Sunday, 13 October 2013

Alvecote and back

With a long daily commute through the week we only had one brief trip for some maintenance in September before our week in October.  Familiar ground, but very pretty and good to get away.

 ...and only one misadventure to report.  Returning to the boat in Braunston after lunch, the lock on the boat door would not open.  Fortunately we had forgotten to secure another hatch, so could get back in without breaking anything.  It turned out that the snib had snapped off the the face of the latch, and a component inside the lock had dropped to deadlock it.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Stratford, Birmingham and breakdowns

With uncertainty over work, we had deferred a planned June holiday into August, so were more than ready for a break.  It was a pleasant journey that we've done before, although this time punctuated by a series of breakdowns and other issues. The first was a broken throttle cable that had us limping along to the next decent road access at Preston Bagot to get RCR to come with a replacement.
After some time in Stratford we decided to head into Birmingham, noticing along the way that one of the alternators wasn't producing the voltage it should, and the domestic battery bank was suffering as a result. So we spent a day in Birmingham trying to get help to fix it, and eventually taking it off and getting it fixed in a place in Smethwick.

Our next misadventure was going firmly aground at Kings Norton junction, taking the joint efforts of two passing boats to pull us clear again.  It was beginning to feel as though it was merely a question of what would break next, but we had a trouble free day to reach the top of Lapworth locks.  Next morning though, the engine died just after setting off, so another call to RCR.  By the time they arrived I had found the problem, a broken wire to the fuel pump.  Of course these pumps are no longer made, so several hours were consumed locating a substitute.
 It was still a very enjoyable holiday, despite the setbacks.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Monday, 6 May 2013

May Bank Holiday

Saturday dawned with some distinctively un-promising squalls after a windy night.P1000085
However, things were looking better by lunchtime at the Folly, and even better in time for Sunday lunch at Fenny Compton, where the water point and winding hole were in the usual state of chaos.
Monday was equally sunny, so we passed the marina with the intention of lunch at the Boat.  Unfortunately two things intervened:
1. The Boat is closed, (again), it is so hard to keep track.
2.  CaRT have done some work to reduce erosion and make the bank more wildlife friendly above Stockton Top Lock.  Unfortunately this makes the canal just a few inches too narrow to turn a 58 foot boat.  As ever, there were crowds of people about to watch us discover this.  On the up side, we could still turn easily below the top lock…

Saturday, 6 April 2013


We’d been looking forward to getting away for an extended Easter break.  As it turned out though, a combination of flu and a cold spell meant we spent the weekend at home.  Health and weather seemed to be improving a bit by Tuesday so we made the trip up to Ventnor Farm.
Having ignored the boat for three months it was a relief to find that the only issue was a flat starter battery, (soon worked around with a jump cable).  After a few bits of maintenance on Tuesday we set off in a bitter wind on Wednesday through the recently broken ice for lunch at the Folly, (via Calcutt Boats whose mechanic kindly loosened a fuel filter that I couldn’t shift the day before).  
It was still cold and windy the next day, with exposed skin stinging even before the snow started.  It was an eventful trip to Braunston.  First we needed help after getting stuck on the mud near Shuckburgh, then at the Puddle Banks we were flagged down to tow NB Firefly back to Braunston.  The new owners were out for their first trip with a trainer having just bought the boat – not an ideal start for them.
Lunch at the Admiral Nelson, and the next day bought a new starter battery from Midland Chandlers and then back again to the marina, and another visit to the Daventry branch of Screwfix for a new kitchen tap. 
So we spent several days doing little more than we usually do in one, but it was good to get out again and get the boat straight for what I hope will be a better year’s cruising than the last one.