Daisypath - Anniversary

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October Cruise Day 2 New waters and that horn gives us a surprise

We woke this morning to glorious sunshine and summer trying to make a come back as it felt comfortably warm.  

AmyJo enjoying the sun at Barbridge The junction is in the distance
We had a lovely run for the 20 minutes it took to reach Hurlston Junction and as we planned to cruise new waters for AmyJo we turn onto the Llangollen.  

My next house (dream on Steve)
As we approached the junction we found nowhere to land as all moorings were taken and these three hire boats moored thus

All moored on the lock landing.
It transpired the boat inside on the lock landing had its rudder out of the skeg cup and those rafted to it were travelling with them.  They had come from Wrenbury last night and travelled down the flight in the dark then moored there.  The chappy on the stern was the hire boat mechanic trying to relocate the rudder without success.

There was nothing for it but to raft alongside the outer boat to let Chris off to set the lock.  In so doing we woke the crew who were shocked we had come along side.  I politely reminded them where they had moored and they saw our predicament, then went back to bed would you believe.  It was now 10:30am!

Finally AmyJo enters Hurlston bottom lock.
 Having spent the last few months working wide locks the chambers at Hurlston felt really enclosing and tight.  That said both Chris and I both feel happier in narrow locks.

Breath in.
 For the rest of the flight I got Chris to take the helm and did my bit, keeping the locals happy.  This lady lives in the cottage and took great delight telling me they had been out gathering sh*t for their compost heap.  Apparently they have two of them.  Nice! 

No not 5 more locks Chris, just a friendly wave.
Put your back into it my son,  That bench looks so inviting right now.
 Half way up the flight I met the hire boat mechanic on his way back to his van and got chatting as we walked to the next lock. 

Seems the hirer of the boat with the busted rudder was insisting the boat left base like it and that it was not his fault.  Neither the mechanic nor I were convinced as he had already dropped down 4 locks before arriving here so why had he not reported it sooner.  To make matter worse for the hirer the local lockie, who by now had joined us, told us that last night a boat had rammed lock No2's top gate in the dark as they thought it was open and so the walk board was now unsafe.  I do wander if it was our hire boat below?

Super view from the top lock
and lovely vistas beckon
AmyJo sporting that new bow fender.  Is that a smile.
 At Bachehouse bridge, I think it was, C&RT men were repairing yet another bridge parapet.  This seems to be more common concurrence from reading other blogs it seems.

Parapet repairs and new bank by the looks of it

Lovely gardens around here

One for our friend Steve (Sven),  as we rounded a bend we found a garden with a smorgasbord of classic cars but one I know Steve would appreciate is this mini hidden away between sheds.  Looks a runner too.

Though, in the same garden, this hardly fits the classic car category, however, stick 4 wheels on, add an engine in it and you could have some fun down the high street I think.  "There they go Milrid, swanning of to the pub no doubt"

Unusual mode of transport and note the mk2 Escort behind.
 After ascending Swanley and Baddiley locks we approached Wrenbury and our first ever lift bridge.  Poor Chris was so keen to have a go she forgot the BW key and windlass so had to scurry back to AmyJo for them.

Wrenbury Church lift bridge 19

We knew rain was due later so decided to make the most of the almost empty visitors moorings and pulled up for the night.  I had barely closed up the boat when the rain started.  Good timing or what!  It was heavy at first but soon abated long enough for me to dismount the horn before it got dark.  I was determined to see if I could get the blasted thing to work before forking out for another.

I took the horn to pieces but could not find anything obvious, there was no corrosion or loose joints, so put it back together.  I decided to give it one more chance so tried it and blow me it worked.  I had not expected it to so nearly dropped it over the side as it made me jump.  I tried it again and behold, it worked again.   Pleased with myself I remounted it and we then went for a meal in the Dusty Miller to celebrate.  The meal was just fab and although slightly on the expensive side it was worth every penny.   We then retired for a drop of highland spring water before hitting the sack.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Horn Troubles and the Great Escape

Its half term week at Chris's school and I had another weeks holiday owing.  To good a chance to miss so we decided to escape the marina.  Not before our Joanne announced she was moving on Sunday and could we help please?.  That scuppered our chances of getting to Llangollen but we simply had to give her a hand.  Besides mum wanted to see daughter's new digs as any mum would do.

