Sunday, 31 May 2009

Early Morning Call.

Since my posting on Thursday I've been in a Vodaphone black spot,so I have not been able to get online.
So Friday we were woken up by voices out side the porthole. When I looked out a man from one of the boats was hauling on our centre mooring rope. I slipped on my dressing gown and went to investigate. It seems a gang of boys had gone down the towpath pulling out mooring pins,causing us to drift out from the bank.When challenged by one of the boaters they legged it.
At 10-00hrs we set off for Burton-on-Trent. The locks on this stretch are narrow lock, just a few inches wider than the boat. Moored near Branston Water Park. According to my Nicholson guide this is where the famous pickle originated.
Saturday: We didn't move today, just looked round the village of Branston and the water Park.Had a lunch time drink at the Bridge Inn. After lunch we planted some Strawberry plants and some more flowers.
Today we moved about two mile up the canal to Barton-Under-Needwood, Only two locks, a quiet day. This evening we walked into the Village and back,a lovely little village. There is only one fly in the ointment, that's the A38 trunk road right next to the towpath,another noisy night. They should ban traffic.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Day of drama.

Slipping our moorings around 10-00hrs with perfect cruising weather, we were not to know how dramatic a day it would become. All went well, we had to wait at Swarkstone lock until two boats went up and two came down. Then it was our turn, we went into the lock with a hire boat and were soon out at the top.
At the next lock(Stenson lock) one of the boats that had gone in front of us had run aground. This wasn't a big problem. Myself and two men from the hire boat who were dressed as pirates managed to re-float it.
It was now time for us and the hire boat to go through the lock. It is a deep lock (12ft 4ins)so we decided to go in side by side, this would stop the first boat in, drifting across and blocking the second boat. So Marlene set of with the hire boat coming up along side.
Then it happened the right hand lock gate had not opened fully and both boats got wedged solid. They would not go forward and they would not go back. To add to the drama there was a queue building up at the top of the lock.We tried taking one boat forward and the other one back but that didn't work either. Finally after about 30mins another boat was attached to the hire boat, with both engines in reverse and Marlene going forwards the hire boat slipped back from the gate allowing Marlene to enter the lock. The hire boat then came in along side and we were back in buisness.It was lunch time by the time we cleared the lock, so we moored up.
The rest of the day was uneventful.Reaching Willington we moored for the night. It's a nice place, however on one side of the canal is a road and on the other side a railway. Oh well sleep tight.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Helpful People.

Well, didn't get time to get on the blog again yesterday. So here goes. In the morning Nathan and I took Archie in his carrier to the Chandelry. I went for some new fenders, however they didn't have the type I wanted. They did have some good solid rubber ones, so I put those on the front and back and the two flat ones we already had on the middle of the boat. While we were there I bought some chains for mooring up. The chains fasten to the metal sides of the canal instead of hammering in spikes which pull out in soft ground, especially when other boats pass too fast.
As we were walking back Archie fell asleep so we extended our walk so we didn't wake him up too quickly.
Lunch time arrived so we went to the New Inn for our lunch. After lunch we took the boat down to Sawley Marina to top up the diesel and pump out the toilet. We were having trouble flushing the loo. When the electric flush was pushed it tripped the circuit. Returning to Shardlow we saw a swan with two cygnets on her back she came into the lock we were just leaving. Arriving back we had to moor above the lock, as it was the only space available. After tea Pamela, Nathan and Archie went home.
Now for today. It was raining when we got up, however it soon cleared up. We walked down to Dobson's boatyard and explained the problem with the loo. We were asked to bring the boat into the yard so they could take a look at it.
The problem now was we were facing the wrong way, with nowhere to turn a 57ft boat. So we decided to reverse to the lock and turn after locking down. This done we were about to close the lock gates when another boat arrived at the lock. They were confused because we looked as if we were about to leave the lock, so I had to explain that we were going down the lock. With both boats in the lock we lowered the water and opened the bottom gates.The other boat helped us to reverse to where we could turn the boat. Thank you to these boaters.
With the boat turned we took it into Dobson's where they soon found the problem. Tissue had accumulated in the masserator along with a baby wipe and jammed it. I must thank the staff at Dobson's for there great service.
We are tonight moored in peaceful countryside near Weston-on-Trent, everything back to normal.

