Hi I am Jo…wife, lover, best friend and soulmate to Keith. Lover of all things to do with nature and the canals. I am passionate about the Waterways and its history.
I hope you will join me in my rambles and do please comment – I love to hear from and meet new people in blogland!
Sunday 31 March 2013
We left our mooring at 9.30 am on a bright and sunny Easter Morning. There was a little ice on the canal and frost on the grass, so a perfect day for having a long cruising day. For us this was the start of the trip north in earnest. We need to get to Braunston first to get our fridge/freezer fixed and then it is onward north, so long days are expected.
At Copper Mill Lock we paired up with NB Bodica and her owner Andrew, he very kindly waited for us.
We left Copper Mill behind with Andrew following, he got held by by a widebeam across the canal, but caught us up at the next lock.
Spring seemed to have sprung, Coots were nesting and the Drakes were trying to drown the Mallards. How quickly it has come around again.
Below Stokers Lock saw this stunning parrot in the window of a boat, the bird was chatting away whilst bouncing up and down in the window.
I also spotted a Lion in hiding.
Rickmansworth was heaving with boats as usual, we had no plans to stop as there was nothing open, even the Tesco car park was empty.
We said “Cheerio” to Andrew at Lock Mead Lock and I thanked him for his company. I ducked down into the back cabin to start cooked some spicy chicken for dinner, which was then put into the stove to simmer away for the afternoon.
We met and passed Pisces at Common Moor lock.
We passed Les and Jaqueline on NB Valerie above Cassio Wharf Lock.
I do so love Cassiobury Park.
Lunch was eaten on the run and coffee and biscuits were dished up to keep the energy levels up because by the time we reached Home Park Lock, I was beginning to flag a bit.
Before mooring up on the Kings Langley Lock wides, we passed Stein and Jacquie on NB Like Ducks 2 Water.
We had both done our bit for the day and so mooring up at 4.35 pm was a long enough day, especially for me working the 16 double locks. I have a feeling I may well sleep well tonight. Before closing the boat up to the world, Paddy got a much needed brush, he has been moulting such a lot this past couple of weeks that his hair has been falling out in clumps. Once brushed I put the hair in the hedge for the birds to use for nesting. Such a wonderful day and so many lovely things seen. Cormorants, Red Kite, Kingfisher etc, there is no better way to spend Easter Day. We did see others on the move as well.
Saturday 30 March 2013
Travelled 4.4 miles, worked 4 locks in a time of 2 hours 25 minutes.
Well that was it the last few hours in dry dock. It was official because we have the mug to prove it.
Up at 7am to make sure we were ready to be re-floated. I took Paddy across to the park for his walk and said “Goodbye” to the geese.
The park is fantastic and this morning it was just Paddy and I and a couple of other dog walkers.
Back on the boat, we did the final jobs and then at 8.10am the dock was being filled with water.
A week had certainly flown by and yet we had got plenty done. Not all of the paint jobs were done, but we were pleased with the work achieved. It did not take long to fill the dock and we were pulled out.
Unfortunately when Keith started the engine it would only run on one cylinder, so we had to crawl to just before the Swan & Bottle, where we pulled in and whilst I held the boat on the centre line Keith had to strip down the engine to bleed the air out of the same injector pump. We obviously have a problem with air very slowly getting into that pump, so at some point we will have to check all the pipe connections etc, are done up tight. Yet another job that needs sorting.
Once the engine was running on both cylinders we were soon up through Uxbridge Lock and on our way to Denham Deep Lock.
We were very fortunate with the weather, whilst it was cold it was sunny and just perfect for cruising.
We arrived above Black Jack’s Lock at 10.55am, locked the boat up and walked up to see Keith’s sister and her husband who live in Harefield. We spent the whole afternoon with them chin wagging over lunch and coffee, it was wonderful to catch up with them and as you do put the world to right.
Hadar moored above Black Jacks lock and mill, a very picturesque spot. Black Jack's Mill is a Victorian property on the bank of the Grand Union Canal, and there has been a mill on site since being recorded in the Domesday Book. Doctor Who was filmed here in July 1988.
