Sunday, 27 March 2011

Willington to Branston (and back)


A fuller story of our trip to Branston Water Park.

Weather was ok but not as good as had been during the week, typical.

We popped up to the boat at 9 am for a 10 am appointment to see some layout options, Johanna was at rowing practice.  We had a look around a couple of Aqua hire boats, now they are luxury quality, no question.  We are happy with the adjustable layout with elements on castors, affording the ability to create two singles or a double and have a lounge/dining area.

After dropping my wife and daughter number two, Sarah, off at the boat, I went back to Nottingham to pick up Johanna.


So with Johanna on board we were away, about 11.30.  Weather was getting better, slowly.  a bit chilly but nothing compared to recent months.  Quite a few people out and about too.  So the piccies of the event, concentrating mainly on the boats we met


Going through Willington


Nothing special but the temperature never, ever, got above 80c.  this is exactly what i wanted for Lola – by the way county Brook is still the name appearing on the side, I hope to change this soon.



A picture of a house, but no ordinary house – look at the roof, an observatory.




I like Dabblers paintwork


Spring is sprunging, and there is Vics boat at Eggington


the bridge at Eggington, home to Soda, and Lindola





This is Rook, another nice looking boat



This picture, also recently taken by Denny (Granny Buttons) is a s much a message for dog owners as it is boat owners





This is Tig, and small she is, no more than 15 ft I guess



The lovely display at Burton


This is us locking on Saturday, Johanna was feeling no picture worthy.  Saturday night, The Bridge Inn at Branston.  food was nice but my Calzone not as good as last time.  I like a Calzone with seafood, the one I got was a folded, doughy pizza.  Never mind, I will be clearer next time I order.  Branston was really quite quiet, moorings easy to come by.

Clocks forward, and I woke at 7am new time, up at 8, breakfast to my crew done by 9am and off we went back to Willington.  A tad chilly at first, but by the time we got back to Willington, about 12.30, the sun was trying to get out.

Nothing remarkable about the trip?  Well the boat behaved perfectly.  Not a thing went wrong unlike a Canaltime boat whose rudder was off its bottom bearing after catching a huge log coming out of  Drunken Lock (Dallow Lane to most).

The usual smattering of Anglers, some giving a nod others with better things to think of I guess.

Next trip is in a fortnight when we load the boat for the two week break, just clothes really and a water fill up etc. but I want a flying start when our holidays begin, possibly getting to Branston, we shall see.


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Location:Waterside Rd,Burton upon Trent,United Kingdom

Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Bridge Inn, Branston

We are in the Bridge Inn, totally fab!

Me being young again

Girls like it here

Back to Willington tomorrow

Trip photos tomorrow too

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Location:Lichfield Rd,,United Kingdom

Friday, 25 March 2011

Yes Prime minister

Shh am at theatre royal Nottingham just about to lock - kick off lol, I hear CEO of BW has a star part!

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Location:Shakespeare St,Nottingham,United Kingdom

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Searching for a new home for Lola

The time has come to look for a new home for Lola so we can explore a different part of the system.

12 months is enough in one place for us.  I have considered many so far
Sawley, Shardlow, Shobnall, Beeston, Nottingham, Aston, Pilings Lock, Kings Bromley.  The latter is the favourite at present but we do have to go around the Leicestershire Ring so plenty of time yet.  Such a change having an easy time finding a mooring, time was you needed the mooring before you thought about buying a boat.

The key is a maximum hour from home, but that still gives plenty of options.  We could go as far as Northampton to the south or Huddersfield to the north.  Whats more important is that the Marina is quiet and safe. Mooring on the cut is not an option for us.  The price of moorings seems to be between 1800 and 2500 with various incentives.  Ideally, a cruising club with shoreline power would be great, but these seem difficult to source, any suggestions would be most welcome.

As we went to Kings Bromley we stopped by Willington to do the bilge check etc, all ok.

One thing is unlikely to change and that is using Aqua for our maintenance (at Willington), they are a class apart.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Ups and downs of boat ownership


Being on the water
Quiet (usually)
Nice people
Nearly always accessible - even in ice
Many excellent canalside pubs


Odd idiot
Floating Bar (really?)
Not being able to go whenever if working - the biggy

The latter is my biggest frustration.  Today as an example, reasonable weather made me wonder about what it would be like on the water, from my desk.  Sadly, there is not much I can do about this unless we win the lottery or my wife's new business takes off, neither are likely but I am more fortunate than many.

