Percy is in disgrace bobbing around in her new home Great Haywood marina waiting for a visit from her engine reverse birth partner Paul Redshaw ( Tony was also present when Percy had the lister installed as opposed to removed in a normal birth - what a waste of typing that all was !) So the visit to Grindley brook staircase on two wheels. For the diary is was a long way round 160 mile mild day of biking. Phone repair at Timpsons Asda somewhere in Newcastle Under Lyme, then some browsing not purchasing motorcycle gloves then bacon at the staircase.
Saturday, 30 October 2021
Monday, 25 October 2021
So the sweet ... We are grandparents again as Benjamin Wells arrived safely into the loving Wells family of Tom Courtney and Teddy 14th October 9.43am Always a relief ( I always shed a tear of happiness, this time luckily no one witnessed my weeping as it was done on a walk along the edge of my valley)
I'm so proud of them all.
Then last week my youngest son and his fiance left London and their lovely two bed apartment in Greenwich to seek new challenged in the frozen north - well Buxton for now. They arrived for an overnighter with us in the cottage with a large van one of our neighbours let park on his 'yard'. Loaded said goodbye to the London life and drove 4 hours to us - an emotional and tiring day.
Next day Wed 20th October I followed the convoy of Van and car to a very upmarket Buxton postcode right next to the new Crescent hotel and overlooking the Buxton Opera house. We unloaded and set up home.
Now the bitter(ish) I took advantage of the fact Callum had the large van and the next day he picked me up and we went to Shebdon and cleared the mooring ( Canoe gardening tools chiminea etc ) It was hard to arrive and see the mooring in its finest, sunny, boats moving, people pottering. We emptied the shed and moved twice plastic storage shed and walked it down to Mandy who gave it a good new home.
The new tenant had taken a liberty of dropping a load of slabs ready to remove some of the grass I suppose plus cut back some of the vegetation that meant I didn't have to worry about emptying the compost heap we had filled. In some ways he had done me a favor as it really did not feel like out mooring as he'd 'taken over'. So we drove off and I didn't look back....
Very sad but .....
.... I visited the boat a few days later to basically check it and collect some stuff. All was ok. I'd brought a 25 meter hook up. Where we are in the marina is right at the back in the corner and the marina actually is very shallow at the back so reversing in means the rudder gets locked and there could be a risk of it being lifted out of the skeg cup. To be fair Julie and Tony offered me two alternative mooring but where we are is quiet and there is only one pontoon I'd prefer which is right opposite the entrance where we can see boats moving.... if we stay I'll see what it taked to get one of those moorings.
Anyhow the umbilical cord connected I switched the changeover switch to generator ( I will need to change that label to 'hook up' ) then switched the battery charger on and ..... no lights on my newly installed Galvanic isolator - how ironic, remember this post - click me It was me telling you I'd installed a piece of electrical equipment I didn't need !! Batteries being charged and lights all quietly being fed mains electricity for the first time in our ownership
Thursday, 14 October 2021
Monday, 11 October 2021
It'll be a solo run back over 4 days all being well. It might be a non starter due to my poor resourcing. I fitted the last Greasomatic see here Click Me September last year and didn't order more. I have ordered three now for the future and they should be delivered tomorrow so plan B is moor up somewhere and keep an eye on the bilge. I'm sure it will be fine as the existing one has 20% grease left.
Finished the gloss black on the rear rubbing strake today .... not my best work but lessons learnt for next time. I had to start early and go back ( benefit of using Stone ) to fit the three rear fenders after the paint had dried as tomorrow it'll be us arrive 8.15 dock flooded 8.45 ( could be earlier). Rachel is taking me down but only locking me through the two Stone locks as she has commitments this week - and we have a imminent arrival of a grandson so we need the boat back asap and to be around to help as and when. Plus other son is moving back from London so one or both of us are needed Saturday to help a partial move.
