Wednesday, 30 September 2009

This 'Boots' was made for walking!

Since we have been moored at Thrupp next to the good ship 'Bones' we have enjoyed a good ramble around the many little circular footpaths hereabouts with 'Boots'. It is lovely to have a dog to borrow for walkies since we lost our little dog Sam after sixteen years. We found that Boots and Sam had some similarities, they both like chasing cats and digging holes.
Today our daughter and grandson came for the day so we went for a super meal at the Boat Inn down the lane, we can thoroughly recommend the food, especially the scrumptious puddings! We walked the lunch off with Boots in tow, then loll-upped on the grass and fed the ducks, watched the boats, trains, planes, cars and people go by. Seeing as Canal Road is a No Through Road it is an extremely busy one. Annies Tea Room at the end of the road attract many folks in search of home made cakes and cream teas.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Quiet Days

Saturday, saw us taking it easy, we had a stroll round the village of Lower Heyford, looked in on the boat yard as Wozie wanted some postcards.

Whilst there noticed sign behind counter instructing staff to only sell diesel into boat tanks at 60/40 split, if they failed to do so it would be looked upon as a serious occurrence.

Made an enquiry to see if they would supply 0/100 into a tank on a boat that was connected to heating and generation only, answer No but would put it in jerry can if I so desired.

Still trying to work the logic there.

The afternoon was warm and sunny and showed up the brass so set to and did the portholes on one side.

Sunday we moved on down to Thrupp (Oxford), managed to get stuck on a shallow, I blame the other boat, he just would not move over enough, if looks could kill, he would be dead.

Met some day boats, I believe to hire one of these you have to leave common sense at the hire base and be as drunk as possible, or at least the ones we met fitted that criteria.

Managed to drop one of our fender hooks into the canal, so used our magnet (supplied by Magnetman) found broken piling hook, large mooring pin and my fender hook. So that has paid for itself.

So a quiet day on the canals.

Moored about 3 o'clock, time for toasted teacakes and tea/coffee at Annie's tea room (just over the lift bridge), well worth a visit.

Resting at our mooring, a shout went up, "I'll be back!!" looked up to see the back of a cyclist pedalling like mad towards the tearoom.

It transpired to be Maffi, trying to get to the tearoom before they shut as cake was required.

He returned breathless and cake-less, Bones arrival was imminent and with that the boat came into view with quite a large crew.

After much greeting etc, it was decided to eat at 'The Boat' but the landlord had decided winter was here so was not providing food on a Sunday evening.

We returned to our boats and ate aboard but met up later at said pub for a very good evening with friends.

Monday (today) we are taking it easy and will do some exploring, taking Bones's dog (boots) with us, if he will go, apparently he is a very lazy dog, we shall see.

Tuesday we will be here again as the engineer is coming to do the first services on the engine, gearbox and generator.

Well I hope he is, left message on answer-phone but not heard back yet.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Birthdays and Anniversaries

Tuesday afternoon saw us mooring in Banbury, the last space left, between Tom Rolt bridge and the footbridge into the The Quays shopping centre.

We walked to the town centre for some shopping and spent the evening quietly at our mooring.

Wednesday was our daughters birthday and she arrived with her partner and our grandson for the day. He (grandson) was six months on Tuesday and is so full of energy he did not stop for one moment all the time he was with us.

In the evening, after they had left we wandered round a very quiet town and had a drink in the Exchange (Wetherspoons).

Thursday was again spent shopping this time for food at Sainsburys, rode our bikes there, then Morrisons to which we walked.

It was market day in Banbury, Wozie likes markets, I do not, so she went off to have a wander on her own.
She had only been gone about 30 minutes and a voice said anyone there, it was Graham and Jane (Alnwick), coffee was taken and Jane had a look round the boat. Sorry Graham I think some more work maybe heading your way.

Good to see you both will catch you on the return.

After lunch we set off for Aynho.

