Sunday, 19 September 2010
Monday, 16 August 2010
On Friday I prepared a sheet of 18mm plywood for the deck on which one stands whilst steering. Last weekend it had given way due to being almost completely rotten. The ply would need painting.
On Saturday it rained on and off for mst of the day. I managed to get the board primed and undercoated on both sides but as soon as I finished the second side of undercoat, the heavens opened. The surface of the paint look like the surface of the moon, Never mind, nobody will see it, it was the underside.
Monday, 2 August 2010
I walked back to Semington to fetch the car, whilst Mum prepared lunch. In the afternoon we moved on to Bradford-on-Avon and stopped for the night a few hundred yards above the lock. Again, I walked back to get the car. David joined us later in the evening and stayed the night.
Sunday morning we went down through the lock and moored behind the town's great Tithe Barn.
Thursday, 15 July 2010
By mid afternoon it was almost unbearably hot so we pulled in to have 'Tea & Cake' and a rest. There was a boat ahead of us, similarly moored for refreshments. We recognised them as friends from our local village. The Bishop family had joined Jane on 'About Time' (normally moored near us at Great Bedwyn) for a day trip. It is a small world!
Starting off about lunchtime on Saturday Judy and Alison moved towards the start of the Crofton Flight as I moved the car nearer. I helped with locks/steered etc., until the top of Crofton where we stopped for a well earned 'tea & cake'. I was about to walk back to the car to 'leapfrog' to Wootton Rivers, when the engine would not start. The starter motor would not kick in. After about an hour of tracing wiring, checking switches and relays I discovered the starter solenoid wire dangling below the starter. The vibrations had caused it to drop off. Repaired, boat started, we were each on our way in opposite directions.
I walked back to the car and drove to Wootton Rivers whilst Judy and Alison made their way along the canal to meet me. We eventually met at Wootton Rivers top lock, worked our way to the bottom, so that we were at the start of the Long Pound and stayed the night.
Sunday morning, bright and early, the womenfolk started towards Pewsey, we met again briefly, then leapfrog to Honey Street for lunch. Afternoon leapfrogs were to the two operational swing bridges. Eventually arriving at Coate Bridge in the evening.
Monday, 7 June 2010
The celebration culminated with fellow canal enthusiasts Timothy West & Prunella Scales unveiling a celebratory plaque which will be mounted for all to see.
Thursday, 3 June 2010
Wildlife is abundant along our wonderful canal system. We have enjoyed watching the little black bundles of fluff that are Moorhen chicks. We have watched mother duck herding her brood together and getting them to paddle in one direction with her continuous quiet chatter.
Water voles are stated to be our most endangered mammal and indeed we do not normally see them, so it came as a pleasant surprise that, whilst duck watching, we saw movement on the far bank immediately opposite our mooring. It was 'Ratty' & 'Mrs Ratty' busying themselves along the bank, through the vegetation, with occasional trips into the water. Regrettably too far away for a photograph.
Later in the evening we went for a walk around 'Freeman's Marsh' and were delighted to see another water vole sat on the abundant floating water weed. Three within an hour and within half a mile!
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
It was great to get away for the long weekend, the weather was variable, some rain, drizzle and some sunshine. Typical Bank holiday weekend weather actually.
We left Great Bedwyn on Saturday morning and made our way towards Hungerford. In the end the rain beat us and we stopped before Froxfield bottom lock for the night. It continued to rain well into the night.
Sunday was a better day. We moved on to Hungerford and stopped just beyond the town. Alison & I went back to town for shopping, then we moved on to Kintbury. We moored along the visitor moorings and enjoyed a warm sunny evening. I went for a short walk around the village and along the canal.
The television decided it was time to die, just as 'Lewis' was about to start, so there would be no more televison this holiday.
Monday we moved on towards Hamstead. I wanted to see what effect there would be when the Kennet joined and left the canal. The river was very calm but the effect could be felt. At least we would know what to expect if the river was in spate. After Hamstead lock, we turned round and made our way back to Hungerford, stopping near the Church for the night.
Tuesday was wet again. It started with drizzle and did not really clear up all day. Upon leaving Hungerford, the first lock is Cobbler's Lock, we had just got through when Alison missed her footing and fell into the canal from the boat. Judy and I were finishing off the closing of gates/raising of paddles when Judy heard the cry for help.
Alison was stepping ashore with the mid line to hold the boat whilst we finished off, she mis-judged the distance and slid into the canal, still holding on to the rope. With the added weight of the water she was unable to climb aboard the boat that had drifted well out of our reach. She held on to the rope and eventually found enough of the length to throw the line to me. We pulled the boat towards the bank, with Alison still holding on to the rope. As soon as she was close enough, we were able to haul her out of the water. As there was nobody about, she took off most of her wet outer garments and went below. There was plenty of hot water to wash with and soon, in dry clothing we were on our way again.
We had a realtively uneventful journey to Great Bedwyn.
Wednesday, because we were going home, was a glorious day. We stayed as late as we could and enjoyed the sunshine.
