Friday, 30 April 2010

Back to front stunt driving

Yep, continuing the backwards cruise with two backwards crew, now where was I..? Oh yes, starting to turn in the fake “winding hole” that isn’t really a winding hole at all – but hey it works…
Headed for a field…?
Front end IN the field…?

Not really, it’s thick fine reeds, just great for sinking your bow into, before several wheels are deployed beneath the boat and whisk you through the crops instead. It’s much quicker than going down the canal too…

But not this time…

Nice one honey…

I carried on walking down the towpath because you can just see the next lock in the distance, yep some of them come thick and fast round here…

Don’t think this would’ve been possible in such a strong gusty breeze without a bow thruster. However it wasn’t used when the bow was in the field – not a good idea…

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Boating in a gale force wind

So yesterday we set off back – I mean literally, as in going backwards.
This is where it gets complicated (so bear with), Steve and Diane did the turn and backed up through the lock on the way there. That’s why we were moored up back to back, because we sailed merrily past the turning point without realising, oops.
Either way, there or back, we’ve got to do it because the only other option is to go through 4 more locks onto the Leeds Liverpool canal and turn there, nice shortcut of sorts.
Dave sets off driving TT backwards…
Headed towards the lock…
This is what you call staying calm and keeping your nerve in a storm. It doesn’t look too bad in the photos but gusts were up to 60mph…
Never touched the sides…
The bridge behind the lock is where I took most of these photos from. The wind was enough to knock me off my feet, without laughing too…!
On the other side of the lock and bridge headed towards, I mean backing towards where it’s wide enough to turn. You can just make out where the bow has to be buried into the reeds on the left…
Starting to turn…
Coming up tomorrow: How to turn your boat around --- in a field…

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The farcical food fest

Steve worked magic with his executive BBQ last night, the table was set outside with barmy cakes, and condiments. Then plates full of all the usual yummy stuff started to appear, except RIGHT ON CUE it started peeing down. Our two extra guests saved the day with a big brolly, set it all up above the table full of goodies, then it stopped peeing down, timing? Well at least it worked in our favour.
The feast was wonderful even though Steve caught this thing just before prep work began, and according to him it was also going to be on the menu.
Have you ever seen an eel as big as this? And why did I take a photo of that instead of the (real) food…?

The executive BBQ…
So if this is “son of Hibachi” where the hell’s Hibachi senior? We even asked Mr Google, but there wasn’t any ash to be found.
The matching Multifunctional Executive Dining Table there by the side of their boat deserves a mention. We didn’t use it at all, but it still deserves some recognition for it’s versatility.
Also note the executive BBQ suitcase sheltering underneath…
Later on the two caterer’s were praised for their expert culinary skills, half of it was cooked by Steve, and the other half was cooked aboard TT by Dave. Both Dave and Steve were half cooked themselves at the time, so work that out if you can.
Now the thing is, Steve reckons this executive BBQ can be folded up and put away (in its executive handbag) while the charcoal is still hot. Therefore saving on the high cost of charcoal these days because it stays put, AND it gets recycled which also saves the environment from imminent disaster too.
So to prove the point he folded the darn thing up and put it away while the embers were still hot, but smoke plumed out of the bag. “No, no just wait, it’ll stop in a minute, really it will, honest just keep watching.” (The smoke gets worse), but to be fair it did eventually die a death, whether it’s a permanent thing or not is yet to be determined.
Every BBQ tells a story – well for us it does anyway…
Some boring but important tech news:
The only downside to yesterday was finding out that our faulty (leisure batteries) alternator problem hasn’t gone away, we didn’t need to run the engine at all for two days. All readings were above 12V on the panel which is correct.
Then in the afternoon we ran the engine for an hour, just to keep the charge up there, but it didn’t and dropped down to 10V. Last night all 240 volts appliances went off. So we ran the engine a second time and nothing changed. We´ve been here before... 
Apparently it needs to be up around 12V + to run the fridge freezer and other 240 volt stuff. But if it drops down to 10 we’re buggered because the faulty alternator just can’t put enough charge in back in.
It looks like the voltage regulator on it that’s gone so Dave’s going to get it sorted tomorrow, either reconditioned or buying a new one, whatever it takes. We know it’s possible to swap over to the starter engine alternator, but didn’t like the idea because the bow thruster batteries run off a splitter from that. Let’s not take any chances eh?!
See she knows her techie stuff too, (Ha Ha). So to sum it all up we need an alternate alternator which makes a good alternative.
Coming up tomorrow: Photos of Dave driving the boat backwards through a lock, in a gale force wind --- I kid ye not…

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Sod it, we´re staying put again

