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Robert B.

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  1. Back to the original topic, I assume these are the 2nd style with round ears? Believed to be from a Bantock boat operated by them on behalf of the GWR.
  2. We were after comprehensive cover. I'll have another attempt this weekend, survey in hand...
  3. It is what I was told after a follow up call to requesting a quote online. The fellow at the other end held the line for a minutes whilst he confirmed the age restriction with the insurance company at the other end. I was a little annoyed as they insured her under the previous owner. Do you have an existing policy with them for Flamingo? Regards, Robert
  4. Yes indeed, we are regulars at Prickwillow and often use the adjacent moorings. It's a convenient spot to take visitors on a relaxed afternoon jaunt with a picnic. She is isn't she. But Shush!! Don't go telling her, she's already a little full of herself. What she really wants is to be a real boat and go to sea. Not sure I'm brave enough to cross the Wash in her though. She certainly wouldn't pass any modern stability assessments. Our next outings will probably be around the Cambridgeshire lodes. I'm toying with the idea of Soham and Cottenham lodes, the former should be doable if there isn't too much weed, the latter might need reconnoitring in the kayak to see what the depths are. We won't be able to wind in either so it might mean hauling her out by hand... but it would add some scarcely used waterways to our list.
  5. Well, time passes differently in the fens... I'm afraid I have yet to find the menu option to turn off the stamps. For Easter we set forth from Ely and made our way to the Wissey, overnighting in Hilgay after a five hour cruise. The following morning saw us continue on to Stoke Ferry via the massive marble run of Wissington sugar factory. The better half is convinced that the narrow channel belongs to the set of a Mad Max film, where overhanging gnarled trees grasp and claw after after you whilst you glide pass the towering mass of bridges, gantries, cranes and pipes. Aside from Wissington the Wissey is very much the prettiest of the east anglian rivers in our view, with its narrow tree lined banks giving it the feel of a rural canal. After Stoke ferry we returned to the Ouse and made our way to The Ship at Brandon Creek, the staccato bark of the Lister reverberating off the high banks as we opened it up on the long river drag. Dinner was a chicken and leek pie whilst watching the sun set, a very satisfying end to a seven hour day. After a night moored adjacent the A10 we were eager to get away and cruised slowly down Brandon creek at a little over idle, threading our way through the long lines of moored boats. Eventually we crept past my favourite building in all the fens, a dilapidated clapboard farm house that I've been watching decay for the last few years. Grebe and swan nests were much in evidence before we moored up at Hockwold fen, our favourite overnighting spot. You can sit on the bank in the evening and gaze out across the rushes listening to the lapwings and geese. In the half light one could almost convince oneself that you had travelled back a hundred years. That is until a brace of fighters take off from nearby Lakenheath and scream their way into the north sky. This morning we had a couple dozen heifers on the bank gazing through and licking the windows. We took the hint and cast off, slowly pottering back to Brandon Creek EA moorings where we sit now. We took advantage of the warm day to scrub and varnish her offside. This may have been a mistake, I'll have to go out shortly and peel off all the flies that have landed on the drying woodwork before the second coat... Hope you all have a wonderful Easter, Robert, Storm and SARA
  6. Greetings to the forum members and their boats from myself, narrow boat Sara, and my young crew. Spring has come in fits and starts here in the fens but it was finally time for our first outing of the year. Actually, the crew wanted to go out last weekend but I felt the day would be much better spent scrubbing my covers and ropes where they had gone a little green over winter - one must look ones best. So I refused to start. Young master was a little ungracious and called me a few choice names whilst he hunted around for that voltmeter he remembered buying last year and instead found the two drills he had no recollection of and three separate, half full, tubs of varnish that no one admitted to ever seeing before. Eventually it was deduced that my starter battery had not made it through the harsh winter. There may have been one or two dark mutterings about refitting a starting handle to my shiny green engine... Yesterday therefore I was treated to many gifts - a new starter battery (black - just my colour!), a new leisure battery and various bits and bobs to encourage the magic electrons to nest and stay put. Young master had only intended to change the starter battery (I'll be an hour or so dear) but then the good ideas kept coming and before he realises it six hours have gone by and he's relocated a bunch of cables, fuse boxes and chargers into one of my little cupboards. I didn't mind - it kept him busy and out of mischief, and the look on his face when he realised the mother-in-law had arrived was priceless. Given that they had made such an effort (and young master had a rather sore back from a day spent bent over the battery hole) I decided that the time had come for a little jaunt. When I was young (and queen Vic still on the throne!) I relied on a horse to get me around, but now I have an engine of my own. The Lister Petter caught on the button and with a gentle bop-bop-bop we nosed out of the marina on idle and headed off down the Ouse out of Ely and towards the Old West. We passed a few coots and moorhens sat tight on nests and watched the grebes doing their best to woo. A