Thursday, 31 December 2009

A Reasonable Success.

Our Stormguard Double Glazing film has proved successful reducing condensation to approx 5% of what it used to be. The windows not being totally air tight are allowing some moisture born air into the space between the glass and the film but overall we are very happy with the results. Saves Dot a lot of time each morning not having to wipe all the condensation off them.

565864HBO111111X Following various other boater blogs it appears that we are not too badly off where we are. We are getting reports of boats being frozen in with ice up to 4 inches thick. We know there is ice both North and South of us but nothing where we are.There has been a few boats,both private and hire, passing through in both directions so the canal must be reasonably navigable but we will stay put for a while longer and see how things transpire.

We wandered into Rugby this morning after missing the bus by a minute or so to try and sort out our 6 months prescriptions that we had received from a locum at our doctors surgery earlier this month. Our usual doctor is unfortunately retiring and made it very easy for us with our prescriptions.  We had one chemist close by who refused to fulfil the prescriptions but we had great success with Boots in Rugby.  We have to return next week to collect the remainder and then we can be off cruising again. (weather permitting!)

Happy New Year to you all


Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Christmas has been and gone.

We never did get that white Christmas although I believe that there were some areas with snow further north.  We trust that everybody following our blog has had a relaxing Christmas and haven’t been over indulging too much. Our Christmas was a quiet affair with daughter Tracey and phone calls to and from family and friends in New Zealand.

Boxing day was a different story with Tracey’s friend Greg and his 2 son’s Kieran and Tayne arriving. The latter 2 only being 9 and 6 respectively certainly made a difference to the activity and noise levels in the boat but they generally amused themselves with their Nintendo DS’s supplied by Santa or watching a DVD in the lounge. We had hoped on doing a cruise to Hillmorton and back but after a short trip up to the Rugby Arm to wind and take on water our hopes were dashed. Where we had been moored at Brownsover there wasn’t a single piece of ice anywhere but where the canal is sheltered it was still frozen solid. Past experience of cruising through Ice has put us off this practice unless totally necessary, so it was back to where we had been moored at Brownsover until conditions improve.

Recently we have been talking to Paul on Nb Piston Broke and Derek on Nb Uccello about secondary glazing because this time of the year condensation on windows is a real pain. Paul has been experimenting with plastic mouldings and Perspex which can be re-used but they need to be a firm fit and air tight. Derek however had found a product called Double Glazing film put out by Stormguard. This is a single use product that is placed over windows using double sided tape and a hair dryer. At £6.39 a box from Homebase it’s a 10th of the cost of Paul’s version. Derek had already done his boat with reasonable success so we thought that we would have a go. Having more window area than Derek I purchased 2 boxes. It transpired that the film from one box was more than adequate but I had to use all the double sided tape from both boxes. It does say in the instructions that more tape might be needed so why don’t the manufacturer's supply more? Still I believe you can get a wider tape used for carpets but that might be too strong when it comes time to take the film off again come Spring. It might take off any paint or varnish that it touches but that is an ongoing job anyway re-varnishing the woodwork. All we need do now is sit back and see just how effective this Double Glazing film is, we will keep you posted.

Friday, 25 December 2009

A White Christmas – I don’t think so!

Brownsover 002 How does the old saying go? ‘Red Sky at night, Shepherds Delight’ ( A fine day tomorrow for Christmas Day, we’ll see.)

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas to you all

To all our friends, family and readers, we hope you all have a fantastic Christmas.

Merry Christmas 2009

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Snow and Ice.

We have now been iced in for three days in a row. With the occasional flurry of snow just to keep a white outlook the temperatures are hovering between -6.00C to +2.00C so it could be a White Christmas.

Sunday night we had a dinner party with Derek and Carrie from Nb Uccello. On the menu was roast Lamb with roast potato's,parsnips and carrots together with Brussel sprouts garnished with bacon pieces and Carrie made a delicious Banoffee Pie! Yummy. All this was washed down with a couple of bottles of Australian wines, unfortunately we couldn’t find any NZ wines but at least we are supporting the Pacific region.

Monday saw Dot heading into Rugby for some retail therapy and a haircut before meeting Tracey at the railway station, so we are more or less set for Christmas. A visit from the Diesel boat, Gosty Hill later today will see us organised into the new year.

Only a few bits and pieces such as dairy and fresh vegetables to get tomorrow, we don’t fancy shopping on Thursday

Sunday, 20 December 2009

We got that one right.

Every time the boat moved there was a graunching noise so we knew we were iced in before we even got out of bed this morning. Our weather station told us that the temperature had been down to – 6.10C overnight. Our decision to move yesterday proved to be the right one.

Today has been glorious with the sun streaming in through the windows which has helped heat the boat saving us some diesel. Even though the outside temperature never got above 20C it was quite pleasant outside mainly due to a lack of wind. As I write this the barometer is dropping and the temperature is now 0.30C with more snow forecast for tonight.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Locking in the Snow!

