Tuesday, 15 September 2015


As eclectic as my photo order, what a wonderful city! 
The first photo is Sagrada Familia.  This structure was designed by Antoni Gaudi, who was taken on as lead architect in 1883, little is recorded about his predecessor. The interior is mind blowing.

 Gaudi died in 1926, run over by a tram.  

The third photo is Cerverceria Catalana, book in advance, it's needed and worth it, best Tapas we have ever had.
Mrs D said that IPA looks interesting.  Only able to see the colour (see earlier photo). We asked for some.  How surprised were we when we saw it was Brew Dog, a favourite of ours in Nottingham.
Refined drinking too, we found some lovely Cocktail Bars.  Our favourite was Boadas on La Rambla near Placa Catalunya. The serving staff wear dinner jackets and their cocktail knowledge is second to none.  Be careful the strength of the cocktail is mega high.  We had to ask them to hold back a little unlike the American girl next to us who was trashed on her second one.

We stayed at H1898, a wonderful resting place, with our room on the corner of Carrer Del Pinto. fortuny and La Rambla

The system, hmmm!
They are everywhere!


My next boat, better get a survey!
More Gaudi design, Casa Batllo.
The bullring, now a shopping centre with some nice restaurants.  We ate at Abrassame, right on the top.  The two photos above this one give some indication of the view.

All in a lovely trip and we will return.  Next is a trip to Fradley! Then Dubrovnik and then Prague and New York.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Short catch up

Not much boating lately due to work.  However, yesterday we decided to start repairing the hopper window seals.  We removed the opener windows and cut off all of the base liner.  We then cleaned and replaced them as well as re-fitting all of the Curtains following a home wash.  Sadly, the hair draught excluder stuff we got was wrong so I checked midland swindlers and they have some.  A trip there in a few weeks.  A few weeks is because we have a busy September.

Next weekend we leave older daughter with younger, accompanied by friends, and hop over to Barcelona for a 23rd wedding anniversary, staying on H1898, just off La Rambla.  We get back following Monday, Tuesday I head off to Bristol, returning the next day.  Saturday it's back to Bristol but this time it's to take Johanna to university.  She has a place at University of Bristol to read Law.  So I stay in Bristol as Mrs D heads back home with daughter number 2 on Sunday.  I am then working in Bristol Monday through Wednesday.  After that it's back to Nottingham and hopefully a boating weekend to finish the windows.

Might get some time off over October half term and either nip off to Spain, or find some October sun somewhere or even do some boating which seems the most likely.

An exiting and busy month as I was in Bristol the whole of last week, barring the bank holiday Monday.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Stourbridge to Coven, Coven to Penkridge to Tixhall Wide to Kngs Bromley

Hi all,

A quick catch up.  We moved from Stourbridge to Coven on Sunday where we stopped because the weather was so nice.

From Coven it was shortish trip past the Chemical works to Penkridge and the Boat Inn for dinner on Monday night.  Some fool was in the lock just before the pub and refusing to come up because he was waiting for the water point above.  Simple choice come up or reverse out.  He came up much to the annoyance of his friend the mouthy one in the boat just above the lock. The boater coming up did apologise citing his mouthy mate as the one calling the shots.

Tuesday we pootled along to Tixhall Wide and moored up for the night.  Wednesday, back to Kings Bromley.

That's holiday done, we went out this weekend to Fradley and used the trip to do some varnishing and take the curtains home for washing. Coming back we encountered a 7 boat delay just before the Mucky Duck, mainly due to the volunteer with a bit to do with the branch causing a small leak near the gate bottom collar which the volunteer could have arranged to have removed.  I saw it too late or I would have stopped and had a go.  The volunteer seemed unhappy to open one of the paddles cos it was a bit stiff and wanted to wait to see if a boat would arrive that needed to lock down.  Those waiting weren't chuffed.  Anyway, we arrived back at the mooring and used the opportunity to remove various items we no longer required on the boat including a small drawer set, lots of paint, rope and general detritus of no use to us.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Birmingham to Merry Hill and thence to Stourbridge

Left Birmingham at 8:30 am Thursday along mainline towards Wolverhampton.

