Thursday, 21 November 2019


Enthused by seeing the Taiko drumming at the start of each Rugby World Cup game Sue searched online for any touring ensembles, low and behold a group were playing at the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre.

Photography was not allowed during the performance, this photo is borrowed from the WWW.

World Festival of Sacred Music to feature Makoto Taiko ...

We had an excellent time at the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers Concert, the pulsating beat of the music from the energetic baton-wielding performers sent vibrations into every atom in the room. It sorted out my tinnitus too.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Great Haywood.

There's more water around the Trent and Mersey canal than in it at the moment, making the towpaths mucky but gloriously squelchy for anyone with a pair of wellies. 

This time of year continuous cruisers have to keep an eye on C&RT planned maintenance lock closures. We are at Great Haywood, the T&M has been barred at Haywood lock since the 4th November for gate cill and balance beam repairs, the 22nd being scheduled completion date

A lot of equipment has to be brought in to do the repairs including pumps, scaffolding and fencing using five vessels in this case. C&RT have a lot of knockers, I have never been one of them, in my view, they have a un-enviable task of keeping the canal system open while trying to generate the means to do so through boat licence fees and charitable donations. They do receive some government funding, this is due to be phased out over the next five years, C&RT is expected to be self-sufficient by then.. we'll have to wait and see. 

Support vessels at Haywood lock (west end)

East end

The River Trent runs cheek by jowl with the canal here.

Essex packhorse bridge dates from 16C.

Swollen river Trent

How many boots.

I watched the Barbarians V Fiji game in the Hogarth in Stafford with my pal Gordon, £1.90 for a pint of Courage Best. This particular beer reminds me of my teenage years of convincing barmaids I was old enough to drink one.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Loads of water.

The MCCC (Mojacar canal cruising club) arranged a visit to Elan Valley, a comfortable cottage was booked in Llandrindod for a couple of nights which just happened to be attached to the pub next door. 

Visitor centre.

Martin with Bev and Sue at Llandrindod Wells lake.
Some of MCCC enjoying a drink.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Modification to FL's bum.

During our summer cruise, I noticed that there was vibration in drive at just above idle speed. I suspected the engine mounts were worn, I also noticed there was a bit of play in the cutlass bearing when I tugged on the prop through the weed hatch.

I had already had conversations last year with Peter at Canal Cruising in Stone, (my go-to outfit for engineering work) about changing the water-lubricated stern tube for a conventional grease-lubricated stuffing box.

It is a big job but one they have experience of doing, I have confidence in their workmanship so scheduled the work for last week.

Cutting out of the old cutlass bearing housing is required to fit the larger diameter shaft and bearing.

How it was, the Vetus shaft is 30mms diameter. The new shaft will be 1.5inches (38.1 mms) 

The hospital silencer and fuel filter were removed for access. The metal step was also cut off.

Propshaft and Vetus gland removed exposing the bearing housing.

Charlie cutting a hole in FL

Cutlass bearing cut out. 

Best not fill the dock yet. 

New stuffing box installed, using an alignment shaft.

Thrust plate welded in position and Python drive installed. I'll need to get in there and repaint the bilge.

The Python drive plate takes all the thrust from the prop this frees the engine mounts to just dampen engine vibes.

New propeller 
Filling the dock

One coat of Bilge paint.

All four engine mounts were replaced with HI-Hush items, a leaking flexible exhaust pipe was also renewed.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Quarter Final

Half hour to kick-off, why do I feel so nervous.... it's only a game!

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Rugby World Cup.

Appears I'm getting a bit slack when it comes to updating this blog......must try harder (was a theme to the end of term reports that Cardinal Godfrey school sent to my parents).

I left you at Fradley Junction five weeks ago, this is only 20 miles from where we are now.

The first three photos are from part of the journey before Fradley.

Somerton lock

 The local CR&T crew were removing silt and obstruction from behind the lock gate.  The culprit stopping the gate closing was found to be an anode.

We have arrived back in Stone 5 months after setting out, FL has only covered 444 miles and about 180 locks.

Back in the marina, we have been enjoying watching the pool stages of the rugby world cup.

I haven't missed a game so far, this requires setting an alarm for the early games, the JPN v SCL game being the most exciting so far.

The knockout stages start next weekend where we will see if a home nation team can upset South Africa or New Zealand who are favourites to reach the final in Kanagawa on November 2nd.

Roly and I will continue our friendly rivalry into the knockout stages.

FL is going into the dry dock next week to have her rear end modified,  I'll update this blog after.

Just for fun click