Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Leek reflections

I have taken a fair amount of stick for my weeks holiday destination - Leek via Stoke on Trent. The joke is on them really as we had a great time. I love this country and the people and places.

The weather was good and the fishing better, some beer and no work - do I really need much else plus the carbon footprint of my holiday must be one of the lowest around ?

We made Burston at about 4.15 pm - so that was about 10 hours - I think the most we have ever done is 14 when we brought Waterlily back from Whilton. The engine never missed a beat just a couple of turns on the greaser half way through and all was fine.

The mooring here is really one of my favourites - made so by the Greyhound pub about 10 minutes walk away. We met Charles there and had a really nice meal. I then took Leia a walk and found a really nice trail - I must consult memory map more and do more walking like Sue of No Problem - the fishing gets in the way....

The above was taken on my phone at just after 9pm - most nights I could fish to 10pm.... This is a lake just off the T&M I did not quite get the time to investigate more but a reason to revisit.

The final couple of days to follow.


Thursday, 25 June 2009

The longest day.....

Well for this trip and for a while. We set off from the bottom of Stockton Heath locks this morning at 6.15 am and a boat had already passed us.

The plan is to get to Burston on the Trent & Mersey - the Greyhound pub to meet up with our next crew mate, Rachele's dad. He likes to get aboard so a short two day cruise back to Fradley will be his part of the trip.

We left Leek 'basin' yesterday and took a beautiful cruise down the Leek branch of the Caldon - it is to be recommended and we will certainly cruise this route again. I'd like two weeks to allow shorter cruising days and also get to froghall - we have been there before but the Churnett valley is beautiful.

Leek end of navigation was a little of an anti climax - Leek certainly does not embrace the canal . There was moorings for about 5 boats and I expertly reversed Waterlily into the only spare space - when we left there was space for three boats. It was very quite and peaceful on the moorings and Leek town centre can be walked in about 15 - 20 minutes.

I'll post some photo's when I get back but for now I'd better take my turn on the tiller. I was going to say we are approaching the less nice parts of the Caldon as it goes into Stoke - but as posted before this part of the canal is much improved and I think the locals are doing their bit to keep it clean.


O a persona PS - both my sons passed their driving tests this week - one day apart - I am really proud

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Cruisng times

Maily for my own reference when we do such trips again....

From Fradley to Kings bromley 3 hours

From Fradley to Great Haywood 6 hours

From Great Haywood to Stone 5 hours

Stone to Barleston 3 hours

Barleston to top of Stoke locks 4 hours

Etruia to Stockton brook - 2 and a half hours

Caldon is so much improved

Not need on the Caldon for a few years - it was the first trip we did on Sylph our shared boat.

The few miles out from Etruia id so much improved. Very little rubbish in the canal and the tow path must have had millions spend on it. Only thing it needs is some cutting back, not a big problem as we did not meet many boats.

We are moored just below the Stockton Brook locks - beautiful and peaceful. Leek today and hopefully some pics later.....



Been a friend for the last twenty years. We have shared so any joyous moments together. Ever reliable, very capable. We have been on many of the boat trips plus some other weekend rambles. I'll miss Rod.

So I have got to find a tackle shop to buy another one. Snapped in half as I was trying to clear a tangle. O well $hit happens as they say. On the same day the tip came of one of the small whips I use for fishing so I am down to a 4 meter pole - still caught some nice fish including a good 5 pound bream from Great Heywood on Saturday evening.

The car broke down on Friday night as I was on my way to the tackle shop - £350 cher ching !!

My wind up radio id fubar'd as well ........

I'll post on where we are later....


Sunday, 21 June 2009

How I'd wished I'd not said that

This time last week I took a ride out on my bike to Stone As I type this we are at Stone on Waterlily. It is a wee bit busier than last week.

Yesterday it was like the M1 boataway from Kings Bromly to Great Heywood. THREE boats overtook us yesterday - I must be the slowest boater on the cut - yes I do slow down for moored craft - am I the only one ?

Today has been a bit easier - apart from the plum who darted out within a boats length of Rachel so he could get to Hoo Mill lock first. It just meant he had the lock to do on his own as I sat and watched him - I think he got the message.

Anyhow I'm about to be a single hander as Rachel and her mum do Stone while I take Waterlily up the locks.

