Sunday, 18 August 2019

Walking and fishing in the rain

Its been a bit wet, difficult times for our builder as he made us a small canal at one stage (some time ago now) when the dug out footings filled up overnight.

It does not stop my outdoor pursuits. A walk in the valley was a challenge as the Churnet had come up well over the footpath - as I was walking round Leia decided to take the normal footpath route and ended up swimming along the footpath !














On Wednesday this week (14th August) I met up with my old boss Ian and my fishing Guru Graham at a lovely rural complex of 4 lakes called Robinwood. Slow start but the the fish started feeding but boy did it rain.

A PB for me with a 4lb Barbel and a nice 8lb 4oz mirror 






Getting ready for boat time now  - just waiting for the rain to stop !!

Friday, 16 August 2019

Too hot now too wet

Its been a while ..... but August and September are busy months for us retired types ! 

I try and stay off the water during the holiday times, leaving it for the workers. I did visit the boat but it was so hot all I did was drink water and watch the boats cruise by. 

Now today 16th August (my birthday) its the complete opposite very wet. We should have been aboard for a long weekend but may delay until tomorrow as Rachel has a bad cold and I'm trying not to have a bad cold.

We collected the virus on a great trip to London for a couple of days last weekend to visit my youngest Callum and his partner Emma. (and their adorable new cat Dotty)







More people than I am comfortable with for sure !



We were treated to a great play in the old council chamber - An Agatha Christie play Witness for the Prosecution. Excellent 




A drink in the George pub (apt name as it was my dads) opposite the Royal courts of justice 



The weekend before saw us on the bike for a long weekend back down south. We booked into a nice B&B in West Ashling so we could walk Watery Lane to have wine and nibbles with Gillian our lovely ex next door neighbour. 

We also went out on the SBC (Sunday Breakfast Club) ride with the souther bikers I ride out with. 

Finally Rachel met up with ex colleagues for a catch up Sunday PM then we picnic'd  at Bosham into the late evening before we had coffee and cake the next morning back with Gillian. 

Out old cottage  - we did have another look around as it was empty, the new residents after us only lasting a year  - we were there three years




The southern bikers - a great group of friendly lads(!)


My Honda ST1300 Pan European overlooking Bosham harbour - we walked this many times when down south 


At the end of last month we as a family me to remember my dad who passed away 29 years ago .... a good show in nice weather. We (I) ended up in the paddling pool which on a hot school holiday day was heaving  !





My mum, brother in law Bill and my niece's son Freddie 








Saturday, 3 August 2019

Reasons not to live aboard

I recently replied to a question on one of the facebook narrowboat forums* regarding moving full time afloat. The poster was asking if she was mad selling her four bed detached home to buy and live aboard permanently. Of course as to be expected on a narrowboat forum many were validating their decision to do the same with encouragement for her to follow.

Now I lived aboard for two years albeit with some breaks to go down south and I found the experience positive and refreshing with new and different challenges from daily house living. I'm glad I did it and could do it again but not unless I had to.

You see I am wedded to 'stuff'. I am typing this in my home office (sounds posh - its not anything other than the third bedroom at the cottage)  I have a large screen I connect my Macbook to and I have another PC running away in the background with a printer plus files of paperwork to be re read and some to be filed ... you get the picture.  This is just one room of stuff. We are in the process of having a garage built for my motorbike(s!) and I spend half of yesterday moving 'stuff' out of the workshop into the loft space of new said garage to hopefully make the workshop more spacey so I can get a few more tools (read stuff) as ultimately I want to make some new windows and doors for the cottage (one door already made)

I am no hoarder - I try to remove what I don't need but I need quite a few different things to keep me entertained - simple as that. If I had to I could live a much simpler life but at the moment I like to have activity options available to me.

So it's not for everyone and I felt for the original poster I should give my alternative viewpoint,  which I think was respectfully received.

One thing I did say was don't carry a regret  - give it a go, as was other advice around renting out the property. However I suspect there was a need to sell to release equity for the boat - tough decision, but like I advised if you can and are willing to take a risk have a go, I did, a little less risky in my circumstances but everyones personal position is different.

