Monday, 27 December 2010

Having Granny for dinner.....

... took a drive/walk to Mercia marina yesterday and stopped off for a welcome food stop at the cafe/restaurant/tea room.

Anyhow in there for about five minutes when we met up with Andrew from Granny Buttons and was able to have a really enjoyable chat. We have conversed, agreed and disagreed about stuff but shared a common passion for the canals. He is the daddy when it comes to canal boat blogging so it was good to finally meet up and do the face to face communication thing.

Just a shame we did not get a photo, but it was good to chat. I will make time to visit Granny and get some ideas... the grandad was a little tired today.

Nev

What's the weather doing....

....not sure can't see cause of the fog !!



From the BBC web pages, at least its not snow or ice.

Might make for some interesting walks as I think the fog night or day makes for a very quite eerie atmosphere.

Take care

Nev

The only thing missing ......

Doing some window shopping to keep me entertained and I found this beauty....Clicky

As far as I can see the only thing missing is the dinette......oh and the £80,000 !!

Try and put me off this one ?

Nev

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas day - a trip to the boat

Rachel is working today, the health service does not have a Christmas break, in fact it is one of its busiest times.

My lads were both out last night so they are in bed sleeping off hangovers. So I took an 8am trip to Waterlily. The A38 has never been so quiet. I only saw 2 cars south bound all trip.

Took a bit of time to get the fire going today but it is now glowing hot and cooked breakfast has been consumed and now I am off for a walk before heading back for Christmas dinner with my mum.

Happy Christmas - as couple of Christmas day Fradley photos

Nev




Thursday, 23 December 2010

BW advice - run for cover...!

Just been emailed the latest BW boaters newsletter. Within it there is a section on how to cope with the cold weather.

Like most BW are struggling to cope with keeping services going in the really cold and snowey weather.

I did rather like this section...

"BW shares the view of the Residential Boat Owners Association (RBOA) that live-aboard boating is not for the faint-hearted – a message that they consistently promote at waterway events and on their website. Resourceful boaters will take cold weather challenges in their stride. We’d urge others to seek home comforts in more conventional types of accommodation during harsh weather. We also strongly recommend a visit to the RBOA’s website, www.rboa.org.uk for helpful cold weather tips.

BW offices will be closed from 2pm on 24th December until 8.00 am on 4th January. If you need to report a fault during this period, please call Freephone Canals on 0800 47 999 47. The call handler will take your details and you can expect a call from the local duty supervisor within an hour. The duty supervisor will ask you for information to help him or her diagnose the problem before they contact the relevant contractor."

Honest I feel and most probably good advice. I have left the second section on as it contains contact numbers for problems over the Christmas period.

Nev

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Walking on water

Only one bloke I know of did this successfully.......so who do these people think they are...?

Shallow end of the gene pool

A more appropriate warning is to those of us who have dogs - keep them on the long lead as they may well fancy their chances on the ice.

Nev

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Size does matter....

Not only does size matter but where you put it makes a big difference.

Ok, I'll stop the Frankie Howard stuff, I am referring to heating narrow boats. The owner who gave up on NBW said the following...

..."and no matter what people say a stove stuck at one end of a 58ft boat does little to keep it warm during freezing weather, when the diesel heater won't work"

I know some of the bigger boats have stoves at both ends which makes sense. It is perhaps a good time to own a smaller boat, easier to heat. Our stove is part way down the boat which helps with the heat balance, that and the rads off the back boiler.

However there is the puzzle of where the central heating water is going as I'm having to top it up on my recent visits. I have a suspicion it is a pipe that goes over the engine that has got a pin hole leak in it - something to investigate further this week when I can get over in daylight. Having taken the bed apart last night to get at the hot water tank I also need some more pipe insulation to replace the loft insulation the previous owner used.

O' and I have just received a flash weather warning fro snow from 3am in Derby Derbyshire and the south bound M1 corridor, so that will be me up at 5am then !!

Take care

Nev

Respect to you all

... that is those of you who are fronting it out on the cut. I was down at my boat the other night and spoke to a couple of the live-a-boards on our moorings. Their current best friend is their wheelbarrow. Moving water, gas diesel, wood, coal, food. Some of them are moored quite a way down from the locks and the cars so it is a real journey. They are getting through their fuel of choice at an alarming rate, one boater has used all but 7 of his 30 winter coal bags.

One of the real hardy boaters is still fitting out her boat whilst living aboard and it was -2c with the fire lit.

Interesting how this will affect the perception of living on the cut, three links to show the feelings and impacts...

Maffi

Narrowboat World

NB Windsong

Then there will be those boaters who will return to their boats in the spring to what level of damage... cost, inconvenience and time to repair will no doubt also impact on their resolve to stay on the cut.

For me its a challenge and I'd love to spend more time aboard. For sure I will be there over Christmas with my wheelbarrow !

Stay safe

Nev

(edited to add another casualty)

Monday, 20 December 2010

Having dark thoughts

.... all this travelling to and from to keep my floating investment safe and sound got me dreaming of gas or diesel central heating with timers and guaranteed heat when needed.

I took to seeing what could be retrofitted and ended up looking at new boats !!

Try and put me off this will you...



The reverse layout has some significant attractions as does the rest of the boat. I double fear I may be viewing it to add even more temptation to my existence

One small downside is the cost and more importantly the 'cost to change' even if they did do a part exchange scheme.



I looked at other boats that had recently been sold and fear my boat is worth a lot less that I would like, based o what we paid for It and what we have had done to it.

Ho hum..... let see if this desire fades quickly !

Nev

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Bringing power to a socket near you

- Unless you are off the grid.