After moving Joanne's worldly goods to a rather lovely looking cottage in the hills above Llangolen we hit the sack and were up bright an early this morning.  We woke to leaden skies that threatened rain but mild none the less.  We prepared AmyJo and slipped the lines and left after saying our goodbyes to Sheila next door who came out to see us off.

The log burner had stayed in over night so after clearing the marina entrance I left Chris at the helm and stoked the fire.  It was not long before the logs were burning nicely and AmyJo had a good head of steam from the stack.  The cabin remained toasty warm all day.

We made good time to Warton lock but alas no one was travelling our way.  We do keep a good look out for other boats and do wait a while.  Luckily, seeing as it is half term, there were plenty of hire boats coming down the locks so all were in our favour.  We passed through Beeston Iron and stone locks without a hitch and even Tilston and Bunbury were set for us.

All the time the sky looked dark and menacing but no rain luck would have it.  Occasionally the Sun made an appearance that lit up the Autumn colours like gold.  This tree looked magnificent against the black sky behind it.

Rich Autumn gold enhanced by the sun.
We passed Barbridge Junction with no sign of moving boats anywhere and again the portal of the bridge lit in the sun looked stark against the dark sky. 

It was then I found our horn had given up the ghost and would not make a noise no matter how I pressed the button.  I had hoped it would alert any boat coming through the bridge but nothing.

Approach to Barbridge junction from Chester end

White bridge walls gleam in the late sun.
Fortunately we made it pass the junction and just after we found Mick and Chris on nb Water under the Bridge moored in a sunny spot so we too pulled in for the night as a it was good opportunity to get to know them better.   Mick and Chris moor behind us at the marina so it we have seen each other in passing as they only cruise at weekends and school holidays like us.  

Fortunately for me Chris had a multi meter on board and I managed to track the fault to the horn itself though I could not find any obvious reason.  I reckon I'm going to have to buy a replacement :-(.

Total distance:8.01 miles Elapsed time:5h 51m  Locks:6 Bridges:15
Average speed:1.37 mph (2.39 lock/mph)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Time for a Time Lapse

I finally manage to up load another time lapse video.  This time From Tower Wharf Chester to the Shady Oak pub on the Shropshire union.

This one was taken using the little Gopro Camera.  For such a tiny unit I am impressed with the quality of the video.  Thats picture quality not my ability to take video :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

One man and his boat.

Gosh is it really so long since I last blogged.  We've been so busy of late we've barely had a free evening.  The sailing club AGM is coming up in November so numerous meetings and visits had to be made to start getting every thing in place.  If you have been a club Secretary you know how busy AGMs are to prepare for.

Not much has been happening on the boating front.  Since our trip to Bunbury until last weekend.  We have been doing little jobs around AmyJo like putting up a key holder, re calibrating the water level as it was inaccurate (those indicators are never accurate) but at least now it shows full when full and empty when low.

One major event that did happen was I replaced my Honda Jazz with a new car, a Vauxhall Astra Sports tourer on a 63 plate.  Its a 10 month old demonstrator but with good spec.

This is the Astra Sports Tourer in the same colour as mine
Being a 1.7TDI diesel its much more economical at 54.9 mpg than the Jazz's 42mpg, is more comfortable and roomy, but has much more get up and go.  Its performance is quite stunning considering its a diesel.

It has been a while since Chris has visited her mum so last weekend Chris and Joanne took the Astra and went south to spent some time with Mary.

Mary looks better every time we see her
Mary Seems to be thriving in the home and always has a smile for the camera.  

Meantime back on AmyJo I took the free time on Saturday to give the engine room a tidy.  I removed the last of the coolant from the engine bed and checked the antifreeze level.  It was still a bit low so I topped it up some more.  The stern door hinges were starting to get very stiff so I removed the doors, greased the pins and replaced the doors.  They swing much easier now.

As winter cometh and the temperature was now a lot lower at night it was time to wake the little Hobbit and in a short time it was keeping AmyJo warm and cosy.  I'm still not comfortable leaving it burning when we're not on the boat so its only on at weekends while the Eberspacher heater does during the week

That evening our mooring neighbour, Sheila and her partner Paul, invited us both over to the marina bar for a drink.  Being the sociable type it would be rude of me to decline so I joined them explaining where Chris was.  A a very pleasant evening was had indeed.  Needless to say it was the wee small hours before I returned to the warmth of AmyJo.

