Friday, 30 August 2013

Back at Fettlers Wharf

Hi everyone 
That’s it! We arrived back at Fettlers Wharf  at lunch time Wednesday with a great sigh of  relief  we had made it with very few mishaps and ourselves and Buggerlugs all in one piece. Whilst in Manchester we were visited by Julie, Amanda and Rachael for a great day. Mat and Lorraine came over with Thomas as Thomas was staying with us and helping us take the Buggerlugs back to Rufford, He is now a very good hand he manoeuvres the boat very well and has a very light touch on the throttle if he could just see over the top he would be a good skipper.  
The trip back home was very easy even the Wigan locks worked we left Monday morning and was in Fettlers by Weds lunch but as I said we had Thomas as a chief engineer 
While Manchester we got time to see the Gay Pride carnival, being in Castlefield it would have been difficult to miss it. I always think it’s a wonderful happy occasion, and really what the hell enjoy life, God loves us all

Above I said it was an Epic voyage, that sounds as if it was arduous, it wasn’t this is from the boats log and I think explains why it was Epic:

Miles                    732
Locks                   378
Canals                   10
Rivers                      5
Ditches                     2
Tunnels                  12
Swing bridges        28

Canals :
Rufford, Leeds and Liverpool, Bridgewater, Trent & Mersey, Coventry, Coventry Arm, Ashby, Oxford, BCN, Grand Union, Northampton Arm.

Nene, Ouse, Old River Nene, Old West, Twenty foot drain,

Whitley Dyke, Well Creek

An epic journey by any standard, I am not really one for statistics that’s why I cannot say how much diesel I used I never keep a record of the important things? All I do know is we had a great time. My idea of cruising is start early, do not have a definite destination, if you see something on the map you fancy go and have a look by boat, Bus (using the Bus Pass) or on foot. You get some great surprises??
Two visits that stand out are Coventry Cathedral and the National Arboretum the Arboretum will get another visit by car as you really need a full day to appreciate it.
But we must not forget the other wonderful places we have visited; the things we have seen and experiences, the people we have met: Doctors, Nurses, (we cannot cruised without visiting at least two Hospitals) lock keepers, CRT volunteers, Hoteliers and Inn keepers who always made us welcome, and not forgetting the wonderful people who make the waterway their home and those who holiday on it everyone involved with the waterways enjoying one of this countries greatest assets.
Of course this year we were blessed with the weather I personally believe that this year was compensation for the past three years of awful weather, we both now look as if we have just returned from the Caribbean as my skin is weather-beaten Noreen’s is  a nutty brown (Nutty is term I use a lot with Noreen)

Its now back to the grind of getting buggerlugs ready for the next trip, today I have booked her in for a blacking and some major repairs that can only be done when she is out of the water that will be in the spring prior to our next voyage of discovery. I have some commission work (paintings) to catch up on and try to get some more work in for the winter; Noreen is back at work next week. So everything is now getting back to normal (what ever that is )

Thanks for reading the blog. I am still not sure if I am writing what you want to hear? I just write it as it is, let me know if the content is right??


The Last two pics of the three days we had in Manchester before returning to Fettlers

