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!
Saturday, 29 July 2017
Remember my last post about our cracked tiles in the bathroom. We have progress. They say when living on a boat, you need to be a jack of all trades and a master of none, and I think I am beginning to believe I am that jack. The diamond tile cutter arrived and there was nothing for it, but to get on with the job in hand. Now when you do any job on a boat, you have to remember it will probably take twice as long, so we began the process of cutting the tiles in the morning, thinking it would probably require a couple of attempts due to cracked or broken tiles. So you can imagine how amazed we were when having measured everything to within an inch of its life, Keith managed to put the tile first time, and no cracks or breaks. It was a miracle.
Next job was to take the toilet out, which was screwed to the floor. We have had the toilet out before, but this time the screws seemed determined to hold fast. With lots of huffing and puffing, they finally relented, but it was clear they would not be going back after the tiling was done. So Keith nipped down to Torry's our local hardwear store to buy new screws and whilst he was gone, I got on with cleaning the toilet and then getting all the sealant off from around the shower and toilet area. By the time Keith got back, I had done the job and was ready to begin the next step.
We needed to make sure we got the holes for the toilet to be screwed back down in the right place on the new tiles. So my suggestion was, put down a piece of paper down and mark the holes in the paper, then transfer the paper to the new tiles, mark the holes and drill them ( I do come up with good ideas sometimes). This was the process we went through and low and behold it actually worked. With the new tiles sitting in place, we put the toilet on top and again made sure everything lined up. yes it was a slow process, but it was much better to get it right the first time.
Next step was to smother the old tiles with tile adhesive and put the new tiles in place, with match sticks as dividers. It all went incredibly well.
This morning with the adhesive pretty much solid, I got on with grouting in the tiles, which will again take time to dry. If all goes well I will be able to seal everything in a couple of days.
Whilst all of this work has been taking place, I have also been doing all the other boat chores, walking the dog, cooking, cleaning and pottering in the garden. The one job I have not done yet and that is to get on with some painting. Since we returned from dry dock, the weather has not been playing ball, so I sit with paint brush ready to get on with the paintwork, which requires attention before the Winter. This morning I did a laundry load and hung it out, but it soon became clear we were in for some of the wet stuff, so I decided to hang the washing in the engine room just in case. Sods law the sun then came out. To late I thought I would leave the washing hung in the engine room.
Because our boat is still all over the place, what with the generator and now the bathroom repairs, our hold is a right state and although I want to do work in there as well, I cannot really do anything until inside the boat is straight. Hopefully this will happen this coming week.
Wednesday, 26 July 2017
There was I planning ahead whilst in dry dock. I had lots of painting of the boat planned out, but it seems the weather has had other ideas, and so since we have been home on our mooring the weather has definitely been changeable, so no painting has yet taken place. The weather forecast is for this weather to continue over the coming weekend as well. On the plus side, it has meant I have done very little, which has given me a chance to get my energy levels back up.
Having been home for a few days, I discovered a worrying problem in our bathroom. We have floor tiles under our toilet and whilst we knew we had one crack in the tiles. It appears we had three more since being in dry dock. The first crack was our fault. We changed our radiator a couple of years ago, and Keith dropped the new radiator. I have managed to seal the crack and it has not caused us any issues. But the new cracks are a bigger concern, so much so that on Sunday we bought new tiles from Homebase for the floor. At the moment we are waiting for a cutter to arrive to cut the tiles, so I have sealed the cracks, so we are able to still use our shower. We are pretty sure these cracks were caused by us being in dry dock, because we noticed we were having problems closing the bathroom door, but at the time we could not figure out why. Since being back in the water the door closes just fine. Our think now is that the sleepers in the dry dock, which we were sitting on are not level and there for our boat was twisting, this would account for the door not closing and for the cracked tiles. Thankfully it looks like the wall tiles in the bathroom, galley and around the stove are fine, but I have yet to inspect them with a magnifying glass.
