Friday, December 28, 2012

Cracker jack

Our family tradition is to pour burning brandy over the pudding that Ann made.  Some of the holly burnt to ash which had to be scraped off!

We pulled a cracker.
Q. Where do fortune tellers dance?     A. At the crystal ball.

Anybody got a better joke?
 This cheeky 'monkey' is pinching the birds nuts!
We moved on down a few locks on Boxing Day.
Anyone for cake?  It is OK cos Ann made that as well!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Print or Publish ?

At the end of each year I  convert this blog into a chapter for my book.  I am now about to work on Chapter 17 which will be titled 'Moore On Rivers' which covers 2012.  In the past I have been encouraged to continue and struggled on.

I will continue with the blog but wish to print or publish my book.  All the chapters are available to read in .

If any of you kind readers have any advice about what to do about the next step please get in touch.  Converting the text for an e book may be a possibility but a paper book could be distributed to family and friends.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Preparations for a birthday

Once again we filled our larder with goodies even though it is some way to the shops at Whitchurch. This time we got some festive fair - a three bird roast, mince pies, crackers, brandy butter, nuts, box of wine etc. Ann has made the special pudding as always and the cake of course.

We bid farewell to Colin n Tina on Go For It as we set off for Wrenbury. A dry mild day encouraged the move. Just stopped at Grindley Brook for a water top up and to loose the unwanted. It maybe our last chance before the great day when we celebrate a birthday!

The post arrived and we have decorated the boat with the Christmas cards that have arrived so far.

*** HAPPY CHRISTMAS *** to all our readers where ever you are!

We wish you a good New Year

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cracking glass

We had turned at Ellesmere so it was a sideways move to the facilities. Once we were 'full n empty' we were off in sunshine and showers all the way to Prees. Quite a surprise to find thick ice down the arm as we went for diesel. Very noisy all the way wondering how we would get the boat to turn onto the wharf. It took several goes to break up the ice and push it away.

People in their boats were taking pictures! "Like they've never seen a boat come in for diesel?" It was easier getting out but it still sounded like breaking glass. Ann had made soup using one of those butterburs and other vegetables. By the time we had got out of the arm and moored it had gone 2 pm before we could eat it!

There was no phone or Internet signal so next day we set off early even though it was a Sunday! The sun came out making it a good trip to Whitchurch.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Plan B, turn at Ellesmere

What happened to plan A? Long-term plans can be broken if they do not work out. We had dipped our toe into Wales and stopped at Cole Mere.
Our mooring among the trees being protected from the frost.
The sun came out and we walked round the Mere.
Only an hour among the trees along a well made path.

Friends rang to beckon us off the Ellesmere canal, as the Shropshire Union is now open. The Ellesmere will close in January so we would not get off till March. John on Epiphany had told us that they were asked to get off the Montgomery because that was closing. Careful planning now required ensuring we are near facilities as winter closes in.

After a refreshing drink we set off for Ellesmere in sunshine and were lucky to find a space opposite the facilities. The short arm into town was full of boats and ice. We got an evening appointment for Molly to see the Vet. "Just a booster, worm pills and a manicure." A chance for us to walk through the town to see the seasonal decorations all lit up in the streets.
A few frosty days followed so we will stay a while.

Look after your batteries while it is cold, as they may need charging twice a day. If your system has temperature compensation the charging voltage may well be as high as 14.8 volts.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The more you look, the more you see

After the weekend we moved down the Prees Arm for diesel, just two bridges to lift and one mile to the marina at the end. "Just as well that the pump was self service because the office was closed." The pump was switched on once we had inserted our debit card! No declaration was signed because the price was set at 95 pence a litre. This marina is owned by C&RT. We asked a local if we could use the other facilities. "OK by me but they are really for the moorers here."

Once that was done we set off back to Whitchurch in sunshine with the washing machine doing the cleaning. The new Sainsbury's has opened and found up the hill behind the church. The town has more to offer than first meets the eye. Although it is a 20 minute walk it is worth going. It now supports Tesco, Sainsbury's, Iceland, Lidl and Argos. We even found car spares, pet shops and a vet. Fiona's café by Tesco provided us with food n drink at lunchtime.

A wet n windy night followed the sunny day but we woke to sunshine again. Go For It was heading for the facilities at Grindley Brook so we followed. It proved quite tricky to turn with the wind and the river flow. After a chat with Colin n Tina we all set off back to Whitchurch. While they went back down the arm we continued on intending to get to the Prees Arm. But it got wet n windy so we stopped short. Unfortunately there was no net signal so after lunch we moved on. Once again the wind made it difficult to stop and tie up. "It took all our strength to keep the boat against the side."

