Sunday, May 31, 2015

Still In Sunny Newport....Waiting For News

We've been here two weeks now, but no news as yet on our boat. It's a busy boat yard so I suppose we'll have to be patient. We'll have to ring them this week.  We've been missing her! 

Ben the dog has had some lovely walks including exploring the grounds of Tredegar House in Newport, which is dog friendly with a lovely wood and a lake to walk around. You have to pay  £2 to park but it's free to go in the grounds so there's usually lots of families enjoying picnics and the adventure playground. One little lad made us chuckle when he asked the dog's name and then said ' he looks like he's going to have a poo!'

One day was spent gardening and we did ache afterwards, the first cut of the year for a lawn is always hard work and I hate weeding!  Being on a boat looking at the results of other people's hard work in their garden's is much more fun.

We've had a lovely Sunday lunch at The Three Pheasants in Newport, luckily we'd booked a table as it was very busy. We managed to get our three daughters and their families together which made a lovely change. Lots of chat and the food was great too .......we'll have to go there again.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Boat Awaiting Repairs

Yesterday Eric went up to Whixall to get the car from Whixall Marina as we decided it would be useful while the boat is awaiting repairs at Streethhay Wharf. He'll take it back to the marina before we collect the boat. We don't know how long it's going to take but at present the boat is just moored up and we're waiting and wondering.

Meanwhile Ben the dog and I went for a walk in the woods with Lisa and her pup, a springer/cocker cross called Delilah......and Ben was ok with her today. There was a bit of  growling yesterday when she really pushed her luck but I think she got the message. She's so busy all the time while Ben's like an old man quite happy to lie there and watch the world go by.

Monday, May 18, 2015

No Problems Going By Train

Today up bright and early....again, but at least we had hot water for a shower. I took Ben for a walk on the canal towpath near Streethay Wharf once I found the little gate at the end of the moorings giving access to bridge over the canal. On my way back I had a phone call they wanted to move the boat so they could move some boats around. All sorted and they plugged us back onto shoreline so the boat could finally get vacuumed.

I rang a taxi, the same firm I'd used to get to Europarts but they had no taxis available which take dogs. So thanks to Google and found Bennetts who were quite happy to take us to Tamworth Railway Station with a dog. I could have gone by train from Lichfield Trent Valley but  it would have meant changes, and a much longer journey timewise. Anyway we caught the Cross Country train and Ben led on the floor under table and went to fact I had to wake him up to off at Newport!

My son-in-law Ben the man, not to be confused with Ben the dog, picked us up from the station we're boat less and staying with Clare and Ben who are kind enough to have us. Ben the dog is waiting for Poppy to come home.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bridges, Bridges And Bridges

Up bright and very early (7am) I took Ben for a walk before our mammoth journey began.Today our tow boat arrived at Alvecote and we were towed for six and  a half hours including the time spent to go through the very slow filling Glascote Locks. It's an experience I hope we never had to have again as windy canal, moored boats and lots of bridges didn't make for an easy journey. We sustained some damage to the cratch and cover and lots of scraping along the canal side so the boat definately needs some TLC.

We were met at Streethay Wharf by John although it was Sunday provided us with  electric and  showed us where the laundry and other facilities are. I purchased some tokens and started on the washing mountain. Ben watered the first grass he came too after such a long time on the boat. He is such a very good boy although I expect he wondered what on earth was going on.

Tomorrow we're off to Wales catching the train from Tamworth as it's straight through approximately two hour journey. We did have offers to be collected but it's quicker by train. When we come back let's hope the engine sounds just like it used to with no added extra noises. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Oh No More Engine Trouble

Yesterday we had our Travel Power refitted....had one cup of coffee from my coffee machine to test the Travel Power while the engineer was with us....all ok. Ben and I walked for nearly an hour boat sounded fine and I used the dyson to clean the boat then just after I'd finished the engine sounded worse than ever. The domestic  battery warning light came on  and we pulled over to  the side, the crank pulley was loose and the alternator belt was on the floor. but we're about half a mile from the nearest road. I rang Streethay Wharf because they had the tools necesary to tighten the crank pulley  again and were going to cut through a bulkhead to access the nut.

This morning I met Tom the engineer at the bridge 59  and managed to get a passing boater to give him and his gear a lift to our boat while Ben and I walked back. He eventually got the nut off and found  disaster,  the threads had gone on the crankshaft and nut and the fly wheel waa damaged. So it's a tow job back to Streethay Wharf on Sunday and the engine's coming out for a new crankshaft and we are going to Wales! Some lovely people on a tug called Saul towed us back to civilisation, thank you so much. The engineer from Streethay came back with a petrol generator for us, so we have some power to charge the batteries. So Sunday's trip to Streethay will be a quiet one as we are towed along. Watch this space!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sunshine ! Going Nowhere Today

Our view near Bradley Green

Yesterday we moved a couple of bridges from Polesworth, still bothered by an unexplained noise in the engine hole. Eric had a look at the  belts and loosened them as they seemed to much tighter than he usually fits them.......looks like the problem is solved....fingers crossed!

