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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...

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Out and about again.

We've been pottering around our home mooring for too long now so are relieved to have guests with us as I type.  Of course, as you might expect after the longest, hottest, driest and lovely summer we've had, Autumn is here with some horrid storms.

Before we left "home" - a rare sight could be seen mowing the lawn grassy verge...Even better, he was powering the mower by the generator rather than off the invertor on the boat.

Yesterday, we left the mooring and by the time we'd gone onto the river, the winds were really battering us and what with the waves, it really felt like we were at sea - what with the pitching and  rolling.

On arrival at Fall Ings Lock, as well as the usual assortment of miscreants that loiter there, on this occasion there was a chap - having a wash and doing his laundry in the lock. Andy applied the "head down and pretend he's not there" approach, whilst I engaged in boaty type conversations.  Luckily, thinking quickly enough to say we had guests on board when he asked to have a look around.

We're so lucky to be in reasonable shape mental health wise but it's a very fine line for some people...

Having spent a night on Barnsley Road visitor moorings in  Wakefield, we awaited the arrival of our guests for what seemed like an age -  it'd been quite a while since we had longer term travelling companions and we were both looking forward to playing "hosts" again... as usual, the excitement of meeting new people was twinged with the nervousness that we'd not get along.

When they arrived a little after midday, it only took a matter of seconds to suss them out and feel comfortable we WERE going to get along...  you just know with some people.  They are  our 3rd set (or whatever the collective noun is) of Aussie travelers.   Up for anything and as easy going as you could ask for - WHICH turns out is good given Storm Alan and the remains of Helene were about to clobber us again.

Talk about windy... once on route, we crabbed our way up the river with the rain battering in our faces - well I say OUR,  Neil and Jenny were unpacking and I was loading up the washer (we offered to do a load for them as they've been in the uk a few weeks already) and filling it with hot water manually through the drawer.... I might have taken a long time to do this so as to stay out of the weather....

The rain did ease (if not the wind) and we ended up moored for the night, just before the Dewsbury arm on the Calder and Hebble.  This morning, after a surprisingly quiet night  we're going to head off shortly before the weather deteriorates yet further - it's forecast an Awful afternoon so hopefully we'll get hunkered down somewhere around Mirfield before then.

In other news, even though we're away from the gym for a few days now, PRIOR to departure we've been going once-sometimes twice a day and I'm pleased to report this mornings readings as 13 stone 11 and a bit...  IT's bloody slow over 40 though - I remember when I could just look at a Ryveta and lose some flab.

Oh how things have changed... it's a miserable slog now.  Hey ho.

Until next time...

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Malnutrition and Wine Wednesday - sans wine!


Dieting and abstinence leave a lot to be desired...

Today marks the end of week 2 of "the health kick" - and it IS a health kick... no way could we keep up this misery long term... OK, so once the flab is off we'll relax things a little but there is no way anyone with half a brain a life, could keep it up indefinately.

No sooner do we finish our breakfast than do we begin thinking about lunch... add into that an hours cardio, a swim and then splodge poolside, we spend the whole day- AND more difficultly, night Hungry.

Hmmf again.

Still, the scales this morning for me showed 13.stone 12 and a half... if I'm totally honest, I'm annoyed with myself for letting it get this bad again - LAST time I was this fat  cuddly, was just before my 18th birthday, when the scales said 15.stone 7.

Its crept up on me after a year NOT working (well as in a proper job) and boaty socialising....

Today is wine Wednesday - WITHOUT the wine... it's just not right.

To add more insult to injury, when I had my "health MOT " at the gym, I was told my cholesterol was high (6.8%) , blood pressure was high and my bmi was not ideal.  I'll show them... when we go back in 3 months to repeat the process they'll not be able to keep their hands off my gorgeous ness.

Luckily for you dear reader, there are NO photos to accompany this posting.

Until next time...

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

RIP injured Cygnet... Health Health Health and Autumn arrival

I love this time of year... it's still warm during the day but evenings and mornings have that distinctly autumnal nip in the air.  THIS means of course, we can have the fire ticking over of an evening (leaving it to burn out ) and set the webasto to come on about 6 am to take the chill off getting out of bed.

We've been back on the home mooring for a few days doing chores here and there AND going to the gym daily.  Given we're unable to undertake our planned Autumn cruise to Wolverhampton, we've taken a 3 month membership at the local Nuffield Heatlh  Gym - we could have go to a cheaper one but Andy was insistent on having a pool... a pool that as of 6 visits so far, he's NOT been in!!!

No matter.  We're forcing ourselves to do an hours plodding away in the cardio suite each day before a relaxing splodge in the spas... THUS far I've only shifted 4 lbs of blubber but it's going in the right direction.  Once we get back in the habit, we'll increase our times and get on with the job in hand.  As miserable as it is, at least we can use THEIR showers each day and save both engine hours (heating the water) or diesel in the webasto.... not to mention reduce the number of times we have to fill the water tank on the  boat.