 3 Locks, 3.58 Miles in the snow. Now moored at Brownsover.

Hillmorton 006A week before Xmas going down  Hillmorton Locks and it's snowing.Hillmorton 007

Winter arrived with a vengeance last night. Howling winds to send us off to sleep and a smattering of snow to wake up to. With all this in mind we decided that we would be wise to move up to Brownsover or Newbold where we are closer to civilisation should the canal freeze over. Tracey is due to arrive on Monday for Christmas so we wanted to be handy to the bus stop.

Hillmorton 009 Derek gets a helping hand while his helper waits for her boat to arrive.

We waited until mid morning in the hope of a rise in the temperature, some hope there, before casting off and guess what, it started to snow again and quite heavily. Dot opted to drive while I did the locks and she complained that at times she couldn’t see where she was going. After going through the Hillmorton locks we stopped to top up the water but had to wait in the queue as 2 other boats were already there. They apparently had to defrost the stand pipes before they could get any water. I will now have to get into the habit of draining our water hose after each use to ensure we don’t have any problems on this score.

Hillmorton 011 That snow is getting deeper.

As we have a visitor over Christmas we called into Clifton Cruisers for a pump out even though we didn’t need one at this time but there again, if the canal freezes over we could find ourselves in dire straits if we didn’t. With Christmas greetings exchanged with Paul, his family and staff it was off to Brownsover in the hope of a mooring. We needn’t have worried because as we turned the final bend who should we spy but Carrie and Bungie (the dog) walking along the towpath. Derek was back on Nb Uccello moored up just around the corner and we have moored in front of them. (They are faced the opposite way after arriving from All Oaks Woods just before us).

Hillmorton 012 Yes, that's the sun up there trying to put in an appearance.

After a late lunch it was off to Tesco’s for some immediate requirements and a check on the special deals on offer. No doubt we will be paying them a few more visits before Santa arrives. Tonight looks like it’s going to be the coldest night so far with a temperature of –1.10C at present and still dropping.

Hillmorton 014 Just as well he's wrapped up well.

 2034 locks, 4042.26 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 18 December 2009

‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’

Hillmorton 002

This is what we woke up to this morning, only light compared to other parts of the country.  We may get that White Christmas Tracey has been longing for yet!

Brrrr, It’s getting Chilly out there.

0 Locks, 6.71 Miles. Now moored above Hillmorton top lock.

Well yesterday I managed to service the engine between showers and Dot got back from Rugby after her swine flu jab just on dark. This morning with a change of plans as to when our Xmas visitor was to join us we left Braunston on a beautiful sunny but cool morning. Stopping off to fill the water tank, we only travelled as far as bridge 89 before we spotted Paul and Lynne on Nb Piston Broke. We had been trying to meet up with these guys for a while so we could see what Paul had been doing with an experimental secondary glazing to reduce condensation on the windows. I will have to see what can be done on Gypsy Rover because our window profile is different to what is on Piston Broke.

After nearly 2 hours of idle chat and comparing idea’s we had to leave Paul and Lynne as the weather was starting to make a turn for the worst and we wanted to make Hillmorton today if at all possible. With the thermometer dropping, it was only 6.40C when we started off, and huge black clouds massing to the South we were keeping our fingers crossed. We did have one brief shower of hail which was a surprise because the nearest cloud appeared miles away and a snow flurry which was even briefer just as we arrived at our current location. By the time we had completed our chores of battening down for the night the outside temperature had dropped to -1.60C where it has stayed for the last few hours. 

2031 locks, 4038.68 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Change of Scenery.

Everything went well last night and there were no further hiccups with the Mikuni central heating unit so we were very cosy. Just as well because the weather forecast for the rest of the week is cold, frost and SNOW, yer right, I’ll believe that when I see it.

This morning we reversed back from the workshops to a mooring outside the marina. I’ve laid some more floor tiles and Dot has been organising a bus trip to Rugby tomorrow as the Doctor has contacted her for the Swine Flu vaccine (one day only) and Specsavers have her new glasses in store. Checking the boat log book it seems that the engine is due for a service so I will amuse myself doing that tomorrow. Ain’t I a lucky fella.

This afternoon we went for a walk to find the bus stops and post some mail and I found a depository for waste engine oil.That means I will be able get rid of the latest batch of used oil plus the last lot that has been cluttering up the engine hole for 3 months.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Gremlin in the works

3 Locks, 11.55 Miles. Now moored below bottom lock Braunston.

Try as I might over the week-end the Mikuni central heating unit just wouldn’t play ball. The Fuel pump was working but I did find a bit of muck in the filter. I did get it running but only with huge plumes of white smoke. Phone calls to Mikuni Heating for advice and 2 phone calls to marine engineers to find somebody familiar with this particular unit left us no option but to head for Braunston. We stopped off at Brownsover for water and a quick trip to Tesco’s, and a quick stop over at Clifton Cruisers for mail.

We were amazed at the amount of boats on the move today considering the miserable conditions.We actually made good time and reached Braunston about 3pm. Justin from J G Marine arrived back from an emergency call out not long after we had breasted up against a new boat outside his workshop. Nicely timed.

