Saturday, 31 December 2011

Out of date Baileys

Why not it's rude to lob it !!

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Fradley water torture

Sitting here writing this I can hear what sounds like dripping water..... Not good when you are on a boat! I went across the cut this afternoon and filled up the water tank. On returning I noticed diesel bloom coming from the back of the boat, it appears it is coming from the filler cap. I did top the diesel up last trip but I can see no reason why I am getting diesel seeping from the filler is not much and seems to come when the engine is run, I suppose it could be the diesel vibrating spitting onto the underside of the filler cap and running out via the thread? Anyhow for now I have put some kitchen paper around the cap to collect any overnight and I'll check it in the morning.

I have also found water spray near the water pump.... Can't see where it is coming from but I'll check again when Rachel showers later.

I think the drip drip outside has stopped...I think it is the mud giving up air bubbles that I have disturbed when mooring after watering I will resist the temptation to go out with a torch...for now.

We went for a nice walk to the coop in Fradley today, that is down the Coventry. We normally go to the Alrewas Coop but fancied a different walk which was very pleasant. It has been very quiet boat and people wise here today. I expect New Years day will bring more out as the weather has been given out as getting better and quite warm.

So whatever you are doing tonight may it be enjoyable and I wish you a safe and healthy New Year.

Take care


Friday, 30 December 2011

The sanctuary of our boat

Ready to eat......

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As quiet as quiet can be at Fradley

We arrived just before lunchtime and it started to rain as we topped up at Alrewas Coop. Before I lit the fire I gave the chimney a sweep with a flue brush I brought off the Internet. I had seen them at Norbury junction but about 25% more.

After getting the fire going fridge lit and stuff stowed away I took Leia for a walk down the Coventry. It was fine drizzle by now and Fradley was as quiet as I've seen it.

We got back to the boat and the rain has got heavier all afternoon. As I write this the fire is going well the central heating off the back boiler is warming the boat through and the only light is from my IPad. There's only the sounds of the boat - it really is very very peaceful.

Tonight it will be food and some wine. Last night we had a late one as after watching the last two episodes of Harry Potter we went out with my sons telescope to look at Jupiter. Quite fantastic really when you considers the distances involved and also how much the early astronomers knew of the planets with only very basic instruments.

Might have to light a few candles now......

Have a good evening whereever you are,


Tuesday, 27 December 2011

I need a Shroppie fix

Its been a while since we were last over Cheshire way on the canals and just looking at Jims Photo from his blog header makes me realise we need to include it again in our 2012 cruising plans. More of that later but for now our good friends from north of the border have invited us for a drink while they are back visiting and as I have not partaken to a great degree much alcoholic beverage this festive season I'm off to get drunk !


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Caring whilst away from their families

I am on my own tonight, well oldest son Tom is upstairs wrapping his presents ! My good lady has given her christmas eve night and Chrismas day morning up to cover one of the wards. Then back on boxing day.

So here is a Christmas wish to all those dedicated health workers, that Santa may come and that they may get some Christmas R&R


Monday, 5 December 2011

23 degrees of difference

It was a good headline in the paper yesterday. This time last year it was about -11c and yesterday it was around +12c. I was visiting the boat every other night to keep the fire in to stop the boat freezing solid inside. Leaving a warm cosy boat each night was a little bit of a trial for sure.
So far nothing on the horizon, however, disrespect nature and she/he/it will bite back for sure,


Sunday, 4 December 2011

Wanna see what you wind up.....

There is much activity, well equipment activity at Hunts lock. I was surprised how wide the feed was to the ground paddle. You could certainly fit a body in there and when you imagine the draw to fill the lock you would not swim away from it....

Most of the brick work is in good condition. The section under the tarps is being hacked out to be replaced. Interesting to note the water table where the lock walls have dried out to.

One thing I was not aware of was the new rail crossing at Keepers lock.....

Today was a tale of two halves re the weather. After a cooked breakfast I took Leai off for a walk. There were plenty of mushrooms/toadstool about... I ate about half a dozen....

.....of the ones from the Coop in Alrewas. I'm sure I'd be feeling ill if I'd eaten this, red means danger in nature? It was a really nice walk

A few jobs done on the boat then the wind and rain came and the second half of the day was spent reading papers and drinking coffee... not all bad.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Keeping calm..... be aware contains profanity

We see a lot of these.....

Jusr recently I have felt more like this......

Made me laugh so it can't be bad

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Spot the blogger.....

.....soon to be two I understand.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Gonna evening dream when I get home....

I can't day dream as right now I don't have the time. OK so I am writing this before I leave work but I have been here getting close to 10 hours already...

