Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A busy but lazy day

Evidence of aerial and today's washing in the cratch - of course if I'd cleaned the front glass the washing would be more easily seen!
My mooring with the snake bridge past the next boat. Beautifully sunny and warm.
Yay, yesterday I managed to put up the TV aerial (all 3 sections of its mast) and used the Antenna Aligner app to get a good signal. Did manage to scratch my neck with the fins of the aerial at first but apart from looking like a big cat has attacked me, I did OK.
I slept pretty well last night given I was on my own and I’m a wuss … The moorings at Marple are peaceful all day with pedestrians walking past, but really quiet at night. However I was awake by 6am and dressing to go over and get water, when to my shock and dismay, I saw another boat already there at the water point! At 6am – I ask you – who would be nuts enough to be out of bed getting water at that time of the day? Then I realised it was Tom on the boat behind me that has been moored here a while and he’d pushed his boat over rather than start the engine. Considerate man!
When it was my turn (7am by then), I eschewed the pushing option (my boat is much longer than his) and started the engine to cruise over in tickover. Filling took less time than I expected – I was concerned that my tank was close to totally empty, but apparently not. I had intended to go back to bed after re-mooring in the same spot – my main reason for going early was to get back in the same possie, before anyone else was out hunting for scarce moorings.
However, back to bed wasn’t an option. Tom and I spent a fair while discussing life, relationships and everything, as well as checking out the reorganisation options possible in his boat – he hasn’t been on it long and it doesn’t have a fixed bed, but has two pull-out sofa beds. Also his galley is laid out in a way he’s not happy with. I am always happy to identify ways people can spend money on renovations and redecoration – just ask Lesley! (My tally with her is new bathroom [almost completed], new kitchen, and new conservatory [both about to be given a shove when I head down there on Friday].)
David texted a couple of times from Singapore - once that he'd landed and the next time that he was due to board the flight to Christchurch. He should be there by about 11pm UK time, I think. Then a flight to Wellington where Gary is picking him up and taking him home. I have asked the neighbours to get in some milk, eggs, bread and tomatoes in case the kitchen is bare of food given Joe is away looking after his dad this week.
At about noon, I went off into Marple looking for a few bits and pieces (see I also spend my money) and came back to the boat very pleased. I’d found a new plastic stool to elevate a certain short person on nb Waka Huia, a new basin for the sink (I am English, after all), the ingredients for insect repellent I saw on the living on a narrowboat forum website (baby oil and Dettol) to be employed to banish horseflies and midges from about my person, a container of Barman’s Friend that a guy in Willington told me was the business for cleaning the brass mushrooms when mixed with Cillit Bang, a new purple backpack that I think I am safe in saying David won’t want to use, a few groceries from the Coop, and best of all, a steak pie from Archers – it was yummy.
See, I have been quite lazy today, in spite of doing 3 loads of washing – the hardest part about that was sorting the piles and then hanging it out when the machine had done its job in sterling fashion. No DIY as it was too hot for such efforts to be rewarding – I do find that DIY requires cool temperatures so that the effort and energy expended warm one, rather than threatening expiration!
Tomorrow morning, after another quick trip into Archers for a pie (I do need to do a quality control check – the first one may not be matched by the second), I will refill the tank, so I can do a couple more loads of washing as I cruise down to Macclesfield – we haven’t done any washing since before the team arrived a week ago, so things are getting desperate in the teatowels, handtowels and smalls departments! And I do need to have David’s boating clothes clean by the time he gets back from NZ.
Tomorrow afternoon I am due down at the Macclesfield Canal Centre, and will moor up for a couple of weeks on a powered site. If there is a mooring space, I will stop for lunch on my way at the café opposite Lyme View Marina. Watch this space!
Before I leave the boat and head down to stay with Lesley and ensure the economy there is kept moving, Kev at Freedom Boats is going to teach me how to change the oil and will sort out a few other things. One of which will be the air-horn which currently sounds like a strangled goose in its death throes and wouldn’t warn anyone off. I have warned it that if it doesn’t buck up its ideas, it will be considered surplus to requirements and will be replaced. I am also going to ask him to fit a new bilge pump as ours is pants.
OK, it’s chardonnay o’clock, so enough of this nonsense. Big hugs to all who want to be hugged and firm handshakes to those who do not. Cheers, M

Monday, 21 July 2014

Some of Barry's photos

Mmmm, when did they get time for posing for this?
Approaching a swing bridge, sitting up high so I can see ...
A swing bridge with Pauline in charge between Marple and Bugsworth
A lift bridge between Marple and Bugsworth
On our way back from Bugsworth Basin we caught this lot on the prop - it made a dreadful noise.

At Bugsworth Basin

At Bugsworth Basin

I'm not going to drink alone, honest, but I'm just well organised and quick ...

