Tuesday 30 December 2014

Happy New Year!

Chris and I would like to thank all our readers for taking the time to read our mutterings and would like to thank you all for your comments and support.

To those of you we have met and are yet to meet

May the new year bring health, wealth and happiness to you and yours

Saturday 20 December 2014

Condensation Cure and Santa's new job

Hi all.
         We have been pottering around on the mooring over the last few weeks only slipping the lines to Diesel up and pumping out since our last post.  We've  kept our routine of work during the week and chillaxing at weekends as the weather has closed in.

Like others we have been keeping warm with the little Hobbit stove working well to keep us warm and snug on board.  My Eucalyptus logs are burning a treat and I've also manage to source a very cheap supply of offcuts from a local builder's merchant who is only too keen to let myself and others have his waste for a modest fee.   We both win.  £18 got me a one ton sand bag full of timber of all sizes.  Should keep us warm for a while and bonus, they will store it in their warehouse for me too so I can take what I need when I need it.

Also like others we have been dealing with condensation on the Houdini hatches and port holes that was getting a real problem but I've found a very effective and reasonably cheap solution.  For £10 per port hole I have purchased custom cut 3mm sheets of perspex with a 3mm hole drilled.  I surrounded this with 10mm "U" channel rubber and this assembly slips neatly into the porthole liner creating an effective secondary glazing unit.  I only made one to start with but the difference was amazing even in very cold weather. I soon ordered and made up more for the other portholes.

This porthole does not have the DIY secondary glazing and on a fairly mild
night condensation can be see running down the glass

This one does and is perfectly clear apart from my finger prints when
I put it in for the photo
 What is nice about these units is they can barely be seen as you can see from the photo above.  Only the rubber around the edge shows.

We also wanted to add the secondary glazing to the bedroom portholes but this meant that the porthole bungs would not stay in place as the space would now be too thin to take them.  Fortunately the perspex supplier,  theplasticman(Click), provides the perspex in different opaque colours as well so we opted for white.  This meant the porthole bungs would not be needed until the warmer weather arrives.  By the way the rubber I sourced from Seals direct (Click) and fits perfectly.  I joined it end to end to make a ring with a dab of Chryanolite super glue, also available from the same supplier.

Bedroom glazing unit in place and doubles as a bung too. 
The reason for the 3mm hole drilled in the perspex is t0 allow a small cord to be fixed so the units can be pulled out of the liner as they are a snug fit.  You can just make this out in the photo above.  Another advantage of the white perspex is even on a dull cloudy day a soft diffused light is allowed in whilst modesty is preserved.

So far these units have kept condensation to a bare minimum only misting very slightly when Chris is cooking.  It does mean we cannot open the portholes when they are in but as they are easily removed we just take them out and open the porthole if needed.

Our other problem was the Houdini hatches that poured condensation every evening to such an extent it was beginning to turn the wood black.  After reading about Tom's solution on b Waiouru (Click) with foam I decided to give it a go myself.  I bought 50mm thick blocks and although ours are not as elegant looking as Tom's our condensation troubles have also been cured here too.

Not as professional looking as Tom's but does the job
Finally, do you get the Boater's Update emails from C&RT?  If not have a look at the latest edition (Click).  We got a mention in T'other highlights!

Oh I nearly forgot, Santa has found himself another job at the marina in the lead up to Christmas...

Santa Wind sock at the marina

Sunday 30 November 2014

Happy Birthday AmyJo

Today we celebrated that fact that it is exactly one year today that AmyJo was launched at Crick marina.
Since then we have travelled 395 miles, locked through 150 locks, passed under 2025 bridges, 6 lift bridges and passed through 13 tunnels.  Not bad considering we are weekenders

Saturday 22 November 2014

Splash down

Not had much to blog about since our last run out.  

We did get a visit from Richard and Sharon on nb Oakapple in the early evening when we got back and whilst we sat chatting Mark and Corrine from  nb Dee O Ghee called to say hello,  so the kettle was soon back on and the lemon drizzle cake demolished.   Later that evening we had arranged to meet up with Richard and Sharon along with our mooring neighbours Paul and Shella in the marina clubhouse for a drink but when we got there at 8pm they had just closed the bar.  We quickly arranged transport and de-camped into Tattenhall and spent a great evening in the Sportsman's Arms instead.

This weekend the weather looked quite promising.  Chris needed to do some Christmas shopping in Chester so this morning we prepared AmyJo for the off and cruised into town.

