Monday, 30 January 2012

Warming the boat

We have not been aboard Waterlily since the New Year....looking at the Blackberry weather reports today it was a long line of -'s topping out at -9 on Thursday night. That is fixture damaging temperature so I went over to the boat this afternoon and lit the fire and read slept while the boat warmed up. I will be aboard on and off this week keeping the temperature up to protect the boat from ice. Our neighbour reported ice breaking on her way to wind at Alrewas today. She was pumping out and watering up in case the cut froze over, a distinct possibility.

I really do have respect for those hardy lot living on the cut over a winter. Our mooring have zilch facilities so it's one hard slog for those who stay put. The boats are no doubt lovely and cosy - certainly ours is when the fire is in and the back boiler is feeding the central heating. It's the fetching and carrying plus the planning that must take its toll. It is a good walk just from the car park let alone pumping out and watering up.

Two boaters have told me of their ability , one semi forced, to go cruising this year, I am very envious of such freedom.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Property by the canal

Its as rare as rocking horse shit poo. We have a largish house with just two of us in it now and I have had drawn area searches on lots of places via Righmove  Nothing is coming up that remotely takes my fancy. We have a nice house and I would not move easily, but after looking for over a year now I don't think anything has come to my attention that I 'wanted'.

We have a good budget and would stretch it to get the right place. It has to be in the midlands ideally the T&M from Willington to Stone plus maybe the Caldon or Ashby. So if you know of someone selling or seen one, let me know. There may be a reward, a finders fee??

Another option is to buy the home on the canal. I have blogged about getting a bigger live-a-board boat recently. It seems an option that could put us on all three of these canals where and whenever we want. However this is not a long term retirement option -  sit watching the boats cruise on while feeding my chickens or fishing ..... dreamer or what !

The irony is I helped Andrew off Granny Buttons find a nice place in Willington. OK not on the canal but very local to it and other interesting features.

Anyhow it passes the evening ..........dreaming !


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Government debt breaches one trillion what to do? | News | Government debt breaches one trillion

You have got to help me out on this one, I tried really hard last year to help by doing my bit and spending like a mad's hard but I did it, the motorcycle got changed, holidays were taken petrol used up as fast as I could ride my bike, and I spent on the hole in the water that I call my boat. Some have said that food was well consumed but when I look in the mirror at my naked form I see just muscle....

So I'll buckle down and try again this year, more petrol for the bike, diesel for the boat DIY (I'll pay someone for that) for the house and food for the body. Any other suggestions otherwise it'll go under the mattress and that is no good for Dave or George ?

What will you do ?

Monday, 23 January 2012

Sunday walks part II

Busy busy busy at home this weekend and finally got out for some exercise Sunday Afternoon. I have to have a canal fix so we cheekily parked at Mercia marina and walked to Stenson and back. No photos because I forgot the camera.

It was a notable walk in that I recall we only met one other couple. The wind was a challenge especially the walk back which associated with the dusky time of the day and the weather was the reason for the lack of hardy souls .

We also saw a widebeam on the move. I like seeing them on the cut, they do present an alternate view of boating with very little water at each side at some points on the cut. Rachel thinks they look ungainly, I think they look menacing, especially if approaching from a weedy narrowboat, they have the air of the bully who is not going to move off his path and looks for a reason to bump shoulders with you to start a fight....I'm sure all wide beamers would not be so rude....

Friday, 20 January 2012

It's not how long it is it's what you do with it?

I am slowly convincing myself that Waterlily is too small at 50 foot. Comet, our previous boat was a 45 footer, so we are progressing the right way. The thing is for two plus a dog it ticks all the boxes. It is when we take others  it gets a bit too cosy. It can and has been done but its not luxurious?

The thing is there are quite a few benefits of a 50 foot boat over a 60-70 foot boat. Where it can go, ease of finding moorings on the cut, license, mooring fees, insurance, maintenance, reasons not to take others aboard....?

