Time to Reflect

December 31, 2008

Firstly I would like to wish everyone best wishes for the New Year.

We have now been on our boat adventure for 6 months and it certainly seems like a lifetime ago when we set off from Cowroast. Has it been a worth while experience? Of course it has, as I have said on many occasions, we have expanded time, knocked it into a cocked hat, not sure where that came from or indeed what it means but I am sure you get the drift.

Do we consider ourselves boaters, liveaboards or are we just playing around? To be honest I don’t really know, I don’t feel any different. I would like to think that we have become a bit more adept at boat handling, particularly on rivers. We have also learned to accept in a philosophical way the problems that the boat seems to throw at us from time to time. And we have managed to fit our working day around our little adventure without too many problems, although it does help having a train line running near by.
More importantly we seem to be still getting on together and can still talk with each other despite being confined to such a small space. Frances says ‘miraculous under the circumstances’.

We registered on the Geocaching site today and had a quick look for our first cache. The site was close to our route to the shops and we had no problem in locating the general area, but we failed to find the cache as the light was fading and the shops were calling. Next time we will go and try without it being a part of a shopping trip.

Statistics so far:

374.44 Miles, 277 Locks, 44 Swing Bridges, 3 Lift Bridge, 4 Tunnels. 3 batteries!! 1 Alternator


Bike Ride

December 30, 2008

Yes that is correct the bikes came off the roof and we cycled up to Thrupp, forward reckie (reconnaissance) style. Not sure how good an idea it was in my condition but there you are it’s been done now let the coughing begin.

We woke up this morning with the canal frozen over so we have decided to stay put, this makes it easier to call on Lizzie and Frankie for the New Year, they only live a couple of bridges down from here. A boat did come through breaking up the ice which reformed behind it. It is supposed to be even colder tonight with temperatures down to minus five, it’s minus two at the present time and it’s not yet dark.

Anyway we had decided to see what facilities there are at Thrupp, in case we had to go on to Enslow to pump out, it turned out that there was pump out facilities at Thrupp so we should be ok.

We bumped into Bones resting in the sun after some hard timber sawing; it was a beautiful day for sitting outside in the sun as long as you were well wrapped up, what were we doing on our bikes? I was having trouble breathing at this stage. We also met Maffi going through a lock just above Dukes Cut, he was turning his boat around. We will catch up with them both in a day or two into the New Year.

Still there is nothing better than getting back to a warm boat and a hot cup of tea, my feet were like icicles, I may have to change the pedals so that I can wear warmer boots for winter cycling.

Statistics so far:

374.44 Miles, 277 Locks, 44 Swing Bridges, 3 Lift Bridge, 4 Tunnels. 3 batteries!! 1 Alternator


December 29, 2008

It seems ages since we moved the boat, we have now filled up with water and are moored near The Plough which we hope to visit tonight. We spent the day doing the laundry down in Summertown. A pleasant walk there in the cold sunshine followed by a meal at the Chinese buffet but I think that we had left it a bit late in the day as it was not as good as the last time we were there with Wenkai. It closed as we were leaving so I guess we ended up with the leftovers from the end of the day, not good.

We are now moored very close to the train line, just the other side of the towpath and you certainly can tell when a train rattles by. Fortunately we will only be here for tonight. It has been very cold as the weather forecast has correctly predicted (now there’s a first) and we have had the fire on all of the time including through the night which is a rare thing for us to do. It is still quite cold down in the bedroom which is at the opposite end from the fire.

I had to fill the stern gland greaser this morning, a very pleasant job involving grease and lots of screwing. There seems no other way to do it other than pilling the grease on and turning the screw over and over until it is fully extended, the tube is full of grease and your hands are covered with what appears to be immovable grease. After all it is supposed to stop the water coming down the propeller shaft so I guess water is no good for removing it from your hands and I won’t be climbing up any poles for a day or two.

Statistics so far:

Today we did 1.65 miles 1 Lift Bridge

374.44 Miles, 277 Locks, 44 Swing Bridges, 3 Lift Bridge, 4 Tunnels. 3 batteries!! 1 Alternator

Post Christmas

December 28, 2008

We came back to the boat yesterday; my man flu turns out to be bronchitis. I had started coughing up blood on boxing day so visited the A&E yesterday and after 4 hours we eventually got to the bottom of it. So I am on a course of antibiotics and hopefully I can stop this terrible coughing.

Our neighbours Moonshadow have just left for Thrupp, they stayed aboard over the Christmas and are now off to pick up some friends at Thrupp. We will probably catch up with them later. We will go along and fill up with water and then moor up at Wolvercote. And it will be good bye to Oxford.

It’s a pity that I have been ill for most of my stay in Oxford but I guess that’s how it goes. I am now looking forward to moving on and we will pay a visit to the library bar at the Plough recommended by Bones.

Hope the pump out lasts out so that we don’t have to rush on to Thrupp.

Statistics so far:

372.79 Miles, 277 Locks, 44 Swing Bridges, 2 Lift Bridge, 4 Tunnels. 3 batteries!! 1 Alternator

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2008

We are again back in Croxley, we came over by bus to Aylesbury and then train to Rickmansworth. Had we had more time we would have gone by bus all the way as it cost me nothing. It was an interesting journey through the small villages and towns. I look forward to the return journey when hopefully I will feel more alert than at present. I still have a bad cough and felt a bit like the chap on the advert about flu that has been on TV, spreading my germs around with every cough.

It just remains for me to wish everyone all the best for Christmas, and remember you never know when you have had enough until you have had too much.

Statistics so far:

372.79 Miles, 277 Locks, 44 Swing Bridges, 2 Lift Bridge, 4 Tunnels. 3 batteries!! 1 Alternator

Life’s Minutia

December 21, 2008

Mick and Celeste came over yesterday so that we could go out for a meal and celebrate his 30th birthday. I was still the worse for wear on the Flu front so didn’t enjoy the meal as much as I could have. We were all coughing badly except Mick and he said that it was like being in a doctor’s waiting room. We went to Loch Fyne but I will not give it a GRPS as my taste buds were completely shot.

The supply boat Dusty came past so we were able to top up with diesel and declare our expected use with no problem. He plies his trade between Cropredy and Oxford so we will be using his services again. He comes along ringing his bell, it must be great for the boats that are permanently moored to have him come along with diesel, solid fuel and gas.

We have discovered a bit of damp behind the settee, this is due to condensation; we shall have to keep an eye on this and air the panelling. As Frances says the tiniest of our minutiae is the stuff of the blog, and at times it can be very tiny indeed.

Statistics so far:

372.79 Miles, 277 Locks, 44 Swing Bridges, 2 Lift Bridge, 4 Tunnels. 3 batteries!! 1 Alternator

Man Flu again

December 19, 2008

Well all the best laid plans and all of that, here I am still on the boat and missed out on my jolly ashore in distant Watford, drinking and socialising with old colleagues in the time honoured tradition of excessive Christmas fayre. I have caught Frances’s dreaded flu, and woe is me etc.

I am caught up in some work related issues which makes me think that life isn’t fair, not only am I on holiday with a really bad cold but I am working to boot.

Someone has opened the gates, we have had half a dozen boats go by on their way to the Thames, I wonder if the Red Boards are down? Maybe we will have a walk down to see where they have gone and catch a breath of fresh air.

Statistics so far:

372.79 Miles, 277 Locks, 44 Swing Bridges, 2 Lift Bridge, 4 Tunnels. 3 batteries!! 1 Alternator