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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...







Wednesday, 12 June 2019

I'm building an Ark... with a big room for poo!

Think Eddie Izzard!

RAIN RAIN GO AWAY - DONT COME BACK ANOTHER DAY!!!!!

We are sick of the rain... OK so we know we need it... but please - it's really spoiled our current guests trip from Stretford to Cherry Tree...  no-one wants to spend time either at the pointy end OR the rumbly end when it's p'ing down... including the skipper ... I've been in a sulk for days.

The ONLY blessing we've had was a short dry window going up Wigan 21 locks ... with the help of a young volunteer (named Jake I think) we did it in 3.hours and 15 mins (up hill)...

NOT bad considering...

However, this was not without incident...we (for the first time) were not prepared to "share" the journey with another boat...

The main reason was SAID boat was one of the 7 month over stayers at Marple... hogging the 48 hr moorings when we passed through in late March...  it was one of 3 with overstay notices on them ...

Now rules are rules and there for a reason... ADD to that, the bloke on it was - lets just say "troubled looking", the prospect of spending a morning trapped with him in locks did not appeal.  It's not like there hasn't been much water coming down in the last few days anyway...

In addition to just not wanting to share with him for the above reason, we could see from the way he faffed around, it would slow us down and we'd all end up stuck in the oncoming storm... SO, I stood my ground when the volunteer lockie came and asked if we'd wait in the 4th lock up for him to catch up ...

Of course, the catholic in me (well from my dad's side) did mean that the entire journey my conscience was being pricked  at "not playing cricket"...  So much so, I felt I had to explain to the "proper" lockie when we came across him further up... WHO totally understood our reasons and said "fair enough mate"...

Anyway - we've done short sections in between torrential and just p'ing down periods over the last few days... yesterday going up Johnsons Hillocks alas was one of the worse ones... NOT a boat moving except us... in fact, compared to THIS time last year, the canal is empty - presumably due to Burnley over-running... we have it on good authority however that it WILL re-open on 18th June so we will continue our journey to Skipton (losing one of our cruises as a result) in readiness to collect our next guest there...

Sorry no photos today - my phone got a bit wet and is need of a bit of tlc.

Until next time...

Friday, 7 June 2019

Anderton to Stretford and a strange experience (slightly x -rated!)

Well here are then... at the end of another week with guests onboard.

I'm sure they' won't mind being referred to this way, but they were a nice old couple.. formerly boaters but no longer confident (physically) to leap on and off to do the lock work they once were.  No matter, they came along and did their share here and there - although tbh, one of them arrived with no voice and streaming with cold... and the other came down with it mid-week... NOW of course, I'm starting with YET another "new" case of man-flu as a result...  I SO hope the next guests to arrive DON'T bring any germs with them!


So - when it came to go back up Anderton we shared with a 59 ft boat this time and as he'd been up before, he knew we HAD to turn right at the top and then wind to go the other direction .. it's a good job he said something or i'd merrily have tried a sharp left turn and no doubt got into a pickle lol.







Once the lift was negotiated, we chugged on Through Preston Brook (had to wait a while for the tunnel timing) and also took the opportunity to stop off at Midland Swindlers Chandlers to buy a new immersion heater... (one of those jobs on my list) - whilst in there acquiring said item, I bought another Oil filter WHICH was actually 3 quid cheaper than the same one I'd bought a few days before at Kings Lock... I told them so as well... at which  point they said "well that's a first-we'd better put the price up lol"....

Whilst at Midland, we bumped into Fiona (I've remembered her name now) and her husband again also being fleeced  buying something.

Our day ended not far from the Rufford branch just before the Science labs - and whilst our guests relaxed with their books, we went for a wander and found some lovely paths/roads...we really DO need to explore more as beauty is all around us!

The next day was a bit miserable on and off weather wise as we chugged on to Lymm - stopping first outside the Working men's club - then on seeing a sign for a "live band" that night, decided to move on around the corner when a space became available... nearer to the pub... which was oddly quite quiet.


Next morning, we were up and off and once we'd filled up the water tank, chugged along to the outskirts of Sale for the night before our final leg into Stretford Marina (we'd booked ahead for 3 nights on hook up).