Justin ran the unit to see what was taking place and then set to pulling the unit to pieces. He eventually emerged from under the deck saying that other than 1 too many insulating washers on the glow plug everything appeared fine. The proof would come in a test run. We started the unit up and it eventually kicked into life with a huge white cloud of smoke which is what happened to me at Newbold. Justin recommended that we just leave the unit running and see what happens. It took over half an hour before the white smoke stopped bellowing from the exhaust at which stage we put it through it’s paces to ensure it was cycling properly. Bingo! Everything worked properly.

We came to the conclusion that if I had left the unit running for longer when I got it started at Newbold on Saturday it would have come right. The reason I stopped it was because we were moored by some houses and the smoke was drifting across to them and I didn’t want any irate neighbours. As for the extra insulating washer, that’s what was supplied with the new glow plug so I just fitted it. Still, I can’t complain because Justin only charged a pittance. Due to the late hour and the fact that it was getting dark it was agreed that we stay put for the night and Justin could check in the morning to ensure we experience no further problems overnight. I don’t know if it just imagination but Dot and I both seem to think that the radiators are hotter than they have ever been. See what I mean about Gremlins!

2031 locks, 4031.97 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

‘I Dreamed a Dream’ – Susan Boyle

Wow! What a Dream? From Middle aged Spinster to Worldwide Superstar overnight.  For my birthday last week my daughter Tracey bought me the debut album of Susan Boyle.  I have been following her progress from the first audition of ‘Britain's Got Talent’ earlier in the year.

Newbold 007 

Her phenomenal career launch has been amazing.  Her name became known around the world virtually overnight.  Last night we watched the program of her year and the launch of this album.  Go girl what an amazing voice.  To watch the program yourself, watch here.  Her idol Elaine Paige sang the much awaited duet with her last night.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Wouldn’t you just know it.

Today Dot went into Rugby while I got stuck in with laying more floor tiles. It was a beautiful day with the sun streaming in through the windows keeping the boat warm so I was blissfully unaware of any problems. Not long after Dot returned she complained about the temperature in the boat. By this time the sun had disappeared so I assumed that was the reason for the temperature drop. However upon checking the status of the Mikuni central heating unit it was showing a malfunction. DAMN.

A trip down the engine hole where I changed the glow plug, refitted an electrical connection that didn’t look too healthy, checked all the fuses all to no avail. Pondering our predicament over a cuppa I had the thought that it could be the fuel because the unit was making the initial start up OK but cutting out when it kicked into full power mode. A phone call to Rose Narrowboats more or less confirmed my suspicions and some hints on what to look for were forthcoming, but by this time it was too dark and cold to be outside so it will have to wait until the morning. We are now looking at the possibility of a blocked filter in the fuel pump or the pump has died. Watch this space.

In the meantime we are running the engine for as long as possible to be able to use the electric heater after that it’s going to be a case of wrapping up warm or going to bed early. 

One bonus to today’s events was the sighting of several Redwings feasting on the berries on the Hawthorn bushes opposite our boat. Looking very similar to a Thrush they have different facial markings and the red under their wings hence the name. Our bird guide tells us they they migrate here from Northern European breeding grounds and winter over here until early spring.

Stacey to win X Factor this week-end. Go girl go.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Another Plaudit for British Waterways

On our travels down from Hawkesbury Junction a couple of weeks ago we were concerned about the condition of bridge 15 on the Oxford Canal as we don’t recall seeing it in such a sorry state. There was also the case of a tree down across the towpath near bridge 19 which although not impeding navigation would require attention. An email was duly sent off to BW thinking that is the last we would hear of the matter.

Shock horror, 3 days ago we received a email from Robert Drinkwater in the Milton Keynes office to say that BW were monitoring the bridge on a monthly basis but the bridge is privately owned and therefore not BW’s responsibility. They are in negotiations with the owner over the bridges condition and usage which the owner can choose to implement or ignore to everybody’s detriment.

So if you happen to pass under this bridge near Ansty make sure there is nothing large and heavy about to cross it before passing through the bridge hole.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Well Done British Waterways!

0 Locks, 2 Miles. Now moored at Newbold.

Would you believe that at the weekend we relicensed online with British Waterways as our licence expires at the end of the month.  As it would go to our mailing address in London we thought that we had better give them the 15 days that BW say it takes to relicense, this would ensure that hopefully we would have our new licence prior to Christmas.  Well this morning Tracey rang to say our licence had arrived in the mail this morning.  How about that?

First of all thanks to Les on Nb Valerie for putting us straight over the mysterious happenings at the Newbold water point. It transpires that the new water main wasn’t entirely a waste of time because they extended it along the towpath to the existing water point and changed the connections over cutting off the main from the pub. Simple really when you think about it.

It was such a lovely day for a cruise we couldn’t say no. It was a case of multi tasking with charging the batteries, doing a load of washing, getting a pump out and topping up the diesel. The latter 2 were done at Lime Farm Marina which is a port of call we have not used previously but will do in future.  We then returned to Newbold and are now moored where we were previously. (just facing in the opposite direction).

It was a bit embarrassing regarding the diesel because I had over estimated the usage thinking that we could probably take on approx 30 litre’s. Instead we only managed to squeeze in 13 litre’s. The Mikuni central heating unit has obviously not been working as hard as I had imagined therefore less consumption, still that can’t be a bad thing. Mind you there are frosts forecast for the next few days so that could push the consumption up.

