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  1. 114 points
    A little list I made earlier on when I had some time on my hands and was feeling ponderful, about all of the little things that I have discovered and learnt since moving on board! 1. All of your clothes will smell faintly of ‘real fire’ or coal, regardless of how recently you washed them. Initially this is an inconvenience but eventually you come to rather like it. 2. If you own any white, cream, or pastel coloured clothes, they will soon take on odd black smudges, regardless of how careful you are about keeping them away from the stove, hod, or anything else coal related. This remains as an inconvenience and does not fade. 3. When visiting another boater, it is uncouth to ask to their toilet, unless you are at least a fifteen minute walk from another toilet facility (for women) or a wooded area/ bush (for men.) 4. If you have boater visitors over for more than four hours at a time, you will find yourself spending the latter half of their visit thinking that surely they must need to pee soon/ is your bathroom so nasty that they are too scared to want to use it/ how much more tea can you ply them with as a kind of pseudo-scientific experiment, just to see what they’ll do in an emergency. 5. Visits from other boaters will seldom exceed four hours without them either departing/ needing to go back to their boat for a minute/ having to ‘pop back to the car for something,’ see point four. 6. ‘Townies’ fill gaps in conversation by talking about the weather. ‘Boaties’ fill gaps in conversation by talking about water levels. 7. Pump out or cassette? Oh hells no. Don’t even go there. 8. It’s okay to insult a man’s wife, children, career choice, hair, or dress sense. But engines must always be coo’d over and spoken of in hushed approving tones, regardless of their size, condition, or maker. Shhhh! She’ll HEAR YOU! 9. If you are expected to go to work in anything approaching smart casual, you have likely got a pair of boots ‘for the journey’ that are generally covered in orange clay- like towpath mud, and also a pair of ‘smart shoes’ that are clean, patent leather, and walk less than ten steps a day. Plus a bag to keep each pair in, separately. 10. You become obsessed with what you can convince your stove to burn... Large, unwieldy or inflammable objects of rubbish will all be graded highly, according to your success in convincing the stove to eat them. 11. Ecofans. Having an opinion is mandatory. Having ever tried one is not. 12. If you have a posh new shiny boat, you are probably king of the marina. Conversely, that may also make you ‘king shit’ and/ or a N00b/ ‘more money than sense joker’ out on the cut. 13. ‘Online’ no longer just means that you have internet access, and committing the faux- pas of confusing the two meanings in conversation is verboten. 14. Portholes or windows? See point seven. 15. It seems perfectly normal to you to have both the stove/ heating going full pelt, and all of the windows open. 16. If you can’t manage to have a thorough shower, including shaving your legs, washing and conditioning your hair, and brushing your teeth in under four minutes/ four litres of water, you have failed as a boater and should probably consider moving back onto land. 17. Whenever you go to work in an office, visit a friend in a house, or have cause to use a hotel, you need an extra bag to haul along all of the things you want to charge up from their mains while you’re there. 18. Irons, microwaves, hairdryers and hoovers are all for posh people. 19. You used to own ten big thick jumpers for use in winter. Now you own two big thick jumpers, and a bottle of Febreeze. 20. And... You can make ten cubic feet of stuff fit into four cubic feet of space. 21. You keep a mop on your roof because everybody else does, but you’re not quite sure why... 22. When everyone else on the train home standing up is swaying about and clinging to railings, you are in the middle of it all freestanding, swaying with the flow and not falling down (until you do!) 23. Your mailing address is the same as your parents, for the first time since you were 16 years old. 24. Rosie and Jim are Bad People. 25. You probably started life on your boat with a novelty neckerchief, captain’s hat, pirate bandana, or “I’m on a boat, Mother F***er!” t shirt. By your third week therein, you have experimented with how that burns on the stove (see point 10) and roll your eyes and snort derisively at the fresh faced wannabe’s who have taken your place in committing aforementioned fashion faux-pas. 26. You have a beard. This is neither negotiable, nor gender- specific. 27. You can answer the question “is it cold on a boat in winter?” sensibly, only a finite number of times, before deciding to mess with people and saying “yes, it’s terrible, I have nearly died of hypothermia twice this year already, and I don’t know how I’m still alive...” 28. You thought you’d save money in winter by using the open bow as a fridge/ freezer for your food... Until you realised just how much alcohol you could actually store there if you stacked it all up right. 29. Upon hearing ‘man overboard!’ you reach for the camera first, and the life ring second. 30. When other people fall in, you are never there to see it/ photograph it. But you know damn well that when YOU fall in, there’ll be a group of Japanese tourists there, immortalising it on film and upping it to YouTube within the hour. 31. You can cook and serve a full Sunday roast for four, with less than two square feet of counter space to work on. 32. You stop thinking to yourself, “there’s some funny people on the cut” around the same time you realise that you are just like them, actually. 33. The 8pm engine/ generator off collective: You’re either with them, or against them. 34. You know that you have to disown any of your former friends who are apt to order “a pint of lager, please” in the pub, and you’re okay with that, actually. 35. Your hands and nails are NEVER clean, no matter how much you wash them. 36. You WILL have some kind of nasty toilet emptying related incident within your first few weeks away from mains plumbing. No one can teach you how to avoid your own personal initiation into boat toilet hell, you’re just going to have to grit your teeth and wait for it to happen. 37. When you started out with the boat, you had a little list of about five things that you needed to do/ buy/ sort out. However, due to a phenomenon I like to think of as ‘boat mathematics’ you learn that for every one item you cross off of said list, another two appear. Three months down the line, your list has about 30 essential and time sensitive things you need on it, and your earnings for the next two to four years are already committed to it. Oh well, spaghetti hoops for dinner again... Anyone have any they'd like to add?
  2. 64 points
    I love Canalworldforum, I watched for a few years before I dared join. It was everything I needed, information, fun, ribald banter and pi$$ (genuine letters removed to protect the incontinent and easily offended) taking put downs. I was new to the internet and new to boating as an owner - but not to canals. I eventually succumbed in 2008 to the Log in as new member and tiptoed in, vibrant and sometimes raucous arguments carried on and were carefully managed by the moderators. The CWDF was my online existence for a few years, helping me adapt to my new environment, and soon it appeared that many others were a part of this vibrant community. The CWDF community not only helped me adapt to online banter, but also opened the door to the wonderful but unreliable chatroom, who's inconsistency became a source of fun and enjoyment to all who were subject to,or watching the entry, exit bells of Mike31 and everyone else come and go as we got booted in and out of the room while we were all in various parts of the canal network(or in a house next to a pub in Chesterfield Mike.) It's also where I first started to chat to Kathy. The forum has seen many come and go for a multitude of reasons, Gibbo was the most spectacular exit, and maybe the first of the new way of thinking. CanalWorld forum is a wonderful community of people from all ages which brings people together in the love of canal history, canal folklore, canals now and canals in the future, it is currently being decimated in both its inclusiveness but also its buzz. Since 2014/5, perhaps the moderators of old did not realise the new phenomenon of WUM had entered CWDF, perhaps they didn't weed out serial antagonists soon enough...but very soon the new breed of mods came in and laid waste to a free thinking site with sometimes unco-ordinated and often knee jerk moderation. These fell by the wayside eventually ,now to be replaced with a new kind of moderation policy, with a slap your hands and delete you approach. This is a long way from the site I joined. This is a massive leap from the fun, informative, fun, argumentative, fun, vibrant site I joined. It is still useful. It is still going, just. Let up, free up, allow some bite , it is still potentially by far the best Canalforum. Don't continue to drive away those folks who have made it the site it is today. (No am not on the other site, neither have I seen it.) I don't believe we should all just accept what happens to us, like sheep do.
  3. 57 points
    Hi everyone. Just a quick post regarding the T&M breach. If you are stuck North of the Preston Brook Tunnel, cannot get back South and need to leave your boat somewhere safe, you are more than welcome to leave it at our base at Claymoore. We are building up a little collection of private boats as I type so you may want to ring ahead first (01928 717273). However we will do what we can to fit you in as we have quite a long stretch we can moor along and are allowed to moor several out. If you are on a hire boat with another company and are supposed to be heading back along the affected route, your hire company may ask you to stop at us as we will be turning round several of their boats that are stuck. Of course there is no charge to moor during this incident, I would just ask that your stop with us is due to a genuine need as you can't get South. I hope this helps. Paul
  4. 32 points
    We have this article, the 'Off The Cut' film and the 'Boats Are Homes' demo about to happen. It does seem like a coordinated push. The film and this article, both focus on the same stretch of the Kennet and Avon but make their points as if they apply nationally. They don't. The film also implies that most boaters are continuous cruisers. They aren't. What we have is a specific issue to this stretch of the K&A. My interpretation is that, 10-15 years ago a few families took to living on this small stretch (remember the K&A only fully opened 25 years ago - so this is not an entrenched culture). The pioneers led the way for others who saw the benefits and BW did not take any serious action at the time. As time passed and the boating population grew on the K&A it simply became normal for the cc'ers there to shuffle about over 10 miles or so and get away with it, thinking it would be allowed forever. Occasional enforcement notices were dished out but no further action was taken so long as the boat then shuffled on a mile or so. Fast forward to today and we have more and more people taking to the canals and a growing problem for hotspots like the K&A. Add the problems with the housing market into the mix, pushing people to look for cheaper options and its easy to see how a 'critical mass' is achieved. Clearly, there's been a lot of families living on boats along there and they've become a community, which must have been lovely for them. The problem is that it's unsustainable in the wider context. As a Birmingham boater, I'm not aware of a single cc'ing family in the whole Birmingham area. All the cc'ers I know and see are either single or couples. So why has this family orientated community grown up on the K&A? Well, once you have one or two pioneers, it normalises the idea for other families, but also this area has a long history of alternative and travelling communities, from earlier Romanys to New Age Travellers and the Battle of the Beanfield etc. It seems fairly logical to me that the travellers of the area from the 1980s would move onto the canal when other options were stripped away from them. The harsh truth is that raising a family while cc'ing is difficult. That's why you hardly see anyone doing it in other parts of the country. Cc'ing for a single person with a fixed job takes a fair bit of organising, but I simply wouldn't attempt it if I had kids. I've said before, nobody has an automatic right to live on the canal, this family choose to do so, but they could also choose not to. I do feel sorry for them though because they clearly had it very good for a long time, while BW looked the other way. They must have seen this day coming for years though, they aren't ostriches.
