Monday, January 31, 2011

Preparing for rain

As the weather was nice today we decided to get that wood cut up that we found yesterday, as the weather for the rest of the week didn't look that good. So with chainsaw and axe we set to work. We ended up with a nice pile which should see us through for a few days. Del likes to get the brasses done before it rains as it makes it easier the next time he does them and they don't go black. Al sorted out all her galley cupboards and draws and we went for a walk in the afternoon. We had a nice pasta dinner with a glass of wine or two and a bit of music in the evening, as there was nothing for us on the telly.....

Sunday, January 30, 2011

More wood found

We had a bit of a lay in this morning but when we did get up we sat and watched Andy Murray lose his grand slam. We were still iced in albeit very thin, but we could have moved if we wanted to.
Del went for a walk and found a tree that had been taken down by BW and was in a culvert about a quarter of a mile away. So the best part of the day was taken up with cutting up this tree and walking it back along the towpath, to store it on the roof. We never feel the need to load the roof right up with wood as we fill one of our lockers up and keep a bit on the bow, this keeps us going for about four days. There seems plenty about at the moment.... We have been putting coal on the fire overnight (just four or five lumps) which keeps it in for when we put wood back on it in the morning. It seems to work well!

We had a boat pass us very late in the day breaking the ice, but we like it here and don't have the feeling to move at the moment.

Al settled down in front of the TV to watch her Ice Dancing in the evening. Del lay on the bed listening to music aching from all that wood carrying.....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Polishing and Friends

We woke up to a thin layer of ice over the canal so we won't be going anywhere today. Del set about polishing the roof after all that snow and Al cleaned inside. This took up most of our day and Del finished in time to watch some Athletics and the football in the afternoon.

In the evening we meet up with friends, Carol and Alan, who took us to The Feathers in Lichfield where we had something to eat followed by a band called Borderline. We forgot the camera, but we had a fantastic evening, thanks guys! We got back to Derwent6 at about 12.30am and crashed out!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Breaking ice again

We had another cold night but not as cold as they predicted. The canal had a very thin layer of ice and the decision was made to move. It was beautiful sunshine and easy cruising with the wafer thin ice very patchy in places. We made our way up to Fradley junction and topped up with water as they also predict another cold night tonight and we might be iced in. We got through the locks and Al made a friend at the top lock. We were then on the hunt for wood as the locker was getting empty and it wasn't long before we spotted some. With some maneuvering we got the stern of Derwent6 over to the bank enough to put on a few logs. We then went up to Handsacre and turned. We found a mooring we like just down from the turning point with a good TV signal and 3G.Del then set about cutting the wood up and we ended up with a nice pile which will see us through the weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cold on the Stern

It was a cold night but the heating coming on for a hour had taken the chill off Derwent6. We lit the fire and then took a walk down to the post office, to post a letter, and then went over to the Tesco's Extra and picked up some stuff to keep us going for the next week or so in case we get iced in again.

We set off at around 11.00am and headed up through Hopwas and then through Whittington. As we moved up it just got colder and colder and we could soon see our breath. It got so cold that Al took the helm and Del did a quarter of a mile walk to warm up. He also took some pictures of Derwent6 going through the water and not more of those roof top shots we normally take loads of. The moorings here are a bit scarce and we ended up mooring in the middle of nowhere, not good when ice is on the horizon.

We were getting low on wood, and we had a couple of days on the roof, so the first thing we did was chop that lot up. The new chain on the chainsaw went through it all like a knife through butter.

After a chat with the guy we moored next to, we soon got in by the lovely warm snug fire, even though we couldn't get a TV signal. We had some dinner late in the afternoon for a change and then sat and listened to Bob Harris and a bit of Country in the evening.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Getting those jobs you put off done

We were going to move today but to be honest we couldn't be bothered. So we used the opportunity to do some other jobs. Al read her book for the best part of the day and Del decided to service and put a new chain on the Chainsaw. How and why do you have to service a chainsaw?. Well it's a important piece of kit on Derwent6 and the chain has to be sharpened so we have two chains which we interchange. We also have to clean the air filter, the chain lubricating filter and the fuel filter, also the spark plug has to cleaned. So hopefully we're OK now for another year.