While in the office at Lime Farm Marina I noticed that they had a brochure from the Australian Canal Society. It transpired that one of their regular moorings is let to a member of the A.C.S. and Lime Farm were proposing to advertise their 2 berth hire boat in the A.C.S. magazine. Makes sense really because it is difficult to get enough people together from that side of the world to say hire a 4 or 6 berth boat. It is a nice looking boat as well.

2028 locks, 4020.42 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 10 December 2009

What a waste of money.

Oxford Canal 032 Gosty Hill's mascot “Bosun”  at Brownsover Park, Rugby last week. Note Nb Rock and Roll in the background unfortunately we didn't have too long to talk to Carol and George due to Dot’s imminent departure for London, maybe next time.

Well that’s us all up to date with Doctors check up’s, annual blood tests and bi-annual eye sight tests. The latter of course means new lenses all round as our eyes are not what they used to be but they are healthy which is a small blessing of a kind. Once we get Christmas done and dusted and we can see how the weather is looking to pan out we can start thinking about getting back into cruising mode.

Now earlier in the year we made a comment about a new water point being installed at Newbold apparently due to a disagreement with the pub owner from where the current supply is connected. When we left Newbold to start our 2009 cruise the new water point was just awaiting a tap and a lock and it would be up and running. Upon returning to Newbold we were surprised to find that the new water point has disappeared and the old one is still in use but it does have 2 taps fitted on the outside allowing 2 boats to use the facility simultaneously.

The non existent tap would have cost thousands to install because it involved a 300 yard trench to be dug, a new connection from the water main in the road and the relative bits and pieces on the towpath, all for what? NOTHING. I don’t know who paid for it all, BW or the water supply company but what a waste of money. We found that one reason for the change could possibly be the the Barley Mow pub has recently changed hands and is under new ownership.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Birthdays come and go!

Yesterday was my 6? birthday, (and I don’t feel any older) so yes Derek and I are both Sagittarians (The wanderers of the Zodiac) and we have certainly done our share. Since we left Newbold in February we have done 441 locks, 676 miles, 19 tunnels, 87 swing bridges and 15 lift bridges.  Boy have we been busy.  We visited the following canals including the North Oxford, The Coventry, The Birmingham and Fazely, The Ashby, The Trent and Mersey, The Caldon, The Macclesfield, The Peak Forest, The Ashton, The Rochdale, The Bridgewater, The Leeds and Liverpool, and The Aire and Calder and Calder and Hebble Navigations.  Is that enough for you?

Off course this is not taking into account our trips down to the Isle of Wight for a week and our week in Marjorca later in the year and numerous trips to London to see Tracey and my sister Mary and her husband Tony who flew over in September,  It makes me feel tired just thinking about it.

I think we deserve a little rest before continuing our travels.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

I’m back from London!

0 Locks, 1.26 Miles. Now moored at Newbold.

I have now returned from four days in London, I do love London it is one of my favourite places in this country.  Buses and trains became a blur as we travelled back and forth from one side of London to the other over the four days. With an average of 10 different journeys a day I can only say “Thank goodness for bus passes”

Derek has been busy while I have been away working on the boat, completing the replacement of new skirting and new vinyl tiles in the kitchen.  Looks good too. 

As there was a pile of laundry needing washing and the sun was shining this morning we decided to head up to Newbold for the weekend.  After filling up with water we had a quick chat on the move with Lynne and Paul on Nb Piston Broke, hopefully we’ll catch up for a longer chat in the next few days.  We have made appointments for new eye tests on Monday in Rugby so those passes will come in handy again.

2028 locks, 4018.42 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 3 December 2009

October 2009

The summit 014

In October we crossed the summit of the Rochdale Canal and was it a day to remember.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

September 2009

Saltaire 001 In September we visited Saltaire World Heritage Site, the brain child of Sir Titus Salt, a man ahead of his time and modern town planning originated from his designs.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

August 2009

Gargrave 009

In Gargrave on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Dot couldn't resist taking this photo.

Petition to Downing Street

Just noticed that the link on Nb Piston Broke is not working so here is the correct one. We have signed the petiton several days ago and 10,000 names have been added since. Come on guys add your names NOW.

Monday, 30 November 2009

July 2009

Liverpool 051 In July we travelled to Liverpool via the New Liverpool Link.  A must for all boaters.  We had a fabulous time and wished that the 14 days we spent there had been longer.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Looking Back over the year

Stoke on Trent 003 The cat that we rescued from drowning at midnight at Etruria in June. We heard back from the Cat Protection League that it was doing well. It had been given a clean bill of health from the vet and would be sent to a new home to hopefully see out the rest of it’s life in a happy environment.

London Calling!

0 Locks, 2.05 Miles. Now moored at Brownsover Park.

We had all good intentions of staying at Hillmorton for the week-end and then moving to our present position on Monday for shopping purposes. Unfortunately Tracey has been unwell and back in hospital so Nurse Dot is off to London tomorrow to see the patient to help out for a few days. Brownsover is the easiest place from which to catch a bus to the railway station. It will give me the opportunity to get some work done without having the foreman looking over my shoulder and getting growled at for making too much mess.

