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KiwiBill

Team “Anado Solo” Virtual BCN Challenge 2020 Cruise Log

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Odana has returned virtually to Hockley Port! KiwiBill (aka Nicki's Dad) will do a solo BCN Challenge while crouched in front of his computer in New Zealand. He may be a little behind the pack because he has to sift through all the info on the Forum.

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Well done Bill, I suspect it was quite a challenge to find all the information you needed in the Virtual challenge thread while the rest of us were sleeping! 😴

 

I wonder if you will see today's updates before you turn in for the night?

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I am well into the Lapal Tunnel now and the brickwork is sagging alarmingly. I don't think there is much life left in it. But the main problem is that the effects of my virtual flight from NZ are starting to hit me and I am virtually shattered. I am going to go on autopilot for an hour or two and set the alarm for Selley Oak Junction. I knew that the tunnel was having problems which is why I chose this route. I do not even know if the Worcester & Birmingham back to Gas Street is part of BCN. I am not here to score points and, doing it solo, I don't have time to research my route fully. Let alone do a Daily Quiz. Has one been issued on Monday? 

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14 hours ago, KiwiBill said:

Odana has returned virtually to Hockley Port! KiwiBill (aka Nicki's Dad) will do a solo BCN Challenge while crouched in front of his computer in New Zealand. He may be a little behind the pack because he has to sift through all the info on the Forum.

One advantage of a solo challenge is that you don't have to argue over the right route, beverage or anything else. Bliss!

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Safely settled in at Gas Street after my painless Bromford, Hawne, Lapal excursion. John will join me at his pub. I forget the name but know where it is. Tomorrow I am heading for Longford Bridge via Ryders.

Very strange day: I did not see a single other boat. But at least it was not raining like it did in 2014.

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I am finding this solitary ethereal existence a bit trying. I wandered up from Gas St Basin to meet with John in the Prince of Wales but everything was deserted. So I had a lonely solitary beer or two and a good bangers and mash. As soon as I saw the facade of the pub it started to come back. Here be Bangers and Mash! Had I been here in 2014 before starting the Challenge at Sandy Turn with Nicki and John in Black Beauty. It all seems so distant and tenuous. Am I in limbo? Is Hell worse than this? Was John's shade sitting with me in the Prince of Wales? I am fortunate to have had John, in a previous existence, as a guide to all things Brummy. He is also my Faggotmeister. Sadly he has performed well below par in this role. His best effort was in Chester and it was a pack of deepfrozen mini-faggots from the local Freezer Warehouse. Very sad.

PrinceOfW.jpg

S&Mash.jpg

Edited by KiwiBill
Definitely losing it. Black Beauty in 2014 not Odana.
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Strewth! This really is a Challenge. A guy lies down for a bit of a kip in the middle of the day and the rules change. You want to play dirty. She'll be right. That's the way we all are in New Zealand. It's the reading that is hard for us.

Edited by KiwiBill
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I am looking at my rant of 10h ago and can't for the life of me remember what I was on about. I am embarking on a revised route because of the Ryders closure. That was where I had planned to be today. Maybe next time I will bring a navigator so more navigation can be done on the run. I had planned a quick cup of tea with Nicki & John in Hockley Port but I will be zooming past.

 

I was upset that the bonus 2.5 min for locks yesterday did not affect me because I did not do a single lock all day. Maybe I can play my bonus as a wild card later on.

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I am moored up in the Anson Branch at the eastern end of Bentley Canal. The Ryders closure has forced me to re-jig my plan and I am begging, like many others I am sure, for help on Day Three from the following sources:

  • The ghosts of boaties and volunteers past to speed me through the locks.  
  • The White Witch to give me a bit more time. What will happen if I break the rules? Will she turn my narrowboat into a Floating Gin Palace? I live in terror.
  • Design inspiration tonight to tweak my boat. I hope to squeeze a little more out of it without any effect on the BCN.

Bentley Canal tomorrow.

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Day 3 Anson Branch. I am out of here. Not a place to be without navigator and minder. Things can only get better on the Bentley. I have been putting people wrong but I am allowed to because I am 77 and have escaped my minder. I was not on Odana or Black Beauty for Challenge 2014: I was on Poppy with Nicki, John and Allan KeepingUp.

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Rushall 2014. Ryders was the same. Glad I was forced to miss it yesterday

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Classic

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2014 in Gas St before start

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Three Quarters of Team Poppy 2014

Edited by KiwiBill

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Day 3: Bentley to Wednesbury Junction. Moored at Birchills Jn. Starting to catch up with other logs.

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Day 4: Birchills, Watling St, Anglesey, Catshill. A relaxed easy six hours. Escaped by the skin of my teeth from the Cannock Extension debacle. I could have been north of of Watling St. That would probably have meant eternity trapped in the virtual northern reaches of BCN. After four days of the Challenge I am finally finding the time to read the rules, learn from others and become accustomed to the virtual technology.

