Friday, 30 April 2010

The repaint and taster photo

This is what Waterlily looked like the morning when we took her down to Willington for her new colours

This is what she looks like now - a completely new look I think you will agree. We had to put one of my kidneys on Ebay to fund a few things we were not planning for originally - spot the difference apart from the excellent paint job Aqua have done.

We are so pleased. I'll get a lot more pictures as we take her back to her moorings over the weekend. For now we are on curtain refurbishment duties as when we washed the curtains the liners fell apart !

One thing I have deep respect for the likes of Herbie who is doing a DIY paint job on his boat as reported by Granny Buttons when he came lurking with his camera recently

On a related note - come on Granny isn't it about time you supported the Willage workers and had your boat fettling done by Justin and his team at Aqua - they really are a revelation in the way they do business - its actually like dealing with a contractor in the real world rather then the dealing in canal time that so often happens with many boat yards.


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

There once was an ugly duckling.....

Waterlily is transformed. The last bit of sign writing is going on today and we should have her back by the weekend. She looks like a new boat. How lucky are we to own such a nice boat.

A before and after picture shortly !


Friday, 23 April 2010

Ownerships - o dear....

We cemented our passion for the canals by taking a share on Sylph - an ownerships managed boat, so it is with a lot of sadness I read of fear of financial problems since Allen Mathews death. A flavour of the building frustration at a request to attend a meeting without advanced information can be found here...


I really do hope that all the pre paid management fund money is secure and owners can have their holidays as planned. I do get a feeling of financial over exposure, not dissimilar to the boat builder who uses the most recent persons deposit and first stage payment to complete the build of the last customers boat. Cash flow or lack of can kill a business overnight. I always fear for businesses that rely on the charisma and drive and ambition of the owner.

I think we can only watch this space - and more close to home for me the recent developments at Fradley junction.


All my speculation I should say, nothing above is based on anything other than my reading between the lines.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Cycling and boating go together like beer and crisps

As we do not have a boat to be on at the moment I scratched my canal itch by cycling down to Mercia marina to check on the paint progress - well Rachel had not seen the boat being painted.

We have a route that we have done before that takes in the old Friargate line (this used to pass my house and I used to climb on the old engine sheds as a lad !!) Anyhow this time we did the route in reverse meaning we did the disused railway route (Sustrans 54) last which was better in my opinion - At 22 miles it was a bit much for Rachel for a first run out of the year.

The lads at Aqua were working hard so we spied into the dry dock and then left for a picnic by the Shakespeare boats

I bet this time last week most of these boats were between Willington and Fradley ! There are some old favourites we see a lot of as they trek up and down this bit of canal.

It was a good day. I like the pace of cycling - you see so much more just like on the boat. You talk to people as well and understand what nature is doing - temperature, wind and rain are all a bit more real on a bike.

I have long thought all cars should be stripped of all the comforts so people would use them less. Might not get the votes however.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

The playing at liveaboards/new paintwork extended cruise

I would expect most boat owners who do not liveaboard dream of spending extended periods on their boat. To date I thnk the longest we have been aboard has been a couple of weeks. To celebrate the new paint job (show it off a bit as well as break it in and get it scratched a bit as we will) we (I) have planned an extended cruise for us.

Our first ever cruise aboard a boat like many was on the Llangollen - over 10 years ago. We only made it to Frankton Junction from Wrenbury mill on an Alvechurch boat called Crow. So this cruise will take in the full length of the Llangollen including the Pontcysyllte aqueduct. We are going in May /June to avoid the silly season and have asked the excellent Canalplan journey planner to give us the timings and overnight stops.... below

It will give us both a good break from work and give us a feel for an extended stay on the boat as well. It will use up a great chunk of our work leave but I think it will be worth it. The four counties is a predictable route and we have done it a couple of times before but we like it. I have blogged before that I could spend the rest of my cruising life circling the four counties and never get bored.

Here is the list of the overnight stops.... it gives us basically a week to get to the Llangollen, a week on it and a week back via the shroppie and the staffs and Worcester.

Six hours cruisng is as much as we would want to do. Some days we will do the full six in one go - other days we will split it to have an extended lunch break. We may even drop in a rest day and catch up depending on how we feel. We can and will be flexible on the table of overnight stops below but it gives us a good guide to where we should be on a certain day to make it all work.

