Sunday 27 December 2015

Early New Years resolution ...

.... sacking Facebook off. I would not wish to denigrate those who gain benefit or succor from this piece of social media, for me it has run its course.

I will maintain my blog as it is for me and is sought by those who may have an interest in our boat or those other bits of diary life I choose to record for me to refer back to or reflect on ... as I will do when I write my reflections on a blogging year later this month.

The time previously spend scrolling through Facebook "content" will be used more productively.

Nothing more to say really.

Monday 21 December 2015

Sod Christmas, the 21st December is the real date to celebrate

....for those that suffer SAD syndrome the 21st December signals the shortest day so from tomorrow onwards it gets lighter earlier and later, the days get longer the sun is warmer I am better looking and all is good in the world.

Well ok, not quite such a joyous day but for those that see the approach of Christmas as the dive into shorter darker days and longer wet cold nights today stops it all and we get the reverse effect, however slow it may be it is a fact there will be more light and promise of dry towpaths and warm dry tarmac (for the bike).

Friday 18 December 2015

Where the boaters go in winter

I wanted to make a  note of this as I am intrigued by the concept of moving away from the dark and damp of the lead up to Christmas. November is my worst month. It has nothing to commend it. Long dark nights, dark mornings and wet weather.

Reading Paul and El's blog is quite inspiring. They have moved from Australia, brought a boat, sold it and brought a motorhome, sold it rented a cottage, got rid brought another motorhome now they have settled for the time being in a place called Mojacar..... they sell it well and it seems narrow boaters use it as an overwinter location.

When you consider you can get an apartment for £300 per month why would you not consider it??

Paul's sales brochure is here Click me 

Come the time for us it would be something to think about. In fact I am tempted to have a little looksy next year ... we are trying to find a place to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary that was impacted by work stuff. In fact 2015 will be the year of 'impact by work stuff.... lesson there?

Sunday 13 December 2015

A Christmas present for Percy

A man cannot have too many spanners in my opinion. Especially when that man has a large narrowboat and a large motorcycle. I have a selection of spanners already aboard Percy but not the range I wanted so Screwfix Santa delivered these earlier today.

Metric and imperial ring and open ended, ring and ring combination and open ended.... a spanner heaven. 6mm to 25mm 1/4 inch to a full inch a spannerist delight.

A wrench (also called a spanner) is a tool used to provide grip and mechanical advantage in applying torque to turn objects—usually rotary fasteners, such as nuts and bolts—or keep them from turning.

Not sure I like the term wrench, prefer spanner for tool terminology. 'He spannered her from her lovers arms' does not really work, so lets leave wrenched to the novels and keep spanners in the garage or engine room.

Now I have these the only downside is I might have to move some ballast as the roll of wrenches spanners is quite heavy.

Thursday 10 December 2015

Blogger boredom

I am getting a nosebleed.....

It is a sure sign all those boats are tucked away and there is very little cruising going on. It is so bad you are reading my drivel and I am as high in these charts as I have ever been. Where is Halfie when you need him?

It'll be short lived as the real cruising boaters will re appear soon and start entertaining us all with the real stuff around cruising canals and toilet choices.

Update - very slow weekend in Blogland 13 Dec everyone is hunkered down in the wet weather  (apart from those Manley Ferry travellers) and trying to find blog  content  !

Wednesday 9 December 2015

C&RT freedom of Information request.... interesting

I made a FOI to C&RT and they gave me a wrong answer

Click here 

They have subsequently updated the request having no doubt found my complaint. It does make me wonder if I had not been pursuing my complaint they would have just provided me with the fob off...? I have made other FOI's and have a few more to make to get the information I need in order to support my complaint with C&RT.

It bothers me I am taking their time up but I pay a lot of money each year to C&RT and I feel they need to understand what a customer looks like and more importantly how to engage with their customers. So I see this as a painful (for me) improvement exercise (for them).

I have faith in their processes and therefore am holding back on the full detail in order to give C&RT the time to review their approach and more importantly re-read their mooring agreement and understand their responsibilities. Hopefully this will be for the benefit of all C&RT customers !

