Monday, 31 December 2012

Glen Grant breaks loose on Percy

When we were in Scotland earlier this year we took the opportunity to visit a would have been rude....etc etc.

Anyhow I was brought a nice 10 year old bottle of single malt from Major Grants distillery. Tonight is will be opened and a toast made to those not with us in 2012.

Happy New Year to all I know and those I will know in the future, take care


My one very big vice....

....sorry could not resist that one. To date I have not had much chance to 'be' in the engine room. However this trip I did bring one very useful bit of kit for a boat owner.....

It fits perfectly where Tony had his vice. The Brasso will be well used over the coming months... there is a lot of copper in the engine room.

I am intending fitting the hours counter on the black box below the vice, you can just see it in the picture. I thing I will need to borrow a sharp core cutter to make a good job of it. It is the natural place for it as it will be working when the key is turned to start the engine.

I have still to find a home for the solar panel controller and the Smartgauge when I have brought one....

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Back to where it all started....

So today I tried to sort out the pressure solenoid for the water pump.... limited success, but like all such jobs it gets you a broader understanding of how things work on the boat.

The bigger job was to fit the same type water gauge that I fitted to Waterlily. This one came as a present to Percy from Rachel..... she read my blog here.... Not difficult as the access to the tank is easy and there is plenty of working space under the well deck. There is still a leak from the tank side fitting to the stop tap... I hope it is the tap and not the fitting to the water tank itself. I will wait till we are out of water the tackle that one.

All in and semi working, it will only be accurate after the next fill up when I can calibrate it.

I then replace the reading light under the bed cupboard. The one fitted was a little weedy and I brought two so we can read or not read as we wish without disturbing the other in bed.

I took Rachel to Derby as she was working again today (the health service does not have holidays thankfully - I am writing this on Sunday) I swung by home and collected my medications... and took the opportunity for a quick shower. Only when passing Burton upon Trent did I realise I have left my glasses at home ! I did the work on the boat in Rachel's old reading specs... I looked a sight !

Finished by making a pan full of tasty stew, Leia is waiting for hers to cool, it will make a nice lunch tomorrow...

My youngest son Callum drove over to say bye as he is heading back to Leeds tonight with his girlfriend, Emma. He kindly brought my glasses over. It has been really good having him with us over Christmas. As we were chatting Callisto came back from Alrewas having winded due to the Trent being in flood.

He topped Percy back up with 43 litres of fuel. Based on my estimation of 28 hours running that makes a use of 1.5 litres an hour. Water lily was about 1.1 litres an hour. This seems higher than I was expecting but then again Percy is a big heavy boat with a 3 litre engine !

As we now do not have to run the engine for hot water I will pay more attention to my solar panel and its input into the two batteries rather than three on Waterlily. I really need that extra Christmas present....the Smartgauge ! I really am in the dark on how long I need to run the engine for to keep the batteries topped up. So far so good on 1.5 - 2 hours running a day. I think anyone living aboard should have one... they would save its cost in a year by not having to run their engine as long.

Oh...and the reason for the title, one of the Hunts boaters is moving on and his 45 foot mooring has been taken by Mandy my neighbour on NB Don't Panic. Her  mooring is quite bad as it is sunken below the piling and is on a bad slope with plenty of roots showing  - no wonder she broke her leg in October getting off her boat. It is really quite dangerous. Anyhow I have shifted up a coupe of yards  back to my original mooring when I had NB Comet. This gives Kev my other neighbour the gap back when Waterlily was on the mooring. If the mooring officer wants to auction the mooring, she should not as there is 18 boats on Hunts which it the agreed limit and the mooring is dangerous, We will have to shuffle again. For now I have regained our storage box within the mooring which is nice.

Percy makes a point

Well, if you did not think boats had personalities, think again....

After our efforts yesterday Rachel declared "Percy is starting to feel more like our boat" within 2 minutes the water pump kept on running and the saloon lights fused. I think Percy is not quite ready to accept us as its new owners quite yet !

Saturday, 29 December 2012

So, what have you been doing today then Nev ?

Thanks for asking, I have been very busy !

Last night it was really blowing.  We are well moored up so Percy was not moving much but it was quite noisy. We were up at 6.20am as Rachel was working today. We had breakfast and I walked Leia on the dark and the wind but surprisingly quite mild morning then it was a blast down the A38 back to Derby, dropped Rachel off at work then home to collect the tools.

