Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Poser!

I'm not sure 'poser' is a word being used now-a-days but it best fits my brother and his new boat! I nicked this picture from his blog.
A fine looking vessel from any angle I must say. She'll look even better when moored in Brinklow Marina and all sign written up.
You might as well see the car that goes with it!!!!
As for me, I'm content with my Liverpool boat and new Shogun! The car's doing well and I'm getting used to the more 'robust' ride than my old Rover - just the job up these lanes though, I no longer worry when I see an approaching car as I know I can throw myself in a ditch if necessary. The chances are, I saw it in plenty of time over the hedges anyway!
No school tomorrow due to polling day! A day of writing reports although I do have to pop in for a bit at some point - keep that quiet though as we're not supposed to be in at all when it's used for polling; something to do with the possibility of us fixing votes or something. I can assure you, I'm too busy catching up on school work to be bothered with swaying voters opinions. Maybe if we got someone in power who supported the teachers, I wouldn't have to go in to catch up!!
A total of 5 more boats came into the marina so far this week and the promise of more over the bank holiday weekend. Mind you, if the rain continues the way it is, Brinklow Marina might well end up expanding between the Rochdale Canal and the Thames!! The fire has been firmly lit and glowing for the past 4 days again and very necessary it is too....and there was me thinking summer was on the way!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The pitter patter of tiny feet!

Don't panic - it's not quite what it sounds!
This evening I got home to find 2 little Leopard Gecko eggs nestling in the substrate. I quickly removed them and placed them in a home made incubator which now rests securely in the top of the vivarium but safely out of harms reach by mum. You can just about see them through the plastic container.
I'm not sure they're going to hatch as they are the first batch and apparently the first eggs often don't work well. Apart from that, I think they were knocked about a bit before I got in and found them and rotating the egg is a big 'no no' as the embryo attaches itself to the top of the egg and turning it over can cause it to suffocate inside.
I'll try anyway and see what happens - just have to wait now for the next month or so - that means I might be incubating babies when the boat is having its hull blacked - I hope Rose Narrowboats can provide a mains hookup for the temperature control unit! Apparently Leopard geckos are not good parents which is why I can't just leave them and let nature play its part. Mum looks proud though!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

That was summer.

Well that's how it seems! Yesterday was forecast to be glorious and it was, today was forecast to be horendous and it was glorious, although this evening the rain did come down with some force amidst a storm that included thunder and lightening. May be that was summer - I'm not sure.

Managed to spend half an hour this afternoon relaxing in a chair on the pontoon outside the boat in the sunshine and wearing my shorts! The week is set to be wet but with the promise of warmer weather in the lead up to and during the bank holiday weekend. School is closed this Thursday due to the premisies being used for elections, (health and safety says we're not allowed to have kids on site when members of the public are free to roam!) It's report writing time so that will most certainly be the order of the day for Thursday and then the bank holiday weekend.

Still getting used to the new car - no regrets whatsoever and extremely useful around the marina. Had it's first use in anger today - the glamorous task of driving round the fields to empty the dog pooh bins, (!) and then a run along the muddy bank of the adjacent lane to allow a passing van to get by. It now has its first mud up the side!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Shogun!



OK, so it's happened! The new Shogun arrived this morning and I left with my brother to take my Rover over to CarCraft to attempt a sale! Got a little lost on the outskirts of Birmingham but finally arrived and began the deal and haggling. Over an hour later, I left; minus one Rover 75 but with a guaranteed amount of money due to arrive in the bank account within 3-4 working days. Not quite as much as I had hoped for but after some haggling,I managed to secure the bottom end of the target amount I had set my mind on.
Returned home and began the process of putting everything that I had taken out of the Rover into the Shogun!
I had paid £20 to Halfords for an adapter lead I needed for a new Bluetooth handsfree phone kit. I discovered this afternoon that it has an excellent kit already installed - I should have guessed that on a vehicle that was leased to Orange mobile phones! Halfords obliged with a refund so that's more money saved!
At least Simba looks at home with all that space in the back, (I need to add that I removed several boxes of junk for the benefit of the picture!)!
An amazing day weatherwise - some lovely sunshine and very warm but a stiff breeze did keep it from feeling quite as warm as forecasted.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Strike one!