By 9 am I had coat, overcoat and gloves on!

Nothing of great note as we travelled. 

Went through Netherton tunnel which was longer than I imagined.  We arrived Merry Hill at lunchtime and found a decent mooring spot pretty quickly.  The local Fishermen were loud pains in the arse.
NB Sister Dora came up from Delph and we offered to let her breast up given there was little room and the fishermen we set for the night and had made it clear they were not for moving.

We pooped over to Weatherspoons, had a simple dinner and chilled.  We could have wandered to the shopping complex but had no need.

When Sister Dora left next morning she failed to notice, nor would I have, that the lines from our overnight fishermen had stretched right across the main channel so as she departed she set off the line alarms, fishermen did not stir even though 4 alarms were sounding, something to do with the empty bottles all around them.  The alarms went quiet when they broke, nearly toppling the rods into the water - nothing I could do as we were already underway, let's hope they just lost weights and floats, seem so as rods were still on dry land. Had a weed hatch moment and needed to remove some plastic bags from the prop.  Did that and moved on to the locks.

24 locks achieved and we moored in Stourbridge and had a very thorough pump out.  Tank still shows full so the indicator float is stuck up high, not checking it though! We also managed a mooring in the secure part and all around were notably friendly.  Very weedy stretch and water was very clear but easy to pass through.

Popped up to Town centre for a beer and some ice cream.  Looked around for a decent Chinese, none to be found so we walked about a mile to the ruby Cantonese.  Nice food, we were sorted.  We then decided to head back to town centre to go to the Tesco extra there.  Loaded up with stores and headed back to the boats.  Overnight was quiet and next morning we slipped our moorings at about 9am, filled with water and headed out.  A lovely day and we now find ourselves at Swindon village on the Shropshire and Worcester canal.

We have stopped here for fish and chips as I need a treat, and we are on holiday!

We tend to slip early and moor early, gives us a nice 5-6 hours out before we stop, usually about 3pm.

Tomorrow, we might stop at Coven and have a BBQ.  I love nothing than changing my mind when I feel, the joy of boating without a tight schedule!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Aston to Gas street, Birmingham

Overnight we moored after lock 9 in the Aston flight, rings not spaced well for a 57ft boat so couldn't get back tied on. On plus side it is on opposite side to tow path and is mainly an office complex (Aston cross business park) with security patrolling. Even better was the tip from fellow boater that there was a little shop open till 5:30 just round the corner from mooring. Very nice lady in shop told me it was extra safe overnight. Missus was pleased cos she hadn't wanted to go any further.
Set off at 8:30 but just behind hirers on Leo II. Not a good start as we grounded by the bollards before the bridge at lock 8. The wife tried to push back off with the pole but had to ask a very kind jogger to help. He got us off the ledge and on our way. Brummies are generally pretty helpful we found.
Followed Leo II up the flight and they kindly helped by emptying next lock ahead we paid their favour back later on Farmers bridge locks more of which later. We made it to the top of Aston flight by around 10am so pretty good going by all. Turned right heading for next locks and the heavens opened. Had to get umbrellas and waterproofs out but got a proper soaking before we even got to the bottom of the flight. Still following the hirers. Think it was at lock 11 as you go under a building that we helped them negotiate a cross wind that was pushing the boat across into a concrete support to the left of the lock. Had to hold their centre line to keep them over. Then had to do same for our own entry to the lock. Tricky flight to pass other boats so we were pleased it was pretty quiet. As we came out of lock 8 we met another boat and a volunteer lock helper. Just about room to pass but a short approach to the lock meant a couple of knocks. From there we made it to lock 2 before we encountered another boat heading down. All of these locks have one gate at top and bottom pros and cons to this as they are pretty heavy. Also the ground paddles are for midgets not good for the knees.

 Still a bit of team work meant we made it to the top of the flight by around 12:15. 

