Thursday, 19 July 2018

The Hand That Washed The Boat. 18th July

Cat Junkie Mooring

Nichola and Andy were up and off early, we were still in bed! As we are moored with our picture window overlooking the canal we could wave farewell to them from under the duvet. Our paths may cross again later in the summer depending on where we end up loitering.

P1360759smToday work had to get serious and my 50th Birthday present of a drawing board came out from it’s purpose built slot between the dinette and galley. The stools that normally get stored in there will move for the time being making it easier to access my work things. Poor Mick was left with very little space in the main cabin. Two thirds of the dinette table was taken over with the drawing board, the rest covered in plans, laptop sat on the end of the sofa with a stool to perch on and most of the dinette seats ended up being covered. Once the solar panel is on the roof there will be a bit more space, still not enough for Mick though! Good job it’s still not raining.

Yesterday we’d discussed how the solar panel would be fitted and bought suitable adhesive. It will need two of us to stick it down, so a break from panto for me in the next couple of days. But first the roof needs a good wash down. Mick agreed that this was needed. The conversation went back and forth for a while until he conceded that he’d have to be the one to wash the roof, not me. Over the last few years Mick has managed to gradually extricate himself from the chore of washing boats. When we were on NB Winding Down he would turn into a seriously grumpy g*t on a Friday afternoon, boat washing time. Each time buckets and cloths came out he would have to ask how we do it, hoping that one day I’d just relent and let him avoid the job. Over the years he has succeeded, now he makes me feel guilty for wanting a clean boat!

P1360749smP1360755smSo today once the process had been explained, again, he picked up buckets and cloths and gave one side of the roof a good wash down, I made sure I was inside so as not to hear any chuntering that might be going on. This is the first time he’s ever washed any part of Oleanna! I know it won’t become a regular thing.

By mid morning all the boats that had moored up around us yesterday had departed. Plenty of boats came past in the morning, then the lunchtime lull, followed by a few in the afternoon. These were mostly hire boats, we nearly had a full set go past us in an hour. A Black Prince boat came past, the people at the helm deciding to pull over to let another boat pass them. As their stern came level with our side hatch the reason was obvious, an Elite boat was tail gating them. Black Prince started to pull over behind us, all the time being assisted by the Elite boat that was almost pushing them across the cut, no safe stopping distance there!

P1360769smA new draught of the panto script was emailed through in the afternoon, this needs reading in case I need to make any adjustments to what I’ve already got. I now have a proper scale groundplan that I drew up which I can work from and the basic dimensions of the set are worked out. A few more plans to do and then I can get the glue and card out.

All day! Bloomin brilliant!! There is still lots to do here, although I couldn’t find many friends today, no one seemed to want to come out and play! I made sure I came home for the odd comfort break, but kept off the roof! At dingding time I was quite hungry so came home and the doors were closed behind me. It had been such a brilliant day until she had to go and spoil it. As I snoozed my collar was taken off, quite nice but it does mean no shore leave, then as I was dozing she put that chilling stinky wet stuff on my neck. Eeurgh!! Yuck stop it! Make it go away!! You evil uncaring *dgfufe/**ch!!!!!

P1360772sm0 locks, 0 miles, 50th birthday present used for the first time, 1:25 groundplan at last, 8 sketch groundplans, 2nd draft, 1 sofa covered in holes, 0 space for Mick, 2 buckets, 1 reluctant boy, 0.5 clean roof, 11 hours, 0 friends, 1 flea and tick treatment for her own good! 1 rather tasty chicken and bean salad.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Outside On The Other Side. 17th July

Springwood Haven to Cat Junkie Mooring

Before the hire car was returned we did a big fresh food shop at Sainsburys and visited Wicks to buy some suitable flexible adhesive to be able to attach the new solar panel to the roof.

Whilst Mick went to drop the car off I disposed of all the rubbish, including recycling (the marina has good recycling bins). But no matter how hard you try to collect everything together there is always something that manages to escape being thrown away, today it was packaging from some batteries!

The last load of washing had been doing it’s thing whilst we shopped so a top up of the water tank was needed before the hose was coiled back up, hook up unplugged and we were ready for the off.

Not far today, just back out onto the cut where we’d come from on Saturday. Our shady spot was free so we pulled up to where we thought we’d get maximum tree cover. However today this was not needed as the sun was hiding behind a lot of cloud, the inside of Oleanna was a touch dark. All the curtains were pushed back for the first time in weeks as there was no need to try to keep the searing heat out.