I always get post boat blues after being on board and we had such a great long weekend, cruising in the autumn is so exceptionally good, anyone who has done it knows why and if you haven't don't bother starting now ;-)

Anyhow tonight I am going to drink wine and dream of not working and being busy like Bruce & Heth and no doubt all you other lucky (or brave) live-a-boards/retirees. I do not wish to seem disrespectful, especially as both are making homes in my neck of the woods, but I'd like your type of busy right now.

Take care and please don't take this post too seriously, I won't and will be back at work in the morning !!

PS I ended my weekend cruise yesterday with a quick rod and reel experience, a little bread saw me lift our a really great Chubb from about 6 inched from 'Don't Panic's' counter. It never ceases to amaze me the quality of the fish in the T&M. But Dave needs to know about the bailiffs at Willington....

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A tale of two directions....

Last night the weather men could not make up their minds on the weather for the midlands. So it was when we woke to a perfect morning one way was sun the other was mist. We had both as we cruised to the east to Stenson in glorious sun then winded and headed back to the mist.....

Our mooring last night

Looking back to the gloom as we head towards Stenson

We stopped off at Mercia to get a few supplies, we shopped at the trading post to support them rather than stop in Willington itself. We saw Sanity again in her new spot then drooled over a 90k Hudson. I took to the galley to prepare pasta as Rachel cruised us out of Willington.

As we passed Shobnall I saw Granny Buttons in the services but no sign of Andrew, Rachel alerted me to him as I was walking on with Leia and we had a brief chat, always good to see and talk to Andrew.

Now we are at Branston water parks fire lit food cooking beer being consumed....

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Friday, 18 November 2011

Thank you for not boating (well until after dark for a few)

Took a trip out to Willington today and met....... one boat, a Shakespeare hire boat just before we moored up. That's just short of 6 hours of cruising and only one boat , it was great, we passed Batron turns full of boats and no doubt Mercia is the same all safely moored up so we can enjoy the canal to ourselves. Having moored up just before it got dark about 2 hours later we were passed by three boats, cruising in complete darkness. The last obviously winded in Willington as he was the same boat shining a powerful torch into the margins - what he was looking for I'm not sure.

The water is so clear as there is no traffic, we saw four pike, the last one was well over 15 pounds and about two foot long, a real canal monster. We also saw a kingfisher as well as a cormorant ( don't they stay underwater a long time)

Just a great cruise so thank you to all those boaters who stayed put, plus BW for the Stenson stoppage ;-)


Ps if you can donate tonight to Children in need please do so, let's show we still have a sense of balance in this country supporting those who need our help, however tight finances are.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Willington walk

It was a really dull morning So the house got cleaned the loft sorted and food shopping done then we took a nice walk from Willington to Finden and back. The sun was out now and there were quite a few like minded souls doing the same thing.

There was one boat moving between the stoppages and it sounded just great in the dusk .....

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Thursday, 10 November 2011


...not the canals, as we know they are going to be a charity. This is about hospital care... clicky here

It is the final straw I feel in the drive for profit over performance. Sure they will turn it around but it will come at the cost to the patient, and profit will be taken. I fully object to poorly run public services, I am in the semi public service now (Education) but with correct management and focus services can be provided that deliver value for money. If it goes private there has to be an element of profit that should otherwise have been used for the care of the patient.

My overriding concern is as this government put our last key service to the market it will eventually be run by foreign companies that certainly have the profit imperative.

Ultimately I feel ashamed my generation has squandered an opportunity to do better and my children will reap the harvest of austerity that is sure to come. I feel we will have a decade or even a generation of which there will be little reward other than hard work and pressure to survive financially and therefore socially.

Not much of a legacy really is it?


PS I did say it was not all about canals in my title ;-)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Dry as a bone

We were aboard the weekend of the 16th October and took a walk up to Kings Bromley with a picnic. Picnicing in the middle of October seems a little surreal but so is the weather.

The ground was bone dry - dusty even as can be seen in this pic....

The walk from Kings Bromly to Woodend Lock  is a real favorite.  These are our treasured weekend moorings as they are so peaceful, little pedestrian traffic makes it from Fradley this far so even more tranquility.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Nev's got wood... !

Ok, sorry it is a little inappropriate title but I could not resist it.

This was a problem tree to me and I blogged about it here....clicky

My intention was to cut the rolls down I acquired and I recently took the chainsaw to them to make this nice looking pile...

They are now undercover drying some more ready to burn over winter. It will allow me to burn wood during the day and then use my coal for overnight warmth.

I feel better that the tree is going to be put to good use. It also has justified my purchase some time ago of the electric chainsaw. I'd prefer a petrol model but this one sorted some large logs working with the genny.


