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Everything posted by Dave_P

  1. If you're starting from alvechurch then it's 110 locks there and back to stratford. I would say that that's a fair bit for a novice boater but if you're up for that why not consider doing the whole avon ring which is 129 locks? it's a bit further but you tend (in my experience) to make quicker time on the rivers anyway. i would agree with some previous comments about mooring issues. in particular when heading north from alvechurch, watch out for unruly kids just north of the wast hills tunnel (a notorious problem spot) and i wouldn't moor up anywhere along the stratford canal until you at least get as far as the shirley lift-bridge, or better still, earlswood boat club. after that, the journey down to stratford is lovely all the way. plenty of locks, if you like that, nice pubs at lowsonford, wootten wawen and wilmcote, a couple of good sized aqueducts and safe moorings everywhere. i know you have to get a licence for the avon but i really can't see the point of getting to stratford and not going onto the river - it's brilliant fun! adam's option would take you to the black country museum but you'll lose a lot of rural cruising. in particular going down farmer's bridge and out through east birmingham also presents mooring issues until you get to catherine de barnes. Also i've heard recent reports of shallow water and slow going in this area, along with parts of the worcester and birmingham around bournville and selly oak, although I guess holiday boats have pretty shallow drafts. if i were you, i'd head to stratford and see how you do for time. if you get to stratford in 3 days or less, go for the whole ring. if by 3.5 days you still haven't got to stratford - turn round and head back or you'll end up over-running.
  2. Hello good people of the Canalworld forums. I am a liveaboard boater, MSc student and Birmingham University and occasional poster to these forums. I am studying liveaboard boaters for my MSc Environmental Health dissertation. My study includes health, safety, education, employment prospects, lifestyle choices and boaters' own perceptions of life afloat. I am looking for as many people as possible to take part in a survey I am doing for my dissertation. The only rule is that you must live on a boat. The survey is completely confidential - even I won't know who you are, so you can be as honest as you like with your answers. The online link to the survey is: My link http://www.smart-survey.co.uk/v.asp?i=53788ocqnl If you would prefer to do the survey face-to-face then I'm moored in Birmingham usually but will be going down to Stratford-on-avon for a week or two towards the end of june so I'd be more than happy to meet with people. Please, please, please please, try to find time to do the survey, it should only take about 10 minutes and it might even be fun - you never know! Also feel free to share the link with any other liveaboard boaters you know. If I come away with any significant findings, I will be sharing them with BW, CaRT, RBOA etc so hopefully some benefit will come of it. Kind Regards to all, Dave. Nb Beau, Gas Street Basin, Birmingham.
  3. To properly charge my phone I need to leave it charging for a good few hours. If I have to leave my inverter running that long, it will use quite a lot of power. incidentally I also have a 12v charger which i also use to save power - but it will still use some (not 100% of sod all). The reality is, if you don't have mains electric and you're not moving around much EVERY single little thing you can do to be more efficient with your power consumption counts. And you get to feel good about reducing your carbon footprint at the same time.
  4. I regularly take my laptop into uni to charge it up there. and i take my mobile charger just about everywhere with me and you'd be amazed at the places you can charge it. Sitting in the pub, having a pint - charge up the phone!
  5. On narrow locks, I never bother with ropes. In my 55' boat, going up I always leave the boat in tick-over as people have already mentioned. This keeps the boat from moving around too much (open the paddles slowly though). Then the gate starts to move, I know the lock is full so I open the gate, jump back on the boat, drive out, then hover just past the gate, jump off and close the gate behind me. If in doubt here, take the stern line with you when you close the gate. Easy! Going down I leave the boat right at the front of the lock to be absolutely sure that I'm well away from the cill (the flow of water down will keep your boat at the front of the lock when it's emptying). Once empty, I open the gates, hop back on and drive out. Again, I hover in the jaws of the lock while i pop back up to close the gates. This has always worked fine for me until a couple of weeks back going down hurlesdon bottom lock. It was 6.30am and I hadn't noticed that there is only one ladder, right in the corner of the lock. And of course my boat was in the empty lock with the stern about 15' away from the ladder! If it wasn't so early, I would have had the bright idea of refilling the lock and looping a rope around the bollard before re-emptying. However, in my head I'm still 21 so I opted for lowering myself over the side of the lock John McClane style. It worked fine if you don't count the pulled muscles and bruised ribs!!! Still managed another 27 locks that day, finishing the other side of the tyrley flight. And they say boating is all peace and relaxation! For any newbie wondering about single-handing - don't worry about locks too much, it's mostly common sense (I just wish I had some!). The real annoyance is the lift bridges. The problem is simple - the winding gear is on the wrong side. It always amazes me how many boaters simply hadn't considered the problem this causes for single-handers. Many a time I've been scrambling through the bushes on the wrong side of the canal, clutching the bow-line while people on the tow-path are asking "why don't you moor up on this side?" "Because then I couldn't get back on the boat once the bridge is up!!!"
  6. You could try this company. I haven't bought from them so I can't comment on quality, but you can't argue with the price! http://www.kogan.co.uk/shop/category/12-volt-tv/
  7. I'm a student at Birmingham University. I lived on a boat before I became a student. I moor at Gas Street Basin in Brum so very handy for getting to uni.
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