Wednesday 28 March 2012

Visitors to Chester

Hi all,
Now the weather has improved boats are starting to move on the cut more when they can, restrictions allowing.  One such boat, Hadar, is up from Market Harborough visiting Ellesmere Port Canal boat Museum for the Easter boat festival and is in Chester at the moment.

Hadar is a replica Small Northwich narrow boat of the "Star Class" originally built for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company (GUCCCo.) by W.J. Yarwoods of Northwich. She was built by Roger Fuller Boatbuilders Ltd and completed in 2007. 

Chris and I have regularly read Keith and Jo's blogs Where I belong and Hadar communicating with them from time to time and so we arranged to meet up with them last night (Tuesday).

Jo, Keith, Paddy and Marmite made us more than welcome when we arrived and we were honoured to be given a tour of Hadar.  I think I made a friend of Paddy who took all the fuss I gave him.  Hadar is an impressive boat, beautifully built and is actually a bit of a "Tardis" in as much as she looks a lot bigger inside than she appears from the outside. Jo and Keith are right to be proud of her as she is a lovely boat.  At 70ft she is 5ft longer than AmyJo will be and for the first time Chris got a clue as to AmyJo's intended size.  I think she may be a little bit daunted by that but it won't put her off.

As it was a lovely evening we went for a drink in the nearby pub, "The Lock keeper". Those of you who have been on the canal visiting Chester in the past would know the pub as "The Frog and Nightingale".  Recently under new management and renamed, the pub has been refurbished and now keeps a nice ale.

We had an excellent time chatting and listening to Jo and Keith's exploits which we enjoyed very much and giving them our ideas for AmyJo.  Keith is very knowledgeable having been around boats all his life gave us some very valuable pointers for which we are most grateful and so our list of things to consider has now grown considerably :-).

We all enjoyed ourselves so much that before we knew it was gone 10.45pm and so we had to say our goodbyes with the promise to go see them again at the Easter boat festival at Ellesemere Port. 

We would like to thank Keith and Jo for allowing us to spend some time with them,  we are most grateful and hope to keep in touch.

Sunday 25 March 2012

Round Robin to Stourport and Rugby then home.

What a lovely sunny weekend we've had.  Chris and I have thoroughly enjoyed this weekend.

It started at 7am yesterday as we got up to head down to Alexander Boats in Stourport, a 2 hour drive. We wanted to get there about 11am so wanted to allow plenty of time hence the early rise.  We opened the curtains to thick fog and everything dripping wet.  Not to be deterred we set of at 8.30am and carefully headed south arriving at Stourport at 10.45am and as we pulled into the yard the fog cleared and the sun beat down making it a lovely warm day.

Jim was busy working on a 30foot shell and was cutting a steel plate into the shape of the back end of the boat.  We spent about a couple of hours with him discussing Josher bow dimensions and side hatch sizes and other general matters that Jim offered us as things to think about, just getting to know each other better.  After that we let him get on.  Just up the road is a very nice common we passed on the way down so with the sun shining we decided to eat our packed lunch there and enjoy the warmth the weather was providing.

We regularly watch  Del & Al's (Derwent6) blog and as we knew they were only an hour away we had  previously arranged to pay them a visit and after a quick run down the motorway to Rugby we met up.  Armed with a bottle of wine and hot cross buns we were warmly greeted by them both when we arrived.

We spent a really pleasant afternoon in the cratch bathed in the warm sunshine discussing our plans and thoughts for AmyJo whilst Al got the hot cross buns buttered and a welcoming cuppa prepared. Del got out his folder with the design thoughts on Derwent6.  We discussed our ideas around Del's plans and drawings until suddenly it was 6pm before we knew it and we thought we had stayed long enough.

We asked if they knew where we could eat and would they like to join us and so we all walked to the nearby Butlers Leap and had a super meal while carrying on our Boaty discussions.

It took a while for Del to straighten up after this.
We had a wonderful time with them and came away with an even bigger list of things to consider for which we are most grateful.  Afterwards we walked back to Derwents6 and said our goodbyes.  I have to say by now Del looked in a lot of pain with his back, we do hope he made it back to the boat OK and gets better soon.  For a man in so much pain he never lost that smile once.  Thank you both for a lovely afternoon, it really made our day to see you both again and thank you again for all the advice, think we're gonna have a lot of research to do over the next few weeks!

Al, we may have some news about those tickets we mentioned in a few days, will get in touch soon.

Thursday 22 March 2012

In limbo

Hi All,
Chris and I are feeling we are sort of in limbo on the cusp so to speak at present.  

We know the build will definitely happen but not when at the moment.  I guess it a bit like knowing your going to move house as all the paperwork is done but you don't have a completion date yet.

Fernwoods are pretty much up to their eyes in a boat launch and preparing for Crick at the moment so understandably AmyJo is a lower priority right now, not that I'm complaining.  It will happen so Chris and I are being patient and we feel we don't want to myther them with our questions and ideas while they are mad busy, there's no rush, but naturally we do so want to get started.

Problem is now, what to post about.  I don't want to bore you with non boaty stuff like the fact we got the council to collect our old freezer today (yawn) and I don't want to post for posting sake.

We are, like everyone else, getting really concerned about water levels.   The restrictions are looking pretty serious its a wonder anyone can move on the cut at all.  I look at the photos on the blogs and its clear levels are way down even on the cut, so worrying all round. 