We got the touch up paint for the radiators and they are now finished, fingers crossed. We also changed the rubber in the stern gland greaser, so jobs well done today.

If the weather allows we will be moving tomorrow!!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Trip to Ventura Park

We were up early as we were going to Ventura Park shopping complex. Now you all know how Al likes spending money and Derwent6 was in need of some presents. But we got held up because when we opened the stern doors, the hinge had broke again making Derwent6 insecure. We managed to get the pin out again as it was well greased, but we will now definitely have to get some stainless steel ones made, as we have used up our supplies again. We ended up leaving at 11.00am and took a short walk of about a mile across the fields and you soon had the park in view. The first thing we did we went to the huge Asda Superstore and were greeted with Easter Eggs for a pound. Easter already!!!! Uhhh! It's not till the end of April..............
There were loads of bargains to be had but we managed to get out without buying anything. It was then into a huge M & S and not so much luck there. Al brought some new tops and Derwent6 got some new pillows for the bedroom. We then had a coffee and a pork sandwich at Roasters a family run business in Tamworth. It came recommended, and we can also recommend it, Yum Yum!
With full tummies we then got some new cushions, a door mat and some paint for Derwent6. It then started to rain so we made our way back home with all our bags.
When we got back we lit the fire and got out all our new things and tried them. Our Cushions look fab and the mat in the engine room fitted nicely. We fitted the new pillows and then sat down with a cup of tea. In the evening we sat and watched Arsenal beat Ipswich to get to their first cup final of the year.. Well done boys!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Back to Fazeley

We set off this morning at 9.30am and moved to the water point, we didn't really need water, but we had loads of washing to do, and thought it best to top up before we cruised. We made our way to Polesworth and had no problems, but the water does look like it's full of algae like you get in your fish pond, it must have been caused by all that ice.We saw BW trimming the hedges but they had no wood as they were shredding everything they were cutting down (not much help to boaters that!). We passed a boat on the way to Tamworth which put the two locks at Glascote in our favour. We found a mooring in Fazeley just up from the junction and managed to get a TV signal. We then went out and found a Tesco's Extra and the Post Office to pick up and deliver some bits and pieces. While we were moored here, people kept walking past with lumps of wood, so Del went to investigate. Sure enough a tree was down just up from us, and we managed to salvage a couple of bits for ourselves. In the evening we just chatted with the radio on....Brian Ferry night tonight with Roxy Music.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Burnt Sunday

We had a bit of a chill out day today!!

Al did the fire and burnt a hole in her clothes, Good start! Del was back on sticking and getting kindling for the fire. He then found more wood which seems a bit remote round here as everyone is after it. When he found some, he spent the rest of the morning chopping it up. Del went out on his bike in the afternoon, just to get some exercises, meanwhile Al kept a eye on the fire and burnt a hole in the carpet this time (Still not good).

Del got back and showered while Al did the dinner, she put on the cabbage and forgot to put water in the pan and Derwent6 had this burning smell for the third time, (not a good day for Al)

In the evening Del strapped the fire extinguisher to Al, so she didn't cause any more trouble!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Boats broken into here!!!

Ahhh, it was lovely having the central heating coming on this morning. It's funny how you miss it, but you could also adapt to being without it.

After Al had been down south she just wanted a quiet day so she had a lay in and then read her book. Del on the other hand made her breakfast in bed and then went out on the hunt for wood. It wasn't long before he came back with half a tree. He spent the rest of the day with the chain saw cutting it all up.

