Saturday, 23 February 2008
When we were on waterlily last weekend I used the sky card, but found it would not let me view my package channels as it was in a different receiver. I spoke to sky today about this and they said if I wanted to use the card on another box I could do so but I would have to phone sky up every time. So I went Sue's way on Nb No problem and ordered a freesat card from sky (they are only valid for three years, I wonder if Sue is aware of this?)
This should be fine for when we are on the boat - we don't watch a lot of telly on the boat but when we do I prefer it to be clear rather than the grainy pictures we have had with the old aeriel.
I got my new phone yesterday - its the Tytn II which has built in GPS - excellent. I have loaded up windows live which uses the GPS to plot where you are using either road maps or satellite images. It is VERY impressive, I can't see me getting lost ever again - I just need to buy a waterproof bag for it when I am on the boat.
The Brompton continues to impress. On my extended trial I have taken to going a very long way to work. I do want to try and cycle back from Fradley, I'll just wait until the weather gets better for that test.
I have also ordered a pipe thermostat from ebay. I will be fitting it to the back boiler pump to make the central heating a little more efficient, especially at night when the fire is a little cooler - by lowering the stat temp it should pump every now and again during the night keeping the rads warmish in the bedroom. I also have a digital engine hours counter to fit - so roll on the clocks going forward when I can go to the boat after work. I may even move her to Willington for a week or so to enable me to get to her in the evenings to do these little jobs - plus a definite use for the Brompton.
When I was at the boat earlier I gave the stove a good clean - including the glass - anyone got advice on keeping it clean, our squirrel stove has the vent thing on the door but it still seems to soot up?
I'll get onto the next chapter of the sale of Comet next.....
Thursday, 21 February 2008
I have used it already when dropping Comet off at Streehay to get back to Fradley and my car. All in all a very versatile bike.
One of the benefits of my job (the transport side) is getting involved in alternatives to the car. We have just brought a couple of Bromptons, nothing interesting about that other than these are electric Bromptons. We have tried a few electric bikes but I think these are the best so far. They are glorified prototypes but still for sale from a bike shop Oxford way. (Details can be supplied on request)
The biggest benefit as I see it is they only have minimal extra weight so should you want to ride them without the battery - just don't plug it in. The battery is carried in a modified front carrier. The bikes ride well and the motor does support the rider very well, if I get a chance I will give it a tow path test ride (the suppliers suggest 40 miles in assisted mode - I doubt that but half that would be good)
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
We walked to the Trent and back which time a couple of Shakespeare boats were cracking their way through Alrewas.
All in all a perfectly relaxing and enjoyable couple of days. One thing we know for sure it Waterlily is a boat for all season as she kept us warm and dry even down to -7c
Roll on summer....................
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
What do you think?
I was setting up for a last hour of fishing when I remembered where I had stored my groundbait(in the engine bay away from my mice friends) I leaned in and retreived it. Unknown to me my phone had slipped out of my shirt pocket and was nestling between my jacket and shirt. As I jumped to the bank - 'plop' and the phone I had kept safe with me for the last year or so was fubar'd
It did look like this...............
The fact I left my 3g modem at home and had recently cancelled Rachel's web'n'walk meant I had an internetless weekend.
No problem for the first time in ages I read a book !
Saturday, 16 February 2008
Only problem may be ice. Looking at the BBC forecast and reading the experts blog Sanity ice is /should be expected
No problem, only do I go and buy maggots for some fishing...... ?? I remember my mum telling me stories of her and my dad cycling (on a tandem) to Shardlow, and breaking the ice with stones so they could fish - hardy souls and a simple pleasure, there is a lot to be said for it.
I did have an idea that we might make Great Haywood and back - but I think I might be a little less optimistic just in case we get iced in. (it would be a great reason not to be in work later next week !)
Friday, 15 February 2008
O yes the * .....................this was the first place I fell in !! We had moored up at Stockton top, and I had done a taxi shuttle to collect the car while Rachel cleaned the boat. Just as I was stepping onto the back of the boat in the marina/boat yard Rachel popped her head out of the back door, just in time to see me miss my footing and lower myself into the canal. I luckily had hold of the rear seat rail but I still went in to my waist. I did struggle to get out - its amazing how 'heavy' you get.
