Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Frost, a good sign for sunshine


The weather has all of a sudden turned a lot colder and we were grateful for the wood we had on board and the coal bags we obtained off the coal boat.. Here you can see the line of frost melting towards us as the solar panels were waiting for sunshine..
 The sun we have been having has charged the batteries by lunchtime as you can see from this graph..

CRT have been out putting up signs about the virus, stopping people from walking past or close to boats on the towpath.
Although the towpaths are far less busy, people still have been using them for exercise and getting away from it all.. The trouble is in some places the towpath is narrow and you can't keep that two metre gap, and for that reason they don't want people to use them.. Lets be honest, the whole reason for this lockdown is to stay indoors and isolate yourselves..

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tricky Times Ahead

So we are in lockdown now and most of you are wondering how do you cope staying at home, not being able to go out... welcome to our world, we lockdown when we are in the middle of nowhere and our towpath garden is our surroundings. We can honestly say we never get bored on the boat, there is always something to do. Yes the brasses help, polishing helps, and general maintenance also helps, but we are even good at sitting doing nothing!.. We know our views are pretty amazing sometimes, but during the winter months it can get gutty, but we never get bored.. This is the time folks to do those jobs you never have time to do, and just enjoy some quality time.
We have to say it has been very quiet on the towpaths and on the canals so people are abiding by the rules which as Boris says is helping our NHS.. Not only is it helping our health service it is helping the suppliers to the NHS. Masks, robes, respirators, goggles, gloves, and medication etc.. All these people are keeping us alive at this moment in time.. Come on Great Britain we can all do this..


Some of you have been asking how we have got on with the lithium batteries and solar and you all know this year we were on shoreline for the best part of the winter.. The batteries seemed to cope with this and they haven't been affected by being on float for most of the time..
Now we are back on the cut we realise again just how good they are, and maybe being static for three months off shoreline will be another test for them.. For the first four days we have had good weather and the solar charges the batteries during the day to give us 100% by the evening. We normally get about 20 - 25 Amps going in on a good day and 10 Amps on a cloudy day.. this is a good day..

In this graph you can see it was also a good day, and the two red spikes are Al using the washing machine, and you can see how easy the batteries recovered..
So we haven't had to run our engine yet and we have been using the immersion heater in the calorifier, and also sometimes running the central heating for an hour in the morning. We are now full of diesel so lets see how far that goes. We used to have to fill up once a month, even if we were static somewhere, or cruising.. All this has made things so stress free in these difficult times ahead, lets hope we all get through it..

Friday, March 27, 2020

Full of Drama

So here we are, and we have been told by C&RT that we should stay put. That means the 14 days has been suspended until further notice. As we said in the last post we are not in a bad place and know most of the people around us so it does make things a little easier.. Al even had enough solar power to wash the bed sheets, but the day always has its drama's.
We were sitting in the cratch watching the world go by when a woman next to where we are moored came and opened her shop.. Del asked her if she was opening up as she started to put things out on the towpath. "Oh no" she said a bit sheepish and put one of her tables away.
The other side she had some books and put a sign out saying "free books, please help yourself".
Del then said to her "Don't you think that's a bad idea, as they could carry the virus and also create a crowd around our boat".. She then put a sheet over them and got in her car and drove off.. Oh great, we thought.. The towpath wasn't very busy luckily, but someone else obviously wasn't happy either, as we got a tip off that the police were on their way.. The next thing that happened was that a guy turned up, and moved the books to a skip nearby, got in his car and drove off..
The police arrived and asked Del where the shop was and we showed him the pictures we had taken of the books..
I think the shop owner will get a good telling off for first opening the shop and secondly creating a public hazard in these difficult times..
To make matters worse we saw an ambulance turn up at the marina just after that which is a worry..
Keep safe out there!

Everything we need to stay healthy

So we stayed here for Mothers Day and walked up to leave a present on Del's Mum's door step.
We then met Pat & Keith coming back from a walk to get some fresh air, so we all kept our distance!


