Monday, 30 September 2013


With Carolyn still down in Devon I have walked miles and miles with Molly and Hamish. At least 2 times a day we walk down to Hillmorton locks .It is a great place for some free entertainment . Not only hire boats getting it wrong but some of the nice shiney ones mess it up sometimes.

              The weather here has been brilliant compared to what Carolyn is having down in Devon.

                                                    OOPS...Can't fit 2 boats into a single lock .

 The view opposite our mooring. There are plans being put in to pull down all the masts at the old Rugby radio station and build 6,200 houses with 4 schools plus retail and industrial. As you can imagine there are a lot of local people against it.

                                 Music on the canal...2 guys with squeeze boxes happily playing away.

  I certainly slept better being moored near this boat.... Think of all the trouble he could get you out of  !!!

                                       Carolyn is back.....   Here she is travelling light as usual.

Carolyn was worn out from her trip down to Devon so it was an early night on Sunday. On Monday we are supposed to be having our new pram cover fitted by Wilsons. So the plan for Monday morning is to get up early and go down the 3 locks at Hillmorton then wind (turn) in the winding hole, get rid of rubbish then come back up the locks. We will then be facing the right way for our journey back down the North oxford canal and on to the Grand union canal. We will then ring Wilsons and hopefully get our cover fitted.

                                    We pulled pins at 07.15 on Monday and soon got down the 3 locks.

                                                                      Inca winding. (turning)

 Round she goes..... It is very tight and took several forward and backward manoeuvres to get her around.

                                                                                Nearly there.

                                            Did it.....   And I didn't hit another boat.

All went OK ...Then  a boater who thought the world was about to end came racing at full speed towards us. After just avoiding a collision with us he shouted "sorry mate me brakes don't seem to be working" .

                     He then caused problems for the boat in the lock next to the one we were using.

He was single handed and in such a hurry. We watched him enter the lock and what he did was to leave the engine in gear and on about half throttle so the boat was forced to the front of the lock. He then closed the gates and opened the paddles. When the lock had filled the boat still being in gear forced the lock top gate open and out it went by itself . And all to save him opening the gate.

We then went up through the locks and moored at the top . Carolyn then rang wilsons and guess what ?? The new cover was still being made and would not be fitted today as we were promised. They have now said it will be ready on Friday......We will see.

We have stayed at Hillmorton top locks for the day and will then decide this evening where to go next . What tough decisions we have to make.

                             Happy Days

Friday, 27 September 2013

All alone

With Carolyn back in Devon for a couple of days it was time to get busy on Inca .

                                                                  Well I was busy.

When we were in Braunston we bought some of this as recommended by Paul and Jill on nb Falcon.
And it worked a treat.
                            Hamish and Molly soon lost interest and crashed out in the sun.

With the brilliant weather we have been doing lots of walking. This is the bottom lock at Hillmorton with 2 very busy CaRT volunteers working up a sweat helping out all those boaters.... well maybe not .
So far I think I have coped very well by myself.....Except for a small kitchen fire while cooking my evening meal I think I have done OK. (I did put out the fire before taking the photo)  . Anyway not much damage done. .......   Sandwiches from now on.

 Sorry Carolyn ......missing you.

                         Happy Days

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Hillmorton and back

This week has been fairly busy. We left the Ashby canal which we both enjoyed. It is a very rural canal which suited us down to the ground. We then headed back onto the Coventry canal and down to Hawkesbury junction.

  Our mooring for the night at Hawkesbury junction. We had a very enjoyable meal in The Greyhound pub which is on the quay at the junction. The meal was even better than we thought, when we got back to Inca and realised they never charged us for our drinks. The following morning we pulled pins at 07.15 and stopped at the pub to pay for our drinks...But they were closed....What a shame.

 This is the old pump house at the junction. Originally it was powered by a Newcomen atmospheric engine, Designed by Thomas Newcomen ( 1664-1729 ) from Dartmouth in Devon. There is a replica of this engine in Mayors Avenue, Dartmouth near where I used to work.
The following day we moved on to Rugby as we needed to restock as it was a bit like old mother Hubbard. There is a large Tesco very close to the canal so after a couple of trips the cupboards were full again.We then moved on to The moorings above the locks at Hillmorton as we had Wilson covers coming on Monday to make the pattern for our new pram cover. They should have done it last Wednesday but for some reason they had run out of fittings for the frame.