Interestingly I had a lunch hour on Thursday and took a drive over to Sawley marina. All iced in against the backdrop of the power station on full bore giving us all the energy we want.






At my Uni we are being asked to look to coming off the grid and generating our own power as there is a known shortfall in future power planning. We get funding to do this. It made me wonder if liveaboards who were off the grid could\ should get the same smaller inducement?

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Friday Pub night



We visited Waterlily Friday evening after work, I picked Rachel up from work at 7 and we were lighting the fire aboard at 7.30 We got it all going then walked over to the Swan for food and beer. It was quite magical as it was snowing quite heavily. We went into the eating area which always seems not quite warm enough but the food was good as was the beer. We did not stay long as we were both tired having done long hours all week.

Saturday we did bugger all - and enjoyed it. The fact it was raining kept us indoors reading and sleeping, just what was needed.



Me sporting the tired haggard look, beer helped remove it.

Monday, 6 December 2010

-7c outside, freezing fog - lets go to the boat!

I have my multimeter on the window cill at home with its cable temp probe outside. It was -7 c at 7pm after we had eaten so we took the 'adventure' decision to go to the boat and warm it up to give the pipe work a chance.

This decision was in part informed by me reading stuff on canal.net about prepping the boat for winter. It occurred to me I had not 'opened' the water outlet to the loo meaning if we got ice there it would just burst the fitting meaning a new loo = expensive. I also picked up a recommendation to unscrew the shower hose. Why I had not thought of this before, especially as last year the shower mixer has to be taken apart and re sealed after ice did its bit.

When we got to Fradley it was very quiet and dark, quite spooky in fact, the fog and cold made for a very atmospheric location. One thing that was surprising was how much warmer it was there. I took the temp gauge with me and could only get 0c to -1c

Engine ran, it was after 8 but needs must and we only ran it to get some heat into the hot water tank plus some juice into the batteries. We left the fire on slow burn to keep the boat warm for the next 12 or so hours.

O - I dropped the multimeter into the cut whilst turning off the gas!

We will monitor the rest of the week.

Nev

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Attrition

Sad to read tonight that Heth and Dave from WB Takey Tezey are thinking/planning to give up the boat for possibly sunnier climes.

I can understand having been aboard Waterlily this weekend as well as home. The ease of living a connected life compared to that of getting it all yourself and therefore being reliant on the weather is stark. 1962 (the year I was born) was the end of freight on the canals due to an extended winter with frozen canals, I can see winters like last year and possibly the same or worse this year having a real negative effect on those that live aboard all year. It takes a certain type to front it out like Sue and Vic on NB No problem, iced in at Market Drayton on water rationing - hardy souls who have my full admiration.

Andrew Denny off NB Granny Buttons is bucking the trend by moving from his house to full time on board, ironic that he is iced in at Mercia, can't get away even if he wanted to.

I cannot see us ever living full time aboard, I plan for seeing most of the country by canal, Snecklifter was my inspiration, but when/if we do it it will be extended stays on board with trips home to hopefully somewhere by or close by the canal.

I suppose it is another indication of the cycles in life that people come and go into my focus because they have a common interest in boats, then they dissapear into their next phase of life leaving a little hole of memories.

Good night,

Nev

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Some times nature says stop

Whilst at the boat on Sunday I took Leia for a walk and met this boat coming down the flight. He was gunning it to break the thinnish ice between Keepers and Hunts locks. I can't imaging how much he gave it after Hunts as the canal was well frozen. There is a plastic cruiser that has been camped a few hundred yards from the lock and I feared for his hull.

The other annoying thing was there was a crew of 5+ and they had left all the bottom gates open. I shut the flight gates and had to let Chris on NB Belle know in case they had left common lock open after the problems this caused some times ago -see here


video

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Winter wonderland

I can only imagine what is must be like on the mooring :-(

About 6-8 inches and still snowing - I'm off to bed as I have to be up at 5.15am to see if we can open !

From our bedroom window


4.15 am

Not normally a time see much of. Wide awake checking flight and travel information. Rachel is flying to Glasgow this morning and I am due in work as the snow caller, to make sure our site is open and talk to the press office to give them the call that then goes to the local radio TV and onto the web. it is an important job and someone local who can walk to work has to do it - ME !!

It is snowing steadily at the moment and we have a forecast for heavy show all day and it could last three days.

So tea and make sure Rachel gets off ok then walk the dog and go to work all before 6am.

Lovely

A pic of Fradley on late Sunday

Nev

Monday, 29 November 2010

Running repairs

Last but one visit to Waterlily found the central heating pump not working. The pump is a little noisy so I feared the worst. However on further investigation I tracked the fault to a failed pipe thermostat I put into the system a couple of years ago One of the benefits of blogging is I know it was October 2008.

I went onto eBay and got an brand new one inc delivery for just over a fiver. Not sure how it can be made marketed shipped and profit taken but I have to presume it makes someone money.

As we will be leaving the fire in and pump on I did not want it running unnecessarily so I have just wired in the replacement, set it to just over 40c and we will monitor it. It does sometimes wake us in the night but then it is just doing its job - when the pump does fail I will replace it with something a little quieter.

I should say I think our system was designed to work pumpless based on pipe thickness and uphill runs but it does heat the boat better initially with the pump on. We can of course override the thermostat by changing the temp on the dial forcing it to run all the time.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

....by the skin of my teeth !

I'm blogging from Waterlily. It is -2c outside and a warm 22c inside.



When we arrived there was no water coming from the taps, but the pump did cycle and pressure the system. We lit the fire, topped up the antifreeze in the header tank of the central heating (back boiler from the Squirrel) and boiled up some water we brought with us. We left the taps open with the pump off and after about an hour they started dripping followed by running water. We gingerly turned on the pump and it pressurised the system again and stopped -hopefully indicating a pressure test on an unfrozen system.



