Follow by Email

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

You've got to be joking???

Notice Alert

Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Starts At: Lock 30, Holme Bridge Lock
Ends At: Lock 85, Lock 21
Monday 26 November 2018 08:00 until further notice
Type: Navigation Closure 
Reason: Water resources

Original message:

Following a further period of below average rainfall, the water resource situation on the Leeds Liverpool Canal is such that we will need to close the canal from Holme Bridge lock, Gargrave (Lock 30) through to Wigan (Lock 85) on the 26th November until the New Year. This action is necessary because of the limited water resources currently available but more importantly to reduce the risk of the reservoirs not refilling in time for the start of the main boating season next year. During this closure we intend to offer windows of opportunity for boats to move and so the navigation will be reopened each Saturday and if the demand exists additional days can be considered.
This notice will be updated in the next few days with details of the openings.
You can find all notices at the url below:

Please do not reply to the email. It has been automatically generated.
To unsubscribe from this service please go to: and uncheck the relevant box.

Looks like we're NOT gonna get as far as Foulridge before we return to Skipton...  ergo, Skipton is the end of the line (AGAIN) for this year... hmmf!

*goes off for a sulk*

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Chores, Chores and more Chores...

The thing about boating is, that whilst lots of little things 'need' doing... when you're boating you tend to put them off  - especially if it's a nice day with the lure of a chug.

Alas, as we're tied to base until the mooring (paid up) expires at the end of the month, we've had to fight the urge to 'play' and instead, knuckle down to some of the things we've been avoiding.

Nothing TOO onerous I'll grant you and half the time ONCE you've started to do them, you find yourself asking WHY you put off doing them so long.  NO MATTER.... First on my list was to get the chimney swept again - it'd been a fair few months since I last did it but I began to notice when topping the fire up, the resultant smoke - rather than be sucked  up the flue, would billow out of the opened door.

UNLIKE on previous occasions when I remembered to cover the roof with some sheeting, this time I figured it might not be too bad so risked it and made a little bit of a mess instead.  It wasn't too bad and looking out this morning, the rain last night should have washed it away.  

Once that was done, I made a note to get some chain to fasten around the witches hat and solar panel bracket - THIS being a result of noticing a fellow boaters chimney blowing off in the wind and into the cut the other week in Windy Granary Wharf... he spent ages fishing around with a magnet trying to get it back - I decided a bit of chain to STOP it blowing into the canal, might be a better method... of course I'm YET to do it but it's in the back of my brain now so hopefully next time I wander in to a hardware store it'll trigger a reminder I'll forget all about it ;-)

Another job I kept meaning to do was replace the little foam rubber things (again) that the porthole glasses sit on - they seem to wear out quite quickly for some reason.  I have to admit to being appauled at how grubby the inside of the frames were so a job for another day is to run a cotton bud around them to clean them properly... none of the drain holes had anything in them so at least there is no danger of water building up and flooding in.

Writing of water flooding in - you may remember a few weeks ago (eek it's probably months now) I fastened a couple of bits of beading to the outside of the glazed side shutters, in a bid to reduce the amount of water that leakes through the bottom if it's raining outside... the idea being to be able to leave the external shutters open on miserable days for a bit more light.

It worked to a point but not when the wind was blowing lots of rain directly at them.  An extra modification was required...

This modification came in the form of bead of clear silicone (only because I already had a tube open from doing the side of the worktop near the sink) and  once it'd had dried, it allowed for a tight seal against the wooden beading when the shutters were closed on to it - the theory (and it's still a theory because it's not rained properly since I did it) being that it will deflect the water to run off into the canal.  I'm considering this a prototype as because I did this from inside the boat (rather than outside), the line is a bit wobbly.  IF it work,s  I'll carefully remove the silicone and repeat it from outside using Sikaflex instead - Sikaflex being FAR better for just about any boating application than silicone is.

I''ll report back in due course.

My next job was outside - Having replaced the centre lines the other week (courtesy of Peninne Cruisers in Skipton) I HAD planned to use the old ones to make side fenders... it occured to me that apart from the bits frayed by the fair-leads, they were in better condition than the current mooring lines.  SO, plan b was to cut off the duff bits, splice a new eye on them and turn them into mooring lines - mooring lines that would be a) longer (the centre lines were 15ms to start with) and b) better condition.

Once I'd run them through the washing machine I set to and (armed with yet another you-tube video) began to make the eyes.