2028 locks, 4017.16 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Saturday, 28 November 2009

A Rare Sighting!

0 Locks, 7.5 Miles. Now moored at Hillmorton.

Today we made the final run into Rugby stopping off at Clifton Cruisers for a new gas tank and pick up our mail. Just out of Newbold we spotted a Heron which from a distance looked white which we just put it down to the way the sun was glinting on it’s feathers. When we got closer we were surprised to find it actually was a White Heron.

Oxford Canal 025 White Heron at Newbold, Oxford Canal.

At All Oaks Wood contractors are busy repairing half a mile of towpath which has been long overdue for repair. Placing sandbags along the top of the original wall they are now able to build the towpath up to it’s original level. It will probably become quite popular with walkers in the summertime as there are always cars in the nearby car park.

Oxford Canal 018 Contractors at All Oak Wood Repairing the towpath for half a mile.

Oxford Canal 019

Passing through Newbold and Brownsover we found the moorings to be full so we hope that this situation changes in the not to distant future otherwise we may have to rethink our plans for the next few weeks. As we are boat sitting for Derek and Carrie at Christmas we want a mooring close to where they can get their rental car. After calling in at Clifton Cruisers we carried onto Hillmorton where we watered up, winded below the locks and cruised back half a mile to a mooring. Now the temperatures`are dropping we need to keep the water tank full in case we get frozen in as we did last winter.

Oxford Canal 030 A bit of unscheduled demolition at bridge 66, Oxford Canal.

2028 locks, 4015.11 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 27 November 2009

Back on the Oxford Canal

1 Lock, 8.09 Miles. Now moored at All Oaks Wood

A sure sign that we are back in the great metropolis was the constant drone of the M6 motorway right through the night. Our travels over the last 8 months have been positively devoid of this part of modern day living.

Birthday dinner last night at The Greyhound pub was very nice. It was the first time we had stepped across the threshold of this establishment and we were not disappointed. Dot was cursing that she hadn’t taken her camera with her.

Oxford Canal 003 Bringing Gypsy Rover round from the Coventry Canal to the Oxford Canal in blustery conditions. Sutton Stop, Hawkesbury junction.

This morning the wind was still blowing but again a blue sky as we moved off from Hawkesbury junction. I was expecting problems with the strong wind making the sharp turn from the Coventry canal onto the Oxford canal but it all went very smoothly without making contact with anything. Nothing much has changed since we last cruised through this area but there are still boats on the move.

Oxford Canal 011 Agricultural workers caravan? It looks in good condition.

Bridge 15 at Ansty is looking definitely decrepit with great cracks and the centre of the arch showing signs of sagging. Too many heavy vehicles over it and I cannot see it lasting much longer. The other problem which we will report to BW was a tree down across the towpath below bridge 19. Partly in the water it doesn’t pose a problem to navigation.

Oxford Canal 012 These cow's and calves were making a hell of a mess of this paddock and the canal edging.

2028 locks, 4007.61 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Sutton Stop

0 Locks, 5.68 Miles. Now moored near Hawkesbury Junction.

Yesterday we met up with Derek and Carrie on Nb Uccello who we had met several times previously. We put on morning tea and Derek who is IT literate had a look at our computers to try and get them networked. After many hours he finally got the system partly operational and the Vista computer can view the files on the XP computer but not vice versa.  Never mind Dot will keep working on this as we still only have internet on the Vista.  We assume that this is a Vista security issue so Dot will keep working on it bit by bit.  In the meantime it is a great start.  Otherwise it looks as if we may have to purchase a router to complete the job. Thanks for all your efforts Derek, as well as thanks to the many other messages we received concerning this issue. In the meantime Carrie had been slaving over a hot stove back on Uccello and came back with a delicious date and walnut cake. Yummee!  It’s a great life on the cut.

As we had decided to stay put for the day due to high winds and more threats of rain Carrie invited us over for dinner with Curry on the menu. To square off the meal Derek (GR version, bit confusing with 2 Derek’s) whipped up an Apple Crumble for dessert. There wasn’t much left at the end of the evening I can tell you. A very enjoyable evening.

This morning was still windy but bright blue sky so we said our farewells to Derek and Carrie, we will meet them again in Rugby next month, and headed off towards the Coventry Canal and Hawkesbury Junction. The plan is to visit the Greyhound pub for a bit of a birthday bash. Cooks night off.

2027 locks, 3999.52 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Happy Birthday Derek!

Walsden 001

Hope you have many winter hours of enjoyment viewing these.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Between the showers.

0 Locks, 2.88 Miles Now moored at Burton Hastings.

Just a quick trip into town for some essentials and then we had hoped the weather would hold out long enough for us to get underway and put some more mileage under our belts. We had a few showers along the way but by the time we reached bridge 8 the sky was looking decidedly thunderous so we moored up  at what the local’s refer to as Hospital bend. Not a moment too soon because we had just got everything sorted when the rain arrived.

For the next few days the weather forecast is for more uncertain conditions so we will have to pick and choose our movement times. As we are only 2 or 3 comfortable cruising days out of Rugby there is no great panic.

