Friday, 30 January 2009

Busy Social Calendar!

0 Locks, 5 miles, 2 tunnels. Now moored at Hillmorton.

With the promise of foul weather in the offing we decided to move back to Hillmorton a day earlier than planned. We had to head north for about ½ mile to the winding hole before heading south again. Just after we had passed over the 2 Aqueducts in Rugby we came across Nb Epiphany with John and Fiona. We breasted up alongside as there were no moorings available but it still left plenty of room for any boat to pass. We then spent a very pleasant hour or so chatting over coffee As they plan to spend some time around Coventry and the Ashby Canal we hope to catch up with them again soon.

Next port of call was Clifton Cruisers for mail and a pump out. We had a good chat to Paul and his wife who have been a great help to us in our waterways exploration. As we arrived at Hillmorton we spotted Nb Uccello with Derek (yes another Derek) and Carrie. Before we could moor up we had to talk to a gentleman aboard a hire boat and request that he move back or forward slightly so that we could get in. This he did quite happily with some assistance from me. Once moored up and partaken of a late lunch we wandered down to Uccello to congratulate Derek and Carrie on securing jobs in this current recession. We were cordially invited aboard for some light refreshments and another good old chinwag. Eventually we had to tear ourselves away and return to Gypsy Rover for an evening meal.

1587 locks, 3336 miles, 55 Tunnels, 43 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Spot The Changes!

Original galley when Gypsy Rover was launched.

With a few subtle improvements 5 years later

A few alterations to the galley area including the removal of water damaged MDF along behind the sink (it should never have been put there in the first place).
Note also the addition of the strip light over the sink unit and new led lights including a fan unit incorporating a led light over the hob, wow is that a bonus.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


Since arriving here on Saturday we have had two visitations from fellow boaters, firstly by Derek and Carrie on Nb Uccello who have just arrived in Rugby from up north. Derek is hoping to get work with a local boatyard. We first met them on the Grand Union Canal last year when we continually leapfrogged each other while travelling north.

The other surprise was from Richard and Audrone on Nb Gleemaiden. This wasn’t their boats original name but it was one of the boats caught up in the collapse of Heron boats and they thought the name might be unlucky so it was changed. They have a mooring at Brinklow Marina with Andy Edwards on Nb Khayamanzi

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Our Current Mooring at Newbold

It was a lovely fine day so Derek thought he better give our home a wash. Coming back from our walk later on we found new muddy pawprints across the front deck and all the way down the gunnels! We had had a visitor from next door.

Is she Psychic?

0 Locks, 4 Miles. Now moored at Newbold.

As we needed to visit Clifton Cruisers for mail and Tesco’s for food we thought that we might as well cruise up there and do some washing all in one go. We finished up staying overnight at Brownsover as it was late in the day when we set off and continued on up to Newbold this morning.

The visit to Clifton Cruisers was to collect a new Canon camera that Dot had ordered from She claimed that they were on special and too good a deal to miss. She then spent yesterday afternoon setting it all up. Today after mooring up at Newbold we went for a walk to have a look at the old canal bed and tunnel mouth from when the canal was straightened back in the 19th century.

Bricked up old Newbold tunnel entrance.

Original brickwork on the roof of the old tunnel looks fine still.

It was while trying to photograph some of this that Dot’s old camera decided to stop working and just make a whirring noise when the button was pressed. Since returning to the boat and much messing around the old camera has returned to life but it could be short lived.

Dot actually got the camera from daughter Tracey when she replaced it after it was trodden on in South Africa and it lost the use of the screen, consequently no setting or what ever could be changed but it did still work and has served this blog well. Dot dropped her previous Canon camera in the cut at Blisworth over 12 months ago so she has done well with the replacement. So what prompted Dot to buy a new camera at this time?

1587 locks, 3331 miles, 53 Tunnels, 43 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 22 January 2009

1959 or 2009?

Awoke this morning to find ourselves iced in yet again, luckily we are not planning on moving just yet. The last few days have been spent pottering around with medical appointments, collecting mail from the post office and Clifton Cruisers. The latter was a new laptop battery as the old one has died. Just as we arrived at Clifton Cruiser's a courier pulled into the yard behind us and guess what he was delivering? You've got it, our battery so Dot got to sign for it  herself saving Paul the job. Talk about good timing, we couldn't have planned it better.

