Thursday, October 31, 2013

Let there be sound……

When Waiouru was fitted out we ran wiring for six speakers in the saloon ceiling. Whilst the speakers were installed during the final stages of the fit out they were not connected into the media system. Actually they need to connect to the external sound sockets on the TV. After some research I found a small 12v amplifier on eBay for £6.99, including free delivery. The only error was failing to read the seller was located in Hong Kong. However after a short (two week) delay the amplifier arrived and has been connected into the system.

It has been mounted vertically in the cavity behind the TV where it’s out of sight. The location is rather fortuitous because the amplifier has dual coloured flashing leds which illuminate the knobs when turned on. It also produces far more power than we are ever likely to need inside the boat. (well at our age). I still have to tidy up the wiring.

We are apparently the proud owners of a second Samsung Galaxy S i9000 smartphone. Our first phone was purchased as a “parallel import” from Malaysia whilst we were living in Australia and is our communications “lifeline” providing both voice and unlimited internet. The model has already been superseded by the Galaxy S2 but it does everything we require, so why purchase something more expensive. Eventually the current phone will ‘pass on to phone heaven’ (component failure) which is why the second phone has been purchased.

How did this happen? Well I noticed a new Galaxy S i9000 was for sale on eBay with about six serious bidders vying for it. The bid price was steadily rising and there were two days left before bids closed. Then I noticed a second phone with a starting bid of £99. This was more expensive that the current bid on the first phone (£60), however the bidding for the second phone was scheduled to close before the first. I decided £99 was about the right price so rather than get into a bidding war with the other six bidders (and potentially lose), I opted to watch the second phone and placed the only bid 20 seconds before the auction closed.

As it stopped raining this afternoon I took the Kipor generator out of storage and decided to give the domestic bank a thorough charge. It wasn’t really necessary as we’ll be on shore power in a couple of days, but I want to ensure the Kipor is empty of fuel and also complete an oil change. The generator ran for three hours and by then the Smartgauge was showing 100% and the Victron BMV display showed the batteries were accepting 0.8A. No doubt we’ll improve on that when the batteries are on shore power over winter.

I had a “seniors moment” when the generator was running thinking that we might accidentally flatten the batteries if the shore power 240v supply was to fail without us realising it. Then I remembered if we switch the Victron to ‘Charge’ the 240v side of the boat is supplied by the shore power and the batteries cannot supply the inverter. It will actually be a good way of identifying the shore power has failed and enabling us to switch back to running the engine and using the batteries.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

More on the thermostat

This morning we received an informative email from blog readers Anne & Colin (nb Heather Ray) advising they have previously purchased plug-in thermostats from B&Q and that they were less than the £35 I quoted.  A quick trip to the B&Q website confirmed it was possible to purchase a suitable thermostat for £19.38 (plus p&h).

The thermostat plugs into the 240v wall socket and the heater then plugs into the thermostat.  The thermostat then controls the activation of the heater based on the configured room temperature. 

Now I need to do a cost benefit analysis to see if the cost of the thermostat will be recovered by the saving in electricity.  The first factor to consider/establish is the cost of a unit of electricity.  that’s very simple to do as all the energy companies provide their tariff information in a clear, concise and simple format [cough… splutter]  Liar..Liar… Your pants are on fire!!  OK, it’s not that easy.  Using superior logic and ancillary evidence. I guessed a unit of electricity costs approximately 15p which would mean the thermostat is worth slightly more than 129 units of electricity.  So we would have to save at least that much electricity to make the purchase financially worthwhile.

Assume we would run a 1kw fan heater 16 hour daily for the full four months over winter.

16hrs x 124days = 1984 units

Required saving in use of the heater is 129 ÷ 1984 = 7%

In order to ‘break even over winter the thermostat would need to ensure the heater was switched off for 7% of the total time thereby avoiding overheating of the boat and wasting electricity.  Actually my preference would be to leave the heater running 24/7, but set the thermostat to a lower temperature during the periods we are asleep or not aboard.  My logic is; it’s more energy efficient to slightly alter the temperature rather than move the temperature from one extreme (very cold) to another (comfortable). 