We had every intention of setting off “back to base” this afternoon, but it’s got to be one of the hottest days so far this year. The wind has dropped, all is well with the world, the birds are singing, so barring fire, flood, and locusts we aren’t moving.
There’s yet another BBQ planned, Steve’s going to get his fancy “burger basher” a burning. It’s quite sophisticated really – even has it’s own suitcase. Ours just has a lid, no executive stuff here.
Diane and me have just been for a pleasant walk in the sunshine – we nearly got up to the Leeds Liverpool canal, it’s a tad quicker than going through 4 more locks in the boat.
Here’s a few photos Dave took the other day when he’d given up fishing and decided to play with his tripod and telephoto lens, I don’t know, boys and their toys.
Aspiring to be seen, this is just a speck in the distance from where we are, I mean using your eyeballs rather than a fancy lens…
Nice view…
Only a member of the male species takes a serious photo of serious machinery for no particular reason…
The lock we’re going to have to back up through tomorrow…
One house or ten…?
That smelly tractor again…
Mooning, (oh missus)…
Oh and here’s today’s catch of the day, another bream – Dave reckons it’s bigger than yesterday’s…
So I’m going off now for yet another BBQ, more charred chicken, burgers and sausages. Just three of us sat round the stove tonight, (Diane’s got to go to work – ah).
Amendment,, just heard we’re catering for two more friends moored up round the corner, so we’re up to five now, anyone else? Blimey I’m going to be about two stone heavier when we get back…

Monday, 26 April 2010

The latest designer kit no fisherman should be without

First of all I’ve got to set the scene here, it’s nice and sunny at the moment but VERY breezy. After yesterday’s fishing marathon between Dave and Steve where neither of them caught a sausage (?) Today Dave’s decided to abandon the relative calm in the conservatory at the back of the boat and fish off the bow instead.
But before he went out there he disappeared inside, then came out wearing a thermal fishing suit...
“See I told you I’d wear it” says he, (ages ago I attempted to chuck it, opportunity denied). So when the laughter had died down a bit, I couldn’t quite work out whether it’s all about proving my protests wrong. Which at the time included the fact that he’d never wear it. OR whether it’s a genuine attempt to keep warm. OR is it just a big joke? Oh and he’s also wearing his “lucky cap” too, but in order for that to stay on his head he’s had to put the hood up.
So I got him when he wasn’t looking…
And he’s just caught a fish, so there are some in there after all – it’s a bream so I’ve been told…
There’s two conditions that go with fishing off the bow looking like a teddy bear and those are:
a) No slimy stuff on the newly coated well deck.
b) Under NO circumstances does the offending article he’s wearing go back in a drawer. I was stupid enough to wash the dam thing when we ripped the bedroom out, (fool), so it couldn’t be banned while it was clean – but it dam well can now, he he…
I got talking to a lady on the towpath yesterday, she said she walks her dog every day along various sections of canals round here and [quote] “I can honestly say yours is the nicest canal boat I’ve ever seen.” I asked her if she was just being polite and the answer was “no, I was thinking it myself as I walked towards it!”
What a compliment, it’s so nice when a complete stranger is so instantly impressed. Mind you, it’s a good job she hadn’t seen the mess inside over the past few weeks of renovations.
Oh, and of course I didn’t tell her that TT might look good but she’s got a rebellious streak, or the fact that we’ve spent 15,000 quid on the good ship Tetley Teabag since we bought her. Yep, I got that comma between the numbers in the right place…  

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Gone green overnight, there´s no rest for some people

When we moored up yesterday a farmer was busy stunt driving his tractor through the fields till 1am, (yep, that’s am). When it went dark the tractor was lit up like 20 Christmas trees for obvious reasons.
Didn’t half create a cloud of dust because it’s been so dry, and the delicate fragrance it created was overwhelming…
He must’ve known it was going to rain overnight because when we finally emerged from the depths this morning, we could see green shoots coming through already. It’s got to be Miracle Grow…
You know I said no rest for some people? Well there’s two fishermen in this photo, one on the back of each boat. I think Steve and his shadow (RHS) are just about visible.
Meanwhile Dave’s blended in with the blue lux con so the fish can’t see him…
Ah, there he is, since I took these photos four hours ago neither of the “expert fishermen” have caught a thing, not even a yucky eel…
Now you might be wondering why both boats are back to back, remember the unofficial winding hole I mentioned the other day? Well we haven’t used it before, in fact it’s so unofficial it’s difficult to um, officially locate.
We were supposed to turn there and then back up through the lock, but of course we missed it. So it means messing about ass about face on the way back instead. But never mind.
Hey up the supersonic tractor’s back, maybe they’re just fast growing weeds in there after all…

Dave’s taking a well earned break from four hours of hard graft sat with a fishing pole and catching nothing. So he’s gone off down the towpath with his fancy camera and tripod to take some pictures. Which means I might be able to post a photo or 500 of some rabbits tomorrow, there’s about 2,000 of them across the way, no fish in the canal though.
The BBQ we did last night was yummy, and we’re having full Sunday dinner cooked next door tonight, so I must go and prepare myself with a nice glass of wine…

