Sunday, 28 February 2010

My Freedom of Information request

I wanted info from BW on their policy on linear moorings and how many have been lost on the T&M canal. I found this resource and have used it to ask for the information.

See my request here

I think this is a useful site to allow FOI requests to be made. I should have a full response by the 23rd March..... watch this space.


Support for BW....

After my last ranting post its a surprising title..?

It is to highlight a new blog from Chris on NB Belle.

Chris is planning to offer his services as a third party (free) surveyor or I suppose more likely a banksman or linesman - not sure of the official name but someone BW used to employ to walk the bank spot problems and be responsible for their stretch of water.

Hopefully we can all follow Chris's lead and maybe down the line BW will put up on its web pages a form where photo's plus GPS co-ordinates can be posted to report work needing doing. It can only help BW surely?


Saturday, 27 February 2010

BW - and linear moorings

BW - and linear moorings

I got a call from the BW moorings officer last week. She wanted me to move my boat so another boat can squeeze in to the linear moorings I am on. There is space between us and the boats each side but it will be a tight fit to get another boat it.

There is a story to this request that I'll hold fire on for a while........ see below

Anyhow this is the second time in the last six months I have been asked to move my boat so another boat can get in.

I started writing this post a few days ago and left it in draft form. I have since been in touch with Tom the editor of Narrowboatworld and also put in a freedom of information request to find out about BW's policy on linear moorings and their reductions based on the generation of massive boat parks, marina's, BW piggy banks call them what you want.

Anyhow the email below went off today as I'd not heard anything from the moorings officer; before I got a reply, Chris who moors near Waterlily phoned to tell me someone had moved my boat...!!!! I am not sure if it is BW or the owner of the boat who 'did not win' a Hunts lock mooring - see below. Its a real mess, I can't help thinking it is indicative of a company now so distanced from boaters. If BW have any reference to its historical links then boaters should be the centrepiece of its strategy and corporate responsibility. Instead it feels like we are just a large inconvenience that means we can be treated with disrespect.

I'll visit my lifestyle investment tomorrow to see what the impact is. I want to swear so I shall just type in white..... BW are a bunch of b*****s who don't give a s**t about boaters


Further to you phone call last week I have considered the request to move my boat Waterlily at Hunts lock but have some concerns. I did leave a message on your voice mail on Friday 19th February. As I have not received a call back I thought it appropriate to write to you to express my concerns and frustrations relating to your request.

I have asked for information regarding the linier mooring reduction policy BW have developed. I did this with the help of Tom Crossley the editor at and also via a Freedom of information request.

I should detail the reason why I feel the moorings at Fradley Junction are being impacted so, and the reason for my complaint;

My understanding is that this mooring was advertised incorrectly relating to the location – the location being already ‘won’ by NB Brunel earlier in the year. The solution, a mooring at Shadehouse (this is a mooring that should have been removed as part of the BW 10-1 reduction in the report attached) which was not suitable because of silting. So I have been asked to move my boat again - I moved it after the last mooring tender for a Hunts lock mooring, despite the report stating that 6 moorings were to be lost under natural wastage for Hunts!

My frustration is that despite the report, moorings at Fradley and particularly Hunts lock are being grown not reduced as the report says. I understand BW cite the cost to support these moorings as being a reason for “exchanges’ in the sites for reduction. I understand this was the case for the last tender that should have been for Spode but was transferred to Hunts locks mooring instead. I cannot accept this as I see no cost efficiency by consolidating at Fradley, especially now the moorings officer is based in Newark. When we had the mooring officer based at Fradley I could accept this. See no other definable efficiencies by consolidating boats.

I am looking for BW’s commitment to hold the moorings at Hunts as they are and not put any new boats on there which would be in line with the report attached. In fact I would accept the reductions in the report based on natural wastage. What I cannot accept is the adhoc and confused nature of how our moorings are managed. It might seem a small issue to BW but our boat is a significant investment in money terms but also in quality of life. We pay a considerable amount for the privilege of mooring. We enjoy our mooring and have established the location and we feel we are part of the attraction of Fradley. We would like BW’s commitment not to move this boat onto our moorings and if necessary dredge the Shadehouse mooring which is not occupied to allow the tender mistake to be rectified without disturbing and inconveniencing us .


Neville Wells
NB Waterlily
Hunts Lock, Fradley junction

Friday, 26 February 2010

Allen Matthews Ownership founder

I have read on the net that Allen Matthews has died.

Sad that two ownerships posts follow each other - one full of what I associate Ownerships with - an entrepreneurial and enthusiastic focus on the canals and the other so sad reporting the death of its founder.

We had a share in Sylph for a few years and it was the perfect stepping stone for us to full boat ownership. I always considered Allen fair in my communications with him and his company.

