Friday, 30 June 2017

Super peacefulness but the chores still have to be done

Most who read this will already be aware of why they are on the canals as they have the option of peacefulness as we can choose our home location for the night, for 48 hours and up to 14 days - then we move on through the same beauty and find the same again.

I have this on my mooring also so I do not need to move but I want to. One of the reasons to retire and sod the work treadmill with all its associated BS.

My cup does indeed overflow'th with tranquility and peacefulness. On the boat fishing, in my valley walking.

I did a further walk the other evening  - into my valley and out by Kingsley far bank. Over canal, under railway across river, then into a water meadow then up the side of the valley.

It was a little bit of a 'blow' walking up the other side so I took the opportunity to sit on someones bench and soak in the view.

Watch the one minute video below, turn your volume up and enjoy the sound of silence !!

Anyhow this attracts a few canaloholics so 'back on the boat' the longest day has come and gone. One day on returning (with Leia I did not leave her aboard) the boat was a balmy 40c !!

Nothing for it but an evening of slow nightfall watching nature go to sleep while sitting out in shorts and T shirt fishing.

On another evening I had chores to do - water up as cold showers were the order of the day. Percy has two tanks joined by a connecting pipe, to fill up fully it has to be done slowly  - I recon I have 2 x 200 litre tanks, my in line water meter somewhat confirmed this.

I pulled Percy back to give the mooring a decent cut and strim. You can see from the next picture what happens if you do not do your own grass cutting for the £1600 a year mooring fee.

I did strim Mandy's mooring but it really should be being done by C&RT  - I ask them not to as they have damaged my boat on more than one occasion. 

Then it was more fishing !!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Clocking off ..... proper life decision

Not a small scale clocking off.... a real life event as I have resigned from my job of the last 29 years and 11 months and will be no longer a paying in member of society come the 8th September 2017.

I will be retiring into hobbies/bucket lists/house husbandry and all things not work related.

Work does define you - it does/did me and when you get joy from work that definition is a positive one, however when you eventually realise you are grinding and grudgingly working through your day it is burning precious seconds only a fool or a desperate man would continue to spend those seconds in such a negative way.

I have worked solid all of my life - never been unemployed. I started my print apprenticeship on the 4th September 1978 and have worked since.... that will be 39 years to the day. When I set out on my working life I do recall having a goal - or aspiration/dream of finishing when I was 55.... well I will miss that target by 23 days  - 23 days over 39 years is not too far off ?

There is a back story to me ending work, nothing sensational but if we ever meet I am sure parts of it will be told, maybe not.

I'll end this note by reminding myself of what was said on a related course quite recently.

Don't call it 'retirement',  call it 'reinvention' 

So for the last time I'll take something from a work sponsored course and say I am reinventing myself, stripping off that work definition I have assumed in the past with gladness and in the latter years with a little bitterness. What will a reinvented Nev be .... well time will tell.

And that is the most important point of all - time ....there are few opportunities in life to buy time but by sacrificing my pension and excluding myself from the pursuit of material wealth I hope to be more relaxed happier and content. Time to try it out .......

Monday, 5 June 2017

Is it wrong to dry your underpants in the oven?

Well needs must....

I am on the boat for the next few days and it was not entirely planned. The result was a stash (of clothes) and dash this evening as I have a course in the centre of Birmingham tomorrow.

Driving in was not ideal so I have got a cheap day ticket to Birmingham from Burton on Trent in the am.... means I can have a longer kip Lia gets a longer walk and I do not need to worry about the M6 !!

Anyhow me pants were still a bit wet on the airer in the cottage so I have put them in the oven for a little while to dry off.....

Rachel will never know  ;-))

Percy is welcoming as ever. Tea and toast and a relax then an early night.

Brought my three phone with me for the internet and seems 3 do not want to be outdone by EE .... this is my onboard speed test result...

64mb a second is about as fast as I have seen in all my tests  - well done 3

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Internet - what you might want to know

Ok, so there is a back story to this little bit of info. It's a story about BT and their poor approach to customer service and the service they offer. It's to do with the new cottage we live in but I'll save the full story until I have been through the Ombudsman process.

Bottom line is we moved here to our bit of rural tranquility and brought the EE mifi device off the boat to maintain that all important internet.

Now the history of my internet for the boat was I was paying over £15 for 15gb of internet on a rolling contract (November 2016) A fellow boater flagged up a deal link here for 32gb per month for £14.50 ..... I jumped on it, cancelled my old rolling contract and got double for a quid less. I was happy and have been using this 32gb allowance all winter on the boat and now in the cottage.

The 4g in the cottage is still useable to stream and for all other stuff, just the 32gb limit was getting tested and a couple of months I was running out towards the end and having to top up at £15 for an extra 10gb, that was lost at the start of the next month frustratingly.

All the problems with BT and the extra cost when running out saw me look around and it seems the big two (for me) are now doing home Broadband via 4G with better 4g routers

  • 40gb with 3 is £24 per month 
  • 50gb with EE is £40 per month
I was tempted but knew from Cruising the cut's Vlogging he was paying £27 for 50gb !