Rather than just 3-4 tucks, I went the whole hog and did 6 "just to make sure" - and, I have to admit to being rather pleased with the result.  I cheated I suppose but using self amalgamating rubber tape to tidy the ends up, rather than melting the ends to stop them fraying.

Once I'd done both ropes, I then bunged the old mooring lines through the washer and set to to attempt to make side fenders from them.

I was defeated!

I was following one of the VERY few tutorials available on you-tube - this one in fact.

OBVIOUSLY I chose to ignore the fancy bits where he stitched around the eye... LIFE IS TOO SHORT! - anyway, what seemed like 100's of attempts  I had to give in.  You see, it all goes wrong 7 mins and 6 seconds into the video where he begins the "wall knot" thingy for the bottom...  it appears you need 5 hand to do this... 4 to form the knot and 1 to keep pausing the video... trust me. 

Thinking outside the box for a moment, I figured that if I could get beyond the "wall knot" stumbling block, I might be able to make the rest of it up...  with that in mind, I searched for "wall knots" on google and found a 3 and 4 strand knot...  but NO 6 strand one.  Once again, thinking laterally, I decided to turn my 6 strands into 3 by doubling them up and to be fair WAS able to replicated the aforementioned, Tortuous knot, quite well.

That's where I gave up... I can not for the life of me (certainly from watching the video) work out how to get any further ... it's just too fast.  So - a first for me... a you tube defeat :-(

Hopefully at some point in the future, we'll come across a chap (or chappess) somewhere MAKING them and I'll ask for a lesson.

Until next time...

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Final Guests of our first season & boat's 2nd birthday...

If you've looked at our original 2018 cruise schedule on the website, you MIGHT have spotted we're NOT where we had intended to be right now - ergo, instead of the trip to Wolverhampton, we did an 8 night Leeds/Skipton/Leeds jaunt followed by a 2 night Leeds to Wakefield.

The latter began on Saturday morning when we were joined by a lovely couple (from Wakefield as it happens) who are in discussions about buying a boat in a couple of years when they can retire.

I'm a bit annoyed that I didn't think to take any photos really - we just got along nattering so well, I didn't pick up my phone for the duration of their stay.    We left Leeds about half 10/11 o'clock on a bright but bitterly freezing day.  The first day this year I've actually worn long trousers - that's how cold it was.   The canal below knostrop lock was quite busy with rowers so we had a slightly slower than usual cruise but thoroughly enjoyed both that and the company.

We overnight-ed in Castleford on the visitor moorings and on another bright but even colder Sunday morning, began the final leg to Wakefield.   The plan was to go past Stanley Ferry, into town and then turn on the river after Thornes Cut before heading back to our mooring for the night - we HAD however, forgotten about the clocks going back, so rather than end up on the river in the dark, we turned a bit earlier at the bottom of Thornes Lock (near the gym) and shortened the day by about an hour.

After breakfast on Monday morning, Andy gave our guests a lift home and I began to work through a list of jobs - ranging from laundry to applying silicone to the recent attempts at deflecting the rain from the bottom of the side hatch windows.

We've discovered CRT have already let our mooring from 2nd December when we officially leave so we've been sorting out the storage boxes etc.  We've also filled the roof up with coal from the local chap, topped up diesel tanks and generally prepared for NOT having a car - the plan being to flog it in a couple of  weeks - once we've made a birthday visit to my folks for my mums birthday... from then on it will boat yards for diesel and coal as we chug around and the occasional hire car when needed.

The plan is to make a slow journey towards Skipton where we'll spend Christmas and maybe new year - probably going as far as  Foulridge before we turn and then try to get on to the Huddersfield Narrow in January to "try" Standedge Tunnel.  After that, we WERE going to head to Sheffield but looking at the CONSIDERABLE winter stoppage lists, that might not be possible until late February ...we'll have to see how that all pans out.

2019 is already looking good bookings wise though - we've got 7 new ones (one of which is a repeat guest from this year) PLUS 3 bookings we had to carry forward due to the problems with Marple locks and Water shortages... luckily, every one affected was really good about it and we really appreciate that.

I've called in at the paint suppliers this morning to get 2.5 litres each of both greys - mainly for touch up purposes next year ... it seemed prudent to get it now rather than wait until the current tins run out.   When the temperature warms up (at the weekend  like it's supposed to)  I'm need to touch up a few more battle scars before winter gets here properly.    My phone reminded me on the 27th, that it was the 2nd anniversary of getting the boat - we'd forgotten all about it...  it feels like forever ago and I cant imagine not living on it now.

Happy "launchday birthday" Ellis.

Until next time...