This morning we moved another couple of bridges to moor at Bradley Green for Cox's Auto Electrical to deliver our repaired Travel Power box and a reconditioned generator. Nothing's going right for us lately the generator bolts we had were too big, but they took it away and redrilled the holes so Eric could refit it......excellent service but now the belt which runs it is too big as the pulley on the new generator is smaller. We keep spare belts but we've never needed  a smaller one. I rang to tell them the problem and they're coming at 9.30am tomorrow.

Looking forward to cleaning my hairy boat......a dust pan and brush is useless with a dog onboard. Also there's a washing mountain!  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wet Engine Bilge And A Long Walk

This morning we wanted to find out what was causing the wet engine bilge as Eric couldn't find any leaky pipes. Perhaps it's the overflow from the water filler cap which was replaced several years ago. He put the overflow hose in a plastic bottle and ran the engine......the bottle filled with pale blue water so we knew if was the water filler cap... but where we could get a new one?

In Polesworth the garage sent us to the DIY Tool shop which sold all sorts but not what we wanted. She told us about Europarts at Dordon off the A5 about two and a half miles away, so the long walk began with Ben the dog coming too. At Europarts Eric bought an Austin Mini radiator cap, which has done the job. They even gave us some water for our hot dog. No we didn't walk back, I rang a taxi who took dogs and the taxi fare was worth every penny.

So now we're relaxing on the very full Polesworth Visitor Moorings after Eric mopped up all the wet from the engine bilge with Puppy pads.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Little Bit Of Locking

Fazeley Junction.....the bridge to the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

Today we left our mooring after a quiet night, although as usual I found getting to sleep a problem. We stopped first at Peel's Wharf to use the facilities wondering whether the skips would be full as the boater ahead of us had a roof full of black bags. Only one boat moored in the offline leisure moorings  as it's just too silted up for boats to get in. 

Approaching Glascote Lock

Just one boat ahead of us at Glascote Locks, usually there's a long  queue. These locks empty quickly but fill very slowly, but we're not in a rush so it didn't really matter.  Ben the dog was patiently waiting joined to the fence by his lead although you can't see it on tye photograph. He was very good considering bikes were going past him, there was a time when he wanted to eat their legs if they came too close.

Going up!

Ben waiting.....can you see my lead?

Dinner was cooking and nearly ready, so we stopped just short of Polesworth where the world and his wife seems to come to walk their dogs and ride their bikes on a Sunday afternoon. It soon quietened down and Eric found the dot in the sky to watch the highlights of the Grand Prix.  Ben the dog just went to sleep.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

A Quick Walk To Asda

Today we continued our cruise  passing through Whittington and Hopwas.....moored boars everywhere and the same when we reached the moorings between Sutton Road Bridge and the A5 bridge. We went just past the A5 bridge and moored up to go shopping in Asda. A local told us the well worn  track went to the Retail Park so we followed it and found it much quicker than our usual route.

We did the shopping, just two rucksacks full of fresh stuff and walked back to the boat to  move as it was too noisy by the A5, just a short distance to moor before  Fazeley Junction. Very busy here too but we tagged on the end of the long row of boats. I've got the fresh vegetables and meat so Sunday lunch is on  the boat this Sunday.

Friday, May 08, 2015

A Visit To Streethay Wharf

This morning we were up bright and early to take the boat across the cut to Streethay Wharf. An engineer came to look at the problem and the lack of room to tighten the offending crank pulley nut up. Three hours later the crank pulley nut was tightened,  locktite was used and grub screws used to keep the nut in place. The engine sounds completely different.....back to it's normal sound.

Running smoothly again

So now we are slowly going towards Cox's at Atherstone, where the Travel Power is being repaired and is hopefully ready on Tuesday or Wednesday before I run out of knickers! The washing is accumulating as we need the Travel Power to run the washing machine.Still a hairy boat......can't use the Dyson either.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Soaked And Another Breakdown

The weather was sunny when NB Jubilee and crew passed by going down the Middle Lock. They came in for a cuppa and a chat yesterday, nice to meet a fellow blogger Halfie. We went down two locks with help from the chatty volunteers from CaRT and then it poured, then hailstones soaking Eric, myself and Ben the dog as we opened the swing bridge to let the boat through onto the Coventry Canal.

We did the usual filling and emptying and got rid of the rubbish and set off, but we only got as far as the end of the visitor moorings when the engine was in trouble with two red lights.Eric glided into the bank and moored up. In the engine hole there was a surprise.... the one alternator belt was intact but on the floor, and the crank pulley was on the end of the shaft with the big nut that holds it on, on the floor!

RCR came for the third time and did a temporary fix to get us to Streethay Wharf, where hopefully they can stop this nut falling off again. Meanwhile theTravel Power Pack is being fixed at Cox's, Atherstone........the boat is falling apart!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Moored Above Fradley Junction

Despite the wind and showers of rain we decided to have a short cruise hoping to moor on the moorings above Fradley Junction. Ben and I walked as far as Woodend Lock, then got back on for a cruise to Middle Lock  planning to continue onto the Coventry Canal if there was no room to moor. We were in luck there was a space.

