Saturday, 22 December 2012

Merry Christmas

We would like to wish all our readers (if there are still any out there) a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

We will be back out on the cut in the spring and look forward to meeting friends old and new in 2013.

Triskaideka is safely tucked up in Crick Marina, up and down with the water levels but everything fine at the moment.

Take care and have a good one!  

Ali & John

Sunday, 30 September 2012

A bit of spit and polish, actually quite a lot!

After yesterdays cleaning of Triskaideka I decided that we should also give her a good polish before returning home, it was a lovely sunny morning, great cruising weather but we did the sensible thing and set to with the polish.  Its hard graft but the result was worth the effort.  We also met our new neighbours  and fellow moorers and without all the chatting of where everyone has been this year would have finished much sooner than we did.  I also touched up the paint on the other side so she is looking good.  One disadvantage of the satellite system we have is that the magnetic base has scratched the roof somewhat so I masked off the area and roller painted it, the result was impressive, you can't see the join, although you can see the dead flies in it which hopefully will wash off.  We have found a magnetic pad which hopefully in future should prevent further damage.

As usual Johns knee (or age) prevented him from fully pulling his weight, although he did get the hoover out after putting his pinny on.  He hoovered, I cleaned, we packed, not finishing until late afternoon but decided to go for it and travel back tonight so I have Sunday at home before being back to work.  After loading the car, disposing of the rubbish and emptying the elsan, we went through the usual check of leaving the boat for a while.  Sure we had covered all bases we hit the M1 heading north.  Two junctions later (just after the turn off) John realised he had left his driving license on the boat and he needed it on Tuesday as he is taking my car for a service and MOT and he can't have a hire car unless he has his driving license.  Next junction, round the roundabout and back to Crick.  Driving license retrieved off again, well at least we could check we had switched off all the lights!

Now home, car unloaded into garage, garage to be sorted tomorrow.

We have had a great 6 months cruising, despite the weather, we have met up with old friends and have made some new friends, and have enjoyed it so much we really did not want to come home.  One of the highlights of the trip was visiting Liverpool by boat, its a trip we both really enjoyed and would wish to repeat in the not too distant future, everybody without exception that has made this trip that we have spoken to this year has said the same.  The Leeds Liverpool scenery around Skipton is worth the graft of the locks getting there and it was lovely to see Kath & George again.  We again enjoyed our stay in Manchester, Bugsworth Basin and the Llangollen and Montgomery.  The Anderton Lift onto the Weaver was also a good new experience and our venture onto the Caldon was well worth the effort.  It would have been nice if there had been a few more boats around as we found it extremely quiet in most places.  We are now looking forward to next year when we will be venturing onto new waters to us, get the maps out Dave & Ang & Paul & Elaine :-)

This year we have travelled nearly 1000 miles, undertaken 715 locks, 108 swing bridges and 27 lift bridges and 30768 yards of tunnels.  The engine hours now stand at 1350.

We may have the odd day out/weekend out over winter and as usual John has got a few small jobs to attend to so he will be spending some time at Crick, but on the whole thats us done until 2013!

I am not at this point going to mention that event in December!

Thanks for reading our blog!

Winter home
Cleaned, polished and painted
 (pity about the scum marks along the water line)

Friday, 28 September 2012

Weathering the storms at Crick and a Valedictory cruise

Since Ali left to return to work, I have basically hunkered down at Crick whilst the worst of the weather passed.  The lack of internet at this location meant that I did not even power the computer up!  Just about had a mobile signal, if I stood on one leg on the rear deck!  Did have a good telly connection via the satellite, and Radio 4 came into its own, as did the Kindle.

By Wednesday, with the worst of the weather passed, I was raring to get once more on the move.  Switched on the shower, then the pump.... The water refused to dissapear from the shower tray.  So bed up and delved under for the pump.  This I removed, dismantled then re assembled and it worked! So had a belated shower by which time the weather had turned so once again stayed put.

Thursday broke fine dry and sunny.  Shower on, again no pump. Tinkered a little and it began working after a fashion.  Watered up and boy did I need it, then began a rather pleasant cruise just north of Yelvertoft then winded.  It was still so pleasant as I one again approached Crick, that I carried on through the Tunnel and once again winded just above Watford locks, before returning through the tunnel again and mooring at you guessed it, Crick.

Ali arrived late that night and so this morning we decided to shower before setting off for the marina. Yep, bloody pump refused to start.  So we braved the wind, refuelled at Crick marina, then took our winter mooring slot.  As we had the car, a quick trip to Braunston saw us relieved of dosh at Midland chandlers, coming away with a Whale Gulper. This I have fitted and joy oh joy, it works. 

We spent the rest of today washing the boat.  The weather held and became quite sunny.  Taking advantage of the vacant berth next to us, we cleaned both sides and Ali was able to do a little touching up of the paintwork.  Time to go home..... We will pop back as frequently as we can and mayhap have the odd day out weather permitting.

