Monday, November 28, 2005

Ice and snow

Christmas is fast approaching and we are busy making and sending cards to friends and family. Some pictures taken down south on the Grand Union at Cowley when it was cold and frosty were used. We stopped a few days with Sue n Vic on No Problem at Baskerville, four and a half miles in to the Ashby Canal. Then NB At Last stopped by and John & Militza joined us and Sue on Moore 2 Life for coffee. Several boats had passed breaking up the ice as they went. The facilities provided by British Waterways on this canal are few and far between. Rubbish disposal is going to be a problem. We have had to dispose of it in the towns litter bins. The large Marina has started charging for disposal of waste material of any kind. We moved on a few miles to Hinckley to collect our post and send off most of our cards. It had been a bright warm day till then. It started to snow lightly but as we continued past the marina the sky turned very grey and it snowed so hard that the roof got covered. We could not stop because there were so many boats moored outside the marina. Eventually stopped on a bend before bridge 19. Took a while to warm up inside drying off coats, gloves and hats. Hope to get pictures in the morning as it was too dull this afternoon when we stopped.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Wintery days & the Ashby

We were able then to get on up to the end of the Oxford Canal and on to the Coventry. Heading north to meet up with Sue n Vic again who are now heading south. The plan is to meet at Heartshill. Both arrived within an hour of each other. The night time temperature dropped below zero and on the fourth day the canal water went smooth with ice. It had been quite mild until then, so warm in fact that one pair of ducks had produced 10 chicks. They were eventually abandoned so the lock keeper at Atherstone kept the surviving 8 in his bath. "How do you look after them in such an un natural environment".

We always have to be prepared for occasions when we cannot move. Water topped up, diesel in the tank, gas bottles replaced when empty and food in the cupboards. Never go past facilities without using them. It was back in the late 1960's that the canal trade was finally stopped by a long hard winter. We wait to see if this is to be the start of another.

Turned the boat round and after a few days in the ice we both move back south. Filled up with diesel at Springwood Haven and moved down through Nuneaton. Yet another car had been tipped into the canal! Got past that and all the other rubbish to stop at a rather exposed spot by Gipsy Bridge and waited for a TESCO delivery. Access between road and canal here was far from ideal. Used our own trolleys to transport the goods to the boat on a cold wintry morning.

Springwood Haven

Twenty two miles with no locks. Turned left into the entrance to the Ashby canal under the bridge and through the disused lock trying not to hit the sides. A bit surprised to find thin broken ice in our path. Two boats passed us to leave the canal which indicated that the canal was not yet frozen solid. It is here that we all intend to spend the winter months.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Power Plus

I thanked Beta for replacing my failed alternator.  It was replaced 'as goodwill'.  They suggested that the only causes of failure are 'shorting the output' or 'using a battery management system'.  I have pointed out that a 'Beta Controller' was fitted.  Their advertisement claims "Fast and efficient domestic battery charging with our 'Beta Controller' option.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Three Bloggers Meet

Moore 2 Life and No Problem met at Hartshill. Then Andrew of Granny Buttons called to see us. We all chatted face to face on M 2 L. The wonders of information technology bringing people together. 

Sue Andrew Chas

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Power Loss

We all take it for granted when it is always there. Power that is. Run the engine each day and there it is stored in those batteries for use in the evenings. The warning buzzer sounded in the evening. Quick rush to switch off the engine. The red light indicated that the alternator had suddenly failed. That thing on the engine which generates the electrical power. Lifted the board to let smoke out! Run the engine again to see sparks inside the alternator!

Don't like things like that going wrong, it's a threat to our boating life. We felt vulnerable even though we were only 4 miles from the nearest boat yard. Good job we were not in mid ocean! We had caught up with Terry & Myra again and Terry came round for moral support. Myra also came round to keep warm. It was Sunday evening so no point ringing for help. However our son Chris gave some advice on the phone. Terry agreed and also suggested how to charge the batteries using our start battery alternator. Yes, thankfully we have two alternators. There was enough charge in the batteries to last the evening but we had to limit ourselves to one light and no TV to ensure that the fridge kept going! It was a particularly cold night and time slowed down.

