Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Monday 08.30 WE ARE OFF

From the deck of


Its true what they say “there is no substitute for experience“ Last year whilst out on the canal we were constantly shopping for a multitude of items that were difficult the find especially without a car. The list is endless so I will not bore you with them, Then there were items we took along but never used. So this year we decided to plan it a bit better Noreen thinks that I go to far planning it like a military move, with schedules, lists and itineraries, I tell her old habits are hard to break.

But the whole thing has now come together, we have enough stores such as rope, fenders, engine spares, electrical spares, iron mongery, food, booze, and fuel to last at least the first part of the trip. The boat has been polished all the brasses are gleaming she is full of fuel all spares stowed away and ready for the off.

Getting the boat ready for the off has been quite an exercise one we never really thought about but in hindsight this year we are ready for anything that the canal throws at us (we think)

In some ways we will miss the security and convenience of the marina with all its facilities and closeness to family but the open water awaits and of course we have lots of friends to catch up with and winter stories to swap. As for family they always know were we are visits are numerous.

The open water and the life we will live fir the next six months is something I know lots of people dream about its exciting, stimulating, calming, sometimes fretful, sometimes very scary but always actively stimulating. Also we don’t have to join a gym to keep fit.

Please stay with the blog I will attempt to make it as interesting as possible


Big Al

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Hi Again

It looks as like on my last blog I omitted to say where I we going to too so here is a quick Run down:

For the first part which will include the most of April firstly the first week we will be in and around Leigh as we are having a some work done on the boat. we will then spend a week in Castlefield Manchester onward then to Stretford were we will spend Easter with Noreen's dad this will also be good for the the Easter mass at our church in Salford.
As soon as the easter holidays are over we will be setting off for Worcester we have to be there for the 16 May to have the roof re-painted this will mean traveling down the Bridgewater canal Going through Altringham, Northwich, then onto the  Shropshire canal continuing south through a very beautiful part of the country. We hope to spend a couple of weeks round the Worcester area and the start North East traveling just south of Birmingham the turning south along the Grand union were we will then turn north up the River Nene towards Peterborough. Then the fun starts we head off weaving our way through the middle levels towards Cambridge Via Wisbeach, Diss and Ely hopefully ending up in Cambridge about July.
That is a very rough guide to our itinerary
If anyone is about any of these places we would love to have you aboard

Fair Winds and good weather ahead of you

Big Al

Monday, 14 March 2011

almost ready for the off

Hi everyone

Please forgive me for not keeping up the blog , though I do have an excuse, and that is I have been really busy also I have had very little to report.
However we are now well on our way to being ready for the off. I had a little trouble last week with the rudder, I needed to change the rudder bearing, which in itself is not a difficult job, unless whilst trying to remove the bearing you pull the rudder arm out of the skeg, as I did. Luckily I had the forethought to put a rope on the rudder tied to a stern post so that I didn’t loose the lot to Davy Jones’s locker. Now if this ever happens to you before you start shelling out having the boat put into dry dock to re-engage the rudder in the skeg, do as I did, screw back in the swan arm retaining screw, put wire around the screw making a loop enough to pass a rope through then tie a rope onto the rudder, by lifting the centre post and manoeuvring the rudder it is possible to drop the rudder post back into the skeg single handed though its a killer on the back. Also unless you are a very competent engineer with a full workshop buy the housing with the bearing ready fitted to buy just the bearing albeit a nylon bush with a centre o ring they are impossible to fit back into the original housing.
I have fitted new buttons to the pointed bit and re vitalised the buttons to the blunt bit I have given the hull a blacking to the waterline ( I am doing the rest when it is in dry dock in May.
The engine has had a complete service. My son Matthew has made me a new long top box for plank, fenders and such like, so now everything is ship shape and ready for the off
We are now sorting out the last few dinner parties for friends we won’t see for the next six months and getting everything like dental checks, heart checks, bulking up on the tablets and all the domestic and personal stuff sorted.
The weather has been very kind to us allowing all the work to be done its been great not to have to worry about the rain though I think we will suffer in the summer for this lack of rain I can see us being short of water again?
All our families are fine no problems there . Fantastic news from the Antipode’s I am a great uncle again my nephew and niece in Australia have had a baby girl Scarlet who by looking at her picture will be braking a lot of young men’s hearts
Fishing has been quite good Our Keith came last week for a couple of days he managed a nice Perch which was deserving of a photo, the week before we had Bethany, Rachel and Elliot they where fishing when I hooked into a large Pike about three foot long and despite all our efforts we could not land it, it was on long enough for everyone to have a look at it but when it came to getting it out, it took one look at the net, shook its head and said good by.
The picture below is of my new friend I miss Herby the Heron unfortunately he has not been seen for some time though Phil the Pheasant is a good substitute but a lot noisier, at least with Phil if I get fed up of him he will make a lovely Pie\????

Keep smiling summer is not too far away now I will give you a report when we are on the move.
Big Al