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
It was a case of build some form of sunshade and enjoy the relaxation.
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
Replacing the units themselves was easy, just remove the old ones and plug in the new and test them. I must say, the 'warm white' modules were at least as bright as our previously fitted 20W modules and at 2.4W each they represent a considerable saving on the leisure battery.
Time to look at replacing the fluorescent tubed modules methinks...
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
We arrived Friday afternoon and went down to the watering hole to off-load all the stuff from the car. We also had 16 gallons of diesel in cans.
After all of this was done we move down one lock and stopped alongside the towpath for the night. On Saturday morning I walked the short distance back to Great Bedwyn to get bread and cakes. After breakfast, we moved slowly on towards Froxfield, enjoying the beautiful sunshine and peace.
We decided to stop just between Froxfield bottom lock and the winding hole. We turned, found some sunshine and stopped. We had lunch and Judy and I walked into Hungerford, leaving Alison to do her homework and revision.
For our evening meal we went to the Pelican Inn on the A4 at Froxfield. We enjoyed it very much!
Sunday morning we leisurely made our way back towards Great Bedwyn, avoiding, as much as we could, upsetting the many fishermen along the towpath.
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Monday, 29 March 2010
Further to my previous post: I was by no means the only boat to have been broken into. Neighbours report the same as I have - it seems that the only thing to have been taken is food. nothing else touched.
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Needless to say, I was on my way...
I arrived at the boat and confirmed that the front doors of the cabin had indeed been forced open and there was some minor damage done to the woodwork around a door bolt. The security chain was off and dangling. The rear doors were still padlocked as normal.
On the journey I imagined the worst, as one does. What could have been 'nicked'? What items of value are kept on board?
With trepidation I entered the boat by unlocking the rear entrance. Everything was as it should be I spent about half an hour gently working my way through the boat. I could find there to be nothing missing. Nobody had even slept on the bed!
So, it would appear that someone had broken in and taken nothing. Hopefully that means that I got away with that one! Phew!
I secured the front doors by another means, then locked them, locked the back doors and came home, feeling relieved.
Strange things happen, don't they!
Sunday, 14 March 2010
Sunday, 21 February 2010
I bought one of those £70 850W petrol generators a couple of weeks ago. This has enabled me to charge the batteries when it is running, but more importantly it allows me to use my electric power tools.
The cratch deck was in a very rusty state, particulalry at the lowest points where water lays. The electric drill with a rotary wire brush was used to remove superficial rust. The worst bits had to be chipped off with a hammer, then wire brushed again. First application was a 'Rust Convertor' (by whatever spelling) then four coats of Yacht Primer, followed by two coats of Black Undercoat, then finished off with two coats of Black Gloss Topcoat.
As you can see from the picture the cratch deck is a lovely glossy black. This makes the 'Buttermilk' of the cratch interior now look pretty mucky. I guess this is my next job after the paint has hardened.
I can't wait to get all the things out of the cabin, back into the cratch. I never knew there was so much stuff stored in the cratch until I had to move it all inside. Hmmm! Let me see...
There's a mop, a chimney brush, the river anchor with its chain and rope (they all live in a plastic box with the spare ropes, windlasses and pins). Then there is the wood basket for the logs, the log saw, the television aerial... Oh the list goes on!
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Constance is a 36' narrow-boat, built in 1980 with a BMC 1.5 diesel engine, 4 berths, galley, shower/toilet and covered cratch. We all fell in love with her at first sight. After a test drive I organised a hull survey and then made an offer to purchase. Constance underwent a Boat Safety Survey and failed on a couple of minor points. Constance has her bottom 'blacked' before leaving Devizes Marina.
By the middle of October 2009, Constance was ours!
During this time I obtained a permanent mooring at Great Bedwyn, just above Church Lock (64) and we moved her to her new home.
For the Autumn half-term we went on a trip to Hungerford (and just beyond) for a few days.
The picture, left, shows Alison steering Constance into a lock just east of Hungerford.
At the end of half-term week, Mum, Heather & Phil came and joined us for the day. We went to the Cross Keys for lunch then went up the canal for a couple of locks, returning in time for tea.
One of the BSS failures was that there was a small amount of diesel leaking around the fuel filter area. This was eventually tracked to a leaky fuel leak off rail. A replacement was purchased, fitted and the BSS Certificate duly obtained.
Constance was still difficult to start. Even holding the glowplugs on for 30-40 seconds it was still taking a minute or more on the starter motor to get her started.
Judy and I had a night on our own on Constance to celebrate our wedding anniversary with Alison staying with a friend on a sleepover. We went to the Cross Keys for a meal.
Constance at her home mooring just above Chuch Lock (64) at Great Bedwyn. The church tower is barely visible behind the cedar of Lebanon tree.
On the day after Boxing Day (27th) we arrived at Great Bedwyn for a week living aboard Constance. We set off towards Devizes, it was bright and sunny. We stopped for the night at Crofton Bottom lock. The days are so short at this time of year that we need to be moored by about 3.30pm otherwise we might not find anywhere to moor before it gets too dark to see.