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Thursday, 11 July 2019

No sign of infection - yet!

YOU'LL be pleased to hear (well read) that so far I've no sign of any infection following on from my aquatic experience... my crocs did need a good wash in dettol as they mud they sank/sunk? into, seemed to have self etching properties!

Our guest departed in Cherry Tree and the boat does seem quiet without her ... she's been great company and really "GOT" into the spirit of our live-aboard-adventure... although I have to say she wasn't 100% committed as the OVEN is still in need of a clean... oh well - maybe NEXT time 😁.

When she went, we pulled pins and departed - our plan being to move to Riley Green for a night as we caught up with laundry and then do a pump out/fill the water tank and head down Johnsons Hillocks for a couple of days.   Despite what the cruise schedule says, the next guests asked if could change a Friday departure to a Sunday one - which has given us a few more days to kill than we'd like but it has meant we've gone down to  Chorley for a wander around.

Whilst at service point at the top of Johnsons though, we DID spot a familiar boat .

You'd never believe it's a 5 year old boat!... but "I suppose she's a Bickerstaff"  so it's to be expected lol

ACTUALLY, the owner came over as he follows me on Twitter and we had a chat.  I'm always worried when someone comes and mentions  that they either read this or Twitter - as you may know, I'm an opinionated git on occasions Sometimes I can be quite direct and people "think" I don't have a filter.... the scary thing is that WHAT I say and write quite often IS filtered!!!!

Anyway - it turned out I haven't offended him and we had a smashing chat.. . over a pump out lol.

We've a couple more days to catch up with chores - I'm going to have a go at making gluten free bread as our next guests are gluten free veggies ...  lots of things with "cardboard" on the menu then lol.

I also need to do another service/engine and gearbox oils etc - I've also got the anti-freeze to change... although I have no idea how to dispose of the old stuff.... perhaps an elsan point? -  I'll hang on to it a while and see what other boaters do I suppose.

Right - time to roll my sleeves up and get stuck in  ... wish me luck!

Until next time....



Sunday, 7 July 2019

A Long overdue catch up & Skipton to Church...

Yes - I know... I'm being a bit slack at keeping the blog updated lately... no REAL excuses other than "boating and being busy"...  I manage the odd (as in occasional - not weird) tweet (actually some of them are weird I suppose lol... but finding time to sit and write properly when we've got guests on is difficult sometimes.

Right then - I'll be as brief as I can.

In the last missive I waffled on about having a holiday in Skipton with some chores included.  That pretty much summed up about a week.  At the end of which, my brother, his girlfriend and kid came to visit.  It was the first time I've met the girlfriend and child (both of which seem perfectly nice and appear to be "comfortable" - ... my brother is smiling again for the first time in years.  I'd not seen him since mum's funeral but we did at least both acknowledge that AND my dad's absence.  He'd been invited to come but candidly explained he couldn't face Skipton... as it was one of  "their" favourite places to spend days out together.... I just hadnn't been thinking when I pushed him...  Anyway.... time will perhaps help with that one. Missing father a side, it was an nice day.  They'd brought a picnic with them and we chugged off to Kildwick and back... The little girl being a natural on the tiller... my brother less so lol.





Everyone seemed to enjoy the day and when they left for home, we moored up back outside Pennine Cruisers - just in time to see Ian (the boss man ) come up in his Launch...  
I've still got a crush on him and might have been a bit too vocal suggesting if the position of "toy boy" or "son in law" was available, I'd like the position lol...  he's obviously used to drunken middle-aged ginger poofs throwing themselves at him and didn't bat an eye lid!

Andy will take a while to let me forget it however... oh well.

Next day (Monday I think) we'd arranged to meet our guest in the Woolly Sheep - where she intended to buy us our supper... (that's tea to us northerners - supper's at bedtime).... having enjoyed said meal (whatever you call it) we retired to the boat and had an early (ish) night in readiness to prep the boat for her planned arrival next day.  

WHEN that came, of course because "kick out" at the hotel was early, she arrived early... .it wasn't a problem, it just meant we were able to set off for Gargrave sooner than planned AND fill the water tank on route.