Even my ears are wrinkly! And I can see both my mum and dad in my face now.
The happy band - this is before Pete and Barry accepted the challenge to produce another seat, so Barry was perched on the bar stool.
Bugsworth Basin is very lovely and has a sense of being peaceful even though there is quite a noisy A road nearby. It was such a lovely day we had lunch and dinner outside and we walked to Whaley Bridge in the afternoon. I went back before the others and cooked a pork roast and veges - it was yummy and could only be eaten in the slightly cooler evening. Not sure why I thought a roast would be good when all of the team were there - didn't plan on extremely hot weather, I guess. But not disappointed at all.
As we only have 5 normal sized seats (ie ones I can reach the ground on) I gave Pete the challenge to construct another one so there was one each. He had to do it with materials available - anything he could scrounge or find. He and Barry collaborated (good teamwork) and came up with the stunningly simple plan of slotting the plank through two of the chairs to create a bench - we could have accommodated a couple more people then, but no one wanted to share dinner ...
A lovely night in a beautiful place. The next morning it was pretty windy when we were planning to leave and I had to turn the boat and get water - not necessarily in that order, but that's how it turned out. I tried turning but after starting to get water another boat came up and explained that it was easier to wind (turn) further into the basin, so that is what I did while Barry was showering and Pete was off for a walk. Success!

As befits our status ...

A flotilla of Royal Canadian Mounted Geese accompanied us part of the way down to the field they roost on - do geese roost? Maybe it's more like poop on ...

Waka Huia has been threatened with this in the past ...

It's a tough school here - guests have to work!

Barry fixing the cratch bolt that was in the wrong place

Pete suffering while steering - you can see how he is so stressed

Melanie on camera duty
Missing from the photos are me, Pauline and David. David and I were taking photos, Pauline and I were preparing lunch or cleaning up after some meal or other. These photos were taken on Thursday morning as we cruised down to Bugsworth Basin - a beautiful spot.

Dinner on board Waka Huia on Wednesday and the alternator framing

Barry and Pauline

Melanie (not to be confused with Mel who is much hairier) and Pete

Part of the framing that held the 150 amp 24 volt alternator in front of our engine - now in the skip

With my size 4 (UK sizing) sandal for comparison. You realise this meant I was barefooted near the rubbish ...

Sunday, 20 July 2014

There and back to see how far it is

Today, after saying goodbye to Barry and Pauline at Marple, David and I did a bit of shopping at Iceland, headed back to the boat and then set off for Furness Vale Marina. We had planned that I would stay there for a week or so doing maintenance chores before making my way by train or car down to the crowded part of England to visit friends and family while awaiting David’s return from NZ.
Alas, it was not to be. We arrived to find that we did not have a mooring with power which is a bit of a necessity to keep the batteries charged when we are away from the boat for any length of time. So, having got there, moored up like a pro (backwards into a very narrow space – but let’s face it, narrow makes it easier not harder, but don’t tell anyone that) we discovered the lack of electricity, and pondered the next move. A range of options were available, but David had the best and the one acted upon. So we came back to last night’s mooring outside Marple, but now we are facing the other way … A total of 6.5 hours boating for the day, which included the four lift or swing bridges each done twice, and an additional piece down to the junction that splits the route down to Bugsworth Basin and Whaley Bridge to wind (turn). I was ready to stop when we got to Furness Vale the first time, so an extra couple of hours’ boating was not my desired plan, but it did mean I didn’t have to get through the 4 lift or swing bridges on my own tomorrow. We did do the return journey faster than the outward one, and the sun shining on the water didn’t make it easier, but it certainly was beautiful.
In the morning, David is catching a train to London and then heading out to Heathrow and flying back to NZ for a fortnight to visit his mum. I will drop him (I am sure he could walk it faster) at the Marple junction where I am going to meet up with the genius Ed (Four Counties Marine) extolled herein before. Ed is going to fit a new thrust bearing and complete the work he started last week re the new alternator.
Our few days with Melanie and Pete (2d) and Barry and Pauline (4d) have been great. I am missing them and preparing to miss David.
The tragedy of MH17, my worst nightmare about air travel, is powerfully in my mind at the moment especially given David is about to fly. Our Dutch friends (both in NZ and the Netherlands) have been in our thoughts – I am sure, as with the Erebus crash way back in 1979, many Dutch people, as well as those of other nationalities, have someone they know or someone who knows someone who knows someone who was on that flight. Very difficult times.
What it made us aware of was the criticality of enjoying our time with friends and family as it comes along, making the best of it in a very positive way, so that opportunities for lovely moments and closeness are not squandered.
Now I need to go to bed – it has been a tiring day. Tomorrow I will sort through all the photos taken over the last few days – Barry and David took lots so I will find some to post separately when I have a few hours to spare … BTW, any photos featuring reflections will be Barry's, so keep an eye out for them.