Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Making good?

It is difficult to know how much ‘requirement’ information you need to give in order to get what you want.  The boat yard staff should offer information about what they can ‘achieve’.  It seems that ‘requirement’ and ‘achievement’ often turns out to be different.  “Oh yes we can do that for you” is reassuring at the start.  Once work has started you are obliged to stay until ‘requirement’ and ‘achievement’ is acceptable.  A boat yard can be a busy place and a quote for 5 days does not mean that you leave after that time.  Boats are being moved in and out and they are also operating a hire fleet of about 6 boats.  We must not lose sight of what we are able to do.  Travelling about exploring and discovering the waterways is what we enjoy.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hillmorton hatch

We moved down to Hillmorton to have our sliding hatch enlarged.  “Well replaced really.”  Our previous boat was a ‘semi trad’ which had a back deck with sides making it more open for crew and guests.  This boat is a ‘Trad’ which only has room for the skipper at the back.  The hatch was a bit small and difficult to get in and out. The replacement procedure was a bit more than we had imagined and the boat yard seems to have taken on more than they could chew!  The wooden roof lining and one side including engine controls were all removed.  Otherwise it may have been set alight when the access was cut to the larger size.  It was quite upsetting to see it all ripped out.  They say it had to get worse before it could get better.  

‘Metal Man’ arrived to do the cutting and construction.  He was from a boat called Arc Angel so at least we are using boating business.  By the end of his first day he had the new runners welded on, the hole enlarged and the new hatch from Reeves boat builders had arrived.  He used a grinding wheel to cut out the metal and even that generated enough heat to burn the foam insulation.  We had to abandon ship in case the arsenic fumes generated got into the boat.  Once finished we were happy with the outcome.  

The hatch is much easier to move and we can stand upright when getting out.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Braunston Gatherings

Moore 2 Life is back in the water having been blacked. While out of the water our friends took us to The Plough for lunch and to Daventry for our Dentist appointment. Terry and Myra then went off to return the hire car and get back to their boat at Crick. While walking round along the towpath and up to the village it is amazing how many people we met. For many of us boaters it seems that Braunston is a magnet and starting off point for the summer months. At least that is how it is for us. We have seen Derwent 6, Rock n Roll, Fair Fa, Hobo and many others. Braunston is full of boats either visiting or passing through.  There is still a good mixture of permanent, long and short term moorings available if you can find a space!
Our Grand children and their parents came up to visit us for the weekend. This time we agreed to go up the locks and through the tunnel. A good opportunity to rub off some of that paint! It was quite an event for the young boys who had their life jackets on and learnt a bit about operating the locks.

They even enjoyed the 20 minute ride through the tunnel even while two other boats passed us. We turned left at Norton Junction on to the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union canal and went a few miles to turn and moor up for the night. Next day we travelled back past the new towpath works and through the tunnel again. Then down through the locks accompanied by another boat after waiting in the queue at the top for a while. We were able to stop for lunch just past the Lord Nelson and watched the Grand Prix racing from China. After that we had just enough time to go down two more locks and arrive at the water point before our young family returned home.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


We only moved another 3 miles while it was dry on Good Friday after breakfast with hot cross buns.  It was everso busy with loads of boats on the move.  The towpath between Braunston and Flecknoe is much improved in places.  More hard edges to moor up to and despite the number of boats out and about there is plenty of space to stop.  The shallow canal has turned a muddy brown. 

Sunny Easter Monday was another busy day for us and boats.  We rubbed down and painted the other lower side.  The boats are going by in both directions two by two.  

We saw Derwent 6 go by.  We have been tracking their movements by reading their Blog.  They caught us sitting down enjoying the sunshine in between paint brushes having a midday snack!  “See you later in Braunston”.  The sun continued to shine and the paint dried and hardened while we recovered from all that effort.  Then we saw Marie Jessie go by, another Blogger.

