Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Sadly time to get rid

Nope not Percy but I'm delivering on my pledge to change.... remember that, read it here Click Me 

Specifically I planned to scrap my old Rover I typed;

"My old Rover is financially worthless but it is also a diesel, 35mpg, very heavy, large and in the main overkill for moving me and Leia around. It's high tax as it's a relatively high emissions diesel vehicle."

A quadruple dose of good has come from its sad (to me) demise. 

  1. The planet has had a polluter removed.
  2. I used Charitycar as the agent to help me scrap the car. They basically operate as the middle person and arranged for my car to be collected by a dealer ( I asked the car be scrapped not sold on) then I choose what charity I want the proceeds of the sale of the car to go to. We chose CoolEarth a charity working to halt the deforestation of the rain forests and therefore protecting our environment. 
  3. Whilst I didn't buy an electric car for its replacement the car I did buy was being sold as the guy was getting an electric car - so one dirty diesel out and one no emissions electric car in - result.
  4. The car I brought is polar opposite from my Rover - it's a Toyota IQ so from diesel to Petrol, from 2 litres to one litre, from nearly 5 metres to under three metres..... still an automatic though.
So I feel good today, it helps the IQ fits in the garage (just) with my bikes. The IQ has a tax of just £20 per year - the Rover was £320. The savings I recon on fuel will be over £400 per year and servicing will be cheaper as well as hopefully less MOT work in the future (its only got 34k on the clock)

Here is the wee beasty 



So a homage to my Rover. 

I brought it in January 2015 from a dealer in Burnley, found for me by my then transport manager at the Uni who I provided a spec of a car I wanted to replace the petrol hungry and wallow'y Honda CRV (That I brought specifically to take my late father in law back to Wales for one last visit in 2014.) James came up trumps with a Rover 75 Tourer 2.0 Contemporary SE 5DR 'Genuine 66k + FSH + Massive spec! (the advert I still have) 

I needed a comfy tourer for the 200 mile each way trip I was doing each fortnight to Chichester where Rachel was working  - its all in the blog ! I'd leave work on a Thursday evening and then drive the three and a half hours to Rachel, work at home on the Friday then on the Monday morning my alarm would go off at 4.45 am and I'd be on the road for 5 am to get to work in Derby for 8.30am.... after stopping off a the boat at Fradley to drop Leia off and in the winter set a fire going so the boat was warm on my return in the evening  ( another 30 minute drive from Derby to Fradley) 

I needed a mini limo that the Rover was with leather fully adjustable seats cruise control decent lights etc etc. 

The Rover was also used a van, my youngest son will attest to this as it was used to transport literally tons of stuff from his flat refurb to the tip in London - I even drove his cut up bathroom suit from London to Ashbourne to the tip there on my way home one time !!  

Indeed its last trip for us was to take a load of sleepers from our cottage to the mooring to make some better steps and a small retaining wall.


It only let me down once when the alternator expired at about 130,000 miles.

I brought it at 66,000 miles and drove it to 158,000. The biggest mileage year by MOT I think was 22,000. Now retired I think (not counting the bike miles) I'll struggle to hit 6,000 miles.

Simply the best car I've ever owned by a country mile, but not what I or the planet needs now so it's just started its last journey. Its a shame in some ways it'll not be stripped for parts, there is a very helpful and active Rover 75 community, but this way it'll be as the pick up driver said "baked bean tins before you know it" So for now every time I open a tin of beans in the future I'll reflect on my trusty old Rover how great a car it was for truly strange living times for Rachel and me.


RIP faithful and much loved Rover 




Friday, 31 July 2020

Job done(ish) and Yarwood

Rain stopped play on Monday so I walked to get ' the package' leaving the last side to be polished on Percy for Tuesday. Two of us putting on and taking off made short work of the fettling of Percy. 



Feeling quite good and then a real head turner came past.....


That's Lesley and Joe's 'can't call it old' boat so ' last but one' boat is a better description. I was lucky enough to get a guided tour a couple of years back when they came through Fradley - it's a lovely boat inside and out.

The title is based on the fact one side really needs another going over as the polish we used was quite old and not really buffing up well. A reason to revisit ......


Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Recovery operation

Conscience is an important moral guide. It drives good behaviour in the main and that has to be a good thing.

Now back to this picture .....


It was taken as we set off on our four counties cruise on the 4th July from the double culvert bridge in Grub Street cutting. I’d walked ahead with Leia to video Rachel coming along this atmospheric cutting. I dropped a poo bag to take the shot and forgot to pick it up when I left to rejoin the boat.

Skip forward to yesterday 27th July and Leia and I walked back to the cutting to collect the ‘litter’ and it was still there.... a little trampled (!) but intact so conscience cleared and plastic removed plus a nice if not wet walk for us both.





