birds nest of line to play with.

One thing I do notice mooring near a lock landing is the speed of boats. Now I do not get all irate about this. I have better things to get irate about - but it did get me thinking that those boaters who do chastise people for their speed, this is their frustration breaker - indicative of the level and pace of issues in their lives- I hope that when I get on the cut full time ish I refrain from diluting my frustrations to such a level. Anyhow I notice the boats speed more because so many throttle down for the lock landing - and they have just passed a good 12 moored boats.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Twenty questions

Andrew Denny recently starred in the 20 questions feature at the back of Canal boat magazine. He has suggested other bloggers less famous than himself provide their 20 answers - so here goes,

  1. Trent and Mersey
  2. Grand Union (I do not like wide locks) but I am sure there will be others worse that I have yet to travel on
  3. Rachel, my ever so forgiving wife
  4. Fox Evil by Minette Walters (if you do not count the ever present Nicholsons by the bed)
  5. Dusk at Fradley when the gongoozlers have gone and the rod and beer are out
  6. Anyone who thinks they have more right to be on the canals than another - especially some of the 'experienced' boaters who have no tolerance for the learners
  7. 1960's - all the free love etc........
  8. Stockton marina 2005 - just getting onto the stern, Rachel popped her head out of the door and I missed my footing and lowered myself into the cut - right at the end of the holiday !
  9. Fireman - might still get a blue light for the top of the boat !
  10. Have a lot bigger house
  11. The informed few
  12. Getting the rod out - that'll be the fishing rod
  13. No more boats or marinas, selfish or what
  14. Your staff in the main do a great job - your job is to allow them to keep doing it
  15. Windows - why would anyone want to restrict the view
  16. Cassette, appeals to the scrooge in me - but we have both for flexibility
  17. Canals - that's why my boat is narrow
  18. Ideally upright and moving......
  19. Two well capable sons and a loving marriage
  20. Ability to bring a smile to people's faces

Saturday, 17 May 2008

I think a boat needs a dog .......

Say hello to Leia.....

She is a 12 week old rescue pup. We are not sure about her make up - one of the shelter staff said she was a Collie and the other said a Collie cross. Whatever, she is a lovely little dog.

We have had to take her to the vets today as she has a cough and as we suspected it is kennel cough. It seems it is mild and she has some antibiotics.

She cannot go public until she has had her second set of injections in a couple of weeks time so for now she has the house and the back garden - no boat yet. That may not be a bad thing. It will allow us to settle her in first.

The cat..... you may remember we tried with Tess an older rescue dog but she was a terrier and straight away went for Tamsin. So far so good with Leia, she is just interested in the cat and the cat has done her hissing and growling bit which put Leia off. They should get on, we expect never the best of friends, but who knows?

Leia - is from Princess Leia, Star Wars , so........

Breed chosen by Rachel, Theme for the name by Callum, Name By Thomas and I chose the dog - so a family effort as it should be.

Lets hope she enjoys boating as much as we do.


Thursday, 15 May 2008

New crew member on the way......

Those who have read the blog will be aware we want another dog..........

See tomorrow for some pics - maybe,


Sunday, 11 May 2008

Sunny Sunday

Well it was just too nice not to be at the boat.

We got to Fradley around 2ish and it was very busy. I wanted to fit a hour counter as the one on the tacho was not working. I have brought a digital one off ebay. Only problem was I needed to cut a 2" hole to fit it. I had brought a B&Q set but as suspected it was not up to the job. I need something a little more heavy duty - so it will go back to B&Q for a refund.

I swapped over the two toggle switches on that controlled the front light and bilge. Where they are located they were getting switched on by peoples bums as they lent against the side of the boat. I had brought a couple of "pull to make" switches heavy duty stuff - they went in well and the bilge now works as I swapped it with another that was on the boat. The bilge is nice and dry - there is a bucket that catches the drips from the overflow on the water cylinder - the bilge pump lives in there so it will make emptying it a lot easier. I expect the last bilge burnt out by being accidentally turned on - should not happen now.

