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About Wyn2joy

  • Birthday 10/19/1957

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    England, UK
  • Interests
    Cooking, medicinal herbalism, painting, reading, gardening, straight ahead jazz, classic hard rock, baroque classical music, cats, sewing, writing, amateur astronomy, dancing, English history & literature, having a good laugh. I like to listen to Led Zeppelin and Beethoven with earphones, while lying on the floor of a darkened room, with the sound cranked way up. I've fallen in love with the canals--their history, mystery, and the every day facts of living life aboard as presented by those who live on the cut.

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    University English instructor, writer
  • Boat Name
    NB Valerie
  • Boat Location
    Continuous Cruiser

Contact Methods

  • Skype
    Jaqueline Biggs
  • Website URL

Recent Profile Visitors

3368 profile views
  1. Just to clarify things, I wasn't traveling from Leeds to Chirk. My husband who was ill with terminal cancer, and I were traveling form Berkhamsted to Warwick for a hospital appointment at 2:30 pm. It was for knee replacement surgery for me and we were both on crutches. We managed it but four different trains each way with a 3 minute window from one to the other was stressful especially since we had to be at the hospital in Warwick by a certain time. The boat was in Cowroast marina and Berkhamsted was the quickest train station to being the journey. On my own I was traveling from Rugby to Leighton Buzzard and watching for the reader board to announce the train I needed which would be stopping in Leighton Buzzard but it never announced Leighton Buzzard so I missed it--three times. I finally asked the train engineer and he said the train was going to stop in LB and he had no idea why the reader board listed every other town and village on the way BUT LB.
  2. Right well that hasn't been my personal experience. I am pleased it has worked well for you.
  3. Hi Mike, Yeah I've experienced the same issue using Google at times. Of course it will not allow one to change directions to follow the to towpath which is often the quickest way to somewhere else where a but or train station is located. Robbo, In which other countries have you relied on Public transport? How about America? I have to humbly disagree with you about the difficulties of using trains most especially here in the UK. As I mentioned before I watched my husband sit for hour on the computer looking at train timetables and working diligently to connect things for us to travel a mere 50 miles. We were going from Berkhamsted to Warwick for a hospital appointment and it took four trains on three different lines to do it and one only gave us 3 minutes to get off one train and get on another. One time I was taking a train from Rugby to Leighton Buzzard. I checked in at the desk and purchased my ticket and was told it would should be the next train to come in to the station and the board would announce it. Well the board said nothing about Leighton Buzzard so I didn't get on. Four trains later I was sitting in frustration. someone else waiting for a train who just happened to be a boater and a volunteer lockee approached me and asked if I needed assistance. I explained what had happened and where I needed to go. She knew which train I needed to be on only because she took the train regularly but she and four other people nearby who entered our conversation all said they were Brits born and raised and they had difficulty using the timetables, especially as the trains were not reliable in arriving on time. So often over here information is left out of instruction because it is assumed the traveler knows the routes/towns/village along the way, but for a foreigner that is absolutely no help. I am thankful Brits are on the whole friendly and happy to help out.
  4. Robbo, My husband Les Biggs died 17 months ago today. He did it for us because he was British and he understood the system far better than I do. I am an American. I've lived on board for seven years but there are some things that will never make any sense to me at all about this country and the train timetables are one of them; but then I've had Brits tell me they struggle with them as well so perhaps it isn't just me. Thank you for the link James. I will check it out.
  5. When I said there is no way to take a train from the Midlands to Heathrow, I meant directly without having to take a bus at one end or the other. I find trying to figure out the train timetables a nightmare. Les used to spend hours on the computer doing it. When we flew back to Washington State in 2012 we had to get a 20 minute taxi to Rugby station (we were moored up at Napton), the train (an hour and 15 minutes) to Watford and then a bus (40 minutes) to Heathrow and then another mini train from outside Heathrow to inside. I was exhausted and we hadn't even boarded the plane for the 9 and half hour flight 7000 miles to the States. Doing all of that after getting off the plane at Heathrow was nearly my undoing. Of course we had four large cases because we were bringing stuff back from the States which I couldn't get here, in addition to our clothes and gifts from friends. I should think a direct train from Milton Keynes would be practical. Where do you think a direct train link to Heathrow from the Midlands should start from?
