Thursday, 23 October 2008

A base to build a dream off

Narrowboat Oakfield is  - well I think so as the base plate is down so that means Oakfield has been born. Bottle and Wozie say they have been getting to this stage for the last three and a half years. Respect for that amount of determination. I could not do it, I have little patience but this means I work hard in many ways to get what I want. If I think about the relative timescales between buying a good second hand boat and having one built - the former would be  my route every time. But I can understand someone wanting to spec the boat themselves, because that would give them exactly what they wanted and they would be happy with it ?

So onto my second thought for the day. Contentment with stuff ! I think I am getting old - some know it - I am now thinking it. Why, because I am contented with my stuff - in general (the Mac was an exception)  

I like my Motorbike, I like my car I like my boat I like my dog I like my house and I even like my job (and the love for my wife goes without saying) I even like my lads.....well until the leave the house in a mess. 

I think lack of hankering is a sign of old age......discuss??

P.S. If any rather rich Philanthropists are reading this I could be persuaded to upgrade most of my list :-)

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Trent and Mersey blocked

From my rather flippant post yesterday - an update

Text from the Derby Evening Telegraph

A 200-YEAR-OLD bridge could be demolished after a trailer smashed through it and plunged into the canal below.

And more than 50 holiday-makers face having to cancel their boat trips this weekend while the mess is cleaned up.

Fertiliser was dumped into the Trent and Mersey Canal at Stenson on Monday when a tractor and trailer tried to cross a brick bridge running over the waterway.

Part of the bridge, which is on a private road between two farmers' fields, collapsed as the vehicles passed over it.

This caused the trailer to swing down and disconnect from the tractor before crashing into the canal below at about 1.30pm.

Click here!

The tractor driver, thought to be a contractor, jumped from his cab and was unhurt.

The canal was blocked and British Waterways lifted the trailer from the water yesterday with a crane.

A round-the-clock clean-up operation is under way to clear the fertiliser from the canal.

British Waterways said it did not how long this would take but it was hoped the waterway could reopen by the end of the week.

The organisation also fears the bridge, which is a listed structure, may have to be knocked down if re-building it will not make it safe.

When a structure is listed, it means it is protected and any alterations respect its character. Demolition is allowed only after very careful consideration.

Caroline Killeavy, general manager for British Waterways, said: "The bridge is a listed structure, so if repair work cannot reconstruct the bridge to a safe, usable standard it may have to be knocked down entirely."

Mrs Killeavy said the fertiliser posed little threat to wildlife.

She said: "We caught the spill early and have been monitoring the water and can say there's very little chance of any risk to wildlife."

British Waterways said it would conduct a full investigation into how the accident happened.

But it did say the cause of the collapse was "due to the vehicle colliding with the parapets on the side of the bridge and the excessive load of the vehicle."

The combined weight of the tractor and trailer was 18 tonnes.

Police are not investigating further.

Marion Baldwin, company secretary for Midland Canal Centre, which runs Stenson Marina, said holiday-makers would be affected..

She said: "We get between 30 and 40 boats coming through the canal most days, so already there is quite a pile-up either side of the bridge.

"Not only that, but it doesn't look like the canal will be opened for at least a few days.

"We have over 50 people booked to use boats on the canal at the weekend and many of those will have to cancel because they just won't be able to get through.

"There's also a child's birthday party booked on one of the boats and that won't be able to go ahead, which is a real shame."

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Oh dear I do hope common sense prevails

Sue of NB No problem comments about a canal blockage quite near to where I live in Derby. Seems this farmer (or farm worker) took the bend on this notorious bit of canal too fast.
 One comment from the web pages of the Derbyshire evening telegraph read........

Can't read....can't wroight, but oi can droive a traaaac.... ARRRGHHHH!!! Splash! Glub! Glub!
Steve, Derby
commented on 20-Oct-2008 14:58

Made me laugh.....

