Thursday, 22 January 2009

Belfast sinks & Crick confuses

We've now got hold of a Belfast sink, sometimes called a Butler sink. It's the full sized version and it's to be the centre piece of the kitchen (at least until we get the solid fuel Rayburn). I can't say where it came from as it's all top secret at present. Needless to say that it hadn't been used as a planter although it's purpose was possibly worse than this. We're not thinking about that right now. I just have to make the cabinet that it should fit on and then build the rest of the kitchen around it. How hard can it be to build a kitchen!!!

I walked up to the Co-Op in Crick this evening for wine and pizza. When I left the shop I turned right and marched with authority up the road (as if I lived there) about three hundred yards before realizing that I had gone the wrong way and didn't know where I was. There being some dog walkers around and not wishing to appear stupid nor having to ask directions (huge ego), I marched on with renewed vigour getting more and more lost until I had to admit defeat and retrace my steps, head hanging low. Stereotypical man.

Another two longbows finished today. Despite the poisonous timber used, I'm still alive. Lisa's quite pleased about that. I'm also starting to get orders again but I haven't updated my English longbows website and that clearly states that I'm not making custom longbows at the minute. There's no telling some people. So if you want one, sod off. I'm not making custom longbows at the minute.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


We're at Crick now. A slightly later start this time as it was raining until 09.30. The canal side is dominated by the marinas and boat brokerages but the village is quite pleasant. The problem is that there's very little internet although, unlike Welford, all other communications are fine. I've heard that Braunston communications are also dreadful so that seems to be all around the southern area of the Leicestershire Ring. Still we can't get there until the stoppages have been lifted at Braunston Locks.

The journey was about as boring as it is possible to have on a narrowboat (which is really not that boring). The farm lands on both sides merely consisted of very large fields either ploughed or pastured, hardly any buildings and no settlements. Still, I got hold of some firewood.

This boat is at the entrance (or exit) to (from) Crick Tunnel. It was a lovely boat with a good paint job but what has happened? It looks like it was just moored up several years ago and has been ignored since and is now almost entirely covered in green moss, leaves, twigs and general debris. And before anybody asks, yes it does have a valid licence. There is a folding bike on top (covered in the same green moss) and it looks like you could just fire up the boat and off you go. What's the story here?

This is BW's new security measures for their valuable equipment. This tug was spotted sporting a bent fork securing the door. Well that'll fool them. I may even try this one myself. They wouldn't know what to make of it or couldn't pick themselves through laughing.

This blog is starting to look a little like some other blogs that just state where they are, how many miles and locks they've done. I'll have to see what I can do about that. Ok, I've thought about it...

Sunday, 18 January 2009


We're here at Welford now since Thursday. Lisa left at 6.30 for work and I'd up'ed sticks by 6.45. Not a very exciting journey but it was a little hill'billy until the morning sorted itself out, the current bun made an appearance and the whole thing warmed up a tad. As usual, we met no-one else (I say 'we' as in me and the dog) which suits me just fine as it was too cold to take my hands out of my pockets at an attempt at pleasantries.

The Welford Arm is very pleasant with the one lock near the basin. The basin is also very pleasing and unmodernised (ie a muddy lane beside the mooring) although we are not used to being in the near proximity of so many boats as close as they are. Indeed one give me the evil eye when I was in the front deck emptying my ash into the cut. I prefer this to chucking it in the hedgerow as that always seems to me to be rather unsightly and ugly. Ash is used to seal wooden slats that are dropped in the canal to enable watertightness for the use at dry docks so I reckon I'm doing BW a favour in waterproofing their system. I got him back later when he was running his engine whilst in gear. Those evil eyes really are effective.

Andrew Denny from Granny Buttons has never had Pickles No 2 on his blog roll and I had assumed (as a conspiracy theorist) that this was deliberate and he had something against Pickles (and Pickles No 2 has never done anything to Granny). I mentioned this to Andrew and he came back with an instant response, an immediate apology and an amendment. Bugger. I wanted a conspiracy. Cheers Andrew.

