Monday, September 25, 2006

General bits!

It's not often I add a post mid week. Just heard from a neighbour who has a Barry Hawkins boat and booked it in months ago for a hull black. She dutifully droipped the boat off and then went off to a caravan she owned in Wales. A few days later she recieved a phone call from the boat yard to say that they couldn't crane her boat over a boat they were building and so wouldn't be able to do the hull black. Judging by the full page glossy adverts in the waterways press lately, I would say this is another classic case of boat builders getting too big for the small custom - how long until no yard wants to take any interest in a hull black in favour of the 'big build'? In my opinion, canal based businesses should take a leaf out of the books of RCR. I take my hat off to any business who goes the extra mile, ('would you like groceries bought for you Mr. Edwards?') and then shows the kind of customer care they do, (the follow up phone call after every call-out checking the service was completed satisfactory.) Why do so many canal industries think they can get away with shoddy customer care - hasen't the wake up call of recent disasters such as Lee's Narrowboats and Anthony M demonstrated the increasing competitiveness in the modern climate?

On another theme seeing as I'm feeling political and controversial, when will the hire boat industry wake up and realise that unless training is improved considerably, the EU will impose their draconian measure on the UK and we will all suffer. Compulsory licences for all, radar style, speed trapping, on the spot breath testing, increased insurance premiums and an annual boat safety certificate are all realistic measures unless something is done and private boaters have a part to play here too. I say all this in the wake of the increase in fatalities or serious injuries over the past few years culminating in the tragic incident at Arlewas this year. See this link for the latest on that one!

And before private boaters nod in vehiment agreement, as someone once said, at least hire boaters get some training!

I know the picture above is somewhat old to many but it still raises a smile for me so I thought I'd post it anyway!

Sunday, September 24, 2006


OK, the car passed its MOT on Saturday, (except for a headlight bulb that I had put in upside-down!) so I decided to go out as the weather was so lovely. Had a beautiful and relaxing trip up to the Battlefield moorings, finally arriving there in glorious sunshine at about 5.00pm. Today, (Sunday,) I watched Countryfile, took Simba for a huge long walk over the fields and through the woods; with a short rest to admire the view at the top of Ambion Hill, took lots of photographs of the sun shafting through the trees etc. and then enjoyed a lovely relaxing trip back home. I finally arrived back at the marina in Glorious sunshine at 4.15pm. I did have my doubts though,when I was woken this morning to loud cracks of thunder, flashes of lighteneing and splashes of rain coming through the mushroom vents that I had screwed right open in the sunshine!

Another busy week beckons and then next weekend I hope to meet up with Steve & Julia off NB Even Balance to swap summer cruise stories over a bottle of wine.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Well, at least the freezer electrics have been given a clean bill of health - that's one relief. I have just checked the weekend weather forecast and it looks quite good, part cloudy, part sunny, very warm and almost no wind at all however I can't go out again! I'm getting really quite frustrated now and NEED to go out in the boat soon or I'll go mad. My car tax runs out at the end of this month and I have just discovered that its first MOT is due before I can get the tax so have had to book it in for 1.30 on Saturday. Unfortunately the motors at the end of the marina where I bought the car from can't do it until next Tuesday and then wanted to charge fifteen quid a day for a loan car so I've had to book it in to an unknown garage - always a worry but for its first MOT, it shouldn't need any work doing. It is possible that if the MOT goes well and I can get the tax immediately after, I may be able to goout in the boat later that day for one night. It's Simba's birthday on Saturday so want to take him out for a good walk and to the pet shop for a treat! Watch this space.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Busy weekend!

Wow, what a busy weekend - who said boating was stress free? Spent much of Saturday trying to sort out my dodgy electric problem and found a spade connector that ran via a fuse holder to the positive terminal on the battery had corroded in the acid. Replaced that and promptly blew the fuse! Replaced that and nothing worked, then I realised I had muddled the positive and negative earth cables. Switched that round and it seems to be working again although I will reserve judgement until I get the system properly checked over on Monday evening.