Monday, 27 July 2020

Not a normal day

Well yesterday we got 3/4’s of the boat washed and polished. She’s got a few little chips on the side Fountains pebble dashed for me nothing too bad but will need spotting in over the next couple of months.

We took a judgement call on the starboard side not to try and polish it from the gunnels so as Rachel set off for a bit of shopping ( her first shop since March) I took Percy to the Grub Street winding hole to present the last side for polishing. By the time we rendezvoused back neither of us fancied the extra work so we put the cleaning stuff away, ran a deep bath had a soak and a couple of drinks and relaxed.



My goodness the canal was busy. Compared to our recent four counties cruise where we saw very few boats moving they were a constant flow today. As there are few locks close by boats do get clumped up as faster boaters catch the slower ones then have to go slow (go figure). I was pleased to moor up again and watch them chug by.

The forecast rain arrived in the early hours of today Monday 27th July. There is something extra nice about being on the boat when it’s raining hard on the roof.... especially lying in bed.

So today is a wet day until about 5 so no polishing. - that’s a tomorrow job. Today is a kick back drink coffee and read my latest detective Kim Stone (Angela Marstons  - author) book. Not a normal day as usually there is something being ‘done’ I may black the stove.... watch this space, otherwise a lazy boat day. 


Sunday, 26 July 2020

We all do it, some more than others

Many have a rose tinted view of boat ownership, they see the lovely pretty canal boats chugging along the cut and imagine themselves at the helm, enjoying nature’s linear slide show. But what they don’t see is the on going maintenance, cost and hard work that is needed to keep a boat tidy.

I cannot rest easy knowing Percy is in need of TLC, I’m not the sort who gets the cleaning stuff out at the end of each days cruising- yes I’ve see them, they even have individual job roles and set to as soon as they moor up. I’m jealous of course as I set to with the fishing rod and then beat myself up over the cobwebs and bird poo that signals a lazy boat owner.

So every now and again and today (Sunday 26th July) is a now and again day we set to with buckets and cloths to spruce up our pride and joy .... but it’s bloody hard work and I know come the morrow I’ll be aching like a man who aches a lot. It’ll be worth it as it’ll allow me the right to fish and ride my motorbikes ( therein  lies the issue.... too many interests) and start worrying about when I need to do it all over again !

Plus it’ll give me the option of posting some pictures of the shiny boat.

Friday, 24 July 2020

Makes you want to cry

I’m reading a book at the moment called Stargazing by Peter Hill. It’s his recollections of his time as a relief lighthouse keeper in the seventies in Scotland. It’s quite enchanting and very well written. The reason for the blog title is his observations of the change in a lifestyle that I liken to the loss of the staff who looked after the canals with a passion akin to ownership.

It also reminds me of a old colleague Tom ( long passed sadly) who was a guard on the trains in the 50’s. He was a porter at the university Green lane campus and he used to tell some lovely tales of sunrise views from the back of the guards van as they trundled across the country.... another lost lifestyle.

....and to present day, in a lesser context Sandra on NB AreandAre recently blogged about their  visit to Midland Chandlers Teddesley and the fact it’s not reopening. Just serving ( for the time being) on line orders. It’s all change and towards a faceless online automatic future. Not something that in my opinion is good for us, we need contact and society will be the worse for it.

Anyhow I hope Peter will not mind me using an extract from his book.....

As I write this there are no longer any manned lighthouses around the coast of Britain. No aspiring novelist is up in the light chamber doing his word count with pencil, mental arithmetic and youthful optimism. No human presence is there in case of emergency. No wise old men are teaching the young the ‘routine’ and the ways of the world. No Finlay Watchorn passing on his culinary skills or Jim Codey teaching a boy to row and set down lobster creels. It’s a damn shame and it makes you want to cry.”

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Pondering a cratch

On Waterlily we had one, but it was a bit small but essential for keeping a few bits in. We have the fore cabin on Percy that to be honest is a dumping ground. I should practice the one season rule - if we don't use it within a year then it comes off the boat.

The small issue is the fore cabin is remote from the main saloon. Percy is a 60 foot boat but take the engine room out and the well deck plus the fore deck then you have your working space so it would be good to bring the fore cabin into use a bit more. Putting a cratch in/on would connect the forecabin to the saloon and also provide more weather protection for the well deck and saloon doors.

I may have to seek professional advice on what would look best. I could opt for the cratch to just go to the doors of the forcabin and step down to the top of the forecabin (just realised that would not work as there is a flip over hatch to make entry into the forecabin easier) Or we just cover the whole forecabin with the black cloth look at the front of the boat. The latter would mean less to protect with regard to paintwork etc. So if we are to go with a cratch it would be a long jobbie covering the forecabin which in turn would give us space above the forecabin to store more stuff !

Might give Bethsaida covers a call as they are literally 50 yards up the cut from us and would have an eye for the art of the possible.