For my record I have put the link to the agreement here Click me

Tuesday 8 December 2015

C&RT Complaint - escalation

This relates to this issue - click me

Well if you thought you were safe on the waterways think again. From my dealings to date with C&RT over the selection of competent contractors and the management of those same contractors - they are woefully and shockingly NOT IN CONTROL of their contractors. This extends to them not even knowing how many complaints they have received in relation to the work Fountains undertake.

My complaint is now at stage 2  - C&RT having accepted  blame but passing it to their contractors and passing me to their contractors as well, quality customer services - this is not how it should be done.

They have a responsibility to engage competent contractors and have knowledge of their contractors - they do not. How can they guarantee safety of users if they have such an ignorant approach to what their contractors are doing......??

It gets better. You will have seen the lock volunteers, well C&RT are considering asking volunteers to clerk the works of some of their contractors - yep they are that ignorant of their responsibilities.

I have been patient and will still work with C&RT but I have such doubt over their ability to manage I have made enquiries for a marina berth such is my lack of trust over how they might manage me and my boats safety while on their linear moorings.

I'll update more as I progress to stage 2 but for now, not impressed.

Monday 7 December 2015

Staying multifuel rather than oil.... for now why??

I have asked on a couple of occasions for advice on replacing my Squirrel multi-fueled back burner for an oil burner.... mainly for dust/allergy issues Rachel suffers from.

I received the manual for the corner bubble from Hepworth heating today after I sent an enquiry on the layout of the back boiler in and outs.

It is a good manual. There is an excellent section on chimneys and the impacts on performance which is an eye opener and put me off, and that is before consideration of performance using the non pumped back boiler I have now. No bends, double skinned, 28 inch chimbleys to note a few bits of performance advice

It just made me feel;-

  1. There would be a risk after the install it would not perform as well as the stove I have now
  2. There is more to go wrong with it
  3. I can find stuff to burn in an emergency (run out of money, need to dispose of a body etc) I have so far never cruised past a discarded jerry can of diesel!
  4. I could find better things to spend £2,000 on (price I estimate to replace with a new Lockgate diesel stove)
  5. Sue, Bruce, Les & Jaq, Geoff & Mags, Mandy plus many more on the right who live aboard and are the real experts can't be wrong ;-) Those on the right who are oilies please do not be offended!
In defence oil it is cleaner and may - may resolve the allergy issue. Plus I would not wish to put anyone off buying one - Hepworths seem a decent company as do Lockgate.

So for now I will use the little portable Dyson and be a cleaner boater, but I reserve the right to change my mind and be a dithering idiot - I am getting better at that the older I get !

Next post an update on C&RT response to my complaint about their contractors. 

Sunday 6 December 2015

Is it just me...?

Sitting here watching BBC Countryfile and they are telling us of a new 500 mile route NC500  - Taking in the 'Pass of the Cattle'... the 'Applecross pass' 2,000 feet up in the clouds over 6 miles  - why am I going to work tomorrow when there are such challenging things to do and see...

There is LEGOG, Lands End to John O'Groats, the West Highland way, the Pennine way ... so much to do so little time

Have you ever been to the 'Rest and be Thankful' ?

Then there is the 2000 miles of beautiful canals that needs traversing.

Going to work is going to be hard tomorrow !

Thursday 3 December 2015

Narrowboat nightmare

I have dreamt about it and I am sure most owner have done so to. That is their boat going on its own journey. Closest we have come was when someone loosened off the ropes from Waterlily when we had her and a kind boater re-tied her. I knew it has happened as the knot holding her was not my type of knot. On a canal it is not so bad, on a flooded river it is an altogether different risk/outcome

This popped up on one of the Facebook canal groups

Click Me....

The above is a screen clip from the video - showing the fire officers catching the boat and getting it back to bank.

I have a worry about rivers. Only ever having done the Trent at Alrewas and the Churnet on the Caldon. I will do more and I know Percy has been to Sea across the Wash so no reason not to, apart from my confidence !

I did call over to check on Percy the other day, I have a good neighbour who keeps an eye on Percy whilst I am away from her. This time last year it was not such an issue as I was living aboard. Thankfully all was well and the auto greaser was keeping the bilge tin dry. She was just sitting waiting patiently to go travelling !