In fact I know in my heart it is the right boat and we have spent a lot on her recently to get her how we want her. She could do with a bath and  could do with an extending bed, but that's all really. So this introspective post is all about how we should be using Waterlily rather than betraying her for length.

So on to route planning for 2012. It has to include rivers I think as I seem to have a fear of them. Totally unfounded but I have avoided them with real ability since boat ownership. We do the Trent regularly.... but it is about 400 yards between Alrewas and  Wychnor so that really is cheating. We could do the Trent from Sawley, when we walked there recently there were boats moving with little trouble and they looked right.

I think I owe it to Waterlily to give the old girl some deep water to play in, just as long as she does not let me down.

Going back to the title and putting off route planning for another blog post, one thing I am aware of there it little out there to tempt me. There are loads of boats on brokerage, but non have all what I want. I have been looking in some detail and viewed a couple of boats. The last one was and still is very close as it had a really good fit out, crap external but ticks all the boxes apart from one..... the internal engine room and boatman's cabin. but it does have a good fit out and would cope much better for 4 rather than 2 maybe .........

I used to be indecisive, but I'm not sure now !!!


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Another great year...2011 in pictures

Checking back at what I was blogging about this time last year, I read with much joy our previous year. So I am repeating this just so in these dark winter nights I can reflect on what we did and where we went to give some reassurances there is a whole range of things to do when the nights get longer and the sun a bit warmer.


 We started the year as we ended the last year - on board. There is my brass lantern, a Christmas present

 My Christmas present to myself, a bike sat nav, sign of intention !
 This is it installed on my 700 Honda Deauville

First test was a trip out to blow away the cobwebs, somewhere at a greasy spoon near Mansfield with a couple of lads from the Deauville owners club.

I ended the month visiting Waterlily to sort out the tiller bearings, it should of been done when we had her painted but got missed. There was also a lot of cold weather about as you may recall in the early part of the month.


Good start to our cruising plans - a smooth operating tiller arm. Shame about the nipple

We always try an be on our boat on our anniversary  (14th February) and this year was no different with a few days aboard moored past Woodend lock, really peaceful. We had a few walks, one being passed the Ownashare base near Kings Bromley

Leia did some relaxing at home with the telly !

Finished the month with a ride out to a heritage train yard somewhere near Chesterfield with the Deauville owners club


It was towards the middle of the month we had a stop over on Waterlily. This is a moonlight shot looking down our moortings from Hunts lock.

Leia got relaxed on the bed !


The middle of the month saw me on my own on the boat as Rachel was in Wales with her father. On a walk up to Woodend lock I collected the discarded full poo bags left fro A.N. Idiot to collect  - seen right on the new bench at Shadehouse lock.

Just a little video of our walk. Leia was spooked by the guns going off, or it could have been crow scarers?
I also replaced the batteries on Waterlily  - I recon the old ones were a mixture of ages going back five years.

We finished the month celebrating the loss of the leaning silver birch poo platform. No more bird poo on the boat and fuel I have subsequently been burning aboard Waterlily over Christmas


The start of the good weather....... and I went all over the place !!

I traded in my 700 Deauville.....

.....for a 1300 Pan European. Ever the optimist. It's a big heavy bike but Ihave always wanted one and thought sod it you are a long time dead so got it. Bloody brilliant is all I can say.

We went on our first cruise of the year.... to the Ashby Canal

Proof we made it (we were short last time) this is Shakerstone tunnel. The Ashby is a great canal

We found and rehomed this little fella... he now lives on Ghosty Hill the coal boat

Returning we saw our first fully owner boat  - Comet, still very much in use as a livaboard just near Fazely junction.

We had to move the boat at 10pm on one mooring when there was a large fire above us and the boat got covered in soot...Grrrrrrr

The day after we got back from the Ashby (16th April) I was on my bike around Derbyshire and up to Squires Cafe in Yorkshire. Here is Gary Bob Alan & Jane. Good friends met from the Deauville forum who now ride, FJR, Pan, FJR (bikers will know)

I even did some DIY on the flat roof and painted the facias I recall it was very very hot and just the middle of April.