A shopping list was  generated then off to B&Q for cable and brass sockets.... after that is was a trip to Midland Chandlers for supplies... no bayonet LED bus bulbs so Baddie the Pirate will be contacted....

Then off to Great Haywood via the great roadside cafe just past Uttoxeter on the Stafford road, to be recommended..... only the A51 was closed.... not sure why so I followed the diversion via Tixell only to find the diversion route was also closed...good planning by someone. Its the first time owning a 4x4 has given me that smug feeling (sorry) as I thought sod it and took the Honda into water......

The white car was a MG...why on earth he thought it would get through the water I don't know.....

I arrive at Great Haywood and sorted a few bits out on Waterlily... she looked great just washed down by the rain... I emptied the cassette in what must be the cleanest nicest elsan on the cut, well done Great Haywood marina.

Then it was back to Fradley to start the jobs on Percy......

Main task was to put in a 240v socket by the TV, this entailed spurring off a socket in the galley. Half way through Rachel called to say she was ready for her pick up so we (Leai came) headed off back to Derby to collect the worker.... back to Percy (125 miles for the day...) to finish off the socket install.... looks good and works.

While I finished off Rachel emptied one of the boxes of Waterlily ornaments and pots and distributed them about the boat, whilst cooking a nice pasta dish.

All in all a busy day, but worthwhile, lots done, Rachel is back at work again tomorrow leaving me to sort out more of the Percy personalisation !

Calling NB Duxllandyn

On the off chance Mike or Marian picks this up can you contact me again and leave your email address re the loo ?



Friday, 28 December 2012

Crap all aboard

Sorry for the brisk language....but today we eventually returned to Percy to put  all the crap useful stuff we removed from Waterlily.

The poor Honda was packed to the roof and we set off after a delayed start and parked as close to Keepers lock as possible.

I then did quite a neat reverse into Hunts lock and went up backwards, then revering to the keepers lock landing for the transfer of the 'stuff' into Percy.

Percy is 10 foot bigger bit we are still having difficulty finding a home for all the stuff we brought off Waterlily.

After we had Unloaded/loaded we then went back down Hunts to our mooring. This is not something we could have done in four months time !

A light lunch of Christmas left overs was taken then a walk to Alrewas Coop for supplies, in the dark on a very muddy towpath.

Turkey curry was consumed after a bath.. starting to read a bit like Bruce's blog.... now a film is being consumed via the laptop as I have not sorted the telly out yet.

All in all a good day.... and we had an offer on Waterlily. Shame it was too low, she has only been on brokerage for about a week. We felt bad refusing the offer and follow up offer but we have an idea of the price she is worth and as its only just on the market we would be not doing Percy justice if we sold low as we want to use some of the proceeds for work on Percy.

Tomorrow Rachel is working so I am taking her back to Derby then a visit to the chandlers for a few bits then work on Percy !

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Things to remember for Christmas 2013

Hope I am not being too optimistic thinking I'll be reading this in just under 12 months time but I always forget who did what where and when. Its a personal post as a reminder so no much interest unless you like us have large families where some do more than others...

So it was a Christmas Chinese meal at my Sister in laws  (Joy) on the Saturday to celebrate my Father in laws birthday. Sunday saw us at my sisters for a family get together where most attended apart from my eldest son and my three nieces and one nephew called Oliver.

Christmas eve Rachel was working till gone 9pm

Christmas day we had Mother in Law for dinner and Rachel's eldest sister had her for tea whilst Joy had Father in Law with her other sister Helen. FIL went home on his own for tea !

Boxing day saw us visit Father in Law and take him to Sharon's for lunch and tea along with Mother in law.... we did offer to have them both for tea...

I'll add to as the holiday season is covered. Boring yet but a good reference for next year ! It will quickly disappear as I blog about jobs on Percy....

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Well done CaRT - John Dodwell

I think the new regime of CaRT is making a difference. I am not one of the doubters, they are proving themselves to be proactive. It almost feels like they are letting the managers mange and removing the micromanagement that I understood was rife in BW.

So when John Dodwell asks to respond to many incorrect facts circulating about CaRT and the canal in general it was good that Narrowboat world gave him the right to reply.

Read it me

Anyone using the canals should read it as it is proactive and gives me confidence there are good genuine people who use the canals now working for CaRT.... Well done John.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Clack clack clack....Merry Christmas

Need a boat fix and I was advised this video was marked as private. It is now not so and is as close to a moving Christmas card as I own. So for me it is my fix and with a bit of imagination could be a colourful Christmas Newbold Tunnel,

Enjoy and Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year to all the peole I interact with over this excellent medium. I have made some good friends from complete strangers with a common interest in boats and blogging.

