Monday, 30 May 2011

A trip to Crick and a visit to the puppies

Well, a busy weekend it has been.

Our first visit to Crick (Sunday) was very interesting.  We got there quite early so parking was easy.  The site is well managed, no extra charges for parking.  Wee jazz band playing as we parted with our wonga to get our wrist bands, and no rain.

I was very impressed with the layout, the little terriers with their red bandanna's made me laugh.  We headed off to look at the engines first passing the water purifier guys selling at £180.  Had a quick chat at Canaline stand where I learnt that a complete engine manual could be obtained if I went through Aqua, which I shall do.

The boats were all on display showing their finery.  I said hello to Justin from aqua who had brought Tom Kitten with them, she did look very sleek.  Looked over a couple of other boats and got asked twice by a nice Irish man if I wanted to buy a gardner engine.  My girls got some ices cream and I avoided the burger and chips.  Saw Phil Speight, advertising Craftmaster paints.

A few piccies of the event

I just love the sign-writing

The girls and their ice creams

All in all a nice event and I will return next year.  Looking forward to IWA at Burton next.

Now, some pictures of the puppies

We are lucky to get first choice and have decided on one of the three girls as we may want to breed in a year or two.

So in four weeks we choose and four weeks later we collect.  Hopefully 23rd of July will be collect day.  We can then arrange first vaccination and the second, depending on drugs used these are either done in stages or as one injection, something to discuss with the vet.  After that its lead control, training classes and then a slow move to her running.  The advice is to hold back on running her until she is 18 months old, we shall see.  Lola is a family dog and I need to make a decision on indoor sleeping or out, whichever, she will be in a crate.

No allotmenting as the rain makes it a messy event.  Next week I will get the Genny down and secure the shed as well as taking the water butt down.  The water is hand pumped from a natural well so we will pump to the holding tank and then use my water pump to transfer to the water butt, thus saving time and energy when using it.

Next boaty weekend is 11th June, probably up to Branston.  Late July will be lounge rebuild time, leaving the last weekend in July - 30th and 31st to move her to Kings Bromley, I do hope they will accept her a day early, else I will stay with her until the Monday morning.

Lola, the dog (not the boat of the same name) will go on her first boat holiday on 20th August, either a week or two depending on how we feel.  May need to change plans given the new business.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

The Aborted Trip and Allotment and new Puppies

Went to the boat yesterday and stayed overnight.  We decided to leave early because the wind and rain suggested no moving.  Also, we are getting a little bored doing the same trip every weekend we go away.  Down the doubles past Stenson is a pain given Stenson Lock is a bugger, going west we see the same route we have used many a time.  The move to Kings Bromley seems well timed.

The other reason was we have, after two years waiting, got our allotment.  Only a quarter is usable as the rest needs a bit of weeding.  We (I) went today and sprayed the area with a good weed killer and to also plan how we are going to get the most from it. The greenhouse at home will be moved to the allotment, which is ideal because the puppies arrived yesterday

So where the greenhouse is will become the dogs poo area, once trained.  Life is moving in the direction of travel I like, boat, dog, allotment.

Lets hope the weekend after next is an improvement, we may be more disposed to trip out if the weather is better.  As I said, once moved I think we will be happy guys because we have so many options.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Deck Boards

Went up to the boat today, had to ring ahead because I had forgot the keys.

Anyway, the new boards are fitted, just a wee issue of one not sitting level.  I intend to solve this using silicon and possibly cut hose, should be easy to level up if one takes ones time, famous last words!

They look ok and the insulation is keeping sound to a bear minimum, most sound output is now coming from within the boat, so with the back doors closed and the hatch pulled to its nigh on silent.  I knew I could not achieve perfection but I can deal with the inside reasonably easily.

Caught up with Lyndon from Aqua and had a bare two minutes chat as he was wokring hard doing their hire fleet turnaround.

One other job added to my list, the need to replace some of the window insulation, anti vibration, time to look at the chandlers site.

So off next weekend somewhere, probably Branston as I mentioned in an earlier post.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

New Deck boards

Ok, the latest.

New deck boards with sound insulation have now been ordered.  As we have a cruiser stern this has not come cheap.  Money needs to be watched carefully after this but most of the biggy jobs are done, just the lounge in July and the Bathroom sometime later.  Popped up to the boat last weekend but was to busy to blog, just as well really cos not much to say, just checked out batteries and bilges and removed some bits needed for home.

The deck boards rattled as we potted along so I am hoping something can also be done to help resolve this, rubber or some such under the t frame (which is under the deck boards and is removable) should do it.