P1360729smAt last! Freedom!!! The great outside awaited me. Oh! This outside is becoming quite familiar. They’ve put it on the other side of the boat, but it’s still the same one, they can’t fool me. Best make the most of it. And she did! Even being spotted by the chap on NB Tawney Owl as he passed.

P1360738smMick had a look at the solar panel to see if he’d need any more connectors before we move away from Springwood Haven as they have a stock of such things. I dug out my model making box and cutting mat and started to make alterations to the model box I’d been given. Sadly at some point dimensions on the plans had gone wrong and the model had been made from these. So first job was to shrink the proscenium, but is that really the only measurement that was wrong? From what datum were other measurements taken? Are the walls that will restrict entrances in the right places? Without being in the theatre with a tape measure myself and double checking various things, it’s impossible to know, but that will have to wait until my next meeting. Then once I’d decided to go with what I now had I noticed there was a mistake in the model which also needed altering.

P1360732smEarlier in the day I’d sent a message with our location to our friends Nichola and Andy on NB On The Fiddle as they would be heading past us today or tomorrow on their way south. Mid afternoon I got a reply saying that they’d just come up Atherstone and if there was space to moor they would carry on to meet up with us. An hour and half later their bow came into view and they pulled in.

P1360740smWe spent three hours on the towpath catching up with each others news. I spent the three hours watching their woofers play with their balls and chews. I came close at one point which woke Chad up a little bit, but he is a bit slow and I’d have out run him without even trying. By 8pm it was a little chilly to be sat out any longer so we retired to our respective boats for food and to warm up. When I say we, Tilly didn’t!

I was far far too busy! All my friends had come out to play and were really enjoying running around the trees with me playing hide and seek. It was great. Well until she came and picked me up, it was time for tea. Well past her tea time! Limboing under a barbed wire fence, scrambling down the hill and then retracing my slipping sliding steps back up with a wriggling cat is just how I like to spend my evenings. At least Tilly still had an appetite.

0 locks, 0.21 miles, 1 bag onions, 1 chicken, 500 grams pork mince, 6 nectarines, 6 bananas, 2 lefts, 3rd time in this mooring, 1 panel not going back in it’s box, 1 passing Tilly fan, 1 model box rectified (I think), 1 floor cut to fit, 1 sofa full, 0 place for Mick, 2 boats meeting, 3 hours of boaters chat, 3 hours of ball chasing and chewing, 9 hours, 4 squeaking friends, 3 bare patches around trees, 1 scramble, 1 black and white thug locked away for the night.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Will It Fit Or Won’t It? 16th July

Duncan and Jaye's House, Scarborough to Springwood Haven

P1360686smScarborough seagulls always know when we are at home and go out of their way to welcome us back. They are especially good at this in the middle of the night! They started to serenade us at about 3:45am! There are lots of things we miss about Scarborough, but they are not one of them.

Jaye and Duncan were having to work today, so after a bleary eyed cuppa in their kitchen we waved our host, Duncan, goodbye and we headed out of town first to start on the list of jobs to do in Scarborough. A quick appointment at Mick’s doctors only gave me enough time to flatten the back seats of the car for our next task. Mick has treated Oleanna to a second flexible solar panel with some of his birthday money and had arranged for it to be delivered to the theatre last week so that we could pick it up. Knowing that it was likely to be of a size we’d booked the next sized car up from our norm, but would it fit? Jaye helped us out of the theatre, hoping that we wouldn’t be returning within minutes with the very large, yet flat box. We hoped the same as if it didn’t fit we’d be returning in a few days with a van!

Stopping next to the car the length of the box exceeded the space behind the front seats even with the back seats down. But we all know diagonals are longer, so we hoped that we could angle the box to gain more length. This was still about a foot too short! Eek!! Head rests lowered, was there enough width at roof height for the box to slide over the top of the seats? Just. Would the boot then close? Just. Would we be able to sit in the seats? Yes. Would Mick have to drive with his head bent down all the 150 miles back? No, luckily the seat lowered which gave him a touch more head space. Phew we’d managed it, good job it’s a flexible panel!

P1360703smP1360708smThe poppies I’d been knitting a few weeks ago needed delivering to Dawn and Lee around the corner. We joined them, Lisa and Bill for a cuppa and a quick resume of yesterdays wedding. We were starting to pick up by now, but Dawn was lagging behind a bit in the feeling shabby stakes. Lifts were needed to pick up cars and everyone headed off.