Friday, 26 October 2018

Mooring Rage, Good deeds and luxurious free power.

Have you ever had one of those days when, rather than responding to a situation, you react?

On Tuesday, I did!

We left bright and early on another beautiful day and gently chugged our way towards our planned days destination.  As we traveled the wind did increase considerably but I suppose it being a gradual increase, I hadn't particularly noticed the severity of it.

Having filled the water tank (and emptied the bins) at Dobsons locks again, we went straight though Apperley (btw the travelers HAVE actually traveled and gone) and carried on towards Calverley... just as the crew jumped off to open Calverley swing bridge, a Hire boat appeared in the distance so to make life easier for them (in the now much stronger wind) Tony (the guest) was sent on ahead to open Rodley swing bridge on our approach.

WHEN it came into sight I noticed a Bear Boating hire boat (they are quite easy to spot around here) that appeared to be sideways across the cut - I assumed the skipper was trying to hold water (if that's the correct term) whilst my crew opened the bridge, to save them having to do it...  as I went through the now opened bridge, (still with the other hire boat behind me) the Bear boat was now properly sideways blocking the canal - making the associated splashing sounds when you get into a bit of a panic...  Seeing a tiny gap between 2 already (wisely) moored up boats, I didn't really have much choice other than to put my nose in and loop a line through a ring in a hurry - WHICH I did,  ONLY to have the couple at the back of the Bear boat, STILL sideways, begin shouting and screaming at me - Apparently I'd just stolen the mooring space they were trying to get into....

Now - normally under such circumstances, I'd have shouted back that once they were back under control AND the hire boat up my arse had managed to pass by without crashing into either of us, I'd happily move along and HELP them to get into the space (which btw was truly 57foot & 1 inch) ...

HOWEVER - as their screams and shouts became more aggressive, my dander got up (not a euphemism) and I couldn't help but suggest (rather loudly shouting back) they'd rather missed the "relaxed point" of boating... and perhaps it wasn't a suitable pastime for them.

This angered them further...

A load more abuse followed, along with some reference to 'bloody boat owners all think you're much better than hirers' - chip on their shoulder type stuff... along with "where are we supposed to moor up now" type of pleas...  I directed them to the 7 day moorings a few hundred yards (in the direction they were heading) and suggested they RELAX.

In hindsight - I could ... perhaps OUGHT to have responded differently but I'm only human too.

HAVING been on guard duty all night  - (worrying about our tyres being let down lol) we departed about 8.30 the following morning for the chug into Leeds.

On arrival at the 1st manned lock flight, whilst waiting for the locks to fill, I noticed another boat appeaer behind us slowly and then stop - some way from the top of the flight...  The lock-keeper was keen to know if they planned on coming down that day and if so, he'd prefer to work them through with us .

After a few mins or discussion, they pulled forward and entered the lock with us.  Chatting as you do, it transpired they had major engine problem that meant they could only run it for a few mins at a time before oil pressure was lost and it also over heated... they've been trying to get some sense out of Barrus Shanks but to cut a long story short, they were heading to Castleford boat yard - where they've arranged to have a brand new Beta fitted.

The journey to Cas. taking them a long, long time.

Given we were now entering (anecdotal Bandit Country) I suggested if they would like, we could tie them on and take them with us all the way to Granary Wharf in Leeds.

So that's what we did - the wind was rather strong and  I won't lie, we did have a few interesting moments waiting for the crew to ready locks etc... it being difficult to leap off with a centre line as due to the way they entered the first lock, Ellis was on the right.

At one point we did have to untie and exit separately as a couple of gates wouldn't open fully enough to allow us to leave ... at that point perhaps we ought to have switched sides but we didn't think about it until later.

Anyway - by early afternoon we'd made it safely (if with perhaps a couple of tree scratches here and there) into Granary Wharf,  where we untied them, had a spot of (late) lunch and then continued down the river to do a pump out/dispose of rubbish.

The plan HAD been, to head back up to Granary and spend our last night (with our guest) there so he could easily catch whatever train I needed the following morning.  Upon discussion, that changed when we spotted space in Clarence Dock (Leeds Dock) -  a first for us as despite it being 48 visitor moorings, folk have been known to over stay quite spectacularly.  

Given the impending laundry day and boat cleaning (final guests of this season due to arrive on Saturday morning), having a tap AND hook up has made things SO much easier than the usual 9 hours engine running whilst the washing machine and tumble drier eat up power.

