Saturday, 28 June 2008

quick update

Just a brief explanation as to why I have not updated blog for last couple of weeks ( if anyone actually reads it!) Have had 2 family bereavements, 1 sort of expected, my Mother & 1 totally unexpected, my sister-in-law aged 49.
We did manage to set off on our cruise to Skipton but only got to Castleford before having to return.
So hopefully next week I shall be able to bring blog up to date.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Murdering Cat

When we were contemplating moving onto a narrowboat we had to consider how our 2 cats Poppy & Soona would cope with life on board & we are generally ( read on for the but!) delighted with the way they have settled in.
They seem to enjoy their new life & are not even phased when we are out cruising & just settle down for a sleep - although when we had our 1st ( & only !) trip out we were not brave enough to let them out when we moored up.

Soona, after scaring us on her 1st time off the boat by disappearing for the day, usually has a couple of wanders outside during the day, not going very far, does a few circuits of the boat by gunwhale then spends rest of her time snoozing on the sofa.

Here's the but - When Poppy was back in Hull she enjoyed being outside but, probably due to the lack of available wildlife, never brought any 'trophies' back & was a very affectionate cat. Now she seems to have undergone a personality change.
She is out & about in the marina most of the day just popping back to the boat for an afternoon snooze. Since she has discovered the great outdoors ( & its wildlife) she has become less of an affectionate pet & more a hunter (who keeps bringing the results of her forays back to the boat!) Mmmm.... I am not too impressed.

Next week Mark has a couple of weeks off so we are going to head up onto the Leeds & Liverpool, our destination is Skipton but nothing is set in stone so we shall see where we end up.

I have been getting some bits & bobs that we need before setting off like a hosepipe - (up to now we have been able to use the marina's ) getting a horn fitted & another leisure battery connected.

I'm hoping the washing machine will work okay as my research prior to buying the boat led me to believe that we needed a 3000w inverter to run a washer. Poppy ( boat not cat!) is fitted with a 1500w inverter & I have been given differing advice as to whether washing machine will work or not - general consensus seems to be that it should work fine so long as engine is running but I am not convinced.
It is easy to get complacent about a power supply when you're plugged in to shore power! . Mark firmly believes we should get a generator but they seem to be a noisy & smelly option - I think we will have a better idea when we have done some more cruising & it will be a good test of our set up while we are away.

Last Sunday we decided to do another walk in the Isle of Axholme as it is not far to drive & lots of footpaths to explore. This time we parked up near village of Belton & walked down to Epworth & then back by Carrhouse, I didn't work out the mileage but we were out 5 hours so reckon probably 6 or 7 miles. Weather a bit cooler than last week ( thank goodness!) & we had one short shower so waterproofs on just long enough to get them damp.

The wild flowers are looking splendid just now, this pic doesn't do this corner justice & the poppies are in full bloom
Poppies are one of my favourite wild flowers so hence the boat's name- it's not just after our cat Poppy - who maybe should be renamed something more appropriate now she's taken to terrorising the local wildlife.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Flaming June !

I have been trying to find out what I can find do about the rails that the hatch runs on, as it is metal on metal the paint receives a thorough scraping every time the hatch is slid open leaving bare metal to rust & I can see little point in repainting as next time hatch is opened it will just happens again.
I noticed that the boat moored next to me has some brass strips screwed on the rails & another boat nearby has some perspex ( or something similar) strips which seem to do the job. But finding a supplier is proving difficult! I was told that a hardware shop in Doncaster supplied the pespex strips so we checked them out on sat am but no joy as they no longer stock it. So the search goes on....

So after the fruitless trip to Doncaster we called in at Asda -we don't usually shop on Saturdays as just too busy but seemed sensible as already in the area and yes it was madness- never again!
Anyway shopping done back home for a lazy afternoon.

Sunday dawned bright & sunny so we drove the few miles to Epworth & parked up a couple of miles or so outside the village. By the time we got to the village it was about lunchtime & we were looking for a shady place to sit when we came on The Old Rectory which was the home of the Wesley family.
The house was closed ( 2 till 4 on Sundays) but the garden was open & looked very inviting so we parked ourselves on a bench under the shade (as by now it was hot !) of a copper beech to enjoy our lunch.
We then continued our walk through Low Burnham & back to the car. Part of the walk was on an old railway track & the hawthorne blossom has been replaced by hedges of wild roses.By now it was very warm and it was a bit of a slog walking in the heat so we were glad to make use of the air con when we got back to the car !

Whilst doing the blog I had put a post on Canal World forum re rails & just had a reply from Gary at Ledgard Bridge Boat Co who said they stock brass one,s so problem solved.
Even better, we shall be passing said boatyard on route to Skipton in a couple of weeks so will pick some up then.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Out at last!

Can't believe it is Thursday already & I haven't updated the blog yet - life is so busy as a retiree!
Finally, last weekend the weather was set fair - for saturday anyway so we set off for our 1st proper trip.
Out of the marina, easy peasy- then to Thorne swing-foot- bridge which is electrically operated , all fine till end of operation when it refused to let me have my key back. Advised by passerby that this is a regular occurrence so rang BW who informed us that help would be a while as the engineer was attending a problem in Rotherham.
Mmm... so lets have a coffee while we wait but Mark couldn't resist having a fiddle and after much banging of gates retrieved the key so a quick call to cancel BW then on our way again.
I came across the blog of Martlett ( this week & the entry for 26th April describes the same problem. So nice to know it was nothing we did wrong it's just an awkward blighter!

Thorne lock /swing bridge were fairly easy & straightforward as electrically operated. Stopped in Stainforth at The New Inn for lunch, very pleasant & excellent sandwiches then onwards through Bramwith swing bridge.
Passed this family of ducks making good use of this abandoned tyre,
Bramwith Lock came up fairly swiftly - a proper lock requiring the use of a windlass & some pushing & shoving!
A nb was just about to enter so we went in together & a family who had just taken their boat through offered to do the work which we, as complete novices, were only too thankful for.
Just one mishap when our front got caught up on the front gate & removed some paint, ouch! Our helpers apologised, saying that they hadn't kept an eye on the front end & we realised when exiting the lock that our helpers boat was a cruiser, whilst very competent working the lock they obviously weren't used to the length of a narrow boat.
Neverthless we were very grateful for their assistance although I felt I had cheated somewhat!

We eventually moored up between Barnby Dun & Sandall Grove & enjoyed a peaceful evening with this cracking sunset.
Sunday dawned wet but undaunted we set off on the home run, stopping off at Barnby Dun to pick up the sunday papers by which time the rain had stopped.
On reaching Bramwith Lock no-one was about so we were able to manage it all by ourselves with no onlookers & no incidents. Rest of journey home past all too quickly & we were back onto our mooring by 3pm.
We have plans to head off towards Skipton at the end of June as Mark has a couple of weeks leave & I think we feel a bit more competent now.
Had a visit from Chris, the Canvas Man this morning to discuss the cratch. Decided to have a framed one rather than with a wooden board - he is hoping to have it all done in approx 4-5weeks so watch this space.
Okay, Time for cuppa as Big Brother starts in 10 minutes & yes it is an absolute load of tosh but I still end up watching it......