Eric rang Cox's at Atherton and with their help over the phone removed the Travel Power generator and it's box of tricks. We met him outside The Swan at Fradley and we'll find out  once they've tested it if that's really the problem. It was cold waiting  so we had coffees from the pub and waited in their little cubby hole which has a heater, obviously the smokers' hangout by the full ash trays.

Above the lock it's less windy, protected by the trees so we won't be battered tonight. Now we're warm and cosy back indoors and Ben is fast asleep. 

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

A Few Hours Closer To Fradley Junction

Our new mugs!
Eric had a crashing time ......not boat crashing just knocking mugs off the top of the hatch. I popped down to Tesco's to find two more.....thought Mr Grumpy and Little Miss Sunshine were appropriate. Also bought some new sauce pans  as mine needed replacing.

Today we moved on even though it's windy but just a few hours closer to Fradley Junction where we're turning right onto the Coventry Canal. We passed the loos piled up at Armitage but it was difficult to take a photo as the hedges had grown. We stopped after Bridge 56 and Eric tilted the solar panels towards the sun giving us about 18 amps in full sun.

The boat is rocking in the wind now, hopefully it will be calmer tomorrow.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Bank Holiday Madness

Ben at Great Haywood
Three legged tree watering!

Today the boats are out in force with queues to Great Haywood Lock. Ben and I went for a walk in the woods alongside the canal on the non-towpath side and we set off down the lock when the queues were gone. Very heavy gates too! I took some photos but my phone camera refuses to  let me go into freezes! Managed to email them to my tablet.

We enjoyed the sunshine and cruised towards Colwich Lock where we had just one boat ahead of us. Once again the gates were heavy and one didn't want to shut. One of the blokes from another boat came to help. There was a long queue of boating waiting to go towards Great Haywood. We carried on to Rugeley, moored up and did the shopping. The canal bridge has been pedestrianised so it's safer to get to Morrisons and there's now a big new Tesco's on the towoath side of the canal.We decided to stay put until the mooring although most of the boats shop and then leave Rugeley.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Moored In Great Haywood

Moored at Great Haywood, 

Today we left Tixall Wide, it's a much nicer day today, so much  warmer and breezy rather than blowing a gale.  Just before Great Haywood Junction, where the Staffs and Worcester Canal meets the Trent and Mersey Canal, we pulled into the Anglowelsh Boatyard for diesel and gas. They were kind enough to let us fill up with water and empty the cassettes for free, rather than use the CaRT services nearby.We got rid of a bag of rubbish too in the CaRT skips.

Great Haywood Lock

Lockhouse Restaurant......highly recommended!

Moored up before Great Haywood Lock we popped into the village for a Sunday paper, deciding to have Sunday Lunch in The Lockhouse Restaurant, once we put Ben the dog back on the boat. The food was delicious, lovely fresh veg too. The deserts are heavenly too we just couldn't resist them.....I had a berry pavlova while Eric had  apple crumble, so we're totally stuffed and can't think about tea at the moment.

It's quiet now other than the trains from the nearby track, this afternoon has been mayhem with queues of boats waiting to use the lock. Lots of people past by the boat this afternoon too, but they've all gone home for tea.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Radford Bank And Tixall Wide

After the fun at Deptmore Lock we finally arrived at the moorings along side The Radford Bank Inn to find just two boats moored up so plenty of room for us in a sunny spot where we knew we could find the dot in the sky to get satellite T V. One boat left and another came so just three boats having a quiet night there, one the walkers had gone home. We went and had a meal at teatime from the Carvery, which went down a treat with the thoughts of no washing up. We weren't out long so Ben the dog was fine.

Today we had a late start as we didn't  expect  Tixall Wide to be busy, the weather being cold and windy. Eric meandered along this contour canal while Ben and I walked for a while. We did meet a few boats eith the crew all wrapped up in the cold winter. At Tixall there was just two boats moored up and did we struggle to moor up with the wind blowing us away from the towpath. But we did it in the end! Another boat came later and they struggled to. We watched the wild life, grebes, coots, ducks and geese....they weren't bothered by the wind and the waves.

The view from  the window of the Tixall gatehouse

The rain came but we were fine, fire lit so nice and cosy. Eric found the satellite signal so I could watch Casualty. I made a pasta bake for tea followed by a quiet evening.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Another Delay At Deptmore Lock

After a very quiet night at Acton Trussell we headed off to work through Deptmore Lock. The fun began when I opened the gates and Eric tried to leave the lock. Something fouled the propellor and brought the engine to a stop, he drifted out and luckily the wind brought the boat into the bank. So boat tied up and down the weedhatch went Eric to feel for the problem. A rope side fender was stuck between the top of the propellor and the bottom of the boat......jammed in tight. Out came a carving knife and after half an hour Eric had removed the fender. No damage done other than a few more bruises on Eric's arm. 

We continue on our way, Ben and I continued our walk as far as Radford Bank where there was room to stop. We're off to the carvery later for a meal.  We've decided to head down to  Cox's in Atherstone to get the Travel Power generator checked and reconditioned. RCR said a new one from Beta would need a lottery win! So our plans have changed once again but it doesn't really matter as long as we're not tied up going nowhere.