The next day after an unsettled night we set about rearranging the battery wiring and removed the drive belt from the dead alternator. This enabled the engine to be run without the sparks! A call for help to Rose Narrow Boats was answered. "Yes we can help, when you get here ask for Wayne." An hour later we were there and the alternator was removed for inspection. Our friends Terry & Myra on 'Juno' had set course for home. Wayne told us that the stator insulation had failed. He rang Beta for a replacement and they agreed to replace it as the alternator was less than 2 years old. Another long night with one light as the electrician had gone home without providing us with land line power.

Woke in the morning to find the fridge still going despite the low charge state of the batteries. We moved the boat back to a power point which was now available. Plugged in and charged the batteries for a few hours. The new alternator arrived and Wayne fitted and tested it. Then gave some valuable advice on how to charge batteries correctly. Its better to run the engine in the morning for at least 3 to 4 hours in order to fully charge the batteries. Then there is no need to run it again in the evening. It is no good running for short periods of time during the day.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Lights in the tunnel

We had seen the lights installed in Newbold tunnel some time ago and wondered why. The tunnel is so short it was hardly worth illuminating. Braunston tunnel could do with lights especially where it turns corners! We passed through in November when they were on and felt silly with our tunnel light on as well. Looked like we were passing through a rainbow with ribbons of multi coloured light. Public money can always be better spent. It was meant to attract visitors as the tow path goes through but the tunnel is well north of Rugby and there was nobody about.

Newbold Tunnel 1

Newbold Tunnel 2

Newbold Tunnel 3

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A happy loss

Our second phone has got 'lost'. Been using it a few times in Daventry and kept it in my coat pocket. Back on the boat it was gone. Got the phone originally to get on the Internet but the lead kept popping off the connector. Then the phone got a soaking in a thunderstorm. The screen was never the same since! So whoever 'finds' it will probably not keep it. While on 'pay monthly' calls were never less than 20 pence a minute. Orange have disabled the SIM card so that it is unusable now. But I think that the phone book was in the phone memory. Apparently new phones can store the phone book in the SIM card. So if it is lost and disabled the numbers cannot be seen. We thankfully still have our old original phone.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Meeting with old friends

I mean that we have known Terry & Myra for a long time. They had sold their boat over a year ago and had just taken possession of a shorter boat. Met them on the way down the Braunston locks and celebrated in the Lord Nelson pub. Next day we all went early to Davetry intending to go on the bus. It passes at quarter to the hour but apparently not at quarter to nine. It had passed through at 8:30! Phoned for a taxi which arrived in 10 minutes but stopped just outside the town due to a puncture! We went off to join a queue at the medical centre for Ann's flu jab. Back out in 15 minutes all done. Got some veggies at the market and winter pansies before all returning on the 10:30 bus. Spent the next few days in each others boats and visiting Bob n Jane who we all knew.

NB Juno

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Friends and Bloggers

When we were down the south Oxford canal between bridge 102 and 103 NB At - Last stopped by. John & Militza have been known to us since we first left our boat in 'Springwood Haven' on the Coventry canal. They, a young couple semi retired, came to see inside our boat. We talked about our adventures during the year over a cup of tea. They enjoy cycling and walking a lot. Their pride and joy, the boat, is powered by a 'Gardner' diesel. A slow running engine reconditioned by Tony & Paul Redshaw.

We had moved to just north of Braunston and were chatting to Sue on the net. She told us that NB Liberty Belle was heading our way and had been in conversation with Angela on board. Angela does a Blog which we read occasionally. Next day Trevor and Angela arrived and stopped just to meet us on their way to Braunston to get a job done on the boat.

Liberty Belle