Kipling famously wrote, 'If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs....' This is how it seems right now. Rising prices of living standards in the UK and an, (in my opinion,) ludicrous strike by the NUT today. I am a member of the NUT but do not believe in striking and especially over issues where there are many public sector workers far worse off than us! In fact my school was totally unaffected by the strike action today and it was business as usual.
NB Clarence is still going strong as these pictures show.
Note the rivets which are not imitation. Derek, (the master of Clarence!) emailed me,
'The photos show the rivet set being put on but this is nowhere complete on
these photographs. JW has been experimenting on Clarence by fitting these with a
rivet gun which works by firing an explosive charge which thumps the rivet
through the plate and also seals it with an epoxy foam to prevent rust - it
makes a hell of a noise when it goes off - apart from not being needed for the
construction, they are real rivets though but as they actually pierce the hull,
they are not fitted around the stern where the diesel tank is, the bow stem post
and below the gunwhales for obvious reasons! there, they are welded as
normal (for replicas that is)'

An interesting process and great description!
If all goes to plan, the Shogun might be in my posession this weekend. An appointment has been booked to sell the Rover and the insurance is due to switch over at 2.00pm on Saturday - watch this space!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Good to go!

Well, spent much of the day today cleaning the inside of the car out ready to go ASAP hopefully once I get the new one! I wish I'd taken a shot of the inside of the boot before I started. You'll have to imagine what a mess it was and to help you imagine it, it took over an hour just to sort the boot out and the dog used to sit in there perched up on top of everything with his head hitting the roof! Now it looks like this. (The folded item in there is a 'Hatchbag' I had custom made for the space.)
The problem of any clean-up operation priot to selling something is that it makes you doubt if you ever shoul sell! When you look at this inside shot, I realise why I bought it.
A stunning car I must say, just not practical anymore for my life style and besides, you get bored after a while and want a change don't you - or is that just me? Anyone want to buy it - £5000 and it's yours - FSH, 46000 miles, 6 disc CD player, cruise control, Automatic, steering wheel controls, alloy wheels, 2.0L turbo diesel, climate control, electric windows and mirrors, bluetooth handsfree kit that uses the existing sound system, 2003 model, tow bar and electrics but.....
......it's a Rover 75!
Right now, I'm relaxing for a short while listening to The Hoosiers - well, we can't all be perfect!
Managed to find all the paperwork for the car and felt very smug with myself: radio code - check, spare keys - check, log book - check, service receipts right back from new - check, MOT - where the heck is the MOT!? Frantic rumaging through piles of papers ready to be burnt, school brief case, filing system before discovering that I had already got it out - it was just in the wrong pile of documents - CHECK!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Nothing much to report!

Not yet anyway!

Another hectic week been and gone and the forthcoming weekend heralds nothing much which is a rare change. Plans for the weekend include cutting the grass in the marina but the main task is clearing the car out in the hopes of getting rid of it soon. The new car is still 'in the system' having things done to it or checked or whatever people have to do! It looks increasingly hopeful that I might now get it in about a weeks time which would be good but then there's the small matters of coordinating the sale of my current vehicle, transferring insurance over, getting the paperwork and log book sorted, transferring my RAC membership/warranty documents, getting a new bluetooth handsfree kit installed and purchasing and registering the new private number plate that I want for it!! I reckon this saga might rival that of the BT issues a while back!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Africa!

An exciting thing happened yesterday. Overnight, the swallows returned from their winter in Africa. It happened literally just like that! One day - none and yesterday, they all appeared; swooping and diving over the water and the fields and dive bombing over my head. It's a lovely sight as they are such beautiful birds and not least because they herald the start of the summer and, (supposed,) warmer weather. Right now, I expect they are wishing they were still back in Africa flying over the local traffic:
or the locals...
This gent, with his Walkman!
Whilst on the subject, take a look at Africa's hot water system:
....or the road markings....
Well, English is their additional language!


Making progress with the price for the new car. Apparently it's going in to have a valet and safety inspection middle of next week. Silly as it sounds, I just want to part of a cheque so I can feel it's mine, arrange collection and then get on with selling the Rover - I'm scared stiff of getting a scratch or anything on the Rover now which might pull the value down, I'm also extremely worried about being hit VERY heavily if I can't coordinate the purchase and sale before my 'bridging' overdraft expires that I managed to organise!
**STOP PRESS!**
Just nicked a picture of the Shogun I'm trying to buy from my bro's blog. Cheers Steve!
I'm in the middle of Mock Sats week at school - manic to say the least! Got into work at 7.45 to hear all the alarms going off and the caretaker waiting for me. Apparently he was called in several times during the night by the monitoring station as the alarm was faulty and by the time I arrived, the panel had gone blank and it refused to even re-set. A faulty panel was diagnosed and replaced but not before 9.30 - half an hour after year 6 were due to start their tests and all of us with ringing in our ears. By the time the alarm had been silenced, I'd had one parent screaming at me down the phone over an issue involving her precious daughter and a glue stick, (!?) and another boy on an 'in-school exclusion' for throwing stones at car windows on his way in, not to mention the examining body hassling me to register the 3 new children who had just arrived at our school, for the exams in May. I finally managed to say good morning to my class at around 11.00!



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Is that it??

