Monday, 29 November 2010


I'm in deep shit. Lisa was visiting Terri with Pearl in London and having a girly day out. Half an hour after she left, a friend of mine rang and asked if I fancied a pint. Of course I did and off we went. In the pub, I was summoned to Sunday lunch once he found out I was on my own for the day. So be it, off we went for a great spread (Cheers Peter and Angela). Only trouble was that Peter is a lover of red wines (as am I). Much wine sampling later, I was taken back to the boat a tad unsteady on my pins awaiting Lisa's return. I promptly fell asleep and Lisa could not revive me by banging on the boat and shouting through the closed portholes. Oops. 20 minutes in freezing weather did not improve her mood and much chastising and shouting at me ensued.

I'm now in the dog house. Even the dog's not in the dog house. Am I in the shit? Yip. Will I be in the shit for some time? Yip. Well I be forgiven? Sometime in the new year I should imagine. Lisa doesn't do forgiveness particularly well.

(Note to self. Get Lisa a key cut)

Saturday, 27 November 2010

New boots

A gift from Lisa. New winter boots. 
Just right for those trips down the muddy towpath.with all our worldly goods.

Different sorts of boater

There are various sorts of boater. Liveaboards, constant cruisers, marina dwellers, weekend boaters, bridge hoppers and the rest. Liveaboards can be identified huddling around the Elsan disposal point clutching their containers of unmentionable, constant cruisers by the ease with which they do that tricky manoeuvre, marina dwellers by their smug look, weekenders by the amount of luggage they walk down the pontoon to their boat in the marina on a Friday evening, Bridge hoppers by their blue tarpaulins.

But there are one sort of boater who we all hate. The liveaboard constant cruiser who goes into a marina at the first sign of inclement weather. Yes, that's right, I'm talking about you nbArmadillo. It's ok in the summer talking the big talk to gongoozlers, telling tall tales of five foot snow drifts, floods, hurricane strength winds and famine but come crunch time, it's up sticks and into the nearest safe haven to hook up the umbilical cord. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

We'd much rather be trudging down the towpath with our three gallons of shit in one hand and two sacks of rubbish in the other and returning with twenty gallons of water, a weeks shopping, five gallons of diesel and a sack or two of smokeless. At least it's honourable. At least we can keep our heads held high. At least we can tell true stories of hardship in the Red Lion at Market Bosworth on a Friday evening.

Call yourselves boaters. I wash my hands of you.

There again...

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Back home with a new kitchen

We're now well established back on the Ashby Canal at our favourite mooring. I'm not going to tell you where it is as you'll all want to moor up next to us. Then it wouldn't be our favourite mooring any more, would it. What about that sheep syndrome. What's that all about. Why do boaters moor right next to another boat when in the middle of nowhere. Weird behaviour or what. Why don't you all just bugger off.

The kitchen is now finished, more or less (less cupboard doors). The worktop was actually made by me as we wanted to build the whole thing ourselves and not have to buy anything already made. It also took the longest time. Lisa wanted a farmhouse style with a thick work top (not necessarily a thick builder) and we're quite pleased with the result (even Lisa's impressed and she's notoriously difficult to keep happy).

I'm wearing flowers in my hair today in celebration of the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. (fortunately, no pictures)

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

New kitchen and filters

After the weekend at Fradley we have been venturing back towards the Ashby. Seeing more and more boats that we recognise again. I think that the Ashby liveaboards are leaving their home base until the November BW count has been completed. They'll do the same in March then move back on again.

Lisa insisted that I start building the kitchen over the weekend and it is now partially finished. I'll finish it this week and next weekend. Lisa's original plan was to paint the t&g gloss black and paint the boat name etc as per what we are planning for the side of the boat. She has since chickened out with this idea. She thinks it may be a step too far. I think it would be a wonderful idea and would make it quite unique and a talking point for any visitors. But could we live with it?

We overnighted at Polesworth. The town is much maligned and I cannot find anyone who likes it (not that I've looked of course). However we do like the place as it is convenient for the shops and fish and chip shop although we haven't tried the pubs. It is a quiet mooring and the place has a bit of history about it. Ok, some weird and shifty people.

On the way from Fradley I felt a little fuel starvation from the engine and it wasn't running right. The last time I sorted this with some new filters so called into Streethay Wharf for a diesel top up and some filters. I fitted them in the morning and everything on the engine front is now as sweet as a nut. Although it took a couple of attempts to get it started and at one stage I thought I would have to join RCR (God forbid). The old fuel filter was really filthy. Changed the air filter as well for good measure. The engine can actually breath now.

There were loads of leaves in the cut. It was a veritable brown carpet in places. In fact the Coventry Canal has turned a shade of green with all the leaf mould that has dropped into it. It seemed like I had to put the engine into reverse every couple of minutes. Atherstone locks were the worst and the locks were full of them.

At the top there were about fifty primary schoolchildren out for a day trip to find how locks worked. A noisy and disconcerting audience if ever I saw one. When I am doing narrow locks by myself, I nudge into the bottom gate and either sit there in first gear if it's full, then open the gates manually or nudge the gates open if it's not full. Can't really do that with a load of kids milling about as, if one of them, or a small group of them, got on the wrong side of the balance beam, they would end up in the cut. There would be much consternation, shouting and running around from the adults present I fear, so decided, best not. By the Boater's Handbook. 'Elfin' safety and all that. Can't have dead kids floating around getting caught in the propeller. Enough leaves as it is.

Hartshill tonight, Ashby tomorrow. Photos of new kitchen when I find the camera.