Friday, 1 January 2016

2015...... a reflection of our year in blogland

For me its starting to be as much a traditional post as it is Jules Holland to invade New years eve. On a music related note I have started a 3 month trail of Apple music  - Kate Bush is helping me draft this review of my year.

If I was producing an exec summary it would be ....

23% more blog post in 2015 than in 2014. I did of course start the year living aboard Percy. Ended the year DIY'ing for England the family home. Not enough boating not enough biking too much driving to much focus on work not enough laughing, some loneliness loss of loved ones and challenges into the future. 

However there is promise and lots to focus on.

Here was 2015.............  

January  - 9 posts. Started the year off the alcohol, I always feel better for it and I said the same a year ago.  I was recording the RPM of my engine with my digital tachometer, then preaching about  tiller are safety (!) A third battery was added to the leisure side with some creative placement that has proven effective.

The end of the month saw two deliveries - the alcohol abstinence end with a fine bottle of single malt from younger son in payment for my efforts in getting him his car (I did the haggling and got a decent deal) then a coal delivery  - sadly Mark on Callisto has not answered my email requests for more coal this December so I may have to take business elsewhere.

February  - 7 posts.   February I was blogging about  a large dollop of  snow so there is hope yet for those that like the cold stuff.

Remember this stuff....?

I waffled on about inverters and Smartgauges as I have been known to do and also met a couple of fellow winter travelling bloggers (Maffi and Granny Buttons). Here is Andrew on his way in the dark to the river Trent in February - top man !

I was also still reflecting on house v boat living. I have missed the boat in these latter months being back at the house, the cycles of nature and nature itself as so much more evident.

We did take the boat out for a anniversary cruise mid month  - down the lock free Coventry pound towards Tamworth. Work kept us UK based for the celebration.

I ended the month with my dietary detail, seems I was eating better on the boat than the house (no freezer).

March down to 4 posts.  In my defence I think I was catching up as the first blog in March saw me blogging about three great walks in the south downs and the south coast, plus birthday celebrations for our eldest son Tom and pleasingly.... the awareness of lighter evenings and lighter mornings.

... The South Downs


Tom & Courtney

Light evening  - bliss

Breakfast in the light and walking to the car in the light - double bliss

We were on the boat (moving again) as went to the cinema on Percy, well the one at Barton Turns and I took a timelapse !

I finished the month with more walking blogs from the south downs - well it is my on line diary !

Leia loves these woods - I miss them from where we now live

April - another poor 4 blogs. Living aboard as commented on before, you see much ore of the heartbeat of the canals. In April I was blogging about the significant increase in boat movements. I also took my quadcopter into the air to take some nice images of my mooring.

There were still some beautiful sunrises  - a real pleasure to get up and out of the boat. I just wish we were able to cruise in such sublime vistas.

Just goes to show what beauty is around the corner ....

The downside of having a decent phone is you tend to rely on its camera rathe rather than the much more capable camera I brought for the boat and trip out. I had obviously found and downloaded some imaged from  that camera and was blogging about them in the middle of April.

I was still taking advantage of the later nights and doing a little bit of fishing....

 The bike was also getting a few miles into it with a long trip out in Derbyshire Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire....

May - down to just three blogs.  I dumped 3 as they dumped me from the one plan. Now with EE and I get 4g so their loss and my gain.

It was the bike again as we always go off to the  the Honda Deauville meet this year it was in Penkridge so I commuted and passed Gailey each day.

I ended the month servicing Percy's donk - it takes a lot of Morrisons SAE30 oil  - it reminds me typing this I need to order some more. I did the bike oil and filter later in the month for the ill fated Germany trip.

June again 4 posts.  I was blogging about property as it was being compared to new boat prices then properties in Chichester against south west Scotland. We had sacked off the Germany trip on the bike due to Rachel's poor health and concentrated on a rented cottage move in the South Downs.

The boat painting had been arranged then deferred over a two year period and was now planned to be done over August and September. I did some quite relaxing  - yes it was, preparation but painting the gas locker - below is the before and then the after pic after I had applied the rust treatment. I then gave it two costs of red oxide - primer and top coat. it was a well done job even if I say so myself.

I put the brass plank and pole holder on the boat - lots of drilling and tapping of holes. Plus I put the water and diesel badges on ready for the next boat safety exam !

July, only two blogs but a decent cruise.  My good friend John came all the way from Scotland to help me move Percy from Fradley to Dadsford Wharf on the Stourbridge canal. We stopped just above Woodend lock, then Great Haywood then Gaily, with a penultimate stop above the Bratch locks and finally at Stourton Junction.

It was stupidly hot and we mixed the beer with pints of water  - it really was HOT! Happy days....

Mission accomplished - unloaded and waited for Rachel who had driven up from the south coast to collect us and take us back to pick up Johns car.

With the boat safely in the paint dock I had to rely on the bike for my entertainment.... Staffordshire again it really is a long county from Leek in the north to Stourport in the south. There photos were taken around Hulme End / Wetton. I really must spin the bike over and give it a strip down clean.

This last photo was on the A53 with the view over Derbyshire in the distance.

August was only two posts. They were long ones with lots of photos.... The photos tell the story but is was based around.....

