Wet and wild autumn weather

Sunday, 29 November 2009

We have been rather pre occupied at home so have not been able to go up to the boat as much as we would like. The previous time being early October when the weather was glorious and we managed a short cruise into Braunston with a lovely overnight stay near bridge 103.

The butty Atalanta went past under tow.

What a difference a month makes we went up last week to sort out a clip on the cratch cover and to arrange for an engine service. The weather was terrible. Heavy rain and strong winds. The satelite dish on the roof decided to take flight during the evening but luckily I had tied it down and therefore it didn't go AWOL.

Cows and Coldplay

Monday, 21 September 2009

Anne's aunt who works at a vet's in rural South Wales has pointed out that my group of cows in my posting on the 16 September are infact Charolais Bulls. She says they are big cowards and by sitting like that, they can see who is creeping up on them. Don't challenge them though as they can be nasty buggers!

We had to come back home last week and it would appear we have missed the lovely autum weather, but it was worthwhile. We went to see Coldplay at Wembley Stadium last Friday evening with our friends Bill and Clare. They were fantastic and gave it 110% throughout their performance. It was their 163rd concert, a really great night which will not be forgotten.

Way back from Welford

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Back to the boat last Friday and the weather was glorious for the autumn. We collected the boat from Les and started the journey back to Wigrams hopefully with no scrapes on th nice paint work. We were also due to meet our son Simon and girlfriend Debbie at Crick for a meal in Edwards on Saturday - my 62nd birthday and 2 years since I stopped working -time does go quick when you are enjoying yourself. I was given a fridge magnet when I left work which said " stop living at work and start working at living" how very true.

There were lots of birds on the towpath which I think are partridge which then collected on bridge 33 as the sun set - very strange.

The same bridge 33 in the early mist and sunshine the following morning

Bridge 32 on the Leicester arm which is in need of some desperate TLC from BW soon.

We meet Si and Debs for our meal at Edwards which was excellent and they then helped us down the Watford locks and back to Wigrams. A very pleasant cruise although the sunshine had gone and it was now cloudy and a bit chilly. Only a few marks on the new paint which were quickly covered over.

Cromford Canal

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

On our way back from Lancashire we stopped with some old friends Jeff and Sylvia in Uttoxeter by which time the weather had really improved for the better so last Wednesday we went on a trip to see the Cromford canal.

The warehouses at the end of the Cromford canal at Cromford.

Whilst we were walking along the canal to the Cromford and High Peak Railway we saw this water vole going about its business oblivious to the 6 people standing very still on the tow path watching. They are such timid creatures but this one stayed still for a good 5 minutes before it calmly made its way home.

Slow boat to Welford

Its that time again when we need to take BB to Les at Welford for her 2 yearly black bottoming session and a general hull tidy up. It will take about 5 days so we also planned to visit friends Bury and Uttoxeter.

The weather was cloudy but otherwise good for boating with chilly evenings so the fire was lit just for the evenings

After it must be nearly 2 years BW have started work on the Braunston tunnel slip which presumably means they have to stabilise the ground first and put in drainage before they can move the obstruction.

View back to the land slide as you enter- which seems to be moving further across the entrance.

The south end of the tunnel in the early morning sun.

An unusual group of back to back cows

Its a big hole and site as they work on the new marina at Yelvertoft (near bridge18)

Something different

A winter project- I now have part ownership in a 1972 MGBGT which needs some TLC to its interior, bodywork in places ( as the main parts are all OK) and some work in the engine bay. Its lovelly to drive and takes you back to a time when motoring was a joy a bit like narrow boating.

Water stains on the woodwork are no more

Sunday, 16 August 2009

We decided to leave the sunshine of the south east and go up to BB last week as we had arranged to meet Pete Hill who was going to help us remove the bad water stains which we had following the very cold weather last winter.