Anyhow......back to the sale of Comet
Thursday, 14 February 2008
We subsequently were advised we had interest in our share and to Ownerships credit (and at a cost) we sold our Share in Sylph and the transfer took place on the 1st April. :-(
I do not recall the exact day I first saw Waterlily on Whilton marina's web site (I wish I could pin point it for nostalgia sake) I do recall showing Rachel, jokingly saying that it was the perfect boat for us - very much like Sylph, very much the style we liked. At that time I did not imagine we would ever own her.
Whilton is exactly 50 miles from Derby and about an hour on the motorway. So as I had some time owing I took a long lunch break and drove down in appalling weather.
I like the set up at Whilton, very friendly and accommodating. I took the keys and was left to my own devices. I go on gut instinct a lot and first impressions. I had a very strong 'good feel' about Waterlily the first time I went on board. She seemed ideal, nice and clean inside - someone had loved this boat. I had been on board quite a few boats when looking as you do - pretend buying if you know what I mean. So many were dirty, damp, untidy - not the sort of place I could imagine myself. Waterlily was just the opposite nice, clean, friendly tempting...........
O blimey, that planning worm had started in my head. What had turned into a casual visit out of interest had seen me winging my way back north with all sorts of ideas and plans in my head. My doubts were based not on the boat but how easily should it be to realise a dream. And was this dream being realised too easily and should I give Comet another go and should I have not sold Sylph as we had had such good times on her.......
My poor long suffering wife Rachel had seen this all before, the reading, the planning the focus. I know she knew I was not happy with Comet, and we had discussed buying a cheap boat to get a mooring then selling it on. The planning continued.
As I saw it I had three problems,
1. I already had a boat
2. I did not have the money
3. Our mooring was only 45 foot and Waterlily was 50 foot
No 3 was the easiest and the first problem to go away - a call to the moorings officer at Fradley and she dispatched the lengthsman to check if we it would be ok to take up a little more space between Elizabeth and Mabel (I strongly suspected this would be ok but wanted the official ok) a couple of days later I got number three struck off the list.
The fact I already had a boat was a bigger problem. Money and moorings were issues so there was no way I wanted to have two boats - not even I am that greedy. I went back down to Whilton for a second look at Waterlily just to cement my desire for the boat - no problem at all. I then discussed my own boat with the staff. They said that part exchange may be an option and agreed to come and look at Comet. The fact they were travelling to see the boat gave me hope they may be in the mood for a deal. So once again I took a longer than normal lunch (bearing in mind my normal lunch breaks were five minutes eating while answering emails) a few days after my last Whilton visit to meet Rob for him to offer me a price on my boat.
I recall the day being a May day and it was soooo hot. We met on the boat and I could see straight away he thought this boat would sell. His interest was dampened by the 'wavy' lines of where the GRP shell met the hull. But the inside was practical, clean and well looked after. He spoilt the day by offering me well below what the boat was worth and what i had paid. I put forward the scenario of me taking the price and the price of Waterlily being reduced as well. He took the proposal back to his boss, but cautioned he was not optimistic.
The next day his pessimism was founded when he rang back and told me the seller was not willing to drop the price at all ! Bugger..... at this point Waterlily seemed further away than 50 miles of M1
My only option was to consider a private sale of Comet. I told Rob I would do so and if Waterlily went in the mean time - so be it, fate would deal her cards accordingly.
So on to the sale of Comet.........
Tuesday, 12 February 2008
John and Mick came down from Scotland with Prince the daft collie dog and met up with me and Tony. It was very much the same route as we had done a couple of weeks before as the stoppages were still on.
As you might imagine cooking extended to lunchtimes on the boat and then big meat meals at pubs in the evening, all washed down with vast excesses of beer. Towards the end of the week................well you can imagine what the boat was like !
We did do some boating - this is me giving Tony some instruction at Tyrley locks.... as Mick guides Sylph out expertly.
There are some great pubs on the cruising route we did, and some very friendly locals in most of them.
My last task on Sylph was to moor back up at Norbury - it was perfect, a fine end to our association with the boat. I was a little sad to lock the door for the last time (well I hoped so as our share was then up for sale).