I have been busy doing some repairs, alterations and varnishing inside the boat to try and keep it up to scratch so when the time comes to sell the boat we will hopefully get a good price. 

It was while I was sitting out in the front cratch cleaning up my painting gear that I heard a jet aircraft approaching but he was flying towards me out of the sun so it wasn't until he had flown overhead that I finally spotted a Venom jet fighter with it's distinctive single engine between its twin tail fins. I used to see them quite regularly as a child living near the De Haviland establishment at Leavesden near Watford. I don't suppose there are too many of them around these days especially in an airworthy condition.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

'0' Gauge Goods Yard.

Isle of Man Railway

No Good Layout Should be Without One.

Awaiting Next Job

Typical Inland Port Scene.

Running Around

Great Western Freight.

More '0' Gauge.

As Andy on Nb Khayamanzi has blogged some of his pictures of today's Leamington and Warwick Model Railway Society's Stoneleigh Park exhibition I thought I would add some different shot's for you railway buff's out there.

Change of plan.

Yesterday I  was told by Andy on Nb Khayamanzi that the Leamington and Warwick Model Railway Society were having their annual exhibition this week-end at Stoneleigh Park. Thinking this might be more interesting than what was on offer at Barby I spent some considerable time on the computer sorting out if it was possible to get there by bus. It turned out that it was with 3 buses, #3 from Hillmorton to Rugby, #86 from Rugby to Coventry and then a #539 from Coventry to Stoneleigh Park.

This morning I was up bright and early with the idea of catching the 9 o'clock bus but I managed to catch an earlier service which meant the next bus was also an earlier service. Upon arrival in Coventry I had an hour to kill so as I was right outside the Transport Museum what better place to spend it. This museum is free and a must see for any visitor to Coventry.

I was back at the bus stop in plenty of time for the last bus but at the due time there was already 2 other services on the stand as the #539 came up the street. Before I had a chance to get out and flag him down he just drove straight past and didn't appear to have any intention of stopping. This was annoying considering it was only a 2 hourly service.

I then spent the next 2 hours wandering around and I found the next stop along the route where there was less congestion and I would be able to hail him more easily. I eventually reached my destination but it only gave me 40 minutes before my next intended  bus was due to return home. The next bus after this was 3 hours later and that was the last bus for the day. There was only one thing for it but to wait for the last bus which meant I wouldn't get back to the boat until about 7pm.

As for the exhibition I thought that it wasn't really what I had expected as it was rumoured to have up to 50 layout's on display. The truth of the matter was that there was only about a dozen layout's, half of which were only in the construction stage and the trade stall's outnumbered the layout's by about 3 to 1. It was good to see what's new on the market but I was not on a spending spree. I did pick up a few idea's on layout construction for exhibition layout's that I will take back to NZ with me for future use.

The bus trip home more than made up for the fiasco this morning because the #86 upon arrival in Rugby became the #3 to Hillmorton so I didn't have to change buses again. I had no sooner got back on board when the wind started to increase along with the rain.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Love These Bus Passes!

This morning we headed off into town on the number 3 bus which runs on a figure of eight circuit meaning that regardless of your destination everybody boards the bus on the same side of the road. Even though we were heading into town we started off going in the wrong direction but it was interesting to see another part of Rugby.

Dot put our quilt into the dry cleaners and I visited the nurse for another change of dressing and for her to assess the healing process which is finally showing signs of improvement. It's actually starting to get very itchy which is a good sign.

The bus journey back was of course different to the trip into town so we had to keep our eyes peeled for our stop which we spotted without any problem.

When we called into Clifton Cruisers yesterday Paul told me of a model railway exhibition that is on this week-end out at Barby, a little village just south of here. It's being run at Village Farm Nursery, Onley Lane, Barby and its a fund raiser for some good cause or other.  After some time on the computer visiting Google Earth and Warwickshire county buses I have sorted out that I can get there quite easily from here but I will have to go tomorrow as there is no Sunday bus service. So that's my Saturday sorted out from 10am until 2pm

Friday, 16 January 2009

Change of Scenery.

