Wednesday, 28 October 2009


I thought it might be a nice option to look at the various layouts of marina's on the system.

As my boat is moored on the Trent & Mersey I started there. However I was disappointed to only get as far as the new Mercia Marina before google maps and ran out of recent images. Mercia is still the trout lake and there is no sign of Great Heywood marina at all !

So these few will do for now - still interesting to see the different layouts. - can you ID them - pretty easy really.

I regularly consider going into a marina. Its interesting that when we first looked there were waiting lists for most - now all seem to have vacancies - even Kings Bromley which is still one of my favourites.

The cost puts me (us) off as does having a potential view of someone else's boat from 6 inches away. At least we have a view 24/7 on our linear mooring.

So we don't have water and electricity to our boat, but as I've blogged about before that would be too much like living at home. I like being on my boat to feel like a balance of resource use v's comfort and cost. After all when we eventually do go extended cruising we will not have the connections and have to protect and be aware of our resources.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Biggest Midland Chandlers on my doorstep

What good news - the biggest Midland Chandlers is being built at Mercia Marina - 10 minutes from my front door !!

Read the Derby Evening telegraph story here

The grass roof is a nice touch. See my upcoming post about marinas - by the time the new build is up Google may have at last got the latest images loaded so I can actually see the marina.

My shopping list for when it opens is ......
  • Bath (after I remove the pump out loo)
  • Decent cassette toilet to replace the pump out one
  • Fresh water gauge
  • Larger inverter
  • Espacher or some form of water boiler / heater
But the boat needs painting first


Engine hours

For my records really - We filled up at Streethay with 262.7 on the engine hours clock.

I had a big bill as we filled up plus 2 x 20 litre Jerry cans gas and a pump out. A Nicklesons brought the bill to about £140 !

I'll top up the diesel tank next time aboard to keep the condensation at bay.


Sunday, 25 October 2009

What a difference a day makes

Friday late afternoon - warm sunshine

Saturday late morning - rain and wind

We can't complain, Friday was fantastic and the cruise back to our mooring on Saturday was really peaceful in the warm(ish) autumn rain. It was pretty uneventful until we got to junction lock.... we arrived just before an ownerships boat reversed back into the junction and winded to go Burton way and then a boat came onto the junction from the Coventry. Kept the many gongoozlers happy.


Friday, 23 October 2009

Out in fantastic autumn weather

A last minute change of plan meant instead of North Wales we got onto Waterlily with the added bonus of friends John and Carrie from Scotland plus their two collies joining us for an overnighter.

We got to the boat just after lunch time Thursday, previously John and Carrie had been with us going south through Burton and onto the other Weston on Trent. We thought we would show them the other side of Fradley for this trip.

As it was a last minute plan to meet up we needed more food so we took Waterlily down to Alrewas to shop and wind.

The weather was very changeable and we started off in sunshine but ended up getting back almost in the dark and having sat out heavy rain in Alrewas.

There was a perfect rainbow behind us as we came back up the cut.... shame I did not have a wide angle lens.

A beery night ensued, with poor John and Carrie not getting too much sleep thanks to the smoke alarm and Co2 detector giving out low battery warnings.

Today (Friday) was perfect autumnal cruising weather and we made the most of it by cruising up to Kings Bromley marina and winding.

This is where we are now..... very rural and quite - just heard an Owl and while I was fishing in the last light a Kingfisher did a fly past. Perfect

Rachel and Leia at Woodend Lock

John very expertly skippering Waterlily. He did perfect wind - skills not forgotten from our trip a few years back to Stratford.

We walked John and Carrie back to Fradley and now having fished showered and eaten we are relaxing in a lovely warm boat. Leia is absolutely knackered - she has just slept all evening - see the little video for the reason why !!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

What a load of cr@p

I have ..........

It is 'I' rather than 'we' I'm ashamed to say.

In March I set a rather late New Years resolution to declutter I had an initial spurt but living got in the way, the way it does. Anyhow this week we have been off and been working through the house. We spent a good couple of days in the garden and then the shed(s) and garage got sorted. We now have a skip full on the drive waiting to go.

