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...