0 Locks, 3 Miles. Now moored at Hillmorton.

After spending our fair share of time at Brownsover it was time for a change. When we left Brownsover there were only 3 boats left, 2 which had been on site for the best part of a fortnight and 1 newly arrived boat.

As we were going to be on the move for a while it was an opportunity to do some washing. We headed up to the Rugby arm where we winded and headed back down to Clifton Cruisers to collect the mail, have a pump out and exchange the faulty tank of propane which I suspect had too much Butane in the mixture. It was good to have a long chat with Paul at Clifton Cruisers as they are being very helpful.

Once we had everything sorted we carried on down to Hillmorton where we again winded just below the locks, took on more water and then found a convenient mooring.

As we both have to go into town several times over the next week we headed off into Hillmorton to check out the bus time table and bus stops. It appears that our bus timetable book is out of date because there are more buses servicing this area than at Brownsover which is a bonus. We will probably stay here until we are forced to replenish the food store but we could probably patronise Sainsbury's for a change as they are very conveniently placed by the town bus terminal. 

1587 locks, 3327 miles, 53 Tunnels, 43 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Shame on you Tesco's.

The ice cleared sufficiently on Sunday for us to move up the canal about 500yds to the water point to re fill. While Dot was doing this I walked up to the winding hole to see what the situation was up there. Well it was still virgin ice and from the look of it, inches thick so it would be pointless going up there to try and wind. After the tank had been filled we just reversed back to where we had come from.

Yesterday and today we had appointments with the doctor and nurse so our location was quite handy to catch the bus into town.

While walking across to Boots the chemist I had to cross the river which may be the Avon or a tributary that runs alongside the Tesco's car park. Just before the bridge over the river Tesco's have one of their wheel locking electronic bars and of course people try to take the trolley over it and bang, the wheel locks and the trolley gets abandoned. If the trolley boys don't recover them quick enough the local hoon's take great delight in throwing them over the bridge into the river. When we were here back in June there were about 3 trolleys in the river this time I counted 26 creating quite an effective dam. Tesco's seem to ignore this continuous loss of their trolleys which is mind boggling as I know that each of those trolleys would cost up to about £300 each to replace depending on size. Just as well they are not in the canal. When are Tesco's going to wake up and change to the pound coin in the slot model trolley's used by their competitors as customers are less likely to abandon the trolley if it is going to cost them a quid especially in today' economic climate.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

What shall we do?

Well the ice is gradually disappearing but we had another mild frost last night which didn't help. One hire boat has been through today and broken up what new ice has formed but today has been bitterly cold.

We have had a kind offer from Andy on Nb Khayamanzi to deliver some water to us should we need it but hopefully we will be able to move up to the water point in the next day or so. We have about 300 litre's remaining at present which means being frugal and having all over washes in the hand basin we should be OK. It's amazing what you can do when the circumstances require it. I have also fitted a tap to the toilet bowl to better control the water being wasted in the toilet.

While trying to keep warm we have been trawling the Internet to see what short breaks are available because we would like to do a bit of travelling while on this side of the world. Well we have booked a 5 day trip to the Isle of Wight which is not on the canal system and we are tempted by a couple of deals to Malta or Madrid depending on how our finances hold out. I know the latter 2 will be a darn sight warmer than where we are at present.

Unfortunately with New Zealand being so far away from Europe it is very expensive to tour the Mediterranean and Europe from home so we have to take advantage of the situation while we can.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Nurse's and Birds

Well our enforced stay in Rugby is proving very productive. I have been having daily visit's to the doctors surgery to visit the nurse and have the wound on my leg dressed. After falling in the canal at the beginning of December I was covered in bruises and had skinned my shin. Everything has cleared up except the shin which has recently showed signs of infection. The doctor has had me on one type of antibiotics which didn't work and I am now on stronger penicillin but the wound needs to be covered and kept dry hence the nurse.

I have to go to Boot's the chemist tomorrow to get some more dressings and sterile saline solution to dress the wound my self until Monday when I visit the nurse again. We are also awaiting the results of the swab that she took from the wound 2 days ago.

While I was playing doctor's and nurse's Dot took herself off to the hairdressers for a shampoo and cut. She was tended by an Asian lady who looked about thirty years of age and quite honestly is gorgeous. It turned out that she has been married for 22 years and has a 19 year old daughter so I appear to be about 10 years out in estimating her age.