We then walked up to the shop and Del waited outside and Al got a few tins of soup and some soap and walked back.. Where we are we have everything, Elsan, Toilet (with loo paper) and water.. Our luck got better when Mark on Callisto turned up supplying us with coal, gas and diesel..
  We even had a Tesco's delivery that we had booked a couple of weeks ago, they are like rocking horse poo now..
We are on our own here with just Mark next door to keep us company, Oh and the swans..

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Phew that was hard work!

So we were blacked and it was Mark's turn and Del's turn to help.. It was almost the same procedure as Derwent6 so we were in a bit of a routine to get things done.. Mark also sorted out his stern gland and straightened his rudder. He also had new anodes, painted the gunwales and roof rails..
We got it all done in the two and a half days he wanted as he had plans to get back to Crick..
We were up to see him leaving the shed.

We then locked him through Welford lock so he could get on his way..
We have to say we were knackered after painting two boats, but looking back it was well worth it and cheaper to do this..
So we heard the announcement last night of the pubs, restaurants, and bars closing from midnight on the Friday, and we all felt it was coming.. This situation is a lot worse than we all think and action needs to happen to get the message across.. Welcome to our world where we are isolated most of the time! There is no need to get bored, as something can always get done. With the use of the internet parcels will still get delivered, contacts be made, and food delivered to your door step, just a bit of planning is needed.. We all need to help each other in this continued difficult time. We can't over shop on a boat as we haven't got the space, so we will just be doing our normal shop and hope we can walk to a small store if we need to and get the next three days meals.. if not we go back to soup or a tin of beans, just like they did on I'm a Celeb..

We managed to get a food delivery slot for Monday and will be assessing the situation then to see where we go from here. I know the middle of nowhere sounds a good plan, but we have us and others to think about..

Saturday, March 21, 2020

In for Blacking

So we were here for blacking, but first of all we met up with friends John and Louise on n.b. Plodding along..
In the morning it was into the shed when Les told us to go in.. We backed Derwent6 in and was soon set up with the boards, as the chamber emptied..
  The first day was scrapping and jet washing all the muck off and then blower on to dry..
It was a good warm day so Derwent6 was dry by 4.00pm and we didn't mess about and brushed on the first coat so it could dry overnight.
In the morning Del was up at the crack of dawn and started to paint the gunwales..
He finished this at midday and this gave us time to then put on the second coat of blacking.. Things all looked good on the hull so we were reassured we would be good for the next few years.
While the blacking was drying Del then had to put a new top rubber bearing on the tiller as we had a lot of play and water coming up when cruising.. This meant the tiller swan neck had to come off, and a puller and a bit of brut force was used. It feels like a new boat again now its done.
On the last day of our time in here Del was again up early and another coat of blacking was put on the water line, but this time it was rollered on. Also the weed hatch was removed and painted.  It was then onto the tunnel bands, and they were painted after four hours when the blacking had just started to harden.
This time wasn't wasted though, Del then polished the prop, Yes polished it. He wet and dried it and brought it back to new, and it didn't look in bad shape..

The following day it was all rise... and we made our way out of the shed for the next boat to enter which just happened to be Mark on n.b. Mochyn Du.
Yes we had helped each other through this process and we were now doing it all again on his boat.. All this is cheaper than the gym and we have been keeping safe from the virus..

Al with her cousins

Del got up early again and finished some prepping on the gunwales and then we pulled Derwent6 back to the Welford Arm and made our way towards Welford.
Even though we had had a lot of water it was still shallow along the Arm..
They had done a far bit of work on the trimming back of trees...
  We got to the lock and the good news was the gates were open, the bad news was it started to rain. It was a heavy shower and we did get wet..
It was then hunt the mooring, and it was quite busy all the way to the boatyard at the winding hole.. Luck was on our side as there was a sneaky place in the finger moorings so we reversed nicely into the spot..