Monday, 25 May 2009

The New Inn.

Well did you miss us last night, bet you did. So we moved from Kegworth after attending church and visiting the local museum. Finally we came to the end of the River Soar and turned left into the River Trent. We moored opposite Sawley Marina.
Television reception still no good so we went for a walk it was a lovely sunny evening. From Sawley we walked back down river to Trent lock and had a pint outside the Steamboat Inn. There was a beautiful sunset. Then later we got talking to a nice couple who had a mooring at Sawley Marina, to them we say Hi.
Today after refilling the water tank we made the short trip to Shardlow where we moored outside the New Inn. This is a pub we have visited by road many times, the food here is great.
At 1130hrs Pamela, Nathan and Archie arrived for the night. The New Inn is also one of there favorites. The weather is warm but the sun has disappeared today.Still it is not raining(yet). We are not eating at the pub until tomorrow, although we may go for a pint.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Under the flightpath.

Moved today down river to Kegworth. The mooring is just outside the flood lock
It is also under the flightpath for East Midlands Airport. It was on the approach to this Airport some years ago that an aircraft under shot the runway and hit the banking at the side of the M1 motorway.
Having moored we walked into town to replenish our supplies which were diminishing.It was very warm walking back with the shopping so we called at the Anchor for refreshment. We spent the afternoon reading in the sun.
I've just been on Google to find out more about the air crash. The aircraft was a British Midland Boing 737-400 Number G-OBME. It was on route from London Heathrow to Belfast flight 92, when it had trouble with it's engine.
There were 79 survivors, 74 serious injuries including 7 crew members and 47 people lost there lives. It happened on the 8th January 1989.
The inquiry gave the reason for the crash as Engine fan belt failure-pilot error.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Staying Put.

We are still moored at Zouch as we have had a quiet day. Having said that, this stretch of water is the busiest we have seen. We suspect that they are all going to the boat rally at Normanton on Soar, which is over the bank holiday weekend.
Since I wrote last nights posting we have done two walks,one last night and one this afternoon. I must say the local footpaths are very well marked.
Last nights walk went over the fields to the village of Sutton Bonnington, then back along the road. This afternoon we walked to Hathern,returning by the same route.
While on a no movement day our batteries are kept charged by two 60watt solar panels which are mounted on the roof. These seem to be coping very well. The power for our 240volt appliances is supplied by the batteries after being boosted to 240volts by a 1200watt inverter.
Other facts about Doublefracture you might like to know are: she is 57ft long, with a beam of 6ft 10ins and a draft of 2ft. Power is supplied through three leisure batteries and one starter battery. Our heating is supplied by a wood burning stove and diesel central heating if needed. Over last winter I don't think we ever had the central heating on. Our hot water is heated by the engine when running or by the heating generator when not running. Today's picture is of the church in the village of Hathern.
I must go now as We have to get ready to visit the Rose and Crown. Well it has to be done.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Two rivers and a canal.

After writing last nights posting Marlene and I went for a walk around Watermead Country park which was at the side of where we were moored. It was a lovely wild nature area with hides for bird watching. A really nice space after traveling through all that urban sprawl.
As we set off this morning, on our left were numerous footpath signs, this went on for about a mile. A walkers paradise. Cruising through beautiful farm land we finally arrived at Mountsorrel lock, just as we were approaching we spotted an Indian camp bt no Indians(see picture). After passing through the lock we moored opposite a weir and walked into the village. To be honest it was a bit disappointing but we bought some plants for our pots,so the time wasn't wasted. The next place we passed through was Barrow on Soar where the lock has a drop of 9ft 7ins. Barrow is a very pretty village.
The next place we came to was Loughborough where we stopped briefly for lunch.Just before mooring we passed Normanton on Soar,with it's church which has a central tower and spire(very rare in so small a church), however we could not stop here as there is nowhere to moor. We finally moored near the Rose and crown just before Zouch lock.
Today the water way changed from the river Soar to the River Wreake and the Grand Union Canal, however the change is relatively unnoticeable without checking the map book.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Urban Sprawl.

