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Jim Batty

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Jim Batty last won the day on October 30 2017

Jim Batty had the most liked content!

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  • Gender
  • Location
    The Deep South
  • Interests
    Photographing the inland waterways.

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    Author/Photographer/Graphic Designer
  • Boat Name
    Little Wing
  • Boat Location
    Continually cruising

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  1. Hi Ali and welcome to the forum. Clearly you are looking for a change from your present situation - that has a certain comfortable stability, but is beginning to feel like a grind and a bit of a trap. Only you can know what you feel 'safe' and 'secure' with. So good luck with your research! I think it's important to know that there are many different ways of living on a boat. Some hang out in the countryside; others in the middle of cities. Some move every couple of days, or every two weeks. Some go long distances; others short hops. Others base themselves on a long-term canalside mooring or prefer the community of a marina. (Maybe they work part-time in the chandlery or boat yard). Some are market traders who drift on their own, while others follow an annual rota of organised markets. Some take their boats over to France; others up to Ripon. Some live on very little - enjoying a simple life where they create their own entertainment, develop a personal project, immerse themselves in nature, scavenge for firewood, harvest 'wild food'. Others live a life of luxury with all conveniences on-board and sparky social lives. A few boaters have beautifully compact 30' narrowboats with everything they need to hand, while others insist on the spaciousness of a 12' x 62' widebeam. Some run cars or vans in parallel with their cruising (and tie up near safe places to park them); others depend entirely on their boat and where it can take them. People also convert old GRP cruisers, barges, trawlers ... and live on rivers, estuaries, lakes as well as canals. Basically, there is lots of scope for creating your own way of living aflloat. And I think there is a lot of toleration amongst most boaters and the boating community for different ways of 'doing it'. Just be friendly, helpful and curious - which seems to come naturally to you. Definitely walk the canals and talk to boaters. If you say you're seriously thinking of living aboard I'm sure most people will want to share some experiences and offer advice. Perhaps you could start writing a blog ... about thinking about changing your life by moving onto a boat ... and including all the stuff you learn along the way. It sounds like you are coming at this from quite a unique point of view and circumstances, so it would almost automatically be interesting to others.
  2. Since I posted the above we recently stayed at Goring. There is something even stranger going on: When there, if you say to the lock keeper, 'I understand it's free for the first night, then £5 for the second night and £5 for the third night', that's what you'll pay. £10 for three nights. With at least one lock keeper, if you go to pay and say, 'How much is it?' you will pay nothing for the first night, £7.50 for the second night and £7.50 for the third night. £15 for three nights. Seriously.
  3. I worked in King's Cross for the first couple of years after we moved aboard. We cruised between the Tring summit pound and Cowley Peachy during the winter (occasionally getting trapped behind winter engineering works for a month or two) ... and headed out onto the Thames, with some venturing onto the K&A, from March to October. I commuted by train from all these places - either through Euston or Paddington. It wasn't particularly difficult, but you have to be up for the journeys. Find something interesting to do on the train. I was lucky in having a fairly flexible employer so could travel off-peak and work 11am - 7pm, which made it affordable. We tend to tie up in the middle of nowhere, so it would be about an hour to hour and a half walking/train/tube to and from north of London ... and sometimes three hours from far-flung places like Great Bedwyn (Wilts.). Moving onto a boat was the key to a dream for us: to live in the countryside ... in a moveable home ... on a human scale. As a result, I can't imagine CCing this way in and around central London as it is so crowded. Last summer, on a nice day, I walked along the towpath from Paddington Basin to Mile End ... and in that entire length I saw only two spaces free and large enough to tie up a narrowboat - both near Victoria Park. And one spot was taken by a cruising boat while I dawdled. Of course, many boats in the heart of London are tied up two, even three, abreast. I think it really depends on: i) how much you want to live on a boat, and ii) how you want to live on that boat when you've got it.
  4. Curious. Last weekend we pulled in to a mooring spot just below Iffley Lock and the new signage (changed from last autumn) stated '24 hour mooring only'. I asked the lock keeper there exactly the same thing a you did, and he said it's free the first night, a fiver for the second and third night. As far as he knows it's the same at other locks. Strange. A fellow we met last week insisted he was charged £7.50 for nights two and three at Goring Lock the previous week. Also. We always found payment for moorings through TVM dead easy over the phone, and received an email receipt. When I mentioned this to a Thames lock keeper, he said that may be so, but what he didn't like was getting stuck in the middle when a boater says they paid via TVM ... and TVM confirms they hadn't. He reckoned about 80% of people were honest and paid for the second and third nights ... and 20% didn't.
  5. I don't know about hobby historic boaters ... but the rudest boater I've ever shared a lock with was an 'old hand' who'd been on the cut over 40 years and had built his own boat from the base plate upwards. He complained about the 'waviness' of our cabin roof (built by Mel Davis) and commented, 'The next time I see Mel I'll bring it up'. He then insisted we both pull out of the lock together (as I suppose real traditional boaters did/do alongside their butties) ... and these being beat up old K&A gates ... they wouldn't open all the way ... so we both got stuck between them. After we extracted ourselves from the lock it quickly became time to 'stop for an early lunch' and let him continue on his own. We also accompanied a real, loaded, working boat through half a dozen locks on the GUC traveling north from Apsley ... whose skipper insisted we leave every set of top gates open as we proceeded. This finally irked us enough to resort to stopping for 'an early dinner' ... and let him continue on his own. And he was off with a snort!