I think we just about called it right. We will keep the fire in as best we can while we have this cold weather.

Nev

Friday, 26 November 2010

Wind turbines

No, not those little ones that boaters use, my good friend John who we visit regularly in Scotland is having two big ones on his farm land.

Only problem was he needed some muscle (!) to get the bases in so in true DIY SOS fashion I organised a work party to move 53 cubes of concrete from one part of the land to another.








It took us all day but we managed it. It needs about 3 weeks to fully cure. Hopefully they will be up before Christmas and putting free power back into the grid.

I really like this part of Scotland so empty of people only problem is no canals

Nev

Thursday, 25 November 2010

TV icon...

I really am a fan of the 80's tv show Auf Wiedersehen Pet So when a friend organised a bike ride (motorbike) up the northwest coasts Salburn etc calling at the transporter bridge and then for a Parmo I was in line.

A few pics to remember the day. All in all about 340 miles and a great days biking.



Wednesday, 24 November 2010

It has to have a canal connection

I could not resist taking advantage of the Bike to Work scheme recently offered. I have three light hearted ambitions

1. To visit America - Done twice now
2. To catch a Barbel, its still out there waiting for me....
3. To cycle from Lands end to John O'Groats !!

Spot the connection ....

So my new ped arrived last week and I started my 'training' with a 10 mile shake down ride on Saturday touching the Peak District then Sunday with a 20 ride out to Willington.

Can you spot possibly the most expensive boat (secondhand) on the waterways?








Six boats up from the bottom £170,000 to you - yeah right



Looking down into Duffield as I test the granny gears.

Nev

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A little autumn cruise

Having enjoyed Andy's cruise log of his recent trip on the Caldon I really need to get a catchup on what we have been doing.

Due to family stuff we have been remote from Waterlily for a while which will soon be addressed. Our last trip was a service visit to Shobnall. They are one of the friendliest near us and it makes for a nice trip out and back.



On our way into the village we passed Bruce waiting above Bagnall lock.



We had a really nice trip out stopping at Alrewas for food - it is so good to have the pick of the moorings this time of year.



We did get a real deluge on leaving Burton which allowed me to get the benefit of my tiller brolly holder.

We hunkered down at Branston and 'enjoyed' watching those few boats pass in the heavy rain - come on don't pretend you have not enjoyed that smug feeling?

Next days was once again bright sunshine and a deep joy to be moving on empty canals back to our mooring.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Why we get our internet connection aboard

Next time you get a connection - or complain about radio tv or internet spare a thought for these guys - keeping us connected

Click here if you can stand heights !!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Coming to a weed hatch near you



The colder weather and the high winds plus the time of year are depositing a large amount of leaves into the cut.

A couple of years ago I took Waterlily out with a couple of friends and we got stuck in Woodend lock. This lock collects all the leaves that fall from the trees in the long pound from Kings Bromley marina and beyond. We had to bow haul the boat out of the lock as no amount of reverse/forward delivered any propulsion.

I still envy you out there in this lovely autumnal weather.

Take care

Nev

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Things to come ....

Well it appears the consensus is for another harsh winter, worse than the last two and some have said a thousand year winter !!

To get you in the mood........

Blacking goes west


Nev

Saturday, 23 October 2010

It must be cheaper to live aboard?

Andrew on Granny Buttons has an interesting blog post about beating the recession by living aboard. Not Andrew himself although he is/will be a continuous livaboard cruiser soon from his previous blogs.

Link here.....

In my opinion it is all relative to your personal circumstances. Based on what we pay out each month I know it would be a hell of a lot cheaper to live aboard.

Mortgage
Council tax
Water rates
Gas
Electricity
Phone
Internet
Sky tv
Contents insurance, Building insurance
Car (insurance, tax mot, petrol servicing)
House maintenance

Boat..
Gas
Coal
Diesel
RCR membership
Insurance

All on going costs I suppose.

The real deal is depreciation of the boat against the inflation of value of the house. We could sell up put a tidy lump sum in the bank and enjoy a low cost existence. However it is in my opinion a one way street, getting back on the housing ladder for old age or just when you are fed up with the waterways or the waterways close down (see previous post) would be very difficult. Especially so if at some point in the future there is another rise in house prices. Best bet is to buy something small rent it out so you have something to fall back on. I suppose that is if you can afford to do so. if you can't then I'd suggest you don't sell in the first place as there will be more holes in the social safety net going forward that you will rely on if you have no house to live it when old/ill/ or fed up with the waterworld lifestyle..

Oh and then there are you dependants, if they want to come visit or stay. You are not only casting yourself adrift ?

All personal thoughts, if it works for you great, enjoy.

Nev

Friday, 22 October 2010

The beginning of the end...

I'm sure many read Narrowboatworld on the Internet. There is a very good piece on written by Tom Crossley. Link here.....

It makes sober reading and for those who enjoy and love the canals their heritage and their beauty it represents a timely reminder that the reality of the situation is there are many things in the funding queue ahead of the waterways.

It will no doubt be left to the real enthusiast to work on generating the income to pay for the works to keep the waterways open, I cannot see how just the boaters alone can be expected to foot the bill when incomes are falling and costs rising.

Very depressing....

Monday, 11 October 2010

Fishing - Perch

Perch are my favourite fish. They are good feeders easy to catch and often can be taken from the margins meaning you can fish just off the front of your boat. They are also a clean fish - no slime unlike the Bream that seem to be taking up a prescence in the canal. its only in the last couple of years I have started catching them

I picked this impressive canal Perch up (plus two more like it) fishing above woodend lock last week. Just upto the makeshify jetty for the boats. it was excellent fishing, a real joy.

