Thursday, 17 July 2014

Relaxing time ahead

We have now replaced our engine mounts and an engine bracket that we didn't know was broken until we lifted the engine to replace the mounts. That meant we couldn't use the engine to cruise from Lapworth to Black Buoy so we arrived under tow. This time the weather was kind and we all had a good weekend.

Everything is now sorted with some help from our friends, engine mounts and loan of a hoist from Ali of Da Vinci Crafts, general assistance and towing from Paul of PJ Fenders and sourcing and collection of engine brackets by Mark of Grand Rosettes.

After the market Ray and Paul replaced the engine bracket and we were able to continue our journey. We are now at the top of Camp Hill locks, we arrived here yesterday and today Ray had a check up at the hospital. The doctor seems reasonably happy with his progress, Ray is still suffering some after effects from the chemo but that is normal apparently. He is now hospital free until the beginning of October.

Tomorrow we intend to head to the Birmingham and Fazeley canal on our journey towards Tamworth and beyond.

Since my last post we have traveled 14.3 miles and 5 locks

This year we have travelled 160.6 miles, 148 locks, 1 swing bridge,3 lift bridges and 8 tunnels

In 2013 we travelled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we travelled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2708.3 miles, 2348 locks, 119 swing bridges, 79 lift bridges and 111 tunnels

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Things happen in threes

Compared to the rest of the year we have had a fairly busy time for the past five weeks or so. We have also had a few problems, nearly all solved now.

We spent a bit of time at our mooring then headed to Smethwick top lock to join some friends at a community event and do a bit of trading, it was pretty much a waste of time as far as sales were concerned, people were interested in eating and listening to the music not spending money. We then went into Birmingham for a bit of shopping before heading back to our mooring.

This was when problem one occurred, the outlet on our exhaust manifold/heat exchanger broke. Our good friends Paul and Jennie came and rescued us and towed us back to our mooring. After checking the cost of a new part we decided to see if the old unit could be welded, thankfully our neighbour is a welder and managed to repair it for us. Paul and Jennie had offered to tow us back into Birmingham so that we didn't miss the floating market there but that proved unneccesary.

While we were at our moorings Keith, Leesa and Ellie came to visit to celebrate Ellie's first birthday so we had a nice al fresco lunch with chocolate cake to follow. We missed out on joining our friends for a weekend of trading and volunteering in Walsall because of our engine problems but visited by bus on the Saturday. We also helped some of them through Ryders Green Locks, I think we are becoming the unofficial lock keepers there for our friends.

Once the repairs were done on Morgana we headed for the Birmingham floating market, Ray was worried about the reason for the problem, thought it was probably due to excessive vibration and decided it was time to replace the engine mounts, so that is repair number two, although we haven't done that yet.

We had a disappointing weekend in Birmingham, the weather was unkind and nobody had a very good weekend for sales but it is always fun when we all meet up. The highlight of my weekend was a visit from the Hobbins clan, that and actually selling one of my rag rugs!!

After our weekend in Birmingham Ray deserted me for four days to help someone move their boat from our moorings to Barby on the North Oxford canal. I had a couple of days relaxing and introducing some of my fellow boaters to the delights of  the Birmingham markets then I moved down to Dickens Heath on the Stratford canal where Ray joined me on Thursday evening.

I have been saying for sometime that our batteries were not performing very well, on Wednesday, the day I moved, they died. After about four hours of cruising when they should have been nicely charged I had enough power for ten minutes of radio! More expense, now all replaced and working well.

We are now on our way to the Black Boy to trade for the weekend, then we are going to have a few (hopefully) relaxing weeks before we head up the Shroppie and Llangollen canals for a couple more markets before returning home for the winter.

Since my last post we have traveled 42.6 miles, 49 locks, 3 lift bridges and 4 tunnels

This year we have traveled 146.3 miles, 143 locks, 1 swing bridge,3 lift bridges and 8 tunnels

In 2013 we traveled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we traveled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we traveled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we traveled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have traveled 2694 miles, 2343 locks, 119 swing bridges, 79 lift bridges and 111 tunnels

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Back home

Another belated update. We traveled to Penkridge on the Tuesday after my last post and stayed there until the following Tuesday so that Ray had easy transport links for his hospital appointments. Only one more lot of chemo to go now! While we were there we visited the market as usual.