  5. 31 points
    Sorry to be harsh but this proposal is utterly selfish, I would have thought better from the OP. Lots of us would love to go cruising but we aren't. Non-essential travel has been ruled out by the government - this is quite clearly non-essential travel. This is a classic case of entitlement and 'the rules don't apply to me'. And you say you're an expert in disease control??? So let presume you already have the virus but don't know it - how do you propose to get yourself from Goole to Ripon without touching anything on the way or once you get there? Using the excuse that we've been told to stay at home and therefore you can move about like this because your boat is your home is appaling pedantry. You know damn well that's not what the advice means and you're using a technicality to try and dodge round the rules. The 14 day rule has been relaxed for a reason - it's to try and prevent all non-essential boat movements, but allow boaters to still access vital services. People are dying because of selfish attitudes like yours. I'm frankly disgusted.
  6. 28 points
    Today as we have been doing a few jobs on the boat on our mooring we have had boats from 5 different hire fleets come past. Viking Afloat, Anglo Welsh, Countrywide Cruisers, Napton Narrowboats and Canal Cruising Co. The sun is shining and families are relaxing as they move along the canal. Everyone is smiling and happy. It is wonderful to see so many boats moving again after the cold winter months. To see so many hire fleets out makes me smile. Those people who are hiring the boats are the ones who will be buying meals out to keep the pubs we like to drink at open, visiting the little shops along the way and puuting some cash in their tills. It is because they are there that BW have to keep maintaining the infrastructure of the canal. The majority of the boaters I have seen on these hire boats appear to be relaxed and competent on the tiller. If they are repeat hirers then these might be the people who will soon be bringing some much needed business to boat builders or brokerages when they can resist the draw of the canal and the desire to own their own boat no more. If they are hiring for the first time then how likely is it they will get off that boat at the end of their hire period and never set foot on another boat again. Yesterday we took the car down to get some coal from a coal boat which we knew was moored nearby. As we trundled the trolley with coal back up the towpath to the car there was a share boat waiting to enter the lock. A man was standing holding onto the rope while a Viking Afloat boat was in the lock coming down. It was one of the fleet that operates from just above the lock. A family on board with smiles as wide as a widebeam as they set off on their adventure. The man holding the rope on the share boat muttered something about how long he was going to have to wait because "there was a Viking Adrift" on it's way. I know if we were sharing wide locks I would much rather do so with the cheerful family of hirers and their inexperience than the sour faced share boat steerer! We noted that above the lock the coal boat owners joined us in grabbing a bow line to help turn a hire boat round and we all chatted to the happy family on board while they waited to enter the lock chamber - the same lock chamber which now had the share boat in. The one who was not getting any assistance to open or close gates to ease his passage through by the 4 boaters standing talking to the hirers. I know there will always be tales of things that happen to inexperienced steerers. Many of them will be hirers. This season I hope we can all remember we were all novices once upon a time and give a friendly smile to those people spending their hard earned cash on a holiday on the canals. Perhaps we can impart a little of our experience in a friendly way which will assist them in their onward journey? It is great to see them all out and about. Here is a toast to all hirers everywhere
  7. 28 points
    Will you come back again on Monday??
  8. 27 points
    LONG AND SHORT OF IT, FREE REPAIRS. After the worst of storm Ciara, many elderly, physically impaired, students or low income people, can't afford to replace their covers when they are storm damaged, leaving their boat less secure and colder. So for the rest of this week we are offering FREE small cover repairs, to anyone in this demographic who may be struggling, and have to decide between bills or safety/warmth. This shouldn't be happening, so we will try and get as many covers repaired this week as possible. All we ask is you call us to arrange and then bring the cover to us. Our company is at a size where we can just afford to give a little back, and that's what we intend to do. Please spread the word as we will financially and physically only be able to do this for about a week, while we are unable to get out onto the boats due to the conditions. After that the bad weather should start to decline and we can get back out on the road making new covers. Would also like to thank Midland fencing and aggregates who initially gave us the idea. If you like our page on facebook then more people will also see this post. SHARE, SHARE, SHARE LIKE, LIKE, LIKE. www.kinvercanopies.co.uk 01384 394469
  9. 27 points
    1. Wake up one morning in March and think, “painting the boat! Epic idea, and I’ve got that long weekend in April.” 2. Decide on a complex and highly convoluted colour scheme that involves lots of panels, coachlines, stripes and contrasts, because that dude in the marina did his boat last year and it looks awesome. 3. Buy tins of paint, brushes and sheets of sandpaper, optimistically congratulate yourself for being ready to start as soon as the long weekend in April comes around. 4. Eye up the outside of boat appraisingly every couple of days, thinking about how that rust will just sand right off and how easy it’ll be to follow the existing coachlines. 5. Tell everyone you’re painting the boat next month, and stand basking in their impressed if slightly sceptical mutterings. 6. Get advice from ten different people on how to go about it. Wonder at the maths that says ten people times boat painting advice = 15 answers. 7. Realise you might have been over optimistic in your belief that you could just wave a bit of sandpaper at the rust and slap some gloss on top. Buy paint scraper, Fertan and undercoat. 8. Nod sagely at your foresight in realising the potential problems with your original idea, draw out running order of how painting will go and how simple it all seems now that you are so much wiser. 9. Eagerly await long weekend in April. Should be able to get the bulk of it done over the three days, right? 10. Long weekend in April dawns to torrential rain, biblical flooding and tornado-style winds. Keep picking up paint scraper at every break in the weather, put it down again muttering angrily. Read the forum for a bit instead. 11. End of April. Scowl at people who ask how the boat painting is going, while your tins of paint and new brushes collect dust. 12. Mid May. OMG! Sunshine! Paint all of the things! 13. Figure you can sand and undercoat at least the roof and one side in one day, get to work. 14. End an eight hour day of blood, sweat, rust and tears with one gunnel just about acceptable enough to put undercoat on. 15. Wait two weeks for the next break in the weather. 16. Scrape, sand and generally beat the crap out of the boat, until it’s no longer fighting and all of the rust and remaining paint is cowering in fear. 17. AWESOME! Now you can do the undercoat. It’s a bit grubby from all of the shed rust though, so hire a pressure washer to clean it up with first. 18. Have an amazing time playing with the pressure washer, then aim it at the sanded, smooth keyed paint remaining after you prepped it. 19. Watch in abject horror as the pressure washer lifts whole strips of previously stuck fast paint off in layers. 20. Spend a long time crying in self pity, then even longer drinking the pain away. 21. Re-sand and prep the worst parts. 22. Re-pressure wash now that you are absolutely positively certain that there is NO loose paint left to come off. 23. Repeat points 20 through 22 a couple more times, before deciding that you’re never going near a pressure washer again and you’re just fecking well painting it now, regardless. 24. Undercoat boat to within an inch of its life. Smile tightly at passing boats that all, to a man, say either “you’ve missed a bit!” or “you can do mine next!” 25. Wake up following weekend planning to put on first layer of gloss. Observe undercoat isn’t actually dry, and really, should it be both the thickness and consistency of chewing gum? 26. Survey says “no.” 27. Wait another week for the undercoat to become more putty than chewing gum. Decide to paint over it anyway. Know that this is Incorrect but stick fingers in ears and hum, studiously avoiding eye contact with anyone who looks more closely. 28. Wonder how in the name of all that is good and holy you’re supposed to paint the underneath of the handrails, when however convinced you are that you’ve covered them, they are still clearly not done from certain angles. 29. Realise how shitey the roof looks due to your painting technique best being comparable (unfavourably) to a finger painting toddler, resolve to do better on the rest. 30. Paint sides and gunnels with surprising ease, due to surface being less pizza-like than the roof. 31. Measure out in precise distances how far the average person with reasonable eyesight has to be from the boat to miss the shocking workmanship and flaws, address areas that particularly stand out from eight feet away in dim light with no glasses. 32. Wonder why two weeks later there are still very slightly tacky patches of wrinkled paint on the roof that appear to be at least a couple of mm deep. See the light that paint shouldn’t be slapped on at the same consistency as glue. Too late. 33. Cover roof in plants and solar panels, then half-heartedly sand back and re-paint any areas not now covered in boat tat. 34. Decide against the painting in of panels and contrasting colours, start secretly wondering how ashamed of yourself you will be if you get vinyl stick-on coachlines. 35. Try masking up a tiny bit of coachline to paint. Observe result. Decide, not that ashamed of vinyl at all, actually. 36. Buy vinyl coachlines, apply, stand in shock at how well they worked out. Start eyeing up particularly bad patches of paint, wonder what else comes in vinyl that can be stuck on to cover it. 37. Acquire set of stick-on decals, apply artistically to various points on the bow and front of the boat where the paint is the worst. 38. Realise this actually looks ten times worse, but oh well, they’re there now. 39. Lose will to live and become increasingly frustrated at how however many times you undercoat and then paint contact areas (such as where the cover goes on or where the mooring line passes over the bow) and leave them to dry, the paint just rubs right off within days. 40. Decide to concentrate on the tiller, because it looks shocking and an elaborately painted tiller will really draw the eye. 41. Use all acquired wisdom of paint prepping, thickness of paint and technique to paint fracking AWESOME stripes on the tiller that impress even your neighbours, in the middle of the driest week of the year so far. 42. Hear rain two hours later. Learn what paint “blooming” is. Consider getting tree branch and going a bit Basil Fawlty on it. 43. Run out of ideas as to how to reach and prep/paint the tunnel bands. Leave the job there for a considerable amount of time, while “thinking.” 44. Decide you’ll actually just black up to the gunnels. One day. No, it still has not been done.