As (is typically the case) Andy soon had her roped into working the locks!

We spent a quiet night moored in Gargrave, before setting off the next day - bound for the wiggly bit above Bank Newton...

TALK about hot...  we all ended the day a bit pink, but it  was nice to. have a BBQ that Chrissie had demanded politely suggested we have, as the evening cooled a little.


Like the responsible Boaters we are, we used the ash-can (laid down) to stop it burning the grass AND extinguished it when we'd finished... rather than leaving it to blow about in the wind like so many...  

Aren't we good?

NEXT day, it was another bright and sunny start so we headed up stream and met up with another boat to share Greenberfield locks with... AND some hirers coming down.  They got in to a bit of a pickle - getting stuck in the mud having tried to hover (in the wind) ... no harm was done and everyone was friendly.

Once at the top, we filled the water tank again and then ended our day at the Anchor pub at Salterforth... well, a little farther on.  Not long after we'd settled down to play UNO after tea, (and a few libations I admit) a very smart boat went by which I thought I recognised... and then a message came in via Twitter, inviting us to join them in the pub for the quiz at 9.30... 9.30 being after boaty bed time,  our initial thought had been thanks but no thanks... HOWEVER...  we had a change of heaert and thought bugger it- let's go... SO we did.






I'm not bragging here, but we came joint 2nd - IF Ollie (their dog) had let us count his teeth, we'd have won.  Us not being locals, we gave our winnings back for them to put in the tip jar.  IT'd been a fun but very late evening and we staggered back from the pub - expecting there to be a "splash" somewhere along the way... luckily it didn't happen (this time)....  

Of course, now all being "chatty" we had another couple of drinks back on board before bed and it was after 1.30 by the time we'd retired.... suffice to say, breakfast next morning was a somber affair.... luckily, Chrissie had already offered to make some scrambled eggs... a bit loose for my liking but Andy seemed impressed.   




Our run of lovely weather has continued this week... the occasional cloud but no rain during the day - LAST night we even had the services and moorings at Rose Grove ALL to ourselves...  it's the first time we've ever been there without the continuous moorers "taking" up all the space.


The Crt Volunteers  have built some wooden troughs and planted them up with fruit, veg and edible flowers for boaters to help them selves to...  Chrissie once again demanded  suggested I make a rhubarb crumble to go with tea and having picked sufficient stalks, I did as I was told  I was happy to oblige 😀😁.

Today our run of good luck ended... well I say OUR.... ahem... THOSE two weren't the ones having to climb into the water to try and remove a pallet that had somehow become wedged between the rudder and skeg about a mile down the canal...  







Of course by the time I'd gotten stripped down to my pants and crocs, the blooming thing must have been knocked free by something else on the bottom of the canal... ONCE I'd burrowed about in the DEEP mud (to liberate said crocs) everything in the "home-entertainment-centre" had shriveled and died... ergo, a hot shower and liberal application of hibiscrub was required.

I'm sitting here now - CONVINCED I've contracted some horrible bacterial disease so this might be the last time you hear from me...

Well, until next time...

Thursday, 27 June 2019

A Week on Holiday in Skipton...(well, avec chores)!

In theory - we're currently "on holiday" in Skipton for the week - you'll recall, because we didn't know whether Burnley would re-open on the day it was supposed to, we blanked the trip from 18th June off ... ergo, until the next guest arrives on Tuesday, we're theoretically on holiday.

In true "Holiday style" - the weather is changeable...  somewhere in between torrential downpours, balmy sunny spells and moist and muggy - I believe when we were kids, THIS used to be referred to as summer.

It's OK though - I've had chance to give a lick and a promise to the the starboard side above the rubbing strake - touching up the worse scratches (done by the protruding brackets on some of the lock gates on the Caldon) and then, once they were covered, give the whole side a "thin coat" to blend in the original paint with the newly mixed colour... which invariably didn't match.  It's nnot work to be proud of I'll grant you - but as someone I know used to say "It's close enough for a country spot" lol.