Assuming my electricity consumption calculations are correct and the price of 15p is right, then we should consume approximately £280 of electricity over winter in heating the boat.

My estimated diesel consumption running the Lockgate refleks is 200-300mls/hr and the cost of domestic diesel was 80p/ltr.  The estimated cost of running the Lockgate is approximately 16p/hr @ 200mls and 24p/hr @300mls.  Just to check, I’ve been to the Lockgate website to view their diesel consumption figures.  They state min 180mls and max 540mls.  We’ve been running the Lockgate just below the lowest setting so it’s probably using 180mls/hr which equates to 14p/hr.  This means it’s almost equal to my estimated cost of a unit of electricity.  There is one other consideration.  The Lockgate appears to emit more heat on a minimal setting than a 1kw electric fan heater.  It probably emits too much heat…. despite being on the lowest setting!

So is it to be electric heating or diesel?  Maybe a combination!

Jan here…. Yawn!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lazy start and shopping trip

OK, as usual, Jan was up before dawn but I managed to “play possum” until 8.00am.  I’m starting to adjust to this serious business of retirement!  Today’s ‘to do’ list only consisted of four items.

  • Doctor for a new prescription
  • ASDA
  • Holland & Barrett – penny sale
  • Homebase/Wickes – magnetic door catch

We wandered from the mooring up into Rugby town centre via the footpath beside Tesco and over the rail pedestrian bridge.  As we were twenty minutes early for the doctor’s appointment there was a slight detour through the mall and into one of those bargain shops.  It actually proved to be a fortuitous decision resulting in Jan buying some small plastic food containers whilst I snagged 12 superglue tubes for £1 and a set of 6 small screwdrivers.

Jan headed to ASDA whilst I went to the doctor see about a new prescription.  My visit was very brief and I now have another prescription to cover me for the next six months.  I found Jan in the ASDA cafe and after morning tea together we wandered around the supermarket checking prices.  Finding the Holland & Barrett shop proved to be interesting.  Jan knew it was in High Street but very few of the streets were physically named.  In the end logic kicked in and I used the smartphone and Google Maps.  Bah…. High Street didn’t appear on Google Maps!  Jan then suggested Holland & Barrett shops are almost invariably found in the heart of the shopping area.  Of course we eventually found it in the un-named open mall.  Along the way we passed another of those interestingly named pubs.  I do love the way pubs have such names.  The pub was The Black Swan

Black swans are native to Australia.  They could also be found in NZ until hunted to extinction by the Maori back in the mid 1800’s.  The Black Swan was re-introduced in NZ from Australia and there is also a large population on the Chatham Islands in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island.  It was there that I ate Black Swan finding the taste very strong and “gamey”.

But it was the signboard on the second storey wall that most caught my eye.

So the pub is The Black Swan but the sign is The Dirty Duck

Holland & Barrett didn’t have the products Jan wanted so we saved a couple of pennies there! Smile

It was now lunch time and we decided to treat ourselves to a paid meal at a small cafe down a narrow lane off the mall.  Seating was at a premium so we were optimistic the food might be good.  In the end we both opted for the ocean pie.  I was anticipating a pie dish full of fish with a pastry topping.  Instead we were given a plate of reconstituted powdered potato with a few small pieces of fish in it.  Another disappointment!  I know…. I should have asked them to describe the pie before placing the order!

The final task on the agenda was to walk back towards the canal and visit Homebase & Wickes in the adjacent retail park.  In addition to the magnet catch, we had decided to look for a plug-in 240v thermostat.  The idea was we would be able to plug a fan electric heater into the thermostat and control the temperature in Waiouru over winter.  We will be on shore power and electricity is cheaper than diesel so the heating will be electric rather than using the Hurricane or the Lockgate Refleks.  However we don’t want to unnecessarily spend money on electricity overheating the boat hence the plug-in thermostat idea.  Homebase proved to have a good selection of magnetic catches but had no thermostats.  Wickes had a plug-in thermostat but it was priced in excess of £35. I could make one, but I’m sure there are people in China who are doing that far more cheaply than I can.  As we only plan to spend one winter on shore power it’s just not cost effective to spend £35 on a thermostat.