Friday morning arose refreshed, was worried about disturbing the long term moorers (official) opposite as the generator was needed, need not have worried they were all up and started there engines before I started the generator and they were noisier than me.

Walked the mile to the village had a look round and returned to the Great Western Arms (by the canal), excellent food.

We have been afloat one month now and the enthusiasm is still with us.

It is my sisters birthday today, do not see her very often as she lives in Australia, met an Australian a few days ago that also lived in Perth but she didn't know her. ;-)

It is our nieces wedding anniversary today, 5 years, congratulations to you both.

That's it all the birthdays and anniversaries

Oh!!!! nearly forgot, it is our Wedding Anniversary today, only been 38 years.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Old Boats never die, they just fade away

Further to our taking it easy, I decided to try a connection to the 'mobile internet'.
An excellent signal and 3G, never had it so good.

Had a look at a forum that I visit and had a PM from Graham on Alnwick (pronounced Annick) to say that he may be on board when we passed.

We new his mooring was only about 500yds further on to where we had moored so a quick walk found him on board, refurbishing his hatches. He was also working on some railway signal lamps, he likes trains especially steam ones.

He mentioned that Jane would arrive later and that they would be bell ringing in the local church, would we like to have a look round the church and watch.

We did visit, about half way through practice, and the bell ringers made us very welcome.

Whilst we were there a young lady popped her head round the door.
We later discovered that she was visiting the area and was between courses (food) at the local pub, being a bell ringer she was invited to join, in after a short peel she returned to the pub with a big grin on her face.

If you get the chance, do visit your local church, when the bells are ringing and see for yourself the dedication, hard work and high levels of concentration required.

Onwards to Banbury, we may see the 'cock horse'

Monday, 21 September 2009

The Week End

Saturday saw us move on to Bridge 144 and Claydon, walked up to the village from bridge 145 although the maps showed a footpath from 144 there was no access from the tow-path.

Claydon is a pretty village, very quiet, we visited the Bygones Museum had an excellent lunch and whilst I rested on the seats provided Wozie had a wander round

Sunday we stayed and cleaned the side of the boat and the brass on the tow-path side, lunch on board and late afternoon a walk to the museum again for a cream tea.

Monday we are now at Cropredy, had a walk and lunch, now just taking it easy on-board.

Saturday, 19 September 2009


Whilst having our tea, there was a knocking on the side of the boat and this character and his mate looked in, now they could not have been eating anything from the side of the boat as we have nothing there yet, so have they learnt a way of getting attention.
After sharing our tea, only polite to do so, they went on their way. They appeared to travel along the whole line of boats knocking as they went.They returned later and knocked again.

This colourful chap also arrived

Friday, 18 September 2009

Friday, the weekend starts here.

Can you see where we are?

This will make it easier
For those reading this and not boaters, it is Napton on the Hill

Some of the locals, available in the local pub.

We stopped here overnight and tackled the locks the next day, we did the first seven and stopped for a break.
A boat moored just below the next lock had come adrift, no one on board, did some temporary repairs to his mooring chain (wire) and re-tied it.
Moving on we joined a queue for the next lock but there was a delay as there was a boat and butty ahead, we moored up and had lunch.
It got to about 3 o'clock and Wozie decided she wanted to get to Fenny Compton, explained it was at least four hours, that's OK.
Well we set off, after two hours or so it was obvious that we were not going to make it before dark, shallow canal and moored boats causing delays.
Eventually moored near bridge 128 (Wormlieghton) after an abortive try on a shallow.
Have now moved to Fenny Compton Wharf, pub lunch and now just taking it easy.
Wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Monday, Moved on down

the last two locks in the Braunston flight to the marina.

Visited A J Canopies in their new location, just under the bridge on the right, when coming from the canal.

They were still trying to sort themselves and for some reason one of the machines had decided to run backwards, so said they would see us Tuesday (today).

Good to their word they arrived about ten, checked the cratch cover, took it away and it was returned by twelve.

Whilst waiting we spied a boat we new, Tubbs, another Fernwood boat, four years old and moors at Debdale (our launch point).

