Wednesday, 31 August 2016

It's been a couple of...

........weeks since our mate Elaine passed away at a Cheshire hospice.Not unexpected but still oh so tragic. 

Elaine was full of compassion and understanding for all living things, a loving lady who as long we have known her just kept giving, never letting her illness get in the way of enjoying every moment especially with Paul and her boys.

Diane Sue & Elaine doing the shoulder pose

Meal at The Boat with Paul, Andy, Ray, Diane, Sue, Elaine & the boys.

At the Playa.
Paddy's day celebration.

One of the  cherished gift's made for us by Elaine. 
An accomplished maker of trinkets and jewellery we will always treasure them as we will treasure her memory.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

King Sutton

Its been a pleasant few days at King Sutton, in between bouts of sitting on the bank relaxing with a Kindle I have had the paint brushes out to tidy up the swan neck and stern deck.

Today we had a short cruise to the Pig Place and back.

King Sutton lock

Herd of goats

Comfy seating at the Pig Place 

Cutting back brambles in case Klara comes this way.

Clear way through now.

King Sutton spire is being renovated.

FL is the only moored boat.

In the field opposite

Saturday, 13 August 2016

A computer bodge

With reference to the screen problem I am having with the chromebook( pink shading at different angles of the screen) I thought I would check the computer connections to the screen hadn't worked loose over a zillion times opening and closing the lid. Getting access was easy enough just  two pieces of trim pop out.

The connector was fine, the problem I think is a fracture in a wire, I noticed when I applied pressure with a finger on the wire the pinkness cleared.

The problem wire is the brown wire going over the left hinge.

Black tape applied.
I put four strips of Gator tape over it, with the trim snapped into place it was enough pressure to fix the problem. Probably not a permanent repair, I will see if I can source the correct part for a permanent fix.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Oxford canal

Yesterday was fleece weather for the first part of the day but things did improve a little.

Sue gets help at a Claydon lock.

Love the clutter at Clattercote Wharf.
Cropredy and the canal leading into the village were rammed with boats, not a mooring to be had for a mile or two either side of the village. We had no problem squeezing through as we had left it till late afternoon when most boats were moored up.

The reason for the congestion of course is the Fairport Convention Festival, Simon Nicol was on Radio 2 this morning saying that this will be the 40th consecutive festival, they started in 1976.

We moored below Slat Mill lock, we could hear the faint beat of Madness belting out 'One Step Beyond'.
Two miles from Cropredy 
Three abreast in places

Campers getting in the festival spirit.

Today has been a glorious day for a cruise as one towpath walker was happy to point out to us. We stopped in Banbury, I wanted to go to PC World, my Chrome book is 3 years old now and the screen keeps washing out in a pink shadow. They only had a choice of two neither I liked the look off, I'll look on Amazon. Quick trip into B&Q to replace the sanding block I dropped into the canal when emptying a bucket of water.

Hearth given some colour.

Our daughter is taking part in a 24 hour relay in aid of Cancer research if any body would like to contribute please click on the link.cancer research UK  Thankyou.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Team GB Olympic Rugby sevens at Ladder bridge.

After putting the first red gloss coat on the hearth we unpinned FL, stopped before the bottom lock to fill the water tank, when this task was completed we entered the first of nine locks in the Napton flight at midday. Two and half ours later we were exiting the top lock. Adjacent to the top lock there is always some interesting cars stored on the canal bank.

We cracked on and got moored up just in time after Ladder bridge to watch Team GB top their group after beating NZ.

Napton bottom lock & Folly bridge.

Moorhen & chick.

Lock 9

Lock 10.

A Connaught Type D GT  V10 by the top lock.


Flecknoe was a nice mooring to spend a couple of days, the Grand Union canal was busy with passing craft. The moorings filled and emptied as crews carried on their journeys. There are a few  hire bases around this area, you are likely to encounter a hirer still trying to master the handling of a 18 ton steel tube, a modicum of caution is required on the bends and bridge holes.

An early start helps to keep out of the way, untying from the bank at 07:30 the sky was clear of any clouds but the temperature was cooled by the breeze.

 After a three hour cruise we moored at Napton, we will go up the flight of locks tomorrow, we were going to go to the pub but decided on a night in watching the Olympians.

I have started repainting the black metal hearth in the saloon, we thought we would have a change and add a bit of colour to the dark corner so eventually it will be Manchester red with black trim.

Primed and undercoated.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Pam Ayres

I Love a Little Narrowboat - by Pam Ayres

I love a little narrowboat, I love the old canal,
Imagining the tales these ancient waterways could tell,
I love to work the lock, those oaken gates so firm and strong,
With know-alls up above to tell you what you're doing wrong.

I love to see the native creatures busy at the bank,
The otter and the water vole, the terrapin and mink,
And peering in the water, into shallows green and still,
To see somebody's goldfish from the kitchen window-sill.

I love to moor along the bank and hear the gentle rain,
To cook a meal and watch the world beyond the window-pane,
Little bobbing moorhen chicks, the mallard and the coot,
Exhausted lovers hoping that their effort's bearing fruit.