  6. How deep are those rust patches? (I'm assuming they're just under the waterline.) 1mm deep? 2mm deep? You probably wouldn't want pitting to be 3mm deep -- more than half the thickness of your hull sides. Have a close look at that 2017 survey and its summary. It should state the surveyor's steel thickness readings at various points around the hull. Many narrowboats of that age and steel spec have been over-plated, and the survey should comment on any over-plating that has been made and/or make any recommendations regarding over-plating. It's important to remember that a steel boat can rust from the inside as well as the outside. Try to look into the bilges/bottom plate in as many places as possible, via floor hatches (often towards the stern ... perhaps under a carpet), under built-in seating, in the backs of closets, under the bow, etc. Wear old clothes and take a good torch. What you don't want to find under there are signs of any extensive rusting. Definitely not large patches of flaking rust. Also, you don't want to find active corrosion around water tanks and loo tanks -- that could have been eating away at the hull sides where leaking water collects. 2mm corrosion on the inside, coinciding with 2.5mm pitting on the outside doesn't leave much metal between you and the canal bottom. Sorry, I don't mean to spook you. Just keep your eyes open buying a 30 year old boat. It looks a nice interior. Best of luck.
  7. Right, some good ideas here. I didn't know magnetic compression scale inhibitors even existed. I took the head off the shower again, opened it up and gave all the rubber gasket 'nipples' a clean with pointy wooden cocktail sticks. My tool of choice for similar micro-cleaning jobs. When I went to replace the gasket, it had actually shrunk a bit and would no longer fit flat against the inside of the head. So I think the rubber has decayed a bit (the head's about 7 years old) and probably the nipples as well. So I bought a new shower head today -- with 6 shower settings, wow what luxury -- and attached it to the hose. Testing it over the sink it does seem to spray much more forcefully, especially the narrow pressure setting. So the big test will be tomorrow when I actually shower with it! I'll investigate the hose and possible filters as well.
  8. Ummm, yes. Oh, look, it's live again! (I reckon other people beyond the OP might be interested in this material.) Why not?
  9. There are loads of women single handers out here -- on narrowboats, wide beams, cruisers ... Given your background and European experience, you might also be interested in https://www.facebook.com/groups/womenonbarges/ This is their blurb:
  10. Oh yes, I did that. The shower head (with it's small rubberised holes) is spotless.
  11. When. we first moved aboard I was amazed at the 'power shower' we had in the loo. Now, ten years on, the shower is pretty weak -- sort of a vibrant dribble. Given that we get loads of limescale buildup in the kettle and bottom of the porcelain toilet bowl, I'm assuming a similar thing is going on in the pipes that feed the shower. All piping on the boat (that I can see) is what I think of as 'ordinary' 15mm outside diameter copper tubing. Should I be doing something with vinegar?
  12. Hi Reg The single Reading Tesco sign I'm referring to is the one you were referring to below. A DE sign. Interesting that you can pay to stay here via Parkeon for £9.50. And that there is an inexpensive weekly fee? How many other alternatives are there? Left hand not knowing what right hand is doing ... and a*se from elbow come to mind here.
  13. The owner just let me know that he has found his boat! About 100m below where it was tied up at Tyle Mill, a weir stream on the offside heads off into willows and scrub around an estate on an island. It seems the boat either came loose (or was set loose?) and in the still surprisingly strong current of the Kennet drifted into that backwater and disappeared ... until the estate owners discovered it and reported it. The owner was informed just over an hour ago. A few days ago someone either here or elsewhere commented that it may have done something like this. I wandered down to where the river splits off and looked down there with binoculars. But I could only see in about 70m through hanging trees. It 's amazing where and how far an empty boat can travel on the current. I would have expected it to 'spin off' on the outside of the current and end up amongst the long-term live aboard moorings at Tyle Mill. Google Maps: the boat was originally tied up lower left and drifted up the weir stream to the upper right. https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4160242,-1.1063301,602m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en Glad he's been reunited!
  14. I think there is further confusion here. The same company has different (but equally threatening) signs 'around the corner', through Blake's Lock, up at the public moorings below the old Reading Gaol. These signs ask for a £9.50 payment by telephone to stay one night, and there are video cameras on poles looking at those moorings, although whether DE have access to these cameras is anyone's guess. There are also older (friendlier) signs that just specify these to be public moorings. The single sign on the Tesco moorings (back on the Thames, beside the upper end of the towpath and opposite water too shallow for any boat to tie up) demands payment of £150 to stop there. I could easily have the wrong end of the stick, as the signs are very complicated. It all seems a little nonsensical really. When all's said and done I'd still like to be able to pull in at the Tesco Moorings for a couple of hours to shop without attracting aggressive boffins in uniforms or threatening letters.
  15. Or, more likely, do not want to get involved in the nasty business of enforcing mooring limits against pee-takers. The problem is that putting up signs is easy. Enforcing them, especially such draconian and legalistically worded ones as at Reading Tesco, is much more difficult. All it does is scare away the 99.5% of good, rule-abiding boaters, and invites the remaining 0.5% of boaters who couldn't give a toss about anyone else or any regulations to colonise the place. It's a loose-loose situation for almost all boaters (who no longer feel comfortable tying up there) and the local area (who lose the custom of good boaters). I agree with your last line. Its not good business sense to engage in court actions that you're doomed to lose.
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