Back at Waiouru I fitted the magnetic catch to the bathroom door.  Where did the day go?

Monday, October 28, 2013

The storm that wasn’t… for us!

OK, the rain belted down but there was no serious wind, which was rather fortunate because I’d forgotten to remove everything off the cabin roof or tie it down.  We moved a short distance before lunch and noticed on the way that a couple of trees had come down blocking the towpath.  Fortunately they weren’t large enough to go across the canal.  Elsewhere people were not so lucky!

So here we are back at Brownsover (Again!) on the opposite side to the 24 hour moorings.  The plan was to arrive just after 11.00am in the hope of finding a vacant spot on the offside which is actually closer to town and Tesco.  There are no mooring rings and I’ve used our “Jones multi-anchor plates” to secure Waiouru at bow and stern.

One local boater has already asked if we have a patent for the device (LOL) and then informed me he was off to make some for his own boat!

I wonder if any UK blog readers noticed the article in the Telegraph <here> which included the suggestion hospital patients should be given pen and paper to record all their “issues” with the quality of their care.  The safety culture in a hospital is in crisis if they need the patients to tell them they have a problem.  The staff should be reporting the incidents long before the patient!

We own a small laptop that doesn’t have a DVD drive.  Much of today’s software is purchased on a DVD and this has proved to be a slight problem.  Of course we could buy an external USB DVD drive but that seems a waste of money for something that would be used very infrequently.  Today I worked our how to transfer an ISO file from a DVD to a USB stick using a small free program called ISOtoUSB.  It can be downloaded here.  The program enables any ISO file to be copied to a suitably sized USB stick.  The software in the ISO can then be install via the stick.  I always feel content when saving money!

If you have been regularly reading the blog posts you may recall I had come across a public footpath that physically didn’t exist whilst walking in the Braunston area.  Paul (nb Waterways Routes) suggested I contact Warwickshire Council and provide a link to their “Definitive Map” webpage.  I’ve been in communication with the people at Country Paths and today received the following email.

Thank you for your clarification.  This matter is logged on our database as:

Footpath number R252 Issue number 100329.

The Rights of Way officer a jobsheet has been issued and the remedial works will be carried out in due course.

Rights of Way Team

Remedial action might just take place……….. in due course!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Waiting for the storm

Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered this was the weekend daylight saving ended and I'd get an extra hour in bed this morning.  Unfortunately I woke at the usual time.  However every Sunday morning at 7.30am I telephone dear old mum back in Perth, Western Australia and I thought this morning I had an extra hour.  What I'd failed to remember was each State in Australia has different time zones and daylight saving rules.  Western Australia don't have daylight saving.  It's the same time all year!  Oops... my call this morning was late.

Here we are in a secure and sheltered mooring waiting out the forecast big storm.  So far it's been the odd scattered light shower but mostly we've had sunshine?  We've chosen a mooring that runs north to south with hedgerows on both side of the canal.  There are no sizeable trees near Waiouru,  The storm is forecast to come from the west so we should be well sheltered.  The water and diesel tanks are full along with the pantry.  Oh, and the toilet tank is almost empty.  Mooring ropes are secured to firm anchor points.  The pub is nearby should we start to dehydrate!

Lunch was the Sunday roast at the Barley Mow and it's the second time we've eaten there as the food is so good.  Actually it's the best we've had since arriving in the UK!  A dessert was offered, but frankly whilst the mind was willing, the stomach confessed there was no room.  A Sunday afternoon walk seemed a good way to shake down the lunch so we wandered down to the Brownsover retail park via the towpath and linear park.  Hands were firmly kept in pockets and we returned with nothing more than we took.  A very light shower started on the way back so our timing was almost perfect.

Jan has commenced hand sewing covers for the foam porthole bungs using a length of curtain material she purchased cheaply in the Coventry Market.  The task looks big enough to keep her occupied for most of this winter.  Meanwhile I've been doing some computer maintenance which usually results in me stuffing something up and having to reinstall everything.  This time I'm trying to be particularly careful.

It's been a very quiet day and (hopefully) normal service will return tomorrow.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Herbie, diesel, and a good mooring!

