Sunday, December 15, 2013

More Space Less Room

We have left our 'Moore 2 Life' and moved back into our bungalow near the New Forest. Preparations before and after have taken some time.
It all started back in November when we were obliged to 'call it a day'. We have both have some health issues being investigated requiring many visits to local hospitals.

We have had to sort out the contents of M2L taking off about 90% so we can continue summer cruising, god willing.

Our home was left clean n tidy by the last tenant and unfurnished. We sleep on an air bed with our belongings packed in boxes! It is amazing how much came out of the boat, with less space but more room to store it all. The bungalow presents a problem with all its space but no room!

Furniture has been ordered and some has arrived. Argos delivered the Fridge freezer and next week promise to deliver more next week. Beds have been promised next week. More from Ikea promised before Christmas may be available before the New Year.

Mean while we enjoy our walks to Tesco half an hour through the woods.

We wish all our readers a very happy Christmas and another good cruising year to come.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Boat life on hold

We are down south preparing to move in to our bungalow.  The tenant should move out soon.  We are looking for furniture and a car.  Been sorting contents of boat to bring back for our second home.

We have left the boat at Cropredy Marina for the winter months.  Just hope that we can get back when we have that car and start moving our stuff.  We do hope to be able to get to use Moore 2 Life in the summer.

Meanwhile we are helping with our younger family getting them to school.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Visiting friends

Sue n Vic moved up to Cropredy so we could go see them. The walk took half an hour boat to boat with Molly and a goodie bag. Ann had made Christmas puddings for family and friends so one was delivered to No Problem.

We went late after observing the silence with our poppies. Molly and the girls were the first to greet each other as we arrived. Then we were welcomed on board with drinks at the ready. Time to relax before Vic & Sue served up Sunday roast. Thanks you two.

Life on a boat in a marina is comfortable enough in the winter but we do miss the activity on the cut. Some ducks have found their way in to the marina if they fly as the stop planks are still preventing boats moving. It is unfortunate that Cropredy lock is closed otherwise we may well have escaped for a few days!

The water level has nearly come up to normal so we hope that the stop planks will be lifted soon. The other half of the marina will then be open and many boats are sure to move there. We hope to move to another location nearer the facilities and more grass for Molly!

More time and effort is being spent sorting our contents in the boat. If you have not used it for a while you do not need it!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

A bus ride

We have registered with the County Connect bus service. It is a new type of bus service in Northampton. We can book a trip up to a week ahead on the internet.
We took advantage of this service to go from outside the marina entrance to Banbury. We met Sue n Vic there and had a snack in Weatherspoons. Then we wandered round the town's market to get our veg.

We had booked the day before and found that the return trip was not available so we got the 277 back at 2 o'clock. That was the last of the day and dropped us at the Brassnose pub. Just 20 minutes from the boat.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Cropredy lock and marina

The lock is closed with a safety cage round it. Apparently there is a need to lower the water by a few feet to enable inspection of the brickwork. The pound between Cropredy and Broadmoor locks will be affected and the marina entrance will have stop planks inserted. Boats will not be able to move in or out of the marina!

The large diggers and earth movers will soon move leave the site having finished creating the north basin. Then the access road will be much improved with tarmac and stone. While that is being done cars will not be able to move in or out of the marina!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Now in a marina

Before we moved in we enjoyed an evening out with Del n Al when we all went to the Red Lion pub. Live loud folk music on Friday night. Thanks for getting us out you two!
We moved in before that expected storm over the weekend. Got our tank filled with diesel at 79 pence a litre! Then moved to our temporally allocated mooring. (If we are not happy with it we can put in for a transfer).

Finished with the engine for now. At least it has fresh oil in it after that major service. We will be using that diesel to keep warm while in the marina.

We were obliged to purchase an electric meter to measure the power we use. The electric to be paid each quarter. While connected our Victron Combi will charge the batteries but we will not leave them permanently on float charge. We have an immersion heater in the chlorifier (hot water tank) but if the power goes off there is a risk to the batteries because the inverter will take the power from them! Must remember to turn off the immersion heater after about an hour!

Perhaps the best plan is to connect to the land line during the day when we need it, like running the engine, and disconnect at night.

The marina has been dug out of a farmers field of cabbages! They are growing among the freshly sown grass! We went for a walk to explore the area but the field and access road are still wet n muddy!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Banbury to Cropredy

With our engine fixed after that major service we are able to to continue normal life on board. Hot water is back on tap, we enjoyed a shower each and got the washing machine working overtime.

Although we were plugged into a shoreline from Tooly's yard we only used it in the evenings. Our solar panels did their best during the day.

