Archive for April, 2018

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Ending as it started

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2018 by netmanianick

Sunday 15th April 2018

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It was a misty start to the day, if you look closely you can just make out Shugborough Hall through the haze.

Once everyone was up and about, and the dog had been walked, we set off towards Great Haywood and beyond. Anne had really missed feeding the geese who live at Pasturefields, and who recognise the boat (and the food) every time we pass. So we decided to head up to our favourite mooring overlooking Ingestre Hall, which we have dubbed ‘Teapot Turn’.

We were soon through Haywood lock, but there was some confusion at the junction as a boat appeared to be moored under the bridge by the Farm Shop Cafe. There was also a large working boat behind them that appeared to be stuck across the canal behind them. We slowed to a crawl to see what would happen. It turned out that the working boat, Effingham, was just leaving the mooring beyond the bridge, and the other boat was waiting to take its place.

With order restored, we carried on up to Hoo Mill Lock, catching up with Effingham at the bottom.

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It is just a short run from the top of the lock to Teapot Turn, and we were soon moored up and eating brunch. Afterwards it was time for the obligatory afternoon nap.

At 4pm we decided to head back to the marina, but by now the drizzle had started, and the wind was freshening. We cruised back to Hoo Mill in a heavy downpour, but one through the lock the sun came out in time for us to put City of Durham back to bed on her pontoon.

It has been a terrific weekend, the weather yesterday reminding us just how good it can be when the sun shines!

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Spring has sprung!

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2018 by netmanianick

Saturday 14th April 2018

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It was decidedly warmer inside the cabin when we woke this morning, and a peek out of the window showed the beginnings of a blue sky! What a difference from the past couple of grey and damp weeks!

Once we were up and dressed Anne paid a visit to the boat moored behind us who were selling plants and crafts. She returned a few minutes later with four pots – two of which had to be stowed on the deck as they were too large to go on the roof.

With the sun making an appearance we cast off, and winded in the entrance to Kings Bromley Marina. We had decided not to go as far as Fradley as there had been a steady stream of traffic past us already this morning.

Within an hour our fleeces had to be removed as the sun was warming the day up very well, and an hour later the sweatshirts had come off as well – it really was a T shirt day!

Just before Handsacre we pulled over to let a hire boat pass us, and as we pushed off again we could see confusion ahead – the hire boat was diagonally across the canal trying to avoid both a moored boat and another that had just appeared through the bridge hole. We stayed out of the way until it was sorted, then proceeded at tick over for a while to allow the boat ahead to get away.

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It was really pleasant cruising through Handsacre in the sunshine, and Anne was pleased to see that a lone duckling that we spotted yesterday was still swimming around on the stretch by the railway bridge.

At the Armitage Tunnel we had a short wait while another boat came through, but we soon made our way back to the mooring by Tesco’s so that we could get the papers and some ICE CREAM!!!!

After lunch we set off again for a warm trip through Rugeley and up to Colwich lock. We had a slight delay while Anne helped an approaching boat through the lock. Just as well that she did, the lady from the other boat really didn’t have a clue, and had to be told to go and catch up with her boat once the lock was open.

 

DSCF5434We pulled in for the night opposite Shugborough Hall, and enjoyed a glass or two sat on the back deck in the sun. It really doesn’t get better than this!

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Just a weekend away

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2018 by netmanianick

Friday 13th April 2018

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Although it was grey and drizzly this morning we decided to set off for a long weekend on the boat. We were loaded and watered up by 11.00 am and then made our way over to the service wharf to top up the diesel and get a pump out. It was just coming up to midday when we pulled off the wharf to begin our trip.

We had a gentle chug down to Haywood Lock following a boat that crossed in front of us as we turned out of the marina. They were entering the lock as we pulled up onto the lock landing.

A few minutes later it was our turn, and we exited the lock and made our way through Shugborough. I was surprised that there were only a couple of boats moored beyond the bridge. Although the rain continued it was little more than a fine mist, and there was hardly any wind, so it was actually quite pleasant enjoying the solitude on this normally very busy stretch.

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Colwich lock was empty when we arrived, so we had to refill it, Anne preferring to wield the windlass rather than steer this time. At the tail of the lock is a delightful farm bridge, but the track across it was less so today. Twice a day the cows head across the bridge to and from their milking, and the wet conditions meant that Anne’s boots were rather unsavory when she reboarded City of Durham!

Another boat was approaching the lock as we set off, shame he wasn’t a minute or two earlier, we could have left the gates open for him. We wound our way to Wolseley Bridge, and found only two boats moored here. One of them pulled out after we had passed and followed us down to Taft Bridge. We decided to let him past as he kept gaining on us when we slowed for the moored boats.

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The run into Rugeley was peaceful, and the only other boats we saw on this stretch were tied up, until we reached the bridge by St Augustine’s Church. The approach here is quite narrow, and there were boats tied up to the towpath so there was barely room for the oncoming hire boat to squeeze between us. Good job we didn’t meet them on a really narrow bit!

All the moorings near Tesco’s were taken, but as we passed the Fender Boat, he asked if we wanted to take his place as he was just moving off. We loitered in the main channel until his space was free and then reversed in. Given how many people were watching from the tow path, it was quite a surprise that this went well!

Anne disappeared to Tesco’s while I exercised Poppy, and then put the kettle on. With our shopping stowed we set off again, aiming to be beyond Handsacre for the night. We managed to get onto the piling just before Kings Bromley Marina, there was just one City of Durham sized space left!

