Monday, 16 July 2018

Halfway point

We have finally left the marina, originally we came in so Sue could get back to the island for a few days for a hospital appointment while I stayed to do some maintenance tasks .... this has stretched out to three weeks.

I've been painting at both ends of the boat getting up at 05:00 as this was the only time the well deck was cool enough to paint.

The well deck was easy but the engine bilge areas were difficult to get at and required a lot more prep with the angle grinder and wire brush.  I was getting fed up using the light grey paint so the engine bay floor got a couple of coats of red bilge paint.

Roly had a significant birthday which was celebrated with friends in the marina restaurant. The following day we had a boys return cruise to Sandon.

Paul was happy back at the tiller

Back to the painting the following day.
Stem post colour changed 
The stem has had a colour change from black to Manchester red and the brass mushroom vents, fairleads and tunnel light have all been brought back to a mirror shine.

The engine and gearbox have had oil changes and all FL's filters have been renewed.

Battle scars were touched up on the hull with bitumen and the top rubbing strake was repainted. The inside of the hatch doors were also rubbed down and repainted.
Evenings were relaxing,  sitting out with a glass of red.

Night time at the marina

The marina is at the halfway point on the Trent & Mersey canal.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Engine Temperature sensor.... how much!

It's a stomach butterfly moment when a warning buzzer sounds on the engine control panel while out cruising especially when it's the overheating warning light that is on. All thoughts go through my mind as I pull in to lift the engine covers and assess the problem, hoping it's a minor  problem like a broken fan belt

On this occasion after doing all the usual checks I identified the temperature sensor was faulty. As we were in the middle of nowhere on the Stratford canal at the time I decided to enlist the help of an engineer to supply and fit for me.

I received this quote
I know Vetus parts are expensive but £96 for a sender seemed expensive. Short story is I got a genuine Vetus part from ASAP Supplies for £12.56. Which took me less than 2 minutes to fit.

New sender & adaptor

Sender fitted

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Stafford link.

I had a walk into Stafford from Tixall Wide, a good walk of four miles, all of which is along towpaths and footpaths right into Stafford town, terminating at the 24 hour Asda supermarket.

As you turn off the canal at Baswich you walk along a long gone branch that linked the Stafford and Worcester canal with Stafford town centre between 1816 and 1920. This link consisted of a basin, aqueduct into a lock down onto the river Sow.

Foot path along the River Sow
Restoration of the link is under way, so far the basin has been excavated, brick walls are being repaired and the lock house foundations  uncovered. 

Footbridge used to span the realigned river Penk

Snaps below are from The Stafford Riverway link web site

Roving bridge  entrance  to the basin from canal 

Lock cottage, pig sty in foreground.
Ordinance survey map 1880 showing link between canal and river Sow 

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Western Hall

From our mooring today we can see the imposing Elizabethan edifice that is Western Hall, it looks fabulous lit up after dark. 

Roly and I decided, or were coerced into treating our lady's to an afternoon tea at the Hall. This meant the shorts and sandals I've been wearing all year would have to be changed for trousers and shoes - in my case this would be jeans and trainers.  

Western Hall

The sandwiches were many and varied but so small - not  the doorstep slices of bread with a good wedge of cheese  that I might make myself - I like the crusts left on too. The cakes were heavenly so were the scones with cream and jam. We accepted the offer of more sandwiches, later we returned to the boat with box's of cakes that couldn't be finish. A very different and enjoyable afternoon.

Monday, 18 June 2018


Our daughter and boyfriend came for a visit in between a weekend at the Download festival and a week in Malta.  Steve kindly provided dinner in the Greyhound Inn.

Before Nikita left for the airport she treated us to a meal in Bar No 26, a fathers day treat for me. Very welcome for us pensioners to have meals provided.

We had a trip to Yeovil to visit my outlaw, we took her with us to the Prince of Wales at Ham Hill to meet a friend we first met in Mojacar, Roly and Bev drove up from Wales to surprise Gordy.
Gordy, Roly, Bev, Sue & Betty.
Back on the boat we gave FL a wash and brush up, the fridge was restocked, then we were on our way out of the marina for a half hour cruise down to Burston, the bankside chairs were out for a drink with Roly & Bev before getting ready to be frustrated by the latest England performance at a tournament. It starts in half hour we go.

Sunday, 10 June 2018


Moved down to Tixall Wide, it's more like stopping in a lake than a canal. Weather has been kind since we left Birmingham and the forecast is for it to continue.

The following morning we were pleasantly surprised to find the Haywood Junction water point empty. An enjoyable cruise up to Aston followed. We moored above Aston Lock where we have stayed all week.

A social week with meals at Shimla Palace and in the marina bistro and an odd drink or two in a couple of Stones hostelries with friends.

Stone Festival has been on during the week with various activities during the evenings culminating in a parade of floats through the town on Saturday.

Yesterday evening two hot air balloons  drifted up from the marina grounds 

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Springwatch 2018

We are back on the Staffordshire and Worcester canal heading north towards Great Haywood. 

Wednesday was a showery day, as there was very little wind it was a pleasant cruise under the golf umbrella when needed. Watching damp lock wheelers working from the vantage point of the  brolly covered poop deck is one life's small pleasures.

A distance of 10 miles and 6  locks, with a short stop at Gailey canal shop to pick up a Stratford on Avon canal plaque, found us at Penkridge. An hour in the Cross Keys before tea was well earned by both crews.


Boggs lock

We have seen lots of wild life  on this trip, Spring Watch could definitely do a program from the Staffordshire and Worcester canal  
Cormorant drying 

Grey Squirrel 

Unusually this heron swam across the canal. ( Who knew)

Deptmore lock is  in a lovely setting