While he was chopping wood, a couple walking their dog on the opposite side of the canal where Derwent6 is moored, shouted "do you know that this boat has been broken into, and a window has been broken". So Del went round and had a look. A window had been broken and glass was all over the towpath. Not much had been touched, but there were footprints through the boat. We then phoned BW's Emergency number and we got through to the West Midlands ambulance service! (the person who broke in would have needed them if we had caught them), and we then gave them all the details. (They man the emergency telephone lines for BW out of hours)

A guy then came back to his boat further along, so Del went and had a word, to see if he knew the damaged boat owners. He did, and he also told us that his had been damaged and another two further along the moorings. Blimey so close to Derwent6. It's amazing we never heard anything.....

We sheeted up the broken windows on the damaged boats, as it was trying to rain.

Friday, January 21, 2011

More Ice

It was minus four last night and we are iced in again....
With Al still down in Kent, Del was up early and gagging to put water into the central heating system, but it was just too cold till around 10.00am. BW came by and broke the ice just as the sun came out.

So water was added to the heating system to mix with the Antifreeze and then pressurised and bleed. The central heating has never been so hot. The new serviced boiler and all the air out of the system has really made a difference. We just need to see if it holds pressure overnight.

Del then did the brasses as it was such a nice day and waited for Al to arrive back... BW then came reversing back with seven of them on the boat. You wouldn't mind but they were in and out of the hedge using poles, on their way home on their half day Friday.

Al brought back some of the netball pics she took while in London with Hannah. The game was great and a close run thing and even though England lost, they had a wonderful time.

After catching up, we had some lunch and chilled with the telly and a very warm boat.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New rad fitted but will it leak..

It was a cold night and we had a frost in the morning. Al was still in Kent and Del was up early as Fernwood (our boat builders) were bringing out the new radiator and pump to us. Del waited by the closest bridge and helped them bring the parts back to Derwent6. After they left Del got to work on fitting the radiator. He hardest part was fitting the end caps which never came with the new radiator and it didn't help that two of them were left hand threads. Still it got fitted OK. Del then set about the central heating pump and while he was at it he serviced the boiler cleaning out the chamber for an inspection of cracks and the glow plugs. Antifreeze was then added to the system but we never filled it with water due to the possibility of it freezing tonight..

The old radiator was taken to the waste disposal point on the sack barrow, a quarter of a mile and it's very heavy!

In the evening Del went into town and as he passed The Clock Pub there was a big pool match going on.. It was rude not to go in and have a look and watch some of the best pool he had ever seen, with a few pints of course. For the walk back, he picked up sausage and chips as the towpath started to turn white with frost.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Rads are coming!!

We got a call from Ken of Fernwood at 10.00am saying that all the parts are now here for the central heating and he could drop them off to us tomorrow... Great News! It also looks like the insurance company will cover everything, even better news!

We were up early as Al was going to Kent to see England play New Zealand at netball. She was going with Hannah, as she is a big fan and also refs and coaches netball.We walked to the station and Del saw Al off, and then walked to the leisure centre where he went swimming for a couple of hours. He then came back and changed the gearbox oil and checked the diesel for water in the tank. With Arsenal playing in the evening and being so knacked from swimming the rest of the day was a dead loss.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Warning! Heavy load coming...

Well you know how much Al likes her shopping.... Well it's the only reason she will get up early..

We set off for Atherstone which is about a mile and a half away. As they have shut off the towpath we diverted down the A5 which brings you right out at the large Co-Op in the centre.The first thing we did was get a coffee and get our breath back. We then got our shopping and then went for a walk around the town. Atherstone has 18 pubs at the moment (great for a pub crawl) so there is a lot to choose from, but the shops just seem a bit run down. It's a bit sad really....

We then set about walking back with a heavy load on our backs.. We should have had a police escort it was so heavy!!! We got back to Derwent6 at about 15.30pm, with the straps still in tack on our ruck sacks.

