Wednesday, June 25, 2008


It always strikes me as very bizarre how so much stuff can get so completely lost in such a small length of space as a narrowboat! Have you ever had that sublime situation when something you have only just used simply completely vanishes? Just before my May half term walking holiday, I blogged about getting my extra battery booster for my PDA/phone. It was great - behaving itself impecably all half term. I remember bringing it home, I remember putting it safe somewhere - but now? I have now systematically gutted my boat over the last few days; every cupboard, box, container, shelf, and I mean EVERY - even behind the washing machine in case I absent mindedly put it on top and it vibrated off behind - it is nowhere to be seen. Of course this may present problems in France as my battery certainly won't last the coach and ferry trip and as it has my English/French translation software installed it could become very useful.... if only I had enough power.

Please keep your eyes peeled - if you see the little gizmo pictured above, swimming somewhere along the canal makign a despearte bid for freedom; I am urgently in need of it back!

Speaking of France - this blog will go a little quiet until Wednesday next week as I leave Friday morning at 2.15AM. Right now, I'm off to continue the hunt.......

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Apart from a few comments of children in one particular maths and English set, my reports are now finished - hooray!! I celebrated by going out and mowing the grass so that it will last for a couple of weeks while I go to France - no blog posts at all next weekend then!

I bought a long 20 metre river line yesterday ready for the Thames this summer.
This isn't it - it's another random rope in case you didn't know what one looked like! I bought it so that my dad can splice and eye it whilst dog sitting this coming week. Apparently the technique single handed on the Thames is to hold the boat on a centre line that goes up, round a bollard and back to the helmsman at the helm, Sounds logical - can anyone confirm that this is indeed the way they do it as it depends where I put the long line!
A staff meeting tomorrow evening to prepare for, my assembly to plan on Tuesday, my class assembly to prepare for Wednesday and some very excited children to keep calm prior to the off on Thursday evening/Friday morning, (2.00am to be precise - who's idea was that?)
At least when I return there is, apparently only about 2 weeks before we break up for summer.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A good day.

Weather - lousy but that did mean I was able to get on with many of the taks long over due on my list. An early start also helped as Simba had the first half of his boosters this morning - he now needs to go back in a fortnight for the final part. Returned home and got the washing machine going before starting a serious de-clutter in the lockers. Only just finished and the washing machine has completed 5 loads, I managed to collect 6 sacks of rubbish!! Cleaned out the lizard tank and stocked back up with crickets, went shopping and hoovered the boat thoroughly.

Sorry to be miserable but hopefully another wet day tomorrow will allow me to finish my school reports!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fayre's fair!

A great summer fayre this evening after school. Sunny and hot with a superb turnout - lots of money raised I'm sure! Half way through the evening, I got asked if I hire my services out professionally! A short conversation confirmed that they meant DJing! Turned out it was the PTA from one of our local infant schools wanting me to do their summer fayre. I told them to contact me on Monday, (they didn't realise I was the Deputy Head at the school and just thought I was a professional DJ - much embarrasement all round!) and I would think about it. I'm not over keen as I promised myself I would only do my own school - I certainly won't do it for money but the promise of a few beers might persuade me otherwise.....

Simba has his annual boosters tomorrow at 9.00 in the morning and then it has to be a day of finishing reports and boat chores. This time next week I'm in Franced with 80 odd kids - 'odd' in both senses of the word! The washing is already half way through its second load with another 2 or 3 promised for tomorrow!

Boat licence renewal came through today - another £800! Normally I just let the DD do its thing but as I've changed the insurance company, I need to send them a copy of the certificate.

Apparently the MOT certificate is sitting on my brothers desk waiting to be brought back to me one evening - the final link in th echain before sending all the required documents off to get the number plate changed. I hope to be able to send it all off before I go to France on Thursday.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Too much time for some, too little for me!

Just returned this evening from a local council meeting - yawn!! Needed to go with the Head as there were some issues being discussed that affected our school and that we wanted to voice an opinion over. Before our item on the agenda we had to sit and listen to an hours pontificating over the different types of traffic crossings, the exact dimensions to be left by cars parking on the pavement and far too many people who have far too much time spare! Alarm bells should have started ringing when the very elderly gentleman sitting in front of me started rummaging through an extremely well organised ring binder folder - he clearly liked the sound of his own voice!! I can't see why we democratically elect council officers into power and then decide to take all the woes and troubles of the decision making processes on our own shoulders, I couldn't help thinking that some people simply like making trouble. It was all most depressing.

As for me- I don't have enough time. Next Friday, I leave for France with 80+ excited 11 yr olds, (leaving at 02.00 hours!) My father will be dog sitting but prior to that I have to finish my reports, do lots of washing, send off some bills, run the sound system for the school fair tomorrow evening, finish my marking etc etc.

