Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A few hot days

We were still at Cosgrove when Terry n Myra arrived in Plaidy. We had spent a few days below the lock walking round the local quarry by the river Great Ouse.

The 200 year old aqueduct takes the canal over that river at great height. Although short the aqueduct is made in a similar way to that one in Wales. The boarder of Milton Keynes is nearby and the foot paths are in excellent condition.
We stayed on board to watch the Formula One racing from Europe. Then we were invited by Richard and Sarah on board Scarweather for drinks and nibbles. We sat on the bow during that warm evening and watched the hot sun sink slowly below the horizon.

Next day we were off early to beat the heat and shop at Wolverton Tesco. It was when we came out that we felt the heat as it had been cool inside!

A few miles on got us to Haversham where we set up the BBQ. It was a cool spot with the trees providing shade as the sun moved round.
A patrol officer came by on his bike and agreed that we could stay 14 days here. "Not that we would anyway." It is not understood why BW have dismissed the patrol officer back at Cosgrove but they are regretting it now. Several years ago she was very helpful with local information. Like the lock keepers the people 'on the ground' are very much needed to control the use of canals and moorings.
We were lucky to find a gap between the many boats at Campbell Park. Terry n Myra had stopped at the previous bridge and arranged to meet us after lunch. We all walked over to Willen lakes under an increasingly cloudy sky. A cafe provided cups of tea when it started raining. Such a change after those few hot days.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Problems with iTunes

The iPod is able to play hundreds of music tracks. It can display the artist, album name, track title, and pictures relating to the track or album. In order to get the data into the iPod it needs to be connected to a computer running iTunes.

The data can either be loaded to the computer from your own collection of CD's or downloaded from various web sites on the internet. If you are copying from your own CD's you could be using Microsoft Windows Media Player. If you happen to be on line at the same time you will find that data relating to the CD will be downloaded.

I have encountered many problems with these apparently simple procedures. Some tracks have no picture or a poor quality one. The names of the artist, album or tracks are sometimes not known. I think it true to say that most; if not all the data related to the track is contained in the file. I have tried to keep to the *.mp3 file type. iTunes generate *.m4a when copying from a CD.

In order to try and resolve the problems I have developed a procedure to follow from files, folders or directories on the computer to adding or changing the data within iTunes.

More information can be found in our web site at Moore 2 Life.co.uk

Click on Chas' Life then iTunes

Monday, June 20, 2011

Short trips and slow going

Dave Bassett has been fitting cupboards in our galley and bathroom with one more to go in the bedroom. We have been trying to go slowly so he does not travel far from Crick. So we are moving a few miles and staying a few days.

We were somewhere near Blisworth when Mo n Nes stopped for a chat. We do not set off if it is raining so now that the dry spell has ended we are happy to stop a while. The problem is that after 3 days we get itchy feet and need to move on. We try to find moorings with a hard edge to hook on to and some local walks.

Yardley Gobion has a marina that sells gas so we stopped to exchange bottles in between the showers. We passed the new Thrupp Wharf marina which is filling up with boats. But there are still many boats on private moorings on the canal. It was BW's intention to reduce the on line moorings so no real sign of that happening. There are many large trees and bushes that reduce the width of the canal by half in places. So what with boats on one side and trees on the other it can be slow going.

We have stopped past the Cosgrove lock. Above the lock there are many tatty boats and BW work boats occupying the visitor moorings by that lovely stone bridge.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A walk on the wild side

Or a walk along the (h)edge rows.

The wild strip is left for the rabbits, birds bees butterflies and other creepy crawlies. While the grain stands tall and green in dry cracked ground waiting for the rain to arrive with the skylarks twittering above and diving to their nests. When was the last time you heard the 'dawn chorus' ? "Yes, I know you have to be up early". It is wonderful when you do because then you know that the countryside is alive.
We walked to Rothersthorp and back to the canal of course.

Almost through the back garden of this lovely cottage where the public path went.

Monday, June 06, 2011

A natural life

We got water and diesel while passing through Weedon on our way to Bugbrooke.

There we walked into the village to post a letter and visit the little shop. On the way back we sat a while in the millennium garden. It was on the way back to the boat that we saw two people waving their arms.
They were Les n Jaq! Back on our boat we made tea and offered cake and biscuits while getting to know them both together.

Jaq is lovely and friendly and it was not long before we were talking about English and American life. Jaq loves to do the cooking and has told us about many mouth watering meals and snacks. It seems that there are many natural plants and herbs growing near our boats. Her knowledge of natural herbal remedies has been gained over many years of training. They were obliged to leave all too soon heading for the Wilton locks to be tackled the next day. We wished them both well on their journey back to America for marriage and hope to see them on their return.

Friday, June 03, 2011

A way of life, old and new

Boating is a way of life that we enjoy but it was so different back in the 1900's. Chas is reading a book about the working life 'on the cut'. The canal system was built like a cross linking major ports and rivers with factories. Birmingham grew bigger because it was surrounded by all the raw materials needed to make iron and steel. The waterways kick started the industrial revolution. There were many families and companies involved with the transport of raw materials and manufactured goods. Cargo like coal, wood, iron, steel, crockery and even chocolate were moved about on the waterways until the railways and roads did it quicker.
The old boating families had a hard life having to load and unload much of the cargo by hand. They almost had their own language. The propeller was known as 'the blades' while the rudder was 'the ellum'. The diesel engine was 'kicked over' to start and 'put out' to stop. The 'A' frames supporting the cargo covers was 'the cratch'. Just like the Navy they had a name for every part of the boat or ship. If the boat got stuck on mud the skipper was said to be 'hill climbing'.

Buckby is some way from the canal but has given its name to the drinking water jug used by the old boaters because it was made and painted there. We have just had ours repainted at a shop half way down the Buckby flight of locks. It was always the boater's tradition to paint parts of the boat and various items belonging to it with roses and castles.
We took our boat down those locks, sometimes called Wilton, joining a boat at the top but they went on down with a single boat at the next. While we waited for two boats to come up we were joined by another single boat coming down. "It is always safer and easier with two boats in these wide locks." We stopped at the bottom for diesel at Wilton Marina but were told that their tank was empty! So after getting an oil filter we moved on down to near bridge 19.

Be dazzled by the light near bridge 21. Richard Hall has designed a range of LED lighting to fit existing units. Now even a replacement for 'florescent' tubes. After some simple modification the LED tubes are twice as bright and consume half the power. One tube is all that is needed in each unit. All are now regulated to be powered by between 10 and 30 volts DC.
The canal is quite busy this week because it is half term with children on holiday. So you would not believe that the demand for boating holidays has fallen. 'A fall in lock usage last year has sparked concern' is reported in 'Towpath Talk'. Some hire boat companies have advertising panels stuck between their windows and apparently there are many more second hand boats for sale.