They moored behind and came for coffee, they had some shopping to do and we decided to go for a walk.

We went to the Old Plough in the village and lo and behold their shopping done they were in there, so drinks all round and the world etc. put to right.

Now back on the boat, washing done and time to chill..

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Sunday Morning and the Living is Easy

No photo's, two reasons, none taken and on the slowest connection possible.

Well we did not take the bus to Rugby, decided to move on as the domestic diesel tank was showing 0.4 full, at the moment we cannot trust the gauges (water, domestic,propulsion and waste) as they have not been calibrated for our tanks.

Called at Weltonfield Marina, topped up the tank with 28ltrs, went to the office and said 28ltrs at 0% propulsion, answer we only sell at 60/40 split, it's on the pump. Oh no it isn't. Discussion ensues as to the legalities.

Well to cut a long story short, I paid for the diesel, at a high price and will never visit them again.

We passed Derwent6 at the junction, sorry guys you were not at home and we had an appointment to keep.

Stopped just north of Braunston tunnel, walked up the hill ¾ mile to the White Horse in Welton, well worth the walk, bought some tomatoes and runner beans from two 'honesty stalls' in the village and the pub has basics bread and milk.

Friday morning (11-09-2009) saw us riding our bikes into Daventry, large town with all the usual stores and a Waitrose supermarket.

Returned to boat and set off through the tunnel all 2024 yards of it, I only hit the wall once, we arrived at the Admiral Nelson at about 14:20Hrs, having done all the locks on our own, as many of you will know with wide locks the gate on the other-side always decides to open on its own at the most inopportune moment, one of the drinkers kindly assisted Wozie (he was a boater), by this time we had had enough so decided to moor.

Pub was open, we were thirsty and hungry so returned and made it just in time for last food orders (15:00 Hrs), we thanked our 'helper' and before we knew it it was 18:30 Hrs, time flies when in convivial company. So John and Sue when we pass Crick next time will look you up.

Saturday (12-09-2009) we walked to the chandlers at the bottom lock, most helpful and had most of the things we wanted.
We continued down the canal to the marina and called into Tradline for some rope by this time it was 'coffee time' so went to the 'Gongoozlers Rest' a small narrowboat that is moored by the Stop House on the canal just outside the marina, brilliant but you do have to be very hungry if you order the full breakfast.

After coffee we went to Midland Chandlers for the items that we could not get at the other one, strolled back to the boat via the village, well served by a large Londis and a local butchers.

Having carried out some litle items on the boat we were lazing in the sun when The Jones's went by on Keeping Up.

They were on there way home after visiting Bones and Maffi, as they (the Jones) were going up the locks on their own I did some lock wheeling for them, I was allowed to use Allen's special windlass (the one that cannot be saved by a magnet).

I learnt something today (thank you Allen and Debbie) on how to get a boat through a wide lock, on its own, without it getting thrown about.

I will put it here, it may help someone else.

'Break' the Ground paddle on the same side as the boat.
When boat settles open it fully.
Go to ground paddle on the other side and open about two thirds.
Then open the gate paddle on that side.
There is no need to open the gate paddle on the same side as the boat.
When the waters are level close ground and gate paddles, return to the boat side of the lock open the gate and the boat leaves the lock.
At all times watch the boat and the steerer.

Sunday (13-09-2009) we have risen but today will be a day of rest, hope to contact A J Canopies tomorrow, to see when it will be convenient for them to carry out the adjustments they want to do to our cover.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Motorway Construction

No, sorry my mistake, it is the new marina at Yelvertoft, a stones throw from Crick.

Look closely and that earth mover and digger can just be seen. (gives an indication of the size of the marina)

The spoil is being moved a great distance and being levelled.

We walked into Yelvertoft, a very 'sad' looking place, the Post Office Stores could do with a little tlc, the public house was not inviting from the outside, so did not enter.