As usual, Aqua are doing the work, their quotes (and I do test them) are reasonable for the quality they turn out.  They are not cheap (deck boards with good insulation) and I got a wee surprise when the quote appeared but when you split it out they are actually very competitive.

Hopefully, when I go to visit Saturday there will be a visible improvement and superior sound insulation.  now I know some like to hear the hum of the engine, I am not a traditionalist (yet) and I like a quiet engine room.  Now the informed will say keep away from the missus and the kids - that's just not fair!  But seriously, the ability to cruise talk, and be heard, particularly hearing passing boaters will improve quality of relaxation.

Summer holidays seem to comprise of the usual weekends away - will be nice having a new cruising base at Kings Bromley, supported by the mandatory week or so with the puppy - due in 11 days time!

The question is where do we go?  The Coventry for peaceful trips and for more energetic perhaps towards Stoke or back towards Branston to our current favourite Italian food at the Bridge Inn (see earlier posts)

Am getting back into this rowing malarkey and am contemplating a bit of sculling over the summer, when time permits.

Weekend after next (bank holiday weekend) will be a trip to Branston and then return in time for the street party - we have them every few months.

My exploits into photography continues but it must take its place between dads taxi and the boat and the rowing and the cycling and the work and the gardening and the visiting and the decorating (well maybe not the latter) and the ...........

Ok , that's my catch up, boring as it may seem, done. 

Saturday, 14 May 2011

A quick visit

Popped ot the boat today to:-

See if it is still there!
Get my boat fix
Drop a couple of bits off
Check anti rust work

Bit windy and cold today.  Whilst I would like to make the most of the boat whenever, we need a couple of weekends at home so the girls can keep up with homework and can chill in their rooms/play with their friends and we can do some gardening and cleaning and stuff.  So, boaty weekend May bank holiday - probably up to Branston Meal at the Bridge Inn and home next day if the weather is set fair.

Got the RCR renewal today and have decided to pay the gold again even though its £50 more this year, because they now include parts within the deal.  Given the recent centreflex issue, the dues would have paid off. 

Insurance must be due soon to so I will need to reflect on cover.  Bills Bills Bills!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Varnishing and such like

Short message

We went to the boat yesterday and did some minor works.  Varnishing two window frames, more to be done.  We (I more like) then cleaned around the chimney, a classic area for rust.  I needed to remove paint and surface rust having treated the area with rust inhibitor last week.  Then the aweful but very useful Hammerite went on  This stuff does the job but is a bugger to get off brushes etc.  So we now await a warm weekend free of rain forecast so we can undercoat the lid (roof) of our tin can.  I am going to do 2 coats in a day (I hope), one early am and another mid pm.  The following day will be the first top coat, followed a week later we hope, by the next top coat.

The sides will then follow later in the year.  I have decided a little at a time is the best way, ensuring we can still enjoy the boat.

Dog News

The puppies will be born in three weeks so we can expect our Labrador puppy to be with us end of July.  We are already preparing, getting the shed ready as the puppy will be expected to live in the back garden during the short periods we will be out.  With 6 weeks school holidays we should get the initial crate training well underway.  The garage conversion to shed like is well underway so the big shed (it is very big) will serve as a day shelter giving the dog the run of the enclosed garden.  Puppy training is organised as is dog obedience classes.  We want the dog to know its place but still be happy.  boat prepping is easy, we only need one child gate at present on the front.  By the time puppy is big enough to join me at the tiller the pram cover will be in place, thus securing the cruiser deck.

The Cratch and cover should be fitted in August shortly after the interior conversion.  That should signal the end of the major works programme.

The move to Kings Bromley is still being planned but I hope Angus will be avail to assist in the 8 hour journey.  I expect we will move to Fradley on  Saturday, overnighting just above Shadehouse lock and popping down t pub for a few beers.  Then Sunday a wee trip to Kings Bromley.  It is going to be really nice to have a new touring base.  Stensons lock and Dallow Lane are getting boring.  Whats good is that the Bridge Inn is only 4 hours boating away and being from a different direction the view on the way will be interesting.  Being at Kings Bromley will provide the launch pad for a number of outings. 

The summer holiday has not yet been planned but I am keen on repeating the 4 Counties Ring as the last time we were hiring and the need to "do" the holiday within the time frame takes a little gloss off the journey.  Having said that we might just try Cheshire or wander down to Birmingham, who know?  I don't!

Time to consult Canal Planner me thinks.