Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Out of the Black Hole!

“No crimes to report from over the long weekend, although there was a bit of an issue with one boater in Kinver yesterday who was trying to get everyone to move their boats to allow him to 'park' his boat in between. 
Officers attended and all those present were spoken with and the late-arriver-boater was advised to park further up. All was sorted in the end.
(P.S. Do you 'park' a narrowboat'?)”
Copied from Staffordshire Canal Watch Post on Face book ---- bit of canal rage?!

Out of the Black Hole last Friday ---- thank goodness.    It’s a necessary evil being in the dry dock but doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it!!    We are still at Trent Lock at River Trent end of the Erewash canal as the weevils obviously aren’t very hungry and we are still stuck in the multiplying water fern carpet!!     Ha ha, not really although we were told that an entry on Canalworld Forum said it was not possible to go up the Erewash because of the Azolla weed spread !  We are still here for a couple of weeks as we visit family and friends in the area and have more necessary appointments to attend.    John and Mick of Kingfisher Narrowboats are really good letting us stay on one of their moorings so we are off the towpath and the mad cyclists - there seem to be more than a fair share of them here because the towpath is very well maintained and hard surfaced.

Had many visitors this last week ::::
Amy’s fiance’s parents and sister came on Saturday and we had a reasonable meal at the Steamboat pub which has been re-opened now about 3 weeks.
My mum and neice Millie came for a picnic with Amy.
Fred and Lisa arrived with pressies for Foxxie - Lisa has knitted her a blanket and pillow which was so very kind and thoughtful as Foxxie does like going to sleep snuggled up with her head higher than her body for some reason!

We went to Colwick Park Sunday for Amy and Andy’s “daytime” engagement celebrations (we are two old fogies who couldn’t possibly manage the evening pub crawl around Nottingham).    There was a BBQ and live music (Andy is in a local rock band) but unfortunately we had to leave before the swimming in the lake commenced ----- although Foxxie found the water to be very much to her liking!

Bad rain here today and no boats at all spotted cruising by on the canal although there have been a few on the River Trent.

Since last blog we have done … 0 miles and 0 locks  
Total since Setting Off ….. 1958 miles and  1588 locks  

mmmm ---- comfie
Foxxie enjoying her new cushion knitted by Lisa
Amy and Andy at their waterside engagement celebration

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I need a long lie down before my waterski-ing lessons begin !!

spot the difference (not counting one is shinier than the other!)
yes, New Prop is bigger!!   it's 18/12 replacing the 17/10
... and here it is in situ

We’ve had a very exciting week with so much happening I am quite exhausted!!

Been in Kingfishers Dry Dock since Monday lunchtime and come out Friday ---- several jobs to do while we are in
1.   Bottom blacking
2.   Fitting of THE new propeller
3.   Found a tiny leak on the diesel tank which is now mended
4.   Fitting of a plate on the weed hatch.    Most boats come with one but for some reason Piper shells don’t so we’ve now had that rectified.
5.   Dai’s Girlie Button is now fixed too ----- its been k-nacked for about 6 months or so and could only be fixed in dry dock so he decided he could wait until now for the yearly blacking.    Simple job to do once they could see the problem.    Something must have hit the bow thruster prop and busted a fixing so Mick just had to get the old off and put a new on and hey presto - back in business
6.   A guard type thing welded across the bow thruster ends to stop what happened from happening again!

So, yes, the New Prop duly arrived from Crowthers Marine in Oldham on the agreed delivery date - their help and guidance has been first class.   I am now duly looking forward to going waterski-ing when we get out onto the River Trent …….

My daughter Amy has got engaged to Andy - I am really delighted and now have to decide whether peach, apricot or powder blue suits me best …..!!!!

Dai celebrated his 60th birthday again at the weekend with my family ---- BBQ in the drizzle under the gazebo at my brother and sister-in-law’s and a Very Good Time was had by all ……

New specs on order for us both ---- well, we expected to have to cough up when we made the optician appointments and at least because we are staying around here for a few more weeks, we are in the one place to sort it out.

The Green Carpet is still very much in evidence here at Trent Lock --- those weevils put in the canal to gobble it up obviously aren’t that hungry

Since last blog we have done … 0 miles and 0 locks  
Total since Setting Off ….. 1958 miles and  1588 locks
not enough there to feed me, never mind rest of them!
one sausage or two ??
Think the men folk have gone to raid the beer fridge Mand!
at least it wasn't dark this time when Ian and Irene went past us!!
This steam launch was built in the 1930's and the engine in the 1890s

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

We’ve heard of the Red Carpet

…….. Well, the Green Carpet is out on the Erewash Canal !!    Just like last year when we were here, the green water fern is covering the canal and I’m now going to be dead cheeky and pinch the following from our friends Irene and Ian’s blog  nbfreespirit who are moored just a boat away …..

 the dreaded Azolla Weed. There is an interesting article  on the BBC news which you may be of interest on how the environment agency are trying to eradicate it. W have also heard on the grapevine that 2000 weevils had been introduced further up this canal and as these weevils are the only thing that has any effect on the Azolla, we live in hope that they will soon be chomping their way through the plant otherwise the stuff will soon be in every waterway in the UK. ( It has already shown its appearance at Sawley and that's upstream from us!!! It only needs a few plants to have stuck to the hull or fenders for the plant to start spreading.)   

