Dry Dock

November 27, 2011

We had heard good things of the local pub in Semington, the Somerset Arms. As our first night in the dry dock was Friday we had planned a walk down to the pub for a meal. It really is a super place, and deservedly busy because the food was very good and the price was reasonable. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and might go back on Monday for the quiz night.

We can’t imagine how we managed to do the blacking and the rest of painting ourselves in the past. We seem to have plenty of work on our hands with the normal paint touching up that we used to do after each day’s blacking was finished. Maybe we are getting soft! We have been very lucky that the weather continues mild. It was very windy last night but today was perfect painting weather: sunny with a drying wind. The three pigs on the property were gambolling around. One is going off to be slaughtered on Tuesday so I was pleased that it was having such a lovely day! Liz and Ian will eventually be selling home reared pork as well as their own free range eggs to boaters.

Because we don’t want to damage the new blacking while it sets we are not letting any water out of the boat which means that even the shower water has to be emptied into a bucket. Luckily we have become accustomed to being frugal with showers. I even managed to wash and condition my hair tonight without the water rising above the level of the shower base, though it did fill two buckets for emptying outside. Its quite quick to empty the water from the shower with a big car washing sponge. (Normally it would have to be pumped out so if the pump isn’t operated the water stays in the shower). On the other hand, because we are plugged into the electricity, we can watch television, or vacuum or I can even dry and straighten my hair without Alan muttering ominously about the batteries.

Statistics so far:-

3057.93 Miles, 2051 Locks, 197 Swing Bridges, 118 Lift Bridges, 58 Tunnels


Keeping the fire going

January 10, 2010

Well I walked almost 6 miles today just filling up with diesel, backward and forwards to the marina slipping and sliding up the treacherous icy paths, oh the joys of winter. There was one place in particular, a sharp rise to the bridge that crosses the canal which was pretty bad and I had to use the trolley as a brake coming down it. On the last occasion that I came through I saw that someone had fallen as there were drops of blood speckled about, I do hope that they are ok. One good thing about this weather is the coming together of the boating community; my journey time was made much longer as I stopped and chatted to other boaters who were also topping up with either diesel or water. We are using a jerry can of fuel every two days as we keep the fire going through the night and we need to run the engine for two to three hours a day so that we can watch TV and play on the computer.

We went to a concert of the Messiah last night put on by the Nantwich Choral Society, and very good it was too. There was no orchestra but an organist, my what a performance he put in, the last time we went to a live concert of the Messiah was in 1972 in Sydney Australia, well that’s my opinion as Frances thinks we may have been more recently during the 80’s.

I bumped into a couple (well not literally) on the towpath and got chatting to them, they used to own a narrowboat but sold it a couple of years ago after travelling around for 7 years; they bought a house in Nantwich as they liked it so much. I have to say that I tend to agree with them as we would seriously consider doing the same when we are done with boating; I hasten to add that this will not be for some time yet but Nantwich certainly ticks all the right boxes.

Is it my imagination but I do believe it is getting warmer?

Statistics so far:-

1106.38 Miles, 754 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 48 Lift Bridges, 10 Tunnels

Sub Zero Servicing

January 8, 2010

We got up this morning to discover that the sink outlet was frozen solid and it took absolutely ages to unfreeze it, while I was outside trying to unblock the outlet a wren flew along the full length of the boat at the water (ice) line between the boat and the bank, passing underneath where I was kneeling, there seems to be one wren per boat and as you walk along they fly off on to the other side of the canal.

I had intended to do the engine servicing over a week ago but decided to wait until it got a little warmer, well it didn’t and so I had no alternative but to get out this morning and do it. The temperature was -11 degrees at 9 am this morning so by the time I finished the servicing my hands and feet were like icicles and I was glad to get in to next to the warm fire, still that’s one chore done, only another hundred or so to do before we close shop. I still haven’t replaced the gate valve for the stopcock, must do that tomorrow, well I will think about it at any rate. By the way I used the knee pads and what a difference that made, in future if I have any work to do that requires me on my knees then I will be wearing those pads.

We faired better than the boat behind us as their water tank froze, they mustn’t have left their fire on over night, I cant imagine what the over night temperature was but it did say on the news that it was -16 degrees in Crewe which is 5 miles away.

A very nice day though with beautiful clear skies and bright sunshine.

View from Embankment

The Freeze goes on

Statistics so far:-

1106.38 Miles, 754 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 48 Lift Bridges, 10 Tunnels

The Big Freeze

January 7, 2010

We are glad we moved along to our winter moorings as we would have been stuck and unable to move the boat before our trip to New Zealand. I guess we are all in the same boat (sorry) with the whole country being iced in, we couldn’t imagine a better spot, we have good shops and pubs nearby, not to mention the British Waterways facilities and boat yard.

We had a walk today in the bright and crisp sunshine taking in a geocache for good measure.