There will no doubt be an H&S enquiry and follow up review - I hope they don't commit BW money (our money) on some expensive protection scheme for all canal bridges like they did after the rail crash when the Landrover driver fell asleep and crashed onto the train line?

For the full story and some video go to the BBC web site


Monday, 20 October 2008

Three men in a boat

Plus maybe a dog or two......

A plan is being hatched for a jolly lads cruise. A similar cruise was undertaken about 18 months ago on our share boat Sylph - in fact the last time I was ever on her. John Mick Tony and yours truly cruised up and down the Shroppie constrained by the stoppages. It was a great few days with copious amount of alcohol and much amusement.

The details are still in the planning stage but it may even unfold around a hire boat !

Watch this space


Do you need a Macintosh for the canals

Well, based on my first few days of ownership I think it may be an essential bit of kit. That'll be the Apple Macbook of course.........

The one I have is the black 2.4ghz (for those that are interested) and it is a very fine piece of kit, looks wise and performance wise. 

You may recall I commented on Maffie's woes with Vista Well being a life long Microsoft user (I did dabble with DR Dos once) I am very pleased and impressed with OSX (Leopard) However as I cannot make a simple migration I had to invest in Parallels for mac
as I used OneNote on my tablet PC at work for meeting notes. I have managed to completely replicate my tablet pc - complete with all its apps including OneNote and it runs just as fast - or faster than on the original. It is a fantastic piece of software. However I hope to migrate away over time to Evernote

This has much of what one note has but it also has a web link so it synchronises all notes on the web, my phone and also the mac - truly fantastic bit of software.

Maybe Bruce on Sanity could be tempted to run his GPS software under Parallels ? On a related note Bruce is investigating Geocaching - I can fully recommend it having just started myself. We found a cache at the bottom of Bosley locks on the Macclesfield when we were that way over the summer. It is a great way to add interest to a walk or even a cruise.

I'll let you know how I get on with the Mac, 


Should have said this post came via the Mac and Safari

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Caxton gets wet?

NB Caxton should by now be officially part of the floating boat community. So come on peeps give us a bloggy type wave to know all is well.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Woodend walk and another blogger spotted

Last post today ;-)

We went up the Trent & Mersey for Leia's (and my) walk rather than off down the Coventry as I could let Leia off with less chance of her meeting a suitor (she is in season) There are still a steady movement of boats, no doubt due in some part to the fact this area seems to have few restrictions under the stoppages.

I like autumn on the canals, most probably more than the other three seasons. The slow down of traffic and the type of traffic (more owners who do not have to be anywhere in a hurry compared to hire boaters who seem always to plan a much bigger journey than is necessary, but I'm sure we have all done it ). Plus the scenery is truly beautiful and humbling, nature has so much control and organisation. Nature seems so happy with the routine of the seasons.

We spotted Sanity mooring up at the junction, well Sheila seems to be working hard - no sign of Bruce. So I can now add them to bloggers boats seen on the cut.


My changes to the boat

Plenty of blog posts at the moment - taking note of Andrews (Granny Buttons) advice in his post here......

I purchased a pipe thermostat off Ebay some while ago and as we have not had the need for the stove it has sat in my on board 'Shed'

I like to see the inners of other peoples boats so get posting .

Anyhow last time I was on Waterlily overnight I wired in the thermostat. I set it as best I could but to a hottish pipe. Today I lit the fire after the boat safety check and left it to see if the thermostat switched on the pump at a reasonable temp - it worked perfectly. It has switched on and off about half a dozen times today with a smallish fire going so it it working as I expected. It means we can leave the system to look after itself overnight.

Another little job done.


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

In May I posted our introduction of Leia to the world see here I thought you may like to see her now she is a little more grown up.

She loves the boat and relaxes very quickly when we come aboard - she has certainly found her place in front of the fire !

She still has ears that belong to another dog.

She is waiting for a walk at the moment - the weather is trying to brighten up - I think a walk down the Coventry might be in order this afternoon, it'll help me walk off my dinner.


