Friday, 27 February 2009

Painted Pickles

We're still here at Newbold and last night we went for fish and chips at the Barley Mow. I would say that the peas were like the ball bearings from a Russian T72 tank but at £3.50 you can't really complain (although the Russian tank commander might). It would have cost £5.00 at the local chippy and they don't serve beer.

The paintwork has settled down nicely and looks better than when it was just finished. I've been asked if I will place an up to date picture on the header of the boat which I think is a good idea. I'll do that when I can get a side on view. The rest of the week has been taken up with Lisa working and me making bows.

Pickles painted

Other bloggers have been and gone and we'll catch up with them soon I expect. I've also realized that the less I eat, the less I have to empty the toilet cassette. Funny that.

Monday, 23 February 2009

A big long cucumber

Here we are in Newbold. I left this morning for the short run and since the weather was adequate for painting (despite the strong winds) I decided to complete the other side. But the towpath was on the left hand side all the way from Hillmorton to Newbold and this meant that I would have to wind to finish the other side. Just after Rugby I winded the boat and settled myself down for an afternoon of green hands. It took longer than I thought as it was colder than when the other side was done, the paint was thicker and Lisa was not helping to paint around the windows and the fiddly bits. The dodgyest part was rewinding (is that a word?) to face the right direction again without scratching the soft paint on the trees.

Pickles is now living up to it's name and looking decidedly green. Not so much like a pickle but more like a cucumber really. Quite a long cucumber. At least this will encourage me to get on with the panels, coach lines and sign writing to make it less vegetable like. But at least it fits in a little better with other moored boats and people seem to be more friendly as it looks less like a scronk boat and people seem less afraid of it and it's occupants.

Just as I was setting off for Newbold, I spied two people whom I recognised. Derek and Dot from nb Gypsy Rover (fellow bloggers with a much more popular blog than me judging by their figures) were walking to Halfords in Rugby and hailed me. I hadn't seem them since we were starting the initial fitout this time last year and Derek give me a hand with stripping the spray foam and the wiring and Dot made the brews. nb Valorie (also with a more popular blog than me. I'm beginning to feel inferior now) with Les on board is also here and we've been crossing paths since Braunston.

I'll get a picture or two of the cucumber blogged tomorrow for your perusal.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Painting and van

We have been at Hillmorton this week. The top lock was a little muddy so we moved down to the bottom on Tuesday. The signal is not good but hopefully it will be better at Newbold when we move tomorrow. The journey from Braunston was completed with both of us at the tiller (although only one of us was in total control of the boat) as Lisa had the week off.

My little van is now moving again. We got a letter from Charnwood County Council asking if our car had been abandoned in Barrow upon Soar (where we abandoned it) so we rang and said that we hadn't. He told us that it was all legally parked and documented but that a local resident had complained about it being where it was and he was just wondering if it had been abandoned. It had in fact broken down at the end of November and we had parked it up returning occasionally to try it. The man from the AA came out and sorted it so hopefully I'll get a second hand fusebox, fit it and fix the leak that frizzled it in the first place. It can't be that hard to replace a fusebox on a van as there's only half a million wires going into it. I'm willing to have a go as I've done all my electrics on this boat you know.

We have now painted one side of Pickles no 2 (well what else would you do with the first good weekend of the year). It's a little dodgy (but better then this photo implys) but it looks a lot better than it did this morning. It will need another coat to finish it off but that will have to wait until the better weather.

I'll try to improve my blogging intervals this week.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Plebs and Valentines

I met Les from nb Valorie the other day as I was walking Sam and he had just arrived from being iced in for eleven days at Norton Junction. The last time I saw Les was around the Rugby area. We passed shouting who we were and he just looked a us confusingly. Not really a huge surprise as there is no sign writing on Pickles and we were expecting everyone whose blog we read to know us. Strangely he remembered this meeting as he mentioned it to me.

nb Hadar was also at Braunston but I never like knocking people up especially when the weather is so cold. You never know if they've just settled down and got the cabin warm and you're disturbing them. We'll see Jo and Keith next time.