OK, so having departed of £154, my prop protector arrived today! Very unimpressive! Much smaller than I thought with detailed instructions, the right Allen keys and even a small bottle of locking glue for the screws that attach it to the shaft - oh, and not to mention 2 stickers warning anyone who decides to delve intot he weed hatch that a prop protector is fitted. Quite important I would think, given that the blade is razer sharp, (currently protected by a rubber cover to aid safe installation.)

I know it's in plenty of time but at least it's one thing off my list. I'm extremely neurotic at getting things down immediately - I hate having jobs that need doing or things that need organising hanging over me, I would much rather get them done and then I can relax.

Talking of which, no final price yet on the Shogun. I'm buying it as an ex-lease car from the company that my brother is a director of, car leasing giant Leasedrive Velo and so, pardon the pun, it has to go through all the 'wheels within wheels' of a corporate company! I have cancelled my visit to CarCraft this weekend as it seemed silly to go all the way there and back when I'm not actually ready to sell yet! I can't be without a vehicle so will need to get the Shogun first and then contact webuyanycar.com again and hope that the value of the Rover hasn't gone down at all as if it does I'm stuffed - this deal is that close to the wire!!

Strange weather right now. Beautigul warm morning with blue skies and bright sun but freezing cold and pouring rain from dull grey cloudy skies by the afternoon - roll on summer!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Times ahead....

Seems to be big changes in the Edwards family, or at least, there are with the 'younger' members! I use the word 'younger' in its loosest possible term. I'll leave my brother Steve to keep you posted with his developments on his blog but my change of vehicle seems to be getting closer! The Mitsubishi, (sorry Derek,) seems to be getting close to a sensible price and I have even managed to get the finances all sorted and in place ready. Just need to finalise the bottom price on the purchase car and then confirm the quote for my car that CarCraft said they would pay, before somehow coordinating it all together so that I can do the switch without ending up minus a car for any period of time.

I hate change, it's what endears me to the waterways! I hate the hassle, the unpredictability, the risk, the financial cost, the work involved - everything about change except the final result!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hail and cars


Another weekend almost over. Friday evening my brother came to visit with Tally and Shilah. It was Simba's first opportunity to meet Shilah and hey seemed to get on very well. I fell in love! I have to say, she is so cute and effectionate! We had a good evening sampling the delights of 'Hogs Back Brewery'! Saturday morning and a trip to Rose Narrowboats was in order to collect someone from the marina who was having a bottom black before Steve departed and I was left to set about the chores and muse on the Mitsubishi Shogan that he brought up which ticks almost every box for me - I await a price on Monday. Carcraft have agreed to buy my Rover for around 4-4.5K which is quite a good dela I think, so an appointment has been booked for next Saturday with them.
Today the weather was bizarre! The day started in glorious sunshine with me in my shirt sleeves and several boats went out for a beautiful spring cruise. I'm typing this now watching the last boat pull back in, crewed by 2 poor drowned rats and not even able to hear the TV over the hail and rain as the pictures above demonstrate!
Half way through my sunnday roast and the gas runs out, in the pouring rain - the joys of boat dwelling!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Another weekend looms

The rapid onset another weekend and I thought I would make you smile with this short video clip sent to me today by my father!

video

Tomorrow my brother arrives to visit over night en route further north. This visit he is driving a Mitsubishi Shogun which just happens to be for sale - I think I'll take a look! I also plan to visit a couple of 4x4 garages I know of in Hinckley; just for interest.

In case you haven't noticed, my comments last night on the Sow meeting on Saturday have been corrected as the meeting is/was on Thursday, (today.) I seem to be good at doing this, getting dates wrong - not sure where I got Saturday from. I suppose I just assumed that an organisation that relied on volunteers would hold their inaugural meeting on a Saturday so that everyone could attend. I hoep that doesn't mean that SOW is to become an organisation dominated by retired boaters. I thought the intent was to encourage all members of waterway users to get involved. I would be interested in how many fishermen or cyclists took time off work to attend?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Been and gone.

OK, birthday been and gone for another year. Since my hernia operation 4 years ago, I have been getting occasional but repeated pains across my lower chest on the side of my op. Monday, I felt the first twinges re-ocurring and by yesterday evening I was in agony. This morning, I struggled into work and despite my head's best efforts in trying to fin dsupply cover for me this afternoon - he couldn't and so with the helpof lots of pain killers, I managed to just about get through the day. A doctors appointment has been booked for Friday to get it checked out, (no more, "Oh you've just sprained a muscle," rubbish please!) and this evening I feel a little better thanks to the drugs.

On and off, sunshine and rain today but there is a marked increase in the amount of traffic chugging along the Oxford Canal outside and most evenings now, I see a different boat moored up outside on their way North to South or South to North. This is a sure sign of the approach of summer.