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  11. 25 points
    Strange I read it as C&RT explaining and informing what is required and if you try to bend the rules, you only have yourself to blame when your boat is removed.
  12. 25 points
    If we take this to its logical conclusion we would be saying that for those people with similar issues, who live in bricks and mortar,dont need pay their Council Tax / electricity / etc and they dont need to tax their car which they use to take the children to school. Who are we to say that they may not live their lives in such a manner ? Just because someone "WANTS" to liveaboard doesnt mean that they should ignore the rules obeyed by the rest - if they did have bricks and mortar they would probably get a great deal more financial assistance to help them. I "WANT" lots of things that would make my life more pleasurable but if I cannot afford them I dont have them. There is a big difference between want & need.
  13. 24 points
    And most profuse apologies to the person who retied the grey/red/black boat near Brinklow, presumably after it came adrift while I was away last week, leaving one of their own pins to cross-pin my bow line. It's a fairly new boat to me and I hadn't got round to buying another couple of pins to supplement the mooring hardware that it was sold with. No excuses, I knew it was iffy mooring on such a shit bit of towpath, and I shouldn't have on just two lines and two pins. It was stupid of me to chance it. If you're on here and read this, can I: Give you your pin back? Offer you a beer/whisky by way of apology? Little things like these are one of the things which make the boating community so special, in my humble opinion. Thanks again.
  14. 24 points
    You may remember me posting a couple of weeks back about a local boat catching fire and sinking on the Southern Oxford at Enslow. The boat owner lost everything in the fire and the local boaters have been great in helping out. For my part, a mate and I raised the boat at the weekend. Two days hard graft, but it was refloated and has subsequently been taken out of the water pending a decision on its future If you’re interested, this is how it went. The basic plan of attack was to board up the windows and doors with ply, pump like mad from the cabin void and up she should come. Simple. So we set to in cutting the ply boards to the appropriate size and screwing them over the door and window apertures. An obvious issue became immediately apparent. The fire had badly distorted the superstructure and the cabin sides (especially around the windows) where no longer flat. Not a problem, stuff the gaps with rags. Eventually, we sealed the cabin (or so we thought), fired up the pumps (1 x 3” and 2 x 2”) and stood back waiting for her to bob up. After 20 minutes or so, we were making no discernable headway with regard to the level of water in the boat. We could see any flow in around the windows and stopped them up. I had been in the canal (dry suit with one leaky leg) and had sealed the sink wastes and a couple of other outlets, so where was all of the water coming from? I true British fashion, we shut the pumps down, made a brew and had a think. The water had to be getting in at low level from the front cockpit and/or the rear engine bay. Time to don the wet dry suit and get back into the water for further investigation. Due to the estimated age of the boat, our money was on that the boat had a wet bilge. This meant that water from the front cockpit would drain in to the bottom of the boat, run down the cabin bilge to the rear engine bay and get pumped out via a bilge pump. This would mean that we had some biggish holes right at the bottom of the front and rear steel bulkheads. Once in the water, I confirmed that, what I thought was the cockpit deck was actually the top of the water tank and that the wooden cockpit floor had burnt out in the fire. The rear cockpit floor wasn’t much better. Plan B was devised and, in fading light, we retired ready for the next days onslaught. Day two saw plan B mobilised in to action. It started by getting another 2” pump to increase the pumping power. The first point of attack was the bow. We reconstructed (as best we could) a new cockpit floor out of ply. This would then be covered with a large tarp’ so that as the pumps started to draw water in, the floor would sink down (with a bit of help) and the tarp’ would seal around any missing bits to stem the water flow. At the stern we boarded all around the hand rails to make a coffer dam. We then cut some tarp’s in to 4’ high strips and skirted around the stern and the sides of the boat. The boat was now pretty well wrapped up in ply and sheeting. It had to come up! We fired up the pumps again. This time, we could almost see the water level in the cabin space dropping. We’d cracked it. Every thing was going well. We knew that we had a few unaccounted for holes in the hull (exhaust, bilge pump, gas lockers) but the net effect was that the pumps were getting the water out faster than it was getting back in. The mud held on to her as long as it could but then it released its grip and the boat bobbed up in the water by about a foot. Result. We got her up to the gunnels. Success was in our grasp. It was then that the pumps started to block! There was the charred detritus of someone’s life still floating around in the cabin and it was now being drawn in to the pumps. We started to loose the in/out battle and the cabin started to fill! Prompt clearance of the suction hoses and then keeping a watchful eye on them regained our ground and eventually she was fully afloat. It was only when we stripped all of the tarps off the stern and sides of the boat that we discovered our main unknown adversary. The engine bay had two 10” x 6” ventilation holes cut in to the side of the hull. Luckily, our sheeting of the hull sides had managed to cover these holes and stemmed the inflow of water. It was only once we had got it afloat and tied up to the bank that we took a look at our achievement. There was the elation of success of a job done, but this was marred by the vision of the burnt out hull and the thought that this was once someone’s home. This was doubly so when, as we were packing everything up, the owner arrived. He was overjoyed that we’d managed to float it, but you could also sense the sadness of seeing what was his home in such a mess. I wish him well in the future and was glad to be able to do my bit to help him out. Photo's to follow in a bit
  15. 23 points
    I thought I would share my experience trying to improve my internet and phone communications whilst out on the cut. For a number of reasons it is essential that I can have a reliable connection, especially internet wherever possible. As a CC for at least six months of the year the need for something more reliable than the standard ‘3’ Mi-Fi offering (as good as it is) quickly became apparent. The forums search facility will bring up many useful threads on the subject of improving both internet and phone communications. There are many ideas bandied about, some more worthy than others, such as dongles wrapped in plastic bags or yoghurt pots and dangling by bits of string from chimneys and such like. They work with varying degrees of success. I know, I’ve tried most of them at one time or another. Having experimented with different ideas over the past couple of years I have come to the inevitable conclusion that in order to have the best chance of receiving a reliable signal for both phone and internet you really need to invest in some serious equipment. Of course there are those that the ‘Heath Robinson’ approach is more than satisfactory and indeed may well give excellent results in the right location. But those who travel the system extensively and need reliable internet/phone connection for business say, will probably need something more ‘fit for purpose’. Internet I think it’s well recognised, and it’s also my experience, that the ‘3’ network has the most extensive and reliable coverage of the canal system. I had one of their standard Huawei ‘Mi-Fi’ units that didn’t have the external aerial socket and found that, although generally quite good, it did have limitations as to reception and performance. I then purchased via Amazon the Huawei E5332 which did have an external aerial socket (TS9 connection). I initially tried connecting that to a 12 inch magnetic mount aerial placed on the roof and that improved reception a great deal. But there were still many locations I found it gave no reliable signal reception. In those locations I found taping the mag aerial to the top of my boat hook raised vertically did indeed generally improve the reception. I did a lot more research and eventually decided on a demountable 2 metre mast with an aerial from Connex Technologies. http://www.connextech.co.uk/3g-external-high-gain-omni-antenna-bundle---600603-253-p.asp Their aerial comes fitted with 5 metres of cable and the TS9 pig tail required to connect to the Mi-Fi unit and costs about £120 This proved to be the ‘bees knees’ and with this aerial mounted atop the 2 metre mast I got reliable internet connection on ‘3’ just about everywhere we go. I installed this ‘enhanced’ system in the Spring of 2013 and has proved its worth during our extensive cruise last summer. As we try and use 12v wherever possible I also purchased an in car charger unit for the MI-Fi from Maplins which saves having to use the inverter. Although the Mi-Fi unit has about a 5 hour battery life, if we are moored up for a couple of days or so, using as much 12v equipment wherever possible is preferable in my opinion. We also have 530 watts of solar panels which provides all our electrical needs in the summer when not cruising. Recently we had a need for a second Mi-Fi unit and rather than go for another E5332, as good as it is, I thought technology may have improved and the latest offering from ‘3’ is the Huawei E5756. It is more expensive than their standard unit but it does have the external TS9 socket. Apparently this also has two internal aerials and is more sensitive to signal reception and can in fact use two cell masts at the same time if they are both in range. I gave it a try, first without the external aerial and alongside the E5332 and it is definitely faster opening identical pages on two identical laptop computers. Then I connected both to the external aerials (I now have two mast aerials, see later in this report) and again the E5756 was noticeably faster than the E5332 opening identical pages on identical laptops. Technology has definitely improved in the two years since I purchased the E5332. E5756 mifi with patch lead and 12v power lead Phone Although our requirement for phone communication is not as pressing as our need for internet, there are occasions when it is necessary. I have a contract with Vodafone which gives