But first we were somewhat relieved to read that things are improving for Les and Jaq (nb Valerie).  I agree with Jaq when she wrote that the hospital shouldn’t expect to rely on patients or relatives to inform them when an incident has occurred.  In a robust risk management system frontline staff should have reported the incident before patients get the opportunity.  I was fortunate to be able to contact Jaq this morning and obtain a first hand account of the current situation.  It’s apparent the major issue is now the time it’s taking for Jaq to travel between Valerie and the hospital.  It’s taking approximately 7 hours out of each day using public transport.  When you add the time spent with Les to the travelling time and then add everything else Jaq has to do every day I can foresee they might both end up in hospital.  Jaq informed me she doesn’t drive on the wrong side of the road!  Thank goodness it’s the right side on the canals…..  So what she really needs is some helpful local person (or persons) to assist her with transport.  Can anyone help?

The laptop had just started this morning when we received a Skype call from FMIL in Sydney.  The recent bushfires around Sydney must have been rather frightening for her.  She told us about an almost black sky with a blood red sun trying to burn through!  Some 200 homes have been destroyed making 200 families homeless.

We had a boaters meeting in bed last night and after discussing the weather forecast decided to head back towards Rugby before the “big storm” hits on Sunday night.  Both of us donned our heavy foul weather clothing because we know that if we do this then it will not rain!  Waiouru slipped away from Coventry Basin around 10.00am.

That’s a worry…..  Lost AND you have a map!

We backtracked to the water point at Hawkesbury Junction passing the same old boats moored in the same old places.  Jan went forward and set the stop lock whilst I stowed the hose and secured the cratch cover.  The CRT crew weren’t working on the towpath and then I realised it was Saturday <duh… see what retirement does!>.

The reconstruction of the towpath involves laying geotextile membrane and then securing vertical timber edging with wooden stakes before filling the gap with fine aggregate. It really needs a waterproof surface coating (eg, bitumen) to prevent the loss of the aggregate but I suppose the budget didn’t extend that far.

There is a small car cemetery near Stowe Common with VW’s appearing to be the most prevalent occupants.  Herbie was looking somewhat forlorn.

There was a beggar hanging around a canal side house near Ansty.  He was tapping on the windows and loitering near the door.  Jan thought the scrounger might have previously received free meals from the occupants and was returning for seconds.

The M6 came and went.. and then came and went.  Somehow I think it’s the canal route that isn’t straight! Smile

The wind started to strengthen along the straight near Throstles Nest and as it was side on to Waiouru we got pushed around.  Fortunately the bulk of the remainder of the journey had trees on either side of the cut.  Unlike our journey to Coverntry, the pedestrian swing bridge at Rose Narrowboats was open meaning we didn’t have to stop. <duh… it was Saturday!>

There was a rather attractive narrow dutch barge in the boatyard poly tunnel.

The next section of the canal was  attractive with the green and gold of the trees and the surface of the canal covered in brown and gold leaves.  The only problem is that damned leaves clog up the propeller.

We had seen quite a few urban jellyfish in the Coventry Canal and suspect a number of them had become entangled around the prop. Despite having done some “bursts” in reverse to throw them off Waiouru gradually got slower.

Several boaters had left comments suggesting fuel could be obtained for a good price at Lime Farm Marina.  It’s an awkward entrance and Adam (nb Briar Rose) had mentioned they always reversed onto the diesel point so we did the same.  Unfortunately I missed seeing the diesel point and we reversed too far down the arm.  At least it provided some needed practice!

Lime Farm Marina

So here we are with the bow sticking out towards the canal filling the diesel tanks.

Domestic was 80p/ltr and propulsion £1.14.  We’re not sure whether the person who served us was a member of staff or the owner.  Either way he was most helpful and it transpired he had been out to Australia for several working holidays and wanted to go to NZ.

We reached Newbold around 3.00pm to find a trip boat had managed to snag the best mooring.  On rings and right in front of the pub.

“What’s that black and white cast iron post over there darling?  The one with the water hose connection?”

Yes, moored on the water point and gone to the pub for a long lunch!