Whilst in with the painting, I also gave the rubbing strake/strip a new coat of blacking to tidy it up ... even though the bit below and around the water line could really do with some too, it still looks a whole lot better.    I tweeted about this the other day, but being a boater DOES really remove a lot of inhibitions - I mean here we are moored in the centre of Skipton and I feel no embarrassment at all about erecting the mobile whirlie gig and drying laundry !

Having HAD those pants (a long time ago) stolen off the line in Stanley Ferry, I now "hide them" behind larger - more difficult items to pilfer!

So that's the starboard side tidy - we need to move the boat so I can do port soon - perhaps today in fact if there is a space further around opposite Pennine.

Skipton has grown on me again and having gotten over the initial sadness about being here again, I've decided it STILL has a lot going for it - a side from the surrounding beauty, it's full of nice folk... AND Morisions has the reverse-vending machine (trialed last year) although now it only pays 50 points per bottle/can instead of the 100 it initially did - Still, it has put another £5 voucher in my wallet and I've done my bit again.

Whilst here without guests, I also finally got around to a  jobby I've been putting off for some time - replacing the pipes on the toilet holding tank - it's a crappy job (:-)  but after a period, they become porous and slight whiffs begin to appear... a side from getting hold of some ridiculously expensive hose from an online company - (difficult when travelling around and not knowing how long it''ll take) I've had to replace it with like for like (which should buy me 2 years again before I need to replace it) which WAS in stock at the boatyard.  

If I'd been more organised, I'd have had a pump-out FIRST but because the tank isn't even yet half full, the tight arse in me economically sensible part of me, decided that would be a waste of money so I'd "tape off" the pipe work as soon as I removed the old stuff.

That was easier said than done - I started with an easy win - the vent pipe and charcoal filter... they being the "clean end " of the system...  you might recall if you were here at the beginning, 

I'd ran out of pipe so cobbled together a bit of a bodge - siting the filter under the bed.  This position however was vulnerable to... lets call it "fluid" finding it's way into the filter housing when the boat rocked - THUS dissolving said filter... not ideal.  

ANYWAY - it's now re positioned in a more accessible place . 




That was phase one - by then I'd had enough of clamber around in a small space... my back was aching so I left phase 2 for another day.

Unfortunately, Yesterday WAS that other day...Time to do the dirty end of the system...  AND the main culprit for the whiffs - the section of hose between the loo and the tank - you see, it has bit of a "u" bend in it which means "stuff" stays in the pipe - not ideal but I can't think of any way to avoid it.

Anyway  - having taped up both ends with a plastic bag and miles of tape, said pipe was removed and replaced... along with the rinse out hose AND the pump out hose.  It's all done now and once I touch up the paint work on the gunwales, no one will ever know it's been fiddled with.







Hopefully it'll be another couple of years until it needs doing again.

To end a day of unpleasantness, I also replaced the "grass matting" at the rear - I know it's NOT natural looking to have a lawn at the back of boat, but it DOES actually reduce the slipperiness of the whole area - especially useful for some of our guests... I really don't want to have to put our "Man overboard procedure " to the test... (said procedure involves 3 steps:  Get camera, take photos and then remove person from water)... actually 4 - "post aforementioned photos on the blog/twitter lol.

I cut up an old door mat and sika-flexed a couple of strips down the side to reduce the amount of water that floods into the bilge when going down leaking locks... I then sika-flexed the matting to that and the weed hatch cover (to stop it blowing away but allow it to lift up with the weed hatch) and there we are - much less clumsy than leaving a bag of coal to stop it flapping around - ahem, which has been the current method for far too long lol.



As I type this (Thursday morning) the sun is shining, the washer has nearly finished a load of bedding (on the batteries as I filled it with hot water from the calorifier) and the smart-gauge is still showing 74%... and rising now the sun is getting higher.   I'll have a wander around the corner and see if there is space outside Pennine - if so, We'll move and then I can touch up the port side paintwork as mentioned... if not, well I got a new book at a charity shop the day before yesterday which I'm quite into  so I'll sit and finish that instead... we can always move tomorrow.  

THAT said, I would like to have a pump-out to "test my connections" before the tank gets any fuller so perhaps the book will have to wait a while.

Until next time...




Friday, 21 June 2019

Finally some sunshine and a chug on to Skipton...