Saying goodbye to our guests as they left in  a taxi back to Nantiwch to collect their car (and drive back to Somerset) I began "chores" - first thing was to fit the new immersion heater to the calorifier.  I HAD planned to try and use my oil filter wrench to remove the old one but when that didn't work, a quick look on screwfix's website (and subsequent 2.6 mile walk) provided a spanner...  which ALSO didn't quite work cause the insulation was too thick.... ergo, a bit of beggaring around with a Stanley knife later and it DID fit...  

Removing the old one and replacing it with the new one was easy - although since then, the water pump appears to be pressurizing more /taking longer than before... I must have some air somewhere... I'll keep an eye/ear on it and if it remains trapped, will loosen it (with the pump turned on) and bleed it that way.



Let's hope this new one lasts longer than the first one... it needs to mind at over 50 quid for a 1kw heater!

Hey ho.

AT least come winter when we are plugged into shoreline for 3-4 months, it'll mean not having to run the engine or webasto for hours on end each day...

Writing of winter - the "winter stoppage list" is out and it's really messed with our plan to go to Aston Marina (Stone)... we simply can't GET there after our last cruise before the closures begin ALL OVER THE PLACE on 1st November - Instead however, I gave Ed (the marina manager) at Stanley Ferry a call and booked us into there for 4 months... so it appears we're going "home" - he can't say where exactly we'll be moored but he'll fit us in somewhere and we'll have power (metered not on cards) and a tap that's reachable without having to move the boat...  We're hoping we end up right outside the pub a whilst it might be a bit noisy at times, it always shuts on time and quietens down AND that would mean we could get the boat out for a chug easily - for pump outs and perhaps the odd night in Leeds over the winter ... assuming the stoppages allow us to get through.

IT also means easy access to deliveries (stuff can be sent to the house) and we can re-join the same gym we like (Nuffield) and continue the weight loss campaign...  which, btw, isn't going TOO badly...

I was 14 stone 5 when I began back in October/November so another stone should have be back to being a super sexy fabulous ginger...  well I already am but it SHOULD have me FEELING like that again... shame I can't help the wrinkles!


Back to today - we're about to leave Stretford Marina - which btw, is run by THE nicest woman in the world called Jean... she's a true Mancunian - friendly and chatty and can't do enough to help... SO down to earth and just an all round good egg!  We've been plugged into shoreline so washing and drying has been easy between guests  and we've also been out in town to get drunk on my birthday (which was a couple of days ago) - It felt "odd" it being the first one since mum died.., although tbh, last year, given how poorly my dad was at the time and how stressed/muddled she'd become, she forgot about it anyway.

Dad sent me a birthday text message which was nice - he's coping but it's very hard for him after 52 years... can't imagine.  At least for me, there aren't reminders everywhere I look - they say time is a healer so I just hope it passes quickly enough to begin the process soon.  That said, I'm not having as many "mum moments" presently... perhaps because with guests on board, I'm too busy to allow my brain to drift off... it can only be a good thing I suppose.  I still keep going to send her a text message or find myself thinking "I must ring Joyce it's been ages since I spoke to her" only to remember...

IN other news (the x-rated bit) ... LOOK away now if you're uncomfortable about erections!

Don't panic - it wasn't mine... 

The most peculiar thing happened yesterday - we wanted into Stretford to get a loaf of bread (this was AFTER Asda had sent the delivery with the most friendly and accommodating delivery driver imaginable - he'd insisted on wheeling the 6 crates along the jetty to the boat and loading them through the side hatch for us bless him... - SO after we'd got the bread, walking back I spotted a barbers - it being a couple of weeks - maybe 3? since I'd had a tidy up in Llangollen, I went in and sat down...

Within seconds a Turkish (perhaps) chap appeared and directed me to sit in the chair and he began work on my head.

To put it bluntly, as he was cutting and clipping away (no 2 back and sides and short on top) he kept rubbing his groin against my elbow/arm - despite me having "moved both of them in a bit... several times" he kept on doing it... and his ... lets refer to it as "prowess" was obvious.  

I'm no prude but it did feel rather odd (not the actual thing - I've got my own so am used to that) but having a groin rubbed against you whilst you're trying to make small talk about boating life was most bizarre.

The resultant haircut I'll grant him was actually quite good - it was just strange having some random bloke massaging my head for a prolonged period whilst "blowing" the clippings away with a hair dryer...

When it was time to "pay" I wasn't sure WHO should be paying Who/whom?

Suffice to say I didn't leave a tip - he had his own!

Until next time...