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 !!


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Single handing - the broken window cruise

Makes you feel a bit special .....single handing a boat IMHO.

I took Waterlily down from Fradley to Willington on Friday the 13th ! All went very well. It was not too busy so I had to do most of the 8 locks without another boat coming through.

I decided that the best way was to bow haul the boat out to the lock throat (we were descending - we was me and Leia who was in charge of the boat in the locks of course) This saved climbing ladders or dropping onto the top of the boat.

Two major rain storms presented a challenge. The first one was dispactched by just sitting in Barton lock - perfect timing as no one was coming up. The second - the pics show the storm chasing me to Branston lock - was once again in Branston lock but there was a Shakespere boat coming up so me in my great full waterproofs and the poor holiday hirer in just her jeans and a rain coat.

Anyhow we made it and were joined by Rachel after her straight 7 days of very long hours just out of Willington . We were both ready for food and a little drink or three.

Now Waterlily is back with Justin at Aqua for the window to be repaired. He is going to take the whole window out and take it to the wndow supplier who will take the broken pane out and replace it.


Thursday, 12 May 2011

Posting a bit sparse....

That is because I have been out on my latest bike.

Last weekend I went to Scotland overnight. Stranraer to visit my good friends John and Carrie. It was a fantastic ride up there, one of the best times on a bike I'd say.

These two were so lovely - I almost started getting broody - just for a minute of course !!
These are the wind turbines we went up to help install late last year....very impressive.

Then on Sunday we did the complete opposite and did a Derbyshire ride with the Deauville owners club....100 miles of B roads and green lanes !!

Then this Sunday just gone on a whim I went to Bridlington for an ice cream. Once again a great ride on a great bike. You really should get one !!

Now back to canally stuff - my summer hols

Leicester ring
Macclesfield to Busgworth basin
Bancroft Basin
Caldon to the End

Any votes??

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Anothe insect - but this one you could put a saddle on !!

This big bugger FLEW into our kitchen last week. We thought it was a big moth but it looks like a flying cockroach.... that is a pint glass it is sitting under !!

Even the dog was a bit wary of it.

Any ideas what it is?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

BW breaks my boat window :-(

My repair to protect it from bad weather.

I got a call late last week from the BW enforcements officer... hello I thought is my canoe an eyesore on the moorings... no she was phoning to tell me Fountain their contractors had broken one of the windows on my P&J whilst strimming next to my boat.

Aaarghhh... but she was so nice and as I deal with this sort of stuff all day I had a lot of empathy for her position.

So now I will be taking it back to Mercia Marina to have the window taken out and the glass replaced at the window company who supplied the windows.

Inconvenience - you bet. Question dear reader - how would you approach any recovery of my out of pocket expenses?

The nice note from the bloke who did it - can't be too harsh can I??