Banbury is a very busy noisy town and quite bright at night. It provided us with vegetables from the market and Ann went off early to shop at Morrisson's. We had a good chat with Malcolm and Barbara on Pilgrim before leaving.

We set off down to the turning point and back up through the town after dumping rubbish and filling our water tank. Then it was 'full steam ahead' in sunshine going up to Cropredy. Most of the locks were set in our favour making a pleasant journey.

There above the lock was Derwent 6 with Del n Al on board. What a cheerful couple they are. Al had put the kettle on and once we had tied up we went round for tea and a chat.

Next day we got up late because it was so quiet and dark. Practicing to stay under the covers for that extra hour we get over the weekend.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The new pump fits!

A big relief to finally get the correct water pump direct from Kubota.  Our thanks to John who fixed it and Mat who organised it at Tooly's in Banbury.  Adrian at Beta helped to sort out the confusion.

Listen to your engine with the covers off every now and then.  Mine was telling me something and it was John who told me what it was saying!  We are lucky the water pump never actually leaked.  With the new pump fitted the engine purrs quietly.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Still waiting!

Before the weekend another water pump was delivered.  It was the wrong one again!  John the engineer was busy on another boat anyway.  Now it is Monday and the yard is locked and it is raining. John is working on yet another boat!

We have the fire going for a short time mornings and evenings with a kettle of water keeping hot for drinks and washing.

At least we are better off than the fella asleep most nights snoring underneath the shopping centre.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Still hanging around Banbury

Banbury town centre turned into a fairground last week. Just so noisy but fun to watch people on the rides.

Once you know about a problem you are obliged to get it sorted. It was just a major engine service that was needed. All things done that should be done after a years cruising.
 We even had the diesel polished after suffering dirty fuel last month.

On start up the engine rattled a bit. John the engineer at Toolys listened intensely then turned off the engine. "It is the water pump, look the pulley moves in and out!"
When the first replacement pump arrived it did not fit! The design of the engine had been changed. We are still waiting for a new water pump!

We are now hooked up to mains power with the engine in bits. We are not waisting time here though. Got to do something positive. So we set about getting rid of all those things we have not used during the year. Some for charity and some for the bin.

With so many phone shops here we were able to downgrade one of our smarties at the end of its contract. Ann kept her phone intact with Memory Map installed by Sue and got a new battery for it.

Another walk round the park to push away the blues.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A walk in the park

While hanging around Banbury we went for a walk in Spiceball Park.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Over the top

We climbed up the Napton locks and continued on that winding road to the 'mast'.
One lock keeper was at the bottom lock while another came up most of the way. The going was slow at the top as usual with a shallow canal.

Next day we continued to Claydon top lock and stayed the night. We followed several boats down the next day with some also behind us. Plenty of crew to help. We stopped just past the bottom lock being one of our favourite moorings.

We have been lucky with mainly sunny dry days and have usually moored in time for a late lunch. Keeping warm with the occasional use of the radiators. After some washing we needed the fire on. It is oil fed but the oil did not flow when it was turned on. I had to dismantle the Toby control to restore the flow.
It was back at the beginning of September that the engine coughed and spluttered. We were near Autherley junction so we called into Oxley Marine. They discovered contaminated diesel in the tank, water separator and fuel filter! It was not the bug and thankfully the injectors were not harmed this time.

When we were in Banbury last year when that happened. We needed reconditioned injectors, the tank of fuel polished and filter changed. Now Matilda Rose has suffered from contaminated fuel. It does seem that we are being supplied with dirty fuel these days. That Fuel Purifiner from MLS is worth getting.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Postal uncertainty

We moved on to Napton in search of post. We had rang the Post Office and got the agreement to send poste restante. (to be collected). Later we had confirmation that the envelopes had arrived.
Having found a mooring we walked to the shop. At first we were shocked to find that the Post Office inside the shop had closed a few weeks earlier. So who had I spoken to and where is our post?

The shop keeper then asked if we were looking for poste restante. There it was under the counter! Apparently the Post Office is to reopen soon after some local protests. Uncertainty has got to me.

It is worth calling into the Folly Shop.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Staying on the Oxford

One night at the top of Calcutt where we walked round the reservoir.  Time now to slow down a bit.  During a calm sunny day we moved on up the Grand Union / Oxford canal to Braunston.  Often considered by us to be the start and end of our journeys.  It has been almost a year since we were here on our way north.  This winter we will be staying on the south Oxford canal.

Braunston and its company has changed during the year.  The Plough has changed hands and the local shop is under new management.  At least the Post Office is still there.  The butcher is still operating and a hair dresser has opened.  The bus service has been altered much to the annoyance of the locals.  Bus stops have moved so we were not sure where to get on for Daventry!  So we never went.