  6. Hi Folks, Sorry about the inactive link in the body of the post. Thank you JP for letting me know and I am pleased it is working in your response post. Also thanks John, for adding info. The canals I listed were the ones my husband Les and I cruised during the three years we fought his cancer and we often had to make trips down to London from wherever we were. We were determined to keep cruising as long as possible and refused to let the disease completely take over all aspects of our life. Rumsky, you might be surprised by the dead spots on the cut. For example Great Haywood and up the Trent Mersey until one reaches Stone. Of course CC'rs can simply up sticks and cruise but it is helpful to know where those spots are and where one can moor up and catch a nearby bus/train link or simply walk into a town and get on a train. Another difficult spot is around Braunston and Napton. One can catch a bus in Napton and travel in to Leamington Spa but depending on where you want to go you may have to take that train to Warwick and transfer to a train heading back to London or up to Birmingham. We were moored up at Cowroast the last 6 months of Les' life. I needed to have my right knee replaced and my surgeon was in Warwick. It took us four trains on three different train company lines to go 50 miles and it was not easy. We missed one train because of delays and that threw our entire schedule off. Two of the trains had non-functional toilets and there was literally poo and urine all over the bathroom floor and no place to go to the loo. Then we had to do it all again in reverse to get back home. Our saving grace was getting into Berkhamstead and taking a taxi back to Cowroast at 8:30 pm. I still find it hard to believe there are no direct trains from anywhere in the Midlands to Heathrow. It is ridiculous to have to travel in to London, drag luggage etc. across town to Paddington station and take the train out to Heathrow. Never mind HS2--how about fixing this issue! Anyway thanks for your comments and added info. Kind regards, Jaqueline
  7. This list is by no means comprehensive but it covers a few canals that Les and I cruised. We often caught trains back south to visit family and to go to London for medical appointments. I hope this info ris helpful to others. https://boatlife.blogspot.com/2018/07/boat-and-trains.html
  8. Did you see my post re: Ed Shiers sussing out the problem? I knew it wasn't getting enough diesel but I didn't understand the mechanics of how it all went together, i thought perhaps the pipe bringing diesel to the Ebi didn't reach far enough down into the main tank with the result that the Ebi runs fine when the diesel has just been topped up, but fowls as soon as the fuel level drops appreciably. It turns out that the pipework bringing the diesel to the Ebi has developed scale over the last 11 years, narrowing the pipe sufficiently that without the pressure of a full diesel tank, the fuel cannot actually make its way to the Ebi. Pipework replaced, and its all good. I ken what you mean about owners trying to undertake the measures you list above. I could never do all that. I am not mechanically inclined in the least. I have had to take notes on every system on this boat so I can review them and follow each step as it is written. I don't ever have low batteries. I have a fantastic solar array on the roof that keeps my batteries charged even in very overcast rainy weather, but it is good to know that this is one reason why an Ebi might fail to work.
  9. Thank you. Les loved the canals our boat, and me. I love Les and this life aboard NBV. I don't think I could go back to land and I am willing to do whatever I have to to stay on our boat and carry on cruising. It's not so daunting now but apparently I was on the "get all the hard shite out of the way in one go" plan. I left Cowroast marina on my own on April 21st. My second day out I came out of Church Lock on the G. U. and picked up a wide beam pram cover around my prop. My third day the engine began to overheat. it had never done so in the previous six years I lived aboard the boat with Les, but the entire cooling system had just been cleaned out and changed. Air was trapped in the system. My fifth day out I woke up and decided to go down the engine hole and see how things were doing. I lifted the new aluminium checker plate engine hole cover to find 25 gallons or water under my engine! And the newly replaced bilge pump hose cracked the first time I turned it on so I had to bail it all out by hand. It was the stern gland. Les was too ill and weak to lift our solid steel engine hole cover, climb down inside and attempt to teach me about the engine before he died so all I knew is that the stern gland is something to keep an eye on but why, what for, and what to do to fix it was anyone's guess! RCR were kindly willing to come out and suss it for me even though it didn't fall under the coverable items, being as I was a newly minted widow and we have been members in good standing for eleven years BUT...they couldn't get it sorted for a week and in the meantime my water tank was running low and I needed to refill. I was frightened of moving the boat but I was moored up at Fenny Stratford just above the stop lock to I reckoned I could tote my five gallon water butty to the water point a few times and that would bring up the water level sufficiently however when I went to fill the butty with water I discovered the water point was broken and had been for two weeks. CaRT knew about it but no one had posted a sign letting boaters know this. Fortunately one of the residents of the lock cottages remembered me from a previous stop there with Les in 2014 when I had asked permission to pick some marigolds from her garden to make a salve with (I am a medicinal herbalist). Her dog had a skin eruption and I gave her a salve to clear it up. She remembered me and allowed me to fill the water butty with her garden hose. What I learned from all of this in one week is that as the philosopher Nietzsche said "Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger." and of course I could hear my darling Les in my head saying, "Jaq, no matter what happens to the boat I promise you won't drift out to sea!" You are most welcome. It is a good thing to share this knowledge in the hopes it saves someone else some time and trouble. Thank you. He is brilliant!! Yes they do tend to be temperamental. Ed Shiers said though that the newer ones liek I have now don't coke up like the older models so that is something to be grateful for I guess.