I just wish Canal plan could list the fishing tackle shops on the way !

Table of overnight stops

This is calculated based on 6 hours travelling before the first overnight stop, 18 full days travelling and 6 hours travelling on the last day.
Trip starts on Monday the 10th of May, 2010 and lasts 18 days

Each full day will be approximately 5 hours and 59 minutes cruising

Monday the 10th of May, 2010 [First day of trip] (sunrise is 5:19 AM, sunset is 8:50 PM)
On the Trent and Mersey Canal (Main Line - Fradley to Great Haywood), a third of the way between Meadow Lane Bridge No 72 and Fancy Bridge No 73A
(11 miles, 6½ flg and 6 locks)
Tuesday the 11th of May, 2010 [Second day of trip] (sunrise is 5:17 AM, sunset is 8:53 PM)
On the Trent and Mersey Canal (Main Line - Great Haywood to Etruria) at Stone Top Lock No 30
(11 miles, 1 flg and 8 locks)
Wednesday the 12th of May, 2010 [Third day of trip] (sunrise is 5:15 AM, sunset is 8:55 PM)
On the Trent and Mersey Canal (Main Line - Etruria to Harding's Wood) at Middleport Footbridge
(10 miles, 4 flg and 11 locks)
Thursday the 13th of May, 2010 [Fourth day of trip] (sunrise is 5:14 AM, sunset is 8:58 PM)
On the Trent and Mersey Canal (Main Line - Harding's Wood to Middlewich) at Chellshill Bridge No 144
(7 miles, 4¾ flg and 14 locks)

This day's cruising may be affected by passage through Harecastle Tunnel. Passage through the tunnel is under BW control, and may involve a wait (in particular, if you arrive in the late afternoon or evening you may well have to wait until the next day).

In July 2001 the official word was that you must arrive by 4pm to guarantee passage