Having never plugged in (other than during dry dock) to shoreline, I didn't know HOW to get the power on - chatting with the boat behind, he explained we'd need to buy a dedicated card from the CRT office over the river.  So off I set- hoping to catch them before they closed.  They sell cards for £1.00 (big spender eh) but the lady on the desk couldn't tell me mow many kwhs that was for.

No matter - I bought 3 "just in case" and set off back.  On closer inspection of the bollards, the one nearest us had 10p credit on 1 and 40p on the other... THAT gave us 1 load of washing and drying AND an over night with the batteries on charge.  

Yesterday morning, our guest departed to begin the first leg of his journey back to Oz. - here's a photo I took of HIM taking a photo of US as he took the water taxi back to Granary Wharf.

It's been an enjoyable 8 days with him - he's taught us a new (to us) card game called "up and down the river" - or sometimes known as "hell". ... AND slightly more annoyingly, also introduced Andy to Pokemon hunting - which will mean us hanging around random places for no particular reason whilst he catches aforementioned invisible things!

Once he'd left, we began cleaning the boat - how sad  am I   sensible of me to check the other meters as I took some rubbish down yesterday as another bollard had 10p on another and  50p on the final one.  OK - to anyone watching us move the boat up and down the pontoon we must look like idiots but it was nice to utilise  it.

DAFT thing is - my built in karma police forced me to then put in one of our £1.00 cards to top a meter up for the NEXT person to come along... who might MISS the crt opening times so they can at least plug in and give their batteries a break.

Until next time...

Monday, 22 October 2018

FINALLY a Kingfisher photo and beautiful Autumn cruising...

We left Leeds on Thursday morning and headed off  towards Skipton - the weather is being SO kind to us given the time of year... a little bracing at times but generally bright sunshine without TOO much wind.

This time, we've got an Australian traveler with us Andy took no time in putting him to work on the locks.  We're still taking alternate days on the tiller although I'm told when it's wet and windy, I'll be called back to full time duty!

The plan HAD been on leaving Leeds, to go as far as Apperley Bridge and stop outside the marina for our first night.  Alas, when we got there, we noticed "travelers" had encamped on the playing fields and decided we'd go on a bit further instead.  This resulted in a full water tank (thanks to the tap at Dobsons Locks) and a night on Shipley Visitor moorings.

Next morning we stopped in Saltaire to nip up to the Coop only to come across a boat whose starter battery was goosed. I tried to jump start them from our spare battery AND from their leisure ones but either both were too low OR my little jump leads weren't up to the job (it's a good excuse to get a new MANLY set now) - in the end, we abandoned our efforts and left them to wait for their hire company to come rescue them.

Bingley 3 and 5 came and went without incident - well I say without...  they had a "new volunteer" helping out and lets just say we got a few more scratches than we've come to expect on the flight... no major harm done and I got the touch up paint out when we arrived in Skipton.

Writing of Skipton,  I'd tweeted Ian (the boss man of Peninne Cruisers) a few days prior and asked if he could make us up a new pair of 14 meter centre lines with eyes on. On arrival , I nipped over to collect them... daftly I'd not asked what the cost would be but there was no real fear as true to form, he charged a reasonable  - if not bargain 28 quid for the pair.    The old ones are now destined to be made in to rope side fenders when I get around to watching you-tube videos 100 times.

We left Skipton this morning for our return trip to Leeds - a beautiful if a little cold day... (frosty morning) and we were lucky enough to encounter a Kingfisher who seemed to be playing tig with us for miles.  MANY, MANY photos were taken and THIS is closest we've gotten to a "proper photo".

Tonight we've come BACK down Bingley and have moored just near the Greyhound pub (edit - It's ACUTALLY called the Fishermans)  - all a bit tired after a treck into town to get some eggs so we've resisted the pub and no doubt will be in bed doors.  Tomorrow, the plan is to get to Rodley and perhaps introduce our guest to "guest ales" in the canal side pub there.

Until next time...

Monday, 15 October 2018

Tlc and one hell of a storm

It turns out our coming up to Leeds early was a good idea - That blooming storm "Callum"  would have played havoc with our journey... AND as expected, the river went into flood - albeit briefly.

BEFORE the wind and rain arrived, I decided to try and remove some black marks that had appeared from rubbing on the lock landing stage at Broad Cut bottom lock (on the river)...

I think they attached some truck rubber to the stage and whilst it DOES a good job of cushioning the boat when tied up, it ALSO leaves nasty rubber stains all down the side

Initial results were laborious - I tried to use a wet one (as in baby wipe) and whilst it DID come off, it took WAY too long and involved too much elbow grease for my liking.