A footnote .... the facilities and staff at Stone boat yard are very good. They are busy which is good, shame they could not fit me in for a bit of gas work needed ( not critical) but the insurance surveyor picked up the gas regulator and pig tail were old and could do with replacing. Might have to see what Norbury will charge. If we decide to self black the boat again we will be back here for sure.
Sunday, 10 October 2021
Today was a success of sorts. A second coat on the tunnel bands and a second coat of blacking. The result was the masks, not nice to work in but removed the smell of the blacking completely. So no sickness or dizziness that lasted two days so I recon I really did poison myself ! Lesson learnt
Saturday, 9 October 2021
I’m my own worse enemy. I set myself targets and as I get older they seem harder to attain. Anyway, Thursday at 8am I was on the boat ready to go into the dock. 8.45 am and the lads lifted the first stop plank to fill the dock and quickly we were pulling Percy into the dock.
I drank coffee while the boat was jet washed then the surveyor arrived and set to for the insurance survey. It was more comprehensive than I was expecting ( advised there was no issues preventing me getting insurance plus plenty of good advice for the future) the time taken put me back so I was only able to scrape and wire brush one side before my time ran out and I headed home for a bath and bed.
Friday was a tough day…. I arrive and set to scraping and wire brushings the other side then cracked open the blacking and spent the next five and a half hours blacking both sides. Thankfully Rachel arrived half way and set to with brush and roller.
I overdid it with no break and by 5pm was feeling quite sick from the constant exposure to the stinky blacking. Still we got to where we needed to be as today, Saturday we wanted to leave the first coat to cure and did the tunnel bands.
Tomorrow ( suitably masked up) we are both back in the dock to give the boat a second coat plus a second coat to the tunnel bands
Monday is curing day and some gloss black touch up plus a general tidy up ready for refloating on Tuesday at 9am. I’ll have to get there early on Tuesday to put the fenders back on and then homeward bound…. More on that later.
Thursday, 7 October 2021
October 2021 was scheduled for a leisurely cruise to get the boat blacked and hull surveyed in Stone. Combining a nice cruise to a location we can work on the boat while going home to a hot bath and comfy bed each night. Better than being in the Bonded warehouse in Stourbridge on my own as was the case just over two years ago.... see here and a few pics below
The blacking and trip to Stone were planned and booked Christmas 2020 - 29th December 2020 to be precise.
Spin forward to October 2021 and a few things have added to the planning ...... another grandson and youngest so moving out of the smoke having made his money coming back for quality of life now. Also Rachels workload at the University is daunting as well as pressure from the NHS to help out/return .... So our planning and booking in 2020 has been impacted in 2021.
So as you will have seen on my other posts we (I) should be in the dock on Thursday morning. This one will come out Thursday and my progress on surveys and blacking as well as a few other little jobs will be details for my care home reading down the line.
Wednesday, 6 October 2021
A bit all over the place is my blogging at the moment but here goes an update……
Yesterday 4th October we dropped a car off at Aston Marina and drove to Great Haywood Marina to pay for another four nights we’d used and head off for a rendezvous with a dry dock on Thursday morning.
Due to needing to be local (home) in case we are needed for parenting/Grand parenting we are home for a night then I’m back on board to take Percy for its appointment with the dry dock.
We had been watching the ever changing weather forecast and true to form by the time we’d paid, shopped and oiled the donk it started to rain…. But I was committed so we slipped the ropes and headed north for an overnight in the country.
On approach to Hoo Mill lock there was a boat seemingly moored on the landing with a full lock ( water firing through the bottom gates high up) and no one about. As they heard the engine they appeared with cups of tea/coffee and the fella walked up and started emptying the lock. As the gates opened his crew stood on the rear waiting for the fella to come back and take the boat in. All the while we were hovering as they had moored on the first bollards.
