Monday, 31 December 2012

An Aweful Cold

Struck down with two colds, one immediately after the other.  I do not do colds very well, my asthma elevates the impact and leaves me weak, with a hacking cough and temperature madness.

Still, it could be worse and I should keep that in mind.  I was going to a party tonight, just over the road at Prof Howdles but I have decided to keep my cold to myself and not infect anyone else.  This will make tonight boring as family will be going with me goggle box watching, but we must put in an appearance.

Waiting for the leak to the skin tank to be fixed so no boating for a week or two which is a bit of a shame as Daughter No. 1 has not been able to row for a while given the rising of the Trent, leaving opportunity for more boaty.

I have also decided to have the calorifier connected to power (it has an element in it) and am waiting for a quote and how it will be connected.  We only need it when on shoreline as this removes the need to run the engine for domestic hot water but I need advice on this as I am thinking about getting a couple of radiators fitted which will feed from the calorifier.  The Morso is great but does not get the rear of the boat warm and this is where our fixed double is.  Lots to think about.

Monday, 24 December 2012

A night on the water

And a bit bobbly too!  Removing some ballast has certainly caused Lola to roll a wee bit, but only a wee bit.  I agree now she had too much ballast.  However, I do think that we could put some weight into the bow to create an even better trim.  We shall see.

A hidden inspection area has also been created.  Believe me its very well hidden.

Now a lesson learnt well.  I recall Justin from Aqua advising that, as a minimum, I check three things before I start the engine:-

1.  Check the Oil

2.  Check the Belts (two alternators)

3.  Check the anti - freeze (water)

Now, this is wise advice.  I checked the anti-freeze and guess what?  the expansion chamber was empty.  There is only one thing, the water does not disappear.  It has to go somewhere.  I refilled and ran the engine.  this morning I checked the chamber - empty.  OK lets investigate.  It was quite easy.  When the ballast was being moved/removed the pipe from the skin tank must have been knocked as there was water in the cabin bilge (the bilge is always bone dry).  This can happen to anyone but now you see (if you have not previously) the importance of checking the three!  The leaky bits will be sorted soon and the water in the bilge removed.  sorry no photos, plain forgot.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

4 Inches!

So we got the back lifted by 4 inches after we moved ballast from further up the boat but still in the last section.  Lets hope its worth it eh?

Next jobs will be done when weather is better.  Slowly but surely we are modernising her to our taste.  Some say we could have bought a newer boat, true, but not as much fun and this way we get what we want.  I am already thinking about connecting the calorifier up and adding a couple of radiators but no rush as we are not live aboard and we tend not to boat in winter.

Off to her tomorrow so we can have a night in the land of peace.  Compared to the house that is.  damn cats giving it what for in the middle of the night on top of our shed.

Tonight its tasting night.  We have a very friendly cul de sac and three households, including ours, make various alcoholic beverages ranging from white wine to strawberry vodka and damson gin, the damsons from our tree.  So we will be sharing our wares until we can share no more.  It also doubles as an eating event too, even though we are only doing snacks.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Ballast out, Ballast in

Richard, as instructed, proceeded to remove the ballast.

A call from Richard and he advises that the ballast once removed, makes the boat unstable but still does not lift the stern by what we wanted.  So we conclude that the weight of the new engine alone is causing the trim to align in such a way as a permanement feature.  We very rarely have problems because of it so we now live with this as the norm.  Next jobs are the galvanic isolator, replacing the gas regulator and removing the rust from under the gunwale.

Hope to be at the boat next weekend but we shall see.

Saturday, 8 December 2012


So been to boat and did the usual, from our perspective that is.

Taps drained, shower flushed out, water pump off.

Thats it for us.  I do not fill the diesel or drain the calorifier.  Touch wood, no issues so far.

The Marina looked good and the sunshine was lovely.  I nearly decided to stay over but we have  much work to do fitting a new bathroom in the house, its bath fitting time today so back home we went.

Richard is going to start removing the ballast from NB Lola on Monday.  I am looking forward to seeing a much better trim to the boat once thats done.  Perhaps a little less cavitation and better handling too.

I have many more years to work but the day I am finished I will be on the boat for some long haul continuous crusing.  I reckon I should finish in April, giving me a nice long period to get to the Kennet and Avon and back up to the Lancaster before a trip along the Leeds Liverpool and the Huddersfield Narrow.  After that it will selling the houes and buying a  cottage near , or on, the canal where we can sit out the winter and do jobs on Lola.  I was asked if I would buy a new boat, I am not sure.  NB Lola is really comfortable and is built the way we would wish. 