The fish in the canal are in very good condition and plentyful which tells me the balance is about right.



Nev

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Why not twitter.... we'll see

I watched New Tricks last night which had an angle on Twitter....

I have never given it much thought until then so had a look this morning and have now signed up. I'm not convinced that I'll tweet much (argh... I hate that terminology) but I'll certainly read - not sure what the bird equivilent of that is - I suppose listening !!

I am nosey so this might give me a fix on other peoples lives, so sad !!

Nev

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Pumping poo

Ok, blunt but it is what we do - or rather pay someone to do it.

Waterlily has a list that tells us she has a full bladder. We can leave it so as we also have a porta potty on board that we tend to use for weekend visits.

I did try to get it pumped out at Great Heywood but as it was Saturday 1pm Anglo welsh basically told us to bugger off to the marina up the canal. The Fradley floating pontoon of poo was also a bit low in the water and also on the tow path side at 4.30pm on Tuesday so it was set for the tanker pump out of the pump out so two down and still no relief.

I therefore got to thinking about a self pumpout option - electric and or manual and a couple of large containers and a quiet (mains connected) elsan.

For those who do - a couple of questions .....

1. How long does it take
2. Do you get a better job even with lower spec kit
3. electric or manual
4. What containers do you use of moving it this way
5. Do you have one for sale ?

I like the idea of saving £15 quid a go and also not being beholden to the boat yards (I take the point about them shutting down if they don't get my business but if they only want to serve me when it suits them, Fradley was shut at 4.30 I can't be blamed fully)

Nev

Friday, 8 October 2010

Bruce costs me a ton plus a Paul McKenna

That's £110 to you.

The price I have just paid for one of these....



For those not sure it is a Kindle

Bruce in Sanity Again gave a very good review of them in a recent blog post here.... it persuaded me as I can't pass over a good gadget. Also I don't like holding large books or for that matter moving them around. The other benefit is that by using the Kindle App on my iPhone (see I can't resist a gadget) I can read my books from the point I left it on the Kindle on my iPhone and vice versa. Having said that I hope to have my Kindle with me more often.

I started with Tony Blair's recent book, which I have in print but immediately find it easier to read on the kindle, plus I have brought Narrow Dog to some where in southern France, Terry Darlington's much read book. Only down side so far is I cannot find Josie Dew's books which was a test for the book store.

Finally I do feel like a bit of a Judas...as I am a time served printer in a previous life and taking books electronically will mean a more pressure on an already pressured industry.

I'll hang on to the environmental angle to balance the conscience,

Nev

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Spot the problem.....

Whilst fishing at Woodend on Tuesday I heard a boat approaching that after passing got my attention.....



I like the sound of the wet exhausts burbling and gurgling away - I would not like one as understand they have some maintenance issues, mud boxes I think they are called, no doubt for a good reason?

However the boat appeared to have a normal silenced exhaust that was perilously close to the waterline, not helped by the three blokes on the counter.

No doubt whilst running the pressure of the exhaust gasses will keep the water out, but all it would take would be a speeding boater (they do exist you know) and unless there is a large swan neck within the exhaust system the engine could get water ingress.

My understanding it that the counter should be about an inch or so in the water to make the boat travel through the water efficiently. This must put drag on the forward momentum of the boat.

Anyhow they were making progress so it couldn't be that bad??




Nev

Ownerships chair (beds)

We are thinking of upgrading the furniture in the saloon. Its a straight choice between a couple of captains chairs or two of the chair types that make into beds as per the ownerships specifications. Any advice or contacts for either of the two options?

Nev

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

When it's good it's beautiful when it's bad it's still excellent.



That is being on the canals. We took Waterlily out over the last weekend. We were due back for a RCR serivce on Monday but due to the bad weather we rearranged it to be done at Great Haywood.

Just a pic and a short video to show what autumn crusing can be like !

video

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A tool for the job



I have blogged before about how useful having a bike aboard a boat is. Below is a pic of my trusty Brompton parked up after saving the day ( a bit dramatic maybe)

When we were last out I realised I had left my medications behind. So I got the trusty Brompton out and cycled back to Fradley folded it up into the car, back to Derby to pick up the tablets and then back to Fradley all in the space of just over an hour.

The challenge is to work out how to fit two aboard so we can do shopping/exploring when we are out and about. If we ever do the live aboard or long term cruising option I think the bike might be nearly as important as the fishing rod.

I did use the Brompton when on the Llangothlen earlier in the year. We decided to slow the cruise down and stop for the weekend just short of Swanley marina. Picture above. I cycled into Nantwich and through to Stapelely Water gardens for fishing supplies (maggots)

I like the fact I brought this bike before I had a boat knowing one day I'd use it in the way described above

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Happiness....

We have not done a lot of cruising over the last few months as we try and stay put during the school holiday. We like meeting other boats but not too keen on fender to fender boating, it makes it sound bad but it isn't really motorway type boating.

Anyhow we did go out mid August for my birthday (or close to) We went out on the 12th and back on the 15th. It was a short hop up to our favourite mooring between Woodend lock and Kings Bromley. I follow Sarah's Chertsey blog and knew she was returning from a trip to Newark. Sure enough whilst fishing I heard the distinctive classic engine note approaching and made my introductions.

What struck me was how happy they both looked. Boating is a reasonably simple (if not cheap) joy and there was no doubt Sarah and Jim were just happy being on the counter taking their P&J back to its moorings.

Monday, 27 September 2010

What a plonker....

....that will be me !! I have been reflecting on my boat cruising early summer and just remembered the problems I had on the Staffs & Worcester.