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Two contrasting days or what

Yesterday Dave did two trips to the tip, believe it or not we’ve thrown out three black bags full of crap that doesn’t include the wood yard stuff. (Boat cleansing of a different kind).
Then in the afternoon I had an out-patient appointment and they’d lost my notes,, anybody who has to go for regular check up’s and has come across the same situation will know what this entails. We had to wait two hours for (some) of my notes to be faxed through. I only go to that hospital so where the hell were they…? Not only that, if they were being faxed through from a basement somewhere, blimey I would’ve gone down into the depths and got them myself!  (Only once a year appointments for me thank goodness).
So when we eventually got back to the boat Diane and Steve had disappeared into the horizon aboard TT2 as planned. I’m no Mrs Mop but I had to clean this boat up while Dave was messing about doing other stuff and finishing off “bits n’ pieces.” Honestly we never stopped, but by then we realised it was just too late to set off, so we decided to untie the ropes tomorrow, Oops I mean today...
We set off early (today) and embarked on our first journey up through the locks since last year, headed towards the newly refurbished Lock 7:
Get up close and it’s leaking just as bad as before…
Spot the horses…
Spot the sheep…
The new wind turbine I’m going to install on top of the boat, along with the Jacuzzi, the “canal boat” lifeboat, and the fold up micro light. It’s getting busy up there…
Where we’re moored up now looking left…
TT moored up back to back with her best friend TT2…
Well I must go, the BBQ is nearly ready and we’re just sorting out who’s drinking what, he he. The plan is that we all stay here till Tuesday, so cheers!
Wow just how different can 2 days be…?

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Another late night having fun?

It’s hard to believe, but yesterday Dave managed to put a 3 door wardrobe and the new bed together. He’s finished most of the bits of wood trim (walls and round the doors) this morning, and is now working on the first of 4 sets of drawers:
I can’t WAIT to get all our clothes, bits ‘n pieces installed where they should be. But sat here looking at the boxes of stuff surrounding me I’m still not sure about whether we’ll fit it all even though there’s more storage than before! Where did all this sh*t come from anyway?
Ah well the boat still looks and sounds like a workshop, with machine tools blaring and bags of crap everywhere. We’ve decided to get out this weekend – even though it all has to come with us. We´re going to turn right out of the marina this time and up through the locks. There’s a nice little spot about half way towards the Leeds Liverpool canal where you can turn round.
Officially it isn’t a winding hole and doesn’t exist, but it looks and works like one which saves us doing all 7 locks, turning round and coming back again!
BUT because of where it is, and where we want to moor up, it involves having to back up into a lock, which is something we’ve never attempted before. So there’s a challenge for Dave. As for me, well I’ve never taken TT through a lock frontwards yet, so no way.
Steve and Diane are going up there in their boat today so we’ll follow tomorrow. Along with what is supposed to be a promising weather forecast.
my own personal and very silly forecast predicts BBQ’s a plenty and a few days partying…

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Hit and Miss?

You can’t be too sceptical these days when it comes to certain companies getting deliveries right. The bedroom we’d ordered from Homebase turned up today in an Argos wagon. “Stay calm Heth, they’re both the same company now” said Steve.
First of all though, here’s a sandwich we made earlier, oh alright then Dave held up three pieces of what’s on the floor now. In reverse order we have Thermawrap on the bottom layer, Tredaire underlay in the middle and the carpet on top…
Anyway back to the Homebase delivery disguised as Argos, everything turned up (GASP). So it’s all scattered about all over the place because there’s a certain order these things have to be put together in isn’t there? After all, we wouldn’t want a hybrid wardrobe sat on half a bed with a chest of drawers in the middle.
We’re still not sure what the order of construction is yet, but we’ll make sure all traces of a previous item are removed before embarking on the next. (Which sounds too simple but never mind).
For some reason Dave wanted to build the wardrobe before the bed, personally I would’ve done it the other way round. Last night we slept on the mattress – the old bed frame was unavailable because it’s in a skip down the tip.
Said mattress was carefully placed on top of our airbed for extra comfort and ease on the aching limbs. However during the night it took on a life of it’s own and kept slipping off the airbed – taking us both with it. My new memory foam pillow ended up with amnesia…

The beginnings of a wardrobe…
It inspired masses of confidence when Dave noticed the following stamped on every box:
“Country Of Origin --- VIETNAM. Blimey that’s a long way to go if we need to take anything back. 
They say “Patience is a virtue,” well I’m patiently waiting to see what’s broken or missing. So far the wardrobe has an extra piece of wood surplus to requirements, and the destructions might as well be in Vietnamese too…