The Leeds & Liverpool has come alive once more ... the sun is out, Burnley is FINALLY opened and boats are moving left right and centre (well East to West if you're gonna be pedandic)...

POINT is - the L & L is now fully open for business again.

It must put a strain on boat yards and the like - cross peninie traffic effectively been on "stop" for over 6 months...  none of the places we've called into has shown it though - always been as friendly and helpful as is the norm for "boaters"...

Whilst we've been holed up at Hapton, waiting for the stoppage to end, we've been on a couple of walks - the first being a wander along the towpath to Tesco Burnley  to get some kitchen roll - ONLY to make the walk have a purpose...



It was a long way for 2 kitchen rolls - thank heavens we resisted any urges to buy gin!

The weather held out for most of it but on our return, just began to deteriorate and within minutes of climbing onboard, the heavens opened once more.

Following on from that walk, the next morning we went the other way and did a circular route - down the canal to Clayton Le Moors and then back along the roads.  On our way, we bumped into Lady Teal (the proper posh Hotel boat) and had a little chat with the skipper as he waited at the swing bridge for the crew to alight - after that we stopped to eat a picnic lunch and then plodded on - perhaps regretting our route when we came accross a ford (not on our map) ...

We had to do a bit of a cross-country clamber to find our way around it but we manged to keep our feet dry - THIS being about the half way point and neither of us fancying another 4.5 miles with soggy toes.  



NOT as long a walk as yesterday's, but still enough.

When we got back to the boat, going back to Burnley Re-opening ...  it actually happened on Monday (17th ) afternoon - with the first boats coming passed us just before tea.  We decided we'd hang back and depart the following morning... Having manged NOT to top up with water, we planned on stopping at Rose Grove services (where we'd noticed 4 boats all moored on /around the water point for 3 days so far) - it was inevitable when we got there, we'd need to brest up to access the services.

I'm not going to rant any more here - it's pointless ... suffice to say CRT need to grow some teeth and begin DEALING WITH THESE constant abusers!!!

AND before anyone has a moan at me, YES I have gotten the "back story" to 3 of the 4 boats living on the services block!!!!!


IT really was lovely to be chugging again in the sun... so we went on to Foulridge for the night and encountered yet MORE boats "living" on the short stay moorings - boats we'd seen there back in January...  hey ho...

After a quiet night there, our next stop was Greenberfield (where we topped up the tank again) - having to wait for 3 boats ahead of us to go down...  smashing to be chatting with MOVING boaters again...


A lot nicer journey down here than the last time (in January) we did it...

Stopping the night in Gargrave, it was so nice to see a pound full of boats... especially the Hire boaters as they bring the canal/town to life!

We left Gargrave yesterday morning and shared the locks and swing bridges down to Skipton with a Hire boat crew - they all had their roles and put many a "boat owner" to shame...  enjoying the company it was almost a shame to go our separate ways.

Still,  here we are in Skipton - mixed emotions for me this time as we were here when I got the phone call to say mum had died back in January...  I probably sounds pathetic, but I've purposely NOT moored in the same spot.... they were very dark times and whilst I know we'll chug on in a few days, I want to "fall in love with Skipton" again first.

Until next time...


Saturday, 15 June 2019

101 in Cherry Tree....

Righty ho - where were we?

The weather has continued to be truly awful...  more rain and very miserable days... luckily, our longer day up Wigan and on to Adlington did allow us to have shorter days since...

Having spent a night on the visitor Moorings at the top of Johnsons Hillocks we were about to float over to the water point to top up before departing, when Lady Teal (proper posh hotel boat) moored up along side to top up their tank and do a quick pump out.  In between guests, it meant we could have a chat across the cut - it turns out, because of the over run at Burnley THEY'D had to be lifted out (using a 250 tonne crane) and transported to the other side of the closure in order to full fill their booked cruising season... always full the year ahead due to their popularity

Having exchanged information re other issues along the network, I came away with a chap to email at CRT for more accurate information (from a business owners perspective) in regards, emergency stoppages and likely repair times etc.

