Saturday, 31 March 2012

So this was the plan.....

Some while ago we agreed with Justin at Aqua narrowboats to alter the bed on Waterlily to an extending 5 foot jobbie. It is due with him on the 1st April. So we planned to take it to him on that day, when our good friends from Scotland got in touch saying they were coming this way before Easter so we invited them along for the trip.

Car shuffling was needed and to make it less complicated we planned to drop our car off at Mercia where Aqua are based cycle to Fradley, our guests would join us at Fradley and drop their car there so when we arrive at mercia we can drive back to pick up their car. Sorted.

So Thursday I nipped over and collected the two Bromptons from Waterlily and this afternoon we set off just after 2.30 from Mercia.

We made good time along the tow path to Shobnall where we were disappointed to find the chandlery still shut and a to let sign for a cafe or shop?

We then took to the road over to Tatenhill and just as we were coming into Barton Under Needwood my rear tyre went flat. Now normally I carry tools and puncture repair kit but yep you guessed it, nothing loaded for this trip !

So we started pushing hoping the coop in Barton might just might have a puncture kit, when this shop appeared like a mirage.....

... A cycle shop run by Adrian Timmis former Tour rider and Olympic cyclist. How very convenient. I got a puncture kit and set to....

Sorted my puncture out went to put air in Rachel's bike and yep her back tyre was now flat, so part two of the bicycle repair man show. Interrupted by a group who had just been looking at £10,000 carbon fibre bikes, they got a demo from me of how quickly the Brompton fold to very small.

The offending thorn, very little but so effective at removing air from the tube....

Extra air in the tyres saw us very quickly making progress towards our destination of Fradley Junction.

It took us best part of three hours but we did have a 45 minute pit stop. Still we are on the boat and will take her down to Willington in the morning.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Sober days

I am proud of myself for being off the alcohol for................

42 days !

I have a sober days widget on my Mac to help me with this personal challenge.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Bloggers comments

The new anti spam wiggly words is stopping me posting comments on some of you fellow bloggers comments section. The words are far too unrecognisable and after having a few attempts I have given up so I will only now comment on the ones without, life is too short !

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

One month + and counting

I gave up alcohol on the 16th February. I drank too much the night before, supposedly relaxing watching the football but I felt off it the next day. I put too many prescription drug into my body to keep on the level and then I have to add some other drugs  that counter the ill effects of the alcohol. All in all too much for my poor body to deal with.

I don't do moderation so it is all or nothing and so far I'm pleased I am doing nothing and I feel better for it. So onwards and upwards, heavier in the pocket and fresher in the mind, it's my mini health revolution.

One thing that has got me before is being on the boat but when we were there last weekend I did not fold and did not really miss it - good sign, just wish I could do moderation but a bit old to start now.

All in in together - I think not

My blog my opinion.....

Where is the plan for getting young people into work...? All is can see the headline will be is tax cuts for the rich and cuts to pensioner income.

This group of millionaires and their Lib Dem wannabe's are just using their position to progress age old Tory policies.

God help the NHS and the young trying to get into work.

It was good entertainment watching the chamber in full flow, I think the Downton Abbey joke by Ed Milliband won the day ! (Still don't think he is good enough to run the country)

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

BW being blunt....

A colleague took this picture whilst walking the local canals on Sunday.

There is blunt and very blunt....however I suspect this is the work of a disgruntled boater or towpath walker.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

It's going to get busy up north...

BW have published their restrictions due to water shortages..... in March !!

We know its been dry for a couple of years,  just another indication of the changing weather patterns we are seeing - global warming ??

BW hope that boaters understand that these measures so early in the season are seeking to preserve low reservoir stocks such that cruising through the year can be maintained for as long as possible.

The last bit.... cruising for as long as possible says it all really.  There will be a significant divide in traffic north and south, that is if we get some rain in the north and midlands. The hire companies will be hit hard and those with water and no restrictions will no doubt have a boost to their bookings.  For us at Fradley I'm sure it will mean more traffic as those private boaters who continuously cruise will head to where there are no restrictions, I can't blame them for that.

An interesting year ahead.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Southern Fradley approach

I took this and like it so I am sharing it.

It is the first sight of the five locks that make the Fradley flight. I took it last year on the 19th March. I like how it shows the starting profile of Fradley. Anyone reading the Nicholson's will be slightly wary of this flight and it audience of gongoozlers.

Pass during 11-6pm during late spring or summer and your skills and possibly patience will be tested.

Still a great place to moor a boat for its character, history and cruising routes.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Broken Squirrel

I deliberately have a KISS principal on Waterlily. Makes it easy for me to maintain an acceptable and enjoyable presence whilst on board. I am sure if and when I spend a considerable amount more time aboard then I might have a few more advanced systems in use, but for now I like simple.

The ubiquitous Squirrel sold fuel stove is fairly robust with few moving parts. However on my last visit on emptying the ash tray I noted a piece of metal I had not tried to burn.... on closer inspection the revolving bottom plate has got a broken arm. When I was getting my engine bits from Midland Chandlers I asked and was pleased they could supply off the shelf a replacement.

Pleased they had one but not so pleased to have to pay £37 for it !

Anyhow on my recent visit after the previous nights fire had gone out I replaced it quite easily and we are back up and running with a fully working fire.

Monday, 12 March 2012

2,000 mile visitor attraction and we are the main event

We were on board over the weekend, and a great time we had as well.

I got there dusk on Friday evening and watered up and warmed up the boat, ready for a special lady in my life bringing me chip shop food - lovely.