All being well the ice may have just about disappeared by tomorrow so we can move up to the water point and refill our nearly empty tank. We will wind by the Rugby arm and return to somewhere around our present mooring as we have numerous appointments in town next week.

Using scraps of timber around the boat I have made half a dozen bird nesting boxes some of which I have sold and the others I have put up in the tree's along the cut. This afternoon I put the last 2 up in the tree's at Brownsover. It will be interesting to know if the birds use them or not.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Ain't going nowhere.

Coldest winter for a decade so they say, well the ice outside the window isn't going anywhere fast so we are just sitting it out until the thaw. We have had another deliver of diesel from Iain and Alison on n/b Gosty Hill so we are OK in that department, our only problem is water which we are being very frugal with at present until we can move. If we are forced to, we can fill 5 litre bottles at the water point which is probably a 15 minute round trip from here but that will only be a last resort.

Last night was quite mild compared to what we have had over the last few days but the weather is not forecast to improve until next week but we have no commitments so we are quite happy just to sit back and take it easy for a while.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Snow On Ice!

Overnight temperatures only dropped to -5.5 deg, not as cold as the previous night.
Although there is more snow lying on the ice on top the canal this morning.

Sunset on Ice!

Temperature dropped to -7.7 degs last night I wonder about tonight?

Great Service from Gosty Hill

Iain and Alison arrived at dusk to refuel boaters

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Traps For Young Players.

Last night while halfway through cooking tea our gas ran out which we were expecting as the last tank was changed over 61 days ago. No problem, just go out and turn the change over valve and we are back in business. Yeah right, when we re-lit the hob the flame kept going out. I tried the oven and grill without success. Eventually I got 1 hob element going, this 1 has a larger nozzle jet than the others, so we had to do everything on just the 1 hob. I'm guessing that the mixture in the tank is wrong or the valve is faulty and sucking air, either way we will have to get it exchanged.

After a quiet and pleasant week-end at Brownsover it was time for Tracey to return to work. However she has been seconded to the Birmingham office for the week so she was going to catch the train and had a taxi booked for first thing this morning. I took advantage of this and took the empty gas tank to Clifton Cruisers after dropping Tracey off at the railway station. Dave, the engineer at Clifton Cruisers said that he had a similar experience and he remedied it by just closing and opening the valve a couple of times to clear some muck off the valve. Back at the boat I fitted the new tank and then tried Dave's remedy but without success. Changing the main valve over to the newly purchased tank and allowing the new gas to permeate through the lines and BINGO problem solved. So the dodgy tank will be definitely going back for exchange next time we move.

Now we have noticed in some recent blogs that people have been having trouble with frozen stand pipes and hoses. The hoses are easily fixed, when you have finished with it and coiled it up, lay it flat on the roof and blow into one end. The water runs out quite easily with perhaps a couple of extra puffs down the pipe to keep the flow going. Even if there is a little bit of water left in the hose it won't completely block should it freeze up. As for the stand pipes, a bucket of hot water poured slowly into the metal casing over the tap and pipe work has always worked for us. We had the same problem on Saturday and it took two buckets of hot water to free the cold water tap but our hose that is stored in the gas locker outside was fine.

It is Winter After All!

These swans slept on the canal overnight and this morning were surrounded by ice and snow.

Our current mooring handy for Tracey's departure for her weeks work in Birmingham.

Early morning dusting of snow

The taxi was able to come almost to the boat in the carpark

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Cool start to 2009.

0 Locks, 2 Miles. Now back at Brownsover Park.

After 4 cold days at Hillmorton where we finished up getting iced in it was time to head back to Brownsover to meet up with Tracey after her 4 day visit to Dublin. Surprisingly Brownsover had plenty of moorings available considering the amount of boats we had seen pass through Hillmorton over the last few days.

Tracey's arrival back at Rugby has been set back by the tragic aircraft crash near Little Haywood where a light aircraft hit the over head wires and came down between 2 sets of track. The line has been closed for 24 hours to allow air accident inspectors to investigate the scene so Tracey has to take an indirect route to get back to Rugby.

1587 locks, 3324 miles, 53 Tunnels, 43 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 1 January 2009