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Chertsey makes it past Fradley - just

I was walking Leia this morning when I heard the thumping engine sound of a boat going into Common lock. It soon became apparent it was Chertsey making a dash (long dash) from the tidal Trent to Stretton via an engine repair and the Fradley stoppages tomorrow, Monday.

I introduced myself and had a chat with Hairy Neil and Paul who were the crew for the trip. It seems they has got involved with beer at pubs in Barton Under Needwood culminating in a late night at the Waterfront at Barton Turns marina.

They were remarkably fresh for their 1.30am bedtime ! I took Leia back to the boat setting Hunts for them, then got my windlass and helped lock them through Fradley.

So Sarah, the have cleared Fradley by about 7 hours as they left Shadehouse at 10am its a clear run to Stretton for the pairing with the butty.

It was good to see and hear such a fine boat..... temped you bet !

Chertsey passing Hunts lock waiting for Keepers

Out of Shadehouse with all the stoppage equipment sitting waiting until tomorrow....just in time, well done Neil and Paul

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Free energy (ish)

There has been a rash of solar panel installs along our moorings. I had been mulling over the benefits for some while. I can understand a liveaboards opting for them but for  a casual use boat like ours??

One thing that was getting to me was having to run the engine before we left so the batteries were topped up, normally after our last night aboard. This just seemed to waste diesel as well as the lovely tank of hot water ! So I got to thinking how good it would be if we could walk away from Waterlily after a nights use of power and come back next time to a fully charged up bank of batteries, almost magic.
So I talked to my fellow moorers, talked to Shobnall and did my Internet research. I came close to buying from Andy at Shobnall but was a little put off over his answer to my question regarding MPPT v's PWM controllers. As I intended to have this panel for some time I wanted to get the most from it. I also read that PWM controllers were not giving the smartgauge 100%. I don't pretend to understand much of the jargon but I was sold on the fact the MPPT types get more out of the panel and into the batteries - simple decision then.

I opted for a 135w Kyocera panel and a sunsaver MPPT from Midsummer They were very efficient in the delivery and did not charge extra for the longer cables I ordered.

I did not want to drill my roof..... and was not too bothered at this time about angling the panel. I did want to be able to remove it for maintenance so I opted for taxi sign magnets from EBay (guaranteed upot to 70mph ??). Perfect fitting and I have it protected from theft with a very able cable lock drilled to the plank holder.

I did the install myself in a couple of hours. I left it just completed and was really pleased to come back 24 hours later to 100% on the smartgauge. It is great when a plan comes together.

In fact we have been on board three or four times now and not run the engine. Last time we lit the stove and had tepid water as well. I expect we will run the engine for its own good and to give us hot water but once we have a tank full I am hoping the stove will keep the water hot via the new calorifier I fitted a few weeks back.

A few bad pics as it was getting dusky when I took them. One thing I am impressed with it how little light there needs to be for a charge to go into the batteries. The controller has quite a few useful settings to support the batteries and it also has an RJ11 socket that allows me to collect 30 days of data off the controller as well as dynamic data if needed. Needless to say I have done the connections adn will post some stuff later on its performance.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The painting fund.....

I know we have only had Waterlily painted just over a year, but whatever you do the paint will fade/wear/get damaged. I am a fund saver type person so rather than get hit with another magnificent bill in about six years time I am going to start a fund for the next repaint. It is tempting fate as who knows what will happen in the next six or so years, but sods law says if I do not then six years will come by very quickly and Waterlily will look tatty again.

The added benefit is I can relax and not worry too much about the odd dink and scrape. There are plenty of boats that do not move in case they get marked I'm sure. I am at that time in my life the benefit of use it much more than the effort of maintenance - my motorbike is testament to that !

So say £75 a month going forward will be salted away under a mattress or even in a bank somewhere for 'the future'


Monday, 31 October 2011

Narrowboat Sylph

Time to kill so I took to seeing what our old Ownerships boat Sylph has been up to. I was intrigued to find out she is now not a shared boat anymore and is private ownership. I'm pleased she is still floating and hopefully she is being looked after in retirement. For sure I think the shared ownership boats are the real work horses of the canal system. The run close to 48 weeks of the year and do some big distances as most owners want to travel whilst aboard.

I think they were/are some of the best designed boats out there and well build - a small nod towards Alan Mathews knowledge of what worked.

I'd love to know who now owns Sylph - I think she is up Nantwich way - so of you know please get in touch.


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

No wonder boat prices are dropping

I'm ok, not fallen in or gassed myself, just life gets in the ways sometimes. I think that has been the longest I have been without a post, but I'll catch up with the blog this week.

