Sunday, March 29, 2015

A good week out

We got back to Cropredy on Friday and the weather has been good for us during our trip.  As we all know it was a very windy weekend.  We moved into the marina on Saturday before it got too difficult and topped up the diesel tank with 80 litres for £62.  That was 'zero rated' during the winter but next month it goes up to 60/40!

It was a bit of a challenge with the wind in the exposed marina but we used it to advantage to get next to our pontoon.  It is no good fighting against that wind!  Once tied up the aerial was set up and chimney extended.  Then it rained so we had timed our arrival well.

We got some 'Blue' for our Elsan in its taller container.  To avoid the Chinese copies.  They have a lot to answer for because the bottle does not fit under the shelf!

Tip of the week:-  Grease your cratch cover zips with Vaseline, it makes them so much easier.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Testing times

Before setting off I managed to wash down the other side and roof before it got damp.

We got the engine going, then the washing M/c.  Just to prove that we are not just fair weather movers we set off.  Above Bourton Lock the level was a bit low and we continued but picked up a thick plastic bag round the prop.  Thanks to Sue for suggesting getting those rubber gloves.

The shallow un dredged pound made it difficult to get the boat round the corners.  We stopped at the top of Slat Mill lock, lit the fire and hung out the washing.  By now the sun was helping to dry it all.

We had subscribed to Netflix and hoped that our streaming problems did not spoil the movie.  Logged on but before we could watch it they wanted me to download Silverlight.  So much better with no pauses.  I have just had to pay a bit extra to EE because I have used my allowance!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

We have turned

Got down through Banbury lock, stopped near the Tramway moorings and went to Morrissons.
Just waiting for a boat to come up.

The Sovereign diesel supplier has closed.  It is a good job Dusty is still working hard with his supply boat full of diesel, coal and gas.  We passed him doing his business on our way back.

A boater told us that the pound above Bourton Lock is a bit low so we have stopped just below it.  TV and fire on at four.  Several boats have gone on up.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A walk in the park

Next day we moved on down to Banbury.  While Ann went shopping I set about washing down the roof and one side.  It had got into a terrible dirty state during that year off. When we turn to go back I suppose I will have to do the other side!

When Ann returned and after a snack lunch we went for that walk in the sunshine.
 I tried to row this thing but did not get very far!
And spring is here.

We got back just before it rained and watched 'Catch up' on 4OD.  Wanted to watch Pru and Timothy do the London canal.  Having our 4GEE dongle is all very well but 'streaming' video is still a bit stop and go.  I think pausing helps to reduce the long wait while the circle rotates.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A short cruise

Well we moved the boat at last!  Took a while to get away.  All these things to do before untying from the pontoon.  Washing machine going on mains power so we waited for that to finish.  Empty the bucket, fill the tank, open the sliding hatch, lift the fenders, start the engine. It started first time!  Hang on, remove the chimney, oh and the TV aerial.  Are we ready to move now?

We did all of five lock miles and stopped just past Bourton Lock 27.  Done three locks all with help from other boaters on the move and it was sunny.  Are we going to be fair weather boaters from now on?  Now we have to put the chimney and the TV aerial up again!  Oh good we got a picture.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A tour of the canals

We relied on 'Tommy' to get us to Bugbrooke, Braunston and back to Cropredy.  It was strange for us to see these familiar places once found by boat and now by car.

At Bugbrooke we met Mike Looby to talk about painting the boat in Heyford Fields Marina this year.  We had drawn and coloured in pictures to show him what we would like.  He showed us some colour charts and we made our choices.  No fixed date as yet but hopefully July.

Then it was off to Braunston for the shop and butcher.  Both still there including the Post Office.  The little cafe run by volunteers provided refreshments.  We got a new map book at the Marina and visited Jane and Bob Moore.  They used to have a boat called 'Hobo'.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The 2015 Eclipse

OK I cheat!   Credit: ESA/Proba-2.
We did not quite get the full on Eclipse at Cropredy but at least it was not cloudy!