Traveling through Urban areas is one of the down sides to boating. Today we traveled for seven hours just to clear Leicester. I'm sure there are some very nice parts of this city,however the canal does not go through them.
As we were getting close to the city we suddenly found the canal blocked by a tree in the water. There were three men armed with chainsaws trying to clear it, so we pulled into the side to see what was happening. While watching we took the opportunity to have lunch. It took about half an hour to clear a small channel so we could continue our journey. In all we did sixteen locks today some were in bad repair and some were fitted with anti- vandal locks.Television reception has been bad for the last few days. Tonight we moored at Thurmaston lock at around five thirty and started to make our evening meal of savoury rice with feta cheese. This recipe is quick and easy.
Ingredients: One red pepper, one yellow pepper,4oz mushrooms,a block of feta cheese, one onion,one veg stock cube, 3 cloves of garlic, one cup of rice,tomato puree Two tea spoons paprika and chili to taste.
Method: Chop peppers onion, Mushrooms and garlic,fry in a little oil add rice. Then add 3/4 pint water chili and tomato puree and paprika. Bring to the boil and put in oven until everything is tender. Add feta cheese and more water if needed. This should take about forty minutes gas mark six. Serve with crusty bread.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Heading for Leicester.

Trouble accessing the blog yesterday, however we didn't move from where we met Vivianne and David. We spent the morning in Market Harborugh doing laundry and shopping. After lunch we went on to David and Vivianne's boat April Fool for a game of Rummicub.
This morning we left around 10-30 hrs Heading for Leicester. Our third tunnel today at Saddington at 880 yards the shortest yet. As we were entering the tunnel we saw a buzzed on the ground eating it's kill.
Traveling time today was 5hrs which included twelve locks, some of which had water cascading over the top gates. All locks were going down and will be all the way to Trent Junction. The country side here is superb, typically English farm land.
After a good days cruising(dispite getting wet in a couple of heavy)showers we moored near Kilby Bridge.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Marlene does Foxton Locks.

Today was like a repeat of yesterday,only a shorter tunnel and a larger staircase. In fact a lot larger. We first went through the tunnel at Husbands Bosworth which is 1166yds long. Then we came to Foxton locks which is two staicases with a passing pound in the middle. Each staircase consists of five locks and they were opened in1812. At the bottom Marlene said it felt as if you were going of the edge as she could not see the next lock down.
Half an hour futher on we moord next to our friends Viviane and David. It was great to see them again.I would like to take this oppertunity to thank David for his assistence fixing my horn for me.
The weather today has been mixed I have got very wet twice today but in between the sun has been out.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Watford Gap

Everything seems to happen in one day. Setting off this morning we soon arrived at watford locks(these are just past Watford Gap services on the M1. We reported to the lock keeper and he put us in the queue.There are seven locks in the Watford flight, of these numbers three to six are a staircase.(our first set). This means the top gate for one lock is the bottom gate of the next lock. It's all very complicated at first sight, but once you've been through a set it all seems so simple and very clever.
Our next first for this trip was Crick tunnel. This is 1528yds long and seens to go on forever. As we were going through I got a shower from the drips off the roof. Sould have wore my hat and coat.
We then moored up and went for lunch at a nice restaurant called The Edward. After lunch we walked into Crick village and went to the Primary School fete. Finally moored up out in the country. No tele tonight could not get a picture.

Friday, 15 May 2009

The Buckby Flight.

Well i've just spent 15 mins trying to get on facebook, for some reason my computer dose'nt like facebook. So if I have any messages on there please don't think I'm ignoring you.
Today we have traveled up the Buckby Flight of locks to Norton Junction. As we approached the bottom lock another boat was just getting ready to do the flight, so we did the seven locks together. This makes life easier for everybody. after the first two locks we met a boat coming down the flight which ment all the locks should be ready for us to go straight into . Alas there was so much leakage they had half filled themselves, so we had to empty them again before opening the bottom gates. The couple we were doing the locks with were Shaney and Lee in there narrowboat Emjay. Thank you both for a very pleasant morning.
At Norton Junction we went separate ways. We turned right toward Crick, while they turned left to Braunston. Tonight we are moored about four mile from Crick.Tomorrow we go through the tunnel.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

New diesel prices.

