Thursday 24 October 2013

The gentleman thief

Those of you who read Narrowboatworld will have seen the recent story of the final death throws of Ownerships

Click Me 

We had a share in Narrowboat Sylph for a few years and had some great times on her. The principal for the scheme was sound, and seemed to work up until the point Allen Mathews ambition got in the way. We only really met him once at the annual owners meeting somewhere over in the West Midlands as I recall. He was a gentleman well spoken and very affable.

NB Sylph on the Tardebigge flight Feb 2008

The only thing that did not sit well with me was the way he attracted the sycophants, maybe a little harsh but there seemed a club around him and maybe it was this club that lost the most by investing in his ambitious but ultimately flawed or fictitious schemes to keep the money coming in to plug the holes left by the illegal use of others hard earned cash.

He died in 2010, maybe his blessing as the shame and fraud investigation would have sent him to jail for sure as others suffered - Ed Rimmer from Challenger ( what was it about shared schemes that attracted such dark endeavour?)

I have a personal thanks however that without Ownerships we would not have had the great holidays with family and friends we had, plus it set us onto a journey of our own now having owned three canal boats and having plans for retirement that see us out there on the network !!

So a chapter closes on an unfortunate life, a gentleman, a fraud and a thief, but also a conduit for a direction in life for more than just us.

Saturday 12 October 2013

Battern down the hatches

What is predicted

Get the coal in and the wood, empty the poo tank, get an extra cassette, fill the water tank..... it is predicted to get bad. They say a harsh winter follows a good harvest, we have had the good harvest and good summer now it appears we are about to pay for it !!

From the express pages......

Worst winter for decades: Record-breaking snow predicted for November

BRITAIN is braced for the "worst winter in decades" with the first major snowfall expected in weeks.

Snow-last-year-caused-havoc-on-Britain-s-roads-GETTY-Snow last year caused havoc on Britain's roads [GETTY]
Forecasters last night warned the entire country is set for a horror freeze which will bring brutal winds and fierce blizzards.
Temperatures have already started to plunge as a swathe of cold air from the Arctic has swept across the UK in the past few days.
The first long-range forecasts warn of "recordbreaking snowfall" next month.
Heavy wintry showers are expected to cause widespread chaos with below-average temperatures possibly lingering until February.
Long-range forecasters blamed the position of a fast-flowing band of air known as the jet stream near to Britain and high pressure for the extreme conditions. Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, said: 'We are looking at a potentially paralysing winter, the worst for decades, which could at times grind the nation to a halt.
'Persistent cold snaps with some very heavy snowfall are likely, and I would not be surprised if some records are not broken this year.
'The main issue will be the extreme cold which is showing signs of really bedding in, thanks to freezing winds from the north."
He blamed the 'poorly positioned" jet stream which is expected to be 'blocked" south of the UK, allowing a continual flow of freezing Arctic air.
James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, said it was likely to be the worst winter for more than 100 years.
He said: 'A horror winter scenario is likely to bring another big freeze with copious snow for many parts.
'There is also a high risk that we will experience a scenario similar to December 2010 or much worse at times, especially in January.
'This is likely to produce major disruption to public transport and school closures on a prolific scale."
He went on: 'The cold theme from the latter part of October is likely to continue into November - and for the vast majority of the month.
'November could turn out to be a record-breaking month. There is the potential for some significant falls of snow. The northern half is likely to experience the worst conditions.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Two nice videos of Percy

I took the opportunity to get a couple of videos while out on our recent trip.

We were ticking over approaching Colwich lock. Even so we ended up behind a few boats.

We were homeward bound through Great Haywood, a beautiful autumnal morning with much of the canal for our simple pleasure.

Possibly the best mooring....

Whenever we go away returning via the wooded section before Woodend lock is special. We are now moored here after a 6 hour run from above Hoo Mill lock. I really think this is one of my top five favourite moorings.

