Saturday, 28 January 2023

The madness that is mooring costs

In this cold and icy time I've exercised my mind and fingers to see what's out there regarding online off side moorings and costs. Boy do they vary from the appealing to the absolute ridiculous. 

I'll not mention all actual places other than canals as I'd not want ( yes I know my social media impact it very limited)  to influence cost increases for people if mooring managers found out the specific rates but I have no doubt they do check, but some are greedier than others for sure.

All for a 60 foot boat

Start with where we are at the moment Great Haywood marina  - £2993 p.a 

There is a free 60 foot mooring at Fradley  - Hunts Lock were we were for 10 year - a bit over £2,500, no water no parking no electric and a decent walk over a lock - nice moorings though 

Three prices on the Shroppie ranging from a staggering £3672 and that was for a 57 foot mooting so well over £3,700 for Percy. Another was £3,276. Best (no vacancies surprisingly) was £1,620... All of the Shroppie ones were the same water and parking middle one was electric available but a walk to park.

On the Staffs and Worcester one - best yet was under £1,200   - again no vacancies.

So this year if we stay where we are are (not started the engine not moved anywhere) costs in brief will look like this ....

Moorings  - £2993 ( will go up when we renew if we renew in April)

License -£1,096 ( gone up 4% in April 2022 and another 4% in October 2022)

Insurance  - £200

Blacking £500  ( we try and black every 2 years and budget about £1000 per blacking) 

Service  £100 ( each year for oil stern greaser which is automatic and antifreeze etc)

Batteries £150 ( about £600 eveey four or so years)

RCR - £200 ( we don't have tis but may add it for peace of mind in the future)

So sitting still in the water before we add diesel etc it'll cost us around £5,250

Thats a chunk of change for this pensioner  - walking cycling and camping are sooo much cheaper ! 

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Leia will be with me for the rest of my life

Only pet owners know the hurt of losing a loyal companion. It's getting on for 6 months now since we had to say goodbye to Princess Leia. We had her cremated and she lives with us in one of her favourite places...  just by the wood burner.

She still felt a bit distant to me so for my Christmas present my son Tom finally got to tattoo his old dad as his dad had a subject worthy of the pain of the process...

It was the beginning of January and I turned up at his studio with my preferred image and he set to taking a photo in ink on skin. I've never had a tattoo before and when I tell people one of my lads is a tattooist they ask if I have tattoos. Well now I can say yes and show Leia off with pride. 

The process took a good five hours with a break... it started ok. Mildly uncomfortable but tolerable. Towards the end it was getting very uncomfortable, especially when he was doing the white over the black as it was needles on needles and some of the needles were several needles at a time ! However the more painful part of the day was listening to the German heavy metal at decent volume ALL day !!  

She's still healing but settling into her new place in my life very well. I know tattoos are not for everyone but I get the addiction and even more so when it's a special image for the carrier.

Saturday, 21 January 2023

All's still including us

We had a tentative plan to visit Percy this weekend for a few nights aboard. Family matters and another cold snap put paid to that little plan. We did still visit for the record and found a frozen marina and a frozen main line.... all is very much still around Great Haywood. 

You never fully know how your boat has fared over winter ( unless you live aboard) until you refill the water system and pressurise it and wait with fingers crossed for the pump to get to pressure ... and stop. Continued cycling gets you looking for the burst. I hope I'm not tempting fate here but we had a knackered water heater due to frost on Comet and a burst pipe on Waterlily due to the same. Time will tell....

Whilst marina living is easy it's not for us and we put the end of the year as a fate type date to see if any feelers for online moorings came up and nothing has. The plan B was to put Percy on brokerage  which we've not yet done but is looking increasingly likely if we don't get an offer of a mooring soon. Still very mixed emotions about it as going on board albeit briefly today reminded me how nice a boat we have and what great memories we have of being aboard at Fradey and Shebdon.

Fate.... she's Percy's mistress now !

Saturday, 31 December 2022

Christmas 2022 and a bucket list item sorted …..

It’s been a social month at the cottage. So for the record of past Christmas’s to reflect on hopefully in the future here are some pictures and words . 

We hosted our friends from America in mid December -  Charlotte and Dave. It was a lovely few days of catching up and general chatting and reminiscing. Planning for the future and missing loved ones. Sharing common hard family journeys with mutual support. 

A few days before Christmas I took my mum over to my next sister up from me Linda  ( I’ve four sisters who I love dearly ) 

Christmas Day was us and my youngest sister Trisha , nice to have some quieter chat and reflection time as well as a few card games.

Boxing Day was with the grandkids at their canal side cottage in Ilkeston on the Erewash canal.  More than likely the last time there as they are moving in the New Year. 

On the 27th we had 15 souls here and a dog as we hosted Rachel's family… she has three sisters and a brother. Food  and drink a plenty which was all consumed over much chat and laughter. 