Saturday I got the genny out for Rachel to give the boat a good vac through whilst I did an oil, oil filter and fuel filter service. It went very easy and the boat started quite easily. I took the opportunity to wack in some fuel additive to prevent that diesel bug malarkey. The fuel in the filter and the filter itself looked fine....not sure if you saw Tim Spall's latest program where he has blocked filter problems, however I expect a dutch barge on the sea will churn up all the crap from the fuel tank?

In the late afternoon after a  longish siesta that included watching some Rugby we went for a walk in the woods up towards Woodend lock. It was really perfect, this is how I like Fradley, when all the Gongoozlers have gone home. Just wood smoke rising from a few boats, nature doing its last bit of pre night time calling, then over to the night creatures.

Sunday we needed to wind the boat as she is due with Justin at Aqua Narrowboats at the beginning of April. We went to the junction and Rachel did a perfect turn, not before we literally had someone stick a camera into her face as she captained the boat through the locks.   It was really intrusive... but that was how Fradley can be and Sunday was no exception.

This is the lane leading to Fradley junction, the car parks were full and so was every bit of available parking space. Lots of cameras and lots of people just 'watching'. We really are the main attraction and felt it on Sunday. Makes me smile we pay BW or CaRT to be the main event at places like Fradley !

I took the photo above as we returned from a cycle trip to Fradley coop for supplies. The Bromptons are the tool for this job for sure.

 As we had two cars I stayed on after Rachel left for home to do a bit of fishing ... I told you we had a great weekend. I fished until dusk then wended my way to my other home, (to clean off the copious amounts of bird sh!t from the Smart that it had collected whilst parked under the roosting spot of what must have been an Ostrich !)

My goodness boating can be good !

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Very lucky people

I got to the boat straight after work last night and watered up unpacked and generally got the boat ready for Rachel's later arrival as she was working on a late. Chip shop produce was consumed and an early night taken.

This morning I was outside while Rachel was inside both maintaining the boat. I serviced the engine and did a general tidy up whilst Rachel took advantage of the genny and did a full vac inside. More food then Rugby followed by a lovely twilight walk up the canal through the woods.

I reflected that it is a good life and we are very lucky. I hope your Saturday was as nice as ours

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Engine servicing tips and advice Beta BV1505

Last three times I have had RCR service my engine. They have done a great job and we have to date we have only had one breakdown to a leaking coolant hose - running on the engine and over time the rubbing/vibration wore a pin size hole into it from which we lost coolant.

Anyhow I emailed RCR last year and they took ages to reply eventually asking what my engine was etc - all information they have I think. I did not reply as I intended to do it myself as many of you guys do. Last time RCR did it I watched the guy and it was oil, oil filter, fuel filter and air filter. He tightened up the alternator belt and did some visuals checks and that was it.

So anything I should look out for - I presume I run the engine to warm up the engine oil to get it out easier - I have a sump pump fitted so that is easier. Last time I recall he charged up the replacement oil filter before fitting it, it this essential?

When he fitted the fuel filter he has to prime the system I think there is a lever to do this to charge the filter before restarting the engine?

The alternator belt I have done before so I am ok with that. I also check the wiring and coolant runs  plus engine mounts routinely. I do not expect to have to change the gearbox oil - the check is just to remove the filler cap and ensure the oil level is ok and the oil is clear honey coloured as it went in?

One thing I need to track is the fact the coolant warning light does not come on as the oil and electricity warning lamps do on starting the boat. Its not the bulb as I have tried that - any advice as to where the sensor is so I can check it and the wiring from it?

Any advice gratefully received. I am planning to do it this weekend.

One other question.... I have no expansion bottle on the coolant. So when checking cold it is not to the top when the filler cap is removed. I have topped it up but it spits out the overflow pipe as it expands. I assume this then results in it finding its own level but how do I know what to top it up to if needed. I am tempted to fit an expansion bottle - I might talk to Midland chandlers about this when I go and get the bits.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Floating on sewerage water

Seems that a couple of rivers that feed canals are being kept alive by the out flows from sewerage works so says NBW. It's a double not nice prospect that we may soon be floating on recycle wee and if there is not enough of that not floating at all!

I'm sure it is more scaremongering from NBW but all the same the investments we make to have our boats on the canal may be limited by the places we may not be able to visit in the future.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Too nice to just go home part 2...well it is going to rain tomorrow

Same M.O. as last night really, only this time a few miles more and a few degrees colder. Tonight I went up the Via Gelia and turned off on the Bakewell road but took a detour to this place...

That's Winster a really nice village in the Peaks. It always seems unspoilt and little changed. When the time permits I think I'd like to explore this place a little more.

I then headed off for Chesterfield up over the moors, just past Beeley Moor it got down to about 6c still quite comfortable on the Pan with its great fairing and heated grips.

Straight back via the A61 topped up the fuel and wacked it back in the garage.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Too nice to just go home...

In-between emails the lovely day we have had today was calling so a rapid getaway was undertaken and I was on my Pan European motorbike heading towards the Peak District. Duffield... then Wirksworth into Cromford then the length of the Via Gelia to Newhaven. The sun had set and it was a great crimson sky so I stopped and watched.....

My Iphone does not do twilight very well but it was so nice to be out after work in the middle of the countryside.

I headed on over to Ashbourne and as it was not quite dark I located by memory the chip shop. A feeding stop preceded a slow paced return home. Fifty miles but a good way to end the day. 

Someone I knew yesterday took his own life, who why and how are not relevant, he was a motorcyclist and a family man. It is such a waste of life and he and his family who I don't know will be in my thoughts every time I go on my bike for a time to come.