On Sunday it dawned cold but without a cloud in the sky nor breath of wind.  The sun soon burnt off the mist and at 10am I felt confident enough to slip the mooring lines and motor out of the marina on my own.  

Cold crisp sunny morning at Tattenhall
I'm still not sure if I can single hand a lock yet so turned right and enjoyed a short cruise down to the Shady Oak where I moored up. 
It was the strangest of feeling cruising without Chris but, alone with my thoughts and AmyJo,  I crept along in a world of my own with the cut virtually to myself and no boat in sight.

First trip down the Shroppie on my own
With lovely clear sky and sun warming my back
 It was still a bit chilly so a jumper was required but when the sun was clear of the trees its warmth was so apparent.  The wind stayed calm all day so made for a very pleasant cruise.   Feeling quite proud of my achievement I celebrated with a cuppa on mooring up.   I then spent the afternoon lazing in the cratch watching the world go by with classic FM on the radio. Life doesn't come much better.  

Later Amy and boy friend Rob joined me and accompanied me on the return cruise back to the marina which they enjoyed immensely. I was even treated to one of Amys excellent bacon butties along the way.   Problem was she set off the smoke detector and a poor couple walking along the tow path were not sure if it was a bugler alarm.  They looked quite relieved when I explained but were disappointed we did not offer them a buttie.  

Meanwhile Rob had put another log on the fire.  It must have been a bit damp as soon after AmyJo had a better head of white smoke pouring from her chimney than a steam from a locomotive. I would loved to have had a photo from the tow path at that point.  I was quite relieved when it dispersed back to the usual shimmer.

We have a weeks cruise booked and will be heading out on 26th November.  We plan to head off along the Llangollen so we'll see how far we get.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Are You the Guy with the Remote Controlled Boat?

Hello reader,
I gave up trying to post up to now as the signal was up and down for a few more days.  Turns out the local radio mast was not working though it seems it be now.

We're making the most of the mild weather and are out and about in AmyJo for the weekend so I'm having another go at posting whilst we have good internet here.

Beeston Castle is ever present all around these parts

We left Tattenhall last night and made the hour long cruise to the Shady Oak pub with Beeston castle never far away.  Despite rumours the pub is very much open and was quite busy when we went in.   We had a great nights sleep and was really lazy not surfacing until 9am.

I think cabin fever must have been setting in as both Chris and I are really enjoying being on the move again even if it is not as far as some of the regular bloggers.  

It was 10am and I was just preparing AmyJo ready to move off when a passing boater (who also moors in Tattenhall apparently) slowed down and asked "Are you the guy with the remote controlled boat?"  Now reader, as you can image I was quite surprised at this odd question and replied "No, nothing that fancy in this boat".  He seemed convinced I was the guy in question adding the boat he was referring to was the same colour as AmyJo and was "usually moored next door to Sheila" and he makes mooring up look so easy with that remote control.  "The guy is always tapping away at a remote control pad, thought you might be him.  Oh well" he said. "They must have been winding you up in the clubhouse I reckon" I quipped with a smile and he went on his way with a grin.
Now Sheila just happens to be the name of our mooring neighbour and, even though I say so myself, the few times we have ventured out I have, more by luck then judgement, always managed to pull onto our berth gently with little revs or fuss .

I though no more of it and so we upped pins and pulled off towards Bunbury.  Once under way I started to get my e canal map running on my iPad so as to see what lay ahead when the penny suddenly dropped! Could it be ..... no surely not, really?

Is this he infamous remote control pad maybe?
I had to smile to myself and a wicked plan started to formulate in my mind.  I don't think I'll be dispelling the myth for a little while just yet ... so no one let on please:-)

The weather today was a little cooler than of late and a jumper was required for the first time.  We made good time through the locks as all of them were in our favour or a few boats were coming down.  For the most part we were the only boat heading towards Bunbury.

Waiting for the boats to exit the lock

There they go an here I come

In Beeston Stone lock

Anglo Welsh hire boats make things very tight to get into Bunbury Locks
At Bunbury staircase locks the Anglo Welsh hire fleet were moored two abreast and that left no room for boats to pass.  Fortunately there was only one boat coming down in the bottom chamber so I had to take AmyJo into cit so the other boat could leave it and have clear passage past the hire fleet.