                                                                         Here we go again !!!!.
 More bloody idiots on hire boats....After just avoiding hitting us and the boat in front of us they carried on side by side down the canal... And jumping from boat to boat.....UNBELIEVABLE...

        On Monday Wilson Covers number one man arrived and fitted the frame for the cover.
                                                             Being instructed by Carolyn.

 Tuesday morning and we moved down to Braunston as we wanted to visit both the chandlers in the village. Then on Wednesday we filled with water at 07.00 and headed back up to Hillmorton.

  Just as we arrived at Hillmorton our friend Chris was about to leave, but we did have a quick chat before he left.

Chris is a lovely guy and lives full time very happily on his 20 foot springer boat... We will catch up with you again later .

One problem we have had since moving aboard is getting the dogs clipped. But we were given the name of a groomer in Rugby (Top dog grooming and the guy even had the same surname as us) that collected, clipped and returned the muts.... Don't they look good ?

Tomorrow (Thursday) we will go down the 3 locks at Hillmorton and wind in the winding hole (turn) . Then back up the locks and moor in the same place. Carolyn is then going down to Devon for a few days (Curly is 7 years old on Saturday) . Myself plus Molly and Hamish are staying on Inca....Me fending for myself.........that should be interesting !!!!!!

                                 Happy Days

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The journey so far.

We have now been living aboard  Narrowboat Inca for 5 and a half months and in that time we have travelled from Saul junction near Gloucester up to Birmingham then down to London and then all the way up to Tixall wide in Staffordshire then up to the end of the Ashby canal and now we are heading south again and are at Hawkesbury junction near Coventry. We have covered 501 miles and gone through 367 locks. We have used 480 litres of red diesel at an average price of about 88 pence per litre . We have run the engine for a total of 427 hours but some of that was for charging the batteries before we had the solar panels fitted. We have also used diesel through the webasto boiler for the central heating when required and to give us hot water when the engine has not been run. We also need to service the 2 litre Beta 43hp engine every 250 hours ,It has been done once so far at a cost of about £50.

The solar panels have produced a total of 4262 amps since they were fitted at the end of June so that has helped a lot in not running the engine when stationary to charge the batteries.

 Back in July our average speed was 2.6 miles a day, That has now been increased to a massive 3.7 miles a!!!!! .

As we now go into Autumn and winter our cost will increase. The engine or generator will have to be run most days for several hours when we are stopped.  We will need to buy coal at £11 a bag . We have been told by other liveaboards if you just burn coal that you can get through 2 to 3 bags a week when it is very cold and you keep the fire going 24 hours a day .So we will supplement the coal with any wood we can find on our travels. We have a chainsaw and axe so we should be OK .
 We are lucky with Inca because we have double glazing which is not often fitted to narrowboats and the inside of the boat was sprayed with insulating foam prior to being fitted out.

At the moment we think we will stay out on the cut (canal) for the winter. But we do have the option of going into a marina if the need arises.

So far our new life aboard Inca has been very good. We have learnt a lot since moving aboard and still have a lot more to learn as we go into Winter. We have made some very good friends and met a lot of good friendly people. 

We have now updated this blog 65 times........ Just hope we haven't bored you too much !!!!

                                                           Happy Days

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


Sunday and they forecast heavy rain and high winds. And it certainly was windy..

                                Our windy mooring near Market Bosworth on the Ashby canal.

In the afternoon the rain died out so it was out with Molly and Hamish. All was going great until Hamish decided he wanted to go down a deserted badger hole. After 20 minutes of us shouting down the hole he eventually surfaced.... Bad boy!!!

 While out walking we decided to do a bit of logging and get some wood for the fire. But as you can see it was more sticking than logging.

                           Don't worry Molly and Hamish . I think I know what I'm doing.

  In the end we had a nice little collection of wood on the roof. That should keep us going for an hour or two. 

 With no sun to power the solar panels it was out with the new generator. It takes about an hour of running to put 10% battery capacity back into the battery bank.

