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


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.


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.


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


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....


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.


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

Sunday, 2 May 2010


Wow... a couple of days away from looking at the Ownerships discussion board and I return to see the post regarding the state of the Ownerships company by the person asked to sort out the situation. As I read in Ownerships will shortly be in liquidation - not even administration .

I really truely feel for those who were so happy with the scheme as we were - it was a great way to extend your boating. It seems, and this is my interpretation, we had a Robert Maxwell of the canals and so many were taken in by his apparent business acumen when in fact he was seemingly using money that was not his to maintain and develop schemes to feed his ambition to be a someone in the canals.

There are people who will have put big money down for boats that will never be produced or finished without further money being found, what an introduction to boat ownership for those people.

I'm not sure what this says about shared ownership schemes, challenger and Ownerships both now defunct and those two were the biggest in my understanding. I would guess that the owners of the boats will be rallying to operate them themselves, something that can be done and might be the best way forward if there is one of two owners who can give more time to organise and plan.

RIP Ownerships - we had a great few years with NB Sylph. The scheme feed our desire for boating to the point we got our own. I hope that those affected find a way out of the mess which includes keeping them on the cut.


Saturday, 1 May 2010

Back to active boat ownership

We did the dirty deed today and paid Justin for his hard work in turning our scruffy 25 year old tin of steel into something we can enjoy even more for the foreseeable future.

In these uncertain days I think it is important that those that can do and they do it to support others. IMHO it is important that you don't wait for something to come if you can reach out and achieve it. You just don't know what is around the corner. Life has given us some clues recently and we are very eager to learn from them and understand them.

We can't wait to get back on board and enjoy our boat and share her with a few close to us.

Here is another couple of recent pics,

The windows were the real extravagance but as you can see they make a real difference.

The Common People

I like this - enjoy (or maybe not)