The reason for the post title.... click here and be concerned

I thought prices were deflated because of the housing market, in reality those in the know understand the cruising possibility of boats in the future will be severely restricted because of the terrible waste of resource and opportunity BW executive have engaged in over the last few years. Simple really if the canals are not maintained they will shut to boaters. OK for fishermen and cyclists, now we know why it is canal not canals in the new trust title. I recon at this rate my grand plans for a retirement cruise will never be realised.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

DIY update

I know most will not have slept well last night worrying about the success or not of my DIY project, well all seems to have been ok. We were not woken at night with the pump cycling away as the boat filled with water. Better than that after we ran the engine we had hot water plus the rads got hot as I'd left second loop open. This gives us another way of heating the boat. Just got to decide if it is worth adding an extra rad to the system now.

I will also look at wiring in the emersion heater element so on shore power or genny power we have another option for heating water.

One thing that is also better is that I have taken out a lot of copper and replaced it with plastic, better for the winter frosts and the last method of insulation was the yellow loft insulation that was horrid, it is now all lagged with pipe insulation. I think I'll cover it with some of the bagged type loft insulation as a belt and braces approach.

Before and after pics below. Note the amount of copper......

I have also added an expansion tank (the red tank at the top of the pic) this will take the expansion as the water heats up. The old system did not have such and I expect the expansion was managed by the accumulator on the cold side as there did not seem to be a non return valve installed?

Now on to solar panels.........


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Saturday, 17 September 2011

Boat DIY

I blogged here about my waterworks problem on Waterlily. I received some sound advice and took the decision to do a full upgrade rather than a bypass repair.  I cannot see us upgrading boats for some time so we might as well have the benefit from heated water from the back boiler and hot water for longer. Plus the replacement has a immersion heater element that I will wire up for it we are on shore line or powered by the genny.

The Surecal Calorifiers in Midland Chandlers were a whopping £430 so I brought direct from Surecal for £350 I also made a good saving on an expansion cylinder that my system does not have at the moment. I ordered it when in Cornwall and it was delivered on time so top marks for Surecal.

A trip to B&Q for loads of fittings - good thing is you can take back what you don't use so I always over stock just in case. The biggest challenge will be the pipe runs as the old cylinder was fed both ends and the new one is all one end. I have oped for plastic as its simple and hopefully a little more frost resistant but it will all be lagged when completed. So an update later maybe.....

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Cornwall sunset

Just sat and watched the sun melt into the sea........ What a great end to a really lovely day.

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Stunning Cornwall

We are staying a few days at the Camelot Castle hotel. As hotels go it is one of the best I have stayed in for a long while. The location is stunning, the service is so friendly and attentive and the food has been excellent.

It is blowing through a storm at the moment and we have a grandstand view as our room overlooks the coast and we have panoramic views over the the island where it is reputed Arthur had his castle and up the coast to Boscastle.

Te plan later is to walk the costal path up to Boscastle and then catch a local bus back to the hotel.

If you get the chance you should have a stay at the Camelot Castle hotel in your bucket list.


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Saturday, 3 September 2011

Just awesome......

Close to if not one of the best days on a bike.

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On the way up Glencoe, touched by hurricane Irene, truly fantastic.

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Friday, 2 September 2011

Off to Scotland

A weekend away to Dunoon for me with a couple of friends. On the motorbike of course, those west Scotland roads are deserving of nothing less


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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

What would you do....?

Last winter, remember the sub zero temperatures, I trundled up and down the A38 keeping the boat fire in to protect the plumbing. We have a back boiler on our boat with a pipe thermostat fitted that controls the pump.

I topped up the header tank with a pre mix of antifreeze when I started the boat heating process but became alarmed when I discovered the header tank level dropping on subsequent visits.

I suspected a leak but could not find one anywhere. I have the pressure release valve and outflow piped into the engine bay which drips into a bucket that has a pump in it to empty it. Basic but it works. After the bad weather I noticed that the water in the bucket has a pink tinge to it which is the colour of the Halfords antifreeze I had been using. I therefore deduced that the heating coil for the central heating was leaking into the cylinder itself.

I checked on Sunday and whilst there is a valve that can be opened and closed to direct the central heating water via the water tank there is no valve on the return. This explains why turning off the feed to the cylinder did not stop the drop in the header tank.

I think I have two options

1. Replace the tank, £430 plus a days plumbing and the hassle of swapping out a system that works and has no air locks etc.

2. Put a simple shut off valve £5 into the return feed off the calorifier

If I do the latter I will not be able to heat my hot water via the stove, or get the central heating warmed up from the engine whilst cruising.