View from the cratch as we slipped the mooring this
 We had a lovely slow run past the Golden Nook moorings with the sun warm on our backs.  Many moan about these moorings but for us its a time to chill and wind down as we pass the moorings.  By the time we reach the far end of them we are as relaxed as we can be

Looking back towards Golden Nook moorings
 We passed a few boats on our way towards Waverton and then passed through Egg bridge.  If you intend to stop there over the next few days you cannot stop on the moorings by the bridge as C&RT have their work boat and a wide beam barge moored there.

At Christleton just past the Cheshire Cat Inn one of the gardens had these lovely stones placed by the bank.  A simple idea but still very cute. 

Owl cute are these little fellas
 We started our descent through Christleton lock and then Greenfield lock.  Here more C&RT work boats and barges are moored up.  The barges are all empty and I wonder if they are being prepared for dredging as there are so many, or for the lock closures in January.

Empty barges line the offside upstream of the lock
At Tarvin Lock the lock keeper's cottage look lovely in the sunshine as did the newly painted water tower on the outskirts of the city.  There is something about this tower I like.  I think I mentioned it before that I like the ornate style of the brickwork.

Tarvin Lock Cottage  

Fresh paint on the water tower
All was going well and we made good time but that all changed at Chemistry lock!  Chris found the lock against us which was strange as we had not long passed a boat coming the other way.  She turned the lock but try as she might she could not open the gate.  I nosed AmyJo alongside and helped Chris open the gate then tuning to AmyJo found her stern had drifted out into the cut.  I got on board amidships and made my way down the gunwale to the stern.

That was when I christened the boat properly and found myself waste deep in the cut.  I had some how slipped off the gunwale.  Fortunately AmyJo was in neutral and I had the centre line in my hand.  Off course there had to be a group of Gongoozlers to hand but luckily none had a camera with them but I bet it made their day.  I scrambled ashore and pulled AmyJo to the bank.  Once in the lock I retired below to get a change of clothes before continuing.  As the lock emptied it was clear why Chris could not open the gate.  The lower gate on the onside had sagged by 3 inches and was not sealing with its opposite number.  The flow between the gate was considerable making filling the lock difficult.

We found a mooring just upstream of the new Waitrose supermarket and then took the opportunity to do a big shop.  After that we strolled into town to Christmas shop.  We got nearly all our prezies in under 2 hours!  Now that I like. 

Chester has its own Christmas market, whilst nowhere near as big as some, it does seem to be getting better each year.  The high streets are also adorned with Christmas lights.  With a mild and dry night the whole town centre looked very festive.

Chester Clock and the street lights

Chrismas tree and market outside the town hall

Wednesday 5 November 2014

This tree looked rather stark against this evening's twilight

Monday 3 November 2014

October cruise Day 6 - Back to Tattenhall and a Blogger's Meeting

We left Barbridge junction about 9.30am and enjoyed the clear blue sky and sunshine. Considering it is now the beginning of November we consider ourselves blessed that the weather has been good to us so far.

Leaving Barbridge in what could be mistaken for a summers morning.
At Bunbury Locks we were joined by a lovely couple enjoying their cruise in their shared boat nb Avington.  We unfortunately forgot to ask their names but thank you both if you are reading this.  They seemed happy we would be going down the locks together.  In double locks having two boats together is much less stressful and makes easier work for the lock wheelers.  Just as we started our descent of the top lock another boater appeared downstream so with three boats in the locks we had to perform the famous Bunbury shuffle.  This greatly pleased the lady of Avington as although she had heard of this she neither knew what it entailed nor had they both experienced it.  After clearing the locks they both admitted they found doing the shuffle interesting.

We then cruised together through Tilstone lock and Beeston stone lock, however, at Beeston Iron lock we both agreed to go down separately and so with a cheery wave we said our goodbyes.

nb Avington waiting while Stone lock is turned in our favour

Turnotheworld, is it steam powered, but lovely none the less?

The distinctive Wild Boar hotel in the distance
 We have received a comment from Bloggers Richard and Sharon from nb Oakapple that they were moored by Wharton Lock for the weekend and sure enough just above the lock we came across Oakapple

We pulled in below the lock and were greeted by Richard and Sharon who invited us aboard for a cuppa.  We closed up AmyJo and with cake in hand as an offering we walked back up to Oackapple and enjoyed Richard and Sharon's hospitality for a couple or hours.  Meantime the weather had deteriorated and it started to rain.  Not wanting to be too late back we said our goodbyes with a promise to meet up again later in the week.  Thank you Richard and Sharon it was a great pleasure to finally meet you both and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

On the last leg before pulling into the marina the sun broke out again but we spotted these rather interesting cloud formations

Cloud halo around the sun gave this stunning ring of rays

These clouds look like a rolling wave of water

So that's our last long cruise for this year but we are still hoping to cruise for a few weekends over the winter.  We still plan to stay aboard AmyJo as she has now become our home.  We love being aboard and have new found friends in the marina.  We still miss Crick but whilst Tattenhall has accepted us, the other boaters still call us the folks on the posh boat!  We may 'ave a posh boat but we definitely ain't posh :-)