Did a little canoeing before we left - I think the one I have at the boat is a little too sporty, it does not feel too stable - I have another I'll take over next time.


Friday, 9 May 2008

My other Carp (the Penkridge one)

This was my best and most enjoyable fish (before the Fradley carp....... )

Note the scene, landing net in the water, whip and rake !!.........
We had moored just below lock 38 in Penkridge opposite static caravan park. Rachel and the other crew had gone into Penkridge and left me fishing. we were on the 4 counties and the maggots had run out so I was fishing sweetcorn and bread pellets. Not much happening so I trotting /9as much as you can on the canal) about 18 inches from the bow of the boat, when rather slowly the float went under and bang I was playing a large carp, I was on a 4 meter whip (see picture) with a lightweight bottom 16 hook to 3.2 or 4LB line - only problem was did not have a a landing net - no excuse just poor planning.
I played the fish for about 20 minutes , just managing t0 turn it every time it went on a run, it tired and my only plan was to hold it to the armco and then get into the canal to lift it out....... I was desperate not to loose the fish, as soon as I lent down to it it gave one last kick and snapped me.....Aaaaarrgghhh, I nearly burst into tears.
I opened a beer and calmed down (those who do not fish will think how daft this sounds....) I tackled up - same hook etc and started again - within 5 minutes same again, different fish, the one above, which I think was slightly smaller.
I played this for some time, this time getting off the boat and walking up the canal with the fish. About 20 yards up the canal were a couple of guys fishing from their ma's caravan and they noted the action. The watched for a few minutes and then I told them I did not have a landing net - they were true fishermen, recognising a fantastic canal fish. One of the guys said he would throw their (his mates) landing net - his mate was not too enthusiastic about this. The first guy was confident and launched it like a javelin and plop it went into the cut by the armco. His mate was less than impressed . Not to be put off he said he would send over his ma's hoe to fish out the landing net. The hoe being heavier made it (just missing me - remember I was still playing my dream fish and praying for a boat NOT to come along)
I then used the hoe to fish out the landing net and then used the net to land the fish - pleased, you bet. Rachel came along just in time to take the pic. When we moved off I returned the gear to my new fishermen friends (who were now fishing with sweetcorn !) with some cans of beer in there for their help.
I actually told this story to the local paper and they published it with the picture above in - a real claim to fame.
I think fish like these are quite frequent in the cut - I have certainly been broke a few times and now tend to use rod and line rather than a whip or pole.
Tight lines,

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Seems the boat has been found

The full story is not yet known - I'll post an update if anymore info comes


Perfect day.....Carp

Well after 4pm that is......

It was just too nice not to be on the boat so I finished work a little early and took the bike to the boat. I intended fitting two new switches for the bilge and headlight - they are the paddle type and keep getting knocked on by crews bums, so I have brought some pull to make types. Anyhow when I got to Waterlilly I remembered I had taken the switches home last time -for what reason I do not know.

So fishing was the only option.

When I had boarded the boat there was an large splash between the armco and the bow fender of Mable, initially I thought it was a duck but nothing surfaced so it must have been a large fish - Carp or Pike

I had taken a couple of slices of bread so I started with bread plugs fished under a float. No action for the first hour. I thought I saw a swirl as a fish came to the surface so I threw in a couple of 1" square bread flakes - to my amazement a few minutes later a large carp came up and sucked the bread down. My float was on a couple of rubbers so I took it off and removed the weights and put a flake of bread on a free line and dropped it where the carp had just taken the bread. It came again and took my bait and it was game on.....

I only had a 16 hook on a 3.2LB line so it took it very steady, also I had not got my landing net made up........aaargh Luckily the owner from "Such as Life" saw the rod bending and came over. He made my landing net up and after about another 10 minutes she came to the net. A fantastic fish of 14-15LB caught on really light tackle. I have seen John Wilson and others catch carp like this so it was very exciting and satisfying to catch such a fine fish.

The was a small audience watching me land the fish so a little pressure.

I have fished my mooring a few times now and caught next to nothing - this beauty certainly made up for that...... the evening drew in and Fradley was , as ever, a perfect place to be. Shame I had to leave the boat as I have to be in Cardiff in the morning.......