Friday the 14th of May, 2010 [Fifth day of trip] (sunrise is 5:12 AM, sunset is 9:00 PM)
On the Trent and Mersey Canal (Main Line - Harding's Wood to Middlewich) at Cledford Bridge No 166
(8 miles, 3¼ flg and 16 locks)
Saturday the 15th of May, 2010 [Sixth day of trip] (sunrise is 5:11 AM, sunset is 9:02 PM)
On the Shropshire Union Canal (Llangollen Canal - Main Line) at Hurleston Lock No 3
(12 miles, 1 flg and 7 locks)
Sunday the 16th of May, 2010 [Seventh day of trip] (sunrise is 5:11 AM, sunset is 9:03 PM)
On the Shropshire Union Canal (Llangollen Canal - Main Line) at Willey Moor Lock No 12
(10 miles, 4¾ flg and 8 locks)
Monday the 17th of May, 2010 [Eighth day of trip] (sunrise is 5:10 AM, sunset is 9:05 PM)
On the Shropshire Union Canal (Llangollen Canal - Main Line) at Whixall Moss Roving Bridge No 46
(8 miles, 1½ flg and 9 locks)
Tuesday the 18th of May, 2010 [Ninth day of trip] (sunrise is 5:09 AM, sunset is 9:08 PM)
On the Shropshire Union Canal (Llangollen Canal - Main Line) at St Martins Bridge No 13
(14 miles, 5½ flg and 2 locks)
Wednesday the 19th of May, 2010 [Tenth day of trip] (sunrise is 5:08 AM, sunset is 9:10 PM)
On the Shropshire Union Canal (Llangollen Canal - Main Line) at Sun Trevor Bridge No 41 (having turned at Llangollen)
(13 miles, 2 flg and 0 locks)
Thursday the 20th of May, 2010 [Eleventh day of trip] (sunrise is 5:06 AM, sunset is 9:10 PM)
On the Shropshire Union Canal (Llangollen Canal - Main Line) at Rowsons Bridge No 1
(13 miles, 6½ flg and 2 locks)
Friday the 21st of May, 2010 [Twelfth day of trip] (sunrise is 5:04 AM, sunset is 9:11 PM)
On the Shropshire Union Canal (Llangollen Canal - Main Line) at Duddleston Bridge No 37
(14 miles, 0 flg and 0 locks)
Saturday the 22nd of May, 2010 [Thirteenth day of trip] (sunrise is 5:02 AM, sunset is 9:12 PM)
On the Shropshire Union Canal (Llangollen Canal - Main Line) at Wrenbury Frith Lift Bridge No 21
(8 miles, 2½ flg and 10 locks)
Sunday the 23rd of May, 2010 [Fourteenth day of trip] (sunrise is 5:00 AM, sunset is 9:14 PM)
On the Shropshire Union Canal (Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal) at Baddington Bridge No 88
(10 miles, 4¾ flg and 9 locks)
Monday the 24th of May, 2010 [Fifteenth day of trip] (sunrise is 4:59 AM, sunset is 9:14 PM)
On the Shropshire Union Canal (Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal) at Adderley Lees Bridge No 68
(7 miles, 2½ flg and 22 locks)
Tuesday the 25th of May, 2010 [Sixteenth day of trip] (sunrise is 4:58 AM, sunset is 9:14 PM)
On the Shropshire Union Canal (Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal), nearly at Norbury Bridge No 38
(13 miles, 7 flg and 5 locks)
Wednesday the 26th of May, 2010 [Seventeenth day of trip] (sunrise is 4:57 AM, sunset is 9:14 PM)
On the Shropshire Union Canal (Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal) at Upper Hattons Bridge No 5
(13 miles, 6 flg and 1 lock)
Thursday the 27th of May, 2010 [Eighteenth day of trip] (sunrise is 4:55 AM, sunset is 9:16 PM)
On the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal (Main Line: Autherley to Great Haywood) at Cross Keys Bridge No 83A
(12 miles, 0 flg and 6 locks)
Friday the 28th of May, 2010 [Nineteenth day of trip] (sunrise is 4:53 AM, sunset is 9:17 PM)
On the Trent and Mersey Canal (Main Line - Fradley to Great Haywood), nearly at Meadow Lane Bridge No 72
(11 miles, 3 flg and 8 locks)
Saturday the 29th of May, 2010 [Twentieth day of trip] (sunrise is 4:52 AM, sunset is 9:17 PM)
On the Trent and Mersey Canal (Main Line - Burton to Fradley) at Hunts Lock No 15
(11 miles, 6 flg and 6 locks)

Turning places in route


You can wind here

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Back to boating... the undercoat

To keep the record of the paint job up to date I called over to Aqua Narrowboats to see the post Easter progress and they have been busy. I missed the primer coat but Justin said he took some pics so I'll post them up later when he sends them over.

Here she is with her undercoat on and as we left the first of the three top coats was about to go on. Aqua use a coloured undercoat to help the upper coats. She is certainly looking good already!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Vince comes to tea

Ok not on my boat but at my Uni.

Here is is after his Q&A's being interviewed by the BBC.

Derby north is a real focus and if Labour loose it it signals a swing that should return an alternative government.

Seemed like a nice bloke - someone who you'd like as your granddad. Sorry if that is ageist but my opinion my blog.

Does anyone have a idea of the respective policies regarding BW - would that be buried in their manifestos ?


Monday, 5 April 2010


I used to think there was solitude on the canals, and there is of a type. However having recently visited a very rural part of Scotland there is another type of remoteness that is achingly beautiful.

This country is racing towards a population of 65 million (4.4 million increase) by 2016

Further projections say the population would reach 71 million by 2031 and 77 million in 2051.

You can see in the table above just how congested England is already. Just what will it be like in a few years time I cannot imagine. I can understand why I can walk all day in Scotland and not meet anyone. I don't think there are too many places in England you could say that of.


Watching me

When you are the only person for many miles you attract attention. Yesterday we walked a circular walk taking in part of the Southern upland way. This is a beautiful part of the world and you do not have to share it with many other than the more permanent residents.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Best of mates

We are enjoying a great few days at our friends farmhouse in Scotland. I'll blog a bit more about it later but I wanted to get this pic up that I took while walking amongst some fantastic scenery today.

Friday, 2 April 2010

The BW reply

I got frustrated with BW a few weeks ago after they phoned and asked me to move my boat again so another boat could squeeze into the Hunts moorings.