We stayed above Hoo  Mill lock for a couple of days, venturing into Uttoxeter via Hixon on Wednesday. It should have been Stafford but we misjudged the walk to Hixon and missed the Stafford bus ! The only problem with going to Uttoxeter was the last bus was not until 5pm and we were dropped in there at 2.15pm. We ended up getting a taxi back that whilst more money meant we did not have the walk from to the  A51 from Hixon.

Today the weather forecast was for rain at 2pm so we left at nine hoping to miss the rain, we took it in turns to breakfast, and make it most of the way back. It started raining at 1.30 so we can't really complain but it did rain heavy. The benefit of the trad is little of you gets wet or none of you if you use a brolly. I did get a little cold so the bath is being run... !!

It was a really misty bucolic morning, lovely autumn cruising, best time of the year. 

The Great Haywood water point was busy as usual. the nearest boat had untied ready to go but waited, I let them out in front, 

This boat belongs to Ian parrot who I used to know when in the print industry. I think he now works for the New and Used at Mercia. 

This bloke and his dog were videoing Percy, when he understands how to get videos onto the blog via Youtube you may even see it !!

The weather was closing in  Rugeley power station is in there somewhere. 

So I might get some fishing in if the rain stops, or I might just kick back and read with a dram or two. How you continuos cruisers do it i don't know !!

Wednesday 2 October 2013

That lock.....

After Woodend on the Trent and Mersey going north there is a long pound that culminates in Colwich lock. It is always a lottery as to the wait time based on the number of boats there from the long pound. It is not helped by the bridge 69 moorings that on departure is their first lock.

So yesterday we got going after waiting for a share boat to approach and pass. We were just short of bridge 69 and as I approached....

Diesel at 76p a litre was the attraction.

We manoeuvred through the departing and moored boats and as we approached the Woolsley bridge mooring a boat darted out in front of me.... now if I see a boat approaching I wait, but some do not, he did not look back at all ... says it all to me, but no problem we were out to enjoy.

I deliberately dropped to tickover knowing there would be at least two boats but there were five there...

Once again no problem, it certainly reinforces the fact you cannot and maybe should not plan each day down to the last lock mile !

It was a nice place to wait and to chat to other boater... interestingly the boater who nipped out did not catch my eye.

About 1 hour and 10 mins to get through the lock. We watered at an empty Great Haywood then departed for favourite waters north of Great Haywood not done for a couple of years.

Various phone and text messages saw us terminating well short of Stone at the winding hole up from Great Haywood after Hoo Mill lock, shame but needs must. We moored up on the 48 hour moorings near Hixon, a place we have stopped and enjoyed before, a little close to the road but it gets few walkers so nice and private.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Some days ....

... need to be recorded as they are small jewels in life, nothing fantastic but reminders how easy it is to get pleasure in this life. Some days you should reflect on what is takes to enjoy life and how simple it can all be.

Yesterday we headed off for a few days, destination Stone but we headed to Alrewas to wind first. The Fradley flight was managed by four volunteers all happy to be helping and passing on some wisdom to boaters however experienced !

We then boated off to Rugely for shopping, not giving Tesco the business. It cannot be good for Rugely to have such a retail vampire on its doorstep?

Into the late afternoon we completed this hop and moored between bridges 68 and 69, in one of the cut outs in the reeds we have passed many times before well before the huddle of boats opposite the pig farm. The trains have kept us company but we don't mind that it is the best was to move freight.

Last night the fire was lit, it got too warm too quickly but it was nice to have the fire aboard again.

Just a few pics of the journey and the mooring last night

An empty Fradley, it has a different character this time of year

The above are from last nights mooring

My lads brought me a nice 15 year old single malt for my birthday. A big sorrow for me is that my dad never saw any of my boats, he liked fishing and drinking so would have been at home aboard. I always have a whiskey with him when aboard, cheers dad.

Today after the engine checks it is is a 12 mile and 6 lock cruise to Stone where we will pick up Rachel's mum tomorrow.

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