Perfect day

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Stolen boat from Sawley

On the off chance and to spread the word..... have you seen this boat?

Details about its theft below.

It's a Louis & Joshua 60' trad with an upstand in front but no cover.

It has all portholes, is navy blue on the gunnels and has a green centre panel.

The hull is I think a Jonathon Wilson, the boat's name is Truculent and it had Louis & Joshua No 48 on it.

It was stolen from Sawley Marina they think early hours of Monday, and though it's thought to have headed for the T & M no-one really knows where it was going.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

One more visit

As the weather was so nice yesterday afternoon, and Rachel was our with her mum, I took the opportunity to combine a couple of passions and took the scenic Ashbourne route to Waterlily on my Ducati.

It was a fine run out, with lots of other bikes out and about. Fradley was heaving with gongoozlers as expected, so I got to the boat and set to to try the starter battery. Went first time with seemingly lots of charge in the battery.

Now on Sunday morning I reconnected the Adverc battery management system. When we had the boat serviced at the end of last year the engineer suggested disconnecting the system as he advised it was more suited to continuous cruisers who ran the engines every day to charge the batteries and the system maxed the charge to the batteries to minimise the time the engine needed running. On reflection - I think this is only one aspect of the system as when connected it seemed to recover the started battery very well?

Anyhow I have topped up all the four batteries (3 x 11o ah leisure and one starter) I'll monitor them and see how we go. I also checked the weedhatch - a bugger of a job as its well under the counter and difficult to get at. Having not checked it since last years 4 counties it was good to find just a few bits of fishing line and some week on it.

On Sylph we used to check the weedhatch every day and it always has something on it!

So a few jobs done I returned home to mow the lawns - the fact I had the worlds largest garden at my disposal and one I did not have to tend, was not lost on me while I was mowing my lawns at home !

Now a fantastic week and no excuse to get on the boat, I don't think that will stop me......


Sunday, 4 May 2008

Sun and rain - and a flat starter battery

So we decided to go to the boat -even for a 24 hour period as we had to be in Chesterfield today for a family birthday.

A quick pack and an even quicker shop (which included a pint of mixed maggotts) and we were at Waterlily for 1pm ish yeaterday. As the owners of Elizabeth next mooring were planning some grinding work we decided that we would bite the bullet and go up through Fradley locks for an overnight in the sticks.

Apart from the fact the boat would not start - click,click, click suggested a poorly battery. we jumped it from the leasure batteries and got going..........

We had a good run up the locks for a bank holiday Saturday. We cruised on to a remote mooring between Kings Bromley and Armatige. It was a lovely evening and a few hours fishing and some nice food were a perfect end to the day.

We hit the sack very early for us - 10.30 pm as we wanted an early start. A duck sounding the alarm (no doubt a fox about) kept us awake early in the morning.

We got going about 8.30 (another jump start, so the battery is FUBARR'd) and took breakfast on the go. Both times on the trip as we approached Kings Bromley marina boats nipped out just on front of us. Not a issue to us but could be seen as bad manners to others.

Fradley was busier on our return. Junction lock is always a place for confusion and testing the boaters friendliness, as boaters from the T&M and Coventry come together at Junction or Middle lock.

Just as we were getting close to home we had to wait for a boat to come up Hunts lock. The boat was 'stuck' on the lower cill, I opened one of the top paddles to put some water under the boat and this worked - however the 'captain' gave franatic signals to drop the paddles (not needed as I was doing it anyway.) He then gave more frantic signals for me not to open the paddles when the boat was in the lock. I obliged and returned to my coffee on Waterlily.

As the top gate was opened he approached and offered his apologies, he had subsequesntly realised what I was doing lifting him off the cill - he had thought I was an enthusiatic 'canaltimer' - they do get some bad press, trying to rush him through the lock. No problem and it was nice to recieve both an apology and acknowleldgement I knew what I was doing.

We moored and did what we needed for a early pm departure.

I would have liked to have stayed out a little longer- say six years............