Work for Rachel and Blood bike shift for me introduced a bit of normality before a visit to my mums on Saturday. 

Sunday will be another hosting of our smaller family but all the same it’ll be fun as there are the grandkids to play with. We don’t do big unwrapping presents, hampers of nice food and this year it’s our turn to book and pay for a holiday, so we are going back to Wales in July this year as Teddy is now at school. Aberystwyth…. Teddy’s list was a place with a hot tub, a place with a pool and in Wales….. we’ve somehow managed to accommodate all those requests so hopefully he’ll have a nice holiday. 

Into 2023 if this is my last post of 2022 will see an interesting first post …. I’m doing something I’ve never done before and it’s been in my bucket list for a loooog time !

Thursday, 29 December 2022

Missing Leia

We’ve recently had a Collie visitor at the cottage and I’ve seen a bit of my sisters two little companions of late. Each time it’s a real tug of the heart strings as it’s our first Christmas in many without Leia. It was bitter sweet to have a memory pop up of Leia charging around the woods near Standstead House on the south coast. It was 8 years ago I took her there no doubt while Rachel was working in between Christmas and the New Year at the QA in Portsmouth. 

She was so active loving her life in the South Downs and I was living back on the boat in winter 2016. She then got doggie heaven as we moved to the cottage and the lovely walks and woods from our back gate for the next 8 years which I’m pleased to reflect was for more than half of her life. 

Nothing lasts forever so enjoy it now and cherish it while it’s happening…. Don’t take anything for granted as at some point it won’t be there anymore. 

Here is the video - for my future reflection. 

Wednesday, 28 December 2022

Some boater say it's expensive living on a boat

All of the posts about the respective costs of living on a boat v's a house are very much based on personal circumstances and preferences. Marina v's online v's continuous cruising. 40 foot v's 70 foot. Single/couple/family.... they all impact, and that's before you  look geographically as well as if you like a 24c boat/house temperature or 18c.

I can say it IS categorically cheaper living on the boat 'v the cottage - notwithstanding we have both to pay for right now.  I base this purely on the fact we pay community charge and water rates that far outstrip the cost of mooring and boat license - even in a marina ! A few boaters have raised the unfairness of the energy rebate not been given to them, but they have not seen the steller rise in electric and gas - ok maybe a bit on Calor and coal but nothing like the standing charge rise and the unit cost rate rise homeowners have had to face - but if you are struggling or on limited income I get it hurts.

The reason for this post is we've just had our oil tank filled up. In the last three years our oil use has been pretty much the same 

This is the costs for the last 5 years  - columns are:


Total ordered

Total cost

Comparison on cost to previous year

Average cost per litre 

You can see what the pandemic did to oil costs - shame we didn't have a 5,000 litre storage container that year !

Of course this is just for heating and hot water - electric is another scary statistic. I'm not posting for sympathy, we could live in a much more insulated and sensible home but we love the cottage - but it comes at a cost. Posting to put living on a boat  - in my world into perspective.

But we are doing something about it - the Rayburn now does not run on oil rather 100% renewable electric, we have an induction hob and air fryer. Many boaters harvest the sun and wood. I do the latter if there is windfall wood on my walk it has been own to come home with me - I was burning some last night  - yes coal in not included in our running costs....  and I am beavering away on a self install house battery and solar system - that will run part of the house on cheap and free electric. 

We are doing our bit we could all do more but if everyone did their bit so much the better. For perspective Katie Price is in the papers saying she is spending £3,000 anonth on oil for her 19 room farmhouse  - and she's fighting bankruptcy (unsurprisingly). It does depress me sometimes the vast variation not only in wealth but attitudes to climate and the planet that wealth seems to trump. Again I'm no saint but even to have an awareness of waste has to be good ? 


Sunday, 25 December 2022

Trying for the boat

One of the nice things about the blog is the record of Christmas’s past. Our earlier Christmas’s  that pre dated blogging were big family affairs. I’m from a family of 5 kids and so it Rachel . In the past I’ve hosted a Christmas dinner for over 20….  Great memories.

As we age sadly we loose loved ones and it’s only at later gatherings or events such as Christmas you wish for one more hug, one more daft present and one more conversation. So now with the benefit of life lived you … or we should and do make the most of such events, helped greatly by photos and this year we hosted my sister and had a great Christmas dinner and played a few games afterwards. Relatively quite. Tomorrow it’s grandchildren time and that is the essence of Christmas for me kids. Wednesday Rachel has her facility here so that’ll be in excess of 15 to feed and entertain.

Then the NHS get the benefit of our focus with Rachel back to work in the community and me running a blood bike shift….

So if you have those loved ones still with you give them a hug 

We did have plans to get to the boat … maybe over the New Year even if it’s just a Cruise to Ingestre or Wolsey Bridge.