Plan b consisted of the dregs of petrol from the generator and a rag.  In no time it was off  and with minimal damage to the paint.  You can see little scratches but they will sand out next time I do a bit of touching up above the rubbing strakes.

btw - note the prototype anti drip strips I've attached to the side windows - in theory (assuming I can get a strip of silicone in just the right place for them to but up against), they will mean we can have more light when it's raining - currently we have to close the side hatches and it can lead to cabin fever if it's raining for days on end

NOT long after this did the storm hit - talk about a rough few days ... Granary Wharf is a windy place at the best of times but we actually felt sick on occasions ... we couldn't tie up tightly against the side because the water levels kept altering due to the amount of excess flooding over the top of the gates at Office lock.  

The waves don't look so bad in the photo but trust me, the wind was hitting us side on and we rolled like a stuck pig.

It's dropped finally now and we've moved around the corner outside the Candle House so  as to be able to fill up with water - the water point above Office lock being cordoned off by fencing by the developers working on the bit of land behind it.

Another good thing about moving away from "Fazenda" is we no longer have to sit and smell the glorious meats being served there - it was making us constantly hungry.

Until next time...

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Middle-Age sucks, 80's flashbacks and an oil leak...

AS you know, we've been TRYING to shift the summer blubber at the gym of late... It's not going well!

Despite my best efforts to do what I did LAST time I was fat (circa 15 years ago) it's not working anywhere near as well.  WHY? you might ask... well obviously at THAT time I was working 10-12 hour  days, dieting AND putting in what little other time I was awake, at the gym.

It's clear from the current results (or lack thereof) that poddling around a 57 ft narrowboat, chatting to dog walkers and other boaters DOESN'T burn off the same number of calories.  Hmmf.

To make matters worse,  last week  at the Gym, the cardio suite was upgraded with "London cast offs" and on the new machines, I keep being drawn in to "80s" tv - in particular, the music channel of my youth (eek).

There I am, pedaling,cross training or wobbling away and being forced to watch young, slim people dancing around and singing - MORE annoyingly from the bad outfits is the reminder that (like them now I suppose) I am no longer young and gorgeous - it's not a nice realisation.  For now, I'm going to continue  down my (some would say delusional) route of claiming to be Ginger and fabulous.  HOW much longer I can maintain this front is yet to be seen.

Another thing that struck me about "the 80s" - 1984 in particular is how gay everyone looked and behaved.  It's no wonder we ended up dancing backwards ourselves.  I mean Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Owen Paul, Nik Kershaw, Frankie goes to Hollywood - I could go on forever.  WHAT where they all thinking?

Still, they were young .  Hmmmf.

Oddly enough, in spite of my wailing above, In all seriousness, I DO feel like we've settled into middle-age quite well .... we've learned to listen to people in stead of talk at them.... we've learned to stop and THINK before making snap judgments.  We've also learned to give people the time of day-trying to walk a mile in their shoes before forming an opinion.

If only  I'd not eaten so many pies this last 12 months!

                                                                   . . . . . . . . 

In boaty news, having done the 1700 hour service the other day (and therefore ordered  the next 2 sets of fuel,oil and air filters) On going down the engine hole to store them, I was horrified to be greeted with this:

Now it may not look a lot but there really shouldn't be ANY!.  So, before we set off to Leeds Yesterday, Investigations began.

That's when things went down hill - having climbed into the hole, I looked up and saw I'd left the deck board leaning above and decided that rather than wait for the boat to rock and it to smack me on the head, I'd put it ashore. UNFORTUNATELY a certain ginger idiot wearing crocs I'd already stepped in some oil and my right foot was slippy - this had the effect of me (and I don't really know how) ending up falling back down into the engine hole (again ffs) and wedging the deck board under my right armpit  AND clonking my already bad right knee rather hard on the engine block.  The engine remained undamaged but I actually DID cry it hurt so much.  

The 2nd officer came to my aid with some pain killers and reminded me to get on with what I was doing!

So, where had the oil come from?  My first thought was I'd not tightened the oil filter hard enough so I gave that a bit more of a twist...  then I double checked the dipstick was in properly... then the filler cap - no... All good.  The gear box was the next suspect.  reaching down with some kitchen roll, I detected a bit of oil on the sump plug bit it DID appear to be fully home - however, on draining it and measuring the volume I discovered only 1.3 litres came out.. and I'd put 1.4 litres in - ergo 100ml of the stuff has leaked out. 

