Saturday, 31 March 2012

Foxton Locks

There are restrictions on Foxton Locks 10am until 4pm, at 9:30 this morning 2 boats came past us, closely followed by another.  We didn’t know if there were any others queuing to go down, so we went to have a look and to also book in with the lock keeper as we were ready to move off.  There were just the three boats in front, but there were also four boats coming up so we had a wait of about 1.5 hours before we set off down the locks, so lots of chatting whilst waiting.  A hire boat came behind us, with a lovely Australian couple on, who are on their way back to Market Harborough after two weeks hire, what a lovely two weeks they have had, they have done various canals before and are off to Germany in a few weeks to go touring in a motor home. 

We had an uneventful decent, the locks are in good working order so are not difficult to work, one of the lock keepers did give us a hand for a couple of locks as well, with lots of gongoozlers.  At the bottom we waited for a boat to move off so we could have the mooring by the bridge that we have moored on before as its one we like, close to the pub!  Whilst mooring up we realised that Pip and Rog were just up the cut, they have come out of Debdale Wharf, so we had a quick catch up, then another natter over a beer in bridge 61 and we are going out for tea to the Foxton Locks pub in a bit with them.  

We received what are becoming normal compliments about the boat and more than a few enquiring about the builder including one who seemed very interested.  It’s a good job we cleaned it before setting off and a good job I cleaned up inside as a few have had their noses stuck on the port holes this afternoon! Serves us right for mooring so close to the bottom of the locks!

Nearly there

10 locks

Friday, 30 March 2012

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday sunny and warm, today misty and not very warm.  We left our moorings this morning, cruised past North Kibworth Wharf and on towards Foxton, occasionally we thought the sun was going to come out but it didn't until after we had moored up.  We had a lovely cruise despite the mist, there are lots of lambs in the fields and they are really amusing to watch 'gamboling' around, along with some new calves.  We passed a few canaltime boats heading towards Yelvertoft, but not much else on the move.  For the first time we made have made use of the heat exchanger, enabling us to heat the boat utilising the heat from the engine.  This worked really well and whilst the mist persisted and the temperature was low we kept the boat interior nice and warm.

We have moored up at the top of the locks, just managing to get in, we have resisted the fudge boat, which is moored two infront.  This afternoon we went for a walk to Foxton village to visit the  Foxton Village Store in the old Skittle Alley of the Black Horse Pub, the shop is great for fresh fruit and veg, but we were a bit disappointed in the choice of bread, but it may have been as it was a bit late in the day so the choice had gone.  The Black Horse has reopened again.

We took the cassette for a walk to the services later and it seemed rude not to visit Bridge 61 for a pint on the way back, leaving the empty cassette outside in the garden!

View from our mooring this morning

Exiting Husbands Bosworth Tunnel

It must be a better view from up there

The branches on this tree amaze us, that they are still attached,
 they are dead and have been for a while

& these defy gravity, they grow at near horizontal

The mist hides the lovely view

7 miles no locks

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Out on the cut 2012!

We loaded up the car this morning, we did seem to have quite a lot of stuff and more clothes, to the point that I did wonder where everything was going to go !.  We had a good journey down to Yelvertoft, making a quick detour to Fosse Park to pick up some food for the next few days.  There was a huge queue for fuel at Asda, fortunately we didn't need to fill up.

We unloaded the car  and there was no need to panic, everything has gone in, I think because we had space last year we have brought more, but it all fits and at the moment we don't think we have forgotten anything, but if we have, we can bring it as we will be back home for a few days next week.

It was a lovely afternoon so after loading up, we said our goodbyes to the staff and some of the moorers at the marina.  We have enjoyed being in Yelvertoft Marina, its friendly, clean and in a lovely setting, we have met many new friends and it was topped off last weekend with a really good evening on Saturday with a Quiz night and drinki poos, a local micro brewary beer for John and wine for Ali.  The marina have a few do's throughout the year which are really well attended, a good night with the chance to meet lots of new people.

We set off towards Debdale, cruising along in lovely sunshine, meeting the occasional boat on the move and have moored near the Welford arm.  

So finally we are on the off, the initial destination is an appointment to be blacked on Monday, but before that a weekend around Foxton.  NB Windsong is making their way from Debdale so at some point we will hopefully meet up.

Leaving Yelvertoft Marina

Cruising along the Leicester line, 
lovely blue skies and the trees starting to green up

8 miles no locks

Friday, 23 March 2012

A lovely day, we couldn't resist a short cruise

We came down to Yelvertoft yesterday, arriving just after lunch.  It was warm and sunny so we set about washing Triskaideka down, she wasn't too bad, soot on the roof and dusty.  We were able to do both sides as the boat moored at the side of us had gone out so we just pushed her across to the next pontoon, washed the other side and pushed her back.  We finished quicker than we thought and as it was still quiet nice decided to start polishing her as well.  We did one side and then this morning did the other along with polishing the mushrooms and portholes.  We had finished at lunchtime so we decided to go up the cut, it was too nice not to enjoy it.  We went to the next winding hole, there were a few boats moored along the way most with the occupants sat on the towpath enjoying the sunshine, coming back we passed more boats on the move, we think these are boats from Yelvertoft and Crick Marinas off out for the weekend.

