Friday, February 26, 2021

Water Washing, and there's an Echo

So we have been static for two weeks and its time to move for water..


There was still slight patches of ice on the canal, but we took a chance! We knew Brinklow marina had changed hands and was now part of the chain of Castle marina's, but now was the time for us to give it a try as it was just half an hour away and we needed the services. We set off at 8.00am and hit some ice, but it was very thin and didn't do any damage..

It is always nice to be cruising again and just getting the cogs spinning..




We soon pulled into the marina and were greeted by Dave Trivett the Manager and Mark Willmott the Harbour Master.

We were given top service as they did our pump out and explained what was going on here..

We were even loaded up with some wood from all the work going on here.. They were in the process of moving the gate so it was safer to get in and out by car, and all the pontoons were being replaced.. Blimey things were moving fast and if it all happens, or as Mark says "When it happens" it will be amazing here..

Our plan was to have our pump out and then stay for a couple of days to get all our washing up to date.. Mark instructed us to a mooring and we then had to manoeuvre on to it..


Al then arranged a Asda delivery and we set up our new toy..

We have purchased a Amazon Echo Dot, yep we know, Alexa has joined our crew.


It now holds all our music and for £3.99 a month gives you full access to over 70 million songs.. Of course if you have a question just ask Alexa. The great thing is it has a low power mode and only takes 1.2 watts so takes nothing out of the batteries, perfect for boats..

The sound it gives off is fantastic and links in with our phones and other devices.. 

It pays to have a few gifts through this difficult time, just to keep you going. Hopefully we are coming up for our vaccination's soon, so we will hang around and wait for our notification's. 

You know its coming!

So we have been snuggled down here now for over yet another week. This winter seems so weird to us because we haven't got to move unless we need water and services, but secretly we have quite enjoyed it.. We think its because we have been in some good spots during lockdown.


 

Its really all about planning, and heat is the top priority to worry about!


You need to be warm and that can be difficult living on a boat.

They were saying it would drop to minus 5 and in rural areas lower that that. With Derwent6 having a wood burner, it is very important to keep the coal and wood topped up and then keeping them dry is the other challenge.  If you have diesel heating then keeping the tanks topped up is a necessity. On Derwent6 we have a central heating boiler which runs on diesel, but our cheaper option is the wood burner. Then there is always the bed and a good duvet to snuggle into!..

Our water luckily never freezes, but its something to consider (which could happen) so we carry a container of water and keep it inside just in case.



Then there is being iced in, so planning is involved so you preserve the water you have as its not going to be easy to fill the tank. Things like only splash and dash showers, half a bowl of washing up water and not leaving taps running, will help. We have to consider our battery temperatures as well so the heater goes on when the thermometer drops below five degrees. Anyway enough about that, what have we been up too.

Well taking some scenic walks as at this time of year the countryside looks spectacular.




We also have to walk into the village for food and we build in a walk round that. We also use the post office for picking up deliveries and parcels and of course we have to go by the fish and chip shop to build up the fat to keep us warm.

Al has had her head into her books during lockdown and Del has been gaming and guitaring, but Al wanted a new venture, so Del brought her a piano, yes a piano. Al's old keyboard had given up the ghost, but this is a folding full length keyboard with ivory keys and the sound is amazing.. It folds up to the size of a laptop, but half its width, so its easy to store on Derwent6.

It unfolds and locks tight, and although digital it plays and sounds like a piano, with the advantage of a full size piano keyboard..  Al loves it!



It was minus 8 last night and we are locked in solid with ice, but we are very content to be here for another week.


    

Monday, February 15, 2021

There and back in Seven hours

 After two weeks we had to move for water, so it was our marathon trip up to Hawkesbury and back. We waited yesterday for Mark on the coal boat to come through for more coal and a top up on our diesel. It always pays to keep the diesel tank filled during the winter months to reduce the amount of condensation you get in the tank itself. We left at 8.00am for the two and a half hours through the countryside and again the canal is very silted.


 

The land slip here is now getting worse and if we get a lot more rain it will push the wall they built into the canal and close the navigation.


We soon overtook the coal boat and waved to Mark as we passed.

  The swans waved as us as they went past.

It was then on to the section along side the railway which seems to have more goods trains on it these days.

It was then through the golf course and the park and onto Hawkesbury junction, as Al did a couple of loads of washing to completely empty the water tank...

When we arrived we were surprised at how empty it was with boats. We went through the lock and moored right outside the pub again and waited for Asda to arrive. Del tried the manual pump out and it didn't work for some reason.. After a bit of messing about and gentle persuasion it burst into life and our poo tank was empty again.. Asda arrived spot on time and we loaded our shopping on through the side doors..

We then went back through the lock and pulled onto the water point just as the sun tried to come out and the coal boat caught us up..

