Thursday, 24 May 2012
Saturday, 17 April 2010
Monday, 5 April 2010
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
It was the first warm day of the year so the boat club was busy as we left. The Trent was pretty high and passing Derwent Mouth there were lots of small whirlpools and the boat got pushed and pulled around before making it onto The Trent and Mersey. We stopped off for lunch in Shardlow and opened a bottle on board to celebrate. It was just like a scene from 'On Golden Pond'.
Sunday, 21 February 2010
Bring on the warmer weather... and let the boating begin!
Sunday, 10 January 2010
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Monday, 3 August 2009
There's now plenty of storage and both seats pull together to make a double bed. I spent Sunday morning varnishing them.
Before this we've been managing with a futon and dinner on a tray. The layout of the boat was a bit confusing with a table stuck to the wall and not enough room for two free standing chairs.
At the same time as the fixed seating we've also had shelves put in the cuboard, so even more storage!
CUSHIONS YET TO BE MADE!!
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Salter Lode was a lock which had been cause for concern. For months they'd been a stoppage as a new lock gate was brought over from Belguim. All had not gone smoothly and soon after it was fitted it had malfunctioned and boaters had been complaining on the net how they'd been stuck for days while emergency repair work was carried out. I watched as the shiny new gate slid down, it was incredibly slow taking around 6 minutes to lower. I kept my fingers crossed until I heard the gate 'clunk' shut.Entering The Middle Levels was a like the calm after the storm and the afternoon sun turned into warm evening light. We put the kettle on and enjoyed a cuppa soaking up this tranquil waterway. We had plans to make March that night however we soon realised this was never going to happen. We decided on Upwell or Outwell instead. We cruised through Outwell and progress was slow through a very narrow waterway with big clumps of reeds. Our American friends had caught us up and I pulled over to let them overtake - big mistake. We grounded and Andy pushed hard on the bank with the barge pole. Soon after it was my turn to get us on the move as I was forced to detangle reeds from around the prop. We pressed on, I'd phone through and the lock keeper advised us she was out in the morning and if we didn't want a delay she could help us through before dusk. We arrived at Marmot Priory lock at sundown and the Americans were waiting in the lock making small talk with the lady lock keeper - Marmite and Digestive Biscuits were the topic, two things they'd never encountered before. They too decided March was out of reach tonight and as they were first they took moorings on the right. We attached ourselves to a work boat and hammered a stake into the ground on the steepest of embankments. Making the pub that night would be a challenge, however the lock keeper had offered us a lift!
Saturday, 18 July 2009
St Ives to Sawley, week one:
It was always going to be challenge: a new boat, a tight schedule and a crew change half way up The Nene.
I was picking up 'Thursdays Child' from The Pike and Eel marina on The Ouse near St Ives. I'd been waiting several weeks for Salters Lode lock to re-open after being closed for nearly 6 months. This was vital as with it shut it blocked our only way home. I'd been searching for a new boat for quite some time and I'd seen 'TC' on the net but she was out of my price range. I'd made a lower, much lower offer and it'd been accepted. Great news! the money had cleared, the paperwork signed and a new BW licence was in the window. She was mine and ready to start her long journey home - a new home.
A good mate was helping out for the first week. Andy, had a bit boating experience. He'd just got back from a fancy dress 'pirate' weekend up the Llangollen, I'm not joking! That however was a leisure cruise, this was going to be extreme boating. We'd been dropped off the night before by Estelle and had a few beers before hitting the hay fairly early so we could make a good start on our first morning. With a mug of tea in my hand, a bright blue cloudless sky and the boat dripping in morning dew I attempted to start her up. It chugged over but nothing! I tried again and nothing, and again and again and again... nothing! My heart sank and I had that churning feeling in my stomach. The batteries had been charged, I'd pumped a bit of petrol round the outboard and even I'd pulled the choke, what was wrong? It was on the fifth or sixth attempt Andy - a Rolls Royce engineer said 'Stu, have you attached your safety cord to the engine? It's on the boats keyring'. Of course I hadn't, thankfully that was problem solved and we sailed out of the small picturesque marina full of white cruisers and the odd narrowboat.