  10. Thanks to everyone who responded to my query. I have learned a lot of useful info! I called Ed Shiers and he came out and sussed out the problem: while the Ebi itself was newly installed a year ago the old pipework is still in place and the diesel intake pipe has filled with scale over a decade, narrowing it to a point that the unit is not getting sufficient fuel to run; the exception being when the diesel tank has just been filled and there is sufficient pressure to force diesel through the narrowed pipe. Since my husband Les died, the learning curve for me on mechanical things has been huge. I took him and his knowledge and experience with these things for granted. I wish I had thanked him more often for all he did that kept us moving. Les loved this boat (as do I) and he loved all the tinkering he did so I just let him get on with it while I baked bread, washed clothes, and tidied the boat inside. Les used to tell me frequently that I made our boat a lovely home but now I know that what he did down in the engine hole is the crucial stuff that kept us going. I am not mechanical and I despise fiddling with nuts, bolts and bits and getting my hands dirty but I will do whatever it takes to take care of our boat and keep things running properly. I've done my first oil change and other than being a messy job to clean up, it was actually a dawdle once I knew how to do it. I hope to feel as confident some day about the stern gland! My deepest thanks to everyone who posted on this topic. It helps tremendously and I don't feel so alone. Jaq xxx
  11. Our 11 year old Ebispacher was replaced in January 2016. I use it once a month in hot weather as I have been told it is necessary to run it regularly. As the weather cools I use it for an hour in the mornings to warm the boat and give me hot water. It worked fin up until three days ago at which time it began belching white smoke and it shut itself down. Any ideas on what might cause this and does anyone know of an Ebi repair engineer near Great Haywood/Tixall Wide? Jaqueline Biggs NB Valerie
  12. Many thanks to everyone who responded. As a result I am delaying the purchase of a generater in order to do more physical investigation into them. You've all been most helpful. Cheers, Jaqueline
  13. Oh Brill! Thanks for sharing this info. It has to be quieter than the Yamaha 14000 frame genny I have now! I cannot move it and I cannot start it so it has been sold. Hi Paul, Well at 69.5 pounds of weight it might take every fiber of my being to move it but it has a handle and wheels, so that will help. I can hoik a 25 K bag of coal off the roof of the boat but pulling a recoil start is something I simply cannot do. No way to put my back into it if you know what I mean.
  14. Hi Folks, My husband Les Biggs died some months back and I am sorting things out on my own now. I need to purchase a suitcase genny and I need the best bang for the few bucks I've got at my disposal. If I could afford a Honda I would not be on here asking about the Hyundai--just to nip that thread in the bud. I need it for several reasons: 1) Interim back up in case the batteries go south 2) to run power tools such as angle grinders, drills, sanders, etc. and a 900 watt vacuum cleaner several times a month. Yes, I have solar--350 watts which handles pretty much all I throw at it in summer. I can even run the washing machine off the solar panels on a sunny summer day. The boat is fitted out with a 3000 watt pure sine wave combi-inverter. Should the batteries go tits up (yes indeed we learned the hard way and VERY fast how quickly an immersion heater can suck the life out of all the batteries in minutes when inadvertently left on once disconnected from shore power. I won't ever make that mistake again!) I need something that will handle a 2100 watt Candy washing machine. The heating element has been disconnected and the washer is plumbed directly into the boat hot and cold water supply, drawing far less wattage than the 2100 the manual indicates. This genny has an electric start with a recoil back up ( I don't have a lot of upper body strength and recoil starts are hard for me). It is an inverter genny with pure sine wave and 2600 rated watts, running at 58 db. Does anyone on here have any experience with this particular generator? I have a boat to paint and a shit load of other boaty chores to catch up with as Les wasn't able to stay on top of a lot of things in the two years before he died. We did the best we could (and he spent his final six months fitting out the boat to ensure I could continue cruising and ordering back up parts for everything he could think of--all labelled and stored under the dinette with a notebook of all part numbers and where I can purchase them, bless his magnificent soul, while I spent my time caring for him) but I have to get on top of these issues now to maintain the integrity of our boat because as you know rust never sleeps and boats require continual maintenance and upkeep and this boat is my home--and all that I own in this world. Sincerely, Jaqueline (the Yank) Biggs
  15. Thank you Jill. I haev always considered myself one tough piece of Alaskan made gristle but I feel so fragile now, like a leaf on the wind. I am trying to take care of myself. I am so gratedul to be part of the boating community and not stuck in some house somehwere. Hi Richard--I assume that is who you are if you are at HIllmorton/Canal Shop Man. Thank you so much for taking the time to write your post. The Airhead is one of the best things Les and I ever did. If we had stayed with a cassette loo when he fell ill, well we would have had to move to land. I could never have hoiked those bloody big, heavy things and the smell would have brought me to my knees. I am so very pleased we could promote composting loos as a practical boating solution. The boating community is smashing and boaters are reaching out to me from all across the cut. I imagine they will continue to do so when I begin cruisig as single hander. Dharl, Many thanks for your kind words and virtual hugs. Jaq
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