I suppose we would make some alterations.  One would be to have a fixed genny fitted in the engine ole.  this would allow creature comforts.  I would also have central heating fitted, actually I might do that next year anyway.  A warm boat first thing in the morning would be lovely.

Anyhow, back to my horrible cough, the product of a cold.  As I am asthmatic, I always end up with a deep hacking cough for a few weeks

Bye for now

Sunday, 25 November 2012

What a night to pop over to the boat!

Wow,  so that was windy and wet, not wet and windy as windy certainly did come first.  Wet came later and the marina was quite flooded on one corner.  I decided to put a little extra into the ropes in case we get a water level increase but it seemed ok.  Sleep was intermittent because of the wind but not too bad.  I have never been on the boat in such wind (on the canal anyway), we were bobbing about like nobodys business. 

The purpose of the visit was to chill, and chill I did, weather or not.  The marina was, as usual, very full, with only the odd space, strangely one right next to us.

The roads around were also quite flooded.  last night we decided to try the local pub.  When we got there we were advised that they could only do a limited range as their gas was off.  How strange.  We choose pizzas as they had a pizza oven.  Wish I had not bothered.  All 4 of us agreed that the food was appalling and the service was dire.  It took 45 minutes for the pizza to turn up and the place was near empty.  The staff never once checked on us and made no comment when they saw how much was left on our plates and my girls do not waste their food - nor do I for that matter and I left my plate half full.  So Royal Oak Kings Bromley, we shall not be returning unless this was an unusual event and others recommend we try again.  For boaters, the pub is not that close to the cut.

Next trip to the boat is unknown butI am having more work done to her by Richard Sherratt so I will probably visit her after/during this period.  As I have mentioned previosly, I have high regard for Richard, a very good engineer and boat all rounder.  The work is to remove 2cwt in ballast because the new engine causes her to sit very low in the stern, not dangerously so but low enough.  Other jobs include fitting a galvanic isolator and replacing the gas regulator.  Other work is also being planned but this will be for the new year, if not later.


Sunday, 11 November 2012

A meander to Attenborough

When not on the boat we live quite close to Attenborough Nature Reserve.

We decided, as the weather was so lovely this morning to take dog Lola to the nature reserve. As she is a fox red Labrador, water calls her.  So when we arrived it was let me at it.

Some lovely colours.  I used a medium density graduated hoya filter.  Mrs D tends not to be bothered by such things, you can see the difference.

see, no filter

Sarah and Lola

A rare shot including me

Bit of experimenting with light

Ubiquitous Swan

Mrs D, Sarah and Dog Lola

Beeston Lock

The picture here is Anaconda, the Dragon boat on an outing from its base next to Nottingham Rowing Club

Looking east from Beeston Lock, quite busy again

Another lovely morning.  Lola got soaked a number of times and had to be washed when we got her home.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Work on Lola for 2013

A few jobs are needed ready for the 2013 season - which is not far away now!
We need to remove about 2cwt of ballast such that the uxter plate is level with water line and the rudder is just showing.  I guess lifting the boat at the stern about 2-3 inches.  Creating an inspection hatch when repairing the floor – this should make replacing the floor easier I hope!  this is needed because the new engine is much heavier and the trim of the boat is not as I would wish.

Its time to replace the gas regulator and secure the gas bottle inside the bow locker, the latter ready for the BSS which is due next year.  

Fit Sterling pro save 30ampGalvanic Isolator.  when we took her out of the water recently there was evidence of very minor electrolysis on the baseplate, so the isolator may assist keeping that down.  

Angle grinding underneath the gunwale all the way around until it is clear and back to metal, applying vactan, applying some hammerite direct to metal .  this was recommended by Paul Barber and really does need doing. 

Replace the bathroom.  something we want to do next year.  This leaves us needing to refresh the kitchen and then our bedroom.  Ideally, I also want to fit a couple of sliding doors to provide more privacy.
Move the pump out connection location.  This is important as we have narrow gunwales and the pump out is unusually located on the side of the boat.  I want to look at moving this to the top of the boat subject to us not losing too much on suction capability.

Hoping to go to the boat soon just for a night on board and to retrieve the BSS manual so I can start my tick off process.

Strange, whenever I think of the boat I relax.  I wonder why -not.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Back from the Erewash to Kings Bromley

We left Wyvern Marine on the Erewash at about 1.30 pm and motored to Weston.  Weather was fine but you could tell it was turning.  Following day was quite  a long journey to Branston Water Park which we reached at 4.30 pm, no real delays.  Quite a few Hire A Canal Boat boats were moving from Sawley to Chirk.  We ate at the Bridge Inn, lovely as usual and then to bed early as I was pretty tired.  Off we went from Branston at 9 am and arrived back in Kings Bromley around 2pm.  A pump out and some bit and pieces and that was it for this years cruising.  No idea yet about next year but whatever it will be enjoyable.  Our first trip out should be Easter 2013 which are first two weeks in April.  I guess we might take a week out, possibly two.