The joy?  of boating is, to me, having a new back garden as we travel or every night. The problem is even weekends are limited so far as getting away is concerned.  Still, we have some holidays during Easter and we will get away then and explore some new marinas as possible candidates for next year, after that its pinch a weekend time mixed with rowing practice which really cuts into how far we can go including travel to the boat.  I am thinking about somewhere on the GU, past Leicester, any recommendations much appreciated.

All this said, I know of no other hobby/way of life which appeals to me more, I hope you agree to.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

A bit of tidying up

Decided to tidy boat up for our next adventure - Leicestershire Ring.

I was surprised how much wood bits I found under our bed, loads of it.  Then again, not surprising given previous owner was liveaboard.

We also removed all non essential stuff, paint, varnish sanding blocks, empty grease tins, etc.

Then it was time to sort out the seven or so windlasses.  I then searched for the mooring pins, alas not found till the missus found em hiding behind the anchor.

Must have off-loaded a good weight.

boat was still sitting down a tad at the back but when the woodwork to sort the lounge out is done, that will be the time to off-load some ballast and lift her a little so the uxter plate is a little higher, only a couple of inches though.

The accumulator should be replaced next week and soon after new deck boards.  I had better review the insurance given the improvements.

Not much else to say, all else looks ok.  Next cruise is not until 26th when we will pop up to Branston for an overnighter so we can go to the Bridge Inn for dinner and I can have one of their wonderful Calzones.  This weekend was too busy with taking kids to Science Museum etc.  Thinking about it I have now travelled to and from London on Friday (work) and Saturday and I have to go again tomorrow!  Even worse I have to go to Kew so its long tube trip.  Ah well mustn't grumble

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Not a good day - not a good next day either

We left Wyvern marine on the Erewash at about 11.30 on Saturdayt and it was a nice, mizzly day.  The new external skin tank keeping temp just below 80 - excellent.  We popped along the Erewash to Trent Lock and up the Trent, just look at the wash!

 Thence to Sawley no 2 lock, the electric one.  Here I am at the leccie locks

Sawley Cut

The Clock Warehouse, Shardlow

Next to the Clock Warehouse

The boat museum thingy at The Clock

Sarah and me at Shardlow Lock

  Then it was up the Sawley cut and out at Sawley No 1 back onto the Trent.  from there we moved up to the derwent Lock and back onto the Trent and Mersey without a problem.  It was a lovely trip as far as Weston lock.

Into the lock, bit of reverse, BANG Metallic noise almost. Engine fine but no drive.  Quick look below, centre flex coupling in two, separate bits - broken at the rubber bit and a slightly bent propeller, very slightly so it's still easily usable.  Looks like summit stuck in the prop stopping the shaft but not the engine side hence the coupling being buggered.  Rang RCR, turned up in 30 mins.  The RCR guy was superb.  He took the old coupling off, took me to Midland Chandlers where a new 1 1/2 inch coupling was purchased.   Back to the boat and it was fitted and done.  All in 1 1/2 hours, now that's service for you.  I do wonder what level RCR I need next year as the only drive bit not replaced is the propeller - so far!

We stayed at Weston overnight and next morning made our way back to Willington by about 12 noon.

Still Shardlow

Stenson Lock

The missus in Stensons, not a nice lock
Stensons lock is a pig.  Even if going up and the lock is set in your favour, you need to open the paddles because the up gate is soo leaky, just look!

The new centreflex with a twist, it now has a "get you home" adjustment if it breaks, cept it does
not do reverse when in emergency mode

Cleared the boat, switched on the land line to trickle the batteries, went to the car, put it in reverse and the car seemed a little odd.  Never mind we headed out of Mercia, then we noticed rubber burning smell and loads smoke.  Stopped and found that the off side spring had broken, embedding itself into the interior of the tyre wall hence the burning smell.  I did not want the girls to wait too long so I dispatched the Missus and kids home, thanks to our neighbour driving to Willington to pick em up - cheers Angus.  Now then, RAC called and they appeared about an hour later, car was put onto the ickle lifty thing and  away we went to our garage. 

And the cost for all of this, about £500!  250 for the coupling and 250 for the car, that's life but it is sometimes a bugger.  ah well, the car could have gone whilst on the motorway so alls well that ends well - if not a little empty in the pocket area.  So I need to be on me bike to work tomorrow so the missus can drive to work in my car whilst the other one is mended.

Now can anyone beat that for a weekend saga!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Watching the Welders

I had to collect the keys and pay for the external skin tank and blacking, so I popped down today and also took a few piccies.  The boat in front is from willington and is having a new baseplate.

The marina is very small and navigating is an art, which i am getting much better at.

If you want fabrication done, its got to be Paul Barber at

So, tomorrow we take her back to willington, over two days though so a nice easy tootle along we hope.