Yesterday, rather than driving the car from the mooring to the gym (circa 10-15 mins through town traffic) we took the boat - it takes around an hour and half but we can moor about 100 metres away from it so it's handy enough.

The only thing that took the edge of a nice chug, were 2 idiot fishermen who'd plonked themselves on the river lock landing...  refusing to take the hint the boat's horn made until the last minute... NEXT time, I'll just crash in to their landing nets and trample on whatever I need to to get off with the centre line and tie the boat up.  

Speaking (well writing) of fishermen - they are NOT in my good books at the moment - well not all fishermen per say - JUST those who abandon masses of fishing line... which in turn gets wrapped around wildlife.  

WHY am I ranting about this? - well, on Sunday afternoon, a random cygnet appeared at the back of the boat and we could see one of it's wings was swollen and submerged about 4 inches under water...  combined with that, it's legs were both quivering  - we fed the poor thing and phoned the RSPCA to see what we should do.  

They called me back about an hour later to ask it's whereabouts and inquire if I knew what "Angel Wing" was...  After she described it to me, I confirmed I didn't think it was that...  the lady then said initially she'd come on Tuesday so I could point her in the direction it had gone.  I explained I was still watching it - (the poor thing had paddled about 200 metres up the cut towards the river)  at which point she said in that case, she'd come straight out -  apparently people report things and quite often the birds move on... thus wasting lots of their time.

Anyway - long story short, upon arrival she confirmed we'd need to try and catch the creature.  I jogged back to the boat to get some bread to entice it... which worked to a point but every time she tried to hook it/net it, it managed to evade capture.  It took about half an hours buggering about but with another boating holding the landing net, the RSPCA woman using the neck hook and me grabbing it's neck/head we got it out and carefully secured in a giant piping bag.
Sadly, an hour or so later she telephoned me to say that once she'd taken it to the vet to have a proper look at, the wing was dead  - fishing line was wrapped round both it and a leg and both were too badly damaged... as such, they put it to sleep.

A sad end to a well intentioned rescue but at least it didn't die a long, slow and painful death.
Ergo, at the moment, FISHERMEN are on not in our good books...and we've half a mind to tie some of them with their line and leave them under a bush somewhere to suffer to see how THEY like it!

In other news,  we've spotted that the section of the Leeds and Liverpool between lock 1 (into Granary Wharf) AND the bottom of Bingley is now open again ... still on restricted operational hours for Newley locks... this bodes well for our final cruise (with guests) of this season, which runs from Leeds to Skipton (and back) in the middle of October... hopefully coinciding with Oktoberfest again.  

Before then however we've a couple of shorter "on and off the river" cruises mid and late September which we're looking forward to.  With luck, the weather will play nicely and NOT send the Calder into Flood ... although, given how things have gone this first year for us, we're not holding our breath.

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with a photo I took this morning from our favourite local mooring - (us spending a couple more days away from Stanley Ferry) up near Broad cut.

Until next time...

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Engine Bay painted... back on wet water and a final Wine-Wednesday...

So - On Friday morning, the bloke who owns/runs the boatyard came up to me and said "we'll get you back in the water this afternoon so you're not trapped for the bank holiday weekend" - to which I explained I planned on painting the engine bay out on Saturday whilst it's out of the water... assuming a week's dry dock would be just that - ie, 7 days.  It turned out HIS week (even though they work weekends) is Monday to Friday...  which didn't sit well if I'm honest - it's one thing paying a lot more for THEM to black it than us DIYing it, but by only being out for 48 hours after it's been blacked didn't seem long for it to cure.  He then went on to say we COULD stay in another couple of days if we wished but it'd be an extra 50 quid a day....  it was already VERY expensive so I declined - stating that given it was already costing  us about 80 quid an hour for "actual work done"  so we'd come out when he wanted.   In the end, it turned into Sunday morning about 11 (in the pouring rain) for no extra cost.

I'd ran out of excuses time, so if I were to get 2 coats of white paint on the engine bay, I'd have to pull my finger out and get on with it.

It's not until I'd taken everything out of there, I realized HOW much stuff gets stored - at least we could just leave it on the roof of the boat rather than have to put it somewhere else ... given the dry dock is in a locked compound.

I had planned on using white Hammerite smooth but when I called into screw fix to get a big tin, they only had BLACK in the size required ... instead, I got Johnsons Trade stuff which as far as I can tell is the same anyway... and a few quid cheaper.

Once the space was cleared out, it was clear to see how much surface rust had appeared - so armed with a wire brush, hoover and tin of rust-killer I dislocated every joint in my body climbed in and got to work.  I'm currently at least 2 stone too fat to be in such places and even though Andy is a good 2 stone lighter than I, he refused on the grounds of it being a 'dark blue' job.  Ergo, MUGGINS had to do it....

I left the rust killer to do it's thing (if in fact it does anything at all other than turn black) and then before bed, began the first coat.

