Saturday, 23 November 2013

Winter on the way

Popped over to NB Lola today with mrs D and Sarah and Lola dog. 

The new webasto fired up and radiators are well hot just now.  Looking forward to a warmer wake up tomorrow.

The new mooring point at Kings Bromley is perfect for us, being near the car and the mobile signal is way better.  Where we were we often had no signal at all.

Once we have the GPS unit fitted we can set up the heating a few hours befor we get to the boat, it will be cosy!  It will also signal more trips to the boat now we have a much warmer boat.

Not much moving around the marina but I did not expect much anyway.

Relaxation is back and I am chilled ready to face a near full week in Bristol.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

All change

So, after a telephone call from or rather to the marina...

Ok the marina rang but hung up before I answered so I rang them back and they said that they have a new mooring in the front pound at Kings Bromley marina - we are moored in a difficult spot in the back pound which, when the wind blows makes leaving and entering very difficult.  The new mooring still has challenges but also has better cover from the wind and is in the front pound and parking is right next to the boat.

More all change - we are now currently having a webasto heater fitted.  I intend to get remote control too so we can heat the boat before we get there but let's get the thing fitted and tested first.

Too many things going on recently has meant few boats opportunities, including a night out with our niece in Newcastle which resulted in our first visit to a nightclub together in 23 years!  It was fun, really!

Our new mooring

Very please indeed sir!

Next night on the boat will be 21 November I hope, we can then test the heating.

Hopefully, the blogging can re-commence now.

I am also blipstering which is quite fun. Link 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Weekend away

Had a very busy week between Nottingham and Bristol so with Johanna at the World Masters Rowing in Varese, Italy, we decided to go to NB Lola Friday afternoon.

An enjoyable evening in the marina was had and we then decided, after reviewing the weather forecast, to boat, drive - whatever from Kings Bromley Marina to Alrewas where there is a winding hole near the cricket ground.  On the way there we met up with Doug and James on NB Chance.  I had not checked their blog so it was a cool surprise.  I expect them to pass later today on their way towards Willington. And so they did just now with, see you sometime again guys!

The central heating is ok but I expect to buy a Mikuni mx40 to give us a faster heat up time, the engine/immersion does not seem to do it quickly enough but the real test is tomorrow morning.

More tomorrow and maybe some pictures.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Central heating commissioned and beaming!

The heating is done.  Whilst it is regulated by the maximum from the calorifier valve, 50c is exactly what we wanted as a trial.  The eventual target is to increase the max heat and also fit a thermostat but that's a job for October I think.

A nice job with the pump in the engine hole which helps with noise suppression 

A couple of pictures

Still needs a tidy up but not much.  I intend to leave the pipes uncovered given the heat expected but might box in if the tanning does not render the colour down enough or I want it to look less noticeable.

The important bit is cold mornings will never be the same again inside the boat and we are largely using the engine as heater with the immersion heating element as reserve on the shoreline (only).

Batteries go in tomorrow and one more job done.  Next two are the thermostat and the isolation transformer.  After that the bathroom me thinks, although that is less important as all the important bits work.

Was only on the boat for ten minutes but the gentle rocking reminded how much I miss it!

The "beaming" bit in the title is number 1 daughter getting 10 A* (yes, Stars!) in her GCSEs,  well done Johanna!!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Some work underway

Ok, so we are mid summer and I have just decided to get some work done on heating no less!

The boat is heated solely from the Morso stove which is at the front of the boat, 50ft from our bed.  The calorifier is all ready to support the addition of some central heating pipes and a couple of rads.  In addition, we need the calorifier heating element connected so we can benefit from hot water and heating.  The heating will be supported by a pump and header tank with exposed copper pipes.

I also suspected, quite correctly, that the batteries, multicell closed, were also past their best and these have been replaced with wet cell open batteries.

I hope to go to the boat Friday lunchtime to inspect the work and take some pictures.

All in all this should make winter trips to the boat much more enjoyable.  I would like to fit a timer in good time but let's get the basics complete first.

Sadly, no trips for a couple of weeks as we have a birthday party and 50th wedding Anniversary to attend.  After that I will be on the boat and tripping down to Alrewas.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Plum Pudding

So, out this morning from Kings Bromley to just past Rugeley.  We the winded and came back through Rugeley to where we are now, the Plum Pudding.  We past Moore2life near the viaduct just before Rugeley.

Pictures later but we are now moored with NB Empty Wallet just passing us, a lovely afternoon.

Don't know about you but I love doing what I am doing right now, relaxing and ruminating.