We stayed here again on Monday as the winds were still very blustery.But we have to move on Tuesday and find a good mooring with access from a road as Wilson covers are coming on Wednesday to fit the bars and make a template/pattern for our new pram cover.
 On Tuesday we pulled pins at 08.20. The wind had dropped off but it was cold. The temperature when we set off was 9 deg C. So it was out with the winter coats ,hats and gloves.

We managed to get a good mooring on bridge 23 right outside of the farm shop we visited on the way up the Ashby. Carolyn bought a few bits and pieces in the shop to keep us going until we can get to a supermarket.

Not long after stopping it started to rain again but with plenty of everything we need to be comfortable we will be OK here.

                          Happy Days

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Ashby end

We pulled pins at bridge 5 on Thursday morning at 07.45 and made our way towards Stoke Golding where we hoped to pick up a mooring for the night.

                                                   The triumph factory at Hinckley.

At bridge 23 there is a farm shop that is well worth visiting. I bought a lovely large pork chop for a couple of quid that went down a treat with a few glasses of red wine. We will stop again on the trip back down the Ashby.
We found a 48 hour mooring at Stoke Golding with good internet and tv this will do us tonight.

 We decided to walk into the village to pick up a newspaper but found the village store had closed down. Not to worry though there was a post office next door. The post office was closed for lunch, so with a pub next door and with10 minutes to spare there was only one thing to do. ( £7 for 2 pints of lager !!!. )When the post office opened we discovered they didn't sell newspapers. in fact they didn't sell much. So I now need to amend the canal guide book to no provisions and expensive lager in Stoke Golding.

We pulled pins at 08.10 on Friday morning and headed towards Snarestone which is the end of the Ashby canal.

Repairs being made to the offside bank. Stakes are driven into the canal bed then a membrane is fixed to the stakes, finally mud from the canal bottom is filled in behind the membrane. In a very short time plants start to grow and a new canal bank is formed.

Carolyn is now getting a lot more confident on the tiller. She just needs to practice steering in and out of a few more locks.
                                                  And steer through some tunnels. (snarestone tunnel)

Our mooring at the end of the Ashby canal. The restoration is continuing but for the time being this is as far as you can get.

                            There is a small shop which raises money for the restoration. And as Carolyn can't pass a shop without going in she had to check it out.

We had a good night and pulled pins on Saturday at 09.00 as we had to find a mooring with good road access as we where due to meet our friends Tony and Maureen.

We found a mooring at Shackerstone and after getting lost on route our visitors finally found us. It was great to see them both and we will catch up again when we come down to Devon in November.

We did intend on staying at Shackerstone but with poor internet and hundreds of wasps (one of them stung my ankle) we decided to move.

How organised is this....It's Not Inca
We eventually found a very isolated mooring out in the country. We have good tv and internet and good dog walking. The weather forecast for the next couple of days is heavy rain and high winds. The rain is not a problem but the wind is as narrowboats do not handle very well in such conditions.  This will do us for a couple of days.
Happy Days

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Up the Ashby

We pulled pins at 09.00 this morning (Wednesday) with the intention of getting on to the Ashby canal. A few boaters have said to us don't bother because it is so shallow up there it is more trouble than its worth. But we have been told before don't go here don't go there and don't do that. We decided a long time ago to give everything a go and so far it has been OK.

We have not bought any diesel since we were on our way down to London so with the tank getting down we filled up at Springwood haven (Not the ideal thing to do and add weight when going up a shallow canal) and bought 4 bags of coal as we have now lit the fire. We have seen prices up to 0.97 pence per litre for red diesel. So at 0.88 pence per litre we had to buy some.

Anyway over £200 lighter we were soon on our way.

                                                           They need to speed up !!!.

               Sod that for a job......... We did ask them for some wood but they wouldn't give us any.

                                                         Hello Luvvie ..... One for you.
                               The very narrow entrance to the Ashby canal. At Marston junction.
  Made it with only a small bump on the port side.
We have gone aground 3 times but only when passing other boats and have managed to re float OK. And we have also pulled an American couple off a bend when they went hard aground in a hire boat. (good deed of the day)

After several attempts to get onto various mooring spots and finding them too shallow we finally made it to the visitor moorings at bridge 5. It is now raining cats and dogs but the fire is now lit and we are as snug as a bug in a rug.

                            Happy Days