The 24th saw us back on the boat and we took a nice walk around Alrewas, one on the list for next house location !

26th and I was on the bike for a day to Barmouth via the know aqueduct. Great roads for a bike

I ended the month with a run up to Scotland to visit our good friends John and Carrie. Up on the 29th and back on the 30th as I had something planned for May......


May day Sunday is a gathering of the Deauville owners club and they have a run out.... this time we ended up at the Cheddleton railway, well worth a visit.

Then later that week I was told by BW they had broken my window cutting grass !!

On the 8th I was in Bridlington for the day. I started off for a cooked breakfast as Clay Cross and ended up having ice cream on the harbour wall.

I don't seem to have any photo's but we did take Waterlily to Willington to have the window replaced , I think I single handed down and we brought her back just before we went to......

......Scotland on the bike (John always gives me beer ) . This time I took Rachel as we were going over to...... 

.......Ireland once again with the Deauville ow=ners. We had four great days over there with a real good group of people. Great rides great company great bike.

We spent another day with John and Carrie in Scotland before returning on the Tuesday, I think it was the 31st May. Busy month.


On the way back from Scotland, in Scotch corner services as I recall I got a call from Mandy and a text from Chris both boaters on Hunts telling me BW had broken another window....!!!!! We only dropped it off on the Wednesday and they bust another on the Friday!

It gave us an excuse to get an overnight and an early start on the 4th June to wind Waterlily at the junction and take her back to Mercia for another window replacement. This was taken just after 6am.

On the 9th (Rachel's Birthday) we had a day in the Peak District walking the newly opened Monsal Dale railway tunnels coming back by the river vally, it was a fantastic day.


Early July I went to some local lakes off the boat to catch the carp(s) that alluded me when on the two week trip of which a considerable effort was undertaken at various locations

Mid July it was the bike to Stone and surrounding areas in the wet, can't get enough of this bike

The end of the month saw me tripping to the Humber bridge for Pan style entertainment


We had a great weekend on the bike meeting up in Leeds on the Friday evening for a trip around north Yorkshire on the Saturday and a run around Derbyshire on the Sunday. We met up with more bikes at CMC in Chesterfield where I took the pic of an FS1E (fizzy) my first bike. Ended up at the pork pie pub near Waterhouses

My birthday in the middle of the month saw the arrival of my captains chair (it does not live there now) and a stay aboard

We then did a charity motorcycle ride to Skegness  - air ambulance  There was well over 150 bikes quite impressive

The end of the month was a planning visit to the boat to replace the calorifier


Scotland again .......

Went to Dunoon this time with a couple of other bikes.  Great great biking roads and great company. just a long weekend and plenty of miles.

Next weekend we were back on the boat again for an overnighter.

Middle of the month we were in Cormwall (in the car because of hurricane something or other) fantastic hotel great scenary

We came back and added a couple of days on the boat to fit the calorifier  and a trip to Alrewas arboretum on the pedal bikes

Finished the month on the bike again back into Wales for a canal fix, can you guess?


Final bit of boating improvements was the addition of a solar panel and controller 

This is Barmouth in October !!

Then back on the baat towards the end of October with some nice walking ...picnicking in late October,  can't complain can we?


I was on the boat myself as Rachel was working a weekend in early November and helped a fellow bloggers boat beat the stoppages... Chertsey

While aboard I sorted out the rolls from the tree that came down in April.... half burnt already

In the middle of the month we had a short break and went to Stenson and back. I think I overdosed on wood smoke  - lovely

At the end of the month we (I) went looking at other boats.... I am still tempted by this one so am not giving more details.

My goldfish of 17 years died in November, he deserves his place on the internet, RIP little fish (his name as his mate big fish dies about three years earlier)


Another overnighter for me with Rachel joining me as she was working. This is the Hunts stoppage

This is how we ended 2011 and brought in 2012, aboard Waterlily enjoying all that is good about boating.

All in all a great year, lots done, some lows that balance out the positives but as I have said on a few occasions its one life live it.......