Is there a conspiracy going on in Formula One racing?  The final result of each race so far has depended on the decisions of a committee in Paris.  What you see is not what you get.  Have there been too many rule changes for the teams to cope with?
Been waiting for Gosty Hill to arrive and fill our tank with diesel at 61p a litre.  Alison and Ian’s last run till next winter because they plan some time off after all their hard work.  We hope to see them again later in the year.  By the end of the day we had got into Braunston ready to be dragged out of the water to have the lower sides cleaned, inspected and blacked.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Spring watch

The field opposite is full of sheep and lambs, all with their heads down eating breakfast in the morning.  Later the lambs were seen gathering together away from their mothers.  Like they were going to school and getting to know each other in the playground, pushing, shoving and exploring the field.

At one time they were all down at the edge of the canal getting a drink.  “Oh, don’t fall in please.”  Mothers and babies have numbers painted on their woolly coats so they know who belongs to who!  After their adventures in late afternoon all the lambs were running around bleating and looking for their mums.  If they went to the wrong mum they were pushed away.  Eventually they all settled down for the night together again as families.
Once the paint had dried and hardened we got itchy feet after two days so we moved on.  Braunston is full right out to bridge 89.  We got water at the turn and stopped at Wolfhamcote because it rained.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Sunday roast at Hillmorton

We had got to Hillmorton locks on the Saturday, went up one lock and waited for Tesco to arrive with our goodies.  After the delivery we went up to the top in convoy with several other boats with lots of willing help.  The famous BISTRO was open and we booked a table for Sunday Lunch.  Always a good meal cooked by the family like being at home.
While the visitor moorings at the top were nearly full we noticed that the Permit Holder moorings were empty.  A BW sign there was inviting applications for moorings.  Perhaps they are asking too much for a mooring with no facilities, a case for BW to make them all moorings for visitors.  There is plenty to see and do watching and helping at the locks. 
The Oxford canal tow path looks like it has been trimmed.  The hedges have been cut back and layered in places.  Ann and Molly have been able to walk most of the way.  We were surprised to see that the moorings between Barby and Willoughby were virtually deserted considering it was a week before Easter. 
We stopped just short of Braunston and got on with rubbing down and painting the boat black below the gunwales.  The other side will have to wait till the tow path changes over or we turn round.  Then wait for another dry sunny day by which time we would have recovered enough to get active again!
While we were moored up several boats passed by.  Richard and Sarah on Scarweather stopped and chatted over a cup of tea on board M 2 L.  Good to catch up with their news since seeing them last year on the rivers of East Anglia.  Then Rock n Roll passed us followed by Clarence who informed us that they read this blog.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

U turn at Hawkesbury

Messed that one up and landed on the rocks in the corner!  Ann had to pull the bow round otherwise the boat would have gone into the pub!  Done the business at the facility and went through the lock.  While Ann & Molly walked on I took M2L slowly passed all those boats at the junction and stopped past bridge 4.  Somewhere we were spotted by Pete from Pickles 2.  Sorry to have missed you but we did not see your boat. 
A fast 3G connection on our T Mobile modem enabled us to place an order with Tesco.  It is strange that sometimes the connection can be slow but may just be busy with all the kids off on their holidays.  Next day we did 14 miles, no less, and got all the way to Clifton, passing those willow trees at Brownsover. 

 Last year they were severely cut back so were pleased to see them getting green again.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Relaxing in the sunshine

We took on water at Bradley Green but found that the Elsan facility was blocked.  We just moved up 2 locks to get the engine warm for an oil change at 4,250 hours, that much done since we got the boat in 2004.  Then we went off to the shops in Atherstone.  A busy town on the old Roman road called Watling Street with a good range of shops and Tuesday market.
While moving up through the locks a boater coming down told us that Gypsy Rover was at Hartshill.  The towpath telegraph working well because when we got there, Dot & Derek were expecting us.  With time to spare we all enjoyed a day off relaxing in the sunshine sitting out on the towpath.  

It is amazing what a difference it makes with the sun shining on the view making the colours stronger.  Thankfully those grey winter months are now past. On the move towards Nuneaton we also saw that settee seen by D & D.  It had managed to drift all the way to Hartshill.  Then we were obliged to pass 2 miles of utter rubbish all the way through that town of Nuneaton.  

Would you believe it there was yet another settee floating in the water together with all that scum, plastic bottles and bags.  We have been travelling all the way from Chester and never saw so much rubbish scattered all over the place. 
At last we turned off the Coventry and on to the Oxford canal.