A trip by car and boat

Sue n Vic on No Problem are heading down to the river Nene.  We were only a half hour drive away by car so off we go to Rothersthorp to help.  'Tommy' did the navigation for us once the post code from Sue was entered.  Robert, Kevin and his mum Sheila had started setting up the locks as we arrived.
We all met at bridge 4 and helped them down.  Kevin had gone on down to fill the locks ahead so Ann went down to join him.  Despite the cool cloudy day we kept warm with the activity.   As the boat passed we could smell the soup made by Vic, promised to revive us all near the bottom of the flight.
Once passed under the M1 we got on board as the locks were further apart.  Refreshments were taken inside the warm boat after getting through lock 15.  Then it was just two more locks down to the river.
Thanks to Robert who arranged the lift back up to the top.  We both enjoyed being able to rejoin the boating community if only for a short time.  Having two homes and getting away helps to break habits!
Back in 1999 we watched a solar eclipse when we were living in our bungalow.  I remember the street lights coming on!  That was before we set off on our adventures on the inland waterways.  Now we are back on board for holidays and experienced another eclipse!  I made a pin hole projector and saw the moon cover the sun.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


We are in the marina and this is what we see through the galley window

And this is one of the spiders. The bathroom window is the only one open when we left.  But the spider is trapped by the fly net.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Back to the boat

It took a few hours to get up to Cropredy.  Monday was busy on the road with lorries and cars heading north on the A34.  When we arrived at the marina we grabbed a wheel barrow and unloaded the car into the boat.
It actually did not take long to wake up the boat systems.  The batteries had been kept full by the solar panels.  The water tank had been left nearly empty so after popping in a chlorine tablet we pumped the water out through the taps before filling it with fresh water.  Gas on and kettle boiling for that refreshing  cup of tea.
The boat was cool n dry when we arrived.  Just pressed the button to warm up the radiators and the boiler started up even after that year we were away.  The windows started to show the condensation once we started living on board.  After packing away food and clothing we lit the diesel fire to dry and warm the boat as it cooled outside.
We had brushed out the spiders, made the bed and put in a hot water bottle.  By now we were knackered!  For some reason a different set of muscles are used on a boat!  Got the aerial back on the roof and turned on the TV, by now we had plugged into the shore power.
 This is my new 4GEE My WiFi dongle.
 Next day we walked round  to the shop in Cropredy. We are not as fit as we were! But it was good to get back to the towpath.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Our Tom Tom did the navigation to Hungerford and we got there in just over the hour.  We met our friends for a walk along the Kennet and Avon canal.  It was a sunny but cold day with that Siberian wind.
I had searched on Google for a local pub and found 'The Downgate' in Park Street not far from the station. We could park the car near the common just by the pub. David and Janet welcomed us in and we all had a wonderful meal together.  Molly was welcome as well.  It was a lucky find.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Don' tempt Providence

But we plan to get back to the boat soon.  Seems that the more you really want to do some thing fate gets in the way.  Now it is sort of farewell gatherings with family and friends before we can get away!  I seem to be almost stuck in the 'office' sorting out problems with finance, medicals and keeping in touch.

So many things to think about.  What do we take back to the boat for the 'summer' months?  Part time boating is so different to living permanently on board.   I guess we will get used to it once we have got there.

I have invested in a 4GEE dongle so I can have WIFI where ever I go.  It is almost faster than the BT Hub!  BT keep on pestering me to upgrade to 'Infinity' but the fibre line terminates some way from the property.  We would still have copper wire to the phone/hub inside!  How can that be faster?  The fibre line would be better all the way into the building.

We realise that it is still cold in the evenings.  Our bungalow keeps us warm and cosy.  After a wonderfully sunny day out in the garden it was freezing when we let Molly out that evening!  So we will take warm clothing when we go this time!