First a correction from yesterday, the Shortage of water was in the pound between lock thirteen and twelve not fourteen and thirteen.There that's put that right.
Now for some facts. After forty hours running we topped up the diesel tank, it took seventy one point one litres @ 0.88 pence a litre.
This is a price worked out under the new rules where you get 60% for propulsion at high duty and 40% at low duty for your domestic use(heating & water heating), however most places are working out an average price. All very complicated.
Got that off my chest. So today we have only traveled for two point two hours. for those who are tracking us on the map(the grandchildren) we are up from Gayton Junction & just below Norton Junction. It's been a quiet day. For those who don't know we have ten Grandchildren. The picture it from Tuesday evening because we haven't taken any today.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Northampton Flight.

Today we went from the river Nene to the Grand union Northampton arm.We had done three locks on the Nene, now we had seventeen on the Norhampton arm.
Locks seventeen to fifteen went fine. At lock fourteen we were met by a lady who told us her husband was grounded in the pound under the M1 motorway. One of the paddles on lock fourteen was jammed open and had drained the pound.
I managed to free the paddle using my pole, we then had to let water through from lock thirteen to refil the pound. After two or three lock fulls we had refloated her husband and got the boat into lock fourteen.
As he came out at the bottom of the lock I took Doublefracture up through the lock and into the pound. Slow going with more water being let in from lock thirteen I finally crossed the pound and into lock thirteen. From then on we started our assent of the remaining twelve. Toward the top we were caught up by a group of young men in a hire boat, they were a great help.
We finally moored near Gayton Marina where I had to remove wire and material from the propeller. An eventful day.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Day three on the Nene.

We woke up to another bright and breezy day. On the move by 09-00 hrs.The first lock was a surprise as it had two v-gates like the canals.
Three locks on we stopped in Wellingborough to top up on water and visit Tesco. While we were moored up Trundlemere who winters at Foxes passed with another boat. we followed them for the rest of the day until they moored for the night at Cogenhoe. our day would continue for another two hours until we reached Weston Flavell. Today we did thirteen locks, some with the large wheels to operate them(saves going to the gym). The mooring is just outside the flood barrier, over looking the flood washlands. It's a lovely evening as we partake of a drop of vino, red for me white for Marlene. A perfect end to a perfect day.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Two thirds up the Nene

Well last night I could not access the intenet,the joys of technology.
To get you upto date. We left Ferry Meadows at 08-30 hrs and went as far as Wansford station where we stopped for breakfast. After looking around the station shop we carried on. It was a warm sunny day and the wind had dropped.It was a long day but an enjoyable one. In the day we passed through nine locks without drama.At approximatly 18-00 hrs we moored at Ashton lock in a quiet back water just off the main river.
So this morning I had the job of turning round to rejoin the river. It went well considering the back water was only an inch or two wider than the length of the boat.
The wind was back today but it was still sunny, we made good progress.
At lower Barnwell lock we joined up with another boat And did the next three locks with them, they were returning to there home mooring at Titchmarsh Mill. This helped us make even better progress. So thanks to Pat and her hubby on there boat Ballinruan(hope I spelt that right).
We had thought of mooring for the night at Thrapston, however it was too early to finish for the day so we carried on to Irthlingborough at the side of Rushden and Diamonds football Club.
This is the very place where I fell in the river when we came down with the boat nearly four years ago losing my glasses and drowning my mobile phone.
Trying to be more careful this time. So days end complting eleven locks today.

Engine Hours.1047.7

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Happy Birthday Marlene.

Today was Marlene's birthday,Pamela, Nathan and Archie came to help celebrate. We are still in Ferry Meadows.The wind has calmed down and the sun came out.
We booked a table at the Granary,which is next to Ferry Meadows.The food was lovely.
I had a mixed seafood grill, consisting of prawns, sea bass,and scallop,Marlene had steak and Pamela and Nathan had a rack of ribs.
We had left a baloon with 60th birthday on it which the staff fastened to Marlene's chair.
I may be biased but Marlene looked stunning, judge for yourself from todays photo which shows the balloon and cake.
After Pamela and Nathan had gone home to put Archie to bed we went for a walk around the lake. A very nice day.