However I will be about £450 quid better off and not have to have all the hassle of the swap out.

If I go for option 1 I will hopefully get water that stays hot for longer than 12 hours.

We can get how water after an hour of engine running reliably and do have to run the engine to charge the batteries

If I go for a new tank I will have an emersion element so could have hot water via a land line or genny hook up.

If I go for the new tank I will know it will last me the length of time we will keep the boat (a long time now based on what I think it is worth in today's market)

So over to you, what would you do, please help as I'm in a dither?


PS. I do have the money, (but would rather spend it on solar panel or an electric fridge)

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

It's coming to a canal near you.....

One of the real joys of living aboard is cold weather. When it arrives it gives those lucky enough the opportunity to light their wood burning stoves and dissolve themselves in the warmth and the smell.

I can think of nothing better than walking past a boat in winter with the smell of seasoned wood smoke drifting in the cold static air, especial if that boat is mine and I'm entering the warmth in the middle of nowhere.

I blog about this after following an interesting post on CWF.... clicky

Sunday, 28 August 2011

If you go down to the woods today...... might have found us lost in there. We went out for a walk in Fradley woods and followed a path we have been on before. Blackberries we collected for a promised ( by Rachel) Apple and Blackberry pie then we decided to try an alternative route home.

Looking at google maps on our return it should have need easy, but the corn made the paths into a real Maize (sorry) we really did get lost and it was only the sound of the boats on the canal that helped us get a rough direction through some very heavy vegetation.

It was a real adventure and it will be interesting to see how it is in a month or so when the crop is harvested.

A bonus is (for the sports and telly watchers) I was able to watch the football via sky go app on my iPad via my new orange dongle. I calculated it was about 400mb for the second half, and was very watchable so another home comfort.

The IPad really is a great tool for the boat, low power very portable and does a lot of things. I think Sarah on Chertsey is blogging full time from the IPad now.

A couple of days aboard over the Bank Holiday, Fradley was very busy with people and boats, all smiling and getting on with each other. It is one thing that you see most of all on the canals, smiling people!

Off to make the Thai curry now.....


Thursday, 25 August 2011

The generosity of boaters

I am aboard for a while typing this via my Orange Internet. You may recall I had a problem with my dongle being fried whilst on my lads flat electrics. I blogged about it and I had some helpful comments. Non more than from Alan off NB Lazydays who said he had a spare Orange dongle that I could have. How generous was that. He has subsequently sent it on to me very quickly and I am now back up and connected.

I am a believer in paying it forward I have recently responded to a biker who was after some parts for his bike I had them and I have sent them on to him with a request to make a donation to the poppy appeal. I sincerely hope that Alan from NBLazydays gets his bit of good fortune and also shares in the feel good feeling of a good cause getting the benefit of our rolling gesture.

In these days when society seems to get so focused on what is in it for me I think we need to show these gestures so we feel good about being human beings, thanks Alan.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Notts and lincs air ambulance charity ride

Off with about 300 bikes today to Skeggy

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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Engine hours

For the record really we have just gone over the 600 hours mark. Not a lot of hours which is good and bad really. I think we put the counter on in early 2008 so less than 200 hours per year.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The corn walk

Lots of corn sweetcorn being grown around us. It certainly must take a lot out of the soil

Lovely walk on the non towpath side up towards Woodend lock

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Falling in

This visit was as much about fettling the boat as it was cruising. Yesterday I was left on my own to do the outsides. Starboard was ok as it could be done on the mooring as was the roof. My option was to cruise down to Alrewas and wind to get safe access to the port side clean, from the gunwale or push across to the tow path. I did the latter with no assistance from the wind which was trying to keep me mooring side.

Eventually got cleaning and half way down the boat I found the grassed over hole in the towpath. Leg into the canal upto the knee just saving myself by hanging on to the top which pull my shoulder and swung me chest into the gunwale resulting in a sore shoulder and bruised ribs.

So today being my birthday the extended fishing session has gone west as has the trip out on my motorbike. Rest and relaxation........what an old git I am!

Take care, simple accidents can have larger consequences,


Monday, 15 August 2011

Me dongle is dead !

It was loaned out to my lad who has just moved into a flat in Leeds. While his broadband was being ordered he borrowed my Solwise router and orange dongle. On return he told me it had stopped working halfway through the week. A little later he also told me his freezer had stopped working and he suspected the socket. Landlord came out and it was a dodgy socket, replaced freezer back up and working.

I then loaned the router and dongle out to anther boater to check a particular problem and he could not get the dongle connected.

Playtime this afternoon resulted in a call to Orange and a diagnosis my dongle was expired. Apparently the ariel on these is a particular weakness.