Having spent a lovely time at Keith’s sisters, we walked back to the boat, where I made us some dinner, fed the animals and then put my feet up before bed time.
Friday 29 March 2013
Yesterday I did not post because to be honest I was completely shattered.
I had mentioned revamping a footstool, well this is it. The footstool was mad by Keith’s Grandad many moons ago and was looking a little sad, so I rubbed it down and varnished it, then recovered it with some of the material I have used for cushion covers. I am really chuffed with it.
Anyway back to the blacking, actually there was no blacking involved because we had finished that bit, but I had the tunnel bands to paint red and the bow red to paint. So paintwork done, it was on to the other sewing jobs I had lined up.
I reused the red door curtain material and made some cushion covers for the back cabin cushions. The hearts were made from material used for the back cabin curtains and I bought a bit of cotton lace from the market in Uxbridge. Nothing to exciting, but I like them. Keith and I went into town because I wanted to buy a new shower mat, towels and flannels. Wilkinson’s were doing a great deal on bath sheets, Two for £10 and so it seemed the ideal time to update ours. We also had lunch out at Tai Pan a Chinese Buffet near the boatyard. Four years ago we had a meal there and were so impressed with the food and service, it was no different this time. The staff are so very friendly and the food is amazing well worth a visit if your in Uxbridge. Later in the afternoon Carrie off of NB Blackbird came round for a coffee and a lovely chinwag.
After a nights sleep interrupted by the good old Menopause sweats, Keith and I were sat in bed drinking tea at 7 am discussing the days jobs. I was up by 8 am and the day began as usual for Paddy, he got his walk around the park. Whilst Keith made us scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast, something to sustain us whilst we finished off all the jobs that remained. I got on with washing the outside of the boat, it is amazing how much dust had collected on the roof and gunwales. After breakfast it was on with the next job on our list.
The bow and stern fenders went back on first.
I then retied the top sheets down and cleared up in the dock. The paint tins are doing to be recycled and the rest of the paint trays and brushes etc went in the bin.
We then nipped into town to buy Keith a new pair of M&S jeans a bargain at £15 and I needed some bits as well. This did not take us to long and soon we were back on the boat and the task of getting jobs done carried on. I had done a pile of washing in the machine, so that went in the drier. Keith had been resetting the small freezer to try and get it working more effectively, he had also rewired it.
Marmite was none to impressed with the freezer being put on the worktop and she showed her displeasure by sitting on the freezer whilst Keith worked. Marmite absolutely hates any upset in her routine or changes in the boat and so makes sure we know all about it.
After some lunch, it was time to fill the water tank and get the hoover out to clean the boat right the way through. I had done no cleaning all week, due to working on the boat and with us in and out all the time there seemed little point, but today was the day to get rid of the muddy foot prints, and dog hair. With the inside and the outside of the boat looking spick and span, it was time to celebrate with a bar of chocolate from the corner shop. I think both Keith and I deserve a treat and it is Easter after all when chocolate is a must.
Tomorrow we will be re-floated and on our way to Whaley Bridge.
Wednesday 27 March 2013
Another bitterly cold start. After all the usual morning stuff, it was on with the 2nd coat of blacking. I got on with coating the gunwales of the hold, whilst Keith started blacking the starboard side of the hull. I then got on with blacking the portside of the hull, we had it all done by 10 am.
After a much needed coffee, I then got on with glossing the bow with blue and then glossing the tunnel bands on the stern, they are now all done phewww. I then turned my attention to the mop handle, the blue band needed glossing and the white bands needed undercoating. With all the paintwork drying it was time for lunch.
After lunch I got on with finishing the door curtain I had started Monday, my progress was halted when my needle broke, but now I have new machine needles I was firing on all cylinders. The curtain got finished, I then hemmed new nets for the galley doors, made cushion covers for the saloon and revamped a footstool with the same fabric used for our cushion covers. I feel quite chuffed with what I have done today.
I will post further photographs tomorrow when I have the energy. Dinner has just gone in the back cabin oven and I am beginning to feel shattered, so I feel another early night coming on.