Del then cleaned out the bilge and lined it with newspaper as we are still trying to find this water leak. We will have a good go at it this week.... while Del was doing this another boat passed us trying to go up the locks.."you both know the locks are closed till the end of February don't you" with that he just put his hands in the air... why don't people look at the stoppages program, and boaters were even given the chance to change it... So we now have two boats waiting to go up the locks

Al did a lovely Mexican and we had some fajitas in the evening while we sat and watched some telly....

Monday, January 17, 2011

A small trip to the services with a boa constrictor

We had a peaceful night list night and when we looked out the potholes the canal was like a piece of glass. The smoke from the chimney was drifting vertically, and not a puff of wind in sight.

So after breakfast we set off on the mile and a half trek, down to the services. We had to turn and then reverse under a bridge to get on them but as the conditions were just the best, we did it with ease. We filled with water and got rid of our rubbish, and then set about where we would moor next. The only spot we could see to get a good TV signal was down by the locks but the only problem was we would have to reverse a good 500 metres passed moored boats, to get to it. Things were going great until the engine stopped. On lifting the weed hatch we pulled out the biggest piece of rope you have ever seen. It looked like a massive boa constrictor snake! You couldn't cut it, but we were lucky enough to be able to unravel it from the prop, a good thing about the Axion.

We then moored up in the sunshine, and it was quite spring like....A boat then passed us heading for the locks "You do know they're shut till the end of February" we shouted. "How am I going to get to Wigrams marina." he replied. "Not for a while" we answered. He moored behind us with his book out wondering where it had all gone wrong....

Del then went into Atherstone on his bike and did a circular route, just to suss things out and get some exercise. Al had the dinner ready on his return and we chilled by the telly in the evening.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lazy Sunday afternoon

After the strongest winds so far this year (all 16 days of it) we were battered about all night and didn't get much sleep. We were pleased that on inspection we found no damage to Derwent6. What did we do today, well not a lot really which is what Sundays are all about. Del spent the best part of the day doing brasses down one side, and after all that snow they were very tough going. Al just pottered about doing girl things like sorting out her wardrobe. (Del doesn't have a wardrobe).
In the afternoon we were so tired after last night we dossed in front of the fire. Oh yeah and it did rain after Del had finished the brasses. Al spent the evening watching Dancing on if we hadn't had enough of that!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Windy or what!

Blimey it was windy last night and the rain hat on the chimney was sitting on the towpath this morning (luckily).

For anyone who is interested in what is going on with our heating, the parts are still on order with Fernwood our boat builder, and should be arriving the early part of next week. The insurance company have been very good and are still investigating the case. Because the central heating use to warm up the hot water in the morning we are finding that we have to now run the engine for three hours a day. An hour and a half in the morning and again in the afternoon.

With another cold spell looming up on us we will have to stock up with wood and other fuel sources, so Del was out early chopping up the wood we found the other day. Al made a cake and then we sat and listened to Pick of the Pops in the afternoon with tea and that cake...

In the evening it was Bruce Springsteen night on BBC 4..........

Walk into town

We had a bit of a lay in this morning but once up we wanted to stretch our legs. We thought we would take a walk down to the winding hole (turn around point) to suss it out. We would have to get water here as well and some maneuvering would have to be done. As we had walked down this far we decided to walk into Atherstone. We had a tip off that the canal was closed at lock eight (thanks Sue), but what we hadn't realised is that it was an extra mile to get into town. Still we had all day to do it. We did spot BW going along the dredged section picking out all the windlass,which if you look closely, they put on the wall behind them. One of the perks we think!!!!

The first thing we did when we eventually made it, was have some lunch in one of our favourite cafes. We had a wonder round but we had just missed the market as it was packing up. We decided to get the bus back because we wanted to see where it went. It took us to the Boot Inn at Grendon, a pub which has live music on Saturday's. It was a mile walk to get back to the canal on a good footpath, and we got back to Derwent6 at about 5.00pm and it was still light. We can't wait for spring....

Worn out from all that walking (and drinking) we can't really tell you where the evening went... before we knew it, it was 10.30pm and bedtime......