Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Friday, December 02, 2011
No, not some one with one hand, but a skipper of a boat with no crew on board! It is I because Ann has gone home for a week to do Christmas shopping with our grand children. “Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.” Shakespeare? Ann plans to return on Monday.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
George on Rock n Roll phoned to say that Seyella was on the way up from Penkridge. So George, Carol and I with the two Mollies walked down the canal to help. We had gone over a mile before we saw the boat below Otherton lock. Margaret was the skipper and Geof was busy with the paddles. But then Geof took on the skipper roll to bring the boat into the lock. The rest of us performed the locking process. Once the boat got to the top I grabbed a lift for the mile to the next lock. Then helped a bit with the locking. Luckily the warm sunshine made for a pleasant trip.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
But you guys out there on PC's started complaining and I thank you for doing so. I forced myself to partition the MAC so I can boot up in Windows. Mainly to keep Memory Map which does not work in the MAC. Unfortunately the Mio Pocket PC does not communicate when connected!
Back to this story that I am writing while in Windows. Now the acid test is if you and I can see the full glory of the blog page after I publish it what goes wrong when I publish in the MAC?
Monday, November 28, 2011
Next year a new set of cars will be produced to continue the excitement. The spectacle will be watched half live on the BBC. Sky TV muscled in to show the other half live for a price. But then that will not be the only sport to watch. It will be Olympic year for us to show the world. The Olympic torch will be carried around Britain and will pass by that Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Dudley and Foxton which all feature the waterways.
Mean while back to the present, we wait the arrival of Seyella with Geof, Margaret and Meg on board. Last year at this time in November we were all stuck in the ice. We have been up and down the lock to get water, dispose of the unwanted and load up with a delivery from Tesco.
Here is our picture of those leaves. (Getting familiar with the new technology).
I am sorry for those who seem to be having problems getting this blog.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Publishing this blog, updating our website, emails, music, maps……… All this is achieved using a computer machine and a mobile Internet connection. Things we do and use every day. A miracle of maths and science that we almost take for granted these days.
We have been travelling with George & Carol on Rock n Roll. When invited on board for tea n biscuits it is like being transported into the future of communication and information technology. All these wonders are available now in this 21st century. It seems that even two years is a long time holding on to technical equipment.
It was many years ago that we met up with Sue n Vic on a boat called No Problem. We were encouraged to get on to the Internet but it proved to be a struggle at that time. Determination and persistence was required. Mobile Internet was new and slow.
Our new MIFI dongle is so much better. And so is changing from a Personal Computer to a Multi Access Computer! It is taking some time to get used to the new ‘Lion’ operating system, which is why the blog is late. I-tunes is the one familiar application that plays all our music. I-photo is new to us and has yet to be mastered so apologies for the lack of pictures. The transfer of all our folders and files from the external hard drive was easy. Switching on the MIFI and the MAC simply got us on line and we were reading all our friends blogs, including Sue’s one from an ocean liner. Now ‘aint that amazing.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
We missed the bus because it passed through Great Haywood at 10 minutes to the hour not 5 past as before. We got the 10 to 11. When returning from Stafford do not miss the 20 past 2 because the next is at 4 pm! We had to rush about the shops to get things done.
The farm shop has a smart new building and is expanding with a good selection of vegetables, homemade produce and a butcher. The marina has a new owner and is full up so no room there if we needed it. Last year we had booked in for Christmas but could not get there due to the ice.
The other major change on the horizon is of course BW to CRT. The Canal and River Trust will take over in April next year. It will affect us all who have boats on the waterways. Perhaps now is the time to make suggestions through NABO, RBOA, and other boating organisations like all those canal societies. Hopefully we will be able to communicate more directly with people who know a bit about the waterway system. After all if we are to pay a bit more for our wonderful life on the waterways we should at least have some effective input.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Our access to the web has been through a ‘Web n Walk’ dongle connected using a USB lead and has served us well. But now the new Multi Access Computer does not like it. George on Rock n Roll suggested getting a MIFI device which works much faster.
Passing through Cannock Chase
Now we have moved on to Great Haywood. Got some diesel, water, disposed of the rubbish and cassette contents. Then moved back to an available space for the weekend.
