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.


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


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 ?


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


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, 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.


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Walking on water

Only one bloke I know of did this 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.


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


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...


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


(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 !


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 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.


Sunday, 5 December 2010


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,


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