We had just come through a bridge hole near Radford when we got what felt like a prop fowl type slow down. I got the boat to the bank and removed the engine deck boards and put them on the bank side. I then hopped onto the boat and fell straight into the engine hole I'd just uncovered. It could have been a really nasty accident. Luckily I suffered a skinned shin and a dented ego.

It just goes to show how easy it is to get yourself damaged on a boat. I love it, not a single risk assessment or method statement aboard, just a large dose of common sense, missing in this instance but then that was my fault and my fault only !

Nev

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Ok Ok I admit it I have a shiny boat.....

Andrew on Grannybuttons and others have blogged about shiny boats recently. It has given me a complex for sure... !!

When I had a dull boat with uninspiring colours I was sad and wanted it painting. Now I have a great paint job and I feel I am in a class of boaters disrespected by other boaters because we are shiny.

You know I can understand this but I still want to keep my boat shiny. I think the best looking boats are those that have a classic colour scheme that has faded....Don't Panic who moors next to us is very much in that league. A little dull on the reflections but looking used and 'classic' Problem is I fear the transition based on what I know it cost me to metamorphose Waterlily from a grey and blue hand job (painted that is) to the classic green and red she is today.

I want to be worn and used but can't face the transition. So please be gentle with your opinion of our shiny boat. We know we have got to wear and tear her and we will but let us enjoy our sparkly time - it won't last long I promise !!

Take care and I hope to have a few catch ups... if nothing more than to maintain the record of our times on board.

Nev

Monday, 23 August 2010

My dog....

For no other reason than getting it saved so I can enjoy the sunshine pics over the winter..... here is Leia getting her morning exercise on the local park to me.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylOLtb2DT1s


Nev

Friday, 6 August 2010

The problems of reading a canal mag on the toilet...

....is that it is a constant reminder to maintain your boat!

I have a Canal boat mag that seems to have taken residence in the bathroom basket that hold fresh towels. It is the one where they give advice on maintaining paintwork. Every time I sit and ponder I read the front cover and it reminds me I have a responsibility to the paint job Aqua did on Waterlily earlier this year.

It got to me in the end and on Sunday we spent an 'enjoyable' few hours cleaning the boat. Getting the Rook poo off was one challenge as was washing off the tree sap from the non slip roof.

It was also a good reason to take Waterlily to the winding hole at Alrewas to enable us to complete the other side as well as charge the batteries. It was a perfect wind but not a sole saw it - typical. Now we have a clean boat plus she is facing the way we prefer for a short trip out in the next few weeks. We also received a nice compliment on how she looked so that was worth the hard work.

Nev

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Narrowboat for sale

No not Waterlily, you must be joking she is my (our) sanctuary. Sometimes we do not even have to be aboard but we know we can be and that makes a difference

Aqua narrowboats are selling one of their boats. They did a good job on Waterlily when they painted her earlier in the year and seem a good company to do business with. I would expect this to be a well looked after boat.

Details

50ft CRUISER STERN NARROWBOAT
2007 QUALITY COLECRAFT SHELL

Five star ex hire boat for sale - Only 3½ years old (New May 2007)

Beta Marine 38 c/w PRM150 hydraulic gearbox
Stainless Steel Water Tank
Centaflex coupling & Hospital Silencer
Webasto Heating (serviced prior to delivery)
5 new batteries & 100amp alternator fitted 2009
New Prop & Prop Shaft 2009
New Carpets & Blinds 2010
Pump out macerator toilet
Side doors & roof hatch
Bow lockers
Fixed double berth - a new quality mattress will be supplied before delivery.
Flexible seating layout converts to 2 singles or a double berth
Rear apron under hand rail on cruiser stern
Drop down TV in bedroom
Meticulously Maintained
Sold complete with inventory ready to go

BOAT AVAILABLE FROM MID NOVEMBER 2010
AQUA NARROWBOATS, MERCIA MARINA, DERBYSHIRE DE65 6DW.
Tel: 01283 701041 — Mob: 07786 988397

£45,950 ono

Sunday, 25 July 2010

When is a 70 foot mooring really a 45 foot mooring....

......when BW want to generate maximum income for the canals!!

This was the bullshit line that BW tried to pass to me when my boat was moved by BW earlier in the year. The reason given was that it was important to maximise income for BW. SO WHY HAVE THEY JUST ALLOWED A 70 FOOT MOORING TO BE OCCUPIED BY A 45 FOOT BOAT !

I can't wait to see if they dare tender another mooring at Hunts lock. What will they tender... the 45 foot one that is now available or a 70 foot mooring and TRY and move many boats to now grow the 45 foot mooring hole back to a 70 foot hole.

The problem with BW is that they have never seemed to understand the passion that goes along with the resource they try to manage - not cycling, fishing, walking, running, but BOATS - the things the bloody canals were built for. We get treated like second class citizens, nothing really changed in all these years as the original boaters were regarded very poorly, a third class citizen if you like.

So another letter to BW's head of boating will be written asking how this circle is to be squared.

Rant over...... back to cleaning bird shit off my boat.

Nev

No offence is aimed at the boaters on Hunts they are a good bunch and trying to enjoy their passion, I will not get in the way of that.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Pigtown.....

We are spending a weekend in pigtown north Wales. Not an insult to the Welsh but the English translation of Mochdre where my father in law lives.

We needed a sea fix so came over this way s it was a little less travel than visiting our friends in south west Scotland. It still took us over three and a half hours as the traffic last night was heavy.

As we had left stuff on the boat the trip was via the boat and it was tempting to just stop on the boat. Fradley had started to go quiet when we collected the bits we needed and this is the best time to be aboard on our mooring.

We have some time off mid August but that will be a choice between a short cruise down the Coventry or a bike trip to Cornwall - nice to have the choice !