We managed to find a gap just the right size on the 48 hour moorings.  First job was to strip off and take the plunge down the weed hatch.  I’m getting rather good at these reverse push-ups!  One hand to get a good grasp of the urban jellyfish, fishing line, jacket zips, etc and the other to weld the bread knife to surgically remove it with a vigorous sawing motion.

The last task is to mentally prepare ourselves for tomorrow’s Sunday roast at the Barley Mow!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Coventry

It would appear most bloggers write about Coventry Cathedral and the Transport Museum.  I will endeavour to only briefly cover the Cathedral and will not mention the museum.  For those blog readers who are unaware Coventry was heavily bombed during the “Blitz” of WW2.  Many lives were lost and the city cathedral was destroyed.  The unanswered question is whether the British government had prior notice of the raid from intercepted Nazi intelligence, but took no action in order to protect the secrecy of the source?

A new cathedral has been built adjacent to the ruins of the original.  I didn’t take any photos of the new cathedral except the following, which is a bronze statute of an angel triumphing over Satan.  Well that’s my interpretation.

The angel’s modesty hasn’t been outraged but after looking up between Satan’s legs I can report he (yes Satan is a male) is well endowed and uncircumcised. Smile

Wandering around the city centre I happened to glance down a narrow lane and saw an interesting building down the far end.

Ford’s Hospital

It’s an alms house dating back to 1509.  Originally it provided accommodation for five men and one woman but by the 1800’s it was exclusively for women.  The building was bombed during the “blitz” and subsequently rebuilt in 1951 using original timbers.  So despite appearance……… it not very old! Winking smile

On the opposite side of the town centre is Spon Street. The Coventry Society website includes the following information about Spon Street.

“Spon End is one of the oldest areas in Coventry. In the 12th century it was known as ‘Sponn’ or ‘Spanne’, a wooded approach to the west of the city. It was an independent community, with its own common, fields, wood, mill and waste. Spon End was outside of the City Wall. It was the main approach to the city from Shrewsbury and Chester - important centres at that time. People entered the city through Spon Gate which was next to St John the Baptist Church, which is still standing and is a much loved and used Parish Church. The Spon Gate stood from circa 1391 to 1771. This was approached by a causeway (now Spon Street) which led to a packhorse bridge, in existence in the late 13th century.”

Spon Street

I’m starting to get slightly cynical about some of these “original” medieval streets and lanes.  If I recall my history the great fire of London spread rapidly because the buildings were so close together.  I also recall pedestrians had to watch out when walking below as chamber pots were emptied from upper windows.  This street looks too wide!  However the buildings are interesting.

Some of the timber beams are still held together with the original timber pegs.

And you also believe in the tooth fairy! Smile

Back in the city centre I liked the design of the clock tower.

And so back to the Canal Basin.

This was only a brief trip to Coventry.  We will return at a future date for a more in depth look.

I’m seriously annoyed!

I woke this morning to find Jan had been weeping after she had read Jaqi Biggs latest blog post regarding her husband’s (Les) most recent experience in Watford Hospital where he is being treated for bowel cancer <http://boatlife.blogspot.co.uk/>.

After reading the post I was trembling with rage that such a situation should have been allowed to happen.  It’s completely unnecessary and inexcusable.  One omission should be investigated… more than one indicates to me a complete failure with the risk management system in the hospital (Les appears to have been though a few since being admitted).  This is an executive management failure!

The only way the current situation is going to improve is when the people with the authority know what is happening and make the essential changes to prevent a re-occurrence.  As my personal first step to initiate that change I have written to the CEO of West Hertfordshire Hospitals making her aware she has a serious problem that needs to be addressed. 

The CEO West Hertfordshire Hospitals

Dear Samantha

I hope the person who receives this email has the courage to immediately take it to you because you urgently need to know what is happening.

I strongly suggest you read the blog posts of Mrs Jacqueline Biggs whose husband, Les Biggs, is in Watford Hospital for bowel cancer treatment. Mrs Biggs has been writing day blog posts about her husband’s experience with the treatment he has been receiving in hospital.

The link is here http://boatlife.blogspot.co.uk/

My wife broke down and cried this morning after reading the latest avoidable incident involving unnecessary pain and suffering. As a form senior risk manager I am extremely concerned such an environment has been allowed to evolve without having being identified and remedial action taken. I know from my own risk management experience this situation isn’t simply an issue with the treatment being received by Mr Biggs. In my opinion Watford Hospital has a systemic and cultural risk management problem which requires urgent executive management intervention.

