Daisypath - Anniversary

Saturday, 25 June 2016

A short run out and a a mug shot.

We have decided as the weather is still fairly settled here in Chester that we might have a run out for a week.  We're not going far just heading up into Chester for next Friday's retirement do laid on by my company.  Its also the Roving Canal Traders get together in Chester as well so we might struggle to get a mooring.  We'll have to wait and see later in the week.

Meanwhile we're sitting out on the cut for a while.  As they say a change is as good as a rest.

Taking some time out and mooring online for a few days

Last night whilst in the marina clubhouse, one of our boat neighbours pointed out a picture in the Canal Boating Times paper of yours truly at Crick.  Not a very flattering photo but its about as close to being famous as I'll ever be. Now wheres Chris's slimming world recipe book got to.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Still Here

Hi All,
Sorry for the lack of posts lately but not much boaty stuff going on at the moment.  Still working to earn a crust until next Thursday then retirement at last!

We're still holed up in the marina for now but are getting AmyJo ship shape for our up coming summer cruise up the Macclesfield canal if C&RT manage to plug the leak at Bollington otherwise plan B may have to be adopted.

I've been measuring AmyJo for size to see if getting through Standedge tunnel is possible.  We'll have to clear the decks and put a bit of ballast up front but she should just squeeze through, just.

We did spend the day at the Middlewich festival and met up with the trading boats.  No photos I'm afraid  but we parted company with our cash on some cheeses from the cheese boat and one of Barry's (AreandAre) new mini beer making kits.  10ltrs of Indian IPA are now on the bubble :-).

We have decided to give AmyJo an Axiom propeller to see, if their claims are good, that it helps with maneuverability and saves fuel.  There's nowt wrong with the current one its just I have always wanted to try the Axiom.   

I ordered the prop after speaking with David at Axiom and the new prop is now on its way.  I'm now trying to get a quick lift out to fit it before we start the cruise but thats not proving as simple as it sounds.  Tattenhall has the facilities but seem to be delaying offing their services so we may have to book elsewhere to get it done in time.

Meantime this little family have discovered we have bird seed on board thanks to Chris offering them some.  They now arrive every evening squawking to get our attention to be fed.  Amazing how something so small can make so much racket.

Moorehen or Coot chicks?  Either way they were loving the bird seed Chris fed them.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Fab weekend at Crick and a tale of woe for holiday hirers.

This weekend we made our annual pilgrimage to the Crick boat show like thousands of others.  The show is still very popular drawing large crowds every year.  This year, the 17th show, was no different.

Huge crowds at the show on Saturday
Now we have AmyJo there would seem no point in going but, Chris and I always enjoy the show just the same.  We still love to look at the boats and we still manage to flex the flexible friend to breaking point buying bits and bobs.   The only comment we have about the show this year is its the same old same old every year.  It is, however, noticeable there are less and less stands and, fewer boat builders with one or two regulars missing this year.  Also noticeable is the growing number of wide beams taking over the moorings now.  Don't get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong with wide beams if that is what you are interested in but they don't do it for me I'm afraid.

The marquees and stalls were kept busy

As were the show boats with many with full appointment books.
This year was of particular interest for us.  When AmyJo was in build, Fernwood had an open day.  Whilst there, one couple were very interested in AmyJo and became very keen to own a boat themselves.  They placed a build slot deposit there and then.  After this we kept in touch offering answers to Carl and Sam's questions by text and phone.  We offered what advice we could within our limited knowledge when asked and over time we have become good friends.   

So it was with great delight we were shown round this year's Ferwoods show boat, Why Fry, by proud owners Carl and Sam.  Their dream has finally become a reality after 3 years of waiting.  They are right to be very proud of Why Fry she's a lovely boat.  They still cannot believe the boat is for real yet but I'm sure they will enjoy getting to know her over time.  Well I remember being the same when AmyJo was launched.  Its all so exciting and daunting at the same time.

Carl and Sam's new build Why Fry looking stunning in the line up.
 Those of you lucky enough to look round Why Fry will agree she is beautifully turned out in the traditional Fernwood high Quality finish.  She sports the new over catch fixed roof that is becoming popular and, to be fair, makes for a roomy well deck and a delightful area to sit in and watch the world go by.  The interior design centers around a large Arger in the middle of the boat.  A case of, we have this Arger now build a boat around it please.  It blends with the interior perfectly and does not dominate the design even though is is the focal point when you are in the cabin.  

