Saturday, May 30, 2009

Off the boat

Sorry it has been a while since the last posting.  We are only just getting back to our normal routine if there was one. 

Mum was 90 years old in May and plans were made to celebrate with a family gathering.  We hired a car from Enterprise at Banbury who collect and deliver.  As expected it was quite a culture shock getting in a car and travelling on those crowded roads.  Navigating out of town took some concentration.  We headed down south and stayed with our grand children and their parents.
Many family members and friends gathered at an excellent venue which was just right for mum and her guests.  An afternoon tea party with food laid out in the old kitchen.  Thankfully it was a lovely warm sunny day so we could all eat and drink a toast in the courtyard.  

Tracy had made a cake using a very special recipe for mum. 
During our visit we had parked the car to go shopping.  If you think 24 hours is too short to moor a boat in one place just think about 30 minutes free for parking a car to go shopping. A few minutes late and we were obliged to pay a hefty fine! 
Chris had to work over the weekend but we were able to see him at Swanwick on the river Hamble where the marina was open to the public. 

‘Princess Boats’ were on show and Chris was able to show us round the huge motor boats.  The one we looked over was available if we wanted it.  They even provided a generous BBQ meal for us all. 
We returned with our grandson on his own for the first time to stay a few days.  We walked up to see the fine lady on a horse by the cross.  Josh was able to walk round the statute and read all the words of the famous nursery rhyme.  We then returned to the boat and moved up through Banbury heading for Cropredy.  Josh’s parents came up to stay overnight.  During a glorious sunny day we just sat out and enjoyed their company.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A new cabinet

Are we just copying or following a trend?  The old TV box had always been stuck in a corner because it was quite bulky.  Now that technology has produced thin TV’s we have noticed that many boat owners are putting them on one side.

We have taken delivery of a cabinet from Dave Bassett who is our adopted cabinet maker for many additions and improvements.  The previous additions were those galley cupboards.  Much discussion about what we want and what he can do before he goes away and makes it all in his workshop after making templates.  It amazes us that the unit is delivered and just gets screwed into place. A few days varnishing make it look so much better.  We use that water based varnish because the result is much lighter than using oil based varnish first.  Two coats are enough then the top surfaces got the oil based varnish for a light hard finish.  We then filled up the cupboards with our books, CD’s, DVD’s and folders.  Some reorganisation of power sockets and signal cables then enabled the installation of the TV and DVD player. With our two easy chairs now on one side and the new cabinet on the other there is more room to pass and is easier to watch TV.  The corner cupboard surface is now being used for various ornaments and picture frames.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Claydon locks

When the sun shines and your boat is in the middle of nowhere it is good for the soul to get out and enjoy the fresh air.  It helps to get back to reality and put things in proper perspective.  Listening to the Sky Larks and watching the baby ducklings.  We had decided to move, even on a Sunday, to get to Cropredy but only got as far as Claydon. 
 The 10 mile summit pound is very shallow in many places and several boats, including ours, had problems getting round those sharp bends without running aground!  It got better past Fenny Compton where we were surprised to find the chandlery open and were able to get our diesel at the declared rate which worked out at 78p/l.  We stopped just in time to watch the F1 racing from Spain, another British win.  It may be a bit bad for the planet but it is at least a peaceful sport among many countries.
At Claydon there are 8 locks in a couple of miles that get down to Cropredy.  We set off in the morning with one boat in front and as we went down several were following.  Most crew members helped with the locking and with the sunshine it was an enjoyable morning’s activity.  Luckily several were coming up as well so we moved down into full locks. We then stopped on a new length of mooring just before the new 24 hour stretch in front of the houses. 

After lunch we walked round the village and discovered that the Post Office has closed.  Thankfully the Bridge Store will soon operate a P. O. service.  

Cropredy is a lovely village with well kept gardens and thatched cottages.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Boating can be a challenge

Perhaps it has been that last episode with a boat yard that has demoralised us.  It is just the apparent lack of skill and care that has got to us.  We simply have to learn our own skills, realise our ability and know our limitations.  Geof from Seyella helped me sort out the engine controls which were stiff and in need of adjustment as we were going too fast at ‘tick over’.  There is nothing worse than a broken cable.  When we started off way back in 2000 our boat builder went bust but we had the mental strength then to overcome the problems and saw our new way of life blossom.  It is a wonderful way of life we have on the waterways with so many boaters that we have got to know and love.  We cannot yet contemplate living on shore and relying on a car to get there and back.  Our home goes with us and has taken us to far more places than we could ever manage by car. 

We have just moved the boat from Napton up the 9 locks and along the long and winding section at the summit.

Keep an eye on that TV mast first seen at Marston Doles for it will appear to move about on the horizon until you actually pass it when approaching Fenny Compton.  Passing boats often ran aground on the bends as the shallow waters made the going very slow.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

B W water taps

In Braunston there is a new ‘improved’ type of water facility.  

The improvement is the addition two taps either side of the change over lever.  The original design relied on the operation of the lever to get water out of either the screw on terminal or the push on terminal.  When the lever was upright no water came out.  The new facility provides two screw on terminals in the form of taps.  The user requiring a screw on terminal now has a choice of two.  It is in fact possible to attach two screw on water pipes.  In order to get the water to flow you now need to open the tap that your pipe is attached to and operate the lever towards that tap.  Unfortunately the other user will have to wait until your tank is full as the water can only flow one way or the other even when both taps are open!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Tidy up

We are out of the yard after 10 days with a larger hatch.  The woodwork finally finished to our near satisfaction.  “Enough said”.  Having gone down one lock we set about getting everything back in place.  It was necessary to lift the engine boards and clean out the bilge for that is where much debris had fallen to.  Then varnish all new wood work to protect it from the rain.  Little jobs were created due to lack of detail attention like sweeping up the metal swarf after drilling that last hole and another list grows...... 
Our friends Terry and Myra rang to invite us to Rugby for a meal.  “Boy, don’t we just need to get off that boat.”  It was a real tonic to catch the bus into town and meet them by the clock tower.  Crowds were gathering and traffic stopped.  The army were back in England from Iraq and marched through the town with the crowd clapping in appreciation.  We had done some shopping, said goodbye to our friends after lunch and returned to the boat.  There was meg running up to greet us from Seyella.  We spent the rest of the afternoon sat out with Geof and Mag chatting about recent events over a cup of tea.