The weather at Napton has not been good over the last few weeks with a fair amount of rain and last week was no exception with only one really nice day Thursday when we managed a pleasant cruise to Braunston and back with an overnight stop near bridge 103 and a BBQ.

The main work to be done was the water stains on the light oak veneered panels and the stains on the oak shelves. They had been caused by condensation either running down behind the panels and finding a way out onto the shelves or dripping down from a ceiling panel. The condensation was caused when we had the stove on during the winter when the outside temperature was minus 10c, the coldest it has been since we had the boat. Pete had identified the areas where there is probably a gap in the polystyrene insulation and therefore where he needed to inject some spray foam to cure the problem.

We had major thin stains running down on each of three panels that Pete attacked by first rubbing down with very fine sand paper, then putting on some undiluted bleach which was left for about 30 minutes before being washed off. After this some clear satin varnish was applied and when dry Briwax clear was put on using 0000 grade wire wool- they now look good as new.

I set to work (with some guidance from Pete) on the shelves which are solid oak as follows:-

As the shelves have been waxed it was necessary to scrape this off and then a layer of the oak shelf using a Skarsten finishing scraper (large red wooden handle in the picture) and a Bahco 625 scraper on which much more pressure could be applied.

Picture of the two scrapers used to deal with the water stains on the solid oak wooden parts.

Once the stains had been removed it was then sanded with the fine paper and wiped clean with white spirit. When dry satin varnish was applied and then when that was dry Briwax clear was put on with 0000 grade wire wool.

In all it took all day but was well worth the effort.

Next trip is to Welford in early September for bottom blacking etc.

Stowe Hill Marine no more

Monday, 27 July 2009

It would appear that Stowe Hill Marine are no more. There is a news item in CanalsandRiver dated 8 July that states Stowe Hill Marine ceased trading a the end of June 09. Pete & Julie Hill sold the business to Simon Kennedy at the end of May04- BB being the last Pete Hill Stowe boat (number 165), about another 25 boats have been built by Simon.

The article states that Rugby Boat Sales are taking over the shop area and will take over the diesel and pump out facilities. Robert Gudgeon and Graham Shepherd will take over the dry dock and workshop. No mention has been made about unfinished boats although when we went past in June we couldn't see any new hulls.

The end of an era no more Stowe Hill low line tug style narrow boats- RIP.

Now back at Wigrams

Sunday, 19 July 2009

We are now back in the marina having covered only 94 locks and 138 miles in 3 weeks. As we made our way back up the Oxford canal it was very busy with queues at most of the locks. When we were in Banbury on Monday afternoon in a period of 15mins 8 boats went past and then they all had to wait to go done the lock in the centre of Banbury -a good reason to go back to the south coast and come out again in September. We need to go to welford so that BBs bottom can be blacked together with a few other jobs.

When we went through Thrupp we had a chance to meet two bloggers Maffi and Bones it was great to put faces to names.

A few final pictures of the trip

We were followed up the Claydon flight by a very friendly couple who had a 15 year old beardy/airedale cross with a lovely face.

A you come in/out of Banbury you pass a house with a picture of the owners on the wall- perhaps this could catch on now that ID cards have been scrapped.

As we waited for the water tank to fill at Cropredy I noticed the road name- Is it a statement or is it because the road goes round the bottom of the village.

Pictures from the Thames and Oxford canal

We first came past Twyford Wharf on the Oxford 6 years ago in fact the year we ordered BB and when the work on the wharf had first started- it now looks excellent with the hard work really paying off.

The bridge holes on narrow canals can be very tight as this view of BB entering Nell Bridge Lock where you go under the new A41 road bridge whic is in front of the old one.

A un modernised fishing lodge on the Thames near The Ferryman Inn

A great Thames boat house with launch

A splendid Thames sunset above Pinkhill lock


Monday, 13 July 2009

Its not only the scenery that we go through on the journey its the diversity of things that you see. I therefore include a selection of the different boats seen on the trip.