A sunny day followed and we set off for a walk. Then Epiphany drifted by. John n Fiona chatted for a while before moving on.
After our walk we settled down to a quiet weekend in the middle of nowhere after moving to visitor moorings at Whixall Moss.  Here the new gritty tow path is great for walkers but it gets into the boat!  Ann is feeding the birds.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Short hops

While it was dry we got up the locks at Grindley Brook. That top lock was full of rubbish. Leaves, dead animals, twigs, branches, shoes, plastic bags and goodness knows what else. It proved difficult to keep the prop clear as we crawled out. While Ann was dealing with the water supply I was in the weed hatch pulling out that plastic bag. "A large bag that at one time had contained horse feed!"

Once clear and full we moved on to Whitchurch and got the TV tuned in before it rained. Must not complain but why is it that within two miles some channels are not now available? We saw Colin n Tina on Go For It on our way to the shops. Apparently a new Sainsbury's is to open soon.
 C & R T men doing some work on the bridge

Another few days and we were off again to stop near the Prees Branch. It was a very cold but sunny day and many fields were flooded with icy lakes. Originally they were peat bogs but now a Nature Reserve.
If only we had kept them as bogs so that all the rainwater could drain away.
We have stayed long enough to put out the bird feeders. Within hours they were visited by various song birds and a large male Pheasant!
Ah! Mince Pies, deep n delicious.   We don't get that very often!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Going slow

When we stop we stay a few nights. The problem then is that our 'unwanted' accumulates. How far do we have to go to get rid of it? The first facility was at the top of the Hurleston locks. The next is at Grindley Brooke 12 miles and 16 locks away.

The Tesco delivery came at Burland where there was a car park owned by C&RT. "You can imagine how much packaging needs to be got rid of now!" It took some time to put the food away so it was next day that we got the diesel tank topped up at Swanley Marina. It is worth a stop there if only to see their extensive library of books and DVD's to swop or buy. Our next stop was at the bottom of Baddisley. After another couple of nights we climbed up through the locks to Wrenbury.

A few days later, after the windy wet day, we pushed on up four more locks to stop for the weekend at the bottom of Grindley Brook. The only difficulty was that automatic lift bridge at Wrenbury. "It is very temperamental!" It is surprising how much traffic cross the canal there. Even large heavy lorries!

We won't miss moving about next winter when we plan to stay in a marina. But we will miss our travelling companions. Moving the boat in the winter months has been an acceptable challenge but now it is getting to be a chore for us. Unfortunately the lack of sunshine, wind, rain and those grey days are depressing. "To say nothing of the snow n ice which may come later".  It matters not where we are so long as we are in our boat on a canal!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ellesmere Canal?

We have climbed up through those four locks at Hurleston. All the locks were full of fallen leaves making the lock look like it was full of ministroni soup. The leaves are being transported on what is effectively a slow running river all the way from the Dee 45 miles away. The 'Llangollen' heads southwest to Ellesmere in Shropshire so it is not yet a Welsh canal.
A quiet weekend now spent at Burland where this corner shop serves the locals.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Solar panel data

I have added a page to our website at that gives details of Solar panel performance.  You can find the page in Boat Systems.  The link should take you to the page.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Water & lock problems

After that day of rest we moved down Wardle lock to get water.
The tap did not have the normal screw on connection so we were lent an adaptor to push on. Several boats came down for water and returned back up the lock that morning. When we got up the pound was very shallow, muddy and covered in fallen leaves.

We got as far as the visitor moorings at Aqueduct Marina. Minshull lock is still waiting for a new top gate and is only open between 8 and 4 if the lock keeper turns up. We were told that replacing the gate should take about a week or so some time before the end of the month!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Go East to Middlewich

Ann has a slight chest infection that is causing her to cough. We had got as far as Venetian Marina before resting over the weekend. While back home the Doctor had carried out some tests. Later the medical center informed her that a prescription was waiting to be collected! Managed to get it sent to Middlewich with help from Tracy.

Just under 4 hours got us across country but with a slight delay at Minshull Lock which had been closed! A lock keeper arrived late to let several boats up and down. "A new top gate is being made but a stoppage is not yet posted".

Our post had arrived so we were able to collect it and do some shopping. Days of rest are called for while Ann recovers between moving days.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

On the move

Ann went off to see the grandchildren so that I could look after Molly and myself. When she came back we went shopping to restock and next day set off on our travels to head for Middlewich.

Nantwich Canal Center now has a mooring on the main line so you do not need to go down the arm for diesel or gas. They sell 'Non Bio' diesel and you can self declare what you intend to use for moving. "Must have been quite low because 150 litres went in without overflowing!" I put in some Marine 16 to keep the bug away. They told me I could use Fuel Set as well so resolved to alternate between the two.