After Ray's chemo we headed towards Wolverhampton, up the Wolverhampton 21 to our 'usual' mooring e on the last remaining bit of the Bentley Arm. For the first time we had some little tyke decide to try and untie us, he obviously didn't realise that when you step on a boat it rocks so he was quickly chased off. After tht we headed to Bumblehole, one of our favourite moorings. We were intending to just stop overnight then head into Birmingham to see a friend but because the weather was awful we decided to hop on the bus to Brum instead.

Saturday was the BCN 24 hr Challenge, thirty hours of insanity, you can cruise for up to 24 hours between 8:00 Saturday and 14:00 on Sunday. The idea is that you cruise as much of the BCN as you can, getting points for miles traveled and locks, you only get the points once so there is no sense in doubling back. Some places earn bonus points, the finishing point is fixed and there is a choice of starting points. We weren't taking part but had friends who were and the finishing point was close to where we were moored.

On Sunday the Hobbins clan came to visit for lunch and a natter, enjoyable as always. On Monday we joined our friend Sandra and opened up 'the shop' for a few hours. Tuesday we helped Sandra put her bunting up because there was a photo shoot for the run up to the Birmingham market ( she is the RCTA PR girl).Then today we came home, only to get stuck in a lock about a mile from home, try as hard as we could we couldn't get the bottom gate open far enough to get Morgana out of the lock. A phone call to CRT brought a couple of guys to rescue us and we made it home


Since my last post we have traveled  39.2 miles, 44 locks and 3 tunnels

This year we have traveled 103.7 miles, 96 locks, 1 swing bridge and 4 tunnels

In 2013 we traveled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we traveled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we traveled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we traveled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have traveled 2651.4 miles, 2294 locks, 119 swing bridges, 76 lift bridges and 107 tunnels

Monday, 12 May 2014

Now at Tixall Wide

Yet again I have been very lax about posting, life seems very busy at the moment.

We spent the weekend at Rugeley, where we saw Sandra Willis again. On Sunday we managed to do something I can't remember doing in 10 years of boating, we ran out of gas and didn't have a spare cylinder. I thought I was going to be without until Tuesday when we could move but thanks to the wonderful camaraderie of the cut our friends Mark and Justina from NB Marmite brought us one by car. Paul and Jennie turned up on NB Panda Julienne on Monday too.

On Tuesday we did the journey to Stone, passing Sandra who had moved on from Rugeley on Sunday morning. Kit from NB Here Be Dragons walked down to help us through the final four locks to our mooring for the market. There were eight boats, two who we hadn't met before and we all had a good time. We even got a bit of fame, we are now on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXV6ZoVTTrY

After the market we had what is becoming the traditional traders invasion of the local pub. We then slowly all went our separate ways with promises to meet up later in the year, many of us at Birmingham. We left Stone on Wednesday but didn't travel very far, then on Thursday we traveled to Tixall Wide where we have been watching the rain.

Tomorrow and/or Wednesday we hope to move on to Penkridge as it is the best place for transport links and Ray has yet another hospital appointment on Thursday.

Since my last post we have traveled  27.2 miles and 18 locks

This year we have traveled 74.5 miles, 52 locks, 1 swing bridge and 1 tunnel

In 2013 we traveled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we traveled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we traveled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we traveled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have traveled 2612.2 miles, 2250 locks, 119 swing bridges, 76 lift bridges and 103 tunnels

Friday, 25 April 2014

On towards the next market!

We had a mixed weekend at Alvecote, Friday was busy and people were putting their hands in their pockets and spending. The Hobbins clan came visiting on Friday, it was great to see them again and they were popular with our fellow traders as they were spending money!!

Saturday and Sunday were fairly quiet, the weather wasn't good, we packed up early on Sunday because of the rain and the few people that were about were browsers not buyers. Monday saw a turn around both with the weather and the trade. All in all it was a good weekend, great to catch up with traders we already knew and even met a new couple.

We stayed at Alvecote on Tuesday and got some tidying and cleaning done, then moved down to Fazeley on Wednesday. Ray had a hospital appointment on Thursday, which would have been a smashing day for travelling. When he got back we went and bought some plants for my flower displays, I've got some home grown seedlings but they are a bit small.