Tuesday 26 March 2013
Brrrrrrrr what a cold day.
It was so cold we had icicles in the dry dock, but the show must go on.
Even Bramble was set to work this morning. We were not blacking today as I wanted to give it a whole day to harden off before adding the second coat. So today was a day for undercoating and glossing.
I glossed our noticeboards.
I then got on with painting the bow and the tunnel bands are nearly finished. Even though it was perishing the gloss is drying, so I am hoping tomorrow I can get on with a lot more.
Whilst I got on with painting Keith blacked the weed hatch cover and then later in the afternoon, I put a coat of red on the lid.
Today seemed to flyby but it may have been that there was a lot going on today. The boat next door has had its hull blacked today and some other paintwork done, so a busy day one way or another. I am now looking forward to dinner and an early night.
Monday 25 March 2013
Up early to make a start on the blacking. Paddy got walked first and then we had something to eat. I knew I was going to need to keep my energy levels up for the first coat of blacking. I gathered together everything we were going to need. Rollers and paint trays, paint brushes and bitumen.
Whilst I got on with painting the gunwales, Keith got on with painting under the back counter. Keith is not great up ladders, so it made more sense for me to do the gunwales. By the time I had done both gunwales, Keith was beginning to paint the starboard side of the hull, so I got on with the port side. I am the type of lady who loves to listen to music while I work, so I had my MP3 player on and sang as I worked. Don’t care if I sound like a cats choir, I love singing.
By lunchtime we had finished the first coat of blacking and although I say it myself it looked fantastic. Lunch was very much needed, so I made us some toasted cheese and onion sandwiches, which went down a treat. After lunch I walked into Uxbridge to get some more rollers, because we broke Keith’s trying to get the roller off, still they are only £2 with the tray from Wilko’s.
Back at the boat, it was time to get on with some more painting, I started to paint the bow and the tunnel bands on the stern. Due to the cold, the brush was beginning to drag, so it was time to call it a day, after all there is always tomorrow.
Sunday 24 March 2013
The dock did not empty out properly until gone 6 pm last night, so we did not get pressured washed off.
Awake early, I made us a cuppa at 6 am and then was up at 7 am with the view to getting an early start. I walked Paddy and then had breakfast. Both the fires were made up for the day and I then got on with making a Lasagna, which would last us a couple of days. I then managed to get a couple of washes done, it is so nice to be using the washing machine again. First up were the ropes from the cratch board, they went in on a very hot wash, after that was done the towels and flannels got a hot wash, they were then hung in the back cabin to dry. Whilst the Lasagna cooked in the back cabin stove, I was hoping the boat would get washed, but as the time ticked by it was clear no one was coming in to give us instruction on how to use the pressure washer. In the end it was gone 1.30 pm when someone from the shop came and showed Keith how to use the pressure washer.
Keith was in charge of the pressure washer, for health and safety reasons he had to wear protective glasses which kept steaming up, so he did not have a clue whether he was missing bits. I was in charge of telling him where the bits were that he had missed, to be fair he did not miss much.
All washed off, I dried off the paintwork around the back counter so I could then get the sander out. I started rubbing down around the back counter and applied a coat of undercoat, I am just hoping it will dry as it is very cold out. So we are getting sorted now, with a bit of luck we should be putting our first coat of blacking on tomorrow.
Saturday 23 March 2013
Up with the larks this morning to snow and sleet falling, so glad we descended the lock yesterday.
The Uxbridge Boat Centre like you to be there before 9 am, so we were up at 7.30 am, Paddy walked, breakfast eaten and saloon fire stoked up. I had thought of leaving the back cabin stove out, but what is another story.
8.15 am we set off from our over night mooring at The Swan and Bottle, during the evening we had a visit from Carrie on NB Blackbird. It was wonderful to see her again and to have a quick natter. We may see her in the week if she is not busy. So where was I, oh yes we set off to dry dock in the sleet and snow and a bit of a breeze, this journey took us all of 15 minutes.