Leo II  had left a windlass at the top lock but we managed to catch them and hand it back. They moored immediately before the Old turn junction two good spaces with rings. In hindsight we could have moored here nicely. Instead we turned left and headed past the Sea life centre and on to Brindley Place. No free moorings here as they are all marked up for the many day trip boats that operate. Gas street basin is not for visitors either it seems so it was on to mornings opposite the Premier inn before the Mailbox. We will have to head down to the Mailbox and turn when we leave.
All those locks in the rain left us tired so we headed out for a bite to eat and a beer for me. 

Then it was curry time and we visited Pushkar, not cheap but very good quality.

We also met up with daughter no. 1 who had a day trip from nottingham. We lunch ate in Browns near the Bullring - not enjoyable which was unusual for Browns.  Dinner was at the tapas place, Bar Estilo in the Mailbox, that was lovely.  Tomorrow it's pull rings and off to Dudley way.

Where we moored, we are just in front of boat in the picture.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Fazeley to Aston, Birmingham

So, today's run went a tad longer than anticipated.  We left Fazeley at 9:00 am and went to fill up with water at the CRT offices as well as divesting ourselves of some rubbish.  Not a bad run to Curdworth apart from a numpty who was trying to set locks too far in advance as well as being unable to work out left from right.  His crew decided to assist and wanted to use their pole on my nice new paintwork.  Politely, I suggested that handing the boat off was better and went onto demonstrate how easy it could be.  Curdworth was a bit dark in the cutting so we decided to motor onto Cuckoo Wharf.  Big mistake,  the wharf was full of long term boats and work boats, no room for leisure craft.  Anyways, we moved to Aston which is cool.

Piccies will be added later as I forgot to bring my sd card to iPhone connector, so here is a couple of where we are now from the iPad.  Might buy one in Brum along with some new walkie talkies, chairs, disposable bbq etc.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Waiting for the rain

So, the holiday has started.

Yesterday, we left Kings Bromley Marina at 8:45 am hoping to take some fuel on but both service jetties were occupied, waiting on service at 9am. So, rather than wait we decided to move on and fuel up at Streethay wharf.  Good decision as it was only 69p per litre before the propulsion/heating split.

Took a few piccies with iPhone but will use big camera from tomorrow.
King Bromley wharf.  A bit of a mess, I would love to buy this and re-design the space around the house there.

Now moored at Fazeley, waiting for the rain.  Tomorrow we will head for Curdworth, on our way into Birmingham.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Boat pick up

Well, we now have Lola boat back in her new livery.

Duckling photo

So, we did the pump out back in the marina.  I need to dip fuel tank and decide if we refill on the way, I expect we will somewhere along our route through Birmingham and Staffordshire, leaving Kings Bromley next Friday.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Back from the USA

Just back from Iowa City via Atlanta and Cedar Rapids and Minneapolis.  All work and no play.

I arrived 0030 Saturday morning and left 15.05 on Wednesday.  Business class helped but still a tiring journey.  Some interesting clouds at 30.000 ft

Sunrise in Iowa City
Moscow mule, very nice
Back to Blighty

Still no boat.  I was hoping to be aboard this weekend but the high temperatures means no painting as it won't lay off properly.  Hopefully next weekend.  Big daughter off to Majorca, little un out with friends, very quiet in this house.  Mrs is lost so she is cleaning and doing jobs.  

We have just planted a berberis to stop a local from using our fence and drive as a short cut home, let's hope it grows quickly.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Painting progress

popped up for a fix, update.

Bow doors coming along, soon the rest of the bow will be sorted

Gloss laying down, few more coats yet

Sten coming along too

So, all in all, good progress, still ten days work left as we are replacing the seating area in the bow.

Missing boating hugely which confirms my passion.

Next week I am off the Bristol then Detroit then Iowa City - all work and no play as I will be back six days after taking off, not fun but then Iowa City is not exactly a hot place for holidays, believe me!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

More paint progress

Popped to the boat and more undercoat going on


Port bow


She looks better even now!