We really wish Carl and Sam many happy trouble free cruising days in Why Fry.  We've even planned a meet up with them on the cut sometime in the near future.  Looking forward to that greatly.

Plenty to see and look at .
 We returned to the show on Sunday armed with a shopping list of items we had seen and wanted to buy the day before.  In the afternoon we took all our purchases back to the car and then had a stroll along the cut.  We've not done this before and it was nice to get away from the hurly burly of the show and enjoy the relative calm of the tow path.

Plenty of boats on the cut as is usual at the show.

These two looked bemused by the goings on but enjoying some father son time none the less.

Whilst these young geese enjoyed a munch in the grass nearby.
There was plenty going on and things to see on the cut.  We had already met bloggers Del and Al on Derwent6 and sure enough we came upon a very shiny Derwents 6 moored up.  Del had obviously spruced her up for the show and we were amazed at how well she has kept.  Clearly Del and Al take very good care of her.
No mistaking this boat
 This year Willow Wren were present offering steering experience trips.  Chris and I remember doing our Helmsman's course on Peggy a few years back (Click) so it was nice to see them again.

Willow Wren's Peggy passes us by

No mistaking the heritage of this Boat, Mochen Du, another Fernwood boat
 As the day wore on we eagerly awaited the builder's canoe race.  This is a no rules anything goes event that always provides entertainment.  Its a chance for the boat builders to let off some steam and enjoy some light hearted rivalry.  As we waited we were joined by other Fernwood boat owners and so the Fernwood owners club was in session.

Past present and future owners.  Left to right Kate (Priscilla), Sian in dark top (Mochen Du), Del and Al (Derwent 6)
Sam and Carl (Why Fry) Yours truly (AmyJo) and Franka (Fernwoods)

We were later joined by Mike and Eric (Fernwoods) and Mark (Mochen Du) on the left
Mark and Eric were to fly the banner for Fernwoods in the race so we enjoyed the fun waiting their turn.  The teams competed in pairs and the winners go on to compete in the semi finals and the final.

Despite his age this gent and his crew powered ahead of his younger rivals

Winning their race much to the delight of his team mate
 Mike and Eric put on an impressive performance al lead to the far mark but were cut off at the pass by their rivals causing them to fall behind.  Despite a valiant effort they caught up but not enough being pipped to the finish by a mere few feet.

The fernwood team saddle up

After a promising start they were cut off at the turn by the other team, who, thanks to their cheating tactics, won thee heat.

A valiant effort to catch up by team Fernwood
 After a few races the inevitable capsize just had to happen much to the delight of the onlookers with whoops of laughter, heckling and applause.  The "casualty" made great show waving to the crowds with his feet on the way back to the jetty bringing forth more laughter and heckling.

Might look serious but in fact it was all show and just a bit of fun on the way back to the jetty for one who capsized.

The eventual triumphant winners who, by tradition were baptised by capsize.
We've had a fab weekend at the show and it was really great to see the other boat owners and Andy, Franka and the boys from Fernwood there.  Hope to see you all again next year or out on the cut before then.

I don't like posting sad posts but this one has to be told.  Whilst working on AmyJo today a hire boat came into the marina bumping hard into our jetty.  It turned out the boat had had work on the skeg previously and the rudder was so stiff the family hiring it could barely steer it.  They had already had a 3 hour delay as the fridge was not working and had to be replaced then, after cruising for a day, had no choice but to pull in to try and get it sorted.  Derek the marina manager did what he could to help them and make them feel welcome.

Not a problem you might say but what made this hard to accept for us is the family had planned and saved hard for a year to have this holiday as it was a special one with nan and grandad joining them.   The hire company, who I will not name, from Middlewhich, obviously had not checked the boat before hiring it out and to be frank were completely indifferent to the families plea to get a solution.

The family, now very upset their holiday was ruined, were becoming very distraught as the hire firm could not or would not give them another boat but then after much badgering begrudgingly gave them a full refund without even an apology.  After all this mum was in floods of tears as this clearly had been a big holiday for them and was now a disaster and nightmare.  