Of course me being a stupid ginger  being me, I'd ended up painting bits I'd later need to stand on to reach other bits... to say it is a pants job is an understatement. In hindsight, I'd have been better off paying THEM to paint the engine hole and doing the blacking myself.  Hey ho.  I know now!

Whilst I was doing it, rather than BLACKING down the weedhatch, I decided to "WHITE" it instead - the logic being anything that helps reflect some light down to the prop will be helpful when it comes to de-fouling it next time... time will tell whether that was a good idea or not.

Once that was done, I turned my attention to the fenders front and rear...  re-fitting them, I painted the chains with black Hammerite and although we HAD planned on buying a new tipcat for the front to replace the 'squished' button, I had a money- saving  brainwave and turned it the other way around... it looks a bit odd but once it's been up against a couple of lock gates, it will normalize I'm sure... and more importantly, it'll defer the cost to the next financial year.

On Saturday morning, I applied the second coat to the engine bay and then dug out (by accident I admit - having spotted it in a plastic box on the roof) a new LED front light to replace the halogen one.  Once I'd started fitting it, I remembered WHY I'd not already done it... it was a bit of a pain as securing it to the solar panel bracket (still NOT cut down ahem) meant it required some kind of spacing washer set up to enable it to tilt both up and down.  

After much rutting around a box of "useful things that Andy' simply can't get his head around" I cobbled together some plastic spacers  - no idea WHERE I'd gotten them from but I have to admit to feeling smug that I'd had the hoarding instinct fore-sight to think they might come in useful ONE DAY.   

Sunday morning arrived and despite being ready about 7.30 am to go back in, it wasn't until about 11 the chap came and began filling the dock.  The power and vibrations felt through the boat as the water rushed in was a bit un nerving...  I had visions as the level rose of the supports falling over and the boat crashing down. 

The rain was pouring down and again I drew the short straw - Andy taking the car to the first lock and me chugging in the miserable rain.  

It's good to be bobbing about again - AND good to be able to have the fire on.

Now we're back on the home mooring for a few days, we're doing jobs and have signed up for a 3 month gym membership - given our trip to Wolverhampton has been thwarted, we may as well get some of the blubber off in preparation for next year.  

We've had a couple of visits and will be t-total for a while, whilst (bad English sorry) we get fit - However, last night was our final Wine-Wednesday with Sallie... she's got a new job up in North Yorkshire so she and Lee (the husband) are moving.  He couldn't make it  but Sheree deputized well.... although I'm sure Lee wouldn't  have been sexually harassing the new barman in the same way as Sheree was! - although you never know these days... ;-) 

I took this photo relatively early on... ahem...  we have no idea how much we got through but it WAS, ONE last blast.  On the plus side, it WAS quite early when we left (I got an Uber receipt through on my phone for the girls' taxi home) at 21.02... I DO like Uber... it's good to know you can put someone in a taxi and KNOW they've gotten home ok.  

 It was quite an emotional end to the evening - We shall miss meeting up with our pals but KNOW the move will be a good one for them and we'll try and catch up with them as often as our joint schedules allow.  Sallie is one of those people who puts her heart and soul into whatever she does - the new place she's going to is very lucky to have her... her old place is going to have one hell of a hole to fill - I believe it's called Karma !

Speaking (writing) of new jobs, Sallie isn't the only one moving on to pastures new - Sheree is also moving on.  She is at least staying in the same town so hopefully we'll be able to catch up with her too.

Meanwhile - THIS morning, we're on the visitor moorings (having taken the boat to the pub last night) and when the mist clears (in our heads not outside) we'll fill up with water, turn and head back to the mooring in time for an early afternoon gym session ... well I say GYM session - today it might just consist of a gentle swim, splodge in the spas and chat with some other members - who knows, perhaps we'll take a few fliers with us.

Until next time...

Friday, 24 August 2018

Dry dock...

We've been incarcerated in our levitating prison now for just over 4 days... it sucks.  The boat feels awful up in the air... it sort of vibrates without moving if you follow.  It's a really weird feeling.  Thing is, we are both still walking around on the boat AS IF IT IS moving as normal - the result being we keep falling over and bashing into things... weird.

ON the plus side, the batteries are enjoying being plugged into shoreline

We arrived at the boatyard about 10 on Monday morning as instructed...  there was already a boat in the dock so we had to wait until about 1.30 before he came out and we could go in.  BY golly it was a tight ( 90 degree) turn with grps in the way to get in - VERY proudly negotiated without touching another boat...  NO way will coming out in reverse go so well!

Not much happened on the boat until about half 5, when the starboard side was scraped and jet washed....

The following day, port was done as well.

The blacking began on Tuesday with a coat being applied over the course of about 2 hours - the chap doing it was friendly enough and even declined a beer or cup of tea (rather pleased about the former as it menat I could drink it).... 

 The second coat was applied on Wednesday afternoon and I've also taken the opportuity to touch up the paint work again... THUS far,  I've not gotten around to cutting the solar panel brackets - I HAVE however got some white "rust resistant" paint to tackle the engine bay  - wish me luck.

Until next time...