That's Sarah with her new beats headphones from rip off Spain el cheapo copies, very good too!

More later

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A trip to Alrewas

Before the trip, we had the engine serviced by Bromley wharf ltd, and a good job done.  They even filled the stern greaser, a job I truly hate.

So,with an engine serviced, of we went on Friday to the boat.  Yes, the weather is with us, so were quite a few other boaters!

A lovely Saturday morning and we locked down through Fradley - odd, the volunteers were all on a day out to the Anderton boat lift, possible the busiest day of the year so far, still they do a good job, unpaid!

We got to Alrewas about 1:30 pm and found a spot just after the winding hole, perfect!

I prepared for nothing and the girls went to the butchers, famed in these areas.

We saw some dog walking friends going the other way from Willington, did not expect them so it was a nice surprise.

We still suffer from the boaters who think tickover is between tickover and normal running speed.

The journey back was lovely and our friendly volunteers were back on station.

Next trip late August as we are off to my sisters villa/finca in estepona for a wee break from the sun!

For me, back to London tomorrow.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Very quick update

Looking at future mooring options.  Kings Bromley is great but we wanted to check some alternatives.  I have found a spot near Coventry but it is dependent upon other matters.  Sorry to be cryptic but needs must just now.

Sadly no boating for A few weeks de to work and family commitments and our near neighbour who keeps inviting us over for food, you know who you are!

Stuck in London tonight before a trip to newcastle tomorrow, wow don't I get the exciting trips!

All for now

Saturday, 8 June 2013


Decided on a trip from King's Bromley to Alrewas.

We arrived at the boat at 8.45am and were away by 9:10am.   We are getting very good at sorting the boat out and moving.  Down to Fradley we headed.

Locks in our favour, no queue, we had a great trip passed the Swan.  Past the lock and who was there? Nev on board his new to him boat, Percy.  Nice to meet him at last having past his previous boat on a number of occasions.

After that we got to Alrewas without any delay and winded just past Bagnall lock, reversing onto a 48 hour mooring spot.  Will take some more photos tomorrow but here we are for now.

Quite good shots given they were taken using the iPad inbuilt camera huh?

I finally found a new mechanic and Lola gets her service next week.

All the other jobs will be lined up once the first piece of work is assessed.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Great Haywood

Just a short pootle to Great Haywood where we moored just after the lock exit and beyond the two boats selling "antiques".  They did not see over bothered about selling and the weather was there to enjoy.  If you think about mooring just where we are remember the sun is a little late coming up because of the tree canopy.  Satellite doe not work either here, you need to be further on.  No tv did not bother us at all. Lovely and quiet here too, no geese waking us up at 4am either

Couple of pints in Clifford and lunch at the lock house restaurant, funny place don't expect to get what you order.  They asked for our order twice and still got it wrong, I suspect they had no lamb left so Kath got turkey!  Very funny though and worth going, just don't be too serious.

A sill man moored in the last bollard of the lock mooring,  at the top going down.  Made it difficult for many and he could have easily moved his boat 50 ft out of the way.

Shrugborough hall gardens not very inspiring and not even worth a tender.

Plenty of people around messing about in the river given the warm wether

Mega busy at colwich lock we got there 4th in line and another 8 boats collected behind us in short order.

We got through Colwich and on to the cutting passed Rugeley.  An American family had moored up just before the cutting.  We thought, strange but never mind.  Kath went ahead to reserve our passing turn.  I got the Walkie talkie message to say all clear.  As I passed the Americans (only adding context, not making a nationalistic reference) in a Shakespeare hire boat he shout hey we are in front.  I responded that he had spiked up and not sent anyone to check the other end of the cutting.  I slowed for him to get going but he was just interested in whining so I kept going after telling him to get a grip of his boat and man up.  He shut up and followed behind.  

A few piccies from the iPhone, I use these because the phone geo tags the shots, largely in reverse order from southog Rugeley to Shugborough.

An odd looking building I think.

There's a bird of prey in there somewhere.

Can you guess what it is?

Nice garden

Tixhall wide
Shugborough Hall

So, we are back home again after a really nice weekend.  Not sure about next trip, will have to check calendars as its Ely next weekend to an old friends. After that its Henley Women's Regatta on 19 th June with racing on the 21st.  So that gives me some time in between I hope.

Next big job is to consider future moorings.  I love it here but I need more time reliable mechanic services.  If I stay here any recommendations?  What's it like at Sawley for mechanics?

