Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Return to the Ashby

Shardlow yesterday. At Cranfleet Lock an overweight, sweating, ruddy faced man rushed up from the landing platform shouting at me, "Why didn't you wait. Why didn't you wait for me. How much time have you saved by not waiting for me."

"How long are you", I shouted back.

"Forty five foot, but that makes no difference you should have waited."

"I'm afraid that that makes you about thirty feet too long for the lock," says I. The hire boater, I was sharing with smiled knowingly at me. It suddenly dawned on the little fat man that there was two boats in the lock and not just the hire boat that he had been following and had shared Beeston Lock with. The hire boater looked pleased with the conversation. I wonder why?

"I sincerely apologize. I didn't realize. I thought there was just the one boat. I'm very sorry. I didn't see you."

"That's ok, says I. He couldn't have been nicer from then on.

Stenson Lock catches me out and every time I go through, there is some kind of incident. Today was no exception. Today I forgot to take out the tiller arm and it caught on the lock wall. Something is now bent and the tiller is out of alignment by about 15 degrees. More annoying than anything but I'll have to do something about it. The three bolts that hold the rudder in place may have been loose enough to move the shaft but further investigation will be required. Hopefully it won't involve me entering the water.

You can see the relevant bolts here at the last blacking. (it might have twisted on the shaft)
Willington tonight and on to Fradley Junction tomorrow. Possibly for the weekend. Decisions still have to be made. Not by me of course. But by the boss.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Newark, and back

We've been to Newark and back. We spent a couple of days going down the Trent, spent a couple of days there and came back again (surprisingly). There's a castle there you know. I say a castle but it's really only the front wall of a castle but that front wall fortunately faces the river so looks like a complete castle (at least from the river). It also makes for a better photograph than if the other wall was the only one remaining.

Beer (well it'd not really, is it. Wifebeater's. That's what Terri calls it. I call it rubbish)
On the way down there we saw a fisherman feeding a magpie that had landed on his arm and on the way back we saw another fisherman catching a flying pigeon with his line. A strange place, The Trent. We got into a tizz at the first river lock when we found that we were supposed to tie the boat back and front and not just with a centre line but were experts by the end of the return journey. It was also nice to have the locks done for us by the lockeepers.
Just Beer
Carrying on the beer theme from last weekend, we also had a couple of beers on the way, whilst there and on the return (just a couple you understand). Highlights were The Unicorn at Gunthorpe with the £10 for two meal and then Fiskerton with the Bromley Arms. But the best was a micro pub called, Just Beer in Newark run by some CAMRA members who only sell four different real ales and one cider. No largers, no alco pops, no soft drinks, no jukebox, no music, no TV, no gaming machines only fine company (well it was when we were there) and fine conversation (ditto) and really, really great beer. Behind the pub/restaurant called The Moorings by Newark Nether lock if you're interested. It was about the size of someone's front room but far Superior in terms of atmosphere to most larger venues.

 Bromley Arms
Lisa also bought a newish bike from the weekly auction in Newark. The total cost of which was...eleven quid. Not that she ever uses a bike but she feels that she may some day. Possibly soon but more than likely not. I wanted some timber that was on sale but that was sold for more than I was prepared to pay. Unfortunately I wanted to pay nothing for it. I was outbid.

Front wall of castle and river (and at night)
We're starting our return journey to the Ashby Canal this week and may be back next weekend (well there or thereabouts).

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Beer report

I hate hair straighteners. Lisa has naturally curly hair and she thinks that it should be straight. When she came back from work I expected to get out before the queues started and into the festival but no. That hair had to be straightened delaying our progress by an hour (Lisa will say only half an hour). Even then she insisted that it wasn't right and wore a hat. Consequently we were in the queue, in the rain for an hour and a half when we could have been straight in. Needless to say that I wasn't talking to her whilst queueing. But the mood lifted with the purchase of the first ale. It usually does.

"It's too big," says Lisa. I think she was talking about the Nottingham Beer Festival. And indeed it is. It's lost it's mojo (whatever that is). The beer has been left behind and it is the event itself that is more important. The live music is in a different tent and they no longer have faggots and peas for sale.

More beer later today.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Folk at Butlins

I never thought I'd hear myself say this but, we're off to Butlins in early December. Lisa has been before (that will not surprise anyone who knows her) but I have never been, and never had any intention of going. However, I have been convinced by the fact that there is a folk festival at the Skegness Butlins over the weekend of 3 December. This is the first one they have ever had and the line up seems very good so off to Butlins we go.

In fact, it was the line up that convinced me. Lisa's not a great fan of folk music and I presume that I'm not a huge fan of Butlins but we may both be converted. Beards and jumpers all round then. You can't have enough fiddles, that's what I always say.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

NicNac, Paddywhack give the dog etc etc

I haven't been looking after the blog lately as we have been at Trent Lock for the past (almost) three weeks and all that time was spent on 48 hour moorings. Aren't we real criminals. And you know what, I don't care. So put that in your pipe and smoke it. It's not as if there were loads of boats clammering to get onto our spot. We were, for the most part, the only people on the river with a couple of exceptions including bloggers nbForevermoore and nbBalmaha.

One of the days we were there, I decided to do a fuel run up to Sawley Marina. The floods had mostly subsided but it was still a rather slow journey. Approaching Sawley Lock, I was about 50 metres from the open lock gates when they started to close. I waved to the people operating the lock but to no avail. After mooring at the lock approach I walked up to the lock they were operating and called, "Good morning" but there was only a stony silence and their eyes avoided mine. Sensing a game afoot, I repeated my greeting but alas with the same response. "Yes, better not catch his eye had we", I called out. Again no reaction.

Fortunately for them there is the parallel lock that I could operate. As they were leaving I called out, "See ya", and indeed I did. For they were also on their way to the fuel point. This gave me the opportunity to moor at a waiting area just to their stern and sit on my roof smiling  at them while they were filling up. As intense as they were before, their intensity doubled with fiddling about, dropped ropes, unnecessary revving to get away and more eye avoidance. And the boat name, ohh I shouldn't really. nb NicNac (Did I really write that or just think it).

We bought a new stove glass and a new chimney this month. Both look remarkable like the old ones except, well, a little newer, and the new glass isn't cracked. We are also getting on with finishing off the kitchen and it now looks like a display at Ikea with all the pots and pans hanging from hooks. We even have our very own blackboard. Lisa's idea (she is a teacher after all). I was a little dubious but it is proving itself very useful.

Told you it looked the same...
just a bit newer 
Blackboard, white side hatch
We are currently in Nottingham having spectacularly failed to get a ticket at Trent Lock. Hopefully we'll have better luck here. Nottingham Beer Festival this weekend and we have to go on the Friday and the Saturday nights as we are meeting friends (yes we actually have some). From here we are heading down the Trent to Newark next week to meet the outlaws. I'm really looking forward to that.

I note this morning that BW is to be disbanded and the waterways to become a charitable body. We'll see.