I went out to take some photos to post on here but it’s just started slinging it down (in fact, I am having to write the blog by candlelight as it’s so so dark!!)  So, again, going to pinch a photo or two from Ian and Irene (owe you a pint guys!!).    Oh no, not needed to as Dai has battled the elements so you can see OUR pix below!!!    

We have come up here ready to go into kingfishernarrowboats dry dock for a bottom blacking.   Are planning to hang around here for about 4 weeks to see family; friends; opticians, vets, etc etc.   Amy and Andy fly back to Thailand on Sept 12 so we will resume our travels after then ---- oh dear, need to start thinking about where to go for the winter once the Stoppage Lists have been studied.

So this last week we have cruised slowly from Willington stopping for a day or two at Weston and Shardlow --- through the broad locks starting at Stenson (where the bottom gates never seem to fully open) and ending at Derwentmouth Lock where I had fun and games earlier today running round like a mad woman cos no matter what tricks I tried, both bottom gates would not keep closed while I filled the lock!   Luckily another narrow boat appeared so with their help and Dai mooring up, we did manage it eventually!  Then there was no lock-keeper at the electronic lock at Sawley ---- I am sure there was last year during the summer months.   Irene and Ian told me later he is only there at weekends.     It is an easy lock to work as you just follow the written instructions on the operation box and press buttons as you work through the phases but it is a devil getting on and off as you enter the river.

For those of you (men) who Dai has discussed propellors with for the past year ----- well, the new bigger one is being cast as we speak and should arrive next week when we are in dry dock so I’ll be sure to let you see photos of it!!    This is about as exciting for me as watching paint dry (or blacking bitumen as I will be next week) but Dai is VERY excited about it.

Since last blog we have done … 13 miles and 8 locks  
Total since Setting Off ….. 1958 miles and  1588 locks  

errr - what's so funny Dai???
Shipwreck at Derwentmouth Lock
It was probably the owner jumping back onto the boat.
I nearly cripple myself everytime I have to do it !
At the cross"roads" of Trent and Derwent Rivers on T & M
Which way?   Which Way?
OK - we'll go onto the Erewash canal then
Foxxie says "woof woof" (roughly translated as "I agree"
"Dogs are part of the canals too "sign by Trent Lock Services.
Yes, the canal is under that weed somewhere
on the Erewash Canal by Trent Lock
This gives you an idea of just how thick and "solid" the
Azolla Weed is on the Erewash Canal

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why do Boats feel the need to be on the move at 6 am??!!

Hippee - a lovely day of sunshine but not scorching hot!!    We are moored just past Mercia Marina at Willington pointing north.    After leaving Branston we next moored at Willington village having just been lucky enough to get a spot there as a boat left just as we finished watering-up.     It is always busy here but we’ve always managed to get a place but, if that boat hadn’t had gone when it did, then we’d have been hard pressed this time!

Had a good night in the Dragon on Sunday with Ian and Irene off NB Free spirit washing down the pints and wine while catching up since we last saw them in Birmingham a few months ago.    Mind you - don’t moor in same direction as they’re going at the moment cos they pass you at 6 am in the morning so they can moor up again before the Olympics start again ….. Both are avid viewers!!!     We have watched some of it and thought the Opening Ceremony was fabulous and looking forward to the Closing this Sunday.

Fred and Lisa came to see us on Monday and we had such an exciting day.    First a car ride and then trip round the huge Asda at Sinfin Derby ------ such an outing is a rarity so we made the most of it by filling their boot with boxes and bags (just a few hours then to find holes to fit in all into cupboards!!).


Since last blog we have done … 8 miles and 2 locks  
Total since Setting Off ….. 1945 miles and  1580 locks  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Good Fish Dinner

Left Whittingham on the Coventry Canal last Thursday and managed to find a slot at Fradley which was a bit unexpected as the sun was shining and there are several hireboat companies a bit further down the Trent and Mersey and also several marinas so especially at this time of the year, it‘s a bit tight.    

Met fellow bloggers Doug and James from NB Chance and spent a pleasant time chatting.  It’s always good to meet new blogger friends as, somehow, you “trust” what they say on their blogs more once you know them ---- things like good pubs and places to eat.

Only spent one night at Fradley as we wanted to get down to Alrewas early Friday as this is always a very popular place.     We managed to get on the only wide bit of canal on a 14 day mooring which was just as well ----- old friends came down Saturday for a long-standing arrangement to go out for the evening to catch up ---- and by the time they arrived, there were no mooring spots at all but they were able to breast up with us.

Had a very nice dinner at the George and Dragon in Alrewas - lots of fish dishes which made a change as so often there is only “fish and chips” and ten to one the fish is frozen (badly).

On Sunday we had an unexpected visitor - from Dai’s past who he hasn’t seen for a number of years so Dai and John were able to catch up.

We are now at Branston Water close to Burton-on-Trent.

Since last blog we have done … 12 miles and 9 locks  
Total since Setting Off ….. 1937 miles and  1578 locks