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Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Bad to Worse... kind boaters, teething problems and black bottoms.

Oh Hello,  Good subject line eh? lol.

There's not a lot of point in reading blogs at the moment - well not those written by folks like me who need things to "do" to be able to write about something...  I'm not good at sitting around doing nothing.  Like I already said, I'd just DONE 5 months of self isolating and chore doing in preparation for the boating season.

THAT said, I have not been entirely slob-like of late - accepting the current situation is totally beyond my control AND that debts are going to have to build up this year (again), I thought I'd see if I could get some welding done and take the opportunity whilst the boat was out of the water, to do the blacking (which was planned for the end of Oct in Stone) now.

Trouble is, with social distancing "rules" (well actually isn't it a 'Guidance'?) whilst the boat was up on the lift at the boat yard, because other folks live there and it would mean being too close to them, I couldn't stay on board.

Rewind a bit - whilst walking along the towpath the other week (ignoring the "use of towpath must be limited signs" as I'm on a boater and LIVE on a boat - ergo the tow path IS for ME), I walked past some holiday cottages with a phone number in the window...

SO , after discussions with the boat yard and a potential agreed window, I phoned to explain my plight to the lady who owned them.  She was sympathetic and whilst not allowed do rent out her cottages other than to "key workers", she thought a friend might be able to help with a smaller cottage in the centre of Skipton and gave me her number.  A call was made and an explanation that I'd be effectively "homeless" for the duration of the work would allow a work around (sensible shades of grey).   During the conversation, I mentioned I was so looking forward to a soak in the bath as I MISS bathing since living on the boat - to which she apologized saying HER place only had a hip bath but she'd have a think....

A while later, the phone went and I was given another number of a friend of hers who also has a cottage WITH a big bath lol.  I'll fast forward here, but the outcome was it belonged to a BOATER I'd met last year not long after Andy had walked off the boat mid season (and she may have remembered me having a tearful day) - a very kind offer of use of her (empty of course ) holiday let in exchange for a clean through...  I jumped at the offer and subsequently spent 4 nights up to my neck in bubbles...the cottage was charming - well appointed and overlooked the Springs branch of the canal.

I'd forgotten the luxury of a dishwasher and unlimited power/water/heat at the flick of a switch.

Bliss.



I haven't asked her permission to advertise it here so if anyone is interested, please drop me a message to mark@narrowboatellis.com and I'll let you have the details - I'm afraid I don't know how much she charges for it.

What made is "special" (for someone a bit emotional like me) is the fact the owner is also a boater and took me at my word and trusted me to let myself in and leave the place as I found it.  Suffice to say, I took the bedding back to the boat to launder and then return it when I got the boat back.

WHILST 'Ellis' was up in the air being welded and blacked, I also received another kindness - ONCE Again from a boater... you see, I broke a tooth the other week and whilst initially it was bearable, when the rest of it collapsed a few days later, it revealed a rather big sharp bit and became very painful.    Trying to find an emergency dentist at the moment is nigh on impossible but once found, trying to get a car hire was ALSO impossible.  Having this discussion with the boat yard boss man (Ian at Pennine Cruisers) from a social distance of course, he offered me the use of one of his vehicles.  Even said it was full of fuel and no need to top it back up... HOW kind was that?  - (of course I did fill it up and give him a couple of bottles of wine as a thank you).  The trip to the dentist was uneventful and I now have a temporary repair... unable to use drills or suction, a 'proper job' was not allowed - the NHS instruction being to remove molars to end the pain rather than attempt to save them at this time...  HARD to believe in the UK in the year 2020!

Still, (for now) I have a 'better than nothing' repair which I hope will last long enough for them to be able to sort it properly -WHAT is the point in paying a denplan for 20 odd years if when you actually need to use it you can't?

Anyway - here is a photo of Ian reversing Ellis back to the town centre for me.  He managed NOT to scratch the new blacking... however the next day, some mad woman crashed into me whilst turning and did just that... BEFORE I'd even managed to scratch it myself lol.

Having a smart black bum has motivated me into finally painting the roof and applying some more non-lip stuff...  I forgot to take any photos but tryst me - it's done and much better than before.


Yesterday (28th) I spotted a notice from CRT - it basically  said they have closed the Leeds and Liverpool Canal from noon yesterday until further notice - due to lack of water... ergo, even though barley a boat has moved in the last month - they have kept drawing water from the reservoirs to wash into the becks/rivers from the by-washes/overflows and now there is a shortage!!!

Make of that what you will...  a few words spring to mind - incompetence being one of them.  What this means is that even if Boris unlocks us at the next review, we STILL can't move anyway as the whole lot between Bingley and Wigan is closed and padlocks... it sucks...  It's bad enough having lost 3 and a half months of the 'earning season' already but not to be able to actually GET the boat to where it needs to be to begin operating again (when we are allowed to) is pants...  

I've a suspicion CRT will just concrete over the entire canal before long and it can become the cycle way it practically already is.

Until next time... 
Capt 'disgruntled' of Ellis...




Sunday, 12 April 2020

Ground Hog Day, Gin Consumption and radical ideas...

Here we are again...

In short, nothing has happened... there are only so many times I can walk around Skipton Woods... there are only so many inane conversations I can have (from an anti-social distance) with people wandering around looking bewildered and fed up...

Having just spent nearly 5 months self isolating on the boat (remember - that winter thing?) being forced to endure more of it is not really conducive to a chipper mind set.  Yes I know folk are poorly.. I know the world is being ravaged by Covid 19... I know compared to many folk's personal struggles with mental health/other diseases/illnesses, it's trivial - it's just difficult when you have a different opinion to many of the  brainwashed masses to "suck it up" as our Canadian friends would say.