2027 locks, 3993.84 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Monday, 23 November 2009

All the fun of the fair.

0 Locks, 12.51 Miles. Back at Hinckley.

With the current wet weather sweeping the country we have had to pick our moments when to move and travel further than we would normally. There are still a few hardy souls like us moving around with the occasional hire boat making an appearance.

Along the way we have noticed that farm livestock are disappearing from the fields with farmers now bringing them into the yards and sheds making it easier to feed out hay and silage during winter. In New Zealand the animals are left out in the fields where they are fed. Only high country stock are brought down to lower levels to avoid losing stock in the snow.

Between the showers today we caught the bus into Hinckley to visit  B&Q (the hardware supermarket) to buy some self adhesive vinyl tiles to replace the lino in the kitchen, bathroom and rear entrance. When we arrived in town we found that the whole of the town centre closed off and an enormous funfair filling the streets. Rides of all descriptions,dodgem cars, which were in hot demand,, food stalls and the usual “try your luck” side shows. It’s just a pity that the wet weather was keeping people away. Tucked away in side streets were huge great lorries with generators big enough to supply half the towns electricity pounding away burning through what little profit there was to be made.

 2027 locks, 3990.96 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Is this a waste of funds?

0 Locks, 10.16 miles. Now moored at Shackerstone.

Today we travelled from Market Bosworth visitor moorings to the end of Asby Canal before heading back to Shackerstone where we are currently moored.

Ashby canal 041 £125,000 was required for this wildlife area at the end of Ashby Canal before they were giving permission to restore more of the Canal. You decide whether it was justified.

Ashby canal 044 Work in progress at the Ashby Canal Head of Navigation.Ashby canal 043 Ashby Canal Society shop for supplies and information.

 2027 locks, 3978.45 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 20 November 2009

Happy Birthday Tracey


Market Bosworth

0 Locks, 3.68 miles. Now moored at Market Bosworth.

We felt quite lucky after seeing all the flooding in Cumbria and Lancashire on TV as we had only received showers and strong wind. Seeing the flooding in Todmorden where we had visited recently was a real shock because that town had been devastated by flooding as recently as 2000 and even while we were there heavy rain quickly turned the local stream into a torrent.

This morning the conditions had mildly improved so we decided to cruise up to Market Bosworth. It was a three fold decision as we had to find a Post Office to send off a Birthday card, get a few essentials and do some more never ending washing.

IMG_4415Market Bosworth Market Square

As we passed Nb Pickles we found Pete at home so pulled in alongside for a quick chat. Even though BW are dredging the canal, this spot near Shenton has not been touched so we still cannot moor there due to insufficient depth. It transpires that the dredging is being done to raise the bank on the towpath side, not to deepen the actual navigation channel, so the dredging is a hit and miss, still shouldn’t complain, any dredging is better than none.

2027 locks, 3968.29 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Networking Laptops together!

Yeah right.

Today has been a great day to hide away with the strong winds and rain. So I have spent all day today trying to network our two laptops together.  I went out and bought a crossover cable to enable me to do this but with no apparent success.  John on Nb Epiphany had a go when we were travelling with them a few weeks ago, with no luck either.  So I am in good company. 

I believe that Vista and XP don't like talking to each other, it must be a breakdown in communication in the Microsoft family.

If anyone has an easy and understandable way to network them so that we can share an internet connection, we would appreciate any help.  I have followed all instructions that appear to be easy but they don’t work.

Meantime Derek has had the living room in an upheaval by replacing some of the old skirting boards.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Beautiful day for a cruise.

0 Locks, 5.57 Miles. Now moored at Sutton Cheyney.

Last night John and Elizabeth (Nb Sarah Louise) took us out to the Rugger Tavern for a drink and a meal. We have been there before and last night we were again amazed at the standard of the Smorgasbord menu for as little as £3.50 each for a 3 course meal. A choice of 3 starters, 3 meats with 6 vegetables and 3 desserts. Nobody went home hungry that’s for sure. We had a very pleasant evening discussing our boating problems and experiences and comparing notes over our future plans. We are all in the same situation of, if and when to return to New Zealand because as things stand at present the exchange rate is in NZ’s favour, not ours. Still we both have another 12-18 month’s to think about it and see if the situation improves.

Today was too nice a day to be spent moored up and we wanted to test the electrical system with a heavy load namely the washing machine. We moved down through bridge 16 to wind and head back up the Ashby Canal.  As we progressed it became clear that a lot of other boaters had the same idea because we came across nearly a dozen boats on the move and the skippers obviously enjoying the sunshine.

As we passed Trinity Marina we found that Nb Mistral that had sunk recently has now been refloated and presumably the owners were on site busily trying to clean and dry out the boat. Not a five minute task.

I’m pleased to report that everything seems to be in order in the electrical department with the battery management unit functioning properly. Phew, that’s a relief.

Ashby canal 027 Sutton Cheyney Wharf with the trip boat.

2027 locks, 3964.61 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Thank You Sterling Electrical.

As mentioned in my previous blog I rang Sterling Electrical for some advice regarding their Alternator to Battery management system which we have fitted. The gentleman I spoke to (Peter) took note of the symptoms of the unit and suggested various tests and remedies and to take note of the results. He felt certain that if this did not produce a result the unit would be repairable.