Take care

Nev

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Calling Halfie...

Can you stretch to this.....Les Allen Tug style

It is a real nice looking and well specc'd boat. Not for everyone as it is a bit limiting for visitors but to own I'm sure would be a pleasure.

I'm tempted to have a look myself. The RN engine has to be the one to go for just a shame the boatmans cabin is not a double - I thought they all were unless it was a compromise when first built.

A real go anywhere boat that would make a great holiday boat/extended cruise boat..... where is my cheque book !

Nev

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Stress and excitement on the canals

I really enjoy reading Bruce's blog Sanity Again...... in his latest blog post he includes comments on stress and excitement related to his recent cruising.

I want this type of excitement and stress. It compares very favourably to the issues I and my good lady seemingly deal with in our day to day living (not afloat you may guess) It makes me wonder what is /was the trigger to say, bugger this I'm off to live on me boat...? Come on you alternative lifestyle/livaboards/retirees......what was the trigger that got you aboard?

Nev

Friday, 16 July 2010

What to do.....

Ok, I used to be uncertain but now I'm not sure.......

This weekend I have two days Nev time. Should I ...

Go to the boat and do nothing
Go to the boat and do jobs
Ride my motorbike to Sutton on Sea
Work in the garden
Clean the house
Stay in bed all weekend

Mix and match...!

Comments welcome.... if you can

Sarah on Chertsey (where is Warrior?) does not like to go through the comments moderation procedure when she replies to a blog. So I thought I'd join in and throw off the shackles of having to moderate comments and I have so comment away.

Only thing is I tried to tell Sarah I was going to do this and I got this screen....




Ooopps !!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Automatic boat cleaning service

That'll be the rain - I hope. We had such a lazy day yesterday that the boat roof complete with some bird poo and lots of sap from the Birch tree did not get washed. I am relying on good old God and the wonders of nature to sort out my boat cleaning ;-))

I'm not sure I blogged about the bird poo that was dumped on the boat when we came back after the long cruise. I should have guessed that we were in for a $hit storm as whilst clearing the roof before leaving after the recent cruise I was shat upon by some flying poo bag on a creature. I almost laughed myself whilst looking for my air rifle.

A couple of weekends later I was up the tree Rambo like hacking off the perches of said poo bags. I even went up to the remaining branches and hung some cd's to deter the winged ploppers. It certainly improved it when we next visited. I guess it will be a fact of life now that BW moved us under the trees.

I have some free time this weekend, its a toss up between pottering on the boat of a 600 mile visit to friends in Scotland to see just how good the motorbike is ?

Nev

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Inverter in and WIFI sorted

A day of jobs today both at the house and on the boat. General tidy and clean at home including mowing the laws before we got to the boat just after 11.

I set to installing the inverter. The only place I could easily put it was in the engine hole attached to the top of the battery box. Not ideal but until I can get some longer leads it'll have to do. I have a remote for it so that is in the cabin easily accessible.

It does run the Dyson so we now have an option to take the Dyson with us to keep the dust down when we cruise - plus I don't have to lug the genny out so often.

Then I set to tidying all the cables around the TV by drilling a large hole in the top of the counter and feeding the surplus cables down into the cupboard.I got a natty £5 4 way adaptor from Morrisons that allows each plug to be switched on/off so this is sitting in the cupboard now and it has my Solwise 3g wireless router on it.

Thanks to Chris from Belle for this link to a bit of kit that has made the web so much more enjoyable while afloat. We were a dongle out of the window boat but now we have a little router sharing the wireless via the dongle. I opted for a 3g ariel so I know I have the best possible reception - best of all I just turn on the router and laptop and I have wireless 3g.

I brought Rachel an Ipad for her birthday but did not opt for the 3g version just the wireless one, knowing she could use it at the same time as me on the boat. Works a treat. The Ipad is a great bit of kit for mail and web while aboard - if you are thinking of getting one you will not be disappointed.

So plenty done meaning a roof wash in the morning and then we can relax !

Bloody warm aboard tonight ..............

Nev

To the boat

Today being one of the hotest weekends this year we will be heading for the boat shortly.

Stuff to fit including the new inverter that came to time the other day. It will get its first test as we need to give the boat a good vac out after the recent trip. One benefit of owning your own boat (apart from not getting ripped of by a Walter Mitty/Robert Maxwell ) is you can leave it post cruise and catch up later on the cleaning. It was the one thing with the Ownerships schme that we did not like - the end of holiday clean - usually starting the day before. We did inside and out and left it as we would want to find it - others had lower standards.

We will see what the weekend brings - hopefully R&R

Nev

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Inverter is on its way....

Keeping with the theme of things being on their way.... I ordered this inverter on Monday and have just received a text to tell me it will be delivered in a couple of hours. I ordered it from Caravan and Leisure who phoned my on Monday after they received my order to say they did not have any in stock but were expecting some later in the week - did I want to wait or cancel. When I said I'd wait the lady said she would phone me when it was in and get it out on a timed next day delivery -excellent service so one company to recommend.

Why a cheap inverter..... well son no.2 came aboard for the last two days of our slow anticlockwise failed Llangollen four counties cruise and tried to use his hair straighteners !! on the 150w inverter we have had since owning the boat. Fuse pops and the replacement fuse pops etc so I had to presume he had done more damage to the little inverter than the fuse should have protected. I brought a cheap Belkein 300w jobbie from Amazon for under £20 which will now be a reserve item on the boat.