It is a sad day and as much as any death reminds us of our own mortality the fact Allen never retired to the waterways makes me hope he got his contentment from taking Ownerships to the business it is today.

I will think again of Allen when on my boat.


Thursday, 18 February 2010

Ownerships and Fradley Junction

Last time I spoke with the owners of the boat yard at Fradley they told me they were maintaining quite a few Ownerships boats. I have just read on Ralph Freemans section of Narrowboat world that they (Ownerships) may be taking over the yard at Fradley. This is good news as we moor close to there, especially so as whilst the owners are friendly I am not 100% happy with them - especially after being charged 20 quid for a pump out last year !!

I would like to use my local yard as much as possible so I'll watch with interest the changes. It makes me wonder about the moorings there - If Ownerships do have it as a base I would expect a cheaper mooring rate for their boats so demand would be high on an already busy section. Some days it is one way traffic between Junction and Middle locks.

Fradley is a gongoozlers paradise. If was a bright but cold day when we came back from our Feb14 cruise (noticed the email address??) The visitors were out in full force - the car park was close to full - including the overspill car park.

Rachel in chatting form with the gongoozlers.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Marking the passing of time.....

It occurred to me I have seen the demise of a few blogs of boaters who have been cruisung and have given up and gone back to dry land..... it puts a mark in the timeline of my ownership of a canal boat and my interest in reading other boaters blogs.

It is a shame when a blogger gives up - for whatever reason. It seems to define the size of the canal network that someone can do it all then sell the boat and go off to do something else. I feel that canals are in my blood like motorbikes (I know that don't make good bed partners), I can't see how easy it wold be to walk away from the canals so to speak

It was reading a post by the owner of Marmaduke that got me thinking - especially of Snecklifter, who's blog and travels I was an avid follower of.


Sunday, 14 February 2010

The wilds ....

So this is our weekend retreat. We have moored here a few times and like it as not many other boats moor here and we don't get too many walkers this far from Fradley or Armatige.

I took a lovely early morning walk with Leia and took the photo below. We are just about to move on back to our Hunts lock moorings.Waterlily will then be pointing the right way to go to Willington for her paint job at Aqua Narrowboats....

Saturday, 13 February 2010

25th Wedding anniversary cruise part II

We are aboard now - a silver wedding cruise part II (part one being Egypt that I'll blog about later)

We came aboard on Thursday evening lit the fire and got cosy. We cruised to Alrewas on Friday and winded and came back up the fradley locks to the top of Shadehouse and got the last mooring - strange as there were no boats at all on the 48 hours moorings opposite the BW offices.

Our lads joined us on Friday night for a curry on board and a good time was had by all.

Today we moved on and I have just been in the engine ole to replace the alternator belt as it was squealing and the rev counter was jumping around and the green Advarc battery light was on and off = slipping alternator belt. It was at full adjustment so I stopped above Woodend lock and replaced it with a new spare on board. Now no squealing and the rev counter is showing the correct revs.

We will be winding at Kings Bromley and staying the night in the wilds to see in our 25th Wedding anniversary - perfect.


Monday, 8 February 2010

Frost - bring it on....!!

A little delayed but an update on the work on Waterlily. This was the scene last Sunday after I'd put her back together .

You will see I have left the carpet up to dry out the bit that got wet - not much at all really.

Just a flavour of what I have done on every bit of pipe work I can get access to - certainly all the kitchen back to the water pump.

I rewarded myself with a nice peaceful walk with Leia up to Woodend lock

Saturday, 6 February 2010

The frost damage was greater than first thought !!

I posted before my hols about the frost damage on Waterlily here ....

I visited today (Saturday) to fix the pipe behind the cooker shown in the pic from the link above. The cooker came out ok (lighter than I thought) and I fixed the joint by taking it back to the elbow and putting in a new piece of pipe. Turned on the water and pump only to hear the sound of running water still !!! Argh.....

I let it run for some time to find the second leak.....

The frost had opened up a run of pipe completely - under the pot cupboard of course which is very difficult to get at meaning a partial dismantling of the boat !

The split was under the cupboard middle top. I spent some time scrabbling around cutting the pipe and sweating a new piece in.

I can't beleive that none of the pipes were lagged at all. Needless to say as it went back all the pipes were lagged as best as possible.

After I fixed the 2nd leak I fired up the water pump and could hear water running in the bathroom - this time it was the washer on the shower mixer that had been damaged. So the mixed tap came off the wall and was stripped and put back - it was a teasing puzzle !

All went back pump on and up to pressure and nothing .... no water sounds no pump running on and on..... So 3-0 to the frost. It makes me wonder how many others will return to their boats in spring to the same problems. Just happy I have the tools and ability to sort out the damage.

Just got to finish the lagging and reassembly then I can enjoy the boat again