Friday, 8 May 2009

On the River Nene

Well what a day we have had today. It started ok, we took a steady run down to Stangground where we locked through onto the river Nene.
We moored in Peterborough so I could go to the Environment Agency office to buy a licence to travel from Peterborough to Northampton,where we will lock into the canal system.
That was fine, then the wind got up,so at Orton Lock it was trying to blow us toward the weir.Using alot of power we managed to enter the lock but now we are travelling a bit fast,Lots of reverse power and we were in safely. Locking went well until we moored at the other side so I could reset the lock.(you must always leave the down stream lock gate open).then the wind tried it's best to blow Doublefracture off the mooring.
With the lock reset we made the short trip past Peterborough Yacht club to our mooring at Ferry Meadows. Then the fun really started. The wind across the lake made things very difficult indeed, however we eventually won. Our final problem of the day,the tin opener broke,so I went to the shop for a new one and that also broke when we used it. So back to the shop I went. This one worked so we could have our dinner.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Nettle tea

Hi all.
I stepped out of the boat to a bright sunny day. It was quiet except for the birds singing in the trees. Perfect.
Today I discovered two things, one, the delights of nettle tea, two, my skills with water colours need some work. I found it relaxing but my colours were far too bright. Still plenty of time to practice.
We are still at Whittlesey until tomorrow. It's a lovely peaceful mooring. The only sound from the modern world is the click click from the skate board park and the odd train passing.
Oh yes, Marlene is keeping up with the washing using the small sink top washer. Great drying day.

Engine Hours: 1031.o

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Leaving March

Today we finaly leave March,time to head toward the river Nene. It is nearly 4 years since we brought Doublefracture down from Northwich in Cheshire,so it's with mixed feelings that we leave. Happy to be begining our adventure, sad that we leave some good freinds behind.
We left just gone 11 o clock intending to reach Whittlesey around 2 o clock.The weather was dry and sunny with a stiff breeze. While I took the helm Marlene sat in the back cabin sewing new curtain rings on our curtains(see picture).
an uneventful trip arriving at Ashline lock at 2.15.
Having locked up we moored near the swimming pool, we will be here two nights. My next little job was to book our passage through Stanground lock on Friday at 11 o clock.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Killing time

Had a quiet Sunday morning, had a late breakfast. In the afternoon Stephen went for his two hour cycle ride. On his return we decided to move out of March town and go up river.

So,while Marlene cooked the Sunday roast Stephen and I untied Doublefracture and set off on the forty minute trip to the junction with the 20ft drain, where we would moor for the night.

It was a sunny evening with a chill wind across the river. Marlene and Stephen played Scrabble after dinner, while I sat in the cratch and read and drank a couple of glasses of red wine.

We finished the evening watching the Snooker final. A very enjoyable evening moored in peace and quiet.

Monday we returned to March town then had late breakfast again because Stephen had to catch his train home. Marlene and I are killing time before going to Peterborough on Friday where we are meeting our daughter Pamela and Son in law Nathan not forgetting our nine month old Grandson Archie. More about that later in the week.

Today though we just relaxed on the boat. For dinner we had a vegeterian meal of Green Beans in tomato. Here's the recipe so you can try it.

Serves Two
Ingredients: 12oz Green beans, 1 large onion(chopped), 4 gloves garlic(more or less to taste),1 tin chopped tomatos. 4 oz cheese(grated) and some tomato puree.

Method; Cook beans and onions until tender, strain then add tomatos and garlic, season to taste. Thicken mixture with tomato puree and put into two individual oven proof dishes. Top with cheese and bake till golden brown. Serve with crusty bread.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

So, here we go. No fixed abode.

Hello everyone, it is now Sunday May the 3rd and this is the first post from Doublefracture.
Thursday marked the last day that we would leave our mooring at the marina/boatyard in March, Cambridgeshire. After leaving the yard we headed into the center of March to moor up and take on a large amount of provisions from local market and Sainsburys.

We took on a full tank of diesel before we left and spent a relaxing evening walking and playing scrabble. The weather was bright and sunny. Long may that continue.

On Friday we remained in March and moved only to top up the water tank and clean the side of the boat. Before our planned departure we had had the boat lifted to allow the hull to be cleaned and inspected. This will be one job that will have to be repeated every 2/3 years as we move around.

Saturday saw Stephen our eldest son arrive for breakfast. While he went for a ride over the Fens, Marlene and I did some shopping for the Sunday roast etc. I also made a new topbox to hold the 2 folding cycles that will be our only other mode of transport during our travels. After a meal out in the Griffin Hotel we sat and watched the Snooker.

We aim to add photos and notes each day as we travel, but due to internet limitations some entries maybe combined.

Weekly Engine Hours: 1020.0