Friday, November 04, 2011
The canal crosses over the river Tame after going down a few locks having passed by Tamworth with their pretty gardens. We approached a low road bridge, the A5 Roman road called Watling Street. "Quick, lower the Biminie." You may wonder why they build some bridges lower than others. We had to crouch down to avoid hitting our heads! We topped up with water at Fazeley and stopped at Sutton where Rock n Roll caught up.
We all went to the large new shopping complex nearby. More room for cars than shops, almost. This is why the old town centres are closing down. We do not have a car so find these places within walking distance of the canal.
We were on our way next day with new goodies and got to the northern end of the Coventry canal. Let's just say that those new goodies present a technological and cultural challenge that George is helping me with. That evening we went to the 'Swan' for dinner. Local boaters know it as the 'mucky duck'.
The locks at Fradley are to close on Monday so we have to turn left at the junction on to the Trent and Mersey.
While doing that I just had to get this for my collection.
There are only three locks to get up but each has its own problems. The first was OK this time because there was room to wait for a boat to come down. The second has a gate that is reluctant to open without help and the third has a gate that opens as soon as it is closed! The moorings at the top were too short for both boats so we continued on the extra mile to Kings Bromley. It was sunny when we moved but after tea on Rock n Roll it rained as forecast. Ann and Carol went for a walk between the showers.
Friday, October 28, 2011
This bridge at Ansty no longer provides access to the other side.
While this one enables the cows to go for milking.
We arrived at Hawkesbury in sunshine, stuck the pins in and put the washing out to dry before it rained. Milly M had got here first and Maffi was on his way back after filling more black bags clearing another site of rubbish.
We have been lucky to travel all the way to Atherstone in sunshine before the rain came. We stayed a day to finish the varnishing, do some shopping and get a flu jab. We had to pay for it at Lloyds Pharmacy because the Medical Centre only provides it for the locals.
George and Carol led the way down the locks the next day. George was kind enough to lift a paddle when required to refill the lock for us. There were many boats coming up which also helped progress during another sunny day. The water level is a bit low at the bottom heading for Polesworth so we stopped short of the town.
Monday, October 24, 2011
We took the bus into Rugby from Clifton which is now the No. 10 from Daventry. There seems to have been many changes to the bus routes this year. We were back on board when Rock n Roll passed by and later Milly M did the same. "Sorry Maffi, I had my head in the computer sorting out my huge collection of historic boat pictures." It is work in progress towards a major update on our web site at www.moore 2life.co.uk.
We moved up to Brownsover when Rock n Roll moved off and left a space for us near Milly M. A chat with Maffie resulted in some volunteer activity. There was so much rubbish floating about and dumped in the hedge row that Maffi filled no less than four black bags with it. It was all on the other side of the canal so Ann threw a rope across and pulled them back. Then I put them all in the skip at the entrance to the carpark.
Milly M moving north
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The lock keeper at the bottom lock in Braunston is controlling boats going up. A single boat has to wait up to an hour in the hope that another boat arrives. The lock keeper told us that BW is concentrating on maximising water supplies to the canal system. While many reservoirs are nearly empty the feeders are now being dug out. A feeder is usually a spring and ditch which drains water from the fields into the canal.
It was a surprisingly warm sunny day in October when we walked the two miles to find George n Carol on Rock n Roll.
On our way we saw the sad sight of this sunken boat. Apparently BW have been sinking our money in old boats! Surely this one is passed its use by date.
It was good to see our friends again and talk about our adventures south of Braunston.
It got cooler as we made our way to Wharf House for our engine service and new fridge. The fire is now being lit mornings and evenings but won't be long before it stays on for the winter months. The engine now has fresh 'red' long life antifreeze put in and the fuel system serviced, thankfully all quite clean with little sign of black bits.
Our washing machine got moved sideways to make room for the new taller fridge. The plumbing for the machine proved less of a problem to alter as first thought. Next day after drilling holes in the floor the fridge was put in and switched on. It required a hard pull to get the door open to find that the light was on! It was not long before the contents were transferred to the new quiet fridge.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
We have a week before things get done in the boat in Braunston so we have moved to Calcutt. The reservoir here looks quite full. A new farmer has been busy cutting down trees and bushes and ploughing his fields. The canal is now a bit more exposed so some moorings are less cosy.