Well after going over the electrical system with a fine tooth comb I eventually succeeded in getting the desired result with the unit now functioning correctly. The problem appears to have been a negative connection that just needed a tweak even though it appeared to be tight. Well at least that saved us £400 for a new unit or a repair bill. This is about the third or fourth time we have contacted Sterling Electrical for advice and they have always been more than happy to assist.

Sunday, 15 November 2009


Yesterday afternoon we received a phone call enquiring if we were home, it was John and Elizabeth who were out walking for some exercise and were close by so we invited them around for coffee. A very pleasant afternoon ensued catching up on the last 9 months.

Last evening we had plans to catch the bus to Nuneaton to meet Tracey off the Euston to Liverpool train. Due to the inclement weather John very kindly offered to take us by car and en route we called into ASDA for some groceries as we were going to be feeding an extra mouth for the week-end.

Today I spent time down the engine hole adjusting the fan belts as we don’t seem to be charging the batteries as well as we have been. This hasn’t remedied the problem so I will have to check the output of the alternators which means either an alternator is on it’s way out or the Battery Management unit needs attention. If it is the latter it will probably be just as cheap to buy a new one than fix the old one. Both the alternator and the BMU are 3 years old so they may be getting passed their use by date. I will ring Sterling Electronics on Monday for their advice.

While I was doing this Dot and Tracey took themselves into Hinckley and Nuneaton for a spot of retail therapy.

Friday, 13 November 2009

We’ve seen Ratty!

0 Locks 7 Miles. Now moored at Bridge 16.

It was grand day to start off but by 11am the rain clouds were gathering. We called into Sutton Cheyney for a coffee with Paul and Rosemary aka Daisy and a good old chin wag. While there we were aware of the presence of the Police spotter helicopter hovering for quite a long while not far from the wharf, it was still there when we finally departed.

Not long after we were just plodding along when there was a plop sound in the water to our left. A quick look revealed a water vole aka “Ratty” having just exited his hole in the bank and going for a swim, fantastic. After this the rest of the cruise faded into obscurity with the main objective to reach a mooring before the rain arrived.

The boat that we pictured yesterday was still submerged as we passed by but what got me was that it was displaying a dealers plate. If the dealer is selling on behalf of the owner he is certainly not taking very good care, if any, of the boat and it will have certainly lost a lot of value now being full of water. A total refit won’t come cheap.

Ashby canal 017Anyone for an egg? Bantams in a portable chicken run on the Ashby Canal.

2027 locks, 3959.04 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 12 November 2009

We cruised further than planned!

0 Locks, 11.51 Miles. Now moored at Battlefield Moorings.

For no other reason than doing the washing we decided we would cruise up to Market Bosworth. Our moorings at Hinckley were good, nice and quiet and only a 10 minute walk to the bus stop so we will come back there on Friday.

Ashby canal 020 Boat for Sale on dealers plates. I don't think it will sell in this condition half full of water. 

Passing Trinity Marina we spotted 3 men and a woman assembling what can only be described as a flat pack dinghy. The 2 sprung loaded sides were pulled out and held in position by 2 seats or boards. We didn’t see the completed article but later in the day they pulled into Sutton Cheney not long after we had arrived. We had made an unscheduled stop here to chat to Paul and Rosemary on Nb Hector who we have crossed paths with several times in the past. It’s nice to catch up occasionally. Rosemary informed us that the dinghy occupant was probably the Water Vole Protection Officer who does a monthly check along the canal as there are quite a lot of water voles on the Ashby Canal.

Ashby canal 018Water Vole Protection Officer assembling a porta boat to do her inspection.

All along the towpath we could see where the BW dredger had been and getting nearer to Market Bosworth it was obvious that some of the dredging’s hadn’t been on the bank very long.

Ashby canal 021  British Waterways have final got around to doing some dredging.

As we approached bridge 42 at Market Bosworth we could see reflections of 2 amber flashing lights and I thought it may have been a refuse truck servicing the apartments opposite the moorings. It turned out to be the dredger and tug dredging out the winding hole. We pulled onto the water point and when we were ready to leave the BW guys moved sufficiently for us to wind and head back to Bosworth Battlefield Moorings. We had planned on staying at Market Bosworth but the moorings were full. The BW guy on the dredger said that when they arrived there so did all the boats because it was empty yesterday. Ah well, we knew there was space available by King Richards Field, so that’s where we are now.  Rain is forecast tonight but then its supposed to fine up so we will head for Sutton Cheyney Wharf or further tomorrow.

Ashby canal 022 British Waterways dredger and tug with the barge attached dredging at Market Bosworth, Ashby Canal.

2027 locks, 3952.04 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Back on the Ashby.

0 Locks 11.82 Miles. Now moored at Hinckley

Visibility was down to a couple of hundred yards this morning as we set off, first port of call was the BW yard just through bridge 31 for water and then it was non stop to the Ashby Canal.

Ashby canal 001 Hartshill, Coventry Canal, 10am and it was still poor visibility.Ashby canal 002Mist slowly dissipating on the Coventry Canal.