One issue we have is dust and pollen at this time of the year... yep not good to be in the country if you have bad hay fever. We have a Dyson that sits in the little shed on our mooring that we can only run from our 2kw genny which is a pain to get out and get going so the plan is to install this bad boy under the bed and link it to our 240v circuit and keep the dyson under the dinette so we can give the boat a good vac out when we are aboard or out and about.... just got to fit it and get the cables through the bulk head to the batteries. The little 300w had a cigarette lighter connection so it was easier to install.

We did not want to spend a fortune on a Victron or similar system so we will take a punt on this - if it works I might be selling my very little used genny.

I should say I opted for the remote control for it so we can have it under the bed out of the way and have the small remote switch somewhere convenient.

Nev

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Noah's ark is on its way

Not a reference to any longer spells of rain (remember that stuff?) but a large green narrowboat on the back of a low loader north bound on the A38 just before Burton on Trent. I have just been to Birmingham airport to collect eldest son from his Greek holiday. Maybe it was on its way to Mercia or it could have come from Streethay?

Long time no post for work and health reasons but I'm hoping to get a few updates in after returning from our boat paint cruise.

Watch this space......

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Sorebumaritis

I'm not sure that such a word exists but for sure I will have sorebumaritis tomorrow as I am riding the scenic route from Buxton to Derby which is our annual univeristy charity bike ride. Being responsible for transport at the Uni means I try to take part. I am the sweeper so have a good excuse for a slow pace.

I have prepared my very trusty Gary Fisher mountain bike with a replacement dereilleur, which now rides and changes gear so much better.

Thinking about it is is only 20 miles from door to boat so if I can do 50 miles I should try the trip to the boat by bike sometime this year.....

Anyhow earlyish night calls....

Nev

Monday, 31 May 2010

The other side of the planning

So it was back to work last week - Thursday. It was all still there of course. I always have the best of intentions to post up pictures of my cruise but somehow miss doing it so I will try my best this time.
It seemed such an age ago I was living aboard, now its back to grabbing time aboard as and when - and of course planning the next cruise.

We will do a few weekends I hope and then a late summer early autumn cruise when the canal go quite again. May and early June are good times for moving about on the system. In all the time I was out two and a half weeks I was never followed by another boat, or got close to following a boat, we did not queue at a lock or exchange anything other than nice words anywhere. I said hello more times than I can remember, and only met another boat at a bridge hole twice. Certainly late May is a good time to cruise.

For the record we ran the engine for about 75 hours and I put 92 litres of fuel back in - but I cannot be sure it was full when we set off. I think Waterlily does about 1.1 litres per hour.

She ran faultlessly and was a pleasure to be aboard. I have blogged before she needs a bigger bed a bath and some decent chairs in the saloon - give me these and I could be out on her for a lot longer. How those boat families would laugh at that last comment !

Take care out there.... work calls for some !!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Civilisation

It did feel like we were fully out of touch last night. We moved about half a mile from the outskirts of Brewood to just past the centre in a very shady cutting without the problems of the shelf. This along with the relative remoteness of Brewood itself took away all modes of communication.

This morning I woke at 5.45am and we were underway by 6am. This early morning cruising is the way to do it, just have to go to bed a bit earlier.

We are now in Penkridge after a pleasant cruise. We are expecting Callum to join us however he has just rung to say he was not allowed on the Derby Stoke train as it was full !! So he will be a little later than expected.

I will explore the net to get some fishing bits - the Brompton may get a run out again.

Anyhow photos....

This was our mooring last night and all of Sunday



We moored opposite this fella's nest. He was busy all day.



His mate the squirrel came down for a drink - its great watching as you fish.




This was taken at Tyrley locks. Sorry about the legs, they don't get much show. The cows were so many to a field. I presume the farmer had a reason for such numbers?

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Hot is the order of the day to Market Drayton

Hot hot hot - lovely. Constant sun cream today on the trot up from the last two locks of the Audlum flight plus the five Adderley locks. These were all done single handed as Rachel is still recovering and on very light(tea making) duties.

We watered up and moored up then went into Market Drayton. It's sad to see this market town suffering the recession with quite a few empty shops and lots of charity shops filling the gaps. (Nothing against charity shops)

The fishing was poor tonight no doubt associated with my maggots wiggling no more. I visited the superstore angling shop as blogged about earlier. The only down side of such a large 'shop' is the lack of small tackle shops in the surrounding area.

I have a 3g signal here tonight so a few pics...





Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Hack Green eels and onwards

We made it all the way from Nantwich to Hack Green Monday afternoon. It is quite nice cruising into the early evening. We moored just above the locks and had a fine evening aboard. It was quite the most tranquil evening I have had on board. The countryside enveloped us as dusk drew in. The fishing was great and I caught a new species for me... eel. A really dramatic fish that fights much more than its slim profile would suggest. It was so still that a hot air balloon rose just a couple of fields away from us.

Sorry no pictures as this area is not well served with 3g coverage from either Orange or Vodafone.

Tuesday saw us travel 3 miles and 4 locks to Audlum Now this is a lovely village spoilt by traffic. We opted for food made and served by others and had a really good experience/meal in the lord Combermere. It makes a change to find a pub that is expanding/developing rather than seeing the run down establishments that seems to sit on the canal nowadays.

No fishing last night as BW seem to not want fishing around the Audlem locks we moored between locks 11 and 12 and felt the Shroppie shelf for part of the evening depending on boats passing and the lock operation.

This morning we had a lazy start and opted to time our accent of the next 9 locks. We only had to empty one lock which helped as we are not 100% fit which is why we are taking the slow route back. We waitied for a boat coming down and took the empty lock and the 8am starters from the top of the flight provided an easy accent. We are now moored on the 48 hour Coxbank moorings which are nice and rural with the only noise coming from the RAF helicopter base somewhere west of us.