Please accept my apologies if you know me and I appear to have hibernated or plain disappeared for the next 4 weeks leading up to the summer break - then I really will disappear for several weeks!!

Monday, June 16, 2008


It's that time of year again. My licence is due for renewal in a months time but that should be a seamless issue as I already have my BSC. I only need to contact BW to make sure my licence arrives before I leave for my summer trip as I don't like being out all summer with an out of date disc while my new one sits happily on the door mat. A letter from my insurance company, Collidge and Partners confirmed that my insurance was due for renewal on 12th July and asked for a cheque fro £450 - and that included my no claims discount!!

It was certainly time for a shop around. seemed to tick all the boxes
and a quick phone call confirmed all the answers to my questions. No problem with residential use, no weighting for single handed or cruising after dark, £250 claim on any one item, free legal cover included and I can pay in 12 monthly installments at no extra cost. I quickly signed up and by return of email got my insurance certificate and policy as attached PDF files. That seems to be the way a boring subject such as boat insurance should be in my opinion!
I glanced back to my blog post of July 15th 2007 - what a difference a year makes! This time last year we had howling gales and lashing rain resulting in my school being flooded. Tonight, the cratch is rolled up, I'm typing this in my shorts and the central heating hasn't been used for weeks except to heat hot water.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Typical, now the internet has come back on and I have managed to sum up my entire day in a few short sentences and have nothing else to add!

I'm starting to think about my summer trip in 5 weeks time. I break up on Friday 18th July and the plan currently is to travel single handed down the Oxford, onto the Thames and through to Reading, (any advice for this!?) meet my father at Reading who will travel with me for the K&A trip down and back and then I will either return solo or have a friend, Fleur, who will come back with me. Fleur was on board for the same trip several years ago when Khayamanzi infamously burst into flames and so understandably is taking a bit of persuading!! I texted her to say it was like falling off a horse - she needed to get back on quickly, her reply came back - you're right, it is like falling off a horse - it hurts!
I'll work on her over the coming few weeks....
I'll leave you tonight with some pictures of NB Clarence, being fitted out now for my friends Derek and Sheila. The ballast inside...
....prior to the lining out and fitting beginning.
My job list has now been reduced to 11 tasks and in another weeks time, I will be able to reduce it still further hopefully.

Still sucking but no internet!

A short post this evening thanks to Tiscalli and their total lack of any internet service this evening so I have to post this through my PDA phone as I would when cruising. The toilet still sucks, the boat is polished, a few more school reports are completed and all is well with the world!

More when I get a connection.....

Saturday, June 14, 2008

No, I'm the BogExpert!!!

So, my brother thinks he's the bog expert in the family eh!

Not any longer! He may have been exploding his toilet thanks to Lee Sanitation but today, I have had mine entirely apart and rebuilt the whole thing!

This morning I decided to change the offending pipe on the loo to see if it would make a difference - it did; it stopped it sucking away all together! A hasty phone call booked Sam Matts at Foxton Boat Services to pop in tomorrow morning and take a look and with this security back-up plan in case it all went wrong, I decided to take a look myself. Several hours later, (and a large quantity of the sludgy contents of toilet bowl, macerator and pipes all over the bathroom floor,) and I had removed an entire science labs. worth of assorted pipes and wires and parted the china bowl from the 'guts' of the macerator unit. I did think of taking a picture but a quick glance and sniff off my hands at the time quickly put paid to that idea!

Amazingly enough - the rebuild was relatively smoothe once the various pipes and valves had been scrubbed and washed. The entire unit was re-assembled and connected. The electrics and water switched back on and.... nothing! In desperation, I kept pressing the button and all of a sudden an amazingly satifying gurgle was heard combined with the joy of seeing the contents of the toilet bowl being sucked gloriously away. IT WORKS! Well for the moment anyway. I have cancelled Matt and will keep you posted but am now seriously looking to replace this loo. I will go for another macerator but want a newer more modern one which is quieter and also has th eoption to discharge the contents without the need for a flush with water. Anyone got any ideas or favourate makes/models they can recommend!

I'm off to use the loo - just because I can!!

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Out and about on board Khayamanzi today - couldn't possibly stay in with temperatures soaring to the 30's. Took Simba to the vets this morning as he had managed to pick up a tick which caused a skin irritation and a little lump had appeared. I reckon he got it in the Lake District from those sheep. £80 later and he had more Frontline tick and flea stuff, 2 injections and a thorough examination, (apparently he's 2KG over weight - I'm just glad he didn't weigh me!)

Returned home and spent some time doing some reports before the lure of the open water and the blue sky got too much for me.