IMAG0546smP1360707smThere was now a definite need for food. So there was only one thing to do, a visit to Eat Me. If you are ever in Scarborough it is definitely worth a visit. We didn’t opt for their full breakfast, but a half breakfast each sufficed. Now with fuel in our bellies I popped into my favourite model makers shop, chatted biplanes before we called in at the letting agents to pick up some post. Then a drive by of our house was required to see that Yorkshire Water had returned a front path to how it should be after they’d dug it up to mend a leek. All tasks now done we waved farewell to Scarborough and headed back to Nuneaton.

P1360714smTilly was pleased to see us, I was relieved that she hadn’t been overcome by the heat on the boat. I’d followed instructions, stayed low, avoided sitting in the windows, drank lots and found that the coolest place on the boat was actually sitting on the radiator. All was fine, just so long as I could go out now thank you!

P1360719smGlad we’d decided to leave the fresh food shopping until tomorrow as we both needed a quiet evening.

0 locks, 0 miles, 150 miles by car, 3 more Duncan mentions (4 now, I think that’s enough for a while), 23 poppies, 6 more goodbyes, 1 tight squeeze for a box, 0.5 breakfasts, 2 extra sausages, 3 letters, 2 clean patches of concrete, 1 happy yet disappointed cat, 1 very big parcel to live with, 1 quiet evening on the sofa, 2 big Thank Yous to the Lewis family.

Monday, 16 July 2018

The Village Fete Wedding 15th July

Cat Junkie to Springwood Haven Marina to Scarborough

P1360552smOn Saturday Mick waited patiently for a phone call from Enterprise Car Hire. They had said they would pick him up sometime before midday which is when they close, so as time ticked on he decided to walk up the hill behind Springwood Haven Marina to the main road. This walk takes seventeen minutes in the heat of the day and as he ascended the hill he got a call to say they were on their way. Once he was back, with a newspaper, he checked in at the marina as to which our allotted mooring would be for the weekend.

We were given a storage mooring, which means there is no pontoon alongside, so access is only over the stern of Oleanna. Mick expertly turned her into the marina and then reversed her into the narrow space. About eight inches either side. A thinner rope was needed so that we could tie the bow to a post using one of the fender rings on the side of the hull. Once happily moored we got ourselves hooked up and the washing machine went straight on. Unlike quite a few marinas they don’t have a problem with boats hanging out their washing so our whirligig was going to be busy.

14.36 14th July15.14 14th July19.19 14th JulyMick kept an eye on all the electrical data and how our batteries were charging on a land line. We were using the washing machine most of this time, despite this our batteries charged quickly. By late evening the panel was saying Float.

P1360562smThe marina requests that all dogs should be kept on a lead, but this does not apply to cats. Tilly would be allowed shore leave. So as the day got warmer and warmer and with a total lack of shade at our mooring we let her out a little nervous as she’s never encountered a marina before. What sort of rubbish place is this?! All the grass is super short, a few bits of friendly cover but they were too neat and tidy to have any friends loitering. After a while I decided to venture further, only to be told off for going on other peoples roofs. Tilly had the look in her eye that she’d roof hop all the way along the marina! A distance away behind a spiky fence there was plenty of friendly cover so I had a good look round there before she called me back. Well we wanted to do that big shop we’d missed out on a few days ago. Some big plastic tunnels looked interesting, but she wasn’t keen on me going in them. I was bundled back into the warm boat and left.

P1360565smP1360568smBig shop accomplished, apart from fresh things, we decided that we’d actually keep Tilly in. She may be welcome by the owners to wander around, but we weren’t too comfortable about it. Should she fall in between boats there wasn’t enough space for us to stand on gunnels to rescue her without boats touching, a crush incident waiting to happen. Also Cat Health and Safety didn’t like the thought of her hopping onto a dark coloured roof and discovering the science of how heat retention is affected by different colours. She was not impressed with our decision.

Sunday morning we were up very early for us. The car was packed with smart clothes on hangers, the magic food bowl primed, a very full bowl of water left in the shower and we were off just before 8:30am, heading to Scarborough for a wedding. A quick emergency hat purchase was needed, my boating cap, now sun bleached, not really suitable for a wedding so Sainsburys came up with something smarter and we headed to check in at our accommodation for the night.