Total distance:8.16 miles Elapsed time:6h58m43s Locks:6 Bridges:15 
Average speed:1.17 mph (2.03 lock/mph) 

Sunday 2 November 2014

October Cruise Day 5 – Wrenbury to Barbridge

Continuing our trip back to Tattenhall on the Llangollen canal we set of today and spent the day working our way down the locks starting with the three Baddiley locks. Today boats were travelling up stream so working the locks was easier as we d the other crews assisting.
P1010312 - Copy

P1010319 - Copy

At Swanley No 2 lock it was clear why the closure of this lock was needed. Someone had damaged the sill guard and the bottom of the gates were passing quite badly.

P1030873 - Copy

The weather today was the opposite of cold and wet and was actually quite warm again when the sun came out which it did most of the day
P1010322 - Copy

With the flow in our favour we made excellent time downstream and by lunchtime had reached Hurlston locks. By now a hire boat had caught us up so together with their crew and the chatty lock volunteer we had met on our way up we soon got down the 4 locks onto the Shorpshire union
P1010324 - Copy

It was apparent that the moorings were fully utilised at the foot of the locks but today we were aiming for Barbridge so that did not worry us.
P1010331 - Copy

When we reached the bottom of Hurlston locks it looked like the boat with the damaged rudder had been repaired as the lock landing was free. We later found out the lock keeper had moved the two other boats off and had only allowed the damaged boat to remain.
P1010332 - Copy

As we arrived at Barbridge and were just about to go passed the Barbridge in the boat moored outside pulled off. We had booked a meal in the inn for the evening so as they pulled of we were able to reverse into heir spot right outside the door. With a little daylight left I did what Del on Derwent6 enjoys most, polished the Chromium in or case.

Total distance:7.18 miles Elapsed time:5h34m0s Locks:9 Bridges:26
Average speed:1.29 mph (2.91 lock/mph)

Friday 31 October 2014

October Cruise Day 4 - Back to Wrenbury

After yesterday's cold and drizzly day this morning looked more promising.  There was still the morning chill but the sky looked much brighter and a hint of the sun was starting to show itself.

This morning's mooring
 We got under way at 9.15am and found we were making excellent time now we had the flow with us instead of against us.  The sun soon made an appearance lighting up this group of bushes showing off their reds and whites in the sun.  We do so love the Autumn colours and the Llangollen this time off year is stunning.

Lovely red and white leaves in the sun
 In short time we arrived at Grindley brook Locks to find only one boat going down ahead of us so we went straight into the first lock

The lock keeper's office now adorned with national flags

Grindley top lock
Middle chamber

Bottom chamber and the shop and cafe
The last chamber is the deepest
 After the staircase are the three separate locks to descend but these were not in our favour so we had to turn each one. 

First pound of the single lock and practising my reversing sills
Looks like I'm practising my putting but a mooring rope is a lousy golf club
and the mooring bollard does not roll as well as a ball
 Above the last lock we passed this C&RT work boat going up and at first I thought my eyes were playing tricks as I was sure the helmsman's cab was growing in height.   One of the C&RT guys accompanying it assured me I was not seeing things, the cab does indeed rise and fall to allow the helmsman to see over the differant loads carried in front.

Cab in the raised position
A better view of the diagonal bridge brickwork after the last lock
We arrived at Wrenbury lift bridge at around 2pm and as we passed moored boats we spied some crews scurrying to get under way.  Not wanting a repeat of yesterday we got through and lowered the bridge long before the first boat got fully under way.  Just as well as the rapidly growing queue of cars let us off the hook and the other boaters when they did arrive soon realised we did the right thing as a result.

Wrenbury lift bridge viewed from the Whitchurch side.
The visitor's mooring were virtually empty so I took the first mooring space after the bridge.  With plenty of time on our hands we wanted to explorer the village a little so we decided to walk into Wrenbury as we needed a few supplies.   Wrenbury village is a very English looking village with a large green and some beautiful houses like this one.

Parked opposite the green I spotted this lovely old banger and so after picking up our supplies just had to go for a closer look.

Could be a scene straight out of Poirrot's aventures
 The car turned out to be an old Riley.  It as in great condition and clearly was in regular use.  I love it when cars like this are actually used and not buried away, forgotten, under covers in some dusty barn.  

You don't often see one of these nowadays
We decided to eat on board tonight so threw another log on the fire and settled down for the evening.  AmyJo's cabin was soon as hot as a sauna so as it was still mild outside we let the Hobbit die back.