The buying of the floor tiles was a story in itself. We walked down to Homebase from the Arm, which is well over a mile. We found the tiles we wanted and asked an assistant if we could have two of them, only to be told we had to buy a whole pack of five. When we explained to him that we only needed two and why, he did go and ask the manager if we could buy just the two tiles. The only way this would happen was if there was already a broken tile in the pack, or the packs packaging was torn. Unfortunately for us, neither was the case and so we had to buy the pack of five. I did suggest having the extra tiles maybe handy, in case one should get broken whilst cutting them and we did get them at a discounted price. Our next hurdle was how to carry them home, because they were bloomin heavy and the box long. We decided to take it in turns to carry the tiles. Then Keith thought about catching the bus, but on a Sunday they are every hour and sods law we had literally just miss a bus. Rather than waiting, we carried the tiles so far home, until we saw a woman sitting at a bus stop, so we figured the buss must be coming soon. Keith took the tiles and waited for the bus and I carried on walking home. The reason why Keith took the bus and I did not was because he has his bus pass. It turned out that his bus met me outside the Arm at the same time, so we arrived home together. At present the tiles are waiting to be cut and fitted.
I have such a lot I could be getting on with, but really do not have the energy or the where with all to bother. I have done the laundry, hoovering and general tidying etcetera, but that is my lot.
This morning I sat and finished the latest book I have been reading. 'Secret Lives' by Diane Chamberlain was given to me by a boating friend. I had read 'Necessary Lies' by her, which was brilliant and I have also enjoyed 'Secret Lies'. I am not going back to Annie Murray. I have read most of her books in the past. The one I have now is 'Now the War is Over'. I am hoping it is up to her normal high standard.
Bye for now x
Saturday, 22 July 2017
Hello Dear Friends and Followers.
My aim for this weekend is to do as little as possible, after the exertion of the past few days. So this morning having walked the dog, done breakfast and tidied a little, I thought I would walk up into Warwick to watch and photograph the Kineton Freedom Parade. The men and women of Defence Munition (DM) Kineton would be marching through Warwick to mark the MOD station’s 75th anniversary. Keith had to go into Royal Leamington-Spa on the bus, so I set off with him, leaving him at the bus stop, I strode off into town to find a good spot on the parades route for taking photographs.
I positioned myself opposite Castle Street and the Oken tearoom.
I got my first photograph a few moments later, after chatting to one of the local policemen, who was on duty for the event. We had a lovely chat about family history and the parade itself. I then got nattering to an elderly lady who had come into Warwick from Birmingham to have her hair done at her favourite hairdressers. We nattered about Birmingham and again family history. It turned out she had grown up around the area of Birmingham my family had come from on my mothers side.
The parade was due to start from Castle Street at around 10.25 am, but it was running a little late, but lots of people were arriving, including councillors, mayor and the Army itself.
The town crier and dignitaries began moving into their positions near the war memorial.
The band then arrived. There is something amazing about seeing a live band up close and personnel. There were 80 troops with weapons and bayonets fixed and with their colours flying, drums beating and bands playing. It was amazing too see so many people out to watch.
Following on behind were the troops. The Kineton base is a specialist centre for bomb disposal. In all the years it has been in Kineton it has trained thousands of service personnel from around the world in bomb disposal work, which as we know is vital work.
The Women and Men do an incredible job and deserved the freedom of Warwick. Five years ago, the Kineton station was awarded the Freedom of Warwick. This was done so they could mark their anniversary. it gives Warwickshire people and visitors the chance to show their support and appreciation.
Having left Castle Street, they marched along High Street, Swan Street, Market Place, Old Square and Church Street where they took the salute.
It was brilliant to witness and to see so many people taking the time to come out and applaud the army for all the hard work they do.
Thursday, 20 July 2017
It is said that timing is everything, and so our timing to get the blacking done was perfect.
Wednesday, 19 July 2017
What a difference a day makes?
Yesterday we were boiling and today the sun has been replaced by heavy cloud and the threat of rain and thunderstorms. Other parts of the country have already been hit by the storms, but as yet nothing here. We had thought we were getting it last night, but it seems it did not get any closer to us than Coventry.
5 am I was awake and by 6 am I had made us a cup of tea. Up at 6.15 am, dressed, breakfast eaten and Paddy walked, so we could make another early start. One slight hitch was we were running out of Bitumen and even though I had phoned the boat yard for more yesterday it had not arrived. So first job was to second coat the tunnel bands and bow with Red and White. The Bitumen had still not arrived, so we got on and used up the little bit we had in the tin at 8.30 am I rang to ask if we could have our tin of Bitumen and was told that he would bring it down. Just after 9 am it arrived and and we were back in action again.
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
I was awake again at 5 am and I have no idea why. Maybe my inner alarm clock was letting me know I needed to be up early to get the blacking started, but there was no way I was getting up at 5 am. I dozed for another hour, before getting up to make a cuppa. We then got up and got our act into gear. Today was blacking day.