It even extended to the office and computer when the rain came. I not have quite a few items running on eBay if anyone is interested, including a nice little 12v Pace satellite box - just like Sue's from No Problem

It is very therapeutic, and I still have not replaced my wind up alarm clock - this is my reminder to use what I already have rather than buying more 'stuff'.

I'm starting to not like 'stuff'

It is the reason I like the boat. No space for excess, everything has a place (within reason) My garage/shed on the boat is a little smaller but gets me by - I do have a tool box in the wardrobe !

Hopefully get on the boat at some point this week - I might try and return to a hot fishing spot I found when we came back from Leek earlier in the year.


Saturday, 17 October 2009

Two wheel credentials plus spot the boaty birthday present

After reading Halfies blog about his bike and blogging myself about my preferred transport here I'd like to present my garage of two wheel exotica....

Two things to note....

Spot the alarm so no trying to nick my P&J's

Spot the birthday present from Rachel to me - boaty for sure.....see who's quickest to spot it !


Here it is.....

Jointed tiller arm for the semi trad back end - no more limboing under the tiller to get off the boat.

Friday, 16 October 2009

It's the journey not the destination

How true of narrowboating. When I tell people at work I am going to Leek or Macclesfield for a holiday they look at me as if feeling sorry for me.

Owning a canal boat is about the journey -that's what makes so many blogs interesting. There is so much to see and at a pace to enjoy it. It also says something about me I think - my other modes of transport are motorcycle and bicycle, both in my mind more about the getting there than the there itself.

It gets bigger - get the beer out or light the spliff, this is meaning of life stuff. People should live their lives as if it is a journey, experience all that they meet and embrace it. All too often we are sold the destination which is in many cases unobtainable crap when we get there and detracts from enjoying the journey of life.

I have the ultimate respect for those who have taken the decision to follow their instincts and take to the cut full time, I'm sure at times there is doubt the decision was the right one - especially in the middle of dark wet winter, but then again those doubts would still be there if the decision had not been taken.

On a related note I spoke with some liveaboards while watering up after out last trip out. They were slowly heading back to Milton Keynes for the winter, the reason - it never got really dark - around there there is so much light pollution and it helped apparently over the winter. I never really thought of it like that - I'd like to think I'd embrace the dark, but only if I felt safe wherever I was moored?

Have a good weekend


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Bloggers KPI....

Key performance indicator - 10,000 hits in 20 months. I do like to think some people read my ramblings and the fact I have hit this milestone is pleasing and most agreeable to me.

Andrew on Granny Buttons recently blogged about blogging and cited 100 active boat blogs, at the same time I was musing over the fact my blog roll is getting more and more stagnant. There have been some good bloggers just stopped but more importantly many seem to be getting less frequent. I'm sorry but that is just not acceptable. I need to read about people on the cut, I don't mind if it is of the got up, cruised, saw some stuff, went to bed type blog I like reading and thinking of you lot out there enjoying the canals, vicarious canal cruising is what I need. Its great that Bruce in Sanity has taken to posting pictures, I like to see as well as read (something about a picture being worth a thousand words... ) please make them clickable so I can see all the detail.... I think I'm getting very demanding.

I have to agree with Andrew on the range of topics and general good read, plus photo's on Halfie's blog Always a regular read and a regular blogger to, imagine what we'll get when Halfie get his own boat...Plus now I find out he is a keen cyclist. That's right up my street having got rid of one of our two cars which means I either have my motorbike or my cycles. I really must get my Brompton onto the boat.

Nev take a bow

I have in the past taken a small swipe at the arguing that goes on over on the forums.

To add balance there are some genuine people on there who do want to help. Follow this link and be amazed how the internet plus willing people can make a difference.

When Holly the hire boat was stolen they also geared up an went looking and I think it was one of the members who spotted the boat being painted and she was recovered.

Just think what a word we would live in if everyone did a bit more to help each other out.

If one thing comes from the period of austerity that we are headed for/in now I hope it is a different focus - one that is more neighbourly and less "I'm all right Jack" less political correctness and a less litigious society. If these things come out of the recession at least I won't feel so bad having left my children this mess by my excesses.