BW have been doing their bit beefing up the towpath edge. Plenty of space there to dump some dredged mud out of the canal! If only they could do the same on the other side then the dredged material could be put back where it came from.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
We joined a boat next day to go down all the way and found a volunteer lock keeper in attendance. He was controlling the queue of several boats going up. Luckily we found a space by Butchers Bridge and had lunch. Braunston for us is where we start and end our journeys and where we get things sorted for the boat. The engine has done 6,000 hours and I have booked Justin Green to check things in the engine 'ole. He recommended that the antifreeze should be changed for one thing and I asked if he could check out the fuel system. He is so busy that we are obliged to wait a week before he can start. Our Lec fridge is as old as the boat and now the door fails to seal properly. A new Shoreline is an inch taller so may not fit without some changes in the galley!
The Geof Amos bus has been taken over by Stage Coach and it now takes three busses to get to Banbury from here. Ann needed to get home again and is on the way but had to wait an hour in Daventry having just missed the connection. The next bus now goes to Southam and another to Banbury, then a train to Southampton. Let's hope the other connections work out better.
Saturday, October 01, 2011
I occupy my time between GCSE Chemistry and sorting my historical boat pictures. (must stop taking them) Chemistry is a subject I never knew about when at school so I find it hard to absorb. It is answering the questions I had but it seems to generate more questions! Many of those boat pictures are to be found in our web site already but a major update is 'work in progress'. I just find it so interesting finding out about their history and the hard working families who drove them all over the waterways. The lorries of their day in the 1930's. Back in the 1700's the boats were pulled by mules or horses. Pure manual labour required to load and unload the cargo. Many of the boats have changed hands since they were built for the old canal carrying companies.
Here is one seen at Braunston
Have you seen that Petition on Narrowboatworld? It is a protest against BW Directors paying themselves bonuses for doing nothing and losing money. Please think about signing it like I did.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
We have been keeping track of our boating friends during the summer as they travelled about the waterway navigations and elsewhere. Some have been down south on the Thames, the Wey and Kennet and Avon. Another has been east in Anglia on the Nene and Ouse while another has been up north and done the Great North Run! Yet another friend went to America, got married and returned to the boat with his bride.
Different boating at Oxford, 2007
We have decided to get a Gold Licence which allows us to navigate the rivers and canals next year. It has been a long time since we have been on the Thames. Not since 2007 in fact. There is a certain lack of water on the south Oxford so we may not be able to get down to Banbury. It would have been quick and easy to jump on a train to go home for Christmas, a short journey from there and family may have come up to see us. So we are considering a trip north to Great Haywood again. Whichever way we go we need to get past the winter stoppages at Watford, Napton or Fradley locks that are shut in November.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
We found a space at the top and set about placing an order with Tesco. We logged in through 'Quidco' a site that offered cash back and discount codes. The connection was a bit slow and unreliable so had to shut down and reboot the computer. "That's better now." Unfortunately the discount code was rejected by Tesco. At least the goods arrived next day. We moved to a mooring half way to the locks and could not get a satellite signal due to the trees. We do have an alternative aerial and 'digi' box but Channel 5 and others were not yet available at this location. Strange because the system did list the other channels but there were no pictures. Wonderful technology is it not at times!
Next day we headed up the Watford flight.
The lock keeper does the gardening as well. And may it continue.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
A few days later it was calm enough to move so we headed for Bugbrooke. On the way we stopped for water at Gayton Junction. It got busy when at one time six boats were either leaving or arriving at the facilities! It was still a bit windy on the way and there seem to be more boats on the move now.
Friday, September 09, 2011
A while later BW rang back wanting to talk to the owner. By the time I had got up to the lock a BW man had already seen the situation and actions being considered. Our friend Ray had got up there to help and the centre rope had been tied up to a bollard to prevent the boat doing further damage. An attempt to refloat the boat only resulted in more water going in so the bottom paddle had been left up with the lock empty. It was quite distressing to see such a sight in reality and I told the owner that I would not take pictures out of respect. By this time Rose had made cups of tea and sandwiches for the owners. Ann gave their 20 year old cat some tuna to eat.