Monday, 17 July 2017
How has your day been?
Mine began at 5 am, when I was woken by Marmite trying to curl up on my legs. Having got her settled down at the bottom of the bed. She then got excited when something was running around on the roof of the back cabin. It was a family of Crows, which had been hanging around yesterday. It sounded like they were giving junior a tap dancing lesson, which was highly amusing to Marmite, who would have been only to pleased to go out and take them on. Oh before I go any further, I must tell you about Marmite and the baby Blackbird last night. I wish I had photographs, but I did not have the time to get the camera. There we were sitting outside enjoying the last of the days rays, with Paddy and Marmite on the dock with us. Marmite was as always on her lead. I was reading the latest book I got out of the Arm book swap, it is called Secret Lives by Diane Chamberlain and it is brilliant so far. Anyway I digress. All of a sudden out of the brambles behind us flew a baby Blackbird, it flew over Keith's head and crash landed right near Marmite, who sprung into action as if her life depended on it. She pounced on this poor Blackbird, who must have wondered what had nabbed it. Feather began to fly, the poor bird was making such a racket. I jumped out of my chair and stood on Marmites lead to stop her chasing the bird any further, because I was worried the damage she might do. The baby Blackbird in its panic, went head first down the side of the boat between the dock and the hull. As I ran towards it, I just prayed the boat did not move, otherwise it would of been bye bye Blackbird (see what I did there). For those who do not understand Bye Bye Blackbird was the name of a song. It has been sung by a few people, but Ella Fitzgerald comes to mind. Anyhow I managed to grab the bird before any damage was done and of course it was none to happy with me holding it and so it began to peck my hands, which at least reassured me that the thing was definitely alive and happy to put up a fight. I put the bird back in the hedgerow from where it had come and saw it disappear into the undergrowth. I just hope it survived and its parents did not witness it almost being eaten by Marmite, who was by now playing with the feathers she had gathered.
Back to the boat. Having tried to go back to sleep, I tossed and turned in an uneasy sleep until 7 am when I got up and made us a cup of tea. We knew the owner of the boat yard would be arriving at some time, so we decided to get up early so we would be ready and waiting. It gave me the chance to take Paddy out for his walk and take photographs of the locks and for us to remove the stern fenders. 9 am Ian arrived with Andy. They got Hadar into position, put the stop planks in and began to empty the dock.
Having enjoyed a nice hot shower, we sat outside to enjoy the last of the days sunshine and warmth, when we were showered with what looked like tiny dandruff. It was in fact from the harvest which has begun in a field near the locks. Yes folks it is harvest time again and we take a slow slide towards Autumn. In many ways a very productive day and a big day tomorrow, so see you then.
Ta ta for now x
Sunday, 16 July 2017
What an eventful day we have had.
Thursday, 13 July 2017
I am pleased to say that we are back on the level, our listing seems to have been sorted out with the letting down of more water. It is a joy not to be running up hill anymore. Of course we have no idea how long this will last, but for now we will enjoy it.
I was thinking about this subject this morning and so I am going with it. For anyone who lives on a boat you will know only too well, that you cannot gather a lot of clutter, so when new people come into my life, I kind of feel I have to educate them, because they know nothing about how we live or manage on a boat, with so little space. People are clearly shocked at how little space we have and by how much we need. I always say "well it is just us, a cat and a dog".They are surprised that we do not have a bath, we have a shower, that we do not have a wardrobe, we have a draw and cupboard each. Equally they are surprised we have a washing machine, allbeit a small one and that we have a fridge/freezer. Because this boat is our one and only home, we felt we needed those things mainly for our mature years. We do not scrimp on anything, but we are careful with what we spend and on what we buy. There is only one and half food cupboards, so we do not splash out on lots of unwanted food, which will never get eaten. I make a list each week for shopping and the OH goes off and buys it using his bus pass, we used to have a tesco delivery, but that has stopped unless there is little choice. When we moved onto the boats, we explicitly told people not to buy us gifts, because we do not have the room for things we may never wear or use. We were not being unkind, we just hate waste and lots of clutter. I have a policy if it is not worn or used within six months then it finds a new home. We do not even buy gifts for our Birthdays and Christmas, because if we want or need something we will just go and buy it. Instead we will treat ourselves to a meal out.