Hopefully onto the Caldon towards Leek tomorrow after dropping the mother in law off at Stoke ,


Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Cost of living aboard part II

I recently blogged about the cost of living aboard see here

I have found a really good discussion on the topic from the canal world forums - you can read it without fear of being flamed by some of the less than friendly subscribers.


I shouldn't be so hard on the forum -I have got a lot of good information and advice from them. Just know that it can be like the school play ground in there sometimes.

Back to the point..... £600 is the starter for ten. That is cheapish?? I suppose it really depends on how you want to live/can afford to live. I remember when we were first married how we saved for stuff and mended and made do..... now we don't because we can afford to buy replacements or buy something (not quite a boat I might add) without a lot of thought to our ability to afford it.

Food for thought and a good source of comment and information,


Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Not sure you have noticed but......

By not moving pictures once I have inserted them (I move the text around the pictures now) - my pictures are clickable.....

This one was taken on our Ashby cruise in April - this is the Coventry not the Ashby. I took it because the gent on the boat Rachel had just passed was cruising in a bowler hat, click the photo and you'll see.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Giving up blogging

Two very able and enjoyable blogs have stopped/disappeared over the last couple of weeks.


Ten Bob Note

I understand Jo is taking a break but Ernie has given up citing it was taking too much time. At the same time Andrew on Granny Buttons is considering email bankruptcy Blimey - is this the same theme as those who retire from work and then come back and tell me they do not know how they did it all while working..... the time is filled with emptying the poo tanks, getting freshwater and cruising - I really hope it is (add fishing in there a well as this will take up a lot of my time should I ever get free from the rat race)

A the end of the day it depends what you blog for, I do it for my own pleasure and as an on line diary almost - certainly not for the readership as my readers are like hens teeth.... but appreciated all the same (thanks mum)

One thing is for sure there are many bloggers out there blogging about their lives afloat or their dreams of getting afloat or those like me dithering and wishing to make the move permanent.

Take care bloggers, resting bloggers and ex bloggers alike !


Sunday, 14 June 2009

Quite T&M at Stone

The weather was too nice not to be on the motorbike today so I snuck off on my own for a trip to Stone.

Stone is a place I think I'd like to retire to or move to. It hasn't had the wannabe city makeover that Derby has. So many of our cities are the same now. One thing about travelling on a boat is you get to see some untouched towns - long may they last.

One thing was obvious was how quite the Trent and Mersey was today. The 48 hour moorings above star lock were empty when I rrived and there was only one boat on the 12 hour shopping moorings (where we broke down last year !)

When ever we have been through Stone it always seems busy. I didn't check the 14 day mooring below Star lock though.

I have to have a canal fix and today was it. On the way back I called into Mercia to make arrangements to cruise on Coopers Pride. Ian seemed busy so I'll leave the arrangements to email later.......

We are off again on Waterlily next weekend with crew changes a plenty... more to follow.

Enjoy the sun, I am typing this in my back garden on my wifi on my diddy Sony.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Snap decisions

We took a snap decision late yesterday to come to Waterlily for an overnighter…. We were at the local Sainsbury at about 6.30 and were sitting down to a nice Indian (2 for eight quid offer) by about 8pm.

This is one of the great things about our mooring we can be aboard within the hour and it still feels like we are on holiday.

We went for a lovely walk after our meal down the Coventry and we met our first boat - Comet. She is for sale but with no price. It looks like Josie who brought her from us still lives aboard – there were plants on the stern. She looked n good condition (that the boat not Josie, but we did not meet Josie as the boat was unoccupied. It nice and a little humbling to know a boat we did not think we could enjoy holidaying on has been someone’s home for the last two years. It certainly gives another perspective to our thinking on upgrading Waterlily.

We woke to rain on the roof and now as I’m typing this its lashing down and there is a great thunder storm overhead, sheet lightening and long rumbles of thunder – great. I love extreme weather, especially when we do not have to cruise in it. I have the fire lit (how daft would that have been last week when my car temp sensor was recording 32c !) coffee on and an internet connection.

Re Cooper Pride, I did get a call from the boat yard last night with some details on the Gardner engine …….


Just had a massive clap of thunder – the storm must be right overhead now !

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Advice..... update

I posted this a week or so ago..... clickity

I am still waiting for the information followup about the boat so no progress.

