Saturday, 31 October 2009

Scoff and cratch

We've found a little gem of a pub around these parts. We lived locally for seven years and have been on the boat for the last 18 months but last night was the first night that we have had a drink in the White Swan in Stoke Golding. I vaguely remember reading a blog from  others who found in before us and thought it was a scary local's pub. But the food is fantastic and the prices unbelievable. £3.50 for the biggest plate of faggots, peas and chips you can imagine. Not only that but all locally sourced and home cooked. Just our barra'. And right next to Duck Corner as well (you'll know where I mean when you arrive).

The other night we had an Indian meal at Simla Peppers in Market Bosworth and it was also fantastic although four times the price of the White Swan.

Today we were out and about and went to the local tent and caravan emporium. Jackson's of Arley is one of those shops that has expanded over the many years it has existed and sells all kinds of bits and bobs, nik-naks and widgets and wadgets related to camping. For the narrowboater it has many useful items including all the fasteners that hold a cratch cover in place all at a quarter of the price of a chandlery. We were looking for some cheap material to make a template cratch cover for our front deck. We bought the material from one of the small businesses associated with and co-located with Jackson's, Temple's Tent and Awning Repairs. Rob was very helpful and supplied us with what we were looking for and suggested the material for the finished item when we get around to making it even thought I broke one of his electrical connections.It looked brilliant and different from most other boats use. Just what we want.

Further to my last post, I've just spoken to Ian and Alison from the Gosty Hill coal boat and they has just fired up their newly installed Rayburn. They rave about it and sing it's praises with gusto. That is a relief. Another positive review.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Rayburn, not

There is a big space where the Rayburn should be. It has been delivered but unfortunately the person that I had lined up to place it onto the front deck is too busy until next weekend. It is frustrating as we now want to get it all up and running and start cooking on coal. We would also like to find out if all the doom mongers that say it's either too heavy, too warm, too inefficient, too greedy on the coal, too old etc are correct or I am. Not a single person that has been negative has had one fitted to their boat but any stuff I've read about Rayburns on boats that was written by those that have them fitted, has been positive.

I've also heard that narrowboats are cold and damp in the winter.

BW have been round for their bi-annual check of the waterways. You can always tell as the person doing the checking was not a BW employee checking boats in the middle of nowhere where, usually, BW employees fear to tread.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Rayburns, BNP and dredging

We went for a drink with one of the local liveaboards the other night and were sat outside when another boater who we know, came outside for a ciggie. We started talking and he declared that he was a member of the BNP (I've no idea why they all love to declare this to anyone who'll listen. I would never mention my political beliefs unless it was relevant. (OK, that's not entirely true. It's not true at all really). Well not really a major surprise around these parts. But  we were guilty of then taking advantage of the situation and asking difficult questions like, 'What about the Irish, scots and the Welsh over here. Should they be sent home? (according to the BNP website they shouldn't) Our BNP friend thought that they should. Our liveaboard friend, knowing where I was originally from, started generally taking the Mick. Laughing at the afflicted.

You've got to feel sorry for these people as they have constructed their own reality and live in a bubble away from the rest of us. Well I say you've got to feel sorry for them but only to a point (a pretty sharp point I think). I'm all for people thinking for themselves and forming their own opinions but I wish that some would think for themselves with a little more information and available evidence rather than nonsense, bigotry and misplaced patriotism. And please don't impose this nonsense on others you hardly know.

What's happened to our mooring?

You pop off for a couple of days and BW arrive and dig up your mooring. Well it's not technically our mooring and they haven't technically dug it up but as we are constant moorers cruisers, it's a little annoying. Yes, I know we're the scum of the earth but this kind of thing is annoying to us scum none the less. They have been dredging the Ashby since we came back this way and are slowly working their way to the terminus doing about fifty metres a day. It's all a bit of a mess really but long term it is all a good idea. Behind the piling, there are a lot of holes that do need filling as they can be very dangerous. If you step off the boat you may end up, up to your bits in canal water.

Isn't autumn lovely. This is the view from our front door.

We've just bought a solid fuel fired Rayburn. We now just need to have it picked up, delivered to the boat yard, placed into the front deck and drag it inside and installed. Shouldn't be any problem. It only weighs 320 kgs. Whatever that is in pounds.

As we were bidding for it, our internet signal died and we had to scramble out of the boat and head along the totally black towpath to the car and then to a decent signal area. In the melee I had 'done me back in'. As we were bumbling up the muddy towpath a boat came around the corner and hit the bridge, switched on his headlight and blinded us. When it passed we were night blind and couldn't see a thing. The remainder of the trek to the car was like stumbling around a coal house at midnight looking for the proverbial black cat and Lisa shouting at me to stop moaning when we missed the gentle slope to the car and proceeded to climb the adjacent mountain. We eventually found the car and sped away to find a 3g signal and to make the winning bid. Phew. Whoever said this boating malarkey was easy.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Rayburn planning and autumnal cleaning

This week I had a word with The Ashby Canal Centre and sorted out the hauling out of Pickles in Febuary for a good blacking. That was the first date they had available. I had sorted out the date for a midweek haul out but Lisa has decided that she would like to partake in the blacking activity as well and always wanting to keep her happy, I will have to reschedule for over a weekend. I didn't realize someone would be so enthusiastic to help with such a job.

I also sorted out someone who can do the lifting of a Rayburn into the front deck. It will be done at the Ashby Canal Centre as and when I buy it and have it delivered there. I waiting for an email from someone for one I liked the look of on the interweb.

Pickles is also now bedecked with some new flowers. Winter pansies, amonst others, if you must. Flowers always seem to make a continuious cruiser a little more respectable although I can't imagine why. Lisa give the inside an autumnal clean (well she was supposed to be doing her work for next week and, as usual, was avoiding it) and I did the outside clearing the roof of all detris. Just as I had cleared it, Gosty Hill came past and, since we were down to our last two inches of deisel, we bought a tankful and some bags of smokeless for good measure and of course to place something on the roof again. Their turnaround is now four weeks so I must buy enough for a month each time. I got some good info from Ian and Alison about fitting the sold fuel Rayburn as they have one on their other boat.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Grass and oil

Steve on nb Albert was complaining on his blog the other day that contractors are cutting the towpath edge where it was not necessary. Well it might be nice if he sent them to the Ashby Canal as the edge of the towpath here could do with a good cutting. It doesn't look like there has been a contractor here since the beginning of the summer. I know that they normally cut around here twice a year and it must be due soon. It better be or we won't be able to find the canal soon. Even worse. I won't be able to find Pickles. I knew I shouldn't have painted it green. I'm now thinking of issuing Lisa with a machete so she can get back to the boat after work.

I changed the oil today on the Pickles' engine and judging by the colour of it, I think I should have done it sooner. There again, we have owned a little Ford KA for about seven years and have never changed the oil on it. In fact we've never done anything to it. It's going to give up the ghost sooner rather than later, but that will have nothing to do with the engine but bodywork rust and general decay. The engine starts every time and sounds perfect. So there you go. The moral of the story (if there is one) save yourself a fortune and do no maintenance whatsoever. It's all a complete waste of time., eat your heart out.