Once they moved off, we floated across (still in the rain) and filled up the tank, emptied the crew loo and WOULD have done a pump out - HAD the crt pipe been long enough to reach across the front of the bow to the starboard discharge ports... alas it wasn't.

Instead, we chugged along in the rain still and went as far as Riley Green visitor moorings - the pub that burned down is still burned down/demolished and it's such a waste.

Next morning after doing chores and watching tv (still in the rain) after lunch, when their boat had passed by, I chugged us into the marina and a chap came out to assist.


I'd LIKE to think they rolled out the red carpet JUST for us, but suspect it's for their own boat lol

Once pumped out, with the guests (and crew) hiding in the dry safely in side, I chugged us on to our final destination of this trip - Cherry Tree... on approach, we tied up just behind the Sainsburys Local (there's an assess road there to aid our guests departure the following morning)... alas, a little farther up we noticed what appeared to be, an abandoned GRP cruiser... sure enough, within a few minutes of us trying up, the local scrotes   kiddies appeared on their way home from school and began "messing" with said boat...

Before long, they spotted 'Ellis' and came to investigate... NOT wanting to antagonise them, I went out to be all chatty with them...  

Everything was perfectly friendly and one of them - who was apparently NOT a child cause he was nine!, asked to come and look around the boat.  I explained we are a hotel boat with guests on and as such, it would not be acceptable... which he took on board and then carried on asking questions about boats...  not wanting to aggravate matters, I patiently chatted with them - hoping they'd get bored and have to go home for tea....

After a while, I excused myself and said I needed to cook tea for our guests... at which point, they beggared off back down the tow path ....  before long, we heard noises from ahead and on investigation through the front (mirrored) doors, could see a group of them pulling the contents out of the boat on to the tow path - along with a saw which then they proceeded to cut it's ropes with...  luckily for us, a passer by came along (with a kid in a push chair) and started to tell them off... at this point it all got a be sweary... with them being rather abusive... 

LONG story short, it turned out ONE of the kids was  his! - but the "mates" were not and they didn't have to do a thing this guy said...

At this point, I called 101 to suggest it might be an idea for them to send a CSA or similar for a walk along here to deter them...

More people began to get involved from flats over-looking and after a while, the kids got bored and wandered off - NOT before engaging with yet another long conversation with me... during which, I tried my most diplomatic way of suggesting they take care in case the boat sank/capsized with them on  - as I didn't want to see anyone drown getting stuck inside etc.

An hour later, a policewoman called me and then turned up for a chat... I'd not been the only one to phone up and she suggested that if it escalated again, we should 999 it... - her already having "bumped" into some of the kids down the towpath and had words....

ANYWAY -  When we got up the following morning, the boat had vanished...  we found it when our guests had departed and we began our journey towards Blackburn Locks...  it was cast lose further up the cut - no license on it, pretty much stripped bare, we negotiated our way around it and continued on our way...  

The amount of "trashed grp cruisers" cluttering up the cut seems to be increasing...  OR it could be as we've already travelled about  500 miles this year, we are just seeing more and becoming more aware through exposure... either way, they need taking out and scrapping...

It WAS nice to be getting away from Blackburn though - every time we come through I try to THINK of something positive  to say about the place  - YET here we are again, and I'm STILL trying to think of something...


Yes that's it... the bottom of the lock flight...  that's the good bit about Blackburn... lol


On the plus side, the rain stopped yesterday and as it was forecast to return today, we chugged on as far as we could before it started again and have ended up on the 48 hr visitor moorings at Hapton... 

NOT before passing the "half way point " on the Leeds & Liverpool...

The TV signal isn't great but having had a walk along to Rose - Grove hoping  to get moored on the services area, it's apparent the "man who lives there" is still there - along with a few other boats... ergo, we may as well stay here now until Burnley opens - BUT we have it on good authority it will open either Monday night or Tuesday morning.    Having had a chat with a boater opposite on the permanent moorings, I think we'll be OK to moor along side them for half an hour to top up with water on Sunday if we need to.

THEN it'll be on to Skipton to re-stock and get ready for our next guest to join us for a trip (back this way) to Cherry tree...Let's hope the weather is a bit better for that one.

Until next time...