Sunday, 14 December 2014

Quiet weekend before the festivities start

Quick weekend on the boat before the Xmas season!

Very cold in the marina as these photos show. Nice and warm on board with the stove though!

Friday, 31 October 2014

Avoiding Halloween!

Engines: 0h Locks:0 Miles:0

Retreated to boat to avoid kid's Hallowe'en Party.

We're not in the USA... Grumble, grumble....

Friday, 24 October 2014

Ellesmere And Whitchurch

This was a week long trip along the Llangollen Canal from Swanley Bridge Marina to Ellesmere and Whitchurch.

Highlights included 
  • a distinct swell on the straight bit of canal near Whitchurch due to a strong sustained wind
  • picking up a plastic bag in the prop going through one of the lift-bridges on the Prees Branch
  • catching the opening night of a production by the Whitchurch Little Theatre group of an Alan Ayckbourn play "Snake in the Grass". Just happened to notice a poster in town, realised that it opened that night and grabbed tickets from one of the shops. Excellent production.
  • realising at the end of the trip that we hadn't actually eaten out at any of the pubs. Had a few pints but ate on-board. Makes for quite an affordable trip!
We liked Whitchurch more than Ellesmere. 

The basin at Ellesmere seemed a little unsafe with a group of youths hanging around on benches at the end...



Sunday, 21 September 2014

Replaced decking tiles in cratch area

The deck tiles in the cratch area were very tired and attracting rust under them so replaced them with some new ones to match those on the stern deck.



Monday, 7 July 2014

Little trip to Nantwich and Audlem Day 1

With a busy summer ahead I (Andrew) was keen to try and get a few days on the boat before we go to France. Alison busy with the first of the two singing courses which she organises each July. Came across on Sunday evening;apparently just missing a big hailstorm judging by the pile of hailstones that I drove by a few miles from the marina!

Had a bit of a tidy up in the cratch area. The anchor is now tucked away much more tidily and the water hose is neatly stowed in the pointy bit.

Monday's weather started off beautiful!

Tried to boil the kettle for breakfast to find the gas completely dead... Slight delay to departure since I needed to wait till 9am until the office opened and I could get a replacement.
Got under way about 9:30 and turned left for Hurleston locks. Very pleased to find a volunteer lock keeper hard at work!

Weather deteriorated as the morning went on. At one point had to pause to nip inside to fetch my waterproof...

Moorings at Nantwich were quite busy. Typical since I was quite keen to get moored up as it was by now (12ish) tipping down...

Got moored up about 400 metres beyond the aqueduct. According to the log of our trip with Cheshire Cat, we moored in much the same place then!

Lunch of bean salad and instant pasta. Weather soon improved so headed into Nantwich for some shopping. Got some self adhesive velcro to stabilise the pictures on the walls of the boat and some food from Morrisons.

Back to the boat to unpack. Then did some sanding of various rusty bits. It's going to be a long job...

Nice shower using the hot water produced during the trip here. Now settled down with a glass of Merlot, some cashews and my Kindle.

Very nice relaxing day. Just what boating should be!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Short trip to Wrenbury Day 3

Engine: 5h Locks:5 Miles:4

Reasonably early start in view of needing to tackle lift bridges before winding and heading back to base.

Bridge 19 was, as anticipated, a bit challenging. Getting ashore was OK but feeding the boat through the open bridge then holding her while closing it again was fiddly...

Luckily Wrenbury Mill Basin was fairly empty so was able to turn there before the road lift bridge.

Got behind another boat whose crew therefore worked Bridge 19 on the return passage. Also helped through Baddiley locks. I did some single handed operation. Not too bad on these narrow locks but must be more challenging on wide ones!

Paused between bridges 12 and 11 for coffee and to update log. Back to marina about 12.30. Stiff breeze made tying up to service point a little interesting. Successfully managed to empty the toilet cassette!