Before I refilled (with new oil again) I borrowed a longer handled spanner of Mick (I've got one somewhere but couldn't find it) and ensured the sump plug was as tight as I dare do it.

Having mopped up the spill (with nappies) I then laid a clean white rag under the sump plug and after our chug on the river yesterday, was VERY pleased to find it still while!

We're back in Leeds again now in preparation for our penultimate guest cruise of our first season next week - we've come early as the forecast isn't looking brilliant so rather than get stuck in Wakefield if the rivers are in flood, we'd be better off here and ready to head to Skipton - whatever the weather.
We're trying a different mooring this time - far enough away from the Hotel's outside speakers but  still close enough to be able to hook on to their wifi.

At some point during our stay, we're going to see if our "Nuffield Gym Membership" does actually allow us access to the Leeds one as we were told on sign up.... I bet it doesn't.

Still, the walk there and back will do us good I  suppose.

Until next time...

Friday, 5 October 2018

Windy Boating, Continuous Cruising and 1700 hour service.

DON'T worry - we're talking meteorological stuff here not the usual!

You'll recall, on Sunday we set off on our last trip up the Calder & Hebble for this season.  Our guest (a solo Australian living in London) was supposed to arrive about 10am.

A little keen, I heard a "you hoo - Uhu?" a little after 8am!  Suffice to say, it was a frantic get dressed and appear ready moment lol.

She wasn't in the least concerned to find us sitting in our pants really - well, the fire was still hot from the night before and we might have partaken of a few libations on Saturday night... resulting in a late night finishing off the Crown on Netfilix.

We set off up the river and Andy soon put Vickie to work

We spent our first night just above Millbank lock (which btw is leaking like buggary now) and then chugged on bright and early up Thornhill locks.  It was a lovely Autumn day - with sunny spells and quite mild.   

We had a little exploration of Mirfield - or rather the charity shops in Mirfield ...there are a few and they really are the nicest laid out, fresh smelling ones you could ever want to find - some even had Armani shirts in my (new fat) size.   I wasn't allowed to buy any though as the plan is (so I keep being told) I'll lose the blubber "soon" - hmm... I'm not so sure given how difficult it's proving this time.

During the night, the Wind got up and upon departure the following morning we had to crab our way down the cut towards Shepley Bridge lock - only to find some selfish pillock moored RIGHT on the lock landing.  HOW we didn't clonk into him can only be the result of the expertise of the Skipper ;-) 

Once off the River, Vickie was happy to steer again - as usual, Andy's "auto grin" came into play .

The wind really wasn't being kind though and if we hadn't of needed to be  somewhere, we'd have battened down the hatches and spent the day reading/watching Charlie Dimmock.

Anyway - by late afternoon, we'd arrived back in the town centre and moored up near Fall Ings.  A Little farther than we'd have liked - ESPECIALLY as Vickie insisted she'd take us out for tea in the Ruddy Duck. NOT sure what that says about our cooking but  never look a gift horse in the mouth!

The pub has been refurbished since we last went AND the 2 for 1 menu has been replaced with a sensible priced normal one.  It's certainly improved although it was rather too short of customers - perhaps  folk don't eat out on a Tuesday as much these days.

After dinner, we walked Vickie back to the Hotel her husband had been staying in and then returned to the boat.

The following morning, we headed off back down stream and towards our home mooring - settling in a little bit back from the water tap but connecting our long hose ups whilst we ran a few loads through the machine.

Whilst waiting for the washing to finish/tank to fill, we got to thinking about the mooring - given how little time we actually spend here now we're "hotel boating" it's a bit of a waste of money... Add to that, how annoying it is now Ramsden's swing bridge has been replaced with an ugly new one reinstated, we came to the decision to give it up and become full time Continuous Cruisers - NOT the sort what bridge hop and travel a couple of hundred yards a fortnight but PROPER ones.

As such, 2nd December will be our last day at Stanley Ferry - after which time we're going to have a jaunt towards Skipton (for Christmas) and then in the new year, head up the Huddersfield to go through Standedge and then gradually make our way (the long way)  back up the Trent to Wakey in time for our April booked departures.

The winter stoppage program is NOT easy to navigate around but we'll have a good go at it - if we can't manage plan a, we might have a trip to Sheffield instead - POINT is, that we're really excited about not being stuck in one place.  We also plan to get rid of the car - even though it's an old banger, it's still a pain to CC with... we found that our already earlier in the year when we brought it over to Parbold when my dad was ill - only to have one hell of a job getting trains back to collect it.