Thursday. 13 miles, 3056 Yards of Tunnel.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Quick Update

John is still in Crick although hoping to go for a cruise tomorrow.  He has stayed put partly due to the weather, then the water pump packed in so he had to faff around with that, he has got it working again but isn't convinced that it is fixed.  I did comment at the weekend that I thought it was making a strange noise!  I need to find the paperwork out to see how long the guarantee is, bet its run out.  John also discovered that its not the pump we thought we had, so we may now change it for what we originally wanted, especially if it goes again.

We have also had a Engineer out to look at the exhaust set up with a view to fitting a hospital silencer.  As we thought and had discussed at TW Marine its a big job, as the deck drain would need moving,  it would restrict access to the Webasco, etc etc, so its not going to be an option as we really don't think its worth it.  It is really disappointing though, after having the cocooned engine to then have a loud exhaust really defeats the object.  We are going to explore improving the quality of what is already in place, so we may be able to improve it a bit.

The weather and flooding has been awful the last few days and its really sad to read about boats sinking and people being caught in the floods.  The Trent & Mersey has breached and the photos around show that it is a serious breach and there is more than one breach apparently along the same stretch between Middlewich & Preston Brook, we cruised this stretch earlier in the year.

A video of the breach is on you tube (click this link)

I can remember passing these boats

Its a big 'ole

Not the same spot but this is what the Trent & Mersey looked like in May

It was a tad windy and wet on the East Coast this week and to make matters worse, one week back in the NHS environment and I have a throat infection - the joy of working in the NHS!

Sunday, 23 September 2012


Quick shop to stock John up with food for the week.  Sunday Lunch at The Moorings, have to say it was very nice.

Ali - Drove home in appalling weather for most of the way.  Done the washing and now working had to iron some things!  Chill out ready for the onslaught of the coming week.

John - waved Ali off, lit the fire, chilled out!  Now battened down the hatches as the weather has deteriorated.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

A bit of a chug

I arrived back on Thursday evening after a long day, not sure about this working for a living lark...

Yesterday we had a bit of a chill out day, we went to a local farm shop for lunch and then Jane & Paul came over in the evening and we all went to the Wheatsheaf.

Today was too nice not to have a cruise, we went to the top of Watford locks and back.  We then have been to see my family in Northampton before they all go off on holiday next week.

Entering Crick Tunnel (going South)

Exiting Crick Tunnel

Who needs the Wilderbeast migration
when you have the Northants sheep follow my leader in a straight line
great sight!

5 miles Crick tunnel (twice) 3056 yards  

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Crick, again!

This is a quick update whilst I wait for Ali to drive down from Bridlington!  She is returning to the boat this evening and will stay until Sunday. This work thing really gets in the way!

Today I have made the 10 mile trip from the Welford junction, to Crick.  Watered at Yelvertoft and managed to get into virtually the last mooring available.  As usual, internet reception is SLOW here, so no pic's. Not a bad day weather wise, after a few showers in the morning.

Just as I approached Yelvertoft, the rattle from the exhaust returned.  This has been the bane of my existance. Got to Crick and let things cool down, then up with the boards. This time it was the bolt on the opposite side of the bracket.  Now this is shall we say a bar steward to get to, but I eventually got there and tightened it up. Sorted, for now!  I really must get the exhaust sorted and seek an engineer to fit if possible one of the smaller hospital silencers.  This will be awkward as the rear deck drain tube cuts across the space available, hence why the one supplied with the engine was not fitted I guess!

Enough of Auspuffs.  Looking forward to seeing Ali again.

10 Miles, no locks.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Service done.

Sam came yesterday afternoon and the 1250 hours service was duly completed, albeit a little late !  I had walked down the lock flight in the morning in order to retrieve my washing and bumped into Sam.  He asked if I could  move the boat to just south of bridge 60, so he could park his van nearer to the boat.

As I had already winded, but was in dire need of water, I reversed around the bend to the top of the locks were the water points are situated.  Sod's law, there were two boats moored waiting to go down the locks, but there was JUST enough room for me to moor up for water between them.  Now reversing, then mooring with a side wind blowing the boat away from the bank is always tricky, but when you are on your own, it becomes a dark art.

Well, reversed in with only a few feet to play with, touched neither boat, or the bank and glided in and moored up.  Got a few compliments on my boat handling skills, but failed to admit luck played a greater part than my skill!  So watered up, then moved the short distance just beyond bridge 60.  N.B. Oakfield was also moored here, and so after a natter and coffee on their boat, then a tour of ours, they set off towards Debdale for blacking.

Sam arrived mid afternoon and the service was completed.  I decided a walk was in order, so went down the locks only to find Oakfield in the middle pound, due to the number of boats coming up. Had another natter, then back to the boat.  Due to the time I decided to stay put, charged up the batteries and managed to set up the satellite dish.  T.V. for the first time in days.  Had a chill out evening.