When we saw Tim in the marina the first thing he asked was did we want a winter mooring!   It seems that many boaters are moving down to Cropredy!   We stayed a few nights, visited friends or friends visited us, got full and empty and moved south.

During the month of September we broke a few records.  The number of lock miles in a day and the number of hours travelled in a day.  We have done 224 lock miles that month.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On our way up

We stopped near the Saltisford Arm for a few days. Brod came up to visit and stayed a night. The Saltisford Canal Centre is much improved and provided a secure park for his car.

When Brod had left we decended the two locks going through Warwick and Leamington Spa. Five miles on we start the climb at Fosse locks. By now we were joined by another boat with a happy crew.
 Having got past the staircase locks at Bascote we stopped near bridge 27.

Long Itchington

Next day while the sun continued to shine we progressed up to Stockton Top lock. We had waited a while at the bottom for another boat to join us. Then we saw Hadar going down to Saltisford.
The boat that had joined us is to be sold at Braunston. Arabella was unusual in that it was driven by an electric motor. The 240v ac power was generated by a diesel engine purring quietly below the boards. A true Diesel Electric system. A small bank of domestic batteries provided the usual 12 v power while an inverter converted the dc to ac mains power when the engine was not running.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Going down Hatton

We set off after breakfast to stop at the top lock for water, elsan and rubbish disposal. Four boats passed in quick succession and went down two by two as you should.
The Cafe at the top

But when we were ready to go down there was no other boat to join us. Two boats eventually started down but by then we were three locks down. It was quite a struggle with these huge double locks so we usually only used the paddle and gate on one side.
Ugly bridge with decoration

The boats and crew soon caught us up and started to help us. It took us four hours to get to the bottom  the twenty one locks. We found a mooring near the Satisford Arm. Thankfully all done during a dry day.

The Saltisford Canal Centre is much improved with new facilities but almost full of boats. Beyond our mooring the canal edge is all concrete with nothing to tie to if you want to stop.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lapworth, Kingswod and Hatton

We got diesel and gas at Swallow Cruisers before moving down the Lapworth locks. 

Partway down volunteers started to help us.

It was a cool damp day with the sun trying to brighten up the sky.

The volunteers were happy to get us down fifteen locks. By then we had had enough and made tea for two of our helpers.

Next day we travelled down some more locks to Kingswood Junction.

We joined the Grand Union canal that seemed like a motorway being wide and deep. But then the trees closed in and reduced the width.

Yet another tunnel to pass through before getting to the Hatton flight.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fish n Chips

We continued to Hockley Heath, last visited back in 2010.  The shop was closed but potatoes were being delivered and later, cooking oil!  After shopping we got the fish n chips!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

After the locks, tunnels!

We have gone through Tardebigge and Shortwood tunnel and stopped at Hopwood for the night. Then it was on through Wast Hill tunnel, all on the Worcester & Birmingham canal. They were all wide enough to pass boats going the other way despite this being a narrow canal. Only one boat in front and behind going the same way.

It was not long before we turned right at Kings Norton and on to the northern end of the Stratford canal and through yet another tunnel. We got quite depressed with the damp dark conditions and when it actually rained we stopped.

Ann made hot soup while I setup the TV and lit the fire.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


It took another day to get to Stoke Pound at the bottom lock. A very good friend had offered to help us up the next thirty locks. Colin arrived after breakfast and after refreshments we set off at ten.
We were extremely lucky to find most locks empty for us. A boat was following so we opened a paddle to empty the lock once we had gone up.
Progress was rapid to say the least. We got to the top in three hours, an average of ten locks an hour or one every six minutes. 

Colin stayed a while as we discussed our future plans and news of a previous life while consuming Ann's home made soup.

Thank you Colin, we did well and enjoyed you visit.  He then cycled back down to his car at Stoke Pound and drove home.


The Droitwich canal is one of two halves. The southern section is the barge canal with wide locks and the northern section is the Junction canal with new narrow locks.

Another salt town is Droitwich but this one was lucky enough to have a brine spring.
On a walk about we found Vine Park where Molly could run about.

The M5 crosses over north of Droitwich and although quite high the tunnel is very low for boats. One boat is known to have got stuck when the next lock up was emptied, raising the water level! With much removed from our roof we rushed through at speed.

The building of the motorway paid for the restoration of the canal so why did they make the tunnel so low?