We played cat and mouse with a Kingfisher who allowed us to get probably the closest we have ever been to one of these beautiful little birds but still not close enough for a good photo. We also flushed out a cock Pheasant who flew over our heads giving us a right ticking off for disturbing him.

Ashby canal 011Starline boats, Boot Wharf. This one's only a tiddler of about 10 ton's.

Passing through Nuneaton we noticed that the allotments have certainly made a resurgence in popularity, more and more of the unkempt plot’s now nicely cultivated and at least a dozen or so people busy tending them. A real hive of activity.

Ashby canal 012 Some canal side gardens are a credit to their owners, this one seen in Nuneaton

By 11am the sun finally burnt through the mist and for a very short while it was gloriously warm but then some cloud rolled in and that was the end of that. After we had moored up for the day the sky cleared but by this time the sun was low in the sky hidden behind a hedgerow.

Ashby canal 016 Marsden Junction, Ashby and Coventry Canals.

2027 locks, 3940.53 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Monday, 9 November 2009

Rememberance Sunday

We decided that we would just have a lie in and an easy day today.  After the fireworks last night we just felt a bit jaded.  Looking at our itinerary we have plenty of time before heading to Rugby for Christmas and our six monthly check up at the doctor so tomorrow we will head for the Ashby Canal.  After contacting fellow New Zealanders John and Elizabeth on Nb Helen Louise, we hope to catch up next week as well as maybe get a visit from daughter Tracey in London.

Hinkley 033 John, Elizabeth and Derek at Kenilworth Castle earlier this year

Sunday, 8 November 2009

What a beauty.

0 Locks, 2.09 Miles. Now moored at Hartshill.

Well the weather guru’s did say that the forthcoming week’s weather would be unpredictable and how right they have been. Today is more like Spring than Autumn with a clear blue sky and not a cloud in sight. Great cruising weather although we didn’t plan on going very far, just to Hartshill where we may stay for 1 or 2 nights and then make a run for the Ashby Canal.

Hartshill 002 Making the most of the lovely day

For sale signs have recently gone up on 2 canal side properties. The 3 acre property by bridge 36 with half a dozen on line moorings is on the market for £350k, an investment with an income. The other was by the lake between bridges 35 and 34 where the sign merely states that plots are available so perhaps a farmer is selling off a bit of unproductive land. Wouldn’t be bad with end of garden moorings.

Hartshill 003 Native Gorse, but it doesn't grow here as well as it does in NZ.  We have only seen a little of it here not acres and acres of it as in the countryside at home.

2027 locks, 3928.71 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Saturday, 7 November 2009


9 Locks, 1.53 Miles. Now moored at Atherstone.

A mist covered landscape greeted us this morning but by the time we were ready to set off the sun had started to burn the mist away. Progress up the Atherstone flight was steady as they were all set in our favour except for the two where we had to wait for an opposing boat.

Atherstone 008 Atherstone top lock.

Once moored up we contacted the diesel/coal boat Gosty Hill to see what Iain and Alison’s schedule was for the near future and low and behold they will be in Atherstone tomorrow, how convenient. So tomorrow we will be topping up the diesel tank.

Atherstone 007 Canal side memorial celebrating Atherstone’s history of hat making, the canal, and books.

Later we wandered into town for some lovely pies from 19 Gales (Nightingales) and a few bits from Somerfields. There is also a handy automotive spare part shop behind Rothens coal yard where I picked up another 5 litre’s of battery water which will see us through the winter.The town is now all decked out for Christmas with their Christmas decorations hung around the town.

Atherstone 027 Atherstone Railway Station although the building is a Vets clinic.

2036 locks, 3928.15 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 6 November 2009

We’ve been booked for a gig!!

2 Locks, 5.15 Miles. Now moored above lock 10 Atherstone locks.

It was a case of will we or won’t we move this morning with the threat of rain. The sun broke through for a short while so we decided to move. We hadn’t been on the go for long when the rain clouds came back and the rain arrived. Half an hour later it was all over and we completed our cruise relatively dry.

Fazeley Junction 007 Pooley Hall Coventry Canal.

Having travelled this section of canal several times before there was nothing new except a new Narrowcraft built boat that was moored behind us last night. On the market at £69k it had a reverse layout with the lounge at the rear followed by an open plan Pullman dinette and kitchen making the whole rear half of the boat quite open and airy. The kitchen lead onto the separate bathroom and separate bedroom. The bed base was a conventional front – rear bed but appeared to have a fold up side making the bed wider.  I was quite impressed by the layout.

Fazeley Junction 008 British Waterways answer to towpath and hedge trimming?

Not long after we had moored up we had a phone call from a gentleman with a broad Liverpudlian accent (A Scoucer). He was ringing up to confirm Gypsy Rover’s gig for Saturday night. I couldn’t work out whether he was from the Rocket agency or the gig was at the Rocket club. I then had to politely inform him that (A) we were nowhere near Liverpool, and (B) the Gypsy Rover he had called was a narrow boat not a rock band. How on earth he had got our phone number is a complete mystery. Bit of a laugh, Eh!

2027 locks, 3926.62 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006