Options for this afternoon are cycle to Market Drayton for a tv ariel or geocache (fishing is compulsory today) as there seem to be quite a few local to us. We may do both as time is our friend today.

Nev

Monday, 17 May 2010

Continuous cruisers - just about

Been a while but that was more to do with home events and the lack of decent 3g signal while on the boat.

So we are moored just past the aqueduct in Nantwich on the shroppie. I(we) set out a week ago with a couple of mates for the first part of the cruise to Barbridge where we did a crew swap and Rachel came aboard.

We were aiming to do the Lllangollen but after the Hurleston locks and the number of boats moving (55 according to the lockie on Saturday and 60 on Sunday !) we just moored up short of the Swanley locks and watched the world (and boats ) go by. This is how it should be done. I got the Brompton out on Saturday and rode into Nantwich and on to Stavelely waterpark for maggots and Morrisons for our food and beer and a bit of wine. It was an effort to cycle back but enjoyable all the same. We stayed put until this morning when we winded and watered above the Hurleston flight and then decended and proply got stuck in the narrow bottom lock when a chunk of wood jammed us as we dropped. luckily is descended with us and we only knew it was there when Rachel tried to exit the lock. We had to refill it slowly so I could unjam us using the pole ! It is now a souvenir on board.

We pumped out at Nantwich marina - bit of a faff getting a=in winding and backing onto the pumpout point but I did it with a degree of composure much to the enjoyment of the cafe onlookers. The turn back onto the main canal from the marina is tight and with an unfavorable wind I took the offer of a gent on the bank to pull me round.I threw him the rope and he reached to catch it and so very nearly fell in. Only by a last minute grab at some Herris fencing did he manage to stay out of the cut. It was the closest I have ever seen anyone coming to going in. He did a good job of helping me round even if he was a little embarrassed.

We aim to amble back dong a few hours a day - which is the continuous cruisers way for sure ! Hack green tonight if we move again after we do a top up shop in Nantwich.

A few random photos for now.....


Callum opening is presents aboard...


Callum took this

The boys getting into the boaty thing !

Sunday, 9 May 2010

One for my Dad....

My dad liked a pint. He was a Pedigree man for sure. If he was still alive I know he would enjoy being on the boat. Beer and fishing were a big part of his enjoyment of life.

So I took this (rather poor) photo of Waterlily on our return trip to Fradley at the Jannel Marina moorings on the west side of Burton - it made me think of him. I'll have a pint with me dad when I'm aboard next week.


Thursday, 6 May 2010

Decisions decisions......

Clocks ticking..... I know who I won't be voting for but I don't know who I will be voting for.

It should be simple.... it has been to date but it's a mixture of people personalities and politics.

I work with local councilors so I know a good one when I see one.... and I have also seen a couple of bad ones and they all come from the same party. But then the party I want to vote for puts up a bloody local celeb who IMHO knows nothing about the issues concerning the community where I live.

Decisions decisions ....... blogging about it hasn't helped, maybe I should start tweeting !!

One thing for sure tonight is going to be interesting telly for the sad few like me who enjoy the TV studio excitement it brings.

Tomorrow will be a new dawn..... politically for sure, I just hope we do not get the temperatures Greece is experiencing at the moment as a result !

One thing for sure I will toast Tony Blair tonight, the best leader and Prime Minister I have lived under.

As always my views so don't get offended or if you feel strongly about it blog about it like Sarah has.

Nev

Top tech for the boat


I recently acquired one of these clicky....

I have access to a wide library of films that are on my small portable hard drive. This is line powered and in conjunction with the Sumvision Cyclone Micro Media Player makes for a small but instant low power film library.

When you consider a ripped DVD -and you can rip your own as well as download them from the net takes about 700mb on a 8gb disk you can have a weeks worth of films.

As an aside I recently unlocked an Iphone and part of the deal was I got a very handy software program to rip DVD to many file formats (including Iphone) I can now take my films to the boat on a SD card all 10 of them at a time.

Here endeth today's top tech suggestion

Nev

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Worth a photo....

We took a stroll down towards Findern last week after viewing the boat painting progress. There is a large ex pub that is now an India restaurant come pub on the canal.


I like this little bit of humour....



Nev

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

David Milliband comes to lunch

In keeping with my theme of reporting such visits to my university the foreign secretary David Milliband popped in today to press the flesh. He presses my flesh and I can confirm he has soft hands !

That is my only criticism of him as he took questions for over an hour and got many laughs. But you would want your foreign secretary to be charismatic wouldn't you?

I love politics - I am a devout watcher and will enjoy Thursday night / Friday morning.

No canal content but it's my blog and my opinions and experiences. Maybe I could put in a tenuous link to the canals in that the constituency where I vote is held by Bob Laxton who is a canal boat owner.

Pic of David in action....

Monday, 3 May 2010

Its all coming together (ish)

We were advised to pack as much away on Waterlily as possible prior to the paint job. With the windows out and a dusty dry dock it was good advice. Justin and his team did a good job cleaning the inside of the boat but we have taken the opportunity for a spring clean. As we have access to a hook up we took the Dyson down to give the boat a real good clean. Part of the clean was to attend to the stove. Our stove has a back boiler and the plate above the fire that takes the water collects loads of ash over a winter. The only way to remove it is to get your hand in and claw it out. The fire will burn much better now it has a clearer path to the chimney.

As I type this Rachel is busy sewing the lining onto the last couple of pairs of curtains. We washed them and the linings fell apart so they were 'refurbished'.

It will take us a few more visits to finish the spring clean and get everything back to normal, then we have to get back to Fradley to prepare for a longer than normal cruise as detailed here.

Nev

Edited to add a photo as I like to record the day in pictures as well as words

Below is a shot of the worker and the assistant lurking waiting for her walk