The outlaws are up for their free pensioners Sunday lunch this weekend. They didn't turn up the other weekend as there was a little bit of snow around apparently.

We are moving to Hilmorton on Monday if we can convince Ken of the outlaws to do a car shuffle for us. As long as there's no snow around. Lisa and I rarely get the chance to move the boat together as at present we only have the one car and I'm certainly not using plebeian public transport.

Lisa and I did the usual Valentines thing this morning by exchanging overpriced cards in red envelopes and reading them aloud to each other in a loud, monotonous, boring voice. Well we would have if except Lisa hadn't forgotten my card. Incredible. If it had been the other way around there would have been a lot more of a vocal reaction than a grunt of acknowledgement from me that she was leaving for Daventry to instantly to rectify things.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Tickety boo

Reading through the narrowboat blogs, it seems that many others are iced in, flooded out, running out of water, finding local villages without facilities or in need of medical aid and dentists. In our little world all is well. When we needed water on Sunday we reversed 100 metres back along the unfrozen cut, when we needed supplies we jumped in the car parked thirty metres away on the bridge above out heads and drive to the shop in Braunston one mile away. We have no medical or dental problems and everything is tickety boo.

Pretty boring really. Just the way we like it.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

I'm sick of snow scenes. Here's some more.

Sam with snow boots

Another day off for Lisa. These teachers don't do any work do they? On a news report the other day, someone from Coventry Chamber of Commerce was saying that schools should remain open no matter what and that teachers should get their walking boots on and walk to school then read stories to the kids that made it in. What a brilliant idea. It just shows how much the business community knows about education although they love to denigrate teachers and criticise the education system for the standard taught in schools (and so do many of you). Fourteen year olds would respond wonderfully to this kind of 'education'.Duck trails

I have been asked to report on the state of play with the Old Plough and can state categorically that absolutely nothing has changed and this can mean nothing but good. We had a boozy afternoon in there, a meal to boot and a more pleasing experience it would be difficult to have. It's the advantage of Lisa having caught up with all her work on the previous snow day.
Braunston turn

Well I may as well join the throng and post some photos a snowy canal boat scenes. Here's some photos of our early morning walk around Braunston. One is of the traffic chaos on the bridge above where we are. If only to justify why Lisa (teacher) did not go into work. I would say that the people who were in the traffic chaos were a little idiotic to even leave home but they would probably say that they were the ones that were conscientious and not work shy, unlike teachers.
Traffic mayham

Pickles at Braunston

Braunston marina

Braunston turn in the snow

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Gosty Hill & NOBED

Gosty Hill passed today and I took advantage by buying my diesel for the month and a couple more bags of coal (just to support canal businesses as I didn't really need it). Obviously I'll only been using all the fuel for heating purposes as this is the only way that that Iain & Alison sell it.

Lisa was on a course today but she told me that on Monday this week, when the snow was lying on the ground, that someone at her school had written on the snow in large letters the word 'NOBED'. With a full classroom Lisa was repeating the word, "no bed, no bed why would someone write no bed in the snow." One of her pupils kindly pointed out what it really said, 'knob head'. After all those years of teaching they can still catch her out.

After having been on the Grand Union (Leicester Line) for several months it's a bit like Picaadilly Circus round here with a constant amount of canal traffic. It was unusual to see any traffic at all for days round that way but round here its very different.

I note that the pub, Admiral Nelson, by lock three on the Braunston flight, has closed it's doors to customers siting lack of bums on seats. I have never been in this establishment and have no idea whether it was a good pub or a bad one (and now I am never going to know). It's always a shame when historic pubs close and with the changes in drinking habits, increased taxes and the current economic climate this kind of thing is increasingly prevalent. Use 'em or lose 'em.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


Lisa was off today due to the early morning conditions. In fact she got all her backlog of marking done and the other work that she needed to do but had been putting off. I wondered around Braunston peering in all the workshops, dry docks and offices being nosy. I visited Midland Swindlers for bits 'n bobs to plumb in the Belfast sink, skin fittings and paint for the sides of Pickles. She will no longer look like a scronk boat.