Tomorrow we are off to Braunston to pick up the other chair we have ordered from Wilsons and no doubt will have a wander around the chandlers as well.  The forecast is lovely for the weekend, lets hope it lasts a bit as we are on the move later in the week heading for out blacking appointment at Debdale Wharf.

Shiny Boat!

Sunny but still a little hazy 

 The blossom is starting to come out

6.5 miles no locks

Monday, 19 March 2012

Nearly there

Well almost ready to go ! The boat is now de-winterised and fingers crossed seems to have survived the winter remarkably well. Water filter, shower and pumps all back in place and the fresh water system flushed through and filled. No leaks as yet! For some reason, one radiator valve has an intermittent weep, but appeared to have sorted itself when we left on Sunday.

The dehumidifier has been a godsend. It has largely dried out the boat, which in all honesty was not too bad, apart from the bedroom. This was surprising in one way, as we had placed the mattress upright in the saloon. But we think that as this is the only part of the boat without mushroom vents, this was the cause of some of the drawers swelling. Now we have introduced some heat and ventilation, this appears to be on the mend.

Whilst the 12v Shoreline fridge has been brill, the freezer has proven more problematical. Last season, it did not seem to get down to temperature, or maintain it ! This is located under the L shaped dinette. My feeling was that there was not enough ventilation and so I have introduced more vents to improve the flow. Will see if that works. We did have it on for 48 hours when we were down, but filled only with a large bag of shredded paper. It managed to get down to -10, so when filled with frozen items, we will see how it performs. A knock on effect of it's location, is that the dinette is somewhat higher than would be ideal and therefore not that comfortable to sit on for extended periods.

We do have a Wilsons "Captains chair". This is ultra comfy, but having only one is problematic, well it is for Ali as I hog it! So we have decided to get another. I rang Wilsons today and placed an order, minus the stool which we feel is surplus to requirements. Happily they have one in stock of the colour we want and even better, as they will be at Braunston this coming weekend, will bring it with them for us to collect! Job done.

We stayed with Paul and Jane (thank you again) and stayed a day longer than we initially intended in order to meet up with all the family. This in itself was brill and also availed us of the chance to meet up again on Sunday with Doug and James ( N.B. Chance, get it!) We popped over to Brinklow marina to see them, intending a flying visit! This is just not possible with these two, they are such good company and we were somewhat reluctant to leave, but leave we eventually did, with regret that we could not share a meal and an evening with them both. We will soon chaps if you let us.

So back down later this week for the great wash and brush up weather permitting, as well as the drinks and nibbles at the marina on Saturday night. Hopefully we will also get out for a test run in preparation for the start of our 2012 jaunt.

Sorry no pictures as yet, forgot the camera!

Sad News

Maureen Shaw who used to live in the cottage at Wardle Lock, Middlewich, sadly passed away yesterday.  Anyone who ever met Maureen would never forget her, she helped and advised many inexperienced and experienced boater through Wardle Lock, she was a real character and will be sadly missed.  We had the pleasure of meeting Maureen on a few occasions and the lock will never be the same without her.
Rest in Peace Maureen.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Final preperations.

Well tomorrow (thursday) will see us once again travelling the now much upgraded A46. This road is now uber familiar as it is the route we choose to get to Yelvertoft, and during the build to Beacon Boats. In that time it has gone from single to dual carriageway, although it is not quite completed. It has made the journey so much easier, but still a bore!

It is now the time to de-winterize and so that will be our main occupation over the next few days along with a few other jobs. We are hoping to be back down again by the 24th, when weather permitting, we will wash and polish Trisky( before the hosepipe ban!). We may even get out for a run, one never knows.

Then by the end of the month we are off to Debdale for re-blacking. Watch the weather change then!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Thoughts of summer and beyond

Not too long until we are once again mobile. It has been a long winter, even though we only left the boat in mid November. What has become apparent is that lovely as the marina at Yelvertoft is, it is too far to travel from home in north linc's as often as we would like.

The original plan when I retired last year, was to sell the house and relocate to somewhere in the south midlands. The ongoing recession and the parlous state of the housing market has all but thwarted this. We are going to take the house off the market until the autumn, which means that we will be once again spending the winter in North Linc's. The knock on effect of this is that we really need to find a marina that is within easy striking distance of our home.

In the last few days, to this end we have visited Newark and taken a look at Kings marina. This is on the Trent, is small but appears ok and looks secure. But...Looking around the area, it needs to be! We have today also visited Lemonroyd marina on the Aire and Calder. This again is small, but has a better feeling re its location. Both of these are an hours drive from home. The only disadvantage is their geographical locations, in that they are not in the heart of the system and do not therefore give as much choice in regard to occasional cruising routes.

We would be sorry to leave Yelvertoft, but needs must I am afraid.

Our plan this year is to cruise the western and pennine waterways. Let us hope that water levels can be maintained!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

And NO. She is not moored using the centre line, we were waiting, temporarily, for a lock!  Know someone will notice...

A new look

As you may have noticed I have changed the look of our blog for our new cruising year.  Any comments would be welcome.

We will be starting to de-winterise Triskaideka in the next couple of weeks ready for her date at Debdale Wharf for blacking at the beginning of April.  Hopefully we will get out on the cut for a few days before that as well.