I was doubly frustrated when I said I wanted to think about the request and then my boat was moved. It transpired that the reason why the other boat was put onto my mooring was due to a mess up with the BW mooring system.

I raised a FOI request for information on mooring reduction policy by BW as at Hunts despite the largest marina in the country being less than 15 miles away we were still getting boats squeezed in.

The reply is below - make of it what you will. I have blanked out the ladies name of the boat who came to be my neighbour. I have no problem with this lady - she is very nice and after all is a boater who has not been treated very well by BW.

My thinking is that BW do not care too much for boaters. In fact I'm sure they would rather the canals all be like the Cromford canal - can fish, can walk, can cycle - all minimum costs to maintain but those dam boaters that mean BW have to maintain the workings of the canal - we are the problem.

I do however respect BW for their procedures and the fact they followed up the complaint - top marks to them for that.

I do not agree I said I would move my boat. I phoned Sandie and left her a message on her voice mail to the effect I wanted more time to consider the request.

The reply....

Dear Mr Wells

Further to our telephone conversation last week, I have now received the information I needed from Sandie to formally respond to your complaint. I appreciate and thank you for your understanding on the phone.

I think you have two concerns: (1) that your boat was moved without your consent within the site at Fradley and (2) that you have questions about the implementation of our online mooring reduction policy.

(1) The boat move: here is Sandie’s account of what happened:

“Back in November, before the reorganisational changes were in full effect, our previous local officer advertised a vacancy for auction at the Fradley linear site. The details uploaded on the website were a straight copy from a previous one at the site. This was an error because the berth available was at a completely different part of the site and none of the wording in the advertisement applied. Unaware of this, the successful bidder completed the paperwork, paid for the berth and when I met her at the site for the Meet and Greet was extremely unhappy.

I therefore spent much time and effort trying to sort a suitable alternative. We agreed that the craft would moor temporarily on the visitor moorings at the site. The first option offered sadly was too shallow and the craft could not get on to the mooring. The second option was acceptable but three craft at the alternative site would have to close up slightly (approximately 6 feet) for ******** boat to get in.

Becky contacted all the moorers to explain. Mr Wells was not happy at having to move the 6 feet required so I phoned him myself to explain to situation. He was still not happy but agreed to move his craft that very weekend.

I explained to ***** what was happening and then I went on annual leave.

When ****** returned to the site after a week being in Dry Dock, only one craft had moved. Mr Wells craft and another had remained in their original positions.

******* by this time (3 months on) moved the 2 craft herself. I have since spoken to ****** and told her she shouldn’t have moved them but understood she was extremely frustrated at the time. Mr Wells then made the complaint that his craft had been moved.”

The relevant clause in your mooring agreement is as follows:

This Agreement allows you to moor the Boat at the Mooring
Site. It does not give you the right to a particular Mooring or
berth. Where a berth or particular Mooring is specified, you
nevertheless agree we may ask you to move the Boat or give
us authority to move it a reasonable distance to ensure best
use of the water space available at the Mooring Site.

Technically, it appears we were at fault in not closing the final details of the move of you boat by the small distance to make space for ******** boat so that ********** took matters into her own hands. I apologise for this oversight on our part.

2. Implementation of our online mooring policy: I hope this response will also answer your FOI request.

Details of the online policy are published at and our latest half yearly report is listed for download at I believe however that you might already be aware of this material.

I think you are raising more practical questions of how we actually make the decisions on which berths to close, so I’m pasting below the decision criteria that we ask our local manager to use to reach their conclusions. Applying the scoring is obviously a balance of judgment, and whilst I believe in general that we’re getting it about right, that doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement. I’ve recently developed a computer based model to help our local managers which is just about to go into testing phase.

I hope that this response is helpful and satisfactory, but if you would like the matter to be investigated further under our formal complaints procedure (see please register this request with Sarina (her address below).

With kind regards

Sally Ash
Head of Boating
01923 201229 / 07710 175448
64 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1DA
Boaters: stay in touch by registering for our monthly updates at

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Stripped back

Justin sent me these pics today of a very stripped boat.

When we bought Waterlily nearly three years ago a repaint was factored in to the price and put on the wish list. Justin and his team are bringing this wish true !