There are six locks to get up to Hanbury Wharf at the junction with the Worcester & Birmingham canal. We met Jim at the local pub for a drink and chat. He is the brother of a previous neighbour of ours.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A nine to five trip

We got to Stourport and did some shopping.
Then had a look round the basins. The river Severn was low and slow ready for our trip down.

We set off at nine to go down into the basin for water and elsan dump before doing the four locks down to the river.

A narrowboat called Brief Encounter followed us down to the first lock. As it turned out the crew intended to head the same way as us.

There is just nowhere to stop on the river and after the second lock we soon found the Droitwich canal entrance.

A convenient landing stage enabled both boats to stop and operate the wide Hawford lock. There was already one smart motor boat in the lock but the owner had lost his windlass and was waiting for help. We managed to get both our boats in and went up. 

The locks are all wide up to Droitwich because of the salt barges that used to travel down to the river.

But the canal is now narrowed by reeds although quite deep enough.

Each lock had a new landing stage.
All eight wide locks were completed and a few miles on we found the secure visitor moorings by five o'clock! 30 lock miles in one day is a record for us.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Forgotten canal?

As we travel down this canal we enjoy its beauty forgotten by us since we came this way ten years ago. What wonderful days in sunshine with other boaters helping at the locks.

Down we go through the tree lined canal into the valley and on to Worcestershire.

Down past the sandstone cuttings.

We went shopping in Kinver.

Debdale lock with its horse cave cut into the sandstone.

Then it was on past Kidderminster.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Heading down to Stourport

The river Severn is 294 feet lower than the canal here at Autherley. We have only once been this way in 2003. So often, over the years, we turned north here.

The engine coughed and spluttered on startup but soon ran OK. We called in to Oxley Marine near the junction to have the fuel line and tank cleaned out. The water trap was dirty with grit but not the dreaded bug. Some had got to the fuel filter which stopped it there. A certain amount of dirty fuel was sucked out of the tank. Having replaced the filter and with fresh diesel in the tank the engine ran smoothly again.

I do not know where the grit or dirty fuel came from. Is there a case for the diesel suppliers to ensure clean fuel is put in our tanks. High turnover suppliers should be safer.
Going down the locks

Monday, September 02, 2013

A trip off the boat

I went off on my own from Gailey on a bus n train to Fareham. When the train arrived at Stafford the doors opened but I could not get in. There were so many people with their luggage blocking the entrance! I was obliged to stand for an hour once I had got in. At each station some got off but yet more got on. Roll on more track and rolling stock.

I went to see my brother for his 70 th birthday party. A gathering of friends at the Pig followed by a picnic in the New Forest.

Lunch at Zizzi
I stayed with Brod in his pad at Gosport and enjoyed rediscovering some of our old haunts. A chance to sample life on land and boy, was it buzzing over in Pompy and Southsea.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Our waterways need respect and support

What is it about 'summer' boaters?  Why are they in such a hurry?

One such boater actually tried to enter a lock on the Caen Hill flight without first opening the gate and knocked it off its hinges!  See Narrowboatworld.

Needless to say the Kennet & Avon canal is now closed at Devises.  I do hope that the boater in question is fined a suitable amount for preventing other boaters navigating through those locks, up or down.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


We thought that we would be lonely after leaving Great Haywood! John & Jean keep track of us using this Blog. Just like we do tracking our friends on boats.
They came by bike from Little Onn. No, they do not have a boat but a motor home. That is another way to explore the countryside.  Thanks for coming over.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

We moved!

Great Haywood had much to offer us. A week away with the boat in the marina, a trip to Rugeley and back, off to Tixel to meet Seyella, and a bus ride to Stafford. 

All this while waiting for appointments with dentist, doctor and a nurse!

We are on our own now having had a meal together with Carol from Rock n Roll one evening before departure.

We left behind the calm waters of the Trent flowing past the ancient pack horse bridge.

Tesco delivered again, we filled our water tank and emptied the cassette one more time.

Then we were off turning onto the Stafs and Worc canal. A sunny trip to above Depmore lock before it rained. Then moved on again next day to Park Gate. A significant distance at last.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Staying too long?

Have we stayed too long?
We are not covered by the Triffids yet.  But it won't be long now before we CAN get away!

Been adding more pictures taken over the last few years to our web site at moore2life.

Monday, August 19, 2013

While we wait

For post n medicals we say farewell to our friends Geoff n Margaret.  Carol came to see them off as well.
Geoff has done an amassing job with the painting and the new colours are great.

The day before Geoff n Margaret invited us round for Sunday lunch. Thank you both, missing you already.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

We have a plan

Ann wants to do the Droitwich canal.  To get there we hope to go down the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal.  We have only been down to Stourport once before.  If the River Severn is in flood we will have to go back through Birmingham.