We are moored next to a permanent moored boat that run their engine for hours at maximum power and in gear, I am sitting here with ice creaking and the boat rocking with the force of the water being pushed passed us with the occasional crash as bits of ice bang against the boat. We haven’t really spoken with them other then exchanging a few pleasantries when they arrived back from a trip out, as they work during the day we have not seen them since.

We have started to look at what we need to winterize the boat, maybe we should have looked at this earlier.

Lazy Days in the snow

Moored boats

Winter in the Marina

Frozen Canal

Statistics so far:-

1106.38 Miles, 754 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 48 Lift Bridges, 10 Tunnels

The Joys of Winter Cruising

January 2, 2010

Well true to our word (well Frances’ word) we were up at the crack of eight and after breakfast set off to catch the bus to Crewe and all that is B&Q. We bought the stopcock and other bits and bobs to make a flexible coupling to the water pump, we also got a can of freezer spray so that I can make the change without flooding the boat, hopefully. Oh yes and I bought some knee pads as I do not want to go through the agony of the last week (he doesn’t know what pain is ed.).

What a thrill it is having pumped out, topped up with diesel and filled the water tank, we can probably survive the up and coming cold spell. Mind you what a palaver it was moving the boat today. The canal around the boat moorings was relatively free of ice, with only the odd duck appearing to be standing on water, so we thought that today was probably the best day for moving over the coming week. So off we go up to the Marina, first hitch, a boat had moored inconveniently close to the turning into the marina so we decided to head up to the winding hole about a mile further up the canal. A passing boat did inform us that the ice was thick up that way but by which time we were committed and had to continue on. When we got to the winding hole there were more than just a few dark thoughts crossing our minds. Away from the channel the ice was about 100mm thick with the pole just bouncing off the surface and poor Frances was doing her best but it looked like it was impossible. I reversed to take a long run and jump at the ice at an acute angle, this I did embedding the bow into the ice and just managing to get the stern at 90 degrees to the bank. So shuffling to the bow I began to pound away at the ice and eventually managed to loosen it up, after what seemed like ages we managed to turn (there was no winding here) and head back to the Marina. So despite only been about 100 metres from the marina entrance it was three and a half hours before we were back at our moorings, and of course from the water point to the moorings was done in the dark.

Oh the joys of winter cruising.

Today we did 3.82 Miles

Statistics so far:-

1105.89 Miles, 754 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 48 Lift Bridges, 10 Tunnels

Water water everywhere

December 24, 2009

I was just about to start the blog yesterday when there was a strange noise from the water pump, so off with the pans and under the sink I go for what seems like the umpteenth time. Yes there was water down there, not much but enough to give an indication that something was amiss. It turned out to be the water gauge sensor, is it worth it I ask myself. I had been worried about this if the water ever froze as it is not very securely fastened and I thought that the expanded ice would push the connector off and that is what happened. The connection consists of a bit of rubber hose and a plastic clip, the problem being that the copper pipe that it attaches to is not long enough and if you squeeze the plastic clip too much it slides off the pipe. Of course this had to be refitted by feeling about in the dark and then inspecting the job lying flat out with your head right back looking down your nose. It took half an hour by which time the blog was a distant memory and any thoughts of going off to the pub a long forgotten pleasure.

This morning the canal had sufficiently thawed out to allow us to move along to the water point and fill up with water. I also got a 13Kg gas cylinder so at least we don’t have to worry about running out of gas whilst the Christmas turkey cooks. We also needed diesel but as the canal centre was still covered in a thick layer of ice I had to make three trips with the jerry can to top up the diesel. Pump out was not an option so we will just have to keep our fingers crossed, or should that be legs.

We have all our Christmas shopping and are fully prepared for the festivities ahead.

Statistics so far:-

1102.07 Miles, 754 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 48 Lift Bridges, 10 Tunnels

Yet another day of boat chores

December 8, 2009

Well this is the plan: The sun is out so we grovel around in the boat, the rain comes and off we go for a walk. Well we didn’t really plan this but that is what happened, its not the first time either nor the last. Last night the fire went out to send us to an early bed.

Fortunately (if that’s the correct word when things go wrong) we have been here before and we knew what to do. This morning I removed the fuel pipe going into the filter next to the fire and there was no fuel. So out with the pump and we sucked the fuel through and we now have a warming fire again. The problem as I have said before is that the fuel tank for the fire should be near the fire not coming from the engine fuel tank, which is situated the full length of the boat from the fire. Fortunately (that word again) this does not happen too often and unless it gets worse we will probably live with it.

I won’t go into the computer problems which have also dogged us and required our undivided and much needed attention. And the boat has the indecency to be called ‘Lazy Days’. Although with our delayed departure we are now in a position to experience the delights of Market Drayton’s famous market, another plus gained from some unfortunate occurrences.

We managed to get in a couple of Geocaches when the boat eventually freed us from our chores; I have to add that this is undoubtedly a temporary respite.

Statistics so far:-

1090.34 Miles, 732 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 48 Lift Bridges, 10 Tunnels