We both enjoy wanting less material things in our life. I remember the clutter we had in the house and how much of it we got rid of when we sold up. It was so liberating to get rid of it all and the Charity Shop was more than happy to take it all. I would never force anyone to live our way of life, because if you are happy living your way then don’t worry what anyone else thinks. I love my way of life and it suits us both, but I know there are people out there who would never manage. We buy most of our clothes and other items from Charity Shops. I am of the opinion that there is no point in buy expensive clothing, to work locks in. I will however buy good footwear, because this is essential when you spend a day walking the locks. People are surprised that we do not have a house, but that is our choice. We plan to live aboard for as long as our health or age allows and if the plans works we will both be carried away from our boat in our boxes.
Todays world is such a throw away world and neither of us wants to take part in that, so I will find another use for things when they have finished their life or I will pass them onto someone else, who will find a use for them. I am hardly ever wasteful with food. This is mainly due to the fact I pay little or no attention to sell buy or use by dates. If it looks ok, smell ok and taste ok, then it will be eaten. I think we could all do with looking at what we use, spend or need and I choose to live well with less and need less.
What can you NOT live without?
What have you given up?
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Carol Kirkwood said it would rain and she as always was right. We woke up this morning and we had been touched by the rain god.
As you will be aware if you read my ramblings, we have been suffering through lack of water in the Arm. We have been over 10 inches down, so we had to keep phoning C&RT, who to give credit where credit is due, they have worked their magic and we have our level back, so no more listing or feeling like we are running up and down hill.
Back home on the boat, all the bought items were put away, Paddy was walked and Wimbledon was on the TV. With the rain now falling heavily, Wimbledon will be the order for the rest of the day.
I have posted that Paddy has been off colour and nothing has really changed on that front. He is still not right. Last night he had another of his funny turns, which is a little worrying. he is still very picky with his food. But as the vet has said "Keep and eye on him", so that is what we will continue to do. At 13 years old or 94.5 human years old, he is in the twilight of his years, so we must expect him to slow down and possibly have health problems. He is such a wonderful old man and always gives us pleasure.
Monday, 10 July 2017
I trust that your weekend went well?
Our weekend was spent calling out the Canal and River Trust to send us down some much needed water, because we got so low we were all listing at a dangerous angle. One of our residential moorers actually could not stay on his boat, because it was not safe for him, so he went to stay with a friend and is still there. The problem we have here is boats come up through Cape Locks and either come into the Arm, moor up outside the Arm or Wind and then go back down Cape Locks. What they do not do straight away is go up the Hatton Flight, so the pound get drained of water, which leaves us on the bottom and listing. Of course with no rain of late this has just made things worse.
It all got so much worse on Friday. One of our boaters went up to the top of Hatton and asked them to send water down, none came. Our site manager rang C&RT and despite them saying they would call him back they never did and no water came down. By 5.45 pm we were in desperate need of water, so we rang C&RT. They sent Mark and Tim out from Birmingham to help us out. They reckoned someone had let some water down, draining the first pound above the bottom lock, so not only did they have to get us some water they had to fill the pound as well.
Saturday morning and although our level had been up over night, it had already dropped when I got up at around 7.30 am. We had a few of our visiting boats going out down through Cape Lock and our day boat going out, so we and the site manager rang C&RT again. Yet again they sent the guys out to try and help us. By the time our day boat came in, it had a problem winding and then could not get anywhere near the pontoon due to the low level of water, so this time Tim and Carl came out to get us water.
Sunday morning and you guessed it, the water we had over night was already disappearing. Now some of it is due to boats taking it with them down through Cape Locks, but we also know the lock gates leak a lot, which we think was the problem on Sunday morning. So yes we were all back on the phone again and two different C&RT guys came out and promised us they would get some water down to us, which they did.
Lots of discussions have been had over the past few days as to how this situation is going to be sorted once and for all. These have included putting in an extra board at the by-weir to bring the level up, that is the cheapest option all the way to the expensive option of back pumping and dredging. One thing is certain they are on the case and so are we. All we can do is keep ringing C&RT up and hoping that someone will help us with water. One thing is certain for those in C&RT who did not know where we were, they certainly do now.
Today is Monday and the two C&RT guys came in this morning to check on the water level and once again it had dropped, so water was going to be sent down. We are floating thankfully, with our boat pushed out into the channel and hopefully it will stay that way. With the weather the way it is and Summer only just getting underway, it looks like this maybe a problem we will have to cope with for now.