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Off to Tixhall Wide

Off we pop to Tixhall at Great Haywood for the weekend and some photography too.  Lovely day so far, left Kings Bromley at 11:15 just coming into Rugeley now

Hopefully not too long at the locks, more later

Aha here at Tixhall, arrived 4pm, very busy, got the very last mooring point

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Aldi and the Satellite Suitcase plus a bit more on the painting

I was following the canal world forum and a discussion thread started which was in equipment:-

So off I went to the nearest Aldi, I have to admit its not my usual shop so I was intrigued to see a queue of about 20 people waiting to get in at 10 am this morning.  Surely not all for the Satellite system!

Actually, about 5 systems were purchased as I was going through the tills.  Cost?  £59.99.

Did it work?  Absolutely fine.

It comes in a suitcase, so quite portable.  I had to build the dish, attach the LNB and create a few cable with F Connectors - mental note to buy some weatherproof ones.   everything I needed was supplied, including about 10 metres of cable.  I cut a small bit off which was to create a temporary link from the LNB to the signal strength indicator, the longer cable going to the receiver.  took a wee while to find the satellite but once I did it was fine.  In came the signal, no bother.  I will look for other satellites when on the boat.  I must say I am rather impressed with it.  I will use a cheap tripod for the Mount which makes connection easier and more stable although it would fit to most anything really as it cones with plenty of connection options.

Why did I buy it?

Mainly signal quality and HD as well as European satellite access for sports programmes.

Am I pleased with my purchase?  Yes, very.

A little more on the painting.

The preparation was most important.  As we have narrow gunwhales, there is a lip under the gunwhale which is welded along the line, not continuous.  It is here that the rust was digging in so that is why I scraped the paintwork away to expose the metal/rust.  We then got the sanders out and created a nice contact surface for the paint application. This I then inspected and painted Vactan onto, where required.

Once the Vactan had dried we then painted under the gunwhale and on the gunwhale side.  My painting class from Phil Speight came in useful as I followed his advice on application, making sure my last brush stroke went down.  The Hammerite (about £60 for 5 litres) was to provide extra cover and also fit in with the existing above gunwhale paintwork.  Whilst the above bit also needs work, it can wait until next year.

It was a difficult job because of the need to lie down on the job.  Next time she is out for blacking (October 2013)  I will add another coat, not that it needed it as the hammerite finish is very good with just one application.  The main reason is to just keep on top of the scrapes that I will acquires during the summer.

Next trip out?

Probably not until 25th May I think as we have a trip out next weekend to Old John in Leicestershire (Google it) for a charity dog walk.  I am very much looking forward to a trip to Tixhall Wide so I can do some photography.  I went to Attenborough Nature Reserve yesterday (less than a mile from home) to do more lens testing.  The weather was appalling but I got some shots from the Kingfisher hide:-

Again, I am most impressed with the clarity and focus even though the light was appalling.  Average shot data whilst at the feeding point (I was using Aperture Priority (AV on a canon) so you will understand that it will vary) was:-

Focal length 400mm,
exposure 1/200 sec,
pattern metering,
no flash,
ISO 800,
auto white balance.

I have a long way to go but am getting there.  Next step is to move to manual and try some higher ISO too.  I like these few from about 80 taken, hope you do too.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Boat Painting

Boat painted from rubbing strake to the Gunwhale.

We cleared the paint to rust and the used Vactan on the rusty bits.  after it dried we then used Hammerite Straight to Rust which we have previously tested.

A few photos of the work

Thursday, 2 May 2013

My New Lens!

At last, I have my new Camera lens just in time for the bank holiday and some boating time.

The lens is a Canon 100-400mm lens.  This means its good at making stuff nearer and in focus.

A few test shots.  I forgot to take my normal glasses (the ones I usually wear are photochromic, light in the dark and dark in the light) and as a result the exposure is difficult to measure.

This is my normal lens at max 135mm zoom

And this is my new lens at 400, I sure you can see the difference, these two shots just make it easier to explain

Mr Lonely Swan

Time I got out of here!

Bugger, they are following me

Quite like this one, on the Trent next to the lock  entrance to the Nottingham and Beeston Canal, hence All's Well in the background.

So with just a few minutes to test, I am happy feet!

Saturday its wet and dry/sander time and then the Hammerite all around the gunwhales down to the rubbing strake.  It really needs an angle grinder but I am going to leave that to Richard Sherratt.  Not because I cannot do it, because I do not have an angle grinder nor the time - remember I work 50-60 hours per week and need to keep the house fit for use.

Well, just a short post.