This morning I was off at 9 am.  The "breeze" was quite strong and chilly.  Not long after moving I became aware of an annoying rattling from the area of the exhaust.  Now I had yesterday tightened this somewhat, so thought mayhap a bit too much!  Carried on through Husbands Bosworth Tunnel and to the junction with the Welford arm, where I have moored.  A pleasant trip with little traffic and none through the tunnel.  Out came the spanners and lifting the deck boards, saw a nut nestling near the stern gland!  Problem 1, you have to be a contortionist and a slim one to retrieve this.  As I am neither, was a tad difficult, but I did it!   The nut came from the exhaust bracket and I have now put it back together and tightened.  Engine on, bliss, end of rattle!

We are still toying with the idea of a hospital silencer and I was going to pop into North Kilworth Wharf, but it was just too busy.  The silencer lets down the cocooned engine, but sounds a lot better now I have tightened it up!

Looking forward to a spot of fishing this afternoon, if the "breeze" abates!

Even managed to set up the Satellite dish, so got T.V again, whey hey!  (Not that there is anything worth watching!)
Off to Debdale.

 Approaching the Tunnel portal.
 Today's mooring spot.

7 miles, no locks, one Tunnel 1166 yards

Monday, 17 September 2012

There is something about....John

Yep, I am just not in some ways blessed.  Think that the powers that be just like to test me sometimes!

Had a call from Sam to say that the service would not be possible today.  Fair enough.  As the old batteries needed a boost, decided that I would combine this with doing a few wash loads, then take the drying dowm to bridge 61.  Simples!  Not.....

The washing went just fine and the smartguage showed that power was restored to the battery bank.  All looking good, simply spiffing.  Well you know what comes next!

So walked down to bridge 61 and got the dryer going.  Soon realised that a token lasting for 7 minutes was not going to get me far, so went and got some more..

Loaded up the dryer with credit and decided to go for a pint to de-stress....Life is so hard on the cut!

As I walked toward the pub door, who should appear but Norman and Val, our old neighbours from Yelvertoft.  They are a smashing couple and married for 45, yes FORTY FIVE years.  And they have not murdered each other!  A really lovely couple.  We decided to have a natter whilst the washing dried, and as you do, time passed.  Decided the washing must be dry so went to collect it.  Problem.  The keys to the drying room were inside.!  I had locked myself out.  The only other keyholder had gone home so looks like the service and wash collection will be on the morrow!  My fault entirely I should add.

Ali seems to be getting back in the swing work wise, but I know where her heart lies really.

So said a fond farewell to Norman and Val from N.B." Toss a coin" and back to a silent boat.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Bliss is a quiet boat.


A catch up part 2

Well that was a weekend which saw the mileage creep up a tad!  Baz, Ali's brother in law asked if he could visit for the weekend. Friday saw me moored at the junction with the Welford Arm and so I somewhat stupidly suggested that we meet at North Kilworth Wharf on Saturday morning.

Those of you that really know this location, will also know just how congested it is with no moorings, and caught on the hop, it was only a mile or so away!  So Saturday morning off I set and of course upon arrival could not moor up.  No alternative then but to carry on through Husbands Bosworth Tunnel and on to Foxton, where we arranged to meet up.  Seven miles later and by this time noon, I met with Baz...

We then set off back towards Crick, a seventeen mile journey with no locks.  It was a fine day and the countryside is very pleasant.  We also saw a pair of Red Kite's floating on the thermals near Welford, keeping the gliders company.  Arrived at Crick at 1810, moored up and walked to the Wheatsheaf where we had a rather pleasant meal and partook in a little liquid refreshment.

Sunday morning was again bright if a little chilly and breezy. Negotiating the anglers who were setting up for a match, we turned and began the trip back to Foxton.  Once again very pleasant it was and Baz (aka Roger the cabin boy) mastered his steering skills.  He did almost all the tiller work and thoroughly enjoyed it.  We also spied that rare beast, a Water Vole during the trip back. Once again it took us six hours to cover the seventeen miles and arriving at Foxton we winded and moored, then had a walk down the inclined plane.  Had an evening meal in would you believe the pub!

Baz has gone home this morning and I am awaiting Sam from Foxton Boat Services for a much needed service.
Red Kite's

Baz.  A man at ease.
 And startled by the sunlight leaving the tunnel
Some things dead can still look stunning 

Friday 10 miles, no locks,
Saturday 24 miles, no locks, 1166 yards of tunnel.(twice!)
Sunday 17 miles, no locks, 1166 yards of tunnel.

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Thanks everyone for all the good wishes for my new job! 