me loads of free minutes, but on the cut it has proved a pretty useless network. We also have a couple of cheap Nokia phones on ‘Pay-As-You-Go’, one on ‘3’ and the other on O2. Unsurprisingly the ‘3’ network is quite good, but for some unknown reason the ‘3’ telephone signal is usually weaker than the Mi-Fi signal. The O2 signal is also generally quite good, certainly better than Vodafone, but can be very patchy in coverage. It is quite irritating to have to move around the boat to find an area that has the best signal strength, often having to go outside to have any decent call quality. Even then, often speech communication can be quite difficult if not impossible. I did at one point invest in a mag aerial from Boaters Phone Co, with a Velcro, wrap around, ‘passive’ patch lead for my iPhone 4S and found it made absolutely no difference to my signal quality. The iPhone doesn’t have an external aerial socket. In fairness I have spoken to others who use that system with the Velcro and they say it does make an improvement. It just goes to show that everyone’s experience can be very different. Following on from the good performance of the Mi-Fi and the Connex aerial I decided to see if I could improve telephone performance by the same amount. Very few, if any, of the current offerings of handsets that I have come across have an external aerial socket. However on investigation I did learn that the Samsung S2, S3, S4, and quite possibly the new S5 do have an external aerial socket. However this is not generally publicised and is installed primarily for Samsung service technicians during maintenance. It is hidden away behind the battery cover and has its own small round plastic cover concealing the actual socket. On the S3 it’s marked by the code ‘W1’ next to it but, depending on model can also have a second one marked ‘W2’. Generally ‘W1’ should be used. The cover can be prised off using a very small screwdriver. Some models of Samsung the aerial cover is I believe also marked ‘R1’ and ‘R2’. But that’s where it got confusing, my eyes started glazing over and I lost interest! I was thinking of treating myself to a newer phone so opted to buy a used Samsung S3. So all reference is made to the S3. It only has just the one socket, hidden under the ‘W1’ cover. Pic of rear of Samsung S3 As far as I am aware, there is only one supplier of patch leads for the Samsung, they are Telco Antennas in Australia. www.telcoantennas.com.au They do cater for other phones so if you are thinking of modifying yours, it is worth checking their website to see if your phone might be suitable. Some patch leads they offer though, including for the iPhone, are of the ‘passive’ type. Although I have never used the ones from Telco, I personally have found that, in general, the performance of the passive type disappointing. That was based on an iPhone 4S and a basic Nokia and Samsung phone. I also tried the passive patch lead on my original Mi-Fi unit and found it made no discernable difference. I purchased a couple of patch leads from Telco and also a rear battery cover pre-drilled in the correct position for the socket. http://www.telcoantennas.com.au/site/samsung-galaxy-s3-patch-lead-and-back-cover-combo The plug and socket connection is very secure, but I would be wary of continually removing the patch lead from the phone as it seems a little fragile and might just damage either the plug or socket. I have decided to keep the Samsung just for the boat when we are aboard. Sort of like a home phone. The patch lead comes with an SMA female connector on one end and the Samsung plug on the other. Altogether it’s about A$65 (two patch leads and a back cover drilled to fit) plus A$32 shipping (in addition I was stung for £19 customs duty when it arrived in the UK!) Very impressed with Telco though, and DHL the shipper. It was in my hand just 36 hours after ordering it! Someone of course will now point out that there is a supplier of patch leads in Braunston and/or at the Crick show and they cost £5 each! Frankly, I don’t want to know! I wish to remain in blissful ignorance, thank you! Caution. If you try and use a DIY approach by pushing a thin wire into the centre hole of the aerial socket you could seriously damage its internal aerial which won’t work again without major and expensive surgery back at Samsung. It is important to use a purpose made patch lead. The connector supplied with the patch lead (SMA female) also fitted the connector on the Connex external aerial (SMA male) which I had been using for the Mi-Fi, and it worked perfectly. Inside the boat, before connection I was getting one or two bars of signal strength, occasionally losing signal altogether. Once connected, the signal jumped straight to a solid five bars. Call quality is superb! I have been operating this now for a couple of months and I am very pleased with the set up. I purchased a second dedicated aerial from Connex to use for the phone and that is also mounted atop the mast next to the Mi-Fi aerial. I did think about the possibility of running both the Mi-Fi and the phone from the same aerial, but that might affect the quality of the signal to both so thought better of it. The Mast I mount the mast, which is a 38mm diameter, 2 metre high stainless tube, in a couple of brackets fixed to the forward face of my roof top box, which also incorporates four 100 watt solar panels. The mast can be lifted in or out of the mounts in just a few seconds. It can be removed entirely for secure stowage inside the boat when left unattended. The cables run across the roof and in through a saloon hopper window to the various adjacent receivers. They can be unplugged or reconnected in just a couple of minutes when erecting or removing the mast for storage. mast mount on top box TV Having gone to the trouble and expense of fitting the mast, it seemed an ideal place to put my Avtex ‘figure of eight’ omni directional freeview TV aerial. http://www.midlandchandlers.co.uk/Catalogue/ProductDetail/aerial-avtex-12v-digital-sth1000?productID=a23362c3-cbf1-40b0-aca8-2eaf41aea332&catalogueLevelItemID=a4a42a16-1cad-4748-90d3-70ba5a71f73e It generally works very well most places we go. As we prefer to moor in out of the way places there are occasions when we can’t get a good signal for the TV. Last year, at the Crick show I bought a ‘Toura Plus’ antenna with a mount that can convert quickly from vertical to horizontal polarity, and has a built in amplifier powered by the TV’s 5v powered aerial socket. http://www.midlandchandlers.co.uk/Catalogue/ProductDetail/aerial-toura-plus-uhf-antenna-7db-22db-?productID=3ca5b2cb-8aee-4582-b250-b828c0978841&catalogueLevelItemID=a4a42a16-1cad-4748-90d3-70ba5a71f73e Most new TV’s have the 5v facility, usually buried away in the settings menu. I have found it a superb aerial and is allied to the excellent ‘Antenna Aligner’ app on my iPhone which points to the nearest transmitter. As the mast can be rotated easily, I just turn it until the TV aerial is pointing towards the transmitter. A few seconds and the jobs done! When not required, eg cruising, the mast lays in a couple of purpose made wooden blocks on the forward roof. The mast can be erected or removed in about 20 seconds! Great if it’s raining! As I have an interest in meteorology it seemed an obvious place to mount a small wireless weather station on the top. Interestingly, (and off topic, I know, - well it is my thread!) as a result of fitting the weather station, specifically its windspeed readout and historical data record over the last two years, it has become quite clear that mounting a wind generator, in our experience, would be a complete waste of time and money. The number of days that it would have produced any worthwhile power was in reality, very few. And several of those days were of the ‘bright and breezy’ type where our solar was performing well anyway. Of course there are those who swear by their windgens, but I think they are few and far between and must be moored in very exposed places Conclusion Prior to embarking on this little project it seemed that, in general, I got a good Mi-Fi signal about 25% of the time, a barely usable signal about another 25% of the time and the rest (50%) no useable signal when out on the cut. The mobile phone was not much better which is why I had three networks to try and get at least one useable signal. I guess, between the three networks, I was successful about 70% of the time. Since fitting this equipment I have improved the score on the Mi-Fi to I would say, well in excess of 80% although in practice I can’t think of anywhere that I haven’t got at least a useable signal. More usually, I get a good to excellent signal. Even in Braunston, a ‘black hole’ for me when it comes to phone signals, I can get a useable signal. On the phone network side, it seems a toss up between O2 and ‘3’ with the Samsung on the external aerial. The balance so far I think just favours ‘3’. The jury is still out on that, however signal reception is much better using the Connex aerial regardless of network. Vodafone still languishes in third place! Typical, as all my free minutes are on Vodafone! I won’t change contract though as when I travel abroad, which I do regularly, Vodafone is far superior! The waterways I’ve used them on so far are the River Thames, North/South Oxford, Grand Union Main Line and Leicester Line, Coventry, Ashby, River Soar, Erewash, T&M, River Trent and Bridgewater Canal. These are just my thoughts and experience with playing around with various items of equipment. I hope some may find them useful. Others may well think my ideas are ‘overkill’ and find the ‘plastic bag and yoghurt pot’ approach more than adequate for their needs. It’s ‘horses for courses’ at the end of the day. I required something more suited to my needs. Previously I have searched the forum for a ‘Bizzard’ solution but can’t seem to find one, which is truly surprising and disappointing! I would have been very interested in that, and may well have saved me a lot of effort to say nothing of a small fortune! Ken
  16. 23 points
    How very arrogant of you to think you can decide whether people are allowed to be in a rush or not. People are sometimes in a rush for all sorts of reasons that you would be ignorant of. Many people have a fixed period for their trips/holidays and sometimes things transpire to upset schedules - for example we have just lost 2 days from our trip due to unnecessarily lock closures. It is also very arrogant of you to think that anyone who wants to go faster than you must be "rushing". People wan to go at different speeds, GET OVER IT. You are not the God of canal speed. By all means go at the speed you want to, but equally don't force others to go at your chosen speed. That is plain selfish. If you are so incompetent as to find allowing following boats to overtake difficult, may I suggest some tuition?