Four more years........She passed

Well that is another tick in the box of boat ownership.Waterlily has passed her boat safety exam with flying colours today.

All in all a very easy and interesting process. Jeff Greatwood did the examination, I would certainly recommend him, he was very friendly and informative. He answered my many questions and took me through what he was doing and looking for. He commented my gas install was very good, which was what I wanted to hear as I had had Whilton marina replace the gas pipes when Waterlily was purchased.

In fact, on reflection, choosing Waterlily on her specification - not too technical system wise but enough for all year cruising in comfort was a wise decision, well done us !

So she got a clean bill of health on her engine service and inspection and the same for her boat safety. Don't you just know something is lurking, or it that me being too pessimistic?

So now its just cruising we have to do - that and getting her repainted, but that is as much down to a strict savings regime as getting the right person to do it - any recommendations?


Tuesday, 14 October 2008


The only small issue with my mooring is the lack of wireless or 3g for browsing while on board. If I look at the coverage maps its hard to gauge if I should be getting 3g. According to 3 I should and Vodafone is not sure... I am on Vodaphone so I can reliably say there is no 3g at Hunts lock on Vodafone.

It got me thinking that we (boaters) should share our knowledge of signals on mobile broadband on the canal. if I was any good I'd write a web site detailing it but I'm not so I won't.

Anyhow for the record Vodafone is not good at Hunts lock - anyone got a 3 mobile or modem to let me know if it's worth me spending 50 quid to get a back up 3 3g dongle??


To Mac and beyond.....

Maffi is having problems with computers - or rather the operating system on computers . I have some sympathy as I've been mucking about with Vista/xp/linux/OSX (yes the Mac system) on my ultra portable Sony TZ I have tried all - except the OSX version would not start on the Sony - but I really did not fiddle enough with it. I do actually like messing with computers it's the way I have taught myself. However I share the frustration of Maffi over Vista, it really feels top heavy. Also moving between Vista and XP is a trial due to drivers for the specific functions of the laptop.

I have messed until I got frustrated to the point I am waiting for a Mac as I'm reliably informed these are the dogs danglies. Bruce on NB Sanity seems to get by on one very well,

I'll let you know when the posts come from the Mac


Sunday, 12 October 2008

One down one to go

Waterlily's yearly service and inspection has just been completed by RCR (River Canal Rescue) Very pleasant and friendly engineer did it and answered all of my questions. I have subsequently took some photos of the parts he used to complete the service (bleed points for fuel etc) as I think I'll do it next year. The cost should have been £160 but as I supplied a fuel filter it was £150. It is piece of mind but I think it is something I want o do to make me even more self sufficient and judging by what I watched it should be something I can do.

I would recommend RCR, very friendly and efficient.

For the record the engine had 111 hours on the clock, I'll use this to look back this time next year (all being well) to see how many hours we managed. I put the engine counter on earlier this year so its not a bad guide to the cruising we have done in 2008.

I booked the inspection with the service as I have the boat safety exam on Wednesday. This is the 4 year MOT. The RCR engineer said the engine and fuel system should pass. The gas system was replaced when we brought the boat as the survey said it was a poor install, so I am hopeful the exam should be OK and by his time next week we will be OK for servicng and other systems for the next year - always a good feeling.

The longer I own Waterllily the more I feel I know her which is confidence inspiring.

I'll post some details on the exam next week........


It is a beautiful day shame I have to return home to 'garden' !!

Saturday, 11 October 2008


I recently read about a boat yard planning on not selling diesel to pleasure craft after the 1st November on Jo's Hadar blog I think this is short sighted. I can understand that it may be more paperwork, but I tend to plan my fill ups with pump out and gas. I also always seem to buy something from the chandlery when paying for my diesel. So Canal Cruising at Stone (no link on purpose) I hope you realise over time your decision is a little short sighted. If all boat yards or hire fleets followed the same approach our only option would be to buy remotely and bring it to the boat, just think of the mishaps and the pollution as we try and do our own fill ups ??