Sunday, 10 February 2008
This picture was taken from the back doors in the very late evening on the 10th Feb, camera sitting on the cruiser stern board - a year to the day I'm writing this! (Andrew from Granny Buttons helped with the post processing to get more detail out, so thanks for that Andrew)
We had a lovely cruise down to the winding hole just above the Adderley locks. We had to wind at that point as there was a stoppage on the Audlum flight. We stopped both ways at Market Drayton, which is a town we like very much.
I really like the Shroppie, and could easily be persuaded to relocate Waterlily there, somewhere near Norbury Junction maybe? It is so atmospheric, when cruising I certainly feel so remote, which is perfect and a significant reason for being on the boat. This is Sylph on the 11th Feb (2nd boat up on the left), just waiting to depart through one of the most iconic bridges on the cut
When we got to Tyrley lock we got 'buzzed' by the RAF in one of their training helicopters. it came straight down the cut at speed, very low.
In fact we were 'tracked' for a good part of the holiday. I'm sure they were using us to track - especially as we crossed Shelmore embankment.
On the last night we moored in Grub Street cutting - one of my absolute favourites on this canal. I was fishing as the sun went down and the bird noise song was fantastic - enhanced by a couple of high speed fly pasts by the local Kingfisher, just a perfect way to end the family association with Sylph.
I know I'd be back shortly for an altogether more different, final cruise on Sylph...........
On reflection it was this trip that cemented my doubt about Comet. I liked the boat but, as the surveyor had commented, she was a bottom end boat and had limited potential. I am, by nature, someone who aspires for better things (not a good trait) but one that drives me to work hard and plan. I think I decided on that trip that Comet might not be the medium term boat we had envisaged. It was a good trip and towards the end i was regretting not packing an overnight bag.
On returning home I started to trawl Apollo Duck ............a dangerous, time consuming and expensive pastime
At this time we still had our share in Sylph and had a week booked in February half term - so a trip on the Shroppie was pending.......
Saturday, 9 February 2008
It seems I can live without being on the boat for up to two weeks, then I get very restless for some time on the boat - a small cruise or even just lighting the fire, listening to the radio and watching the canal world go by. Blogging does help as it brings back memories of trips on the canal. I think I should write some more about Comet.............................
When we first saw Tess the RSPCA told us she had shown no interest in other dogs or cats. That was very important to us as we have a 10 year old rescue cat called Tamsin. In an earlier post I commented that straight away tess was 'excited' by seeing the cat. This turned into aggression on every occasion we tried to bring them together. Tamsin did her bit - being in the room trying not to react to the dog, but as Tess got more comfortable in the house she got more aggressive towards the cat. We did not give in straight away. we took advice from a behavioural specialist and tried all week to manage the interactions between Tamsin and Tess.
Last night however Tess started to show her instinct and whilst outwardly showing no interest all of a sudden lunged for the cat. We had to have her on a harness top stop her and it was a good job otherwise I think Tamsin might have got injured, something we just could not let happen. So it was with a very heavy heart we had to take her back today. At least the RSPCA know a lot more about her. We have written a note to them and hopefully her new owners so they know what she likes and more importantly what she does not like. She is a smashing little dog, who will make a fantastic companion to any family - just no cats.
I hope they rehome her soon :-(
Sunday, 3 February 2008
Saturday, 2 February 2008
Fantastic news - only we had purposely not got all the dog stuff we would need. So we shot off to the local pet superstore and did the business.
We then parked half way between our house and the shelter and walked in. We signed all sorts of forms - the RSPCA one, chip details and a free 6 weeks insurance form. Then we left with Tess. I dropped Rachel and Callum off at the car and walked Tess home.
Biggest problem so far is Tess's 'interest' in Tamsim, our rescue cat. It is something we will have to be aware of, any advice greatly received. We were told by the RSPCA that Tess had no interest in cats or other dogs - time will tell !
So fed and watered Tess is settling in - she has found her bed already and seems to be relaxing all the time. She will need some time, peace and quite, long walks and love - all on the agenda.
A pic of Tess 'settling in' having found her bed already.