Back to mooring and tied up by 13:00. After lunch cut ventilation holes in the dinette lockers and screwed on brass louvre plates. Looks quite smart and should improve ventilation in these lockers.

Loaded car and away by about 16:30 just ahead of a torrential downpour. Home about 17:45.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Short trip to Wrenbury Day 2

Engines: 2h Locks:0 Miles:0

Very wet start to the day. Good job that no travelling planned for today; instead revising for Cisco CCNA Instructor training and possibly some inside jobs.

Some thunder and lightning along with heavy rain.

Revised all morning. Weather very dark outside and plenty of rain. After lunch, got on with some DIY jobs. New roller blinds in galley and bathroom and cut pieces of gutter pipe as supports for the roof box cover to try and limit the amount of water gathering there.

Ran the engine for a while to heat some water and charge the batteries.

Around 16:00 the sun came out so planning to walk the half-mile or so to Wrenbury to check out the pubs and lift bridges ready for turning round for the return journey tomorrow.

Recce went well. The lift bridges look challenging as both are operated from the non-towpath side. There's a very small area where I should be able to get the nose in while lifting the bridge.

Also located the shop in Wrenbury about 0.5km from Wrenbury Mill. Deceptively big inside; fairly pricey...

Then, purely in the spirit of research, checked out both pubs! Dusty Miller has the better location by the canal but feels a bit "corporate". Cotton Arms has a bit more atmosphere. This weekend they were hosting the Elvis-fest in their camping field. Both serve a decent pint!

Back to boat for dinner and a read; Lord of the Rings on tablet Kindle app. More heavy rain in the night.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Short trip to Wrenbury Day 1

Engines 3hrs 15m Locks:5 Miles:4

Andrew's first solo trip! Left work at 12:00 and travelled straight to Nantwich to check out Morrisons. Stocked up with lots of salad, grapes and a pizza.

Short journey from there to the marina and unloaded the car. Engine started and ready for off around 14:30. Little bit tricky reversing out of the mooring with a bit of a breeze to make it challenging. Didn't hit anything!

Turned right out of the marina heading for Wrenbury. Fairly busy. Followed a hire boat nearing the end of their week's holiday so doing OK.

Followed by another boat whose crew member came to help with the locks. Was initially quite grateful as had not single-handed through locks before. Thought he was a live-aboard but apparently not as become apparent when he tried to fill one lock with one of the downhill paddles open. Then later turned a lock in full view of an oncoming boat!

I tried to explain why this was a bad idea but was ignored. Apparently the oncoming boater explained things a little more clearly (!) as the crew member was looking rather sheepish when I met him later. Lesson learned I guess! They are on their way to an Elvis-fest at one of the pubs in Wrenbury this weekend.

Through the two Swanley locks and the Baddiley 3 locks by around 17:30.

Moored around 17:45 in a quiet spot between bridges 17 and 18 just round the corner after bridge 17. Couldn't get right into the bank but seems secure enough with 2 piling hooks and a pin.

Cleaned the gas burners on the stove and then got the oven lit for pizza which cooked while I tried out the shower. Fairly cramped but works fine including the waste water pumper.

Very nice pizza accompanied by can of Old Speckled Hen followed by coffee and small chocolate bar.

May have solved problem where the ice box in the fridge was getting very iced up. A sensor which should have been attached to the bottom of the ice box was hanging loose. Have reattached it and will see if it works...

Once phone is charged will try for a photo of this idyllic mooring.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Moved boat to her new mooring

Engines 5hrs 30m Locks:5 Miles:6

The great day of departure dawned bright and sunny soon becoming hot.

A few jobs to start then at 11:00 joined the queue for Cholmondeston Lock.

Fair number of moored boats on the Middlewich Arm meant a slow trip - no problem as in no great hurry.

At Barbridge Junction waited for two narrowboats each towing full length buttys - on their way to Chester Boat Festival next weekend.