We filled with water and started on the washing, and also did a manual pump out as it was all close by, perfect!
On the way in we spotted n.b. Teckel and its Al's cousin Wendy and Hugh. They popped out and said "Pop round for tea and cakes"  which got us excited..
It was lovely for the girls to see each other and catch up on old times. The bonus was she had another cousin Rosemary who came along and joined them.. It was an Ayling gathering and they couldn't stop talking. The cakes were lovely and the tea and coffee flowed most of the afternoon, the boys talked boats and cars and Hugh worked on the central heating..
 It was lovely to see them all and catch up on all the family news, we came back to Derwent6 and chilled for the rest of the day..

Turn around and prep

So Del was up early and Al did a hearty breakfast to keep him going.. He did some more work on the gunwale sides and then did the brasses till lunchtime.. Then we turned on the Welford Arm and moored in the same place and Del got cracking on the other side..
It has been empty here, so the noise and dust hasn't been a problem to other boaters.

It took about two and half hours to sand down and then a rust inhibitor (Fertan) was put on the rust areas and bare metal..

So on the move tomorrow at some time..

Monday, March 16, 2020

Cold and windy to Welford Arm

It seemed like we were on a mission now (we wasn't) as we were up early again and Del was off by 7.30am.
The forecast said cold and strong winds again so we pushed on. You will see Derwent6 leaning over on some of these pictures.
 It was freezing on the stern deck as hail storms were also on the forecast and could be seen in the distance, luckily we didn't get them..
This section is very pretty as it twists and turns following the contours of the hills. But when its cold and windy its not as much fun as you fight to get the line right into the corners..
 In fact it is still fun as it makes it more of a challenge.. It was a funny day as the sun shone at times and then a very Icy cold wind reminded you it was still winter.. We arrived in good time as the wind was behind us for most of the way and we got moored up all on our own at the end of the Welford Arm when the sun came out again..

With not a moment to lose, Del soon had the sander out and was rubbing down the gunwales as the canal sides are very low here..
On inspection he noticed also some of the red had gone rusty onto the side panels so they got done as well..
Fertan was then put on the rust to stop it coming back. We were then confined to Derwent6 and watched the news about the Coronavirus which seemed to be now taking hold of us all, we are probably in the safest place, even though Del has a cold. Agh!

Funeral Day and then on our way!

So we were up early and travelled down the M40 so Al could help her sister sort out the last minute things and we had a sign to say things were fine in the sky..
This was a moment we were all dreading, our nephew Nathans funeral.. It is still a massive shock that he is not with us anymore and so sad as he had a great talent.. He was a song writer and had some songs on iTunes and UTube and they were played in the church. It was a great tribute to him and a celebration of his life, and he had a very good turn out to see him on his final journey.. RIP Nathan
We drove back the same day and got back to Derwent6 at 8.00pm.. We were mentally exhausted..

The following day was also full on..
We were up early again as we had to take the car back before 9.00am and this went well as we were back and ready to go by 10.00am..
We first filled with water at Norton Junction and then made our way towards the Watford flight..
  We got to the locks and Al checked with the locky and he told us to make our way up..
It was a bit tricky in the wind as the gates kept being blown open, so we were pleased with the extra help to close them..
We soon got to the top and Al put some books in the book swap and we said our goodbyes to our helpers.
We then reached one of our favourite spots and at lambing season this place is amazing..


We decided this time we would push on and get through the tunnel as we had been warned how wet it was, we got soaked..
We were meeting some friends here and moored close to them, and as we were sorting ourselves out a couple we had met when we were down the K&A stopped for a chat..

Soon after that Shipmate Mark was round and we had a catch up before we then had Clive and Jackie turn up, good job the kettle was hot. It was lovely to see them all and as you can imagine we all put the world to rights. We will be all meeting up again on our return journey as the locks are closed at Foxton.  We then chilled as we had a telly signal and Del wanted to see the football..