We've a few maintenance jobs to get done before we "chug off into the sunset" though - including waterproofing the side-hatches, buying some more paint to touch up with (it was a colour match to dominoes done by a local paint supplier) and of course stocking up on engine oil,filters etc whilst we still have easy access to our home-address.

I was  ahead of the game  yesterday by doing  the 1700 hour service though - (although it ran an hour over on the clock) 

And having ran off the contents of pre-filter/water separator (if that's the right name), was VERY pleased to see lovely clean diesel with no water present too.  

Right - time to get some more filters and oil ordered as we intend setting off to Leeds on the 10th in case the rivers get fruity and try to mess up our (already altered) Last cruise of the season...  thinking about that though, we may try and put in a few short trips from Leeds to Apperley Bridge during October/November if we get any interest.

Until next time...

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

The Royal family...


"One comes to you today from the back cabin where one has been pushed a side, whilst our guest rustles us up omelettes for breakfast".

It's most odd - in 'older days' I'd be stressed out by my routine being altered  - these days, I can just go with the flow... NOT something my former "work stressed" self could have coped with... silly really.

For this trip, we've been very lucky with sun drenched Autumn days and only mild winds- I've no photos in this post because I logged on to the guest wifi network this morning which my phone isn't linked to...  why? - well ahem some dosey ginner  the other mifi point might have experienced coffee machine over flowing difficulty... It'll dry out I'm sure.

SO then - The Royal Family... or more to the point, 'The Crown' on Netflix - You'll recall that for (what feels like forever) a while now, we've been plodding away in the cardio suite at the gym.  Typically that's about an hour on whatever machine doesn't cause my bad right knee and lower back problem to hurt TOO much... Note the use of the word "TOO" -  they both are quite problematic all the time so it's just a case of tolerating the background pain to the point of wanting to cry. 

Pain isn't the problem though when exercising - it's boredom.  LUCKILY for me, I decided to start watching my way through 'The Crown'.

I realise I'm way behind the rest of the world here, but it REALLY is good.  It's been an education for me and as such I've discovered a new found respect for the Queen.  I've never been ANTI-Royal, but nor have I thought of myself as a 'fan' - That's changed now. 

Watching the difficult decisions she's been forced with over the years, I think I'm a fan.  You can see from it, the back ground to today's modernized family.

Now OK - I realise a lot of what is being shown is  artistic licence and fictional writing but who care's? - Clare Foy imho, developed into the part really well .  In short, I can honestly say  she's done a sterling job in difficult circumstances.  Privilege/wealth a side,  I for one wouldn't swap my life for theirs... at least when I mess up (frequently) no one gives a buggery AND I have the freedom of speech, the Queen could only dream of.

Until next time...

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Flood trapped guests, WRONG kind of flood gates & bath-time....

Don't worry - for those dreading catching a glimpse of another of my nipples (that sounds like I have loads) there are NO bathing photos in this post.

So then,  as you'll recall on Wednesday (19th) an Australian couple joined us for a short  trip, going  to Cooper Bridge and back from Wakefield.  Jenny and Neil were 6 weeks into their UK trip and after various whistle-stop tours, had scheduled in a relaxing boating break.

Hmm - typically after weeks of relatively nice, calm weather - all that was about to end abruptly.

The first day of our trip took us from the visitor moorings in Wakefield, up the river Calder and on through broad cut  towards the Dewsbury arm.

I shan't lie - for the first hour or so the wind and rain was awful - at times we were even crabbing our way up stream on the river...  Oddly enough though, by the time we stopped for the night, it was earilery calm.

The following morning, once again we seemed to be stuck in our little bubble of lovely autumn weather...

Jenny and Neil had very quickly become comfortable crew members and our journey, whilst a little chilly was really lovely - at least for a while.  By about noon the sky had darkened and the wind and rain had returned..

As is the norm under such conditions, I tend to end up skippering on the back of the boat alone whilst the lazy buggers below crew stay out of sight and play board games/drink gin.  To be honest, I don't REALLY mind.... although I do like to pretend not to ;-)  By about 1.30, we'd reached the flood lock at Cooper Bridge and tied up on the visitor moorings for a spot of lunch.
 - a simple lunch of pea and gammon soup with bread that I'd produced during some impressive multi-tasking earlier. (IF I have a fault, it's my modesty.)

After lunch, with no sign of the rain abating, we headed back on to the river... turned and then began to retrace our steps - once again with muggins  the just the Captain on the bridge lol  - Actually that's not totally fair ... Andy was on the towpath with a brolly and heading back to set the lock ready for us to chug straight into.