I have been taking a keen learning interest in the restoration plans for the Hatherton and Lichfield Canals.  Very interesting and a useful addition whenever they finish, could be a few years yet.  Much like the Derby which links from Swarkestone on the T and M to near Sandiacre on the Erewash.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Blacked Boat and more

Paul Barber blacked the boat and did a superb job.  OK it sticking bitumen onto steel and bitumen.  However, its blacked and then stays out of the water for 48 hours - as it should.  I do know of yards which slip the boats back in earlier than that and the blacking has not cured properly.

 This shot is interesting to us in that the cup got damaged in August and had actually split.  I had guessed it was dodgy and asked Paul to look at it.  Without another word he replaced it at no extra cost.  as you can see from the picture alls well.  the prop looked OK too.  I was going to measure it but I get the go and stop I need so why look for more expense?

This is where the external tank is.  as good as new and does the job.  I was please that the anodes looked so good too.  a sign of good blacking as there is nothing to cause corrosion so they do not break down much

This was Paul main report.  Because the boat had not been externally welded, some do not do this.  I do not see why myself.  Anyhow, I need to get to the angle grinder and grind all this off then vactan and seal

This shot shows the ring was bent back at some point.  Do not see need to fix it so its stays as is.

I also popped over to Beeston Chandlery and bought some new centre line rope.  I use double so I do not need to swap it over when the toe path changes sides.  I decided to buy some nice looking red white and blue three stranded stuff.  Should last a couple of years.

So at 1pm its back up the Erewash to the Trent and then onwards to the Trent and Mersey and King's Bromley.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Steel check done, and there's more

So, Paul Barber checked the steel, not a survey, just a steel mans check so its no more than a visual check.  This I like to do regularly as it provides peace of mind.  Paul has also done a check of the prop and skeg as well as an anode check and has also applied 2 coats of Rylards (Rytex I think) blacking.

Expensive?  No, damn good value for money in my book.  Ask him for a quote.

Nuff said on that.

NB Lola can now be returned from whence she came, Kings Bromley.  I currently plan to take her back (after she has cured) on Thursday at 2pm, motoring for 4 hours then overnight somewhere east of Swarkstone.  Friday morning it will be off to Branston Water park and the Bridge Inn (best book a table me thinks).  Following which Saturday will be back to the Marina, returning home via the car left up there Saturday mid pm.

The its occasional visits till next season and another April to October weekend and school holiday set of breaks until she goes back to Paul for blacking again.  I prefer every 12 months as this deals with the seasons abuse, no er use.  However, after the painting we will black her to the gunwhales once prepped, using Rylard Premium as this coat is thicker at the points of most abuse, oops there we go again, use!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Job done

So we have finished part 1.  The trip from the Clock Warehouse to the Erewash was very foggy.  Not mist, fog.  When we got to Derwent mouth Lock it was very foggy.  We shared the lock with an Aqua Narrowboats hire boat, they are really good quality boats.  When we got onto the Trent I was not so sure that we would continue but as we knew the river and it was dead flat, we decided to light up and move on, the Aqua boat led, which was fine by me.  When we got to Sawley it was doubtful that we would join the Trent again on the other side but with the Aqua crew we decided to push on through the hydraulic lock and back onto the Trent, tooting the horn every now and then because of the fog.  this wasa good plan as a rowing pair appeared, aware of us due to the sound of the horn.  They gave way to allow us to turn left against the stream and into the Erewash at Trent Lock.  Textbook turn but the water flow was surprising.  From there it was a gongoozled entry through the lock and a short journey to wyvern Marine where she is now moored for the steel inspection and if possible, blacking.  The boatyard looked very full with boats waitign work so I am not sure we will get her back for Friday.  If not I will get her blacked near Kings Bromley, any recommendations appreciated.

A few piccies of the journey

Just before the Clock warehouse


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Nearly there!

So, we left Kings Bromley at 4:10pm yesterday and found a prime spot near the SwN at Fradley for the evening.

Up at 7:30 we tootled along to the clock warehouse in shardlow to 5:45 pm, superb day with no lock delays! Amazing huh?

Tomorrow it's on to the Trent then the Erewash to drop the boat off.

What a day, really enjoyable.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Not quite a dilemma

The boat moves tomorrow to the Erewash for a steel inspection and blacking.