couple of cormorants sat at the waters edge, wings outstretched, as we came past. "I'm a pterodactyl" they cried after us. Eventually we made it to the old West without seeing another boat on the move, where young master decided he was cold and handed the tiller to my young lady, who deftly swept me round the bends whilst he crashed about inside looking for some winter motorcycle gloves. Whilst inside the vents were opened so the Lister Petter could blow warm air into the cabin. It was decided by all that the day was failing to live up to its morning clear blue sky promises. Eventually we moored up at Streatham. Here I am with my young lady. There are only 137 years between us. Give or take. I've forgotten quite when my birthday is. Young master took this naughty photo of my bottom when I wasn't looking. The cheek of it! It turned out he likes watching things go round and around repetitively. I think there might be something wrong with him. This is Streatham Pumping engine, built 1836. This bit went up and down. Young lady humoured him. Here is a picture he took of me from the top of the engine house. The clouds have started to gather in the distance. The crew enjoyed their visit very much, but after a few hours decided it was time to head back before the weather caught us. At least you can see it coming out here in the fens. On our return we bumped into another old lady, Andromeda. Young master says he needs to train his wife in how to use the viewfinder so that, next time, she gets the bows into shot too. Our attempt to outrun the approaching weather failed and Young Master enjoyed the hail. It passed through though and the sun was weakly shining by the time we returned to Ely. They've put my covers back on now and I'm all snug. Everything went well today and I was a grand old girl, so they promise we can go out for a long Easter adventure. SARA
  7. Thought I'd resurrect this thread rather than start afresh. I had a chat with GJW this afternoon and was categorically told that they no longer insure vessels more than 60 years old. With Sara being up to a century beyond their cut-off they were regrettably unable to make an offer. I'm waiting to hear back from Aston Lark/Euromarine. RB
  8. Currently have a boat moored there, you can PM me if you have any specific questions. I have some thoughts but not for a public forum. Regards, Robert
  9. Clypeus is moored adjacent Sara and I'm afraid I must admit the odd covetous glance... A lovely boat to admire, I wish you well whether you decide to sell her or not.
  10. Two persons here on a 32' vessel. SWMBO* is very good at keeping track of the money I spend, I can PM you detailed breakdowns but we roughly work out at £2300 PA for Marina moorings, EA Anglian licence and insurance. We budget another £2,000 for maintenance and the odd surprise (last years "gift" from the old girl was casting her propeller off. It's just outside the junction of the Welford arm if anybody fancies some scrap brass...). She sips fuel at roughly a litre an hour, although I won't do a breakdown of our cruising as everybodies situation is different. We can PM screenshots of an annotated spreadsheet if that is a suitable format for you to work from? Regards, Robert (*She Who Must Be Obeyed)
  11. I should probably clarify that the Tecsun doesn't pick up DAB either. It does have shortwave though..
  12. I use one of these for serious AM long wave/medium wave listening, but it works very well for FM too. Great battery life (6 months or so of daily use), sensitive receiver and a handy 'easy tuning' feature that scans all available stations in a band at the press of a button then allows you to rotate through them. I'd highly recommend it other any DAB set I've ever tried.
  13. Proud enough that I squeeze in a picture of her when ever I can ?
  14. Having just read through the other thread, I can add that Sara handles well and we've never had any stability problems of note, although she will heel C. 15 degrees or so if you ask her to do a tight turn with any speed on. You do need to pay attention to the tiller as she has a habit of wandering off to bury her nose in the left hand bank if left to her own devices for more than a moment. The lack of swim limits hull speed to around 4 knots and giving it any more welly just results in a fountain of spray (fun!) and ultimately cavitation (not good!), so we settle down into a steady bop-bop-bop and just accept that the day is about the journey.
  15. We own the Oxford Canal ice boat Sara (30', 6' 10") who has a similar history. Built 'tween 1850 - 70 from wrought iron and used as an iceboat and occasional maintenance craft on the southern section of the canal. Thomas Millner, engineer of the GJCC (which shared the section through Braunston) made a study of these craft when considering their own ice breaker needs and wrote that "In the new light ice boats that I hope to possess before long I am going to have the handrail on the sides or in the centre at the bottom as now suggested, and I want to find out the best method of the two. The Oxford Canal use the side method and break ice much cheaper than we do ". The short iceboats were originally based out of Banbury and Thrupp, with larger craft kept at Heyford and Napton. She appears to have had an easy life as, other than replacement and renewal of rivets along the water line (subject to harsh ice abrasion during each winter season), there have been no repairs of any note to the hull. She was out of work and laid up at Braunston by 1961 when she was purchased for sum of £100 and towed to Chiswick on the Thames for an additional £5 (I've often wondered if any photos might exist of her last voyage in her original form - a narrowboat towing an iceboat must have been an unusual sight by this point?). Her cabin conversion started later that year, was destroyed by a fire in '65 and restarted to be completed by '68.
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