We may move to a quieter area just back along the cut at the weekend or soon after as there is virtually no signal of any kind here. I'm very conscious about engine/generator noise which I normally run well after eight o'clock as there are rarely anyone else around us (that should annoy the 'rules is rules' brigade).

One of the timbers I am working with at present is Santos Rosewood. It had been in the corner of my workshop when I cleared it out to move everything onto the boat last year so I brought it aboard intending to make bows from it but I couldn't remember why I had originally stopped using it. Well I remember now. I'm allergic to it and since I was cutting it the other day my eyes are all puffy and have swollen up considerably. There are several bowyers I know who are allergic to certain timbers and this is not uncommon but painful nonetheless. Yew nearly killed one.

No photos due to the slowest connection we have ever had. And I mean EVER.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Small lads and horses

It doesn't take much to scare Lisa. Just before she goes to bed, mention that you can hear horse's hooves. Then mention that you think that you can hear a small lad talking. Then mention that you think you can hear some knocking on the side of the boat...

Was that a rustle in the bushes...?

Monday, 12 January 2009

Foxton Top Lock

We ran out of water on Saturday, were still frozen in and didn't want to move so we just didn't bother. Anyway, we were out at some friends house as it was my birthday and Lisa insists on celebrating it (although I can't say that I'm overly keen myself) although she doesn't so much celebrate but insists on constantly reminding me of my excessive years. It was a wonderful evening except that Lisa couldn't drink as she was driving. Our hosts Peter and Angela keep a brilliant selection of expensive wines that I thoroughly enjoy tasting, guessing where they are from (I'm never right) and getting excessively drunk. Talking of driving (was I?), the heater is now fixed on her car and Lisa is a much happier bod and almost enthusiastic about going to work.

Since the ice has melted we have now filled up with the required fluids and have moved to Foxton Top Lock ready for the off towards Welford as this would seem like the next logical stop. I think I'll see if it warms up a little later in the week and the rain stops. It rained all day today when I was doing the Foxton flight and there's nothing worse than water dribbling down the back of your neck and you're looking up to see another nine gates looming above you. Still, when you're doing them on your own there's little standing around waiting. I should have taken a photo or two on the flight but there was just so many other things to do.

I've given in to temptation, gone over to the dark side and registered on Tony Blews UK waterways ranking site. I wasn't going to and have resisted for a week now but I'm weak and couldn't help myself. Every other UK narrowboat blogger seems to be already there.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Winter nights

You can just see Randolph in the distance

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Foxton still

The canal has ice four inches thick, it's minus thirty two outside, the snow is six feet deep, Randolph Fiennes has just passed the boat on a sled with a pack of dogs being chased by Quinn the Eskimo and we are as snug as a couple of bugs in a rug. Our Boatman stove keeps the front half of the boat toasty and that tends to be where we live. Talking of rugs, we have decided to make a rag rug and to that end require rags. I know that my wardrobe would do the job but what would I wear? We're even off the floor as we now have a bed. Whaooo!

We crunched our way down to Market Harborough to have a look at the weekend and check out the town. Very pleasant it all was but a little too civilized for our liking. I managed to turn the boat in the basin full of Canaltime boats, with a basin covered in ice without making contact although Lisa had to resort to the pole, just a tad. Well I have to make her feel involved when there're no locks around.

We are discussing next year and wondering whether to get winter moorings or not. We thoroughly enjoy this wondering lifestyle but Lisa has no heating in her car and the journey to school is getting her down a bit. I've booked her car into the garage to get it fixed and maybe we will make a decision. Then again maybe not.

We're back at Foxton, village this time, waiting for the ice to recede, then to Debdale for fuel then up the Foxton flight and onwards to continue our journey back towards the Ashby once again in about March time. We should have enough fluids on-board to last till the weekend.