*I opted out of all the FB boating groups apart from the Friendly narrowboat forum as there was so much sniping and bad feeling in the others. This also cemented my thinking that personalities cannot be changed by moving to the cut.... it may take some stress away but it can introduce time people are unable to easily fill without the need to be keyboard warriors on forums - we've all met them I'm sure.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Erectile disfunction - it is boat related !

LOL, best blog post title yet, and no not an advert for blue tablets.

I visited Percy yesterday ( 18th July) for a check while the builders were still toiling away. One thing that has become apparent is the slow droop of Percy's back fenders.


They are still doing their main job, just - protecting the rudder. As you can see there is just a need for three with a compress with just two resulting in exposure of the tender rudder !

When I put them on they sat up, it seems the middle fender had worked over the bottom one resulting in the droop. When Joe who made them passed them to me he said give 'em a soak in creosote which I did and they have been protected since.

So I set to and removed them and gave them another brushing of creosote and left them to dry off in the sun as I did not want any to leech into the canal.



Spring forward a few days and another visit to put them back on and how much finer a display of fender erection could you wish for !!


The front fender was treated as well


... and the important weakness introduced to the chain should the fender ever get stuck going  up/down


The fenders will be off again in September for the blacking to take place .... not looking forward to that !

Monday, 29 July 2019

Running hot

When you read this it may be a lot cooler but on the 24th July I was hosting my ex boss  and friend Ian who has in the past taken day boats out but never the full monty - 60 foot and 17 tons of narrowboat.

We chose a nice day - a hot day for it and duly set off for a 7 hour cruise to wind at High Onn and back with a stop off in Gnosall for a pint.

It says much about our friendship  - we worked together for 20 plus years that we never stopped talking about just about everything ! Ian took the tiller from the start and with only one small moment of panic (he was not used to the push pull and speedwheel controls) steered us safely and professionally for the whole trip.

One thing I was acutely aware of was the engine temperature. I'm still bearing the mental scars of the trip to Shebdon when Percy overheated (new pump impeller was needed but not known about at the time) so when the gauge started to creep up to 70c I was watching with much concern. In the end all was well and Percy's Lister did not miss a beat. The canal must be about at its warmest this time of year and with 30+ C air temperatures it was a decent test.

A great day ended with wine and pizza by the boat and more reminiscing into the late evening.








Saturday, 27 July 2019

The devils beef tub

Sounds intriguing - it was  a place I recently visited on my bike (13th - 16th July) as part of a couple of days  exploring south east and south west Scotland.

Details of the Beef Tub here

Just a couple of days enjoying the delights of the roads and the bikes with a stay in Moffat on the borders.









Thursday, 25 July 2019

Tappet time and a bridge hole cruise

It's been a few months now since Percy had  open heart surgery ( decoke and new head gasket) I thought it right to give the tappets a check in case there had been any slight movements etc.

Out came the simple tools and set to turning 3 litres of 2 cylinder engine over by hand to get the respective marks on the flywheel.

The wild flower garden was looking stunning and getting many insect visitors


Rocker covers off and feeler gauges out. A small adjustment on no1 cylinder inlet, marginally tight otherwise all ok. 


  Then it was a lovely cruise to work the engine and wind about forty minutes up the canal.


Of course first bridge hole 45 there was a boat equidistant from it. Now I know this bit of canal well as is to be expected, 45 and 46 are close meaning a short gap between bridges, the tow path side is shallow and cannot be moored against and there is vegetation on the offside - not a place to try and pass.  Technically in such circumstances the boat on the tow path side should hold as they can hop onto the tow path if needed, however not possible in this case but the oncoming boat did hold, so despite my waving them through we both hovered - it took a crew on the other boat to pop out of the forward doors to see properly my signal and they came through - all very friendly.




I prefer to cruise up to the winding hole just after bridge 48  - Park heath bridge. Once again just as I approached there was a boat on the other side - he politely held back so I could come through which was not ideal as it meant I overshot the winding hole - it is directly after bridge 48. No problem I took Percy into the bank and pulled back until the wind very kindly turned Percy 180 degrees !



The other end of the mooring is also looking very nice with the Buddleia giving a much needed pit stop for many butterflies. I even had a brief visit from a humming bird moth - quite special to see that.