  17. 23 points
    Two years of boating and two years since my original forum post quite literally launched a new career for me later... I had wine with dinner again tonight. 1. People laugh at you for thinking that you can ever wear a dress/skirt while living on a boat. But they soon pipe down when circumstance catches you resplendent in a floor length party dress, fleece jacket, socks and yes, flip flops... Hanging down into the engine bilge and disconnecting one of your batteries in an emergency, while scowling at the fully Helly-Hansoned up Experienced Boater who is “helpfully” calling out distant advice to you while staying totally clean themselves. 2. You don’t think twice about asking someone you only met in the pub last night to watch your boat/feed your cats for you while you go away for a few days, and you also know after a half hour of talking to them that they will be safe and trustworthy to do so. 3. You can spot another boater in the pub at 50 paces, but you have no idea how. 4. So if you find a set of boater’s lost keys on the towpath, you simply walk to the nearest pub and home in on the two-three groups of boaters present psychically within 30 seconds of entering, without having to ask the bar staff to make an announcement, and invariably find your man. 5. Similarly, random diesel-scented strangers will seek you out in the pub, say “you’re obviously a boater” and ask you which boat is yours... Even when you have been in the shower for hours and have donned your best togs and a full face of make up and had planned to go out clubbing with the REAL people, leaving your inherent boaty-ness behind. 6. You can always spot the part-timer/ over-important “I own a boat” types at canalside businesses, before you even hear their voices, by the presence of their pressed “going to the pub” Chino’s, deck shoes and prominently placed brand new keyfloats on the bar in front of them. Before they even open their mouths, and loudly state something irrelevant about their engine, how often they clean the boat, or how nice the mooring they are on is, you just know that they are “boaters,” but only go to the boat twice a year and are just showing off. 7. You no longer look up in disbelief when you find someone staring into your kitchen window and passing a loud Attenborugh-esque commentary about “Oh look, she has a sink! She must have running water in there! Oh my word, she is WASHING DISHES! Do you think her water comes from the canal?” 8. You’re really careful about where and how you put things down so they won’t fall off the side when the boat rocks; but then remember that you’re in a house! 9. You stand stupidly in the hotel bathroom for 30 seconds looking for the switch for the shower pump before remembering how real life works, and turning the water on. 10. It seems perfectly normal to you to share your life history, hopes and dreams and secret fears with your new best friend who moored next to you for one night only, got drunk with you and whose name you can’t remember, who then set off in the morning before you woke up, because you “connected.” And obviously, you are best friends and pick up right where you left off when you run into each other again two years later on, unexpectedly, somewhere else far, far away. 11. Your Mother is completely flummoxed when you visit her by your propensity to turn off all unneeded lights and equipment the second you finish using them-When throughout your teenage years, you were never happy unless you left a light show to rival Vegas in all of the rooms you walked out of. 12. Both you and your Mother are equally flummoxed to learn that when you do visit said Mother in a house, you have literally forgotten how to get up a flight of stairs, other than on all fours, like some kind of retarded puppy. 13. You have no idea which side the land is on when you wake up, and trying to decide without cheating and opening a curtain turns into something of a “choose your adventure” game for you every time you wake up on a new mooring. 14. You always grab the collar of any dog before they leap to shore, just to make sure that they are not inadvertently jumping off on the wrong side. Again. 15. Comments from canal-side pub garden gongoozlers like “Oooh, do you live on your boat? How lovely! You are so lucky! What a lovely fairytale life you must lead!” Lead to fast invitations to spend a day on your liveaboard boat... The day that you need to empty the toilet and collect your 30 bags of coal from the road bridge 200 yards away from the cut. 16. Random strangers on the towpath out walking for the day regard you as the wildflower almanac, and ask you if those weird-looking mushrooms near your mooring are safe to eat. And then believe you, whatever you say, just because you live on a boat and so, are obviously akin to a herbalist, and never buy your edible fungi in Asda or anything like normal people do. 17. People spot you working on your computer on the bow of your boat in the height of summer, and automatically assume that you are an unemployable rabble-rousing “ anarchist writer” or political activist, and are either claiming the dole, living on Daddy’s money, or simply could not hold down a real job to save your life... Just because you are under 60, and not suited, booted and in an office, as there is no way on God’s green earth that someone can legitimately work in such nice conditions and actually get paid to do so, obviously. 18. When friends and family phone you, they get used to your response to “where exactly are you moored at the moment?” Being “Oh, Northamptonshire I think, or possibly Warwickshire... Or at a push, Oxfordshire...” 19. You start to feel like just living on a boat has caused you to become insular, single minded and disconnected from the rest of society to the point that simple shopping trips into town or meetings with non-boaters become something to psyche yourself up to, choose your outfit for and put your game face on for, long before you go out. 20. You go from feeling like the Messiah of living afloat and trying to indoctrinate people into the wonder of boat life at every turn, to actively deflecting people from realising that you live on a boat to avoid the never-ending same-y questions that this always promotes. 21. Aldi is your most favourite shop, ever. You plan moorings and stop-offs around it and everything. Oh, they also sell food? Who knew! 22. You start to answer to the name of your boat; in fact, you head turns faster when someone calls it than it does if someone says your own name. This becomes particularly confusing if you named your boat in honour of a long-dead relative, and you spend a few seconds after someone intones it thinking that the person in front of you is psychic, and about to deliver a message from your long lost relative, rather than simply asking you if that is your boat! 23. People nod approvingly and commend you for the low carbon footprint that you must have and the low-impact lifestyle that you lead... While you hang out of the open door talking to them and sweating like a pig because the coal stove is too hot despite all the windows being open, trying to make yourself heard over the noise of the engine running to charge your batteries. 24. 25. That dodgy, vaguely scary bloke with the prison tattoo’s that you moored by a while ago in desperation is now the most trustworthy and reliable friend that you know. 26. That Chino'd up Shiny Boater with the comb-over toupee and prominently displayed Aston Martin keyring was actually the first person who rolled up their sleeves and helped to dig the crud out of your weed hatch for you when you got proper stuck. 27. Gas ran out boiling the kettle, and not during a shower. I WIN this round of gas bottle roulette, thank you for watching, tune in next time. 28. The sound of the bow thruster is like the mating call of the Shiny Boat, because when I hear it, I know there's a 50-50 chance that said boat is about to start trying to hump my Springer. And apparently, shiny boats are really hot for Springers. 29. You have had a go with a bow thruster/ Girly Button. And you liked it, and are not quite sure how to deal with this, actually. 30. You’re not a Real Boater until you’ve spent at least one night on Tawny Owl.
  18. 23 points
    How bloody patronising!!! No wonder you piss so many people off
  19. 21 points
    Would it help if I drove to you tomorrow A.M. FOC and tried to help? I will need to know if you have a jump lead or a pair of them aboard. Ring 01189874285 today if you want to accept.
  20. 21 points
    Using a horn at every bridge or blind bend would be, pardon me for saying it, ridiculous. The noise would be endless , and if anyone expect me to hear somebody's horn over a Lister thundering away six feet from my ears they're just daft. You just bear in mind you may meet people at these places, though you rarely do, and are prepared to whack the thing into backwards. At a sensible speed you've got all the time in the world without making a great din about it. And sometimes (usually, in fact) the correct side of the canal is in the middle, so you're bound to be fairly close to a moored boat. If you've got a problem with passing boats, you're probably moored up too close to a bridge or a bend yourself (not you personally - generic you). And sometimes, if someone is moored up in the middle of a three mile line of boats (eg Golden Nook on the Shroppie), you lose the will to live at tickover and think that anyone who is daft enough to moor in that kind of place should expect people to pass at a normal cruising speed!
  21. 21 points
    Given that most people who claim HB are actually in work, I suggest that the snide comments be better aimed at those who have created a society that allows somebody to work a full week and still not be able to pay their rent.
  22. 21 points
    It is with great regret that I have got something seriously wrong, and as a result falsely accused a forum member of doing something that have not done at all. I genuinely believed that words of mine that have been quoted in a forum post today were taken from a private Facebook conversation in which approximately 7 forum members took part, including GoodGurl. That conversation had already been raised by GoodGurl, and when I saw words quoted today I firmly believed were taken from it, I wrongly believed they had to have been supplied by someone taking part in it. After a private exchange of messages GoodGurl has corrected me that the words quoted today were not from that conversation, and that in fact I have said something similar, (but not identical), but in the public domain. I genuinely don't know exactly when or where I posted those words, (Facebook is claimed), but I fully acknowledge now they are not the words in the private conversation. Unfortunately the very long original conversation was back in March, and I was having great difficulty in accessing the earliest part of it via Facebook I now realise I made a grave error by not persisting until I could compare what it said to what got posted today. I have already apologised without reservation to GoodGurl in private, and suggested to her that I should also make a full public apology. This can't, of course, put right what I have got so badly wrong, but unfortunately I can offer no more in addition than trying never to make such a bad mistake in future.
  23. 21 points
    Firstly I would just like to say (and not defending KANDA) Sally did make it fairly public yesterday by sending an email to a number of people. In my own case I did not feel it was my place to make it public and felt sure someone soon would make it public. One of the reasons I did not make it public is that I was not sure what to say. I have personally been working with Sally on a number of issues and have always found Sally to be a very good person to work with. On a number of issues we agreed and and certain other issues we strongly disagreed but Sally was always able to keep issues separate in my opinion a very rare quality. I think Sally will leave a legacy of always trying to do what was best when trying to work with so many different groups with so many different views an almost impossible job as whatever she did some group would not like it. Sally will be a very difficult person to replace. As we all know we all have very strong opinions and ideas and more often than not the buck stopped at Sally's desk. Sally did more than most to improve communication between CRT and Boaters and she was one of the driving forces of the meetings between boaters and CRT that have resulted in the meetings that Richard Parry now has with boaters all over the country. I wish Sally a very happy retirement and I think she can look back at over 30 years of dedicated service to the waterways, well done Sally and thank you.
  24. 21 points
  25. 21 points
    I really don't know what to say. There are some people on here who really do know what they are talking about on matters "boat" related or "canal" related, or "canal history" related etc etc etc. There are a few less who know about boat electrics, but they are still here. There are some competent boat electricians here. Some very competent ones. The problem is that there are more people on here who actually don't know about boat electrics than those who do. So those who actually do know what they're talking about get shouted down by a load of "know nothings", who will give you incorrect, and possibly highly dangerous, advice. Very difficult position to be in. On matters "canal history" or "boat operation" you cannot fault this forum, but when it comes to matters technical, you have a serious dilema! There are one or two absolute buffoons on here who think they are experts, and experts they are far from being. Sorry, but that's just the reality. Be very careful who you listen to. This post probably sounds highly insulting, and in fact, it probably is highly insulting to those who don't know what theyre talking about, but those who know exactly what I mean. will undersatand that this post is not aimed at them, but at their adversaries.
  26. 21 points
    I've not been a member on here for long, but it rapidly became obvious that there was a hardcore of "long standing members" who regularly descended into personal abuse and wrecked the topic. Personally I don't think that is probably their intention, but I do think they lack the social skills to appreciate how repulsive others see their rantings. The trouble is though, I find these same people have a great deal of knowledge and experience which I have found extremely interesting and valuable. So I don't know what the best answer is except to encourage them to learn how to respect others who take a different view or have less knowledge than them. They have a lot to offer, but they also have a lot that's not wanted. Sort out which is which and we'll all benefit. Now watch me get slagged off for that !!!!!! Love you lots! Brian
  27. 20 points
    I mark mine by tying a narrowboat to them with thick ropes. It really helps to draw attention to the small bits of metal if you have a colourful boat, with obvious decoration on it, left near the path in the wet bit ...