Today we moved onwards to Rugeley, a fairly long day considering the weather but the forecast is no better for the next couple of days and we needed to get here so Ray can get to the hospital on Monday and we can reach Stone by Wednesday. So we are here until Tuesday morning and then we will be heading for Stone.

Photos may be a bit few and far between, I'm not the most prolific photographer anyway but now I'm on the tiller most of the time I don't get the opportunity to use the camera. I haven't mastered the knack of tiller in one hand and camera in the other!

Since my last post we have travelled  21.7 miles, 5 locks and 1 swing bridge

This year we have travelled 47.3 miles, 34 locks, 1 swing bridge and 1 tunnels

In 2013 we travelled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we travelled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2585 miles, 2232 locks, 119 swing bridges, 76 lift bridges and 103 tunnels

Friday, 18 April 2014

At Alvecote

I've got out off the habit of blogging during our time off, time to catch up again.

We took a day off on Sunday, Ray wasn't feeling his best and it was very windy so we stayed where we were. On Monday we carried on through the last four Curdworth locks to the junction at Fazeley where we took a slight detour by heading away from Alvecote so that we could moor within walking distance of the shops. As we approached our mooring we saw Paul(of PJ Fenders) walking Patch, he stopped to help us moor then went back to his boat to fetch Jennie. After a couple of cuppas and a natter they headed home and we got ourselves sorted to go shopping. Then on the way back from shopping we stopped for a coffee with them, it's a hard life this boating lark!

On Tuesday we headed back the way we had come as far as the junction to meet up with Ali and Lou on Da Vinci and Lowry and Sandra on Golden Boyz,so with Paul and Jennie that made five boats heading for Alvecote. On Wednesday we headed for the marina apart from Sandra who was doing some good trading where she was so she joined us yesterday.

The weather forecast is pretty good for today and tomorrow but not so good Sunday and Monday,I've spent far too much time nattering to Ali and Lou but I have got a few more bits made. Hopefully we will have a good weekend.

Since my last post we have travelled 9.3 miles and 6 locks

This year we have travelled 25.6 miles, 29 locks and 1 tunnel

In 2013 we travelled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we travelled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2563.3 miles, 2227 locks, 118 swing bridges, 76 lift bridges and 103 tunnels

Saturday, 12 April 2014

On the move again

I know I've been very quiet but that's because life has been mainly boring!

We have spent most of our time working round the cycle of Ray's treatments. The good news is that he is coping well with them most of the time and is now over half way through. He is still suffering some nausea and feeling the cold. On the up side he is now just above what he always considered his normal weight.

We had a nice visit from Tim, Margaret and Nicholas during half term,don't think I've already mentioned that. Then we had a visit from The Hobbins clan and the Bristol Jones for my birthday. We all went out for a meal on the Saturday night and then met up for lunch and birthday cake at the moorings on Sunday, the weather was very kind to us and we were able to spend some time outside. My wonderful son Keith bought us a fridge/freezer as a combined Christmas/birthday present to both of us to make up for the ones he missed!! It is good to have a working fridge again and even better to have a freezer again.

I've been growing some herbs from seed at the moorings and Ray has made some boxes to hold the pots on the top of the boat while we are travelling. I've some ginger beer and rhubarb wine brewing but apart from that we haven't really done a lot.

We set off from Ocker Hill on Thursday morning and are heading for Alvecote near Tamworth for Easter weekend. We are taking it slowly as Ray is still not 100% and a full day of cruising would be too taxing for him.

On Thursday we tackled the first eleven of the Perry Barr locks, then did the last two of Perry Barr and the Minworth three on Friday. Today we moved down the first seven locks of Curdworth locks.

We managed the stretch of the Tame Valley from Ocker Hill to the Perry Barr top lock without incident but then we had clear about half  dozen branches before we could start down the flight. All went reasonably well until lock 11 where we picked up a collection of carrier bags and rope and chain round the prop which gave us a good reason to call it a day! The next morning I had to let water down to fill the pound between 12 and 13 because the water level was so low but apart from that the rest of our journey has been uneventful.

There aren't many boats on the move, we have only seen a couple of boats a day, well none on Thursday apart from CRT work boats but that's no surprise on the Tame Valley.

This year we have travelled 16.3 miles, 23 locks and 1 tunnel

In 2013 we travelled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we travelled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2554 miles, 2218 locks, 118 swing bridges, 76 lift bridges and 103 tunnels