Friday, November 13, 2009

Summer 2009 Crusing

Hello Everyone
Long time no see ! I haven't been keeping this blog up-to-day I know - life just seems so busy what with full time work, Jandai, the allotment and all those boring everyday things you have to do. So I'm going to devote some time now to tell you what we've been doing over the summer on the canals.
We've been spending some weekends either at the marina or out on the canal, but I'm not going to bore you with those ...... just our longer holidays during the summer.

Fri June 26-Sun July 12
17 days
miles: 259
locks: 155
liftbridges: 15
canals: T and M;  Staffs and Worcs; Shroppie; Llangollen

- longest time ever on a narrowboat for us
- glorious weather, loads of sun and only 2 "iffy" days
- no significant queues anywhere
- Dai's birthday while we were away
- waking up to birdsong every morning
- Janice wore shorts whole holiday
- Ponty Aquaduct
- Welsh sheep spotting by Dai
- some excellent Real Ale and food
- no laptop/phone/Blackberry for 17 days

well, there are no real "lows" on a narrowboat holiday, but here's a few things which weren't so good !
- Foxxie Dog decided to chase a rabbit sitting on canal bank - trouble was we were crusing down the Llangollen and she was on back of boat and can't jump 12' from a standing start! Dog Rescue Plan activated! Result - one embarrassed soaking wet dog and 2 wet owners from the shaking.
- horseflies love Janice (hate Dai) - I looked like I'd got the lurgy, couldn't stick a pin in my legs for huge festering bites!
- no restaurant in Llangollen with Welsh lamb on the menu (but the lamb we bought from the butchers was well nice)
- bashing the boat in every lock going up the Audlem Flight
- despite buying a satellite system before we left, we never actually got a satellite picture (now solved by the nice Sat Man)
- Hoggies bought in Llangollen were just sad giant cornish pasties

Fri Aug 28 - Sun Sept 6

10 days
miles: 132
locks: 91
liftbridges: 6
canals: T and M; Caldon

We decided to do the Caldon as we kept hearing this was a lovely canal.    Yes, it is a lovely canal but not as lovely as we expected - our overall impression was the Leek Arm was delightful but the Uttoxeter Arm was so shallow and we kept scraping the bottom.   However, none of this detracted from a great holiday.
Part of the Shroppie was closed for repairs so we did meet a lot more boats on this trip on the T and M and consequently more queuing at locks.    Weather was mixture of sun/showers/cloud/thunderstorms.
Couldn't get thru Froghall Tunnel as Jandai too high.

We really have to change our mindset when out cruising now.   Before Jandai we hired narrowboats and used to have long days.    Now, there is no need for long days!


Fri Sept 18 - Sun Sept 27

10 days
miles: 135
locks: 47
liftbridges: 0
canals: T and M; Coventry; Ashby

We really loved this trip - I was really surprised how nice the Coventry Canal is and the Ashby is lovely.
- another week off work!
- weather a bonus with lots of sunshine
- Huddlesford Junction on Coventy Canal Festival with lots of fantastic boats (yes, we managed to squeeze through without hitting another boat)
- man on allotment in Nuneaton threw us a bag of potatoes

our next holiday is over Christmas and New Year - not sure when when we are leaving (probably Boxing Day) and returning to Marina on Jan 3

Friday, May 1, 2009

First Holiday !

                                                                   home for the evening
                                                   after a hard day on the locks!
                                                Yes, Cap't Dai scratched it on first holiday !

                                                         Hard work this guarding the boat !

So, we had our first holiday on Jandai over the Easter Week - 10 days!    Fantastic!   Is it Retirement Day yet??

Set out Thurs April 9 after work and arrived back Sunday April 19.     Travelled from Trent Lock (Long Eaton, Nottm) up T & M to Caldon Canal, to Leek Arm where it crosses over the Uttoxeter Arm and then back with a slight detour to Harecastle Tunnel to wind and moor that night by West Port Lake on outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent.

Total of 145 miles; 104 locks; 6 lift bridges

Impressions and thoughts:
  • want to retire and continuously cruise NOW !
  • Jandai is a fab narrowboat - built and fitted to excellent standard
  • only bit of journey didn't particularly like was through Stoke-on-Trent 
  • Dai loves his bow thruster
  • can't get good telly reception everywhere
  • lots of good beer on route
  • had a great evening when some of Dai's family joined us
  • Fradley is a nightmare
  • will do rest of Caldon Canal sometime - beautiful canal once in the countryside
  • Janice needs a step ladder to get into bed !
  • Foxxie needs an extra step to get up stern steps !
  • don't bother with a flat hose - had to abandon, need to get a proper one!
  • sawing wood gives you a good appetite and thirst for beer !