  28. 20 points
    Say what you like about CRT, but name one other large, national organisation you could expect to phone up and have a customer service experience like the one I had yesterday: "Hello, Canal & River Trust, how can I help?" "Is there any chance you could get hold of somebody at your Etruria yard? I think I might have left a set of keys in the shower at the service block before we left this morning." "Hmm... hold on and I'll see if I can get hold of the Area Supervisor, Alan Whitehouse, for you" [Brr brr… brr brr…] "Hello, Alan Whitehouse speaking." "Oh hi, I was just explaining that [bla bla bla]…" "I'm just at Etruria now actually... Hang on... I'm just walking round... in the shower? Yes I've got them. Where are you now?" "Barlaston, but we've only stopped for lunch really, we were hoping to head towards Stone." "That's okay, we can bridge hop. Just give me your number and I'll phone and check where you are when somebody's able to set off." Half an hour later Alan quite cheerfully hands the keys to me by my boat at Barlaston after all, explaining that he was planning to do a job down that way on Friday anyway and decided he might as well just do it then instead. Top marks I'd say. And they were already in my good books for offering to dispose of all my contaminated bilge water from Monday for me (see my earlier post) if I just left the containers out by the skip.
  29. 19 points
    About half past six this evening, my dog started barking madly, and my wife thought she had heard someone shouting loudly. I went into the garden and saw that a man was in the canal, directly under the bridge. I ran through the house and over the bridge and arrived under the bridge just as my neighbour from across the canal got there. We pulled the man from the canal, who was obviously suffering from shock. It turmed out he was a cyclist and had collided with the bridge and bounced into the canal. We checked him put and he had cut his head and nose, my first aid training from years ago came in handy! He was worrying about his bike, so I returned home to get the boat hook and successfully retrieved his bike from the canal. He then took a turn for the worse and slumped to the ground, occasionally drifting into unconsciousness. We called an ambulance, got blankets to make him as comfortable as possible. Tried to get details from him, he gave his name and date of birth but when asked were he lived he said "Bedworth" but couldnt remeber the rest of his address. When the ambulance arrived they checked him out and took him off to hospital. Just goes to show how easy it is to have an accident. If he had knocked himself out he would have drowned and in the evening very few people walk that stretch of canal.
  30. 19 points
    To be honest if someone can't afford a mooring and are staying in one place then they shouldn't be on a boat. We all have to comply with the very few very relaxed easy rules, I have managed full time for over 30 years. I can't afford a bugatti vayron so I don't have one. Having children has been happening since day one but today is sometimes used as some sort of specialist excuse to flout the rules. No I am not having a go but as Matty says at present we are faced with too many new liveaboards flouting too many rules rather than playing the game and staying under the radar, this in the fullness of time will ruin many peoples way of life as further rules will be weeded in. 👍
  31. 19 points
    Indeed I do - its come along way since I coded version 1.0 back in the early 1980s Don't forget that if data is missing then you can add it. There's long term plans to introduce "Pinch Points" but like enhanced POI (which I'm currently working on) its something that will need good data to make it work
  32. 19 points
    1. Consider if you might perhaps not prefer a glass of coke, decide against. Put the coffee in the pot, and prepare spoon, sugar and mug. 2. Put on sensibly soled shoes, climb off the boat, walk round to the front cratch, retrieve cream from the ‘cool box,’ return inside, remove sensible shoes and put slippers back on. 3. Turn on system water, attempt to fill kettle. 4. Are you sure you wouldn’t really rather have a glass of coke? 5. Put on sensibly soled shoes, climb off the boat, attach hose pipe to tap, climb onto front of boat, fill water tank, return inside, remove sensible shoes and put slippers back on. 6. Fill kettle. 7. Turn on hob, light gas, place kettle on to boil. 8. Play on the internet for ten minutes while kettle boils. 9. Glance at hob after 15 minutes when it occurs to you that the kettle has not started to whistle yet- Get up and check why there’s no flame on the gas ring. 10. Turn gas ring on and off a couple of times, thinking of the fact you’ve been smelling that ‘end of gas bottle’ smell for a few days now and wilfully ignoring it. 11. Curse gas ring, kettle, cold water, the cost of bottled gas, and your own lack of foresight at replacing the empty spare bottle yesterday when it occurred to you. 12. Bet that glass of coke’s looking pretty good right about now, no? 13. Put on sensibly soled shoes, go onto stern deck, and heave the unconnected spare but empty bottle out of locker, put on pontoon. 14. Unfold wheely trolley that’s been good for the whole winter at carrying the cassette, 25kg bags of coal and all your rubbish with room to spare, and realise right away that gas bottle is too big to fit into it. 15. Wander down pontoon to boat that always has a wheel barrow in its well deck, knock and ask to borrow it. 16. Dither for five minutes wondering if they’d mind if you borrowed it anyway as they’re clearly not in and would very likely not mind at all. 17. Can I interest you in a glass of coke? 18. Decide to err on the side of caution and leave wheelbarrow where it is, pick up empty 13kg bottle and carrydragpushcurse it the ten minute walk to the marina office. 19. Return empty gas bottle, buy new one, put it in communal usage office wheelbarrow, start trip back. 20. Curse the wheelbarrow, its forbearers, its future offspring, and whoever used it last and neglected to mention to the office that the tyre is as flat as a pancake. 21. Push Satan’s wheelbarrow the ten minute walk back to the boat. 22. Try to control facial expression when running into the owner of the aforementioned privately owned wheelbarrow who is now on her boat and merrily calls out to you “oh that one from the office is awful, you should have just taken mine!” 23. Unloaded heavy-arsed full gas bottle from Satan’s wheelbarrow, wheel Satan’s wheelbarrow back to the marina office. Walk back to boat. 24. Turn on deck light, fight heavy-arsed full gas bottle into the (above deck level) gas locker, bang head on gear lever, think again about relative merits of a glass of coke. 25. Turn open/ close dial on empty- but connected- gas bottle in order to remove it. 26. Look askew at connected valve, vaguely remember being told when shown how to change the bottle a few weeks ago that you don’t have the correct spanner for it. Remember thinking to self back in the mists of time ‘I must buy one of those’ and curse self, repeatedly and with some colour. 27. Dig in tool kit for the spanners you do have, try all three of them, Get mightily pissed off. 28. Walk to neighbouring boat, acquire loan of appropriate spanner. 29. Smile in short- lived satisfaction at comfortable fit of the correct spanner, try to turn nut. 30. Frown a little bit, vaguely remember being told that ‘something’ on the boat needs turning the opposite way to normal nuts and bolts, try both ways repeatedly without success. 31. Climb back onto boat, remove sensibly soled shoes, boot up laptop. 32. Search YouTube for video guidance of how to change a gas bottle. 33. Source eight minute clip called “how to change a gas bottle,” sit down to watch. 34. Buffering... 35. Buffering... 36. Skip through first few steps as they are all about manual handling and have feck all to do with changing a gas bottle. 37. Buffering... 38. At 7 minutes 33 seconds into the eight minute video, blink and miss five second clip where the guy disconnects the empty bottle. Rewind, watch again, be assured of correct direction to turn spanner. 39. Put sensibly soled shoes back on, climb back out to gas locker, attach spanner and give it some welly. Call self various unflattering names and resolve to work on some wrist strengthening exercises. 40. Look at clock, observe it’s ten to five. Hover at back of boat for ten minutes, wait for one of the marina fixy men who finish work at 5pm to walk past and flag them down. 41. 5.05pm, Bat eyelids at unimpressed marina fixy man who good naturedly agrees to help remove the stuck fast, impossible to remove, tighter than a duck’s arse valve release, and indeed manages to do so in under three seconds. 42. Tell marina fixy man to ‘ask another day’ when he queries in passing how you are liking living on a boat so far. 43. Finally connect up new bottle. 44. Return borrowed spanner. 45. Try to light gas ring. Lose will to live. 46. Remember turning off all the internal gas line switch thingies at the advice of the earlier YouTube video, turn them back on again. Finally ignite gas. HALLELUJAH! 47. Realise how much fecking hard work this whole procedure was and how much running around it entailed. Realise that you are actually quite dehydrated now and don’t really fancy a hot drink. 48. Get glass of coke.
  33. This post cannot be displayed because it is in a forum which requires at least 10 posts to view.
  34. 18 points
    A quick rundown of events, yesterday afternoon when it became obvious that we were going over we went through the moorings releasing boats and putting them on long lines, only one sank due to being chained down! We had to cut loads of lines because people insist on using crap polyprop rope which the then knot so that it cant be undone, they also have centerlines on why? the river broke its bank opposite me it was also over the locks at Rotherham so we had a very substantial current running past us. At about 2 ish in the morning we hit the top and were floating well over the bank, I had a scaffolding pole tied to the rear stantion on the boat and a step ladder at the bow, both these stopped the boat going onto the bank, at 5 ish I went out as the water was receding Carolyne a neighbour came out as well [we did this in 2007 as well] and started pushing boat of the bank back into the canal, it was freezing and to be honest foolhardy as the bank was full of debris! At about half 6 we had all the boats sorted out and retired to have a shower as we were filthy and stank [sewage station up river from us] now its a glorious day washing machine is on mug of tea and breakfast gone, and all is well in my world.