Still the roof to undercoat, bow doors and other bits.  The wind is causing havoc but no gloss until it is settled.  Gloss will be done first thing in the morning if it's too hot during the day.  Rubbing strake to gunwhale will be blacked to make touching up easier.   I could have easily taken her out for some chill time but I need to be patient.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Re-paint coming along

I decided to pop to the boat recently to check on painting progress.

Transformed already, but not where I want to stay!.  Another three weeks and it should be finished.

I intend to pop up every week to take photos, so the hard earned cash I am spending can be justified to all and sundry. 

So, next cruise not until mid June, followed by a trip from King's Bromley to the Llangollen and back in late July/early August.

The chap painting her is booked until the end of the year and drove her to the paint shed.  His first proper journey skippering Lola, he likes the engine so he says and the prop is well matched.  Nice to hear.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Our last journey on Lola

...until the repainted is complete!

Took Lola out to Alrewas as its last trip before the month long re-paint.  We left on Saturday and whilst a little cold it was a lovely day.  The locks were ok, volunteers at Fradley helped.

Once at Alrewas, a short trip to Coates Butchers followed by a visit to Delhi Divan for an exceptionally hot curry, very nice indeed.

Returned on Sunday, the run home was enjoyable and warmed as we progressed.

A few shots of old Lola.

The painted name was a test of how poor my a team were at sign writing

This side was a stencil name

The roof is particularly bad.

We have chosen Oxford blue as the principle colour with burgundy for the top line, grey for the roof and cream for coach lines.  The burgundy will also be used on the front and rear doors, Houdini hatch, and the rear hatch and the gas locker.  The bow area will be painted in bitumen and then covered with something, not sure what yet.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Journey Home

So, back from Bristol on Tuesday, ready for the trip back to Kings Bromley Marina on Wednesday morning.

Myself and Angus are the return crew.  We pick her up from Paul Barber at Wyvern Marine.  Paul has also done some steel work which will make the bow seats more stable.  He has also filled my greaser with his "special grease", let's see if it lasts as long as he suggests.

Leaving Wyvern at Sawley onto the Erewash Canal. A lovely Wednesday morning, still a tad chilly

The marina at Wyvern is just by the furthest bridge in the picture above.  The water on the Erewash was very clear.  From the Erewash we turned onto the River Trent, flow was fine.

We them motored up to Sawley hydraulic lock which was very busy and I managed to cock up going into the lock because I could not offload my mucker due to the number of boats.  Never mind, we were soon out and off to the pump out at Sawley Marina.  Pump out done we pegged it to the Trent and Mersey at Derwent Lock.

Here's us leaving Sawley for the last bit of Trent before Derwent.
You will notice the broken hose reel, that hose has been retired, useless.

The journey became easier as we doubled up with NB Serendipity.

At Weston, a boat coming into the lock to go down came in fast and will slow down, it will slow down, Please slow down!  Bugger it did not and crashed into the gates, person driving forgot where she was, numpty.  Anyhow, no damage seen and we locked up.

Swarkstone beckoned and our locking friends said goodbye after we locked up, they were stopping for lunch, we were heading for Branston!

We arrived at Stensons at 3pm.  I have decided that the ground paddles there should only be used after we have let some water in from the top paddles as the lock is too shallow to maintain reverse thus keeping away from the leaky top gates. Success, it worked well.

One odd event was after Tattenhill lock.  As usual, I slowed right down as a boat passed us going tother way.  As we passed the muppet shouted where did we get our speedboat from.  We were going very slow and I can only guess that Mr idiots Mrs could not control the boat very well, she seemed to be struggling before we passed.  Anyhow he provided a few expletives and we laughed.  His face was bright red and he just did not get it, sad.

Overnight was at Branston, as planned and we took advantage of the Bruige Inn.  Next morning an easy run to KB even if I was taking a conference call for a good part.

A few odds n sods photos, next trip in a couple of weeks, I hope!  But with work being so busy, I just don't know.