Whenever I have brought a car or bike I get follow up calls - normally unsolicited, so to have strong interest in a £60,000 boat and get no follow up calls - even though I have asked for them to pass me info is a surreal experience !!


Is living the dream better than the dream?

In continuing my voyage of contemplation I keep coming back to Christmas.

Not because I feel that Christmas on the cut would be nice, more my recollections of when a lad of Christmas day being such an anticlimax.

The anticipation in many instances is much better than the event and I fear this would be the case with spending a significant time on the boat.

At the moment I always look forward to getting aboard, I wonder how much of that enjoyment would be lost.

I heard on the news recently that a Spanish company was offering 5 year breaks from work on 30% pay with a guarantee of your job back ......now I might start canvassing for that !


Thursday, 4 June 2009

Who do livaboards need to rely on?

Reflection.......on wine so be aware ! (Written last night and edited sober today.....)

Sometimes my head just isn't big enough to hold all the thoughts I have so I am relieved to be able to talk them out (poor wife) or type them out - the latter in this case.

One of the biggest issues of living the corporate dream is the reliance on so much and so many.

The bin man
People on the park (who complain)
Mortgage rates
etc etc

So it got me thinking who would I need to rely on if I was a liveaboard.......

My Boat
My wife
My dog
British Waterways
Dongle service providers -Internet
Boat yards
God - if (s)he exists for the water

Not a lot else really and do you know why - because if you don't like it just move on.......

So I have realized if you live on a boat you have to cruise....?

So much in life is complicated by other people, in most cases they just get involved when you don't want them to

The job stuff - now that is the difficult bit. Jo on Hadar commented on one of my other ponders about this subject she and Keith accept the simple life. Clickty I have to assume in my case simple would be cheap.

Real life example, as I typed the last sentence, I took a glug of red wine and promptly spilt it down my work shirt, result, the need to buy another work shirt, if it was a T shirt then I could still cruise in it - in fact it would be a well regarded boaters uniform shirt as I think most boaters like a drink....

So what keeps me from taking the decision to change a lifestyle............

...........that'll be money, very difficult to keep moving and pay the bills unless you are a lottery winner, retired or just have a lot of money (which I don't) Could be an option to be a boat husband, I think the T&M has just enough cruising distance to not make me a bridge hopper but allow my wife to keep working and commute back to the boat......

More wine I think.


Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Ay up me duck .... and 3

We have had a close neighbour for the last 4 weeks.

I am sure she chose our mooring because of the long grass, so she must have been surprised as we were when BW cut our gras (thanks BW) but you might have imagined they would have left her some cover - they strimmed upto her nest

Anyhow on arriving to test my new 3 dongle today I noted the empty nest and saw her proudly taking her new brood for a swim/paddle/float or whatever ducks do.

So a happy ending

The three dongle - another happy ending I am typing this with a reliable if weak connection with the modem on the roof - I haven't got my tripod as per Halfies post and when I do I'm going to try the pringles can approach to get a directional ariel..... but its a lot better than it ever was.


Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The sky highway - safer on a NB?

Took this shot from our upper landing window last week....... flightpath crisscross

It is topically sad that air travel does have a risk - one that we are less and less aware of. I know when we recently went to America it was a surreal experience, so much comfort and 'taken for grantedness' that we boarded flew for 8 hours and landed whilst being exposed to some very inhospitable environments and stresses and strains on the machine.

It certainly puts our narrowboat holidays into some perspective !

Monday, 1 June 2009

Oh no 3 again but this could be useful?

I have blogged about 3 a few times, poor service not Mac friendly and a connection like a whores draws......

I recently got directed to this link clickty which is a 3 modem for a fiver.

Always a sucker for technology and the dongle is the later type (MF627) from the white jobbie that I have tried before so I went for it.

BIG difference is that this new one plugs in and installs the Mac software no problem - something the first one just did not do.

I used the sim I have plenty of credit left on rather than registering the one that came with it. But read the web site and it gives good advice on getting unrestricted data access. I'll save it for when my prepaid data amount runs out.

I'm using this one (at home) easily - big test will be to take it to the boat which in the interests of mobile dongle testing I'll do tomorrow.

I have also brought a 5 metre USB off ebay for a couple of quid that will get us some outside coverage if we need it - I'll report back in a couple of days