The event unfolding beside us played heavily on our minds.  We simply could not just stand by and do nothing, so Chris offered to ring every hire boat company around here to see if we could source another boat for them, but, being a bank holiday sadly none were available.  We really felt for them, such a shame.  Why are hire boat firms allowed to get away with this?  It was clearly incompetence on the part of the hire firm and there seemed no remorse what so ever from the company involved despite the family's upset.  We do hope the family find some way of getting compensation.  Just goes to show its not all sun and smiles like it is on two certain TV series.

On a brighter note we hope everyone has had a great weekend and enjoyed the mild weather.  We're off to Essex soon to see the folks back home so may be another while before the next post.

Finally a quick thank you to Joe and Keith on Hadar (click).  They are currently cruising the Calder and have been sending me updates and advise for our trip there in the summer.  The photos look really great so we are really looking forward to the trip now.  Much appreciated.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Bunbury Open day and a surprise blogger meet

Anglo Welsh Hire boats at Bunbury had an open day on Sunday and, as our friend Steve is the Fleet manager, I offered my services to help out.  Steve is keen to get the hire fleet busy over the season and this will make things easier at the locks as the more boats hired out the less will be on the wharf blocking the way.

I must congratulate Steve and his team who went all out with tea, coffee and scrummy cakes.  Three of the fleet boats were set up for people to walk through and see up close what a hire boat is all about and the team were on hand to answer questions.  The atmosphere was great and had that canalside festival feel with benches outside to sit on and tables inside for those that wanted to be more informed.

Plenty of interest in the day boat trips
 The weather was perfect and the wharf was very busy with people coming along to find out about hiring.  I was given the task of helmsman on the day boat giving trips from the wharf to Tilstone lock and back.  The boat takes 10 people and together with Dave Harrison as crew and guide we were kept busy all day with plenty of people wanting to have a ride.  At one point the queue was over 20 people long.  We think we must have given over 100 people a trip in the boat by end of the day.

Yours truly at the helm winding in front of the Gongoozlers

A large crowd waits for their turn in the day boat
 At the end of the day Steve and his team had a lot of interest and I understand several bookings for this and next year.

Yesterday I returned with the drone and got the chance to get some photos for Steve and video that I'll be putting up on YouTube soon.

The Staircase at Bunbury

Bunbury Locks and Wharf
It was after filming that I walked along the cut above the locks when I spied a very familiar looking boat.  Free Spirit with Ian and Irene Jamieson of blog Jamieson's afloat  (click) were there.  I stopped and chatted with them for a good while and wish Irene good news on her visit to the hospital tomorrow to see the consultant.  Whilst speaking with them I took the opportunity to quiz Ian about is home made solar panel boxes and came away with a much better hinging idea I could use on our box.  It was lovely to meet you both and we hope to catch up some time again.

Irene and Ian Of the blog Jamieson's Afloat
Another surprise came for us as our blog has been awarded a Narrowboaters top blogger status by Boats and Outboards which we feel quite honoured by.  Like Ian and Irene, plus several others, we were contacted by Oliver to ask if he could include our blog on their site.  I agreed thinking it would just be a short reference but Oliver has given each blogger a good write up about their blogs.  If you click on the badge it will take you to the site where AmyJo's blog is featured.

This evening was sooooo lovely we simply could not resists a quick cruise to the Shady Oak in the warm evening sun for a drink and dinner.  It was so nice to cruise in the warm sun.  It was so warm it meant we could sit out in our favourite part of AmyJo, the cratch.  

Whilst having dinner Mr & Mrs Duck came to join us.  Mrs Duck was very tame and came to sit on the gunnel right beside me whilst we ate in the cratch.  Chris did not want to feed them bread but found they rather like crumbled sugar free weetabix instead.  What lovely dinner guests.

Come dine with us or us it dinner's arrived

One has to have a drink with one's dinner of course
Its only an hour's cruise from the marina and sunset was 8:30pm so at 7:30pm we set off and returned to the marina feeling at one with the world just as the sun was setting.  A simply perfect way to end the day

Oooh I nearly forgot!!  Congratulations to Jon and Hannah on Coal boat Mountbatten as they have a new crew member.  They are celebrating the berth of Beatrix 'Trixie' Harriet Wardman born 10th April 2016 at 23:37 weighing a tiny 2lb 2oz and born 3 months early!  To Quote Hannah "Trixie is fighting and taking tiny steps everyday but her amazing doctors and nurses at Liverpool Women's Hospital are taking the best care of her & say she is doing well..."