  • My eldest sons wedding party in Derbyshire
  • We hosted John Carrie Alba and Isabella at the cottage down south
  • I was over with John at the boat year dropping off the new windows for Percy and seeing the full back to metal paint job
  • Riding the bike when the sun shon
  • Planning a sea going boat dream...
  • Gardening to get the garden sorted for the house in Derby
  • We even got in the canal with an impromptu cruise in Johns the boat painters little sea going boat.
  • Finally visited a glass museum close to the wharf where Percy was being painted 
No wonder I only blogged twice ! O' and I got to be forty thirteen !

Here goes, work them out yourself !

Phew.... of course there was still the routine 400 mile round trip every other weekend for me and Rachel.

September I went for it with 5 posts ! September was the month we were to pick Percy up, all painted. We had holiday booked but there was the inevitable delay. Much of the blogging was about the boat and its latter stages of painting with me blogging about the emergency holiday we took to North Wales as we had booked a couple of weeks off to move Percy so had a spare week and then a compressed week to get Percy back !

Lots of painting and rubbing back

We asked Dave Moore to do the sign writing  - top bloke and he made a beautiful job.

We also engaged another character from the cut to produce new fenders  -Joe Hollinshead has been making them all his life, he was born on NB Victoria at Fradley so there is the connection. It reminds me I have them in the garage waiting to be creosoted !

Unexpected holidays are always the best and we spent a great few days reminiscing and planning when we went back the North Wales for a break waiting for the boat.

We were also working hard to recover the brasses for Percy, my was that a hard job !

October 8 posts. Another full month, trying to get a lot done before the dreaded clocks falling back and dark nights. Of course we (then I) were bringing Percy back from the Stourbridge canal.

Now how nervous do you think I was moving my newly painted boat out between these boats and under that bridge tip middle left with an audience of boaters  !

Took some persuading to get John Sanderson to pose by his work !

It was some fine weather for  Rachel and I to bring Percy part way back

Then I was left alone to complete the trip from Wombourne to Fradley - it rained and blew a lot, technical boating I think I called it.

Penultimate evening mooring above Woodend lock, one of my favourite places on the cut so far.

Before and after..... very pleased


Not so pleased to be called by my helpful boating neighbours about what C&RT did less than 24 hours after getting Percy back unmarked ! This is still subject to a now level 2 complaint.

I was on my way down south to the cottage when I got the call. I had promised my mum a visit to our 'other life' we had a great time around Chichester/Bosham and took a day trip to London to see out youngest son and his partner and took in a show..... 600 miles for the weekend  !

The bike also got an airing in late October.... now SORN'd but I think I'll tax it as that will certainly bring the frost snow salt and grit ! Photo was on the Staffordshire moorlands, a second favourite place to North Wales

November 3 posts. Some reflection and a last cruise before the stoppages to wind Percy.

I need to keep reminding myself of this 

 The canal was very atmospheric and Percy's engine was echoing around in the mist - lovely

We met out last 2015 bloggers, Barry and Sandra from AreandAre - on their way to overwinter at Mercia.

December 10 posts but a lot of reflection. All year I had been helping then dealing with supporting my mums partner Ross who was on a terrible journey that ultimately saw him loosing his battle with ill health on the 22nd December. He was a nice man who we took on our canal boats for quite  few holidays. The last one being on Percy. RIP Ross

Ross on Waterlily in August 2007  - just before my birthday.

Ross on August the 15, just before my birthday 2015

So what was 2015 all about. Not a great year. Lost two aunties and Ross plus other challenging health and work situations. Over 20,000 miles up and down the A34. Not enough time on the bike. I did spend half the year living aboard Percy but not moving her. Now it is all my hands to the pumps to sort out the house and look forward to a different 2016.


Carol said...

Hope you manage all that you wish for in 2016 Nev. Happy New Year to you both.

Halfie said...

Happy New Year from us.

Nev Wells said...

Hi Carol, I doubt I would ever achieve all wish for.... however good health is the foundation for everything else in my life so I am working on this ! Happy New Year to you also - keep blogging we need good bloggers like yourself.

Nev Wells said...

Hi Carol, I doubt I would ever achieve all wish for.... however good health is the foundation for everything else in my life so I am working on this ! Happy New Year to you also - keep blogging we need good bloggers like yourself.

Nev Wells said...

Hi John, Thank you and the same best wish to you both. I hope to read of all your 2016 travels and all the other house bits. Got the extended cruise planned yet ?

Halfie said...

No firm plans yet. We've been thinking about going south this year, to include the K&A, but we'll be in the midlands for blacking around April and the Black Country and IWA festivals August/September.

NB Muleless said...

Percy is looking fabulous with the new paint job. We saw Callisto a couple of days ago - apparently he is having trouble with his email and cant access it. His mobile No. is 07702 031718 but I don't think he can get to Fradley for a whilst due to the stoppages!
Heres hoping you have a great year this year!

Nev Wells said...

Hi Gary and Della,

Many thanks for the positive comments on the paint job and the news on Callisto - I wonder if he is aware how much business he is missing ! I'll drop him a txt to see where he is. I hope you get some decent cruising in this year, take care