Saturday, 31 August 2013

When not to go boating

Is there such a time? Well if you want a busy cut then try August bank holiday Monday !

So to catch up..... the week before saw us overnighting and staying put but we had a great walk to Streethay. We wanted a price on boat painting, I could not talk to anyone there so left a number, I was phoned back but am waiting now on an email enquiry, recession what recession ?

The towpaths are as full as they will be all year

Darley looking good

In the evening after late food we were hailed by NB Cepheus who asked if they could have temp moorings on the pilings next to us. Not really our call but it was 9.30pm dark and Mandy our neighbour was away and they said they would be gone first thing.

The following weekend we were only able to get aboard for the day, and fancied moving Percy, only problem was it was August bank holiday Monday. We were hailed twice by blog readers, sorry I did not get your names, but it was nice to know someone other than me reads my musings.

There were boats moving at very regular intervals and despite volunteers on the locks it still took us over an hour to get past Junction lock.

Zoom in, and check the centre line mooring, to his credit it was well above head height.

What a great sight, we have met Chertsey a few times on the cut and always seem to get the approach shot, a quick hello then the stern shot ....

Not heard much from this fella recently.

We had a nice lunch, winded at the Hatherton junction then a slow cruise back, still many boats on the move after 6pm.

Then back to work !

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Time to winterise .....

....the mooring that is. It will be a few more weeks before we have to worry about the gas heater and frosts.

Yesterday (19th August ) was my last day on holiday and we had returned to Percy Sunday evening after going home for a birthday meal with my sons and one girlfriend on Saturday night.

So Monday AM I drove Rachel to work then returned to the boat via Shobnall chandlers where I brought a new gas cylinder and some raddle red top coat, plus a full english for the workers!! I then popped into B&Q and brought a small 900 watt lawnmower so as to not have to keep lugging my heavy petrol mower from home. The little Flymo did the mooring running off the inverter and used about 20% of the batteries.

It was a trade off between weight and power and lightness and time. We can keep the little mower on the mooring now so always available for a quick short back and sides.

Re the winterisation, our mooring is sloped to a flat strip adjacent to the pilings and there were three steps of a kind, far from ideal and all with small landings on them.

I brought 4 x cheap slabs from B&Q and now it looks and performs a lot better, plus a lot safer in the wet and frosts, remember them?

On Saturday we went for a walk to Streethay. I think about 6 miles. We have not done this before but it was quite a nice walk and puts the Plough into the equation especially if we taxi back after a meal and a couple of drinks !!

Nice sight

 Full summer vegetation makes the tow path quite beautiful 

Friday, 16 August 2013

It's my birthday - where else would I be !

I don't do birthdays, not in the big celebration sense, they are there just to remind me I am getting older so need to do more stuff.

We have been doing stuff, starting with a ride up to Scotland, Moffet to be precise with a great group of friends. That was last Friday and we were taken on some great bike routes. there are no chicken strips on my back tyre and it is looking well scrubbed up !

Part of the reason for the get together was to celebrate Jason's 40th, he comes over from Dublin each year for this ride out.

We stayed in Moffet until Monday then we went on to our friends farm house on the tip in the rhins of Galloway peninsula.

We enjoyed great company and much enjoyed seeing the twins again growing up every time we see them. I got a good education into radio controlled airplanes and the technology available to fly then, can you believe they have autopilots and gps in them now. John also has been putting cameras onto his airplanes and has been getting some great images…. it helps having 24 acres as to play in and no neighbours, my kind of place !

Rachel playing with Isabella 

John's plane is in this shot somewhere.... bit like spot the ball?

This is Stranraer from the castle. It is a ghost port now as the ferries all go to Port Ryan so the town has lost all of its ferry related activity.

Isobella and Alba doing some dressing up

 This is the view from the room we slept in at John and Carrie's. You can see Arran on a clear day and the north Antrim cost road from the other side of the peninsula at night.

We came back on Wednesday and yesterday I had a lazy day while Rachel had to go back to work. Today I am on the boat, I was going to move it but it is so busy here today I will stay put and mow the mooring then fish and drink some beer - not a bad life !!

Leia likes it as well !

Monday, 5 August 2013

The trouble with tables....

.... whilst not heavy they are difficult to manhandle across lock gates.

Yesterday Rachel was browsing Gumtree and found a nice old butterfly table at a reasonable price right colour in the middle of Birmingham. We were half way so phoned and went to look. It was ideal, smaller than the one on board but no chairs so we will have to source them.

Only problem on getting it back to Fradley was how to do the swap with the existing and the new (old) table. We did not fancy getting it across the lock gates.

We opted to pop over to the water point on the Hunts lock landing and while watering up we took the old one to the car and brought the new one back. Much to the bemusement of the dog walkers who feared for our sanity, especially after I told them it was a picnic table and we were off to try it out !

So that is one step closer to getting Percy more to our liking. Next job is to take out the fixed seating and replace with a settee plus new flooring. Then on to the kitchen, new sink and worktop plus maybe a new fridge but I fear our 220 amp battery bank will not be suited to a 12v fridge? (Advice)

After that is it sell the house buy smaller rent out and cruise for however long we fancy... sound simple so simple we will never do it !!

Came across this when out walking Leia Sunday morning...

It was irrigation of the farmers potato field, heaven know how much he was taking out, I am sure CaRT knew and it was necessary as we all need spuds.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Mooring rope

Any reason for an overnighter. We arrived lateish last night for 24 hours, main reason was to replace the bow and stern mooring ropes with 2 x 15 metre 14mm ropes I sourced from eBay. The pair were a tad over £25 whereas Midland Chandlers wanted to charge £3.50 a metre so 30 metres would have cost me 4 times as much !

I took advice from the Internet  forums and used the boat length x 0.8 to give a guide to the length. Having brought too short in the past it is better to nick some off the end rather than try and splice more on!

I have given up with C&RT putting the correct mooring rings on here at Hunts. They came about a year ago and spray painted the locations but then never turned up to add the rings. The variety of chains and hooks used will damage the pilings and be a larger cost in the long term. Plus what am I getting for my £1500 ?

.....and relax. Anyhow for info moorings were to be had at Fradley last night. It will be interesting to see how the place fills later today. There are boats moving now which is good but it does show how much the ropes have to do and why my error of judgement on leaving the fender rope on the bow was realised.

Some fettling with the engine today, and a run to get the oil about and remind it what its job is, not just sitting there looking pretty.