The near dilemma is the blacking takes two days to go on and two days to go off, so to speak.  I just hope the weather is kind to us.  If it is not we will need to make a decision as the stoppages start on 5th november for us and go on until 23rd November then again from 26th november.  Wish us luck!

Stoppage: Alrewas Lock 12
    05 - 23 Nov 2012
Associated Regional Office: Central Shires Waterways
Reline and refit bottom lock gates and undertake repairs to by-wash

Stoppage: Junction Lock 17

05 - 23 Nov 2012

Associated Regional Office: Central Shires Waterways
Reline / refit bottom gates and undertake brickwork in lock chamber

Stoppage: Swarkestone Lock 5

05 - 16 Nov 2012
Associated Regional Office: Central Shires Waterways
Reline top and bottom gates
26 Nov 2012 - 14 Dec 2012
Associated Regional Office: Central Shires Waterways
repair top gate cill and undertake brickwork repairs at Barton Lock 10. Reline and refit bottom gates at Tattenhill Lock 9.

The towpath is also closed

A bit tight eh.  Not too worried as we will just have to make do.  Unfortunately I am stuffed with work at the moment so taking time off will be a tad difficult.  I suppose we could move her up north near to swarkstone and then hop to Fradley, bit of a mare though.

I reckon if the weather is poo we will have to cancel the blacking and make good our escape and have that done further up the line nearer to Kings Bromley

Exciting huh!  Well not for you but it is for me.  tomorrow is going to be a bit of a rush too.  3:20 pick up kids.  4:20 onto the cut.  6:10 moore where we can. then its away on Saturday at 07:00 and see how far we get.  That makes our escape ok for the weekend after as we could easily get her back Saturday and Sunday subject to no stoppages.  So perhaps more time if we do not get more of that wet stuff

Sunday, 30 September 2012

A short stay

A shot of another rock n roll for Rock n Roll

Popped up to NB lola with kath, sarah and Lola dog.  Saturday was a lovely day.  The hog roast "dance" was on tonight at the marina but we decided not to go given sarah would have been bored after 20 mins.  All was well, only a touch of water under the engine, not bad given how much rain we have had.  I ran the engine for about 3 hours so it probably helped to warm the bilge and remove some water.  The stern gland bilge was dry as a bone, nice to have it this way now, I prefer it.

No jobs done this weekend, I am leaving any stuff till we get her down the Erewash and check out her bum and black her.  I am going to black to the gunwhale so touch ups are easier when we get the odd scrape - as you do.  I have decided to move Lola next year to Sawley, mainly to make jobs easier to do.  I would like to paint the bow deck and the stern but I need easy access to her where i can nip home for stuff as well as visit known stores.  I do wonder if Paul barber has a hook up space, perhaps I will check this out as we do not need the "other" marina services given his marina is just ten mins from home.  We shall see.

Anyway, it was nice to feel the bobbing.  Next trip is a hard trip down to Pauls on the Erewash for the steel check and blacking.  Its going to be hard because I am expecting us to boat for all daylight hours, this is unusual for us but I do not have much space in terms of time due to work commitments and I need to bring her back Thursday.  Of course, all bets are off if we get any stoppage notices.  Lets hope we get some lovely October weather (some hope).


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Boat fever


Well, I have been diagnosed with Boat Fever.  Brought on by the extraction of copious amounts of money with nothing to show for it.  AKA I need a boat fix!

Looks like next Friday or Saturday am we will get there for the night, possibly two.  not going anywhere, just a couple of nights aboard.  We need to move some winter clothes on as we are taking her to the Erewash for a trip and a bum check.  why the Erewash?  well a chap called Paul Barber has a boatyard there and I respect his skill in terms of steel management.  last time Lola was out he reckoned another 20 years before the bum (baseplate) needed replacing so I thought I would go again two years later for an update and blacking.  A long way to go just for blacking I hear you say.  Well, it is but I trust Paul and its a great excuse for a short holiday!

A few pictures of past trips, can you guess where?

2007, our first ever hire

DSCF0013 (4)DSCF0091 (3)

DSCF0079 (3)DSCF0054 (4)

2009, our next hire

DSCF0007Holiday August 2008 Narrow Boat Dentdale  4 Counties Ring 028

Holiday August 2008 Narrow Boat Dentdale  4 Counties Ring 119Day 1 The afternoon stop Lower Heyford 2The first day with our boat!  Little did we know what was in store for us in the next 12 months

Day 6, the MarinaNarrow Boat Holiday October 2010 007 (2)

055Dec 10 019

The fateful day when the engine finally kicked its clogs and the chilly day when her replacement met NB Lola

016 (3)February 2011 and a new external skin tank for NB Lola.  Never overheated since – touch wood!Cheshire Ring 011