  35. 18 points
    Hi Jason, I'm afraid that I missed the shenanigans when the forum was (rightly and wrongly) telling you that you must be mad. Rightly because your project was a hopeless case, and wrongly because given your circumstances it was absolutely the right thing to do to pursue the hopeless case. The reason that I missed it, is the reason that I am exempt from your restrictions on what people can say, namely that I had recently lost my Wife to Cancer after 17 years together, and wasn't following the forum as avidly as usual. Time doesn't heal. Time cannot make your life what it was before. Time can and does slowly carry away the worst of the grief, and enable you to go on with your life and to build a new life within the new reality. The point to make is that whether the hand that we are dealt in life is good or bad, it is what we have. It is the new reality, and we can only try to make the best of it. When Bev died in August 2017, this wasn't our first trip on this particular roller coaster. We'd been there before in 2010 when her son was killed in Afghanistan, and in 2000 when her first husband took his own life. Bev and I had the pleasure of owning a boat for 15 years, and making many happy memories, but the happiest memory is the last one where she overcame kidney problems for long enough to join us on one final trip to Ellesmere Port before the Cancer took hold and she had to leave part way through for what proved to be a final spell in hospital. I'm not in the same situation as you, as I have a job, I'm not ill, and whilst I don't have children of my own, I do have a stepdaughter, son-in-law and two grandsons. I count my blessings there. I also make sure that I get out of the house. Friendship won't find you. You must find it. Go looking for things that you can do out of the house. I also have every intention of continuing to boat. Bev and I enjoyed it together. It sounds like you an Paola did too for the limited time you shared it. If that is still a dream for you, then go for it. If it is a dream that isn't constrained by the timescales of a terminal prognosis, do try to do it sensibly :-) Anyway, I know that I'm not the first to offer, but if you fancy a trip out for a widowers' cruise, I'm not a million miles for SoT and I would certainly try to make you welcome for a mix of sad tales and forced merriment. Dave
  36. This post cannot be displayed because it is in a forum which requires at least 10 posts to view.
  37. 18 points
    Bitterness, really? Perhaps you should go back and read my post. Simply asked a simple question expecting a simple answer. What did I get? A few sensible answers from a few sensible people and then BANG this utter bollocks from you! I know it was diesel as I saw it drop from the cup he was holding and then leave a beautiful rainbow slick which rapidly spread across the water. Now then lets see how polite you consider this to be. "Excuse me mate, do you mind turning your engine off as it is half past ten at night?" - Me calling across the canal in a normal conversational tone of voice. To this he looked up and replied, "F*CK OFF" in a very loud f*ck you tone of voice. I did exactly as he suggested. I could not have been more polite. Quite frankly the questions you posed as to his reasons for running his engine is no concern of mine or anyone elses for that matter. The law is the law and common decency is common decency. Neither of which have been adhered to or shown by the person I am referring to. The fact that he does this regularly is an indication that he does not give a damn about the rest of the people around him! Perhaps you should pull your head out of your backside before you run around making unfounded accusations at me. You are unaware of any of the circumstances involved with this issue, apart from your interpretation of my post, and therefore should keep your lips tightly zipped unless you have something constructive to say. I do indeed know how to contact C&RT but was hoping for a direct line to a department dealing with these types of issues. For what it is worth I have had a license and mooring permit for over 15 years! Live and let live is something I am quite fond of practicing, however when that practice is not reciprocated the rules tend to change. I did not start this post to rant as you say, but merely to get an answer to my question. To use your quote, "End of story"
  38. 17 points
    I had a composting toilet fitted in January 2019 and at the time, promised to let the forum know, after the first year, how I had got on with it. There is a fair bit to say so I will copy Sir Nibble and post it in sections. (No I won't - it won't let me!) Views on toilets are very mixed and several bits of this will not meet with complete agreement. All I can say is that I did not go the composting route entirely by choice, it was a decision partly driven by circumstances. This is an honest description of my experience in the last twelve months. I have absolutely no axe to grind here and have no connection with Nature’s Head nor with any toilet supplier. Background I have a 70’ Orion tug, built in 2003 and which I have owned since 2013. My wife and I are retired, we don’t live aboard but spend about 7 months of each year on the boat. Our time aboard is split into roughly 6 week spells. When I bought the boat it had a macerating pump-out toilet and as there was space, I added a 365 Cube porta-potti for emergencies. This arrangement was OK for five years though I never really trusted the pump-out, for one thing, the ‘full’ indicator never worked properly. Late last year I had a lot of work done on the boat to re-position the engine. As a result I had to get rid of the pump-out toilet, as the holding tank was removed to accommodate the repositioned drive-shaft. I could have replaced it with a cassette but decided to experiment with composting instead. We bought a new Nature’s Head composting toilet at Crick, Debdale installed it for me as part of the engine move and other work which they did on the boat. The company from which I bought the toilet is no longer in business and I am not sure if Nature’s Head have a UK distributor at present. You can certainly view the toilet on the net and may have to if you want to completely follow what I have to say. Installation and use Installation was exactly as per the manufacturers instructions except that the ‘screw down brackets’ which fix the unit to the floor were not used by Debdale and I have not fitted them since. The old porta-potti was not fixed to the floor and I have found no reason to fix the Nature’s Head, in fact it’s simpler to use if not fixed. A small 12v computer fan extracts air from the toilet and pumps it out through a skin fitting. The fan runs 24/7 when we are on the boat and not at all when we are not. I had planned to use one of the old pump-out exits for this but Debdale preferred to cut a new hole and skin fitting instead. The manufacture says some substrate should be used and we selected coconut coir. This comes dehydrated in blocks (20cm x 10cm x 5cm) which I buy in bulk from Amazon. I also purchased a number of 30 litre clear polythene boxes from Wilko. These had lids and I cut a large hole in two of the lids, hot-gluing nylon fly screen over the holes. The boxes were intended to hold first the reconstituted coir and ultimately, the ‘product’ while it finished composting. The boat has an enormous (1700 litre) front deck locker which is of limited use (you can’t easily reach the bottom of it from the deck). It may have been constructed partly for a bow thruster which was never fitted (but who knows, Richard at Orion had some eccentric design ideas). Anyway, my original plan was that I could use part of this locker to stack some of the Wilko boxes - those with fly screen lids - while the ‘compost’ matured. The Nature’s Head has a horizontal stirring bar about half way up the solid waste container. The manufacturer’s guidance is to start by filling to this level with coir. I prepared the coir by placing two of the blocks in a Wilco box and adding 7 litres of very hot water, putting a (solid) lid on and leaving it for 24 hours. The next day the coir had expanded to about 10 litres and become crumbly, it was slightly moist but not wet. It takes about 70% of the prepared coir to fill the toilet to the recommended level, I left the remaining coir in the Wilko box which was stored in the engine room. In use the Nature’s Head requires a little practise, it is very important to keep liquid and solid “deposits” completely separate. So you need to be careful where you are seated on the toilet but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. Urine goes into a removable bottle which can be easily changed, we had 3 spare bottles and needed to change one every day. Obviously they are straightforward to empty in an Elsan or even in a public toilet, as there is no mess involved. The nitty gritty We find that with only two users we need to empty the solids box every three weeks. Not because the container is full (in fact the level does not change much) but the material becomes denser and the stirrer gets difficult to move. Here we depart from the manufacturer’s instructions. We decided to do this because the stuff does not smell unpleasant and does not look like a box of turds. The appearance is rather like garden leaf mould and the smell is similar. So we proceed as follows:- Move the toilet out into the centre of the bathroom Remove the liquid container Have an empty Wilco box ready Trowel out the material using two garden trowels and put it in the Wilco box (*1) Put new choir in the solids container plus a sprinkling over the solids in the Wilco box Put the liquids container back, close and replace the toilet Cover the Wilco box with a fly screen lid and put it in the engine room (*2) The whole operation takes 10 minutes. *1 Emptying after 3 weeks results in about 15 litres of waste so you can just fit 6 weeks worth into a single Wilco box. *2 The original plan was to put the box in the front locker but as there was no smell, we experimented with storing it in the engine room to see if the heat would speed composting. As we go home roughly every six weeks and only produce a single Wilco box of waste in that time, we just take it home with us and add it to our existing garden composting arrangements. This was a major departure from our original plan but I think we could have managed with the locker. The difficulty for anyone without ‘hands on’ experience is believing that the quantity of product is so small and that my claims about smell are true. I know, I was surprised myself. Also, of course the system might be unworkable for live-aboard’s with limited locker space - in that respect we have an advantage. But neither of us would go back to the old toilet arrangements and would recommend composting to anyone with the necessary space and an unfussy attitude to getting familiar with their waste.
  39. 17 points
    Just back from Iver and the problem is sort of sorted for now. There was enough fuel in the tank but the OP had been told the Mikuni take off was T'd from the engine feed but unless there was a T hidden somewhere and the upper fuel take off was blanked off this is not the case. The Mikuni take off is about 4" above the engine take off. Showed OP how to setup and use his multimeter. Engine battery rested voltage about 11.7, starting voltage 2.3 volts - no wonder it would not start. Took OP through the bleeding process for future reference and then changed the engine battery for a new one. Engine started first time and easily. New engine battery at about 12.57 volts before starting (rested I assume). but when started and revved the alternator output was only about 6 amps. I fear the alternator (A127) is faulty and the Sterling advanced regulator was flashing all its LEDs. I advised the OP to check what the flashing LEDs mean and suggested that he get the alternator off and Tested because the ways things are set up I could not load it to try to push the output up. Also showed how to pull the lever out to allow revving out of gear and advised on optimum revs for charging. I could find no evidence of charge splitting but that does not mean it is not present. Not possible to check with meters because of the mains battery charger and low alternator output. The OP said the boat had been a livabor5d in a marine so I suspect the domestic bank is only charged by the mains charger. I feel a 13V float on the Xantrek is rather low and suspect its absorption charge voltage may be lower than optimum nowadays. Found the Mikuni fuse laying on top of the batteries had a bad connection on one blade so cleaned the blade and squashed its female half and refitted. Mikuni now running as it should but did notice gurgling from its header tank so advised to top up and suggest a leak (i think a leak was supposed to have been fixed but that water went some where. Demoed hydrometer used and readings on domestic bank (two cells both about 2/3 charged and clear) and advised on doing a full hydrometer check - left hydrometer with the OP. Advised on power audit, the unsuitability of ammeter and voltmeter for assessing battery state of charge. Advised the engine will need several hours run once a week to keep engine bank fully charged and explained sulphation. Suggested that apart from getting the alternator tested some form of charge splitting is needed for CCing away from the mains and suggested a VSR would do the job as long as the charging system is suitably rewired. This woudl also allow the mains charger to charge the engine battery and solar if/when its fitted. I did not tell the OP for fear of memory overload but The alternator main lead wiring suggests a moving iron ammeter and it looks too thin for my liking.I fear that when CCing this may give problems apart from the fact the Sterling controller should convert the alternator to battery sensing and thus hide any voltdrop. The boat should now remain liveable until after the holidays.