But first there are medicals and vet appointments!

Friday, August 09, 2013

Back on board

Our way of life on board has been made uncertain when our tenants left our bungalow. A while ago we went back to see it the day they left. Oh what a mess! It is difficult to understand how some people live or survive in such conditions. It was so bad that we cannot get another tenant in till it is cleaned and repainted. Even our agents were shocked to see it.

Our agents have been so helpful organising cleaners and decorators in to carry out the work. Needless to say the previous tenants will pay for the damage by loosing their deposit.

Once the work is completed including new carpets we are assured that another tenant will be found. At the end of the day it may well have cost us 3 months rent! Despite the set back we must keep looking forward to better times.

Just like when we got our first boat at Aynho we had to keep looking forward to our new future on board. By the way that first boat 'Moor To Life' is for sale at Much has been changed in side since we sold it many years ago.

While the boat stayed in the marina we left the fridge on knowing that our solar panels would keep it going. Sure enough the batteries were fully charged when we returned.

We have booked visits to the medical centre and dentist, restocked from the Tesco van and moved out of Great Haywood heading for Rugeley. We return to Great Haywood later for those appointments.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Going home

We are waiting for a train at Great Haywood. There is a railway near the marina but the train won't stop for us! We will just have to leave the boat in the marina and get a taxi to Stafford. The train stops there on the way south.

We are obliged to sort out a few problems back home. Home is where we live, be it on the boat or where we were before living on Moore 2 Life.

While sorting out the problems we can both enjoy being entertained by our grand children - two young boys and their pets.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Red or White ?

Just like that 100 year war all those years ago about the colour of roses, we are now in a dispute over the colour of diesel. The Europeans are not happy with us. Were they ever?

They wanted us to pay more for the red diesel that we use for moving our boat. That we are doing. We have to work out the proportion we used to move and what we used for heating and power. Red diesel is usually only heating oil so we are paying the full 'road' price for moving the boat. How silly is that!

Now they want us to use white diesel and pay the full tax on all of it in our tank. It was suggested that we had separate tanks for red and white so we could still use the red for heating. How silly is that! The suppliers on the cut do not make much on selling the stuff so would not have a separate tank put in.

Our engines do not really like the red stuff and may well run better using the white diesel. The engine may well use less of it because it would be better quality.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A short walk

It was  cooler on Saturday afternoon so we explored the country lanes from bridge 86.  One way took us down to a river where Molly enjoyed a swim.
The other way got us through a narrow track that opened up to see this village pond at Burston.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Parting company

It was back in March that we joined up with Seyella at Gt Haywood.  At that time No Problem was heading south and we north.

Our journey with Geoff and Margaret turned out to be a voyage of adventure and discovery.  We had set off together in snow and parted in a heat wave.  We had got all the way to Manchester via the Macclesfield and Peak Forest canals, meeting Rock n Roll on the way.
We parted at the top of Stone on the Trent n Mersey.  We moved on down through the locks with the help of Geoff and CRT volunteers and were lucky to find a space to moor.  It had been so hot that day that we simply stopped all activity for several hours in the afternoon.
We went shopping in Stone early next day.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Over the hill

We had stopped at Church Lawton and walked a path guided by Ann's magic map on her phone.  It made us jump when suddenly the Church bells rang a peal just behind a hedge.  The church was so close but unseen behind that hedge and the sound was so loud.  Bell ringing practice is usually on a Thursday. A cool evening walk down to a stream in the woods and back up to the canal.

Well after all that heat it was a treat to get into the tunnel to cool off and have a shower as we went through.  We all stopped at Westport lake and sat out with chairs and a table enjoying cups of tea from Geoff n Margaret and eating Ann's freshly made sponge cake.

After a walk round the lake we moved on to Etruria and decided to moor on the Caldon canal just before the lock.  It was quieter with a large patch of mowed grass to sit out in.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Going up the hill

It is slow progresses we head up the hill towards Stoke. We are only moving about every other day because the tennis at Wimbledon just has to be seen. Oh such joy to see Andy Murray win all those matches and the final. 

We stayed near Wheelock after topping up with water and loosing the unwanted. Then there was that day when we stayed put and put the white sheets outside the windows to keep cool.

Next day we made a run for it early to get up six locks while the day was young and cool. It has been a while since we have been this way so we noticed that many of the single pairs of locks are back in operation.

Just like at Hillmorton on the Oxford canal we have a choice of which lock to use. But here they are deeper. The six locks got us up 80 feet!

Another early start got us up to Rode Heath.
An Orchid hanging on the lock gate.