There were two jolly cheerful volunteer lockies on today and they helped us up the staircase chatting and laughing with us as we went.  We needed to wind at the turn just on from the locks but as they were hoping to get some lunch we offered to stop after winding to wait and have lunch ourselves.  As we winded another boat appeared and seemed impatient to get on, almost trying to pass us mid turn but as I backed out of the winding hole he was forced to stop.  Not wanting to be wasteful we decided to lock down with him.  The cheerful lockies were quite happy when we explained.  There was one boat coming up so we did the Bunbury shuffle and carried on.  I do hope the lockies managed to get their lunch afterwards.

Bunbury locks on our outward run

We carried on a little further and stopped at one of our favourite spots opposite Chas Harden boats on some Armco for the night.  It was then we realised we had left our mooring chain back at the Shady Oak were we stayed last night so had to use a nappy pin type mooring hook. :-(

Chas Harden boat yard
 Regular readers may recall we stopped here on our way up to Tattenhall from Crick and had our encounter with Mr Angry (Click)  I'm glad to report there is no sign of him this trip.  Whilst enjoying dinner in the cratch we noticed this large mound (we never noticed it last time funnily enough) and at first we thought it might be an ancient burial mound but it seems far to big and besides there is a concrete structure atop of it to the right.
unusual mound
A bit of research revealed it is in fact a group of WW2 fuel bunkers.  Wonder if they are used today?

On a change of subject, having lived on AmyJo for 6 weeks now one problem Chris has been faced with is where to hang washing to dry and in particular my work shirts.  Whilst hanging dry ones in my wardrobe one day a rare event occurred, my brain actually engaged and an idea came to mind.  Two lengths of wardrobe hanging rail later I came up with this

Wardrobe hanging rail washing line
The poles are spaced far enough away from the cratch board so a coat hanger can be hooked on them and they have proved pretty effective.  When crusing the air flow dries them nicely.  The poles are held in place by the usual U shaped cups so can be lifted off and stowed when not in use.  Only problem now is of course, on wash day entering and exiting AmyJo's cabin is now a bit like walking though that famous wardrobe into Narnia.  Bloody good job Aslan ain't around! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An Attempt to Catch Up

We seem to have slightly more stable Internet tonight so I a going to attempt to catch up with events.

You may recall we had travelled up into Chester for the weekend over the last bank holiday.  On that Saturday night the wind got up and AmyJo rocked just like being on the Thames in the Leisure 23 sailing yacht my brother-in-law sailed extensively in that area.

Sunday morning was wet and drizzly but as the day wore on the weather improved so we took ourselves for a stroll and found ourselves overlooking the River Dee not far from where we sail regularly in our Enterprise.

Our dinghy sailing area on the River Dee
Close by King Charles Tower we spotted a memorial we had not seen before. The sculpture below is a memorial to Captain Morgan who was in charge of a large cannon which was a major part in the city defences.  During the battle the cannon took a direct hit from advancing parliamentarians killing its gun crew.  The memorial attempts to recreate what was left of the cannon after the fateful event.

Monument to Captain Morgan's destroyed cannon

In the evening we walked to the Grosvenor park ready to see the outdoor theatre and had a stroll around the park

Status of the Second Marquee of Westminster
We then settled ourselves in our seats in the theatre to see "A comedy of errors" with our Presecco picnic hamper.  The show was most hilarious and we enjoyed every minute.  If you are ever in Chester during June to August I highly recommend booking tickets from http://www.grosvenorparkopenairtheatre.co.uk.  

Drinks in hand we're ready for the show in front row seats

The stage set and ready for the show
Once again the actors delighted the audience with their antics and then received standing ovations at the end of the performance.
We cruised back to Tattenhall on the Monday in better weather and had a lovely gentle cruise back even the locks seem to helps us through. 

On arriving at our berth we found the wind would assist us in reversing onto the mooring.  This because the wind held AmyJo's bow downwind but in line with the mooring jetty.  I managed with a great deal of luck to reverse onto the berth and even received a complement from a fellow boater who watched us.  Little did they know I'd never done that before nor probably be able to perform the manoeuvre as well again :-)  Still being a dinghy sailor and wind aware has its advantages sometimes but I do admit to being very relieved all went well as I shut the engine off.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Poor reception

Hi All
Sorry for the lack of posts recently.  For the last two weeks mobile phone reception for us has been diabolical to none, mostly the latter.  

Even as I type our internet connection is dropping out or barely maintaining connection with 1 bar.  Both Chris and my mobile phones are struggling to find a connection and mostly sit with 'No Service' outside AmyJo's cabin.  Even AmyJo's router SIM is struggling with her pepper pot antennas to get a signal. 