Visited Crick today, Post Office Stores well cared for, Co-Op (Late shop) typical Co-Op.
Three public Houses, one closed The Royal Oak (think it only opens evenings, no opening times displayed), the Wheatsheaf, open but only landlady working (staff shortage) so no food available, last but not least The Red Lion, open , food good for price and busy, it was nearly full inside.

Decisions, do we move tomorrow or take the bus to Rugby.

Monday, 7 September 2009

BW and Boat Registration Numbers

Some of you may have seen Paul's (Waterway Routes) question whether my registration number was correct.

I e-mailed BW last night and recieved a reply at 11.30Hrs this morning.

I quote:

Thank you for your email
Your friend is incorrect, the numbers on the registration do not indicate the year of registration.
The registration number is just a straight number sequence and the computer system automatically assigns the next number in the sequence to each new boat

Other news, we rode our bikes today to the nearest village, so what I here you say, well it is a long time since I rode a bike, at the moment nothing hurts.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Sunday Morning

Told you I was legit, now have photograph to prove it.

We spent Friday, as mentioned before, with people climbing all over the boat, fitting bolts and and fixing leak.

I do not think I mentioned the leak, well, it all started one windy and wet night.
I had been trying to set up the satellite dish, to no avail so decided to put it away,it sits nicely just below the floor in the engine room, on lifting the lid I saw water, now I know that I should not be seeing water there.

The generator sits in the same place and we had had it running, so first thought generator has over heated and expelled some water into the bilge.

Then I hear running water, Aaargh! so have to find it, cupboards opened, floors lifted climbed into some spaces that a contortionist would have found difficult.

Eventually traced it to the generator exhaust skin fitting, now how to stop it.

Ventured outside, horizontal rain and it is dark, of course the fitting is not on the canal path side that would be too easy.

Tried to tighten bolts, hanging of the side of the boat, one hand for the spanner one to stop me falling in. No they were tight, Wozie had a great idea shove some Vaseline (I keep it for my battery terminals, you know) around it. It worked so went to bed.

In the morning, had another look and could see that the fitting is just below a rubbing strake and it had caught on the weld, just enough so it did not fit tight, hence leak.

The cratch cover was fitted by Fraser of A J Canopies, have you ever seen the work involved in that, it is a wonder to see. It took over three hours and when finished Fraser was not happy with the way it fitted, just needs some fine tuning.
He was willing to take it away there and then and come back but as we are heading that way we suggested that we would call in as we passed.

If you are having or thinking of have a cratch cover do not just look at how it looks but have a good look at how it is put together, all the little details that are there but seldom seen (we almost went with another company as they had a particular colour and material that we liked, that material has now turned out to not up to the job) .

We now have a cratch and the difference it has made is amazing, we have a warmer boat (don't ask me how that works) and another room.

Well it is Sunday and we may not move, washing is on, will contact the boat engineer tomorrow, gearbox and generator need there first services.

I thought this boating lark would be all laid back and peaceful, we have not stopped.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Morning Has Broken

I could get used to this life afloat, a view like this makes it all worth while.

There is a King Fisher in this photo or there was when I pushed the shutter.

I watched him for sometime this morning, flying up and down the canal.
In the bright morning sunshine he glowed bronze when coming towards me and iridescent blue when away.
Digital camera, or me, is not up to the task as he flies so fast the delay on the shutter misses him.

We are back at Debdale awaiting A J Canopies (to fit cratch) and Fernwood to carry out some more little items.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

British Waterways, are they not wonderful.

Our new licence and 'registration plates' arrived in good time for us to leave Debdale, well when I say, our, I mean the licence and plates for 'Little Lux'.

Phoned BW and the young lady could not understand how that happened but please send them back and she will get it all put right, not holding my breath.

So if you see us we are legit, honest.

Have decided to stay put today very quiet and wonderful view.

A J Canopies have been in touch and the cratch cover will be fitted this week.

In our last post I was very remiss and forgot to mention the crew of Daniel Oakley spent a very pleasant evening with them in Bridge 61, must not forget 'Charlie' their newest crew member.