Take care

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Waterlily is now for sale - please pass on the link !

She is up photographed and has her own brochure now....

Please pass this info around as you see fit.... blog about it would be even nicer ;-)


Nev & Rachel

Monday, 17 December 2012

Percy's top three Christmas presents

Ok, so now Waterlily is away awaiting her new owners (hopefully) my attention is drawn towards the first few things that I'd like to make ownership of Percy a little more 'controlled'

Most of you who own a boat will know 'levels' are quite important. Not the spirit type levels but levels of 'consumables', specifically:
  • Power
  • Water
  • Diesel
  • Waste
  • Gas
The latter two on Percy are weight related, lifting a gas cylinder you can usually tell how much use you have had from it. At the moment the toilet is a simple porta potty....weight is the best way of telling but the are more visual methods....this is an area that I'd like to improve on maybe with something like this.... 

Power is critical on boats. the best bit of kit I installed on Waterlily was a Smartgauge.

It saves running the engine unnecessarily, which saves diesel and wear and tear, plus noise when stationary (even if it is a nice noise)  There is a basic gauge on Percy that seems to detail the battery state of charge, but it is basic and not something I could use or rely on.

Water is quite obviously the essential of life and comfortable living.  I latterly fitted a water tank gauge on Waterlily that is now an essential, so this will be fitted asap...the plastic pipe that is used on Percy will make this easier as is the access.

Diesel is easier  as there is are two access bolts to dip the two tanks plus a less than effective sight glass.

A final 'level' indicator is the engine hours, useful for fuel use, after you have determined what the consumption is per hour, and servicing intervals. I have one on order from Ebay...

Buying is one thing... fitting is the next !

Waterlily is for sale

So we eventually moved Waterlily off our borrowed hunts lock moorings (thanks again Mandy) see here for the last cruise on her to Great me

She is now up for sale at Great Haywood boat sales

If you or someone you know is looking for a boat that is just ready to cruise this is the boat for you.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Solar panels - to transfer??

We will hopefully complete the transfer of stuff from Waterlily this coming weekend. One thing I am unsure about is the solar panel install on Waterlily. This has proven to be very useful in recharging batteries. Thing is will is add any great value or salability to Waterlilty over and above the cost/benefit of moving the install to Percy?

I am inclined to make the transfer  - it is not cheap kit and not something I have seen on many boats on brokerage. Rachel thinks it will look incongruous on Percy.... I do have some agreement on this  but I think function beats form.... especially when it comes to power on a boat.

Percy has a gas fridge and sometime in the future I'd like to replace this with an electric 12v model. Percy only has 2 x 95a/hr leisure batteries, its a nice install and when the time comes I will replace with maybe 2 x 135 or 2 x 140 giving more power. I like a TV on board so will need this at least.

I think I'll move them unless I am pursuaded against it by your comments.... what would you do ?


Monday, 10 December 2012

Narrowboat Budget Calculator

There is a gentleman called Paul Smith who has an interesting story to tell. His is a story about learning all things narrowboating, and it was, I can assure you, the hardest way to become a liveaboard. (I read his book)

He is in the process of producing a calculator that takes all sorts of info that is needed, or not, to generate a cost and budget for living afloat.

I opted to be one of the testers so have given my initial feedback along with others who are fine tuning  the application.

Follow this link to get access to Paul's site ....this link

It is worthy of success.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The big swop over

While I have the use of Mandy's mooring I am taking advantage bow to bow mooring of Waterlily and Percy.

Today (Friday) I started moving those bits of 'stuff' that I wanted on Percy. I will not leave Waterlily wanting, she needs to be able to cruise away hopefully with new owners soon.

The generous well deck on Percy and the even more useful forecabin swallowed up a lot of stuff that was stowed away on Waterlily.

I am under strict instructions from Rachel to let her move the majority of items.... I suppose this is pots and pans bedding etc. There are still a few cupboards with bits that need sorting. I think I'll add some storage in the engine room on Percy, not going to rush that as hopefully I will have quite a few years to get it right.

I was really cold today, the back stove dd a great job, it really gets the back cabin warm. I think we will use this space quite a bit, after all it has been designed to be a complete house  - I think Sarah on Chertsey uses her cabin as such, well until  Bakewell arrived.

I took the opportinty to nip over to Great Haywood to discuss getting Waterlily on their brokerage, the benefit being a secure mooring and accompanied viewings at Kings Bromley marina. I like Kings Bromley marina and if I ever opted for a marina mooring I think it would be there.