I love the ancient bridges, every keystone, every corbel,
The singing of the little birds, the chirrup and the warble,
To feed a lonely swan, so perfect, white as alabaster,
Who struck me with his wing; observe my collar-bone in plaster.

I love to meet the other folk who use the waterways,
The walkers and the fishermen on sunny languid days,
We drift beside the towpath and we breathe the summer's breath,
Till roaring motor-bikers come and frighten us to death.

I love the inland waterways and if it's in my power,
I'll just keep on a-sailing at about three miles an hour,
And when I see that final tunnel, into it I'll glide,
I'll raise my yaching cap and see you on the other side.

Saturday, 6 August 2016


 Before we headed for bed last night the rain was coming down in stair rods, next morning it was all clear for our cruise into Braunston.

Neat bird box

An anxious mooring!

Fabulous turfed turnover bridge.
We took Braunston Turn to the right and reversed back onto Midland Chandlers mooring to pick up some bog blue. It was still only 09:00 so not many boats had moved on, we did find a space opposite The Boathouse, their free wifi is drifting into FL so I'm posting this on it. I'm not uncomfortable with that as we will be using the premises later, taking the occasional single handed trader along with us.

When we turned up at the Boathouse for a two for one meal deal in the evening the place was very busy with queues at the bar. The food was the usual chain pub fare, later when Sue retired back to the boat, Barry and I stopped off at the Plough on the way home. Much later it was a dark walk home along the towpath without a torch.

Saturday-  4000 revellers are expected in Braunston for the Admiral Nelson music festival, we wanted somewhere a bit quieter, after visiting the Braunston butcher we winded FL topped up the water tank and cruised out of the village for a couple of miles to moor near bridge 100.

Skinny bridge 100

Thursday, 4 August 2016


Away from Napton  cruising early, at Napton Junction the canal merges in to the Grand Union Canal till Braunston Turn, we weren't going that far today, we moored after bridge 103 Flecknoe farm is behind a high towpath hedge, opposite is the rolling farmland of Red House farm 

View from the hatch.
The paint brushes have been in use again, a different colour paint this time. The seat lockers in the cratch and the front bulkhead needed attention. My usual process was followed, a good going over with the orbital sander any stubborn rust areas then blitz with a paint stripping disc on a angle grinder, then hand rubbed with wet&dry paper. 

A coat of rust converter/ primer before an undercoat, when dry a gentle rub with wet& dry, I used 600 grit, dust wiped away with white spirit then the top coat applied.


The Homebrew boat pulled in with only Barry aboard, Sandra being away on granny duties, we haven't seen them since last year, so it was great to have a catch up with Barry over a couple of glasses of vino.
Barry leaving next day.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016


Monday - the weather took a turn for the worse at lunch time so the top coat I applied this morning was going to be my last for a while even though I had asked our friends on nb Moriarty to pick up some more paint for me on their way through Braunston.

The paint, Martin & Cathy duly arrived, we spent the evening playing board and card games, trying to beat the Cathy the Rummikub Master proved impossible.

Tuesday morning we headed off towards Braunston, skies were grey, a muggy day that drizzled on and off during this trip. Sue's rain jacket was on & off all trip as she dealt with the locks, I stayed dry on the stern under the umbrella.

Starting at Marston Doles we had nine locks to descend, boats coming up the flight made progress swift and in a couple of hours we were servicing the boat at the bottom of the flight by Folly Bridge.

We moored on Napton's visitor moorings, a meal and a pint in the Folly tonight, a reward for all the hard graft over the weekend.

Grey and warm.

Medieval ridge & furrow patterns in the fields.

The wonderful Water Buffalo at Napton Serengeti. 
Priors Hardwick Bridge.(123)

Bridge 122.

Plenty of help at locks today, Sue's jacket is off again.
Napton parish council logo.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Maintenance weekend

It's been a descent weekend weather wise, we haven't moved from the spot we moored up in on Friday lunchtime. I have used the time to repaint the top of port side gunnel I painted two years ago but didn't quite get right. 

The gunnel is used to step on so requires an anti slip finish, I used premixed paint and sand but I put it on right up to the cabin side when I should have left a gap to allow rain to run of easily. It was difficult to remove, the bulk of it came off ok with an orbital sander but the 50 foot length up against the cabin side had to be done carefully by hand so I didn't touch the paint on the cabin side.

Not a bad place to stop for the weekend.

Gloss coat.

Gunnel taped ready.
Anti slip applied
Next the engine hole needed attention, surface rust had bubbled through the paint in a few places. One of the batteries had to come out to get to one of the patches. Used the scraper and wire brush then degreased the area with gunk and washed with water, rubbed it all with wet & dry paper, finally wiping it down with white spirit. 

Painted the whole area with rust converter, I use Aqua -Steel which acts as a primer too. Once the converter had done its stuff overnight it got an under coat and today it got a top coat.

Hard at it.

Top of the swim needs attention

Job done.
For non boaters the red bit is the weed hatch, gives access to clear a fouled propeller, could also be called plastic bag hatch, bit of old carpet hatch, barbed wire hatch or dead fox hatch. These are some of the stuff others have found caught around the prop, we have only had one of our own fender ropes fouling the prop and on one other occasion a plastic bag in the three years we have owned the boat.