Jaye and Duncan, who visited us in April, very kindly allowed us to persuade them to let us stay the night. As the wedding ceremony was to be held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre Jaye had been at work all morning helping to decorate front of house and the Round auditorium, whilst Duncan waited for us to arrive. Once we were all suited and booted we headed over to the theatre.

P1360575smMark (more commonly known as Tigger, he is ginger and quite bouncy!) and Becca met quite a few years ago whilst they both worked at the theatre. Tigger was a technician who now works freelance and Becca worked front of house as an usher, this is how they met. So the venue was very apt for them. Marrying on a Sunday is a common thing for theatre people as your thespian guests are more likely to be free and of course the theatre had no show on.

P1360590smThe Round auditorium was almost full on three of it’s four sides an audience of around 300!

P1360576smOnce all the legalities were done, we were invited to look under our seats. One person on each row found a brown paper package and whilst the signing of the register was happening we all played pass the parcel, some people taking a very long time to pass it on to the next person (Frank Matthews!).

P1360600smAfter drinks in the bar we were all ferried out to a nearby village where the Village Fete reception was set up in Becca’s parents garden.

P1360604smP1360624smA very well stocked self service bar greeted us and a very large marquee stretched off down the garden.

P1360609smP1360617smA coconut shy, tin can alley, tombolla, bouncy castle, bat the rat, kept us all occupied. I even won a yoyo on the tombola!

P1360621smP1360622smPeople had been invited to provide a picnic platter towards the wedding breakfast and there were prizes for the best ones. Plenty to eat, plenty to drink and SO many people to talk to.

P1360648smP1360631smThere was a lady with chilled medication who had a constant queue.

P1360695smP1360701smA ceilidh band which created a 200 person chain dancing around the fields.

P1360651smP1360683smP1360688smFresh pizzas were being cooked late in the evening. A great firework display and disco to follow. What an afternoon and evening, everything had been thought out so well.

P1360612smP1360613smOli, Jaye and Duncan’s son gave us a lift back into Scarborough where we collapsed on sofas with mugs of tea and continued chatting with horse voices. We’d left plenty at the party which could well have continued into the early hours. A wonderful wedding for a lovely couple, whom I’m sure enjoyed the day twice as much as we did.

0 locks, 0.21 miles, 1 hire car, 1 hour of freedom, 3 roofs, £5 electric card, 2 loads washing, 150 miles, 3 hours, £10 emergency hat, 3 Duncan mentions, 0 Duncan photos, 1 Duncan hand, 6 now! 14 pairs Converse, 300 in the Round, 1 free bar, 2 lifts, 1 hot cat, 2 many friends to talk to, 200 seconds of fireworks, 350, 1 thirsty cat, 2 much to drink, 2 much to eat, 4 flavours, 1 lonely cat, 2 lovely people tying the knot.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

RAIN! 13th July

Cat Junkie Mooring

P1360535smWe’ve had some rain! Remember, that stuff that used to fall from the sky. Water. The giver of life. That makes the countryside green. Enables things to grow. Fills the reservoirs to keep water flowing from our taps. That helps to keep us and our possessions clean. That fills the rivers and canals. Makes the towpaths quagmires in winter. Oh hang on a bit, we didn’t get that much!

This evening the sky was getting dark and a breeze picked up. We hoped we knew the signs. Mick put both sides back on the pram cover for the first time in ages and closed the cratch. It then rained, for about five to ten minutes. At least it was a start! With the ground being so hard now, if substantial rain fell it is likely to just run straight off, serious rainfall could cause flooding where the land is so dry and parched. What we need is a steady light rainfall that will give itself time to soak into the ground and feed the thirst of the plants and then gradually start to top up the reserves.

The-parched-and-cracked-b-005We have found ourselves in an area that back in 1976 during the summer drought was one place you could still cruise. Hillmorton Locks and Sutton Stop were open, but Braunston, Calcutt and Atherstone locks were all closed due to very low water reserves. So hopefully we’ll still be able to move even if the rain we had today is the last for a while.

Over the last few days we’ve had notices from C&RT informing us of restrictions to lock usage. Most Pennine routes already have these in place. Restricting the hours you can use the locks hopefully means more efficient use of the water, pairing up on broad locks etc. However from the end of the month, if no significant rain falls the Leeds Liverpool Canal will see flights of locks padlocked shut until water levels return to the reservoirs. The lock flights at Wigan, Barrowford, Greenberfield, Bank Newton and Gargrave will be padlocked closed and the gates will be ashed up to reduce leakage.  Also to prevent vandalism, measures will be taken by C&RT to make the locks inoperable. At the other end of the canal time restrictions on the use of the Bingley five and three rise locks have been implemented.