So this weekend will hopefully see me back cleaning the port side of Waterlily and the roof. I'll then drop her up the two locks and clean the starboard side while on the Fradley moorings.

It was very quiet today, only two boats on the visitor moorings. One boat disgraced itself by cruising through and leaving the top gates open and paddles up -  recipe for draining pounds, it happened last time we moored on the visitor moorings and I had to go out late at night and shut gates and lower paddles after an inconsiderate boater left them up and open. Todays name and shame was Penny lane, Worcester....must do better 

Friday, 7 December 2012

View from the back cabin

On Tuesday when I had finished moving Percy back to Hunts lock I sat and drank a coffee and reflected ..... this was my view sitting in the back cabin, a comfy nice place to be.

You can of course click on any of my photos and they will open larger in a new window.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

110 foot of canal boat (s)

Tuesday saw me back on Percy with the intention of moving the final two locks (keepers and Hunts) down to my mooring on Hunts.

Mandy My neighbour off Don't Panic is recovering from a bad accident on the moorings and with permission is up on a vacant mooring s between Junction and Keepers lock. She has give me the OK to draw Waterlily back onto her mooring for a little time in order that we can move all the personal stuff off Waterlily prior to being sold.

So first job on arriving was to walk Leia down to Hunts and drag Waterlily 60 odd foot backwards. The wind helping as it was  across the cut onto our moorings pinning Waterlily to the armco.

Job done we then locked Percy down the last two locks of the journey home and fitting nicely onto the moorings.

Tea and more investigations of the boat revealed a very slight leak on the stop tap.... bit of an arse really as it is the tank side, so if it will not nip up I'll have to drain the tanks. Percy has two stainless steel tanks connected. Tony originally fitted a galvanised tank which was replaced and the best way to get the volume and be able to retrofit them was to put in twin stainless tanks. I might add some more insulation in this area as although well below the waterline the tops of the tanks are a little exposed so could freeze in really bad weather.

 This is the Hunts lock moorings

Just arrived back on the 4th December

 Waterlily will make someone a very fine boat.

Looking back towards Hunts Lock.

We (Leia and I) had a nice walk to common lock to finish off the day. When I got back Kev my other neightbour came out and we had a good chat.

Now it's just the matter of keeping the fire in when we get the next cold spell.... at least we will not have to cruise breaking ice.

One thing I may have not mentioned was on Monday when cruising from 7.30 am to 4pm I passed three boats....that in itself is a very good reason to cruise in winter.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The final leg....

On my own on the boat I was a little sad Sunday evening, I had enjoyed Rachel and Callum's company, however they did not have the luxury of holiday on Monday as I had so it was left to me to undertake the last hop of the journey.

Sunday evening was spent understanding the boat a little more. One thing for sure it is a cosy warm boat. I was up at 6am Monday morning and the first check was ice or not ice.... no ice so we were set to go. As I was intending a full day no stop I packed myself a lunch and a large flask of coffee. Both fires were set and the engine started at 7.15 am and I was moving in shallow daylight at 7.30am.... with some light rain falling.

There are benefits for cruiser stern boats, and semi trads as Waterlily is, but for winter cruising I have been sold the trad with the back cabin stove, it is so just right.... no surprise really as those poor hardy souls dragging the boats across company needed every little comfort that could find. The photo below does not really convey how murky the morning was, but no ice.

 Except just after the M42 bridge.... the temperature just dropped, my breath bloomed and the ice cracked, just a short stretch but this area must have been in a dip catching or holding the frost.
As I approached this somewhat rundown cruiser the curtains opened was someones home for the night, hardy soul and made me feel a little guilty cruising round on my central heated hotel !
 As I rounded the Samual Barber pub/marina I was hailed by Tony Heathcote who owns Tollhouse boat sales who I brought Percy via. he was taking a well known ( for the wrong reasons) 70 foot Les Allen back to Hllmorton to go onto brokerage.
 As I approached Tamworth the heavens opened, brolly up back doors shut and I was quite comfortable.
 The two Glascote locks we deserted so locked myself down very slowly....the rain had thankfully stopped now.
 By the time  got to the junction I knew I was going to get to Fradley in the day. The house overlooking the junction was for sale.... nice frontage, not sure about the area or what was behind it.

Just past the junction I met Comet.... our first boat. It hangs around this area and is normally there when we pass.... I know the story of the person who brought it from us and I feel comfortable that they are making a go of it even if they may be breaking a few rules.