You may note on Mrs Biggs blog that it is ranked 14th most popular amongst the nation-wide boating community and, I can see that in the very near future the blog will go “Viral”.

I do not expect or want a reply to this email. I believe you need to focus all your efforts on implementing a formal investigation and risk mitigation plan into rectifying the systemic hospital work-culture problems described by Mrs Biggs.

Yours sincerely

My next interim step will be to carefully and regularly read Jaq’s blog posts to see if there is an immediately improvement in the quality of Les’ treatment.  Should there be no immediate change I will contact all the Hertfordshire Hospital Trustee’s and appraise them of the situation.  If necessary I will ask all of you (our reader) to also write an email expressing your concern.  I have further steps should they be required!

I do not see this as a problem with the frontline medical staff.  They don’t manage the budget, allocate the resources, select agency from which to employ temporary staff.  All that is done by the managers.  The manager need to be held accountable.  If there are insufficient resources to meet the demand then the Trustees must either obtain additional resources or cut back on certain types of operation.  The politicians can then take the criticism for longer waiting lists.  No patient should suffer from a lack of competent staff or resources.

Several years ago Australia introduced legislation for the criminal charge of “Industrial Manslaughter”.  Business leaders hated it and seriously advocated it’s repeal.  I now think it was actually a good move.  If managers knew they might go to prison for failing to provide a safe working environment then I suspect situations like Jaq describes wouldn’t occur.

Normal blog posts will resume after I have calmed down!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

“Wot’s up Skip?”

Well if you weren’t a child or parent in Oz or NZ during the 60’s you probably haven’t heard of or seen the Australian childrens TV seriesSkippy the Bush Kangaroo”.  The adventures of a young Aussie boy and his intelligent Kangaroo.  Every so often the Kangaroo would notice something was wrong and our young hero would say “Wot’s up Skip?”  Recently either Jan or I would proclaim “Wot’s up Skip!” as we approach or exit a bridge.  Not because there is a Kangaroo.  But they do hop….. and so do a number of the boats observed near bridges! Smile  Our first winter on the canals was rather static at the eastern end of the K&A so we hadn’t previously observed this phenomenon.  It wasn’t that prevalent during the height of summer but now we’re noticing a number of tired looking boats appearing near bridges, towns and boater facilities.  We’re wondering where they have been hiding all summer?

It rained quite heavily during the night but I woke to a glorious dry and sunny Autumn day.  Jan didn’t…. She was up well before dawn!  Last night I went for a walk around the local area attempting to take some photos.  If I use the flash it doesn’t have sufficient power to illuminate the scene.  If I turn off the flash the shutter stays open so long I blur the photo.

After all my attempts only the photo of The Greyhound pub proved to be in focus. 

We left our mooring around 9.30am with Jan walking to the stop lock.  Two boats appeared from the opposite direction and I had to loiter at the entrance to the lock whilst the crew of the first boat (a hire boat) attempted to organise themselves.  Jan stepped in a gave practical advice and assistance.  Meanwhile I was attempting not to hit touch the boat moored to my starboard (right).  The hire boat eventually exited the lock and then the crew in the bow pointed to the water point.  The boat I was attempting not to come into contact with was MOORED on the water point and had been overnight.  Moreover they had their engine running charging the batteries.  What a cheek……….

The novice steerer on the hire boat then had the difficult task of trying to reverse across the canal and onto the small gap immediately in front of the boat moored on the water point.

We passed through Hawkesbury Junction onto the Coventry Canal towards Coventry.  Immediately beyond the junction there is another water point.  And this one also had an unattended boat moored on the water point.

Boat on the water point mooring…… Nice bollards to moor on I suppose!

Jan managed to find a friend at the water point and both of us were surprised at how brazen she was.

It didn’t take long to top up the tank and we were soon on our way.  I was distracted leaving the mooring and for a split second though we were about to have a close encounter with a landing swan.