Our original plan HAD been to moor up in Mirfield on the bollards opposite where the OLD supermarket had been  - the visitor moorings already being full of boats ... boats, that could have tied up a bit closer together to fit a few more in.  On arrival however, we noticed the towpath was closed so if we DID stop there, we'd end up trapped.

Instead, we chugged a little further on and stopped outside Mirfield Boat builders.  The weather was deteriorating yet further so we battened down the hatches (literally), made the fire up and spent the evening playing games and nattering over a drink or two.  Jenny and Neil have been good for us as what with them NOT being very committed drinkers, we too cut back.

It didn't seem TOO bad - well not until about 1.30 am when the wind went up another level and as the flood gates had obviously been closed , the water level dropped a bit - thereby clonking the base-plate on to the bank sides every 20 seconds or so occasionally.  Add to that the worry I'd banged in 2 pins rather than set springs, it did mean for a rather restless night

Of course, I could have had  a wander around in my pants in the dark but given how wet and windy it was, I decided that IF I had to go out it would only be to recover one end of the boat from the other side of the bank and ideally that might not happen anyway.

It didn't - instead however,  I got the emergency navigation closure  email from CRT we'd been dreading which effectively meant we were "stuck" in Mirfield until river levels dropped.

Annoyingly, when we went for a walk the next day, we spotted the NEXT flood gate downstream on the river was open  but although the river was in the amber, the section remained officially closed... not a risk we're prepared to take with guests on board.

Mifrield is nice enough to spend a few hours in but in the wind and rain thoughts soon lead to comfort food.  At the request of our guests, a walk to "Alan's Fish and Chips" was in order where we all ordered chip butties (with fish on the side)... Apparently, they don't have them in Oz.

We kept checking the CRT notices in the hope they'd open the navigation again - if it had been done by 3pm, we'd have been able to go a bit faster than normal and get closed enough to Wakefield for an early start the following morning.  That would have meant our visitors could get on the train they'd planned.

It wasn't to be.  Instead, we did a reconnaissance mission to Mirfield station and tried to work out the best plan to get them to Leeds in time for their pre-booked train to Crew the next day.

Talk about insult to injury, WHAT was happening on Saturday 22nd? - RMT strike action affecting LOTS of trains.  After a bit of buggering about on various websites we formulated a couple of plans  - and (factoring some plan c's) all was well.  

We said our goodbyes at about 9.30 on Saturday morning and spent the rest of the day mooching around Mirfield awaiting an email from CRT.

By about tea-time, we had a wander to the river and noticed the level was WELL back into the green so we set off downstream.

Once through Shepley Bridge lock and the next flood lock, we came across a trip boat coming up the river who indicated for us to pull close enough to speak.  They warned us that the NEXT river lock was closed and no landing was available.   hmmm - Andy decided to do his Indiana Jones impression and lassoed the bollard from the roof whilst I kept the power on - There IS a lock landing but CRT seem to have decided to abandon it AND to remove the 2nd set of gates that WOULD make the flood LOCK just that... instead, it being turned into a flood GATE that can't be used as a lock if you follow - perhaps the photo below will make it easier to understand.

Because the river was now back in green but the pound behind the flood lock  gate was low - DUE to it leaking out of the lock at the OTHER end of the pound. it meant we had to effectively top up about half a mile - maybe a bit more of pound, before we could get through. 

WHY they are doing this to former WORKING flood gates is beyond me.  Well actually, I suppose it's CHEAPER and easier for them to do this than maintain something that has worked perfectly well for years... choosing instead a cheaper option perhaps and to "CLOSE" Navigation's until it suits THEM (or until Monday morning as it turned out).

WE continued our way back towards town and encountered  another FORMER flood LOCK that is now a Flood GATE at Thornes.... 

The thing is, the river was back in the green - and had been for about 5 hours at least by the time we got here... We met a few boats who had the same frustration and grumbles as us .  It's perfectly acceptable to close the gates when a risk of flooding approaches but by the same token they need to be on the ball and re-open them ASAP to allow navigation once it's dropped.

By the time we got back to our mooring, our backs were aching and we agreed a "bath treat was in order" - Looking last minute online, I found a good deal at the Cedar Court Hotel using a website called "Amoma"-  a very good room only deal with a superior room with (most importantly) a bath.

We called in to Sainsburys on route and bought  some Sandwiches for tea, then spent the evening watching telly - interspersed with soaks in the bath.

Until next time...