We know this tap is a bit slow, but it allows us to have warming showers while we waited and finish the washing.. We set off at about 1.30pm and made our way for the two and a half hours back. It is amazing how much rain we have had and the fields are so flooded.

We went through Ansty and again it was quiet and passed the golf course again.

The trains were the only noise we had to deal with. 

With the sun trying to come out it was good to get our vitamin D as we kept warm in the cold winter air. We got back to our mooring at about 4.00pm but our mooring that we had left this morning was taken. We managed to moor just in front of the boat on it. We had passed this boat on the way to Hawkesbury and it was a boat called "Tickin Along" built by Swan Boats.  We had a chat with Colin and this boat also has Lithium batteries, and loads of other add on's, and will feature on the Channel 4 programme "My Floating Homes" shortly.

As for us, we are settled again for a bit longer and lets hope we are called for our Jabs in the not too distant future.

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Snow update

 We haven't had many updates on what is going on with Derwent6 because like everyone we haven't done a lot, but one thing for sure we haven't been bored..


  We were iced in for the early part of the week, but then it did turn slushy and it wasn't long before a boat passed us as some were desperate for water or other services.  On the Sunday they said we were going to get snow and Al was very excited as it gives you a lovely feeling of a proper winter.. In the morning the black clouds closed in around us and solar dropped to zero as did the temperature.


We then got our first sprinkle and things turned white as it turned to heavy snow.


This lasted about an hour then turned to light snow for another two hours.


We have to admit we are in the right place and the scenery was fantastic..

We don't even need to go for a walk as we only have to look out of the portholes.. 

For two nights on the trot we have had minus six and the canal has frozen with snow on top of it..



It has been a bit of a challenge to keep the batteries warm for charging, but we seem to have it sussed now with the little 40 watt heater we brought. 

On the Monday we had lovely sunshine. The canal was a picture and it was a reminder why we like winters on the cut.. The logs were going on the fire and we kept nice and snug. As the snow melted Del wiped down Derwent6 and did the brasses getting a bit of vitamin D.


   Notice it hasn't stopped the moles doing there business, but Tooty is grateful for an outdoor litter tray.. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Six for Gold and we need water!

 We have been static for two weeks in our spot and to be honest we have loved it.. 



The sunrise was just poking out over the trees as we set off with the bow sticking high out of the canal. The first thing we noticed was how silted the canal is, as the stern dug into the leaves and mud making steering tricky. But after you get over it you get that tingling feeling of how good it is to be cruising again. The trees are so naked at the moment but it looks so different, like you're on a new canal.

We made our way back towards Rugby and things were so quiet, as you expect during a lockdown.


We soon arrived at the tunnel and still hadn't met anything.


Newbold was empty of boats, and we soon got to Brownsover and the water tap, which was a bit of a relief as we were on our last dregs of water.

So much so that Al couldn't even do any washing on the way. We filled and also emptied our waste tank and Al put on her protective mask to go on a shopping top up. It is now one person at a time and it was a good time to go as she walked right in with no queues and sanitized.  Most of the people were staff doing either click and collect or home deliveries. When she came out there were eight cars waiting for the click and collect.. Del on the other hand had done what he needed to do and even got rid of the rubbish and had started the second washing pile, and had time for a shower. He met Al walking back with all the goodies to see us through the next couple of weeks, and we still hadn't seen a moving boat. We had three loads of washing to do so now we had water the washing machine was going like billyo! Using the w/machine while cruising takes 10% out of the batteries as it does its cycle on a 40 degree wash. So as the engine is running, it is charging as we go, so it tops our batteries back up.. You can also pour a hot kettle of water into the machine before you start it to reduce the heating time. 

We carried on towards the bottom of Hillmorton where we turned where we always do.



One wash to do and it was all going to plan as the buzzer (saying the washing had finished) came on just as we got back to the water point we had left an hour ago.

It was a quick top up so we were full again.

We then headed back to the tunnel and our lockdown mooring..


Things we going great as the forecast said rain for 4.00pm and we met our first boat.. Like I said it was very shallow and passing could be difficult so we stopped to avoid any wash.. As the boat passed it lost all its steering in the silt and power was not the solution as they ploughed into the trees behind us.

We then went round the corner and another boat was across the cut off of its moorings and Al had to push it back towards the bank as its owner tried to get it back without a centre rope, it never gets boring cruising..

Luckily our mooring was still free, lets be honest we only passed one other boat all day so we wasn't surprised.

Tooty was though, he thought he would be in new territory and we were back in the same place. Us, we were very snug knowing today had been busy but satisfying..

Al had cooked a lovely chicken dinner on the stove and it was just the warming treat needed for such a successful day..  Maybe it was the six magpies we saw in the tree yesterday.