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

more photos !

One Man and his Boat and his Dog ! Dai and Foxxie on "maiden voyage" April 5, 2009

Handover Day ! April 1, 2009 - pour the champers Dai

Monday, April 6, 2009

Jandai is ours !!

Yes !!
As from April 1, Jandai is our narrowboat ! We are so thrilled with her. We want to thank John and Mick Day of Kingfisher Narrowboats - handover day was exactly the day we agreed back in August 2008 and the price was exactly what we agreed - I don't know how rare that is, but from talking to other narrowboat owners - it is rare ! The quality of fitting out is exactly one of the reasons we chose Kingfisher and working with John and Mick has been a real pleasure. We would recommend without hesitation anyone looking for a company to fit out their narrowboat to talk to John and Mick (see their website link on our front page). We are also thrilled with the signwriting and our Welsh Dragons artwork done by Jan Deuchar (also based at Trent Lock).

We had our maiden voyage this last weekend. Left Trent Lock (where Kingfisher are based) Saturday morning April 4; up the River Trent to Sawley and onwards to Willington where we stayed the night. Turned Sunday morning and retraced the journey back to Trent Lock. Absolutely no problems - except that our dog Foxxie couldn't climb the back steps which are, I must admit, steep, so we had to manhandle her up (how undignified for her!!). So we all working now on a solution to this !! Dai loves how the boat handles and responds and the bow thruster is now his best friend!! I keep having to wander through, admiring the fitout and how fantastic she looks. I came back with a list of more things we need - but knew that would be inevitable, so more shopping this week!

We are going out again this Thursday evening (April 9) for the Easter holidays as we have time off work until Monday April 20. Ten whole days!! We think we are going to do the Black Country Ring.

No more photos this time as they are still on the camera needing to be downloaded, but will do this and then post. Look out for the Welsh Dragons !!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Big Day Almost Here !!!

opphs - I know, I am not keeping this blog up-to-date. Life is just so hectic right now.

April 1 is the Big Day !! The day we get possession of our new narrowboat! Only 2 more days to go! Yesterday we took her out for first time so we could see how she handles - and although we were only out about an hour, it was a dream!

John and Mick have last finishings-off to do. I collect the upholstry and curtains on Tuesday. We have been spending money like water these last few weeks, to equip her and think we only now have to get potato peeler, scissors, loo brush and slippers for Dai, oh and a new bed for Foxxie Dog, oh and a clock, oh - I bet we will have forgotten something else! Sorted out insurance yesterday, John getting the license. We plan to go out for our first weekend next Sat and Sun and then going out Good Friday for 10 days! Thinking of doing the Black Country Ring. And we have booked a mooring at Mercia Marina at Willington (Derbyshire) from May 1.

We saw her fully painted for first time yesterday and she looks brilliant. Black, grey and red - just signwriting and a red Welsh dragon being painted on each side between the portholes tomorrow/Tuesday. We are just so excited and now the time is almost here, it doesn't seem like 6 months since we signed the contract to have her built and fitted out.

John and Mick of Kingfisher Narrowboats have kept totally to target and encouraged us to visit every week which we have been able to do as we only live about 10 miles from Trent Lock.

Here's some more pictures and my next posting will see us as owners of Jandai !!!! I promise I will post later this coming week !!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Lot Has Happened !

Haven't updated since Nov with one thing or another (nothing to do with the narrowboat I hasten to add). Just busy at work, then Christmas/New Year and we spent a week in Scotland which was lovely .... then busy back at work! So, lots of progress as you'll see from the pictures. We are still delighted with our builders John and Mick and haven't had even a minor falling out ..... yet! Don't think we will as we seem to reach agreements/compromises quite easily. We have been going to the boatyard every Friday evening (well, Dai has, I have to miss some weeks because of work) and are made very welcome to see latest progress. All work is still on target. Major decision last week was paint colours and design - we have gone for black with a mid-grey panels (x 3 each side) and a bright red coachline. Roof will be grey.
So, where are we at? All electrics, plumbing and all those technie things in, so they have now started on the "furniture" fitting. Shower and loo in (we made decision early not to have a sink in bathroom - design is walk thru, next to kitchen. So we decided to use the space a sink would take with storage/freezer in bathroom - will just have to use the kitchen sink instead!). Radiators in, various cupboards in bedroom and bathroom in various stages of completion, floor down in bathroom. Kitchen fit started. I know all those "behind the scenes" technical stuff is very important but I can't get too excited about that - leave that part to Dai ! I am much more interested in the "furniture", flooring, curtains, upholstry, lighting, table etc etc !

So, here's an update in photos and I'll try not to leave next update quite so long next time!