Tomorrow we will head down to Fradley, and probably turn on to the Coventry Canal for a bit.

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Ever get that sinking feeling?

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2018 by netmanianick

Sunday 8th April 2018

Don’t you just love those quick jobs? With Anne away at the hen weekend I decided to surprise her by fixing the tap on the bathroom sink. The hot tap has been stuck closed for a while now, and whilst we can get hot water from the shower hose, it is a bit of a work-around. I decided to dismantle the tap and change the washer…

The damn thing wouldn’t budge, and ended up with the spanner slipping off the nut and dropping into the sink. Fugger!!! I had about an hour before Midland Chandlers in Penkridge closed for the weekend, so I went over hoping to get a like-for-like replacement sink and a new tap. What an optimist!

They don’t make this type of sink any more, so I chose one that ‘looked’ to be about the same size. I had a long discussion with the assistant about how I would connect it all up, and left the shop with an array of fittings. The one thing they couldn’t help with though, was a fitting to go on the drain to convert it to go into a flexible hose. So then it was off to B and Q to see what they had – nothing in the right size. I did manage to get hold of a replacement drain with the right bit on the end, but this wouldn’t take the overflow pipe as well. Thinking about it, this is probably why the overflow on the old sink was filled with mastic.

It was getting late, so I dropped all the bits off at the boat, and went home to let the dog out.

Sunday morning dawned, and I had a bit of a plan. Firstly I would get the old sink out and check that the new one would go in. The old basin was held in by a factory’s worth of mastic, and it took a lot of scraping to get it free.

With the hole cleaned up I could now see that the new sink was somewhat bigger than old, so the jigsaw came out to make a few adjustments. It’s a good job that Anne wasn’t here as she is all too aware of my lack of DIY skills, and there would have been in a major panic!

I didn’t have a template to work from so I used some string to measure as best I could, and then made sure that I cut less than I had measured. It took a bit of fine tuning once the initial cuts had been made but eventually I managed to make the hole the right size, and drill the holes for the mounting bolts in the right places!

Before screwing everything in, I noticed that the hole for the tap was now partially covered, so I unpacked the new tap with a view to marking out a new one. This was when I discovered that the spout of the tap was too short to reach over the back of the sink into the basin. I pondered this for quite a while. I really didn’t want to cut a hole in the new sink, so in the end I decided that the tap would have to go off to one side.

Again I measured carefully and drilled the necessary holes.

So far so good! I dismantled everything again, and set about changing the drain on the new sink and attaching the waste pipe. I had to cut off the overflow pipe, and so I had to fill the overflow hole where the plug chain is attached.

To my amazement, I was able to fit the new drain, and fit it to the waste pipe without any trouble. I even remembered to tighten the jubilee clip!

I then had to change the fittings on the water pipe so that the tails from the tap would fit, and again I was surprised at how easy this turned out to be. The replacement fittings include shut off valves, and I made sure that they were in the closed position. With everything in place, I cleaned up and tightened everything down.

Now it was the moment of truth. I turned the water back on, and then gradually opened the shut off valves. The water pump kicked into life, and the water pressure built up. And then…the pump shut off, and there were no leaks!!! Result!!! I filled the sink with water, then pulled out the plug, keeping my hand below to see if I could feel any water. I couldn’t!!

A final clean up and after two days of effort, that’s the tap washer changed!

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A Cold Easter Cruise

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2018 by netmanianick

Friday 30th March to Sunday 1st April 2018

We had planned to go for a week’s cruise over the Easter Holiday, but Anne and Lindsay were off for a hen weekend, which rather put paid to that plan. So we decided to go for the long weekend instead. Rob and Lindsay were delayed by work on Good Friday, so we set off without them. Mind you, we didn’t get very far – we didn’t manage to get everything together and the boat loaded up until gone 3pm!

We moored for the first night just beyond Ingestre, and had a very pleasant evening relaxing on board. The next morning we set off for Stone, with Anne now confidently taking her turn at steering.

It was great to be out, but the wind was very cold. We were wrapped up well so it wasn’t a problem. We were soon through Weston, Sandon and Aston locks and on the run into Stone. Our normal plan is to moor below Star Lock so that we are handy for the water point and winding hole, but today there wasn’t a chance. Every bit of mooring space from before the ‘Welcome to Stone’ sign right up to the lock was taken.

We turned around in the winding hole and decided to head back towards Burston. Just as we were leaving Stone we saw a boat approaching, and thought ‘That looks familiar!” Indeed it was – Lakeland Belle had arrived with a very cold Rob and Lindsay on board. We had a brief conversation as we passed, and explained that we couldn’t get in, so would moor at Burston.

It turned out that Rob had managed to squeeze Lakeland Belle onto a mooring right at the end – a big advantage of a V shaped hull! As they were so cold, they decided to stay put for the night.

Meanwhile we arrived in Burston without incident – Anne had successfully negotiated the difficult bridge and brought us in to moor at exactly our favourite stop.

With the dog walked we settled down for supper and an early night.

The weather forecast for Monday was not looking good, with yellow snow warnings covering the area, so we decided that we would head back to the Marina this afternoon. We arranged to have lunch with Rob and Lindsay before setting off.

Anne’s Sunday roast was delicious, and I had to fight the urge to have an afternoon nap. We were under way again by about 3.15pm, and joined the queue at Sandon Lock.

Once through we had a clear run back to the Marina, with most of the boats that had been ahead of us in the queue tying up at Weston.

We pulled into the marina about 30 minutes before sunset, and then had the chore of loading the car to come home.