It was decided to lower the pound between lock 15 and 16. This would enable the boat to be pumped out. By now the top and bottom locks had been padlocked and a stoppage notice issued. Several boats including ours had to go down the previous lock and some went down a few more. The water was flushed out of the pound which went down by about 2 feet.
Both the gas bottle and well deck scuttles were blocked with wood. With several ropes and many men pulling on them with the lock paddle opened the boat was refloated and the people watching all cheered and clapped. Once the lock was filled the boat was pulled out backwards.
The emergency had kicked off at about 9:30 and by 2:30 in the afternoon we were able to continue our journey through Stoke Bruerne and the tunnel.
As you may realise, we had travelled up and over the Chiltern Hills and down the northern side. Now we can enjoy a long stretch of water all the way to Cosgrove. That is 11miles going past Milton Keynes. We were having breakfast when our friends went past us on their way early at just after 7 am! We left at 9 and with nothing else to do but drive and walk with Molly the time seemed to drag. Half way through the journey we stopped at Lynford Wharf for water and get rid of the 'unwanted'. At the end of the journey just before the lock we set off for a walk to find that our friends on Plaidy had gone even further than us.
Next day we set off heading up for Stoke Bruerne. But first a quick visit to that handy camp shop to get chips and peas to go with our fish that night. When we arrived at the bottom lock we were joined by Jenny Wren, a boat which was just behind us. After three locks Rose and Ray came down to help.
They live on a boat called Maddy Rose and invited us on board when we stopped below lock 15. We watched boats going up and down the lock sometimes one by one.
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Our friends are on the move again but got stopped at the top of the Marsworth finding the top lock padlocked shut in the morning. A British Waterways operator explained that there was a shortage of water but let them through. As yet we have not seen any restriction in operation at Marsworth posted on Waterscape. Although there are reports that the Foxton flight of locks is closed and there are timed restrictions elsewhere.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
When we reached the next set of two locks with a short pound between we hovered for a while waiting for a boat that never came and finally stopped for some time. A wide beam trip boat in front of us had gone down both locks turned round and proceeded back up after letting a single boat up. When that had cleared the lock we both went in. As the trip boat came up the lower lock we went down. The short pound was a bit low so we had to be careful not to run aground passing the wide boat. We stopped in the afternoon and watched several wide beam trip boats going past in both directions.
What, we wondered would happen next.
Well next day we got no less than three boats in one lock! Us and two short day boats hired from the local boat yard. They were all on a learning curve in the lock. One family had life jackets while the other with very young children had none. They looked the part though with their 'skipper' hats on. We all managed to get through six locks without incident in the sunshine.
A Lion on the hill near Horton
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
However at this summit the pumps were working overtime and there seemed to be enough up here. We had intended to head for the Wendover Arm but after taking on water we found another 57 foot gap to more in. By then we had had enough of the damp conditions. Unfortunately a boater started up his noisy smelly petrol generator so we had to shut all our doors and windows. Thankfully it was only on for one evening! A few days later we moved on down the Wendover Arm. It was a bit shallow in places and as we passed a boat coming out we ran aground. The fishermen where we turned at the end were not happy to see us!
We stuck our pins in just round a bend out of sight of them. The fishermen left when another boat turned up.
A walk to the Wilstone reservoir found it to be very low. Next morning the waterlevel in the canal went down a few inches.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
A lock cottage
Back on board we were watching TV in the evening as you do, when the boat started to lean over! Looking out we could see the water moving towards the lock. We had to slacken off the ropes and push the boat off the mud but it was still leaning over. Went to check the lock and found the bottom gate open. The top gates were leaking badly so shutting the bottom gate solved the problem once the lock filled itself. All paddles were down as they should be.
We set off for Kings Langley in the morning and arrived in time for lunch. We travelled on our own for a while till Roman Lady joined us. Going up these wide locks is always easier with two boats and also saves water. The shops at Kings Langley provided us with bread, milk and veg. "What is it about those bright orange carrots that shrivel up as soon as you need them?"
A few days later we continued up and up the Chilterns. We were soon joined by a boat called Midnight this time. They wanted to go all the way to Berkhamsted so we agreed to stay with them as it was a sunny day. We managed to do all of 17 locks and 6 miles. The water levels were very low in many pounds between the locks.