Half way towards Rugby and I passed my brother on K2 coming back up. He 'spun' K2 round and we headed off together towards the Willow Wren arm. Just before the arm, he pulled alongside and we swapped boats for a while so I could give it a try - never again! This was the result....

Any vintage owner will probably immediately know what I did! I pulled the gear change lever too hard and pulled his linkage out - result: boat going forward, me with no gear and no stop button in reach - panic! A nifty bit of handling between us and we managed to swap boats back so he could sort it out. I used to be a vintage engine admirer but I have to say it was nice to get back on board Khayamanzi and enjoy the scenery without the constant worry of what was comign up and which wheel, button or lever I needed to pull, push or turn next! I think the best of both worlds is a vintage engine with single lever control!

I leave you this evening with a short video clip of my boating trip on Ulleswater in the Lake District the other week.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Weekend - day 001

Spent most of today running the PA system for a local summer fair and returned this afternoon in time to see my brother sailing off into the sunset for a barbecue down Hillmorton way.
Friends are having a barbecue over the other side of the marina and many others are milling round chatting in the evening sun over a shared bottle of something or another. I have school reports to write tomorrow and am only just about to sit down for dinner at twenty to nine! As promised, here is a not great picture of my summer flowers!
And an exciting picture of my bow resplendant in her shiny new black paint and proudly displaying her new anodes, (the water tank is very empty at this point!)
I have spared you a photograph of my toilet! The wonderful chemical provided by Lee Sanitation yesterday to de-scale my toilet has done nothing! The loo still takes about 3 flushes and 1 'dry' flush before finally sucking the contents away. My brother has a vacuflush and I'm sold! Brilliant little device that combines the best of a pump-out with the best of a cassette.
One day, I need to clean and polish my boat - I'll get a round tuit sometime.....

Friday, June 06, 2008

Toilet trouble!

It is a well known fact that if you stick a bunch of boaters in a room together with a bottle of something or another it won't be toolong before the conversation is directed towards toilets! Cassettes or pump-outs, to blue or not to blue, the toils of macerators, size of holding tanks etc etc. Well, I have lots to talk about right now.

My toilet, (A Vetus WCS series macerator attached to a 47 gallon plastic Vetus holding tank if you must know!) has lost its suck! It now takes several flushes to empty the bowl and I often have to switch the water off to prevent it over flowing. The other day I thought I felt a split int he waste outlet pipe and saw water dribling down it. Today, my father visisted Lee Sanitation to get a new pipe and speak to them about the problem. They were very helpfuland sold us a new pipe as well as a bottle of de-scaling stuff as they reckon the problem is down to a build up of limescale. Quite probably given that I have never de-scaled it in nearly 5 years! Add to that the fact that I can't find a split in the pipe for love nor money and it looks promising. I'll let you know after I have soaked the system in de-scale stuff for the night.

It's officially summer! I have now planted my summer plants in the tubs on the roof, (pictures to follow!)

The weekend looks busy as much of tomorrow is to be spent running the sound system for a local fair - I must have 'mug' written on my forehead!

One of the readers of this blog has his own blog space and has posted some great little video clips, either time lapse or sped up. The narrowboat ones are great and give a real flavour. See them here.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Just to clarify!

Many thanks to the people at Rose Narrowboats for clarifying one or two points.

They assure me following my comments in the last post that their slippage speeds do not exceed 1 mph and that they have never had any breakages in the past as a result. Regarding the rudder bearing not being replaced I have been assured that there is nothing wrong with the existing bearing and that replacement would have been unnecessary to resolve the issue, (I have the full technical reasons that I would be willing to forward to interested and relevant people on request.)

All sounds quite plausible to me but I would be interested to hear from anyone else who has had a similar problem, (especially with a Liverpool Boat/NBC fit-out,) and how they solved the problem or indeed any suggestions for a cure. I'm afraid I am something of a perfectionist and very 'OCD' prone with things like this and any imperfections in the running or maintenance of the boat I simply cannot accept or live with!

Many thanks to the people at Rose Narrowboats for the job they did and, as I have said before, I am more than pleased with the finished result, the value for money and would still recommend them for boatyard services.

Granny Buttons has his Streethay Wharf and Khayamanzi has his Rose!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Hull blacking

There's no escaping my spies! I may have been 200 miles north in the Lake District but I have still kept in touch with what went on on Khayamanzi. Thanks to some moorers from Brinklow who just happened to be at Rose Narrowboats on the day Khayamanzi was pulled out, I have the following pictures to publish.
Lining her up for the 'pull out'.
Up she goes and be warned it's jolly steep and fast! One glass smashed in the cupboard and on collection my lizard tank was only just hanging onto the shelf!
Almost out of the water.
All ready for the work to begin.
Let the work begin.....
A close up of her back end priot to the work starting.
Another evening, I'll post some pictures of the completed job.