Sunday, January 30, 2011

And so we split

Two go south and two go north. It has been a hard winter spent with good friends and we have so enjoyed their company. Three days later we got to Penkridge as the days got cooler. Thin ice on the way reformed into a sheet while we spent time shopping at the market. “Just hope it does not get too thick again.” Don’t fancy staying on the towns ‘Visitor Moorings’ due to some night disturbance with people and their lack of respect.

So next day we all moved off heading for a weekend mooring by Shutt Hill lock. We were breaking thin ice all the way and this morning it had got broken up by a boat going past us.

That lock had just opened after 10 days of repair work.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

National Association of Boat Owners (NABO)

This association is worth supporting because the committee are representing your boating interests. British Waterways have been given a privately restored canal system to look after. They should operate under the British Waterways Act passed by government in 1995. There are currently several official complaints being made by NABO concerning BW’s interpretation of the Act as contained in their ‘Terms and Conditions’.
Many aspects of these are being legally challenged and should be resolved hopefully before BW becomes a charity.

Do not worry

We have just topped up our tank with red road diesel. It has less sulphur in it so will produce less sulphuric acid than the ‘gas oil’. The engine is running OK and our diesel fire is still quite hot so enough said on that subject.
Been on the 880 bus from Wheaton Aston to Stafford and just do not know how the driver gets us safely through all the narrow country lanes. Found B & Q, Maplins, Argos and other electronic stores just south east of the town. There are loads of gismos to see and wonder what they are all for. But mostly made in China these days rather than Japan. After some ‘finger lickin good’ at KFC we walked back in town looking for mobile phone accessories.

Ice is still lingering
Back on our boat we set off to catch up with the ‘convoy’ now waiting for us just south of Brewood. Crew members from all four boats gathered again this time on board No Problem and enjoyed music, chat n booze to the end of the day. When we had recovered next day the convoy finally split in two. No Problem and Moore 2 Life made it to Moat House Bridge on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. It was a cold grey day ending in dampness so we were all glad to have arrived. We ended up about 3 miles due east of the other two boats Seyella and Rock n Roll.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Which way to go?

The winter stoppages are changing due to the weather. Some are cancelled, some are added and dates altered. Need to keep informed through Waterscape on the web. Then get the maps out and sort out possible routes. We have a choice of three possible routes from Autherley Junction at the end of the Shroppie. South to Stourport, North to Great Haywood or East to Birmingham. Our long term wish is to head for Braunston and Crick to meet friends.
There are stoppages whichever way we go so it is down to where is open first. The route through Birmingham is open on 11 th. March. Tixall Lock should be open on 28 th. January which would allow us to get through Colwich Lock before it closes on the 7 th. of February. Then we have a clear run to Atherstone which opens on 28 th. of February. Should all be clear by the time we get that far. Now we can concentrate on the detail. Where to stop, walk and shop.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Life with a narrowboat, 2010

Just to let all our readers out there know that Chapter 15 is now published and can be found in . Pictures will be added later, promise. See link on the side of this blog.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Moving north

The three boat convoy stopped a night at Wheaton Aston where it was joined by a fourth, No Problem. The crews were all invited by Sue n Vic to join them for a chin wag on their boat.

Next morning all crew members were up and about getting set to move on. Seyella with Geoff driving led the way. Ann let go the bow rope as he passed and we were away next followed by Rock n Roll then No Problem bringing up the rear.

Only two miles covered as we stopped at Little Onn. After lunch we all went off for a walk round the fields near Church Eaton. Next day we all set off in a different order and stopped at Gnosall for a quick trip to the shops. It was not long before we all stopped again as some wood was seen begging to be cut up and burnt.

The convoy then continued on to Norbury where Vic and Geoff cut the wood up.
It is here that the convoy will split in two. We plan to go our separate ways. But first a record has been accomplished. No less than four boats together with eight crew members on board ‘Rock n Roll’, at least one crew member from each boat writing a Blog.
The latest problem on the Shroppie is a major rock fall at the top of Tyrley locks between bridge 58 and 59. So the convoy is obliged to turn south.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A convoy of boats

Most of the ice has gone and this week promises to be mild. All three boats that have been staying at Gailey since November last year are setting off in convoy intending to meet up with another boat on the Shropshire Union. But before the off all boats were tanked up with diesel and water and used other facilities.

By late morning the convoy left Gailey and covered 13 lock miles on their first journey together. On the way only a few icebergs were seen lurking under trees and at various bends in the canal.

All members of boat crew were cheered up by regaining their freedom to move. So much so that when arriving at the destination they all convened at a meeting on one of the boats to discuss further moves.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Back to boat

We have returned safely to our boat Moore 2 Life. We were greeted by our friends on Rock n Roll and Seyella who all stayed on board over the Christmas holiday and into the New Year. They had reported that the temperature went down to minus 20 centigrade at one time. Thankfully it is a bit milder now, the snowman has long gone but ice remains on the canal.
We had left with snow and ice all over the boat so in such conditions it is important to carry out a full ‘winterisation’. Both engine and radiator systems should have 50% antifreeze mixture. “Don’t just top up with neat antifreeze because it won’t mix.” Turn off the water tank tap, undo the connection to the pump and turn on the hot taps first. When all the hot water has gone turn on the cold taps. Switch off the pump power and reconnect the water supply. Leave all taps open so when you return all you do is turn on the tank tap and restore power to the pump. Turn the taps off when water comes through. I had also taken the precaution of covering the pump, feed and supply pipes with blanket to protect them. I am only sorry not to have mentioned all this before we all left our boats to the elements. We were so saddened to read about Dell and All on Derwent 6 who have suffered so much frost damage.
It was colder inside than out and Molly’s drinking water had frozen. Our solar panels had kept the batteries full with a gentle charging voltage so the central heating could be turned on after restoring the water supply. Once the oil fire had got going we then got a welcome cup of tea on Seyella.

While away we took the opportunity to visit the Chichester Canal. This is the tide lock.