The newly revamped website for Save Our Waterways is now online. There is anow a subscription of £5 per year to show your support. Worth it I feel. I was invited to the inaugral meeting at Staff. Boat Club this Saturday. I wouldlove to go to be honest but with a busy weekend last week, I feel like a more gently one this week and, if I'm honest, I'm a coward and want someone to go with! I would like to go to see exactly what gap they plan on filling and what role they plan on executing. As it stands at the moment, I see them as a very political organisation involved with 'business' of securing funding for the waterways. Vitally important but a little dry for my more 'hands on' taste, that's why I have subscribed but aren't over disappointed at not going on Saturday. I may be wrong though and wait with interest to see what the full constituation states.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The wrong side of 35!

As of tomorrow, I am officially nearer to 40 than I am to 30! Help, how time flies. Boy, do I feel old? I am determined to have a mid life crisis soon and do something mad - not sure what yet, I just feel I need an excuse....

I have, for some time been looking for a new car, may be that will be it - I just can't afford it yet. I'm looking for a nice 4X4 - something useful down these country lanes I now live in, something practical to chuck the dog in and the odd bag of coal, drum of diesel or bottle of gas, something fun and yet still stylish and a little bit opulant - any suggestions!??

Tomorrow, I have a visit at school from Rugby Reptiles! I have booked them to visit with a few snakes and reptiles tovisit my Eco-School kids - should be interesting!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

SNOW!

A great day yesterday at the marina open day. A great number of people came to visit and many signed up for berths which was good despite some very cold weather.

Went to bed last night completely exhausted but with the threat of forecasted snow ringing in my ears. Woke up at about 4.00 in the morning for a bathroom visit, poked my head out the side hatch to see this...

Woke up this morning with texts from various friends and relatives all giving me pictures of the snow in there areas. These included my father with this picture of his suburban garden...

Unfortunately by the time I surfaced from the boat, the morning sun had already melted much of the 2-3 inches that we had and we were only left with this....

It was a beautiful sight though, with bright sun and a blue sky refelcting on the dafodills in the marina against the pure white snow. A well earned lazy day todayenjoying the warmth of the sunshine streaming through the window with the fire back in business again.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Clarence.


Nothing much to report on a personal level tonight except surviving the first day back to schooland the beginning of the summer term. Thought you might like to see the latest pictures of NB Clarence - boy she really is shifting now! Looking extremely smart now in her underwear paint and with some very nice little trims taking shape. Next stage, a wet bottom and fitting out - oh, and the small matter of an engine!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Last day.....

.....my lastday of the Easter break and I'm just starting back for the next 8 weeks as many schools are breaking up for the next 2! The routine of ironing has already started again.

My weather station arrived today. I got a phone call from DHL to say they were trying to deliver it to a school address and no-one was there, do I have an alternative address in the area. How's that for service? Spent the afternoon setting it up and so far I seem to have a good wireless signal from the sensors on the roof...



....to the control panel inside my back cabin....
Very pleased with it so far. Although the sensors look ugly, the board will eventually be painted green and the whole lot lifts off the roof. The wind cups also lift off if I wish.
Finalised the details for Khayamanzi's big May maintenance malarky! Confirmed the dates and the work list which now includes:

  • Hull blacking
  • Anodes replaced
  • Tiller bearing replaced or whatever it takes to stop it leaking!
  • Prop protector fitted

I'm going to purchase the Prop protector and Rose Narrowboats will fit it so I have to get my hand down the weed hatch again some time to take measurements before I order it. Anyone with any experience of these - your comments are welcomed!

Right now, I'm off to russle up something vaguely exciting for dinner before settling in for a relaxing evening before school tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Routine and a girlfriend for Lenny!

Back home and it seems I've been back for ages! All the chores are done and now it's time to sit back and relax. I might even allow myself a ly-in tomorrow morning.
Now, meet Lois! Lois is also a Leopard Gecko but she's a snow leopard gecko - much paler in colour and quite a pretty little thing I must say!
She's the smaller one, hiding behind Lenny acting all camera shy! There was a tense moment as I introduced her and the two had to sort out their pecking order. A few shakes of the tail, chases round the vivarium and little nips but they seem to have hit it off and are now getting on like a house on fire. Lenny even had a go at me when I put my hand in to get a picture of Lois. Apparently they are very easy to breed so watch this space. Love is in the air and I might have little Leopard Geckos for sale soon! Here she is on the left, again - all camera shy hiding behind the log!
Now to more aqua related matters! NB Clarence is looking magnificent. The trimmings are coming on now and the shape is really splendid.
Her bottom is due to get wet some time in April and then the real work can start!
Only one more day now and then back to school! Future events to look forward to are the imminent arrival of my weather station and the open day at Brinklow on Saturday.