One of the significant differences, for me, between a virtual and a real challenge is the reduced calorie intake necessary. The two pics below show Morning Tea and Lunch on a previous challenge with Nicki and John. On this trip all I have to do is take a quick glance and I am satiated. And I am not sitting steaming in full wet-weather gear. But mentally it has been extremely demanding. I am missing my nurse who knows, to the drop, my essential dosage of medicinal alcohol.

I have become accustomed to having a minder and nurse around to find my marbles when I lose them. I remember the days when you could buy them from a bin in Woolworths. Replacement marbles are hard to come by now. Perhaps I could use all this modern gear to locate a Woolworths near 1950s Bradley Workshops. I could then pop out and get a handful of new ones. Even better, I am sure that somewhere in the region, at some time, there has been a major marble manufactory. And I could maybe go back and get a few thousand gross for a pittance.

I am starting to enjoy this more, now that I am spending more of my valuable time reading teams' logs. Slocum took two years on his challenge. I would love to have on board a minder, nurse, helmsman, navigator, cook, librarian, quizmaster, historian, engineer and tech wizard. I left a Covid-19 Bubble of three in New Zealand for this Virtual Bubble of one. Crouched in my small virtual command module, I would like to be able to participate more in in the detail of all the required activities. 

I have become completely entranced by the White Witch of Chesterfield. I am completely under her spell. Do not rescue me!

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Morning Tea. Now there's a butty!

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And there's a plate of bacon & eggs! A large portion of chips is hidden by a giant serving of bacon. The happy chappy is Captain/Mate/Cook John. 

Edited by KiwiBill
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I have found a modern-day supplier of marbles, old and new, but in Devon. I want an old-time Midlands factory preferably with canal access. I will pay in real gold sovereigns. Even those will be suspect if the seller looks at the modern dates. I might have to melt them down. I really do need marbles.

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Will these do? We found them under the sofa and they have definitely been here since your last visit. 

As an experienced structural engineer you may find a use for the sticks. To hold the marbles in place, maybe?

I can send the Second Captain (always an awkward jobshare, captaining) for a quick jog out to deliver em ...

 

IMG_20200507_213324402.jpg

Edited by Odana
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Thanks, but too small. I am XXL. Marbles are tricky to replace. 'Steelies' from Sheffield maybe but they corrode. Please help me Odana. You know Sheffield. When were ball bearings last made there?

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Day5: Catshills, Rushall Jn, Tame Valley Jn, Moorcroft Jn was the plan and I can still do it. It was to have been an easy six-hour day. The 10 min locking will push this up but I will still be within the seven hours. I will switch to Autopilot for the long stretches and study the history of Tipton and Old Line for Saturday's route to Bradley Workshops.

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Day 5: Moored safely and legally at Moorfield Jn. I have read up on old Tipton, Old Line and Wednesbury Oak Loop and am prepared as I ever will be for tomorrow's run to the finish. I even had time for a siesta today. Now, on the instructions of my very huggable nurse who is in Hockley Port, it is brandy time. 

DSC03345nicki.JPG2014 Challenge. The most huggable nurse tending her charges after a damp dark day. This was pre-dinner drinks at 10pm

Edited by KiwiBill

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9 minutes ago, KiwiBill said:

Day 5: Moored safely and legally at Moorfield Jn. I have read up on old Tipton, Old Line and Wednesbury Oak Loop and am prepared as I ever will be for tomorrow's run to the finish. I even had time for a siesta today. Now, on the instructions of my very huggable nurse who is in Hockley Port, it is brandy time. 

DSC03345nicki.JPG2014 Challenge. The most huggable nurse tending her charges after a damp dark day. This was pre-dinner drinks at 10pm

That is not brandy. That is Harvey Sloe Rum. Guaranteed to get anyone through a long cold night at the tiller.

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Ah-hah! Good to hear from you. If I randomly use a spraycan of paint and connect with a virtual boat will the paint stick and make it visible? If you arrive at the finish with random crude tagging it might be me. But I don't want to spoil that nice paint job on Pugnipeek. 

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All credit to the BCNS suppliers of the virtual drive. For five days mine has worked a treat. Did you know that it works a very well on Baltika and Memories? I have not, like Pugnipeek, created a visible virtual exterior for my vessel. Only the command module is a tangible link to reality in New Zealand and I show it in its entirety below. I have tidied up the week's Fuel Packs a bit and put the 2014 Memory Pack in the prime position it deserves. I developed a taste for Baltika during ten years in Tashkent. A miracle of modern marketing is how a beer brewed in St Petersburg can be shipped to New Zealand and undercut all other beers, local or imported. Please feel free to sell my findings to Baltika for the benefit of the BCNS. 

The standard 1 Litre Baltika 7 fits comfortably into the drive's fuel socket. The other miscellaneous Baltika packs and red wines were used manually when moored.

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ONADO SOLO Command Module. 2020 Challenge

Edited by KiwiBill
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