Only problem is the latest Orange dongle does not have the external ariel socket. So it's more investigation on the Internet as to what is the best option..... He rather helpfully suggested a Wibi which is to be investigated.

So if you have an orange e160 stick gathering dust I'm your man.

Bst bit about the demise of the dongle was I found my water pump was leaking........


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Need to do some work on the boat plus electricity Q

.......but I am far too lazy. I may have to have lunch first to give me some energy.

The batteries are at 55% on the Smartgauge so we need to run the engine for some time today. Out batteries give 10% increase for every hour this was the same with the old batteries as it is with the new set. One thing I noticed when they were really low the Smartgauge was in showing about 13.3 volts going in when the % charge was in the 20-30% range. As the % went up so did the voltage going in. I'm sure this is correct and there is a 'law' that dictates this, just wanted to know it was correct.

Also the adverc green light was on which I'm still unsure what it represents, as the batteries got more charge the green light went off??

Anyway back to being lazy.........


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Private v's hirer's

On the boat now for a few days. Sitting here in my new chair (!) and it is so obvious the difference between hirer's and private boaters re speed passing our line of moored boats. The hirer's are so much more considerate but is the private boaters that speed past until they see signs of life aboard then the engine note drops ......what is that all about, we are boaters as well so we know what it takes for a boat to slow down !!

Ok relax time again.


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Saturday, 13 August 2011

At what point did British Telecom become India Telecom?

Mmmmm..... talk about frustrated. I got an email telling me as I'd exceeded my broadband usage BT or rather IT were going to charge me £50

Telephone call to BT or rather IT customer services engaged me in a very difficult conversation with an Indian lady who due to a poor phone line (!!!!!! - she eventually had to call me back) made the passing of details very difficult. I gave up with her when she asked me to spell forward slash !!

Then a very nice well spoken Indian man came on who spoke at 100mph 20 minutes later after he had tried his best to reinterpret a clause that said I would not be charged for going over for the first time, resulting in him telling me it was for new customers only. (I have been with BT since we have had internet so I consider myself a loyal customer) In the end I asked him a question will he refund me the chage or not - if he could not then I would close the call and phone back the cancellation team. He put me on hold and other 5 minutes of Greensleeves and he came back on and said he has spoken to James (a good old Indian name) who had said to not make the charge as I was a loyal customer !

This whole episode tested my loyalty. I have no problem with the nation of India. I find their operators very polite but I struggle to understand the accent especially when speaking so quickly. But they follow a script and are tenatious in doing so, they do not understand when to stop and move the call elsewhere - in this case no doubt back to the UK to James. Companies are bringing their call centres back to the UK and so they should. I think it is a massive negative when a large company puts their customers through an experience as I have just had.

Mini rant over,


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Good deed for the day

Now BW or their contractors fountain are not mowing the bank next to our boat we decided to visit after work on a DIY mission. Suitably tooled up we approached Hunts lock where an hire boat was descending. Going across the top gate the crew started revving hard but the boat was being drawn back to the cill the pole was being deployed and some panic was setting in. I shouted for them to drop the paddles which one did and the other crew member was floundering so I ran up and took the windlass and dropped it before running back and opening the top paddle to get the boat stable. The lady steerer was quite upset she had done nothing wrong and was pleased to hear the fact they had left one of the ground paddle up. The combination of two emptying and one filling with it's fradley undertow pulled the boat back over the cill. We just got the boat stopped and enough water under the boat to avoid a serious incident. Explanation and much relief then thanks followed.

All the nastiness going off at the moment when helping someone feels so good??

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Saturday, 6 August 2011

Getting ready for the lakes

At Squires getting ready for a couple of hundred miles to the lakes and back

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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Note to self.... Do not leave the inverter on !

July the 2nd was my last blog, the next day we left Waterlily after giving her a good clean inside. What we did not do was notice the remote control light was on on the inverter. I can tell you this will reduce three 115amp leisure batteries to 0% charge over a three week period !

We turned up today to check her and enjoy an afternoon aboard only to find the water pump would not work, I checked everything fuses switches and then realised what we had done. Oh well I hope no great harm has been done. We got the batteries up to 15% and shut the engine off as it was too nice to have to hear the engine all afternoon.

I suspect we need a good cruise to get the batteries back to a half decent charge.

Live and learn......


Saturday, 2 July 2011

Perfect end to the cruise

We have been out for about 10 days and will be back on our mooring tomorrow (or rather today) we are moored in the best place of the whole trip, total peace and solitude, just lots of nature around us. All this within a mile or so of our normal mooring - we are really very lucky.