  40. 17 points
    I think someone tried to help a friend by posting something concerning a narrowboat on a narrowboat forum. As Emma isn't the prime mover, she won't know everything there is to know about everything - she just asked a favour, gave the info she had and got a lot of grief back. If it were me, I'd have been a lot ruder to some people by now... give it a rest, if you do spot what you think is the relevant boat, pass the info to the police - any more information about who, what or why is none of our business. And at least she had the bottle to post under her name, not a pseudonym.
  41. 17 points
    I was the engineer on call for this issue, call received at 6.30pm, talked the customer through the process of relocating the rudder into its cup so they could continue navigating sooner if able to solve easily, about 10 mins later they informed me that they were unable to relocate the rudder, I advised them to moor up for the evening and we could go out to them first thing, they preferred a call out straight away as they had forgot to fill up with water and earlier that day one of them had fallen overboard and needed a shower, I made my way to them, on the way I purchases 3 bottles of mineral water, box of cherry bakewells, 2 cheesecakes and a packet of custard creams so they could at least have a cup of tea while the issue was being resolved, it took 10 mins to relocate, and I navigated the autherley narrows for them as the experience had knocked their confidence, they seemed very happy with the outcome, I arrived home at 9.30pm
  42. This post cannot be displayed because it is in a forum which requires at least 10 posts to view.
  43. 17 points
    The issue I have with the re-branding as I'm seeing it is this..................... I am prepared to accept, as a "non marketing" person that where signs are aimed at the general public, whether informational or actively "selling" CRT that the expense may be worthwhile and bring returns in terms of greater public awareness. What I simply can't see any justification for is replacing large numbers of signs that can only be of interest to boaters, such as those for mooring restrictions, sanitary stations, water points, rubbish facilities and the like. Perfectly good signs with the old logo are already being taken down and replaced by identically worded ones in blue with the new logo. Boaters on CRT waters are already well aware of CRT, so in my view nothing is being achieved with boaters other than "that looks like a waste of money". Please tell me how replacing (say) a 2 day mooring restriction sign in (say) Stoke Bruerne with one that just happens to be blue, and have a new logo on is achieving anything with the public at large. I really can't see it, and it seems to me a huge swathe of boaters feel exactly the same. I think this is a major cock up at a time they are looking for donations to help with major failures of the infrastructure. I certainly wouldm't donate money whilst they are (in my view at least) wasting it in large amounts.
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  45. 17 points
    Sorry, but I'm not buying the "They changed the rules" line. If anything, their stated position on what is required has been substantially relaxed over the years from "a continuous journey over a significant pat of the system" to a fairly trivial minimum range today. What they have changed is how keenly they enforce. In the past, they had stricter guidance, but didn't actually enforce. Now they enforce. The point is that it was ALWAYS possible to see this coming. For many years, BW told people what the rules were, and the existing P-takers told people to "ignore it, they won't actually do anything". Nasty people like me have been saying for years that people were being led up the garden path by those who gave them that advice. The rules were always there. The fact that a bloke down the pub said that they would never enforce them and has been proved to be talking crap isn't a reason to exempt people from the rules.
  46. 17 points
    One of the new mods (can't remember which) drew up a list of people they wanted banned, based on their posts on the other forum. At that point I'd had enough and let Dan know quite clearly that I didn't want "Site Staff" underneath my name, even if I simply did the admin stuff. He prompted a discussion amongst the other mods and it went quiet for a bit, I left and a smooth handover was done. A couple of weeks later, the people on "the list" were dropping like flies. Once again Nick's got it spot on, despite not having access to any of the mods internal communications etc. I guess its not that hard to work out. Come on Dan, sort it out - you know exactly what to do, you just need the guts to do it. If you delay much longer (some say its already too late) there won't be a forum worth saving.
  47. 17 points
    Well, it isn't aimed at me. I know I can't CC, so I've always had a home mooring. They don't have to cost you an arm and a leg in a marina, any more than someone in a house doesn't have to live in London and pay for a house there. You can move somewhere else, have a nice life, and pay less. as the Stones so wisely said, you can't always get what you want, but you can get what you need. And you're in a sodding boat, for gods sake - they sort of move - that's one of the points of them. And the logging system is fine - it just does what it says it does. It never claims to record every boat, every day, and doesn't need to. Mistakes can be put right if the people concerned can be bothered to do so rather then just say they know their rights, they don't have to prove anything to anyone, take me to court if you want - and then moan when the courts rule against them for no rational reason, because that's what courts do sometimes. Otherwise, no reason for genuine CCers, uncontacted by CRT, to feel stressed. Why should they? I'm not sure who you think is being divided. I'm all in favour of CCers, and home moorers with online moorings, and people in marinas. I've never, ever met anyone who isn't.
  48. This post cannot be displayed because it is in a forum which requires at least 10 posts to view.
  49. 16 points
    After many weeks of research and taking advice plus countless looking on Apolloduck today I went to Sawley Marina to go for a demonstration cruise with Dave and Trudy the lovely owners of Once upon a time 65x12 Widebeam. I first saw her ( the boat) on a random visit to Sawley a few weeks ago and although I had no appointment to view Dave was happy for me to step aboard and take a look .... both he and the boat impressed me to the point where I could not stop going back on line looking at her. I then went back to Sawley with my daughter to show her the boat and again even though it was a random visit Dave invited us aboard and gave us a tour and answered countless questions I asked of him. I did look at other Widebeam boats one in particular moored at Mirfield and despite it being better equipped and only 57feet so allowing a lot more cruising the owner was without doubt one of the hardest people Iv ever tried doing business with. He seemed reluctant to cooperate with any requests and seemed unsure on many points Iv raised to the point I believed he was definitely hiding something from me.... anyway his attitude and rudeness sealed the fate of that purchase ever happening. So a call to Sawley and a little bit of bartering and today’s cruise was arranged. Now the experiment the moment I stepped aboard was without doubt fantastic Dave and Trudy had the boat built and it was very clear their connection with her was very strong indeed. We drank tea and chatted before Dave showed me the cellar as his wife calls it and he wanted me to feel the engine so as to see it was stone cold be for he turned the key and she sprang into life before settling into a nice burble. A demonstration taking down of the pram cover followed and we were on our way. Turning left out of sawyonto the Sawley Cutting Dave steered whilst giving advice in a clear understandable manner and once we reached the Trent he stood to one side and handed control of his boat to me. Iv been told many times these fat boats swim like a brick but if that’s the case then this was a damn good brick. I soon found myself at one with the boat she steered clean and responsive and at no point was I fazed by her. We did a few locks and went under a few low bridges on to Shardlow where Dave demonstrated a relaxed trouble free turn around for out trip back to Sawley.To say I had a smile on my face was an understatement and a few cups of tea and a lot of questions later I handed over my deposit. So in a few weeks time at 63 I’m about to start a new chapter in my life and like all great stories it begins with Once upon a Time. I would like to thank Dave and Trudy for their honesty and openness today plus I need to thank Peyerboat and Tony D who over many weeks have advised guided and listened to my many wows on issue I was experiencing trying to find the right boat for me. So once she’s mine I’ll be changing her name to Misty & Me ( That’s my Labrador ) together we are entering a new phase in our lives amongst you guys.
  50. 16 points
    Thought I'd share this with you seeing as I was laughing at myself through most of it. So I'm on my second day of single handing a narrowboat.....ever! I'd made fantastic progress up the Bosley flight on the Macc (two and a half hours), successfully negotiated the first hydraulic swingbridge near bridge 49 (Oak Grove?) The manual swingbridge is near bridge 47 and was closed against so...... 1) Tie up with the centre line on the bollards 2) Walk across the bridge and realise I need a BW key 3) Walk back across the bridge and fetch the key 4) Walk across the bridge for the third time and work out how to unlock the bridge which involves lifting an enormous chunk of steelwork that looks like the key to tin of corned beef 5) Swing the bridge open 6) Look at the gap and realise that I am on one side of the canal and the boat is on the other and I can't now get to it 7) Close the bridge 8) walk across the bridge for the 4th time 9) bow haul the boat so that the bow is in the entrance to the bridge 10) walk across the bridge for the 5th time 11) open the bridge for the second time 12) look at the boat and realise that I haven't pulled the boat through far enough so I can't reach the bow line to pull the boat through 13) close the bridge 14) walk across the bridge for the 6th time 15) push the boat into the bridge entry a bit more 16) walk across the bridge for the 7th time 17) walk down the stonework to get the bow line which is now close enough to reach 18) slip on the stonework and fall on my arse with a major thump 19) I've stopped laughing now as I dust myself off and realise how lucky I was not to seriously hurt myself 20) tie the bow line to the bollard on the off side 21) open the bridge for the 3rd time 22) bow haul the boat through as far as I can then walk through till the stern is in the bridge exit and tie it off to the bollard on the off side 23) wonder if I should just leave the blasted bridge open because I've had enough now 24) close the bridge for the 3rd time 25) start the engine, untie the stern line and gently pull away from the bridge triumphant that I've beaten the bloody thing 26) Curse mightily as round the corner comes another boat belting along and if I'd been a bit slower at the flight he'd have helped me with the damned bridge 27) smile ruefully as I realise this is how life is and least I now know how not to do a swingbridge
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