Manchester Castlefield mooring by Night

A Bevvy of Beauties visiting Buggerlugs

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Things go wrong

Isn’t  it  amazing how within minutes everything can be turned upside down. Today even though it was Sunday and the canals were very busy we had a very good day it would seem that sanity had returned to the canal, we moored at Great Haywood just below the first lock after our usual conference of cake and tea we all decided that Monday we would catch the bus into Stafford and as we had made excellent time take a day off. However on returning back to Buggerlugs I wanted to run the engine and boost the batteries, after starting the engine I noticed that the travel pack green light wasn't on so I thought I would lift the cover and see if there was anything wrong with the fan belts as I lifted the covers I was amazed to see that the engine compartments had 4 inches of water in them. To cut a long story short after an hour of scratching heads and swearing I was at a loss to were the water had come from the equations were numerous and with the absence of a noticeable split hose or split tank I was I admit at a loss. The next problem would be the Travel pack, now I remember Danny saying that there was a special sequence of switching everything off and them using the sequence boost everything back up. I hate having to call for help but I had too and again Danny came to the rescue he dictated the sequence over the phone But as it was now dark I decided to wait until morning  so 7.30am I used the magical formula and like a wizard casting a spell all the light came on and everything (electrical)  was back to normal. Thank goodness for knowledgeable friends who are at the end of phone and though late at night are still calm and willing to help.
However we still had the problem of 4 inches of water to shift out of the engine and discover where it had come from. It took Noreen and I an hour to shift the water, dry everything and check for any leaks  by 9.00am we had done everything we could as we had decided the night before to all go to Stafford we showered and got ready, leaving the engine running. Before we left we checked for any leaks  turned the engine and went out.
On return I was grateful to see that we were still afloat and the engine was still dry, as I was replacing everything I looked into my spare part locker only to find that also had 4 inches of water in it again we set to with buckets and emptied it now this locker is just a sealed shelf unit way above the engine the only water in there was the central heating which has been switch off since April the nearest water to it would then be the weed hatch at Johns suggestion we inspected it and noticed that it was not seated properly and when doing a hard reverse water could have come up and flooded the engine. THAT is how it stands at the moment but tomorrow when we put the engine under pressure  we will see if we have won stay tuned.
Our journey to Stafford was another memorable Arriva trip I am now convinced that Arriva train all their drivers at Silverstone, this morning excuse for a driver was a psychopath just after departing the bus stop we were being held up by two cyclist who were refusing to ride in single file and a lady driver who in her wisdom did not want to take a chance at overtaking them for fear of killing them or killing herself. Our driver however was not that particular after blasting his horn at this poor demented lady driver trying to encourage her to overtake the offending cyclist  he attempted to overtake both lady driver and cyclist, our driver must have seen John and Is faces of utter bewilderment at his action and returned to a save distance, after this action the lady driver found a layby, pulled in and regained sanity. Now our driver had the cyclist in sight I am not sure what would have happened if the cyclists had not formed single file because even in single file I could see the fear in their eyes as we passed. The only road user who acted correctly was the lady driver who would not be forced into lunacy. Our driver as I said was a psychopath and the two cyclist by being just pure ignorant and a danger to all could have caused a terrible accident
Unfortunately for the driver when we arrived in Stafford I reported his action to the bus inspector. Now I know that it not my makeup to snitch and everyone know how I loath and detest ignorant over bearing cyclist but our driver was erratic and a danger to a bus full of people. The return journey was uneventful but extremely fast.
We are doing a full day tomorrow 14 miles 12 locks and a halfway break to check if the engine has flooded, I will give a quick note on how we survive

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Home Ward Bound

Hi all

Well I was right to be concerned about the Braunston Tunnel, As we entered I discovered that the boat behind me was full of screaming hysterical 25 year olds acting as if they were three year olds who insisted that being three feet of my stern was the safest place for them. Now without going into the physics  of  it (which I am not capable of doing) all I know is that having a boat that that close makes your steering  very difficult having ask twice to back off I had to revert to different tactics that of stopping the boat and explaining unless they had two choices either back off to a safer distance or back out they decided on the former, once that was sorted all we had to contend with was the three boats we did pass coming the other way were all in some what of a hurry either through fright, inexperience, hysterics or stupidity, I for once decided to just accept the knocks and scrapes after all in the tunnel you can't even see you enemy never mind shout obscenities at them. maybe the streets of NI taught me to just accept the abuse.
Having now got back to the system properly we are making excellent progress meeting lots of old friends
talking of that we meet lots of people who are always saying OH, do you know ---  --- Well I have decided to add all these to the blog so John and Kath  (Big Decisions)  from Fettlers  Paul and Chris (Patience) send their regards hope to meet up soon. Being back on the canal also means that we have a better chance of mooring where we want?? though the Oxford canal was quite busy being mid season  though yesterday we joined the Coventry canal which for some reason is not that busy at all moorings are plentiful. Returning using the same route as we came by also means that we can visit  all the places we wanted to do but hadn't enough time to do on the way down. in my case that means fish all those quite spots I discovered on the outward journey.
Just a few pics to keep you interested

This is the CRTs new method of keeping the tow path clear 
its better that keeping out of Dog S---

I love these locks they cause some much confusion that its great to hang around and watch the fun 
however this time they had CRT volunteers on had which made it quite boring 

Being back on the canal means we are treated to views like this around every corner 

Entrance to the dreaded Braunston tunnel even the entrance is a bloody 
obstacle course
Another nice view, not amazing but isn't it Peaceful

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Back on the canal

Bye Thomas
Thomas was collected on Saturday Now we are back to being “Normal” as I have said before having Thomas is great I can revert to being 6 again, Play Lego, make paper aeroplanes, go fishing for crayfish, make dens, fight imaginary baddies, all the things the doctors say are bad for you, but hey I feel great having done it all. He will be back in again in a few weeks this time though we will be on the move, as he now can start the engine and knows his way around the boat and boating matters its time he started with Navigation and helmsmenship.
Today we joined the main canal system at the junction with the Northampton Arm and the Grand Union, its strange but even though the rivers are wider, deeper with little traffic, the canal seems quieter and calmer. We seem more at hope on the canal
John and Kath are now back with us and tomorrow we do 13 locks and the Braunston tunnel, it’s the only tunnel I know that is two way, Most have either a time to enter some even have Traffic lights, but a two way tunnel is something different, to see a boat coming towards you in a tunnel only just wide enough to take two boats, inches to spare on each side is to say the least exciting.
Speak soon

Paper Planes

fishing for greedy Perch

4 hours of  inventing lego cars

They got bigger and bigger