Even the sun gave us a setting to capture for the end of the cruise..... Enjoy

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Location:Just above Woodend lock

Friday, 1 July 2011

Early morning fishing

This is the venue for big C
arp- Great Haywood no luck last night so a five am start this morning. Perfect just need the fish now !!

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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Steak and ale at the end of a good day

Started just after Barlestone and we are just past Weston upon Trent. Just a good steady cruise with everyone we met in a good mood as the sun was shining. Youngest son has joined us at the woolpack for steak and cheques. Not a typo he has driven my cheque book over so I can write him a cheque for his deposit on his flat in Leeds for his years placement. It's a parent thing!!

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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

In a mooring far far away

Ok so it's between Barleston and Stone. We were going to wind just before the last Meaford lock and moor in the pound but decided to wind at the Wedgewood winding hole instead. There were no boats moored at Barleston, that is a first as it is usually very busy. So we are between bridge 100 and 101 it's a mooring I have spied before but the fist time we have stopped here so let's see what the fishing is like.....

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Sunday, 26 June 2011

Water water everywhere but not in our tank

So it is a perfect summers day, warm no wind and quiet. But we last filled Waterlily water tank on Wednesday morning so based on past experience we know we are getting low. I will treat myself to one of the digital meters for the tank when next in Midland Chandlers. I just need to move the water pump slightly so I can get the meter in-between the tank stop cock and the pump.

Anyhow the water situation means we will move today. I know a warm summer Sunday is the day to stay put but needs must. I think the electric Brompton will get a run out today to check the mooring/water point situation as the next one is Stone and we are planning to get to one of our favourites today - Burston


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Location:Great Haywood

Saturday, 25 June 2011

A good subconscious decision

When I left Mercia Marina on Wednesday I had not realised I had turned right back up the Trent and Mersey until I was passed the Willington winding hole. My other option was to go left and 'do' the Leicester ring. Having seen the weather forecast and now sitting here warm dry and relaxed in Great Haywood it was soo much the right decision. It is chucking it down again.

There are still plenty moving but under umbrellas and full waterproofs. I think the weather is set to improve tomorrow when we may or may not head up to Stone.

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The one that got away

I can only just relay this. Got the bait right got the presentation right the bloody massive carp did it's bit and bent the rod double only for the crappy reel to stop giving me the ability to give the monster ( and it was big) line so it snapped me. Aarrrghhhhhh !!!!!!!

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The opposites of locking control

Wednesday a foreign family on a Shakespere boat left it in the lock and opened the ground paddle resulting In the boat hitting the top gate with such force I really thought the gate was going to fail. Jump forward to Thursday and I have watched a crew of four using ropes on the expensive BW bollards to keep the boat dead still.

All sorts of locking techniques it's amazing the infrastructure lasts as it does. It also makes me wonder what information hirer's are given ??

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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Waterlily is related to Granny Buttons - allegedly

How about this for a bit of canal connectivity. We were joined at Branston lock today by NB Clarice Elizabeth. The lady on board asked us if our boat was a Delph Marine which we confirmed. She went on to tell us she knew the guy who fitted it out Jack Prince. He brought the shell and fitted her out at Sawley Marina in 1992. She told us he came from Derby.... Where we live !! She said he did not have her long selling her on at Napton which is where she was moored by the only other owner who had her from 1994 until we brought her in 2007. She then told us the next boat mr jack Prince build was on a Liverpool shell and is Granny Buttons! So that make out boat related, welcome to the family Andrew !

What a small world and how good is it to find out the total history of our boat.


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Stone again

A lot drier in Stone today than it was this time last week. It is also very quiet with only one Shakespere boat moving while I have been here. Role on next week

New communications option

Well it has taken a little time but I now have an Ipad2. It is the 3G version so combined with my wireless dongle router aboard I intend not taking anything other than this next time I am aboard Waterlily.

Now let's get app'd up


Fathers day

A good start to the day. Breakfast in bed courtesy of youngest son. Have a good day you fathers!!

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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Summer holidays

Looks like it will be the Leicester ring for our next cruise leaving Mercia wednesdayish. Advice welcome ??


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Sunday, 12 June 2011

In the rain

No boating this weekend as Waterlily is still bobbing about in Mercia Marina waiting for her window to be replaced so it is the motorbike today. It's raining but I don't mind the bike is suited to the weather and it improves your riding to be out in the rain. Just has breakfast at Cmc in Chesterfield then off to Buxton then Leek with a destination if Stone to see the problems caused by a lifted gate at Star lock. I expect quite a few boats to be queueing up !

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Manifold valley

9th June

Picnic in the valley for Rachels birthday today. Leia thinks it is her birthday as well!