There WILL come a point when the masses revolt...me? - well as much as disagree with the way "we" are dealing with this, WILL do as I 'm ordered by Boris and his cronies...  I've always been a law abiding citizen - I revel in "queuing"but wo betide the person who pushes in.. THAT'S just not cricket.

I'll stop harping on about this in a minute but there will have to come a time when a brave economist/politician ... realist - HAS to say "OK - erm I'm afraid it's transpired HAVING had it and recovered, you DONT get immunity from it - we can't find a vaccine in a reasonable time frame so we'll have to let this play out and see what happens" - the subtext actually being "we need enough people to develop it so as to find the one that has a physiological response to the virus which will enable us to replicate it"... until that time, we're just "buying a bit of time" rather than actually getting closer a solution = AND bankrupting millions of people in the meanwhile...

I doubt that will happen though as we all think  our own lives are SO important...  The planet may not agree!

A chap I was chatting to the other day suggested a referendum on how to tackle it would have been FAR more sensible than BREXIT - OH how I miss BREXIT!!!!


Right - enough of that tosh... "stay safe" won't you?

BACK in "non-moving" boating land, we moved to get Diesel and then tied up opposite Peninne Cruisers.  It's quite a nice place to be ... full sunshine all day for the solar panels, somewhere to peg out the laundry to dry, a tap (courtesy of the good folk at Peninne) to use so I can fill up without moving the boat - well other than letting the front line go and pushing the boat across the canal.

  It also means I get my fix of folk to talk at natter to as they sit on the benches for their "exercise"...

I'm beginning to see regulars now - in fact, even a couple of old girls who live alone but have timed their visits to coincide so they can sit at opposite ends of an 8 ft bench, tucking into their respective picnics and sip gin from a mug so as not to attract attention - I LIKE their style!

BEFORE we moved, I decided I'd better try and get some plants on the roof before B & M get shut down totally...  they being one of the shops able to stay open due to selling "Essential items" - alas, all they had were a few pansies - still, better than nothing so I  lugged a bag of compost and planted up just 3 tubs on the roof.  I had a bit of a brain wave of HOW to stop them "bulging" in the middle - drilling  a couple of holes through and passing cable ties through to keep them supported in the centre...  genius EVEN if I do say so myself!





I imagine that will HAVE to do for this year... 

BACK in side the boat - the shower mixer that I'd de-scaled the other month, finally decided NOT to play any longer...  the result being cold showers for a couple of days.  LUCKILY - being OCD  an organised sort, I'd already bought and "filed" away a new mixer bar... it only took 20 mins and 10 of those were spent looking for my big plumbing plier type thingys ('can't for the life of me think what they are called)...



I've HAD to brave the shops a few times - MAINLY cause I'd worked through the gin supplies I'd got on board for the first few guests... Tesco and Morrisons couldn't be more different... the former being quite (OTT) strict in regards queuing in the car park... Morrisons setting up a sensible perimeter route which doesn't take too long... 

Having looked at both queues, I decided to go and shop in M & S instead... only 3 people queuing outside and a far more civilized experience... AND btw, household basics aren't actually any more expensive - I MAY keep shopping there once this is all over.

I STILL need to paint the roof with non-slippy stuff so that'll be my fun for this week - rather than do it all in one go, I'm going to stretch it out over a few days.

I'm ALSO trying to lobby my local councilors and MP to "get help" - I can't claim the covid grants being given to businesses in the Hospitality industry because I don't pay a business rate - it being done in the form of a business licence fee to CRT - ergo, I don't have a reference number to claim  They have passed me back to CRT to ask them to lobby on my behalf... who in turn passed me back to the Councillors ... ERGO, it's going NO where and I can't get hold of a penny.  The only positive thing is that I can have a mortgage holiday for 3 months (note it's a holiday NOT free payments- which means I'll still have to catch up at some point) but so long as tenant keeps paying her rent, it means I have something  (however small ) to live off until I can earn/invoice future guests again.

To add insult to injury, on Thursday I got confirmation from the Solicitors that our consent order/clean break agreement had been approved by the family court.  My options were to make the payment when we get decree absolute from the court (any time) or make the agreed payment (money I've borrowed which i CAN'T get a repayment holiday on) now.   

 I chose the latter as it's not Andy's fault the way the world has gone off a cliff ... at least one of us can feel secure as we begin our separate lives in this strange, uncharted world.  Sitting on the money borrowed would only have risked me dipping in to it to live...  He may even benefit from the impending drop in property values and get a better new home for the money, whilst I cling to the wreckage and try to claw my way back to normality.   It's heart warming that we have remained on relatively good terms throughout this process - it must be truly awful (and extremely expensive with solicitors bills) for people who fight at each stage... I've spent ni on 3k NOT to fight... We'll keep in touch and know we're there to support each other as we navigate our ways through our solo lives...wherever they lead us.

My dad bless him has offered to make the loan repayments if I can't get the money together (from his pension) ... an offer which I can't accept but may have to if things don't get back to some kind of normal within the next 3 months or so...  I've told him I'm  OK until July (which is true) but after then, I'll have to resort to "building debt" to keep afloat so we'll revisit it then.  He also offered to pay the final solicitors bill - luckily, I'd just paid circa 500 quid (for bugger all) so the last one won't be (can't possibly be) TOO much - famous last words.

I'll leave you with a funny photo I took whilst having (my daily exercise walk) around town - it did make me chuckle!


Until Next time...