Off for a rest now.....


Monday, 12 October 2009

Seasons on the cut

I am restless - not being on my boat but reading some of the excellent blogs of the continuous cruisers enjoying autumn on the cut.

It got me thinking about the seasons of the cut and which is my favorite. It has to be autumn, as the canals take on a serenity that matches how I like to feel. No hustle and bustle, no loud talking as people sit out late into the evening, peace and quite. I also like deep winter, not the wet and cold type but the deep frost and clear crisp days with wood smoke rising straight up from boat chimneys, but then there are frozen canals, great until some intrepid boater comes bursting through

I like summer the least mainly because the canals get so busy - I suppose this links to my last post about why I like boating - I like the solitude. I think this could be a reaction to my day job.... I may need the services of a clinical psychologist ...Mmmm well there is the cheese boat, the fudge boat, how about the clinical psychologist's boat Bruce?

No photos recently so I have indulged myself with a few from our recent trip down the Birmingham and Fazely canal. In reverse order....

This is on the last leg from Streethay to Fradley Junction. The leaves were filling the canal and coming down like confetti - just does not show up so well on the photo.

We were just past Whittington on the Coventry, these cows were enjoying the canal, but not one was displaying a license !

Drayton bridge - the theme park was opposite. Next spring I'd like to use this as a reason to get my lads aboard for a trip to the theme park.

Now to sort out my remaining Caldon canal cruise photo's


Sunday, 11 October 2009

Sneeky hour blogging

Slow slow quick quick slow.... on the blogging front.

60 plus hours working this week so I finished a little earlier and took the bike out to progress the boat painting investigation.

Stenson boat builders had gone home at 3.40 pm so they missed out on over £4,000 worth of business. I called in to Aqua narrowboats and had a great chat with Justin (who responded to my questions about boat painting just after we brought Waterlily - and that was when he did not paint boats)

I liked his friendly approach and he recognised Waterlily and my blog - first one ever to do that so another tick in the box. Biggest thing was I did not get the feel this was a business working on canal time, more a business that understands what a customer looks like - I hope I am not disappointed if we go to Aqua for the boat painting.

Watch this space...

I carried on enjoying riding my bike and called at Waterlily for a check and drink and to blog as I had the time.....


Saturday, 10 October 2009

Why boat ?

Not sure the grammar of the title is correct but hey ho.... Why do we go boating might be more correct.

Can't recall who's blog it was that got me thinking why I have a boat, but I reflected on what aspect of boating ticked my box.

I am not an engineer so the oily bit it is not

I am not a historian or particularly interested in history so the history of the cut is not it

I am not an evangelist for restoring canals either (but I appreciate the work that goes into this)

My boat is not an old working boat restored or even a new boat built to look like an old boat

I do not dress up like a boatman of the 18th Century

I do it because it enables me to meet people and visit my country see my country see the industry go fishing drink beer and wine but above all I relax on my boat. I don't even have to move it to feel good about it. The fact I am able to spend close quality time with Rachel, working as a team depending on each other for living is fantastic

Unrelated but an significant factor is I like the feeling of being independent of the expectations of society..... sounds daft but the fact we could cut and run no debt some money in the bank no job to give me anxiety is a real factor in why I enjoy my boat.

what about you ?


Friday, 9 October 2009

Old boats v's new boats

I'm not sure if I had the money I'd buy one of the apartment boats that seem to fill the boat mags and the shows.

Reading one of my many canal mags just released from the plastic I picked on an article about the Crick boat show (yep a bit behind on the reading) and was struck by the samey look of a lot of the boats.

Our boat is tidy but dated - I suppose it was the apartment boat of its day on reflection, but I like to feel I am not in an apartment or house but on the cut when aboard my boat. I like to have to put coal on the fire wash the pots by hand and do my number 2's in a bucket (ok not quite a bucket) It all adds up to feeling like I am away from the other life (not that that is so bad)

I have seen some boats that are built to look old which I suppose should my lottery tickets come up this weekend would be on my shopping list - ..... mmmm no I think I'd still go second hand.