We wish Trixie well and do so hope she goes on to full health.  Can't wait to meet her.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Easter and the Llangollen Day - Last Few Days

We left Wrenbury after a night of rainfall to a cold dull morning.  Mercifully there was little or no wind so we crept out quietly and headed for the manual lift bridge.  Another boat was ahead of us so Chris kindly offered to operate the bridge for them.

Moored at Wrenbury
 It appears the boat owner's wife with friend had the boat for the weekend and whilst the friends wanted to be liveaboards the lady with them was happy to cruise on holidays only.

Following another boat through the lift bridge
 Chris noted that some locks had stop plank storage and whilst some were a simple boxes, some were quite ornate like this one.  We're not sure why this one is so elaborate compared to the other box storage but we think it does look rather more pleasing none the less.

Ornate Stop Plank Storage
 At Burland we came across coal boat Mountbatten.  You may recall in my previous post I mentioned John and Hannah had acquired a butty to give them extended living accommodation when the baby is born.  We had not realise it was the same style as Mountbatten.  I wonder if this was Mountbatten's original butty?

Mountbatten's new Butty being prepared for the new crew member
 Compared to the last few days we had a pleasant trip down to Hurleston Locks and again found them clear of boats, in fact we descended to the bottom lock before another boat appeared at the top or bottom lock.
Descending Hurleston Locks
 As I started to exit the bottom lock a hire boat came through the bridge and tried to turn for the locks, unfortunately he was going a little too fast and became wedged across the cut blocking the way to Barbridge.  His face dropped when he asked which way I was headed and I pointed at his boat.

Unable to proceed all I could do was offer advice whilst trying to keep AmyJo still in the water.  Eventually he reversed under the bridge so I could get out of the way.  Chris held AmyJo to the side whilst, at the hirer's request, I talked him round the turn.  After that we made for Barbridge.

Now its common knowledge that the purpose of the Llangollen canal is as a feeder for the reservoir here at Hurleston which provides drinking water for Crewe.  What I'd like to know though is what the purpose of this tunnel looking opening is for.  Anyone have any ideas?  It appears to pass under the reservoir but I cannot see why.

Tunnel under Reservoir

Familiar view looking back up Hurleston Locks

Sunday morning was a much more pleasant with plenty of sunshine and quite pleasantly warm at times.  The clouds were building but there was still plenty of sun.  Chris tried to photograph sun rays coming from behind this cloud but they do not show up as well on the photo.

Sun rays behind a cloud
 Its odd but things always seem much better when the sun is out, even the spring flowers were enjoying it today.

Spring flowers by a bridge
 A Calverley we think we may have discovered the origins of the Easter island heads for on a boat moored just along from the services we could see miniature versions standing on its roof.  If one went missing would that mean the owner had lost his head?

Easter Island Heads?
 At Bunbury the volockys had the locks ready for us to go straight in and we were joined for the descent with another boat whose name I have embarrassingly forgotten, sorry chaps if you were on that boat.

Getting Ready to descent Bunbury Locks
 As the gates opened with us in the bottom lock we were confronted with working boat Saturn and her motor approaching.  Those that know Bunbury will know passing along side the Anglo Welsh fleet is not easy at the best of times.  We managed to get our lock partners out and on their way but we could not get past so we pulled into the wharf leaving just enough room for the working boats to pass and enter the lock.

Saturn and her motor arrive just as we leave the bottom lock
 We found they were heading to Ellesmere for the boat festival there.  Signs other boats were heading down came as we passed Empress moored up near Chas Harden boats.

Empress moored near Tilstone Lock
 We got to the Shady Ooak in the afternoon and decided to have a liquid lunch.
Our favourite mooring at the Shady Oak
 Whilst in the pub this cheeky chap came a calling to be fed.  Poor fellow did not realise no one was home so kept knocking at the open side doors,  It was clear he could not understand why his knocks were not answered but he kept trying fora further 20 minutes without success.

Um wonder if they are home and will feed me

Knock Knock feed me please

Oi, why won't you answer me?
With the forecast on Sunday giving strong winds as the day progressed we left early and were back in the marina by 10am.  This proved a good decision as just after tying up thw wind steadily increased all morning until mid afternoon it was blowing hard.

Chris is now darn Sarf visiting her mum so I'm tidying up and packing everything away as we will be in the marina for a while now.  Back to work tomorrow, Tuesday.  Hay ho all good things come to an end...   but not for too long.