Fortunately the bird and fish were all welded in place.  We noticed a number of plastic bags had been left hooked on the railings beside the canal and assume some public spirited local citizen has been leaving them for others to dispose their rubbish.

There was a lack of litter so this appears to be a successful strategy.  The local authorities have gone to some expense to make the area look nice but there is an obvious lack of “official” rubbish bins.

There are mooring rings just beyond bridge 9.  If you cross over the canal using Bridge 9 there is a footpath down to the big Tesco.  It is also a retail park and we made the trip to revisit Decathalon.  This time Jan did buy the heavy down jacket.  I think it’s a bargain at £29.99.  The jacket isn’t waterproof so Jan will have to wear her lightweight raincoat over it.

We must have passed through an ethnic Indian or middle eastern area as the bred for the ducks had changed shape.

Jan was rather proud of her photo of the lights under the bridge although we noted a number of them required new bulbs.

There are at least three locations between Hawkesbury Junction and Coventry where there are residential moorings.  These looked to be squeezed in.

I remembered the curved pedestrian footbridge from last time we came this way (2005).  Actually it’s one of the few things I do remember about this part of the canal. Winking smile

And now we are moored in the basin.  Last time I failed to wind and got myself into all sorts of strife.  This time it went much easier.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Off on a “Jolly”

Some last minute Tesco shopping and then we were on our way to the water point at Newbold.  A boat appeared from the opposite direction just as the tank was full.  He wanted water so Jan left the tap unlocked.  As we passed the the boat he told us another boat was behind him in the Newbold Tunnel; so we loitered near the tunnel portal until the second boat had exited and then motored through.  The tunnel is dual but going solo makes navigation easier.  I’d already telephoned Lime Farm Marina to enquire about the price of diesel.  The line was engaged the first two times and then it went to answerphone for the remaining three.  After that I gave up!  There’s another boatyard on the right (northern side) after the tunnel.  They had three fuel signs on display.  The first we could see stated £1.11  60/40 split.  I’m not interested in a 60/40 split.  As we passed opposite the fuel bowser there was a second sign.  Fuel from 80p any declaration.  Now that’s what I want to see.  But the third sign said No Fuel.     @#$%^&*…..  Oh well, we’ll check on the way back!
We were on unfamiliar water once we had passed the entrance to Brinklow Marina.  Perhaps that’s not strictly true as we cruised the Warwickshire Ring in a clockwise direction in 2005.  so we would have gone down the North Oxford rather than up it.  As we approached Bridge 30 I said to Jan “I think I remember a pedestrian swing bridge around the corner”.  And I was right! The canal bisects Rose Narrowboat base and they have a small pedestrian swing bridge that needs to be opened in order to cruise through their base.  We don’t have a photo as it was raining. 
Further along we passed under the M6 motorway.  Both of us questioned how many times we must have driven over the canal without realising it was below.  There is a water point at Ansty Village and as it came into view we could see a small CRT tug on the water point.  The crew of two also saw us approaching and frantically untied their mooring ropes to get out in front of us.  I just slowed down as we’re not in a rush.  The same couldn’t be said for the CRT tug which was making a huge wake as it raced off ahead of us.  However he was slowing down when passing moored boats.
There had been no sign of any CRT work between Rugby and Ansty so we wondered why they were out on the boat.  Was it a “Jolly?” (going off and having a good time).  Our question was answered just after bridge 7 where we found a maintenance crew upgrading the towpath.  They had two barges; one of which had a small excavator; and they were clearing the waterlogged topsoil before placing down some geotextile matting and back filling with fine aggregate.  The CRT tug crew were moving the barges beside the towpath.
It was a squeeze getting past without damaging the paintwork, but we managed.
This stretch of the canal is visually attractive, however I wouldn’t moor here because the M6 motorway is on the other side of the hedgerow.
Jan noticed a couple of boats on mooring rings at Bridge 4.  The crews looked like they were off to the Elephant & Castle pub, a short distance up the road.  We carried on and found a vacant 7 Day mooring just short of the stop lock at Hawkesbury Junction.  The DTV aerial is up and the TV is set to record the latest episode of Poriot.  The Roadpro has also found the “dot in the sky” so both bases are covered for tonight.