On the brighter side, I did wash my car the other day and yes it did pour down for a few hours after I'd dried it.  So that in mind "I have a cunning plan sir" (said in the voice of Baldrick).  If everyone brings their cars to me, I'll wash them over several months and then we'll have plenty of rain!  Seriously though lets hope the rains do come soon!

Keep safe.

Saturday 17 March 2012

Can you believe this?

There are some really sick people out there.

Amy got up to go to work this morning and found this all over the back her car

And yes it is dog sh^t.  Not something a young lady should have to contend with. Now Amy has to deal with the scratches on the paintwork left as the pleb used her car to remove the mess of his/her boot.

One wonders at the mentality of the mindless moron who felt compelled to do this.  Seems we breading a nation of cretins that have no respect for hygiene or other people for that matter? That also goes for the dog owner who left it there in the first place for the moron to tread on.

I despair of my fellow man moron sometimes.  I fear instead of evolving some people may be degenerating back into neanderthals instead.  Clearly this pillock already has.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Kitchen finished at last

Its been a quiet week on the boat front so as the tiles for the kitchen arrived on Monday, I've been busy putting them up and painting the door frame.  At last the kitchen is finally finished.

So now the next project for the house is a new central heating boiler although this was not planned for.  That last cold spell we had saw the water pump pack up.  Fortunately we have the British Gas insurance so a new pump was fitted within 24 hours, but, the engineer advised they would no longer cover water parts as the boiler needed replacing and the system flushed, I do wonder how much of that is actually a sales pitch but as they will not cover the parts I guess we have no choice or face large repair bills in future.  So now we are in the process of getting in quotes for the boiler.  It is currently situated in the bathroom so we are going to take the opportunity to have it moved in the loft to create more space. 

For now we are looking forward to visiting Alexander boats to talk to Jim Sparks and are following the blogs to see how everyone is doing. 

I try not to post anything contentious or political if I can help it but this really struck a chord with me.  It shows that despite adversity it is possible to be compassionate no matter how bad things get.  I do hope it does not go against anyones views or cause any bad feeling, I just wanted to share this with those who want to read it.

Just read on the BBC news web site today about Abdul Hakim in Iraq.

I do hope he is rewarded in some way for his labours one day as he is helping those (on both sides) and that can only be good for peace no matter how fragile. 

Tuesday 6 March 2012

A waiting game.

Thanks everyone that offered advise about what to install battery and engine wise. I've put these suggestions to Fernwoods and we will discuss them in more detail before we can settle on the final solution. We have plenty of time for now to decide what that will be.  I'll report on that when I can.

There is no date for the build to start yet so in the mean time I rang Jim Sparks at Alexander boats and will arrange another visit in the coming weeks.  I don't intend to discuss AmyJo in any detail but just want for us to get to know each other better.  As Chris is working during school term this will probably be at the weekend as Jim informs me he is flat out with work at present.

I've also been putting a list of things we need to be looking at to purchase.  Most likely some of these we'll get at the Crick boat show as we have ordered our tickets now for the Saturday and Sunday.  I'd love to do all 4 days but I've still got things to do at home so will make the most of the extended bank holiday to catch up.

While we wait for the build to start I thought I'd start doing some research for the following items and will update as we get a more final idea of where we go with them:-

Internet connection.  As most of our family live in Essex we keep in touch via various means but quick and cheap is facebook and so on.  Internet connection is a must for us so am starting to look at 3g wifi routers and at the moment have seem the Huawei e583c.  Its a nice compact unit with WiFi and it can take an external antenna which will be quite handy.

Entertainment system.  We're hoping to indulge ourselves here as we want a high spec system that is modular.  By that I mean it should serve as a surround sound system and radio,  has an input for an Ipod (save us having CDS on board), USB drives for Videos and also the freeview system.  There are few systems out there but Bose do such a system and as the cost is quite high I'm researching alternatives before taking the plunge.  The idea being we can minimise the number of units we need (no need for hifi, radio, CD/DVD player) and control those we will have via one remote.

Satellite receiver.  As we have SKY at home I have no intention of paying a second fee for it as I begrudge paying the high cost they charge as it is so may go with a free to view system.  Interesting thought though,  I wonder if Sky's Multi room would stretch to the boat as well?  Doubt it.

Satellite dish.  There is lots out there but I was reading Belles blog and like the neat dome solution of the Atmos Dish with auto skew.  Expensive I agree but it does save setting the dish up each time and looks much tidier too.

TV.  Naturally with all this we need a TV to watch and there are several out there that run on 12V or 230V.  I think we may go for a 24inch with in built freeview digital TV as anything bigger may be to much in the small space.  Again I have to look into this more.

Security.  I would like to have some sort of alarm on AmyJo but don't want one that will go off for no reason and annoy the neighbours.  That in mind I like the idea of a GSM alarm that texts you when it goes off. That way we can be alerted of problems and others will not be subject to an annoying wail in the middle of the night.  Advantages for these systems are are GPS position alarm (if the boat moves beyond a preset perimeter), some models you can add gas leak detection, bilge level monitors, low battery level and so on.  Most use very little power so will not drain the batteries.

This is only some of the things we need to consider and it is now becoming apparent the magnitude of choices and decisions we'll need to make over the coming months.  To be honest we cannot wait and look forward to making these decisions when the time comes.