Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Water at last

We reached Sutton Cheney yesterday afternoon after another boat made their way passed us and we decided to follow them to Sutton Cheney. On arrival we filled with water and had a chat with Allison on Gosty Hill who said that Iain was out with another boater to deliver diesel and coal to other boaters along the Ashby in the other boaters van. The ice was surprisingly much thinner than the day before.

I'm not sure who you would trust come the apocalypse, but fellow boaters are a fair bet.  I would say that this is the best of humanity, that boaters are reacting to the potential distress of others they do not even know and that this help was the action of compassion by those larger than life characters who care about their fellow human beings. Well done Ralph on nbAnnabelle who was driving his van to deliver the fuel.

Life always feels better with and empty toilet and a full water and fuel tank and no rubbish aboard.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Stuck again

We tried to move today as it looked as if it had melted a little and two boats had left our mooring and had made their way successfully to Market Bosworth and back. But we were facing the other way and had to go to Sutton Cheney Wharf. We made it about a kilometre, followed by nbDestiny before coming to ignominious end after a very difficult passage. The ice was four inches thick at places so we abandoned the attempt and may try again tomorrow if we can. We are currently moored some distance from the bank as we cannot get closer.

I'm not surprised that Gosty Hill abandoned the attempt. I was just a  little ambitious or possibly, a little stupid.

Monday, 28 December 2009


We've been stuck here in the ice for two weeks and going into the third. Gosty Hill (the local coal boat) just couldn't make it any further and winded at Sutton Cheney Wharf before they reached us and everyone else further on down the Ashby. We feel abandoned by humanity and have been left to our own devices by society. Diesel is ok but toilet and water have to be transported by car. The five day weather forecast is not looking like we will be moving very far for the next week. The two week weather forecast is hardly any better. We'll see.

It's not such a bad thing as there is a bit of the old Dunkirk spirit around here with boaters passing info down the line, getting coal for those without vehicles of their own and shopping for the same.

The outlaws and Terri were here for Christmas dinner and very successful it was too. All cooked on the Rayburn with not so much as a cross word. I say that but, later in the evening, after much drink having been consumed, the central heating reservoir overflowed and I shouted at Lisa not to over-react as I was over-reacting to her anticipated over-reaction. She was being uncharacteristically calm and caught me unawares. Anyway, I was in the wrong again.

There has been a spate of liveaboards having their cars broken into around these parts, tyres let down and even in several occasions, cars set on fire. It seems that liveaboards are being picked on at the moment. Probably just kids and us feeling a little victimised but slightly worrying all the same. Even more so since none of us can go anywhere at present.

We met another set of narrowboat boggers in the Red Cow in Market Bosworth this afternoon. They were Graham and Jill from nbArmadillo who, on hearing our tales of woe discussed with another couple who walk the towpaths, introduced themselves as fellow abandonees moored at the Market Bosworth moorings. At least they've got a water point available to them but no car. Proper Constant Cruisers I believe. i have added them to my boatroll.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Parenthood, ice and moving

We have now moved lock, stock and smoking barrels into our 'new' bedroom on the boat. That means that all the rooms now have the purpose they were designed for on my original plan. The final job before Christmas is to build the Belfast sink unit and tile the kitchen with the slate. Lisa is away for several days next week in London so I can get on with this without having to bother having to clean up for her return every evening. She usually arrives back and has no idea what an uproar the boat has been in during the day.

There may be a little bit of carpentry to do yet but you get the idea

The only thing we now have to do for the arrival of the outlaws is to buy the food and remind ourselves that the shops are only closed for one day. We are, as usual, refusing to acknowledge the near existence of the day by not putting any decorations up until absolutely necessary. Although Lisa, having a penchant for twinkly things, has placed some newly bought red lights around the inside of the door. I'm slightly worried that there will be men of dubious character hanging around outside.

I got fed up with the time this one was taking to upload but it was just the inevitable 'Look at me, I'm iced in' shot. (Ohh! It's done it now)

Our plan is to set off for Shakerstone at the (almost) end of the Ashby to enable the outlaws and Terri to have a drink in the luxury of a pub before all descending onto the boat for food and more drink, although we may have to rethink all of that if this cold snap continues and we are unable to move. -6 outside and +25 inside thanks to Dusty Rea (Rayburn's new name apparently). If we're iced in, that's the way it will be. We're having Christmas here. Well, frozen ground means no mud so it must be a good thing.

Terri was up around these parts visiting her friends the other day. Not us. Oh no. Not the ones who put up with her and looked after her for twenty years. I got a phone call in the morning and she told me to meet her at Halfords so as I can replace an indicator bulb for her before she returns to London. "Have you done it yet. I've got to be at work at twelve". Ho hum. The perks of parenthood.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

More building

I have now built the final bulkhead so as to make our own bedroom at last and so Terri can have her own room on her very rare visits (and our day room at other times). It has to be done before Christmas day as the outlaws are coming for their annual free scoff. Sponging bar stewards. Terri will also be here so there will be a full house (boat). I have run out of large pieces of ash faced ply and have used t&g. I think it will be better as I can scrumple it in my workshop. Today I made the door in a typically rustic cottage style. At least rustic is what Lisa calls it. I'm not sure if that's an insult or not. I have yet to complete the rest of the decorative woodwork so it may look a little better sometime down the line.

New bulkhead. You are standing in my bedroom. 
Do you mind?

My space in the workshop has been cut in two and cutting eight foot lengths of timber are a real problem. I have to turn my band saw so as the back end of the timber is through the bedroom and start the sawing process. Half way through I stop the saw, hop it around and startthe other half with the timber facing a different direction. It's all a bit of a faff really. I've convinced myself that it will be a lot easier when I have got rid of all the ply lieing around but I'm not entirely sure that it will be.

 My workshop's looking a little smaller than it was

I think that I will work out a method of having the band saw at the same height as the side hatches so I can have the timber out through one hatch, put it through the saw and it will emerge through the other hatch. Hopefully there will be no ranblers walking past as it emerges otherwise it may become a health and safety hazard.

I just need to find a home for all this lot. Shouldn't be a problem really. There's loads of room on the boat.

The boiler in the Rayburn has a small leak and I have to refill the expansion tank on a regular basis. Still it should be ok until March or April when I can turn it all off and fit a new boiler. I wonder it Alistair Darling will give me some money off a new one. Fat chance.

I'll try to be a little more frequent with the blogs in future.