We moored up and Keith walked around to the dock to let them know that we were there. In the dock was Elsdale II, who was still being worked on, so we would have a bit of a wait. Because it was so cold I decided to relight the back cabin stove, to keep the cabin warm and us too. Whilst we were waiting to go in Bob off of Glenfield paid us a visit with some more material for Keith’s rag rugs, I made us all a cuppa and we sat and had a lovely chat.
1.30 pm Elsdale II came out of the dry dock and we were called in.
We are sharing with NB Auberge, although they are not blacking their own boat, so we will be pretty much on our own.
It is now 5.30 ish and the water is still emptying out of the dry dock, so it is unlikely we will be pressure washing off the boat tonight. Still we have a week to get it done and I have plenty to keep me busy sewing wise.
Friday 22 March 2013
Travelled less than a mile, worked 1 lock in a time of 25 minutes.
Unlike a lot of the country we did not have any snow over night, we did however have a lot of rain and the wind got up blowing us about a bit. This morning we sat in bed and discussed options for the day. I was all for moving the boat below Uxbridge Lock, because the weather forecast is suggesting we may get snow later on and I did not fancy working the lock in the snow for safety reasons, so at 8 am it was up and out of bed for me. Paddy and I went off for his morning walk up the towpath.
The Ring-necked Parakeet (Psittacula Krameri Manillensis) was happily chirping away. We have seen quite a few of them this past few days. There are now up to 40,000 of the wild parrots thought to be in London and the South-East, in areas such as Richmond Park. The legend has it the birds escaped from Shepperton Studios in Surrey, during filming of the 1951 movie The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. But you may know better. Since they started breeding in the wild in 1969, the ring necked parakeet has become London's 15th most common bird.
Having walked Paddy and had breakfast, I walked down to the moorings below Uxbridge Lock to see if there would be room for us for the night and only found two other boats moored up, and so plenty of room.
I had shut the bottom gates on my return from walking to the moorings earlier, so the lock was almost full when we got to it with the boat. The bottom gates are quite a weight, so a bit of brute force and ignorance was needed.
By the time we exited the lock and left the bridge behind, the wind was getting up and the temperature had dropped, so we were waiting for a down pour.
The bollards outside of the Swan and Bottle Pub are not set apart enough for 70ft boats, so Keith put a chain in for the stern and I used a bollard for the bow. Keith had a look at the menu board at the pub and saw that they were doing a lunch menu for £4.95 each and as it was Friday we both fancied a Fish and Chip lunch which was to be washed down with a pint each of Bombardier. The service was excellent as was the food, so a must go to again pub.
We are off into dry dock tomorrow and so I have sorted out the paint, taken off the hold ropes that need washing and got everything together we are going to need to do our blacking.
This post is to the person who left me an Anonymous message on my blog about the Rubbish below Uxbridge Lock.
Firstly it does say before you post a comment.
I am sorry but I DO NOT publish ANONYMOUS comments, nice ones or otherwise, so if you want your comment posted please leave your name when posting, I will then do my best to reply. Thank you for leaving me a message.
Secondly. I did not phone the Canal and River Trust, I e-mailed them with a photograph and sent them a message on Twitter. Which is how I always correspond with them because if they can see the problem then something always gets done We have been told by the Canal and River Trust if a photograph is sent it is then recorded, if you ring it is not.
Thirdly I was not sailing by as you put it I was walking a long the towpath and you would have known that had you read my posts.
Fourthly I go out and pick up rubbish on a regular basis, which again you would know if you read my blog on a regular basis. We always clean after other people when we moor up.
You may as you said find my "comments bloody annoying". But I am of a generation who see's it as a problem which needs talking about. I hate litter being dropped and dog poo being left and if that is wrong then that makes me a bad person. As long as people do it I will write about it on my blog and I will continue to pick it up. I wish I could have picked up all the rubbish left below the lock, but there was no bin to put it in and there was no way I could carry that much back to the boat.
Thank you for taking the time to read my posting and for leaving me a message.
Thursday 21 March 2013
STOP DUMPING RUBBISH.