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Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Just enjoying the first thunder storm of the year. I think it is my best type of weather, there is expectation the event and the aftermath.... really shows how dramatic and powerful nature can be.


Saturday, 4 June 2011

6 locks before 7 am

Early start to wind Waterlily on our way on the 2nd broken window cruise.

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Thursday, 2 June 2011

BW contractors break another window !

Yep, we got Waterlily back on her mooring all safe and sound on Friday then Fountain the BW contractors come to mow the grass on our moorings on Wednesday and broke another window !!!!!!!!!

I got a email from Chris on NB Belle on the Friday giving me the bad news. I met the contractors and BW at my boat yesterday and they agreed to cover the costs (again) of a window replacement. Thing is I have to take it back down to Willington to have the window removed and replaced in a day to remove the risk of water damage as they do it in a day out and over to Newark then back in.

Count to 10..... count to 10...!!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

A bigger boat

Ok so it had to have a boaty theme. We were in Scotland yesterday staying with our good friends and their two lovely twins. We caught the big boat and took our motorbike over to Belfast for a meeting with about 30 like minded people. Today we have a 170 mile guided tour of county Down. Should be a good day if the weather holds for us


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Friday, 20 May 2011

Busy May

Took Waterlily back from Aqua at Mercia to Fradley today. The canals were quite quiet but all of Alrewas was full of boats and now opposite my mooring there are 4 boats. I have never seen 4 boats below Hunts so Fradley must also be full. Tomorrow will see the Shakespere boats come this way as well as the Aqua hire boats plus the canal timers....

There are busy and quiet days that do coincide with times of the week here at Fradley.

The trip back was good apart from that wind again. Only this time it was full on in my face so now I am sitting here with a whiskey with a wind burns face - not the whiskey of course !


Wednesday, 18 May 2011


...not the self generate stuff, the weather stuff.

We were taking Waterlily into Mercia on Saturday morning and the wind was really blowing. For those of you that know Mercia you go in via a road bridge which is in effect a small tunnel. As Rachel turned in we felt the effects but as we entered the wide water all hell broke loose.

We were aiming for one of Aqua's moorings for the window to be replaced. Justin was trying to give advice but we could not hear him, Rachel tried to get the boat lined up but the wind just took Waterlily sideways - it was totally uncontrollable as we were pushed for about 10 yards into the corner of the fueling jetty. It was a really hard bump...

Justin came round off the pontoons where were then perfectly lined up on the pump out landing as the wind had turned us 90 degrees back bow into the wind. Justin advised to go into the marina and wind (!) and apprach the pontoons with the wind behind us. I took over and winded and then kept the wind at my back and slowly put the bow onto the pontoon then with Justin's help turned the boat into the pontoon fighting the winds desire to take us sideways again .

All in all a real trial, it just showed how easily a narrowboat can turn in to a large sail. I bloody hate boating in strong winds !!

Thanks to Justins help we got in ok only to find the bump has actually pushed the broken glass that was in the window out all over the corridor next to the bathroom on the boat - such was the force of the wind and the bump.

We have been caught twice before badly by the wind. Once on the GU when it pushed us to the far side of a winding hole and it took us about half an hour to get off the bank - that was on Sylph.

Then again at Streethay - the wind was coming down off the bank and straight across the cut - we went to the bank side to pass a boat and the wind just pinned us to the bank. It really felt like the wind was playing with us - we just could not get the bow into the wind enough to get off the armco - it was another 30 minute trial of our strength - until the wind got distracted enough for us to get on our way crabbing down the cut - did I mention I hate the wind !!


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Your old boats ?

We have part owned a 58 foot cruiser called Sylph under the old Ownerships scheme. A great way to start boat ownership unless you were unlucky enough to still be involved when Alan Mathews fraud was uncovered - very sad.

We then owned our 45 foot Teddersly plastic topped boat called Comet. It was with great please we saw her moored up and in very active use on the way back from the Ashby cruise...

She has been repainted and generally kept very tidy. It is a credit to the lady who brought her she has survived the last two winters and looks better than when we sold her !!


Monday, 16 May 2011

Alrewas is quite perfect...

When we were aboard for an overnighter over Easter we took a Sunday morning walk into Alrewas for supplies.

This is a good walk frommour moorings - just right. After we had topped up at the Co-op we walked through the village towards the river. There are some really nice properties (and some for sale) in this part of Alrewas. I suppose it is a perfect place to live - good commuter links and good countryside - plus the river and canal for those (us) who fish.

I think on balance I still prefer Stone - a little more interesting but not so quaint.

Then again get yourself a live-a-board equipped boat and you can live in every town and village on the canal until you get bored (within 14 days or local mooring times) of course !!