In the narrows at Barbridge (site of over-canal trans-shipment) found a very shiny trad style waiting for something... Tight squeeze but got through without much bumping.

Moored up for light lunch - ham and salad sandwich, coffee and muffins. Then Alison's turn at the till as Andrew worked the Hurleston locks before walking back to Barbridge to collect the car to meet the boat at Swanley Bridge Marina. A truly cunning plan!

All worked out un-eventfully and our arrivals at the Marina were simultaneous!

The necessary paperwork was soon completed in the office. Andrew moved the car round to the moorer's area while Alison moved "Mind Like Water" to he new home: 15 Lily's Landing.

Our new neighbour was busy polishing his already immaculate boat so entry really needed to be reasonable: fortunately was fine if a little tentative. Neighbour pulled us forward the last couple of feet as we ran out of momentum.

Engines off at 17:00. Sausage and veg with passata and pasta for dinner. Cleared out the fridge and disembarked at around 20:00.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Gave the boat her new name

Engine: 1hr 20m Locks:0 Miles:0

Up at 08:00. Discovered shore facilities.

Renamed the boat from "Mrs D" to her new name of "Mind Like Water" using vinyl signs which work well. Ran the engine for a while to top up the batteries.

Took the car to do some shopping. First stop, Kings Lock Chandlery followed by fish and chips from the Kings Lock chippy. Next to Morrisons at Middlewich for groceries and finally B&Q at Crewe.

Back to the marina, Andrew to work and Alison to nap (post-pneumonia recovery).

Then took Andrew's car to Barbridge to leave overnight as part of the boat move plan.

Had a pint or two at the Barbridge Inn which was much busier than the previous day then walked back to Venetian Marina.

Early night full of chips and beer...

Friday, 30 May 2014

Moved boat for the first time

Engine: 2 hrs Locks:0 Miles: 0

Moved all of 100 yards!

The post-survey works are now complete and we will be moving the boat to her new home at Swanley Bridge Marina as soon as her new CRT licence becomes active on 1st June.

We arrived at Venetian Marina about 15:00. Had to immediately move the boat from the service bay to a temporary mooring. Bit nerve racking but accomplished without incident.

Ran the engine for a couple of hours to top up the batteries and for hot water. Did a few miscellaneous jobs and prepared meatballs and pasta for dinner.

Then had a pleasant walk along the cut to Barbridge Inn which was surprisingly quiet for a Friday.

Passed nb Rebecca which belongs to friends of Alison. They were due on-board this weekend but did not arrive till gone 22:00 and then cruised the other way to Middlewich for the weekend; not returning till Monday. Will doubtless see them another time.

Back on board by 22:00 and in bed soon after.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Bought our own boat!

Buying our own narrowboat had long been a dream for our retirement.

However 2014 brought a variety of challenges including serious health problems involving weeks of hospital. Thankfully that had a happy outcome but it does focus the mind...

So we made a decision to start looking seriously at narrowboats with a view to getting something sooner rather than later.

We had envisaged months of web browsing and trips around the country looking at potential purchases. However it didn't quite work out like that...

We had both independently seen a boat called "Mrs D" on sale at Venetian Marina but it was a bit more than we wanted to pay.

Then at the end of April, Venetian Marina held an Open Day...

"Mrs D" was not only still for sale but... reduced in price for the Open Day!

Well, we got the keys and had a look at the boat, then a look at each other. From that moment it was pretty much a done deal. A few minor details like the survey and sorting out the finance, insurance, licence, mooring etc. but by mid-May we had bought ourselves a boat!

She has everything we need to get started on this new adventure from pots and pans to life-jackets and an axe for chopping wood.

She is a 35ft cruiser stern with an open plan layout inside. No fixed beds but the dinette converts to a double bed and one of the benches converts to a single bed.

There are a few minor works to be done before we take possession which is planned for end of May with our CRT licence starting 1st June. Can't wait!