Sunday, 26 September 2010

Weeing, lock names & drivers

When I was having a wee the other night on the towpath... Sorry. You what, didn't you know that ALL cassette users wee on the towpath when it gets dark. That's a little naive I think. Of course we do. Instead of emptying every three days, it can make it three days and six hours. That's the difference between doing a run at nine o'clock at night and at ten in the morning. You should really know what we do when we get all the timings wrong, or shouldn't I talk about that. Best not. Let it be the monster in the attic we never mention. I'll leave the photos for another day.

We are now at Trent Lock. Well we were pointing that direction so we thought we'd just follow though. I'm on the lookout for the boat that was mentioned on Canal World Forum and Narrowboatworld that did a runner on a couple of mechanics that had done the work for him. CWF did the usual destroy thing with the original poster and members invented complete scenarios that never happened but that's what anonymity does to people. Nobody has ever been nasty to me on the towpath or at a lock, but then again I'm 6'4" and am usually carry a large heavy piece of right angle metal in my hand. But I reckon that on the forum those that would never dream about being nasty to me in person would be really different.

What has happened to Kegworth Deep Lock. It has become Kegworth New Lock for some strange reason. Seemingly hirers were scared by the fact that they may be going through a 'Deep' lock' so BW changed it to, 'New Lock' to ease their fears. But it was only a little half hearted attempt. I'm so pleased that they are to be all sacked as one of the quangos to be dumped. If only that was really going to happen. It'll be the same people running BW under a different title with more money.

 Or am I being a little cynical here.

There is a big difference between narrowboat drivers on the river and narrowboat drivers on the canal. River drivers are much more aggressive in their manoeuvring and use of the engine but canal users are more cautious and use minimal revs in their movements. River users are very aware of the current (as they should be) but put them in Braunston on a busy sunny summer afternoon, they may well be the cautious, nervous ones. Or maybe not.

I saw nbBalmaha at the pontoons at Trent Lock the other evening but looking at Mo's blog, it hasn't been updated for five weeks. Hope all's ok with them.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Stumps and basins

We moved from Barrow yesterday and are now at Zouch. Zouch cut seems full of boats that are unoccupied with, out of around nine boats present, only three are occupied. Is this a sign of the times in that many people don't put their boats into marinas over the summer months and just move them every now and again to keep legal.

I called into Loughborough Basin to use the facilities. There ended up being five boats in that tiny basin, some waiting for the facilities and others just leaving, three of them were full length. It's a little small to have that many boats fighting for space but, no collisions later, they were all gone except for poor old Pickles, all on it's lonesome.

It's a tad windy around these parts. I got a little bit stuck in Bishops Meadow Lock as it's a seventy foot lock and this is a seventy foot boat. The lock doesn't like boats with front and back fenders and it kept me prisoner for a couple of minutes until I extracted myself.
On the way I spotted a sawn off stump just before Normanton-on-Soar on the 'wrong' side of the canal. Sawn off stumps to the livaboard boater can prove a small goldmine in the form of timber for those long winter nights (which obviously just fly by). In this case, it resulted in a small haul of logs already sawn to a very reasonable size. So if you had your eye on them, tough. They are no more. Although I never seem to have as much luck as Vic and Sue from nbNo Problem, who always seem to be recovering vast hauls of logs from the verges of the canal. Sue finds most of them whilst walking the dogs and not from the boat. I need to walk the dog more often. Sam would probably agree.

Dead loops

I was walking Sam around the 'unnavigable' loop of the Soar into Quorn the other day and came across this converted barge and these two liveaboards (it can also be seen easily from the A6). All of these are quite far around the loop with the barge nearly at the weir that makes this loop 'unnavigable' (which it plainly isn't). I do hope that the liveaboards don't have BW licences as they are where they are and, since this part is deemed 'unnavigable' by BW, any boats on it should not have to pay for the privilege as long as they don't enter the navigable parts. I don't think that's the case though. But it should be. There are many unnavigable loops on the Soar with loads of boats on them.

As we were getting out of the boat this morning, who should quite literally run straight into us but Geoff from nbSeyella out on his early morning run (I was going to say jog but that sounds a little too relaxed for the speed he was going). nbSeyella are on their way back to Pillings Lock Marina (Don't ask. Read their blog). Lisa was horrified as the straighteners hadn't hit her head yet and her hair looked like a bust sofa.
 This wharf in Quorn is also in pretty good nick (unlike the boats) and was probably Quorn's own wharf for coal delivery's etc. Strangely the house built on it is called Wharf House. Weird ain't it.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Book burning and boilers (and Barrow)

This blog has been quiet for the last couple of weeks as we haven't moved (that's not an excuse, just a fact). But the time has come and we are nearing the end of our 14 day stay at Barrow. Zouch, then Trent Lock next methinks. This last couple of weeks, we've seen Geoff and mags on nbSeyella waiting for the lock and nbForever Young, but we can't remember where we have seen nbForever Young before. Probably the Shakerstone Festival. Talking of which, it was on last weekend and we weren't there. I'm sure they've manage without us.

Barrow upon Soar is very quiet during the week but a busy little place at the weekends. With pedalos, canoes, kayaks, rafts converted lifeboats, cruisers and narrowboats competing for any available space on the water and the lock was taking 25 minutes to fill but has since been fixed and that made an enormous difference to the locking times. We thought it better not to move at all, so we didn't.

I've taken out the old boiler from the Rayburn in preparation for the proposed new one to be bought and fitted. It said on the interweb that the job should have taken twenty minutes but, after an hour and a half, I finally hauled it out. A little rusty with a small hole on one side. Ahhh! That's why the Rayburn was so wet inside and I had to add four litres of water to the system every day last winter. It probably won't be lit until sometime in October so it gives me a bit of time to sort out the replacement. We've decided to fit and finish the kitchen this year. That might be nice.
An old boiler (I know a few of those)
It's a shame that the pastor from the US cancelled his Qur'an burning event as we were planning to have our own bible burning event at Barrow (that's even got a better ring to it). I would also have considered other religious texts, books by Geoffrey Archer and Dan Brown. Hell, we'd probably have thrown a bit of James Patterson on to the pyre while we were at it. Nothing like a bit of book burning to separate the masses into the 'don't you dare' and the 'burn baby burn' brigades.

We'll need water before we move off. Do I reverse back four hundred metres to the water point or go through the lock, wind, back through the lock again, pass the water point, wind, stop for water, move back to the mooring. Reverse it is then. Wish me luck.