The Canal Center has a very good chandlery and when I told them about my diesel bug problems they showed me 'The Fuel Purifier'. It stops water and the bug getting through and is more substantial than the standard water trap. See for more info.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Autumn is upon us

But sadly after the trees have dropped their leaves some Ash trees may not grow them again.  Look on the bright side, the Ash trees that grew along our towpaths may go without having to be CARTed away!
Plowing the fields after the harvest

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reeds to swans

With all those leaves falling we have seen operatives clearing weirs and sluices. Now that they have replaced the reeds with a swan on their logo perhaps they could remove the reeds from the canals! But don't stop there; it is more than just the reeds that are choking the waterways. 

We have just pushed our way through Woodseaves Cutting that was always going to be a problem since it was created. Rock falls early last year nearly closed it and we bumped over some of them! Now the trees are sliding down the steep sides. It is so bad that the muddy towpath has been closed.
CART are working there filling a hole.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The autumn tints

How good it was to spend the weekend with friends but now we continue north to get past the stoppages. They are not due yet but Ann is to go home to look after the grand children and when she gets back, work on the Shropshire Union will have started.

That is the other reason for our haste. We are keeping up to our schedule but having to pass many of our favourite moorings. We did manage to stop at Norbury Wharf and got an 'all day' breakfast.
We used to live near the New Forest and often drove through at this time to see the changing colours. Now we travel on the Shropshire Union and love to see the autumn tints while passing through the cuttings. Each season has its beauty to appreciate as the year unfolds.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Shropshire Union

On the way yet another friend of ours past enabled a quick hello and goodbye to Malcolm n Barbara on Pilgrim. Then it was a right turn on to the Shropshire Union. The first lock being hidden by the junction bridge forced caution in case another boat was there. "All clear so in we went."
The hire company were loading customers and getting ready to move so we left the gate open as we left.
Part of our reason for haste becomes apparent now because a few bridges ahead lies No Problem with the kettle on for tea!  "Must not be late for that!"  Later we all enjoyed a lovely meal together on board with Sue n Sir (Vic).  It has been a very long time since we last did that.  Even all 3 dogs (the girls) got on well together!

Staffordshire and Worcestershire

"Surely one of the longest names for a canal." We got diesel, gas and water at the junction and 'lost' the unwanted. On another sunny day we pushed on to Penkridge. Boys and girls were returning home from school crossing over the lock gate with their bags n bikes.

Is this another health n safety nightmare? Talking of which you will now have to supply your own hose to flush out the Elsan container. Back at Great Haywood boat yard we were told that they are not permitted to supply diesel at the water point. The hose is a trip hazard but only in the summer! What about our water hose then?
 Inside Otherton Lock

We enjoyed yet another sunny day after a night of rain progressing to Autherley Junction. "What a treat to find that two miles either side of Gailey the canal was deep n clear.

On to the Trent n Mersey

Sorry readers but this is a posting I missed.

Vegetation on the T n M is just as bad as it is on the Coventry. So it seems to be all over the system. Much of the water narrowed by increasing growth of reed beds as well as the trees n bushes often on both sides.

Another friend past by the name of Pete n Pat on Molly May II. We have known them since the start of our life style choice. We wonder what is going on, why is it that we are seeing so many friends on this trip north? They do not all have access to the Internet and we don't normally ring to see where they are.

We ended the day short of our planned destination by stopping at Rugeley. The shops are improving since last seen. 'Peacocks' have moved into the space left by Woolworths. "Certainly an upmarket move." Our next stop was at Great Haywood. A few days rest waiting for dental appointments.

Monday, October 15, 2012

River Trent

We have got as far as Great Haywood and stopped for a rest. There are dental appointments next week to look forward to!
As you can see the Trent river is well up.  This group of rescuers are all suited up for a swim.  They were going in up stream of the bridge and going with the flow under the bridge before being rescued.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Doing the distance

We did not move on Sunday and enjoyed a roast lunch before joining the Coventry canal. Then we were slightly ahead of schedule having got past the Nuneaton rubbish and down the Atherstone flight on Monday.
The lock keepers house is up for sale here and perhaps CRT should ask any buyer to become a volunteer! At least the locks are easier to operate than those on the Oxford. After a quick dash to the Co-op by Watling Street, John helped us down to Bradley Green. He and Rosemarie from Devon Maid first met us before we got on the Thames earlier in the year.

While mentioning friends it has surprised us how many we have met on our journey north. Even before we set off Jill and Graham from Armadillo said hello to me at Banbury. While at Cropredy we met Dave and Georgina. When we got to Braunston Dave n Lyn paid a visit. Then at Rugby our friends John n Militza on Mud Skipper were seen. At Ansty there was Reg n Elaine on Relaine.

Just past the locks at Glascote there was Knot Normal with Mark and Margaret on board. Mark is a boat fitter who helped us with modifications on Moore To Life, our second boat.

Vegetation over growth is just as bad on the Coventry as it is on the Oxford canal. Our journey through Hopwas was a one-way street what with shallow edges, overhanging trees, bushes at bends, and blind bridges. Going slow was the only option to avoid possible head on collisions. The occasional moored boat forced us to travel on the wrong side with no room to pass.