Saturday, June 26, 2010

Getting away from Braunston

We were soon back in the water and heading for the marina.  A bus ride all the way to Banbury and a train to Winchester / Southampton to see family was our first get away.  Quite a lot was achieved and several days later we were back on board.  Ann popped up to the shops while I filled the water tank and emptied our travel bags.  Ann has almost completely recovered from those strained muscles and thanks all those who contacted her.
Braunston Historic Boat Gathering was gaining pace and we were lucky to get out before events really got going.  As we left the marina another boat arrived to fill the space.  All moorings in and north of Braunston were occupied by boats nearly to Willoughby where we stopped at a shady spot for the weekend.
A full boat called Roach passing by our mooring
I find it quite sad to read the ‘stoppage’ reports.  The Caen Hill lock flight is still closed due to a ‘boat strike’ which destroyed a lock gate.  Canals do need more Respect and Support from boaters, public and government.  The summer months bring out all sorts to enjoy the waterways but they seem to lack respect for the system and other boaters for that matter.  Some are just petty criminals when the ‘tow path telegraph’ report items missing off boat roofs.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blacking at Braunston

Once a year we arrange to have the boat pulled out of the water at Braunston Boats Ltd.  “You know, the yard at the bottom lock.”  This is an opportunity to inspect the bits normally below the water line.  While being pulled up the slope on a trolley the stern dips down in the water.  As a precaution the exhaust pipe from the engine and diesel heater have a bung inserted to prevent water getting in.
We are about a month later this year and a lot of weed had grown on the sides.  It is good food for ducks and swans that had been waking us up in the morning with their pecking.
By the end of the day the sides had been pressure washed and the first coat of black pitch had been applied.  It had been quite cold in the mornings and we were in the habit of switching on the radiators.  But we forgot the bung and the boiler turned itself off automatically.  Thankfully we were able to restart it a few minutes later after taking the bung out.  All was well after clouds of white smoke had blown out!
New anodes were welded on this time after 5 years.  Then a second coat of blacking was applied.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


After several days over the weekend of worry, pain and loss of sleep we managed to get Ann to see a Chiropractor.  Several options had been considered but the best one was to go to Banbury where we had been before.  A phone call secured an appointment the same day and we got on the bus from Braunston.  It was a long bumpy trip taking well over the hour exploring the countryside on the way!  By the time we had walked up to the Cross and beyond we had had enough of it and resolved to get a taxi back.
Marc remembered us when we met again and soon got to work with his healing hands.  Apparently several muscles linking shoulder with backbone and ribs had gone into spasm.  Half an hour later Ann was relieved of pain, only a dull ache remained.  Now it is a case of more rest and ice pack treatment to complete the recovery.  The taxi got us back to the boat comfortably in less than an hour so it was worth all that expense.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Visitors and flowers

It was breakfast in bed for Ann after a bad night.  A cold ‘chiropractic’ pad helps to reduce the pain of a torn muscle.
Way back when we started boating at Newbury Phil and Deborah kept their boat in the same marina.  They have two weeks off work, managed to get all the way to Braunston and are now on their way back.  Good to see them both again when they stopped for tea and a chat.
Summer has returned again and our ‘garden’ of flowers is looking good on the roof.  The weekenders are out and about again and more often than not two boats are passing our mooring in either direction quite frequently.  Every now and then we have a sort out of boat contents.  In the navy it was called ‘Captains rounds’.  If we have not used it for a year it must be disposed of.  An attempt to sell some of it at the Crick show was not very successful so it will be in the bin soon where boaters can take their pick.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Time to paint

I have time to put a few more coats to put on those well deck lockers and sort out some of their contents.  “Now where did I put that thing.”  Then we moved to Calcutt just for a change of view but as the phone and internet signal was unreliable we moved again next day.  Then we popped in to Wigrams marina for diesel as we knew they allow us to declare our use for travelling.  Diesel for moving the boat has extra tax so we are required to work out what percentage to claim.  Then the supplier has to work out how much to charge!  It is just too much trouble for some like Braunston Marina who force you to pay the higher rate.
The bloke who filled our tank recognised the name of our boat and told us that More To Life was for sale here.  That was our previous boat so we just had to get the key and have a look inside.  It was really sad to see her in such a state.  Unloved and empty for a year apparently.
Ann has been polishing the outside of our boat but now she is suffering from a repetitive strain injury so I have taken Molly for a walk and cooked dinner.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Americans ‘over here’

Not a planned meeting, it just happened.  We had moved south of Braunston when Sue rang.  They were not far away so we moved on after doing some painting.  First stop was to see Bob and Jane on Hobo.  They are normally in the marina and had popped out for the weekend.  The table and chairs were out on the tow path when we found No Problem.  One more coat of paint before a cup of tea out in the sunshine.
Our blog readers from America had come over again and have hired a narrowboat.  Did they just happen to see us and stop, or was it pre arranged?  We had no idea they were here.  It was the first time for quite a while that we had seen Sue n Vic, yet here we are again all together meeting blog readers!  I was in the galley washing up.  “Yes I do most times”.  I heard my name being called from a passing boat.  “Is that Chas?”  Ken Averil, Mary Lou and family stopped by to say hi.  Good to see you guys.  It seems that canal blog writers have influenced them to come over and experience our country way of life.  May they enjoy their discovery of the Oxford Canal.  It was Ken who has read our book ‘Life With a Narrow Boat’ and encouraged me to continue writing.
Next day Sue n Vic were on their way again but not before our first ‘well deck’ tea party.

Well deck mods

We went to see Dave Thomas before going up to Crick and asked him to make some well deck lockers.  The well deck is at the front of the boat above the water tank.  The deck is about 5 ft square and we had wooden boxes and a small chest of draws to store paint tins, tools and mooring equipment.  Over the years we accumulated more stuff which really needs sorting out as it is overflowing the containers.  It was never tidy and we could not sit out there.
Although Dave and Barry are strictly metal workers engaged in building a new boat they set to and spent two days on our boat.  They even managed to make the wooden tops for us.
So now we have steel lockers with wooden tops which act as seats and storage.  Most boats have similar facilities.  We elected to do the painting so we could get away before the weekend.
While we were by the wharf we got Tesco to deliver goodies and saw no less than three boats being craned into the water almost over our heads!

Join the queue

Our friends Terry n Myra left in the morning at Crick by hire car.  Now we have to get back our normal routine but feeling lonely at times.
It is inevitable after the show that we all leave in a convoy.  The steam boat President was half an hour in front of us with several other boats besides.  Going through Crick tunnel was a bit scary because of all the mist left behind.  “I could not see in front or behind, it was just blackness.”  Once through the tunnel we joined the queue at the locks.  Three boats came up while the hours ticked by slowly.  We had time to sit and relax with a few sandwiches.  It is raining and we are tucked under the noisy M1 motorway near Watford services.
President on the way down
Once we had got into the first lock it did not take long getting down and all the way to Norton Junction.
The next day we filled up our water tank and moved on down to Braunston in warm sunshine with many other boaters following.