 I had forgotten how lovely this stretch of the Coventry Canal is - we should come this was more often, lots of lock free miles with lots good mooring places

 This is what you might call living on the edge....the cat never flinched when Leia went past, cool cat.
Work was underway on the new marina at Streethay.... Rays (ex of Strethay) mooring were full, I've never understood why someone would want to moor here... especially those that are literally within 20 feet of the thundering A38 traffic.

The rest of the trip went by very quickly with me getting to Fradley at 3.10pm....about 7 hours 40 minutes, good to know if we need to get to the great mooring a the bottom of the Atherstone flight.

I watered up and chatted to Maffi who told me it was his birthday. I 'called for him' after mooring up on the visitor moorings as I did not fancy messing with moving Waterlily to get Percy on the Hunts lock mooring.  We took a couple of pints in the mucky duck then Rachel came to pick me up..... mission just about complete.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Callisto is our saviour...

We moored up on Saturday night just outside of Nuneaton, well just passed Marsten Junction. Opening the doors Sunday morning my heart sank.... more ice, but this time thicker !

I took a calculated position... we had taken off some blacking on Saturday and the survey said it needed doing sometime soon so I took the boat hook and smashed the ice infront of Percy and set off, cracking we shall go.

I don't like cruising in ice, but needs must. First two boats side doors open and to their credit did not moan at me, just commented how quickly the canal had frozen and how thick the ice was. We mucked up one turn slowing down giving the ice a chance then I came up to the kink just after bridge 18 and spied the armco and said enough.....

Dissalusioned and expecting to have to stay put we headed off to find a shop for newspapers bread and milk. We had used a bag of coal in 2 days and we only brought one when we served the boat in Braunston!

Getting back to the canal after the shop I was delighted to see someone had come through. I spoke to a bloke walking his dog and he told me it was the coal boat and he had come from Springwood Haven.

We caught up with Callisto just as he was approaching our boat so we hailed him and took 4 bags off him and tipped him for clearing the cut for us !!

This was the boat I saw at Fradley when I met Geoff and Maffi, Geoff took some coal off him and Maffi locked him up Hunts lock !

We were about 2 hours behind schedule so sorry to Sue and Dave from NB Beefur, we exchanged a fleeting few words, next time I'll make you a cup of tea !

 We got to the top of the Atherstone flight at 12.45... no one about, perfect.

 We set to setting the locks ahead, most were empty but with teamwork we were at the bottom in just under a hour and a half. We even used the side pond to save some water !

As soon as we got out of Atherstone the temp plumeted again and ice was back on the canal, seems not much had been down the flight all day. We stopped at a lovely mooring at the bottom and my crew departed leaving me to a quiet boat  and some blogging as well as a glass or tewo of wine to celebrate the day. Hard work, dissapointment to elation thanks to the coal boat, now can I make Fradley in the daylight tomorrow.... if the canal does not re-freeze !!

Special thanks to Rachel, Callum who walked the flight and set all the locks (with Leia) and Tom and Courtney who drove out to fetch Rachel and Callum back. I have a great family x

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Blumin 'ard work....

Well not compared to Sunday.... but we did not know that at the time. So Saturday, back doors open to......

The canal had iced over. not massive but problematic for a single hander and three Hilmorton locks...

 The tell tail sign of a boater who is on a time schedule.... see tomorrow for more on that !

 The first lock was a real took me about three attempts to get onto the lock landing breaking up the ice to get in. Then it was slow motion, think everything through twice. The next lock was better as another boat arrived as I went in so they locked me down. The above photo is me waiting as I'd spied my crew arriving .... see below. How pleased I was to see them !

It then got better and better, very cold but just cruising all day. The ice dissipated and there were few others on the move.

We passed a couple of bloggers.... NB Oakfield, gathering some sun.

 NB Derwent6 full on Christmas decorations....

 Then on to colourful Newbold tunnel

Well I had to record that sound in the tunnel !

 A couple of action shots with Rachel at the tiller. You can see how the ice has taken off the blacking.... it needed doing in the New Year anyhow.

As the sun set just as we passed Sutton stop - I made a right pigs ear of the turn, lucky it was so cold no one was watching. We got some lovely winter images, including another Kingfisher... I suppose my ice breaking helps them to keep fishing.

We pressed on and moored up just past Marsten junction, tired but happy, especially with a curry and wine/beer on board.

We did not expect the canal to ice over quite so badly..........see tomorrow for the highs and lows !