Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Took up Residence??

Still at Trent Lock !    ….. And I am still loving being here.   We think we will probably go week after next when the children are back at school as we might go down the Soar and through Leicester.

Three day “Rock Festival” here at the Steamboat pub over the August Bank Holiday ---- and they had some very good bands/singers which we could hear of course very well from our boat!    Started around 11 am each day but did finish at 10 pm every night so we weren’t disturbed at all.    Pity the weather was dull and a bit dismal some of the time but, eh, those who did attend seemed to enjoy it all.

We’ve had my mum, niece and nephew for the day again last week and last night, my brother and Mand with the children came for dinner which was lovely.    Had a good night Sunday on Paul and Kate’s boat who are also moored up here at Kingfishers for a while doing various jobs.

Dai painted the floor of the gas locker today and got stuck in it with his feet poking out of the top - only trouble was that I didn’t know cos he didn’t shout as he knew I would dive out with the camera and snap away!!     He did get enough momentum going to get a grip to haul himself out.    I asked him to do a re-construction but sadly was refused!!

Been gorging on beef yet again this week.     Brilliant mobile butcher van on Long Eaton market Saturdays - so cheap and great quality ----- making the most of the beef, gammon, sausage, pork and bacon and bread from Birds Bakers.    While we been here Dai has suspended his bread making --- just because it makes a change.

Jars of damson jam made ready for toast for breakfast in the winter ---- only time we have toast as it’s done on the fire because we don’t have a toaster ---”uses too much battery” !!

Dai has succumbed and bought an ipod ---- we have mostly different taste in music so very very rarely use the stereo, so I now have the task of transferring all Dai’s Cds (zillions of them, good job he’s got 160 gb on his ipod).    Stereo given to my 6 year old niece and the Cd wallets will go in storage under our bed when I’m done.

Since last blog we have done …  0 miles and  0 locks
Total since Setting Off ….. 1421 miles and  1165 locks  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Funky Dragon

We are still moored at Trent Lock !    Got a few bitsy-bodsy jobs to do, so we going to be here at least till next Wednesday --- maybe longer.    Not that I mind cos it’s nice being able to see family and friends.    Dai getting a bit wanderlust ---- of course the most we’ve stayed in one place before here is when we were iced in for 7 weeks last winter.

Jan who is based at Trent Lock (Jan Deuchar, Boat Sign Writer and Artist)  has painted a “funky dragon” over the back doors of the boat and it looks great - see what you think from photos below!

Met up with old friends Archie and Jackie last Saturday for a few pints at the Steamboat pub here at Trent Lock so it was good to see them, and Dai visited his old workplace to catch up with the chaps there.

Our neighbours where we are moored who live in a houseboat gave us a big bucket full of damsons this morning so guess what I’m doing over next few days ----- just hoping I’ve got enough empty jars!    We haven’t quite used up all the blackberry jam made last year but are on the last jar of damson so very timely.

Still waiting for a daylong day of glorious sunshine to get the solar array working at top whack ---- lots of sunshine this week but not all day long.  

Since last blog we have done …  0 miles and  0 locks
Total since Setting Off ….. 1421 miles and  1165 locks

the solar array

Trent Lock

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Solar Array Up and Working

Lots happened this last week but not cruising wise!      

1.   Bottom blacking done
2.   Solar array fitted - 3 x 100 panels which tilt ---- since then we haven’t had a really sunny daylong day but power going in nevertheless so very pleased and can’t wait for a really good sunshiney day!    For the techies among you ---- in the last 4 days its put 191 amp hours into the batteries and cut engine running time down from 1.5-2 hours a day to 30 minutes.    Will let you know what happens in brilliant sunshine!    Mick’s made a really good job of fitting - main cable brought through  the roof via a IP roof box, nice and tidy.
3.  New TV ariel fitted - a status 530 digital antenna system - through the overlap lip in the cratch.   Again, a really neat job by Mick.    Before it went up we couldn’t get any reception here with our high gain ariel and now have hundreds of watchable channels (well, watchable in the sense of perfect reception, not what programmes are on!!).   Again, will let you know how we get on with reception in other places where before it was zero.
4.   Dai has built a platform for the roof for logs so they don’t have to be laid directly on the roof from decking and - at long last - a platform for the cruiser stern so that I can see over the top of the boat.   (Oh no, he might expect me to start steering now!)

Been able to meet up with Amy a couple of times this week; met up with my mum and niece Millie for a canalside walk and picnic; been picking wild cooking apples and blackberries, so lots of fruit pie and crumble!    Dai’s done a bit of fishing inbetween his jobs.

Met the couple for a pint who are having their new boat “The Cat’s Whiskers” fitted out by John and Mick starting September as they came down to the boatyard to go over a few things.     

More bits and bods to do next week so we’ll be sticking around here for them.

Since last blog we have done …  0 miles and  0 locks
Total since Setting Off ….. 1421 miles and  1165 locks  

No photos this week - been too busy but I will take some for next week.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Blacking of Bottom

Now sitting in the dry dock at Kingfisher Narrow boats (who built Jandai) at Trent Lock, right at start of Erewash Canal as you turn off River Trent.    We came in Monday and will be out Friday with a bright shiney black bottom!     Also having solar panels fitted which should go on Thursday.    Going to stick around here for a couple of weeks - catching up with friends and family.   Must admit, don’t like living in the dry dock - dark and gloomy.   Tell you what, thank goodness it isn’t wintertime!

Since last blog we have done …  12 miles and  8 locks
Total since Setting Off ….. 1421 miles and  1165 locks 
before power washing - so the ducks did
a good job of keeping the weed down !

water blasting

getting down to it

ready now for blacking

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy Man with Windlass

----- that was Dai on Monday as he worked the lock outside the Mucky Duck at Fradley Junction for 5 hours non-stop!!    We were moored there and the boats started coming up from the IWA Festival at Burton on Trent.    They started about 6.30 am and then were constant until around 3 pm when it started to tail off a bit.    Lots of working boats with butties as well as the other narrow boats - it was utter chaos.  He just loved it!!    Normally of course I do the locks so he was glad to have the chance to get some practice in!  
Must admit going through Fradley is not my favourite as it’s always a bit of a bottleneck - in fact, once it took us 5 hours to do the five locks there!    
So this last week we have carried on our way to Trent Lock coming through Gailey, Great Haywood, Armitage, Fradley, Burton and tonight we are moored at Willington.    The weather’s been super - hot and sunny although today we had a 3 minute burst of heavy rain!!   

I refilled my roof tub with new flowers from the nursery just up the road from Gailey Lock as we could also get more compost there and the 2nd batch of lettuce is now pickable - it’s grown like mad these last couple of weeks.

Foxxie managed a couple of swims while we were moored outside Shrugborough Hall at Gt Haywood as the river there is crystal clear and very accessible for her.    But she couldn’t go in Branston Lake just north of Burton as the water was really low and covered in blue algae - she was crying when we wouldn’t let her go in there!

Had a very nice Italian meal at The Bridge at bridge 34 at Branston last night.   The place has changed hands since we were last there but they have carried on doing just Italian food same as the previous owners.

Since last blog we have done …  52 miles and  26 locks
Total since Setting Off ….. 1409 miles and  1157 locks  

Every time Dai chucked a bunch of dandelions into the field,
the cows ran (so I missed getting them in the shot!)
and then scrapped over who was munching them!

good place to get took short !   Millions of loos!

uh oh --- better take Dai another cup of tea -
he's slacking at the lock!

and yet more working boats waiting for the lock

President and her butty Kildare going into the lock

President up the lock and waiting for Kildare coming up