When buying the boat I asked if there everything we needed on board: a windlass, rope, full gas bottle etc, 'of course' was the reply and indeed TC was very well equipped. Unlucky for us there was one vital piece of equipment missing. It'd taken us around 40 minutes to reach the first lock. A huge electric guillotine affair with gates 50 feet high and a huge metal door which slid up and down. Cruising the canals and rivers of the midlands I'd never seen anything like it. Both Andy and I jumped ship to try and figure out how to work it. It was then I noticed a small sign: 'An Environment Agency key is needed to work this lock'. A what? I'd got a British Waterways key but not an EA key? The next 15 minutes was spent turning the boat upside down and inside out in search of this illusive key with no luck. It was still only 7.30am and we'd 2 options; wait for another boat or go back to the marina and try and find someone with a key. Neither of them seemed ideal as we'd not seen a sole since getting up. All was very very quiet.We waited around for ten minutes or so before I bit the bullet and reversed the boat back out of the lock. This was not turning into my best days boating and around half an hour later later we were back to where we'd started from. Andy and I split up, he attempted to wake the landlord of the local where we'd been drinking the night before and I spotted one lonely figure on the far side of the marina. I ran round and greeted him out of breath explaining our predicament. 'It's your lucky day' he replied, I looked bemused, 'I work for The Enviroment Agency and I've two keys, if you wait here you can have one!' Sometimes in life you really do get lucky and this was one of those occasions. I thanked him and asked him if he wanted payment to which he declined. What a gent! Andy apologised to the landlord who was on the phone to a boating mate asking him to get out of bed and get over here with a key..!! We made a sharp exit, set sail... again! and this time took a steady pace back up to the first lock and onto our destination for the night; Littleport - a good days cruise away.
To be continued...
Friday, 17 July 2009
Not sure the (C) issues on this? But as a regular reader of WW hope they'd turn a blind eye on this 'one off special'.
My friend produced this cover for my dad's birthday, he loved it and so did I! Any mock magazine to order... usually though, not such a blatant copy!
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Well, we did encounter on one half submerged Tesco trolley. I got rather wet de-tangling a carrier bag from around my propeller, also from Tesco! And we met 3 noisy teenagers skiving school at Long Eaton Lock. But contrary to the warning we had brilliant time and I can really recommend the Erewash to other boaters. It's canal of great diversity; brilliant wildlife, industrial heritage with town and country along the way.
This was no pleasure cruise it was work, well kind of! My mate Matt was producing a film for BBC's Inside Out (East Midlands) about the 'fisher folk,' anglers on the Erewash and the presenter Ray Gosling was using 'TC' to get from A to B.
The day prior to filming we'd taken the boat up to Langley Mill basin and met some of the chaps from the Erewash Preservation Association. They'd given us the tour and I'd purchased one of their impressive plaques as a memento and proof I'd made it right to the end of the navigation! I'd spent the night at their facilities and very clean and tidy they were too.
The crew arrived at 10am sharp and we commenced filming and started the trip south back down to Trent Lock. Ray had brought a jam jar and a pink fishing net (see below) hardly your carbon fibre rod and reel but he was optimistic about his chances.
It took us around 7 and a half hours to get up the Erewash. The journey back down was much slower and took us the best part of 2 days as we were stopping off to meet anglers along the way.
We encountered a young mum fishing alongside her pushchair with an 8 week old baby! an ex-British champion who'd landed a 30 pound carp near Shardlow on the Trent back in the 1980's and Irene a lovely lady who showed Ray the perch she'd just caught. It was hardly the deadliest catch... I've owned goldfish bigger, nevertheless Ray cried out as he claimed the fish had bitten him.. as revenge maybe?
All in all it was a great trip and Tony (series producer) even posted a clip on You Tube so I could send a message home to baby Charlie.
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Thursday, 9 July 2009
The is trip known to boaters as 'The Leicester Ring' and it's around 150 miles by water with loads of locks along The Trent and Mersey Canal, Coventry Canal, Oxford, Grand Union and others. This picture shows my dad (Ron) in front of the Leicester Space Centre. At the next lock a teenager jumped in the canal just as I opened the paddles and all the water rushed in...! What a nutter.
For the few years we had 'Bellota' we moored in Dobsons Yard in Shardlow and Sawley Marina, which leads me onto this picture. This is our friend Phamie who came to visit. The only problem with Sawley is when the River Trent floods you're stuck and can't go anywhere. This is one of those occasions, however determined to still going boating we had a beer on the boat.
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
First blog in the captain's log... Thursdays Child is now out of the water on The Erewash and having her bottom cleaned and blacked. The hull was totally covered in fresh water mussels, there must have been thousands and thousands. It was a rather unpleasant job scraping them off and the smell was terrible! The boat has to ready for Monday as she's being used as a prop on a tv programme about angling. This will also be the first time I've been up to the top of the Erewash so I'm looking forward to seeing this part of the East Midlands by water.