Still feels really strange being at home and John being out on the cut.  I think I am ready for tomorrow, a huge decision that could be portrayed as a 'girlie' decision, what shoes to wear, but not due the normal 'girlie' shoe thing of having loads to choose from, my dilemma is which shoes will hurt the least!  Not had work shoes on for absolutely ages and all of them hurt!  

John is alive and kicking, Baz has been with him for the last couple of days and they have been to Crick and back and are now at Foxton, I am sure he will update the blog tomorrow.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Bye bye

As John said in his post, today was a really sad day, I haven't been looking forward to it for the last few weeks but it was as I expected, I really didn't want to come home.  I have a new job that I have to start on Monday and to be fair I hated not being able to get work last winter so I am grateful that I have got a job but.... and its a big but, it was really hard to leave this morning.  We have had a fabulous time since March, despite the weather and so to end it was harder than I thought.  I will be back on the weekends to join John until we go into the marina in October so its not quite over yet!

A couple of photos as I waved the single hander goodbye!
If you see him give him a shout (as he will be missing my nagging!)

Look at that sky, it might have been easier if it had been raining (although it was blowing a gale).

 Ali       .

A catch up and farewell.

Getting a little lazy with the blog, but we are coming to the end of our summer cruise and I suppose writing up this seems to hasten the end!

So, were are we now?  Well on the Leicester section of the G.U.  We are in the top pound which runs between the Watford flight and Foxton,  This is in itself a lovely area, the heart of England and very scenic in an understated way.  No locks, so a days cruise can be quite extensive miles wise.

On Wednesday, we left our mooring and  turned at the Welford arm junction, cruising to a very scenic mooring just north of bridge 27, which has rings.  The canal is very shallow in this area.  We stayed overnight and then continued south to Crick, were we once again turned, moored, then shuffled in order to get a T.V. signal.  Crick is notorious for the lack of mobile and Internet signals and this was well proven!  We had arranged to meet Jane for a meal at The Moorings next to bridge 12 and managed to achieve this.  Lovely evening, thank you for coming Jane.

This morning was very, very sad.  Ali was going home!

She starts her new job on Monday, and needed to get home before the weekend in order to get ready.  It seems very unreal to wave her goodbye and we were both upset at parting, albeit for a week. After she had loaded the car and waved me off, I was on my own, GULP!

Now I have not cruised the boat alone and to be honest the prospect was somewhat daunting.  So a slow and steady cruise was made to Yelvertoft in order to fill with water.  Oh no!  A Que at the water point.  Normally Ali organises me, but she had gone home, so down to me!  A short hover saw me on the bank and a short time later, moored up and taking on water.  That done, I chugged off.  Quite a windy day, but with very little traffic thank goodness.  Canal boats are notorious for being shall we say difficult, in any wind.  I must admit to  some trepidation at handling Tricky on my own, but she played the game and all went surprisingly smoothly.

By 4 ish I was moored once again at the junction with the Welford arm.  Even managed to tune in the T.V., which is a dark art usually left to Ali !

Was going to drown some maggots, but the wind is so strong and chilly that I think this is a pleasure for the morrow.

Forgive me if  this post is not up to standard, but I am an I.T. eediot and the instructions about adding photo's left by Ali may well go awry!
Wednesday mooring.

 Not a good picture of "Toss a coin" in Yelvertoft marina.

 Tonights mooring.
 And remember.
Wednesday 5 miles.
Thursday  5 miles
Thursday  10 miles.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Seems like just in time!

On Monday our plan was to remain at Crick and play catch up.  We had the car to collect from Long Buckby Wharfe and so hoped the weather would hold.

The reason for the post title is this E-mail.

Watford Flight, Locks 1-7

Monday 10 September 2012 until further notice

The Watford Locks flight is closed with immediate efect due to emergency repairs. The canal will be dewatered on Tuesday 11th September when repairs will be carried out. The flight will be closed until further notice.

Enquiries: 01908 302500

Ali said one of the paddles on the flight was a little "odd" and it appears she was right.  That said, CRT seem to have got their act together as the flight reopened this afternoon, much to the delight of the hirers and hire companies no doubt, as there were quite  a few Kate Boats on the summit pound.

Anyway, on Monday, we caught the bus to Long Buckby and as we had half an hour to wait for a connection, we decided to walk to the wharf.  Arrived just after the bus so no time wasted and good exercise to boot.
The car came into its own straight away.  We went and got some bait so I could go fishing again!.  We also did a tesco shop then left the car in Crick untill Ali needs it on Friday.

Today we have had a very pleasant cruise, if a tad chilly at times due to a strong wind and moored near the entrance to the Welford arm by mid afternoon.  Out came the fishing rod and spent a few hours drowning maggots.  Got a few small roach and perch, and lost a whopper!

The nights are getting chilly now and for the first time in months we have the fire on.

The Gnome fishing.

Sun setting over our mooring.

10 Miles. No Locks.