A great name but you have to do the accent

We saw this boat near Enslow Wharf -if you enlarge the picture it has a huge mast, solar panels and satellite dish.

A floating steel shed under construction

An amphibious plastic carboat

Is this the narrow boat equivalent of a smart car

Now back at Banbury

We came off the Thames last Friday and have made our way back up the South Oxford canal to Banbury and sunshine, light showers anp heavy showers. Anne's sister and husband joined us for the day on Saturday after yomping down the canal from Lower Heyford - a very pleasant day especially with help through a few of the locks. We also managed to BBQ some prawns before the heavens opened in the evening. Ones from Morrisons athough the one lock keeper on the Thames had caught about 30 huge american crayfish in the weir stream in one night, they make excellent eating.

We stopped Sunday night at Sarah and Deans smallholding just above Nell Bridge Lock where thet have put in mooring on the off side for £5.75(inc VAT) plus £2 for electricity- you can also buy free range pork and sausages- a really good idea which I hope is succesfull for them.

I will try and upload some pictures but I am having difficulties at the moment.

So far only 2 cappuccino's - both in Banbury- the Thames above Oxford is a no go area for good coffee.

On to the Thames towards Lechlade

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The weather changed last Friday as we reached the Thames with heavy rain showers and strong south westerly winds which resulted in us running aground and me having a close encounter with a local tree as the wind blew the boat across the river as we set off one morning. A good lesson though as we should have gone through how we would leave the bank taking into account the wind and the current- something we now do each time on the river.

We are moored tonight above Rushey lock far from the madding crowd except VC10s and AWACS 707 (picture below) flying round from Brize Norton

Looking from our mooring to Swinford Toll Bridge

Face watching over you at Radcot Lock

Old Father Thames with paddle at St Johns Lock Lechlade the last one on the Thames

A Lincoln tug which has a lovely bow shape

Leaving Lechlade meadow with the church in the background

My brother Peter visited us at Lechlade with his Gordon Setter Jackie who found a great place to watch the ducks and swans. They are used to find the game birds and set them flying , so she was stalking any bird she could find on the ground when we went for walks across the meadow.

The last bit of the Oxford canal to the Thames

The trip down the Oxford continued in very hot sunshine. A few images seen on the way.

A mini narrow boat near Kidlington

Parking outside the Boat Inn at Thrupp

A lovely oak house next to Pigeon's Lock

A very clever farmer above Nells Bridge Lock has created moorings on the offside with power and water for I think £5 per night

Heading towards Banbury

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Wigrams Turn marina had a moorers BBQ Saturday night which was excellent and we then left early Sunday for our trip to Lechlade on the Thames. The weather has been great - we are now in Banbury centre with a reasonable Orange 3g signal.

A group of young people on a canoe camping trip making their way through the centre of Banbury. We also saw several groups doing their Duke of Edinburghs award walking up the Napton flight in very hot sunshine.

A Moorhen have a good wash and brush up outside the boat a Cropredy

A view of BB moored above Croperdy lock

We didn't have the televison on Sunday evening near Fenny Compton but we had something much better a serenade from this Bull Finch in the tree opposite the boat

The lock house by Napton bottom lock has now been bought and the new owners has spent a lot of time and money restoring it to better than its past
I do like the oak porch that has been added.

More Braunston pictures

It was a special FMC weekend with plenty of their boats present in the old wharf in the Marina

A collection of Stewarts & Lloyds tugs

The steam narrow boat President which is 100 years old this year and the butty Kildare together with 3 others including Vulcan and Monarch

Braunston classic boat festival

Images of the Braunston festival in all over 80 boats attended

Tunnel tug which used to operate in the Tardebigge tunnel

Horse drawn NB Elland with Bilbo Baggins the horse

Wall to wall boats outside the marina

We came up to the boat last Thursday and although Friday was wet its has been fantastic weather since with only the odd short thunder storm. First thing was to go to Braunston on Saturday to see the classic boats - a great day out.