The previous pound was lower!
Most boats were going up and down two by two and we were lucky not to run aground in the shallows. One advantage of having a 57 foot boat is it being a popular length. We were lucky to slot into a mooring gap which was just the right length. Now the moorings between locks 52 and 53 are completely full.
British Waterways 'bean counters' are silly. They employ people to do maintenance but do not let them work because it costs too much! But now many have to control the use of locks and restrict navigation to save water. Now it is raining so maybe we will be able to continue up and down the system. Our future plans this year is to head for Staffordshire so hopefully once the August rush is over water levels will rise.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
We tackle most of the wide locks without the company of another boat. There are plenty about at those permanent moorings but they do not move much.
While travelling we read about boating activity elsewhere during the August holidays. At least one boat has sunk in a lock which British Waterways managed to crane out while boaters waited. At another location a boat hit a lock gate and knocked it off its hinges! Navigation has been restricted at summit levels due to lack of water in the reservoirs. The low water level is not just due to lack of rain. Sadly lack of maintenance and leakage at locks are another cause. At some popular flights, B W asked volunteers to help ensure safe and proper use of locks. The locks are often being locked shut at the end of the day. Some boaters are not helping the situation. We have had to shut a lock after a boat left it open and full. There was a notice on the gate asking for the gates to be shut and the lock left empty with a paddle up!
We leave London behind and the sights we have seen but keep the wonderful memories together with many pictures. We now have a chance to stop again at our favourite moorings. As we move the back log of washing is being dealt with. Some wet days required the fire to be lit to assist the drying process.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Our family arrived at Paddington by train and the first thing to do was to find Paddington Bear. We just had time for sandwiches before setting off for Greenwich. Our visit was booked for two thirty so we got down through the tubes and on the Dockland Light Railway. The Bakerloo Line was noisy, hot and full. We actually got a seat on the Jubilee Line which was cleaner. We got off at Canary Wharf and were very impressed how new and modern it all was.
The DLR got us to Greenwich where we climbed the hill to the Royal Observatory. We all learnt about how the planets were formed and how different they were. Also saw a live demonstration creating an asteroid.
Next day we all set off for the Tower after a cooked breakfast. When we arrived we watched a contest between two Knights using swards and axes and then spent the rest of the day exploring the tower and the grounds. It has been a very long time since we have been touring the capital and must say how well all the sights have been cleaned and restored.
Although the London Eye was the most expensive ride it was well worth it for the views. The structure is simply huge and impressive. We had time during the day to get to see Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus on the way back to the boat. Our guests returned on the train from Paddington while we recovered.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
We went on the Big Bus Blue Tour of London. Molly stayed on the boat while we picked up the ride near Paddington Station.
We saw most of the sights while sitting on the top deck of the open top bus listening to a commentary on earphones. It was sunny and warm then.
A cruise on the Thames was included so we took to the water at Tower Pier after crossing Tower Bridge. We found a seat inside the boat and then it rained! We ate our sandwiches while watching the tidal waters rush by the bridge piers. "I must say that sightseeing was better on the bus."
Big Ben is inside the tower
We got off at Westminster and hopped on another bus to continue our tour. The weather was not kind to us. Out came our so called waterproofs. There was no room inside the bus. Police cars, vans and ambulances were rushing about in the traffic and making a lot of noise. Those riots were apparently kicking off in Tottenham. We think that our bus was diverted. We were told to get onto another bus to continue back to Paddington. By then the sun had come out and we got back to the boat in the dry.
We are so lucky to be able to walk safely from the canal to Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park and Regents Park. So we decided to visit Regents Park this time by walking along the Regents canal. There is no path through Maida Hill tunnel so we followed the road over the top and nearly got lost trying to find the other end. We eventually crossed a bridge over the canal into the park.
Molly was able to run about again on the grass among the trees. Then it was back on the lead to walk by the lake which was full of natural wild life.
A duck with bill stick!
There we saw Whooper Swans, lots of pigeons and a great variety of ducks and geese.
A courting couple
It was a sunny day and we enjoyed seeing the flower gardens before walking back to the boat.
We have to reassure our readers that we feel quite safe at Little Venice while the riots are continuing to spread across London.