What is more annoying we are within yards of a mobile phone mast just across the cut.  This has been going on for the last too weeks.  Vodafone website showed a problem in our area but now shows its been fixed since 8th September and here we are two days on with still the same issue.

I am currently unable to post pictures so hence no posts.  Lets hope normal service resumes soon. :-(

Saturday, August 23, 2014

So good to be on the move again!

Like many other boaters we took the opportunity of a bank holiday to escape the marina and go on a four day cruise as I had booked Tuesday off.

Despite the iffy weather it felt so good to be on the move again.  Nice as the marina is we much prefer to have water flowing under the base plates and let AmyJo have a good swim.

We're not going far this time, just into Chester as with Chris's birthday coming up I've booked VIP tickets for this year's theatre in the park to see Shakespeare's "A Comedy of Errors" as a birthday treat on Sunday.  Chris really wanted to go again and so I manage to get the last tickets of the last performance, now sold out.

We got under way in blustery conditions about 10:30am when the rain had stopped.  I reversed AmyJo out of the mooring with trepidation thinking the wind may play havoc with manoeuvring.  I need not have worried as without realising it I had reversed into the shelter of the club house and turned AmyJo into much calmer wind as a result.  I found providing I kept a reasonable speed in reverse AmyJo kept a good line and then turned easily when changing the throttle to ahead.  I was grateful all went well as being new kids on the block all eyes were watching us leave wit interest.  Funny how there seems to be no one around and as soon as you pull of the mooring the marina comes alive with people all of a sudden :-).

Leaving the mooring and Ominous Grey clouds we would be cruising into

We made the transition through the moorings at Golden Nook and the rain started.  It became heavy enough for Chris to go below and do some boat work (is that the correct phrase for housework on a boat?)

And this is only the start of it
Once passed the line of moorings we soon got back to normal cruising speed but the sky got darker and darker until a torrential down pour followed.  It lasted for some 20 minutes after which the sun came out and it remained dry for the rest of the day.

For a holiday weekend surprisingly few boats passed us and at the Old Trooper and Cheshire Cat  moorings only a handful of boats were present.

Hardly anyone about at Chistleton
We had a boat follow us from Tattenhall and they became grateful lock buddies with us going down Greenfield and Tarvin Locks.  I did not get the ladies name but hubby Mike and I chatted as you do in locks and he was a really pleasant chap.  

Mike and I put the world to rights in Greenfield Lock
We stopped after Tarvin lock not far from the Bridge Inn as we needed a shop and I wanted to be near Aldi tomorrow as their special buys tomorrow includes this handy inspection camera

This will be great for checking around the engine and bilges where one cannot see or get too normally.

Talking about the engine, I'm please to report the leak we found on Wednesday has now stopped and we seem to be winning on the coolant leak front at last.  Still early days to see if we are still loosing any but the signs look good at the moment.

After a lovely sunny afternoon we are now settled down for the night.  The bridge Inn has a live band on at the moment and they sound pretty good.  Might just have to pop in for the odd drink and see what they are like.....

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Another Pair of Eyes Do Help Sometimes.

Wednesday nights in the summer are the only free nights in a week we have and whilst Chris was away in Essex I decided it was a good time to give AmyJo's engine a really good looking over for that coolant leak that has plagued us since launching.

I had just finished dinner and was taking up the engine covers when my good friend Dave (another sailing buddy) paid me a visit.  Dave and I have sailed many miles together in his GP14 and we are known as the heavy weather guys as the stronger the wind the better we like it.

We discussed several possible scenarios where the leak may be coming from and prepared to start removing the bulkhead frame surrounding the engine when a chance movement enabled Dave to  spot the most likely cause.  The hose by the end of the cylinder head casing ( see red arrow in photo) is connected to the block by a 90 degree elbow connector. I believe it goes to the calorifier.

As Dave was feeling around the area the hose moved as the elbow connector swivelled when his hand brushed past it.  We discovered that the joint nuts were slightly loose on the connector and where the hose connects to it the hose was wet underneath.  Running the engine revealed water weeping out very slowly that stopped when the engine was turned off.  The escaping coolant dropped down a small gap between the engine block and the fuel filter into the engine bed and that was why we could not trace the leak originally.

We are planning a 4 day cruise over the weekend so now everything has been tightened up we'll see if we have finally cured the coolant loss.