Restrictions are being brought in on the Rochdale, not much of a surprise as they always have difficulty in the summer due to the reservoirs having been sold off when the canal was closed. The Huddersfield Narrow is also affected and the narrowing lock on the Marple flight is restricting the use of the locks to only a few hours a day, which will be helping to keep the levels on the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canal in better shape than they would be otherwise.

P1360549smAt the moment we are glad we moved to the Midlands away from the north. But this does mean we are on busier waterways, far more boats passing than we’re used to, we normally run away to the extremities of the network in the summer. With schools starting to breakup the traffic is likely to increase. Our cruising pattern is changing due to work anyway, so we shall stay put for longer periods than normal and most probably avoid moving at weekends.

Fingers crossed we get more rain soon.

P1360530smP1360528sm0 locks, 0 miles, 12 sketches, 1 long storyboard complete, 17 minutes walk to the road, 26 24 Semi-final, 3 years of 9.75, 1 full bucket of kindling, 1 lose of grip, 2543 Dreamies on the floor, 1 cat eager to assist, 1 whole day, not hours, but a whole day!

Friday, 13 July 2018

Long Trousers. 12th July

Worthington Farm  Bridge to Cat Junkie Mooring (Whitehouse Winding Hole)
P1360501smA chilly start to the day, it did warm up but it started with an extra layer of a cardigan in bed with my morning cuppa and long trousers by the evening. After not wearing trousers for what seems like months they cling and feel very strange around your calves. But having chilly legs when you don’t need to is silly.
P1360517smP1360523smThe front and back doors were opened up when we sat down for breakfast and Tilly was allowed out to have a morning explore. Hope she doesn’t get too used to them! After breakfast I started on my work. My thought was that I’d get a new story board completed today, sort of visual minutes from my meeting yesterday. Then hopefully get the thumbs up from the Director before sending it to the Production Manager for her to start to be included in the loop. Any major financial concerns can then be looked at before I’ve committed a lot of time in making a scale model. But things always take longer than you hope.
P1360504smMick spent the morning back in the engine bay. Today he treated Oleanna to fresh oil in the gear box and loosened off the stern gland. Yesterday he’d tightened it a touch too much and it had become quite hot when we moved. Then he collected up some dry twigs, the start of a kindling collection, it must have been a bit chilly!
After lunch Tilly returned when called and we could head for water at Hartshill Wharf. The tap there has good pressure which was just as well as our tank was below a quarter full when we arrived and soon we had a boat breasted up against us waiting their turn at the tap. After half an hour of chatting our tank gave it’s boom noise and then it started to overflow. We packed up our hose and moved off leaving the other boat to it.
The sun was out and the day warming up again, so another shady mooring was needed. We pootled along until a suitable spot showed itself. The exact same mooring we’d had nine days ago. The ant mooring!
P1360515smOnce tied up and the trip computer stopped Tilly was read the riot act.Five hours and no rolling in ants, NO ROLLING IN ANTS !!’ she said. So I did as I was told, the ants weren’t as appealing as the bunnies anyway.
Tilly’s friends can be quite noisy, the smaller ones only I can hear. But the larger they are the more audible, even Mick could hear todays friend. With the hot weather we’ve become blasé with the boat doors, leaving them open all day once moored. The noise made me look out of the side hatch, it wasn’t a bird call. There was Tilly struggling along the towpath with a very large friend, who wasn’t enjoying the experience of being brought home for tea one bit. DOORS!! All means of access onboard was shut off in time, Tillys lack of speed assisted with this. I then went out to see if I could assist in anyway.
P1360510smTilly’s friend had been set loose and was free again. She was sulking in the friendly cover. I suspect she headed straight back to await the next one popping it’s head out from the warren. Just hope the wildlife will recover after we’ve been here a few days.
DSCF7121smblack paw0 locks, 2.02 miles, 1 full water tank, 16 templates drawn, 4 filled, 1 sketch groundplan, 0 ants, 1 big fat juicy bunny, 6 doors firmly shut, 1 lucky bunny, 2ish litres oil, 1 loosened stern gland, 2nd solar panel ready for collection, 0.5 full pooh bucket of kindling, 53267 goose bumps, 1 pair of long trousers.