I also got hold of the months coal allocation. I've just got to get the fuel now but since Braunston Marina does not allow self declaration I refuse to get it there so will probably have to wait until we move on to the next location.

I've been accused of sniping by Lisa today but we seem to have different opinions as the definition of sniping. Lisa is, as usual, wrong but she is unwilling to accept my obviously correct definition. It was me, after all, who got an 'A' on my English GCSE when Lisa merely got a 'B' on our Access course 15 years ago before we went to uni. So that gives me the right to define all definable language related thingys on this boat. Contributions of other definitions of 'sniping' from any other bloggers will be ignored by me, as will anyone not taking my side.

Monday, 2 February 2009


Well you'd have known we were at Braunston if you'd read the last blog (that was actually written at Crick but published at Braunston. Oh, don't get all confused again. It's pretty simple really).

How come every time we decide to move, the weather is appalling (rhetorical question; no question mark). Today it started freezing and ended up snowing. I put it down to inflexibility on my part as, when I decide to move, there is little that will stop me including inclement weather, natural disasters, acts of God (what exactly is an 'act of God'?) or canal based terrorist activity. With the snow coverage, the lock sides were lethal (well, I am prone to journalistic exaggeration. Possibly a little slippery) and I did fall over, but only the once. I took it easy and did the Watford flight in an hour and a quarter. I only saw two other boats and some contractors vessels on the move. Most people are much more sensible than me.

Is Braunston Tunnel the blackest tunnel on the system? It ate the illumination from my tunnel light unlike any other tunnel I have been through. Well that's my excuse for zigzagging around in the darkness, bouncing off the walls.

We are at the end of the line here at Braunston just past Midland Swindlers and under the main road. The place is packed (I exaggerate again. It could be described as packed during the Historic boat thingy in the summer but not at the beginning of February). But we were warned that there were a few here when I read another blog which said so but I can't remember which blog I'd read it on. Lisa rang earlier in the day to say that school had been closed and she was looking for her home. I told her she would have to wait for another two hours for it to materialize as I still had Braunston Tunnel to zigzag and the lethal sided locks to complete. Lisa is very much hoping that the school will be open tomorrow so she can get on with all that marking. At least I think that's what she said.

Crack Hill and lost mobile

I haven't blogged for ages due to the dreadful signal and life was just too short to bother. We've already moved to Braunston but I've already written this so you have got to imagine that I'm still at Crick until I write the next one in a couple of hours (it's ok. I'm confused as well). We've got the outlaws free loading for Sunday lunch next weekend and we're not entirely sure where we'll be. Maybe we just won't tell 'em. Terri visited last weekend to pay the obligatory 24 hour visit to her old folks and Lisa never got out of her pj's all day.

I climbed to the top of Crack Hill (the local high point around these parts) and got a very good view of the local area. It's amazing how the canal meanders (see I told you I'd use it) around the countryside as it does. It's not surprising getting anywhere takes an age.

Since we have got hold of our Belfast sink I have come across several other free ones. Most are used as planters so I can't have them but there is one that I discovered semi-submerged in a stream not too far from here. They go for £100.00 on ebay so even if I don't use it it may be worth retrieving.

Lisa lost her mobile the other evening and the first thing we knew about it was when there was a knocking on the front of the boat. I went out to see who it was and a lady said that she had found a mobile on the tow path. She'd had a strange conversation with a person called Bob (seemingly for more info on the possible owner of the phone) and had concluded, with the available evidence, that we on Pickles were the owners of the phone.

Well that was a keen bit of detective work as the only Bob on Lisa's phone wouldn't have known it was Lisa's phone and there is no name on our boat. It just goes to prove that there are honest people around although we would've done the same.

Derwent 6 at the water point at Crick (fellow bloggers).