I then decided I had had enough of the flowers on my roof making a mess of the boat and looking very straggely so I spent another few hours gardening and ripped them all out. I then pressure washed the boat off, (after changing the fuse several times as I couldn't get the washer working before realising that the extension lead wasn't plugged in!) The boat now looks very smart and tidy- oh! and I pumped out the loo yesterday as well, although I made an absolute hash of manouevering the boat due to the fact that I haven't been out in it for weeks and have totally lost the nack! Today was a scorcher and I seriously wished I had gone out. Instead, I polished and cleaned the inside of the boat, slung my camera over my shoulders and took Simba for a long walk up the towpath, over the fields and back home again. (Lots of lovely things to photograph such as the beautiful butterfly above.)

Ah well, another busy week but hopefully I am set to go out next weekend now.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Continuing the freezer saga....

After inadvertently de-frosting the freezer on Friday, I was awoken at 3.30 in the morning last night/this morning with the sound of my radio playing in the engine room.Closer inspection revealed that the lights on the frontof the radio were flashing and the freezer wasn't working at all, (yet more water dripping out the front,) My heart sank and I investigated as much as I could with bleary eyes at that time in the morning before declaring defeat and resuming a somewhat interrupted sleep.

This evening after work, I had to rush home to walk Simba before returning for an evening meeting finally arriving back at the end of the day, kebab in hand, at 8.45pm. After much struggling I took out the freezer and plugged it into the 12volt socket behind the TV in the saloon - it worked!! I can now deduce that something is up with the wiring and so have dis-connected all electrics from that socket. I will spend the weekend trying to trace the wiring to find out what is wrong but I fear the recent storms may have caused a power surge and wiped out my 12volt electrics in the engine room, I fear I may have to pay for someone to investigate - watch this space.

Tomorrow evening I have a long after school senior management meeting, (the first with our new head,) and then a late evening parents association meeting so have grovelled to a neighbour to walk and feed Simba in the evening for me. I wish I was nearer to Rugby!!!!

Roll on the weekend.

P.S. Hopefully, I have a friend who can come and look at it on Monday evening if I can'tfind the fault at the weekend!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Freezer and forecasts!

Well, I decided not to go out this weekend. Although the weather forecast was set to be a good one, being the first weekend since starting back at school I had a lot of marking to do and felt too tired on Friday evening to fuss around getting the boat sorted in time to go out before dark.

Just as well - Friday evening I discovered that a rogue packet of frozen sweetcorn had fallen of the shelf and pushed open the door to my 12volt freezer, result: 90 quids worth of de-frosted food and a horrid stink coming from the freezer. I spent quite a while steam cleaning the freezer and throwing all the food away. This morning, I had to go freezer shopping!

My father popped in to visit which was nice, as he was en route north and, (surprisingly for the M1,) was making good progress, we went for a walk with Simba, I mended my sat nav. mount in the car, washed the car, marked some books, did the housework, re-arranged the kitchen, (!) and put a load of washing through.

Tomorrow I want to visit somewhere, (hopefully more news on that in the future, (!) and more marking beckons.....

Saturday, September 02, 2006


What a day! An absolute howling gale going on outside, I've had the central heating on and I'm being banged about from pillar to post! My brother came up this morning and brought a load of chairs for my school along with a boot full of logs which are really appreciated!

If anyone is thinking about getting a satellite dish for their boat - don't bother! The biggest waste of time, effort and money I have EVER known in my entire life. I can only ever get the signal quality bar about 25% high and rarely enough to get any reliable signal. If I do manage to spend hours tapping it gently one way or the other and finally manage to get any signal at all, you can guarantee it's only for about 15 minutes before it breaks up or disappears totally! You have been warned! In the marina I have completely clear line of site to the satellite and if that's the best I can get here, there is no hope for anywhere out on the cut. Spoke to a guy down the marina with the same setup as me, 'Oh it's great' he informed me, 'I can't get BBC1, BBC2 or ITV but apart from that it's fantastic! Is it just me????