So I phoned EE.... they were brilliant as I said I was thinking of leaving to go to 3 (when I undertake such exercises I always have my expectation agreed with myself and I was targeting 64gb for £30)

.... they made me two offers 
  1. 64gb for £24 per month on a 12 month contract
  2. 64gb for £17per month on a 24 month contract
24 months is a good timing for us  for reasons soon to be blogged about so I jumped at this. Very happy.

Now info part 2 that may be of interest......

We get a decent speed on the mifi unit 

However I wanted something that had a ethernet port on the back to pass the internet through the house and direct to the PC (in case I could get a gaming ping) and the TV downstairs on the freeview recorder box.

So I opted for this  - TP-Link AC 750 4GLTE Router 

My well used and much valued MIFI unit is below the box....

I ran the same speed test with the unit in the same location and got this ....

Now that is faster than the fibre I used to get in Derby and three time faster than the best BT could offer me with fixed broadband, at pushing 30 quid a month !

Now I know it is 4G and will have possible weather interference, but equally I think where I live I'll have little by the way of contention from other users of the tower/mast. Bottom line  is time will tell but for now I am saving a decent wad of cash, and getting a lot more for my money.

In case you have a hook up or have a rich supply of electricity the TP link is a decent bit of kit and no doubt as it is mains powered it gets more from the antennas to pick up the 4g signal.

Hope that helps someone get better internet ......

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

I feel a responsibility coming on ....more blogging boaters off the cut

Sad to read two more bloggers are handing in their boat keys for yet to be detailed adventures off the cut.

Tom and Jan from NB Waiouru are returning to the penal colony after a five year adventure cruising the canal system. A blog that will be missed by many as Tom's wit is engaging and entertaining. Sadly we never met, they were 'out' when we walked past their boat moored above Shadehouse a couple of years ago now.

Doug and James also have their boat Chance up for sale. Not live-a-boards but they cover a decent spread of canals each year. Met once at Fradley but live locally to us so we should meet up in our shared city of Chichester ......

Not all sad news as my neighbour Mandy is off on her blogging travels again on NB Don't Panic and Bruce and Sheila on NB Sanity Again are off from their lodge confinement covering a decent spread of water again.

Plus there are all my other vicarious cruising suppliers over there on the right giving their details of journeys and thoughts aplenty.

Hopefully now life is settling down again for us I can get out a bit more, but not quite yet, I have a couple of European motorcycle trip I will record - not for you canally people but for my own dear diary entries to look back on when I am old(er) and infirm(er).

So keep cruising and keep blogging please .

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The newest and most precious crew member

Percy has a new crew member and I am now a grandad and I could not be more pleased !

Meet Theodore George or Teddy Wells to his friends.

He was born Saturday 29th April 2017 8.19am and weighed 7lb 3oz.

Hopefully when he is a little bigger and stronger he will be able  crew for NB Percy and many many trips will be taken.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Come for a walk with me

One of the joys of the canals is exploration of a new area, especially if you have a dog to exercise. I find the police are called a lot less often to me when I am walking and talking to Leia than when walking on my own !

So whilst not on the boat at the moment I (we) have plenty of exploration of the myriad of local footpaths  (and canal tow paths) within walking of the new cottage.

Despite the cold snap a bigger walk was requested by Leia so off we went ....

I'll save you the trip into the Valley but it takes us about 12 minutes to the river/railway/canal that all share the valley bottom. The river Churnet will be a delight to fish  - lots pf pools to explore, but I need to know who if anyone has the fishing rights.

The river being crossed by the Churnet valley railway. 

Then we arrive at the canal - a little walk up from the river as it runs as anyone who knows this stretch almost on a shelf  - I think moved there to accommodate the railway

  I quite fancy that walk - from Froghall to Etruria  - about 18 miles  - it's on the bucket list !

Looking up from where I walked from  - there is a falconry centre there

All to myself, only noise was nature

Leia was in her element  - lots to sniff and no other dogs to worry about - she does not socialise well with  other dogs. 

Now we get the railway joining the canal  - this is a great place to see the steam trains come by

There is some history here from when the railway company moved the canal to accommodate the railway. The bridge is made up from railway track !

Another wood to explore - another day. I think this is the route to Ipstones 

 This boat has a very remote and rural mooring 

This branch was a little challenge, when I walked the route in reverse the next day it was gone - well done CART

Leaving the canal here at Consall 

The pub is round that corner and a bit 

Back across the railway and river ready for the climb out of the valley through the woods 

One of the locations the trains have to whistle as they approach  - we can hear them from the cottage  - very atmospheric.

Did I mention I like woods ....all you can hear is nature, it is very peaceful

On the lane back to the cottage, looking back into the Valley and the mist rolling from the village of Ipstones.

You might be able to see the route we walked in red. 2.5 miles and we did it one night in 50 minutes and today in reverse in 45 minutes, not too shabby if you account for the steepness that gets us both a decent blow on !

Plenty more to plan and walk in the future  - cheaper than any gym 

This mornings walk was across the fields..... Leia had a decent run, I did not.