I moored up and went to see what was happening and a boat coming the other way was locking him up. Only when the boat came up did she see three crew inside watching her work in the rain ! It was a hire boat and only just picked up but there seems to be only one person on board wanting to get involved (skipper the boat)
Skip to Weston lock and this time they were in the lock as we passed a boat moored at the end of the Armco ( not on the lock moorings). We moored up and I went to see the score and again only one crew on the boat but a fella working the lock who I assumed was their crew. As they left they said thanks and I said hop on I’ll close the gates…. He said no I’m not with them. I said is your boat on its way and he said no he was on the boat moored below ( not on the lock landing) and was going to fetch his boat now ! So I signalled to Rachel to hold as she was untying to come in….. he then said it’s ok we are not in a hurry so I then signalled to Rachel to come in…. Another boat came to the lock landing again passing his boat… I presume there was a conversation as no one came up to help us lock up but we were glad to see the back of the lock !
We had planned a overnight stop around Burston and just as we were pulling in a flock of geese flew over and BOOM someone the other side of the hedge led off a massive shotgun blast and took one of the geese straight out of the air…. The flock circled round and again boom, this time one shot took three geese out of the air, god knows what size shotgun he was using but it was sooo loud and obviously very powerful. We thanked him for the scare ( no response) then headed further down the canal away from the murdering of geese !
This morning (5th) after a night of heavy rain we set to to get into Aston Marina. 18-20 mph winds blowing straight down the Marina took us sideways as we tried to turn onto a berth we could not easily identify. We ended up pinned to the pontoons sideways and Rachel had to walk the gunnels dodge the goose poo on the pontoon to hold a bow rope while I slowly edged Percy into A25.
Another boat tried to reverse on and failed so had to pirouette to get his nose into the wind and held there for 5 minutes unto a lull in the wind then did get on in reverse. I’ll be going out backwards single handing tomorrow…. The wind is due to settle a bit so I may be holding waiting for that same lull. I know why I don't like marinas …. Had the same at Mercia a few years ago…. They are so unprotected from winds that make them a skating ring for boats
The pontoons here are much narrower than Great Haywood and in poor condition. Covered in goose poo as well. The bigger issue for anyone moored here is the amount of diesel in the water…. it’ll be dissolving the blacking of the boats for sure !
Its hammering down so we waited to do the car shuffle and empty the cassette….. back tomorrow for the trip up three locks to overnight outside the dry dock. The adventure ( part 2 ) has begun.
Leia was straight in front of the stove that kept us toasty warm on a windy rainy night
Tuesday, 5 October 2021
When we traveled from Shebdon to Great Haywood I recalled three of the four locks from Penkridge only had one top paddle working…. With leaky bottom gates they took and age to fill and we commented at the time they were taking a risk …. That risk has been realised with Shutt Hill lock being closed as both top paddle rods have now snapped.
Inevitable and C&RT should be ashamed of the state of this section of locks.
I hope they get their act together as I need to be using that lock I suspect Wednesday next week or I'm going to have to go thru the tunnel and over the top which on my own would be a real marathon.
Staffordshire & Worcestershire Cnl
Location: Lock 41 Shutt Hill Lock, Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal
Starts At: Lock 41 Shutt Hill Lock
Ends At: Lock 41 Shutt Hill Lock
Up Stream Winding Hole: Above Gailey Lock
Down Stream Winding Hole: Moat House Winding Hole
Tuesday 5 October 2021 12:00 until further notice
Type: Navigation Closure
Shutt Hill Lock is closed until further notice due to both paddle rods have snapped. Please bear with us when our teams assess damages and work on repairing this lock.
You can view this notice and its map online here:
You can find all notices at the url below:
Monday, 4 October 2021
Sad but happy times last week as we finally got the opportunity, thanks to a great deal of hard work and planning from Rachel, to come together and celebrate the life of her late mum and my favourite mother in law Christine.
Christine sadly died March last year and her funeral was right in the start of the first and most rigorous lock down in April. So tight and nervous were the 'rules' only direct family was allowed - children and her siblings. I was granted special permission ( from who I don' t know) to be there to live stream the events which thankfully went ok.
So we finally met at a local venue and came together with Christine's brother and sister and their families as well as special long standing friends plus most of the extended family to chat reflect laugh and maybe a few tears to remember a very special strong independent lady.
It was a special and lovely occasion