Sunday, 27 April 2014

Two bumps in one day !!!

On Friday we pulled pins just after 10 o'clock and headed south towards Crick and with good warm weather it was an absolute pleasure to be cruising.

to norton 004                                                                              Everywhere you look there are fields of yellow Oil seed .

to norton 014                                                                              I wonder where Wonderland is on the canal system ?

to norton 023We decided to keep going through the wet Crick tunnel and then picked up this mooring about a mile before Watford locks. It is very close to the M1 Motorway and you get a constant drone of traffic noise but after a few glasses of the red stuff it slowly falls silent. With the sun shinning it wasn't long before it was out with the chairs and a couple of hours sat in the sun…Just the ticket.

On Saturday morning as Carolyn was walking the dogs a speeding boat came down the cut and smashed into the side of us. We were moored on a straight bit of canal  It wasn't just a light hit . I went out to the front of the boat and the guy in the other boat just waved and smiled as he weaved from side to side down the canal. I'm not sure if he had a problem with his steering or if he was just pi$$ed. Any way he caught the rubbing strake and took off my nice new blacking. I'm not a happy bunny!

to norton 020                                                             A proud Mother with 10 Ducklings. Lets hope most of them survive.

to norton 046      We pulled pins at 10.30 on Saturday and headed for the services at the top of Watford locks… Above Inca on the services with overflowing bins.

to norton 045                                                                                  OOPS !!! This hire boat in front of us got it a bit wrong.

to norton 055                                                                                     Dropping down the Watford staircase locks.

to norton 051                           Another helpful volunteer lockie with his hands in his pockets watching the world go by…..”Put your back into Carolyn”

to norton 056                       As one of the locks emptied this little chap got stuck on the cill behind us. We managed to help him off and back into the water.

to norton 071Our mooring for Saturday is on the Leicester section of the Grand union canal at Norton junction . Shortly after mooring on the 14 day moorings a hire boat decided to pull in behind us and moor. Only problem was he didn't bother to stop and went straight into the back of us. So that's twice in one day. I managed to keep my calm but i don't know how much longer i can hold my temper if idiots keep hitting us. And as for the saying that Narrowboating is a contact sport what a load of bollocks that is. It is not a sport that we want to participate in. Accidents do happen but a lot of the time it is just carelessness and poor boat handling…….  Rant over…..for now ..

We will spend Sunday here and then go through Braunston tunnel and then drop down Braunston locks and pick up a mooring in the village for Monday night.

                                                                                  Happy Days

PS    The bins are overflowing at Norton junction as well . I wonder if CaRT have paid their rubbish bill ?

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Friction at Foxton

With a couple of days left with the hire car Carolyn hit the shops in Market Harbourgh on Easter Monday and left me alone on Inca to catch up on a few little boat jobs.

back up foxton 002While at Debdale we had a walk around the marina and i must admit it is a very well run business and is certainly investing in equipment as can be seen by the massive extraction system .

back up foxton 004This boat was laid up in the yard. Most boats have anodes at the bow and the stern because if they were in the middle they would get knocked off or damaged in locks. But what a clever idea this is .Half way along side of the boat there is a recess and an anode inside it. There is obviously a lot more work involved in the build process but its got to be worth it.

back up foxton 001                                   A bag of clothes. Carolyn making room for her new clothes by throwing away some of her old ones…..Amazing

On Tuesday morning we were up early to take the hire car back, It had to be back by 08.30 and then we had to get a Taxi back to Debdale marina. And did i not enjoy the Taxi ,Just sat there watching that meter going up and up . 15 quid for a ten minute journey, unbelievable !!! Anyway we left Debdale at 09.30 and headed to Foxton locks. There were 2 boats in front of us waiting to go up and 4 boats coming down before we could go and we were told it would be well over an hour before we could move. We got talking to the guy on the boat in front of us and he was saying how he had the bottom of his boat metalized with zinc the same as what we have just had done. He had it done in 2005 and had no anodes fitted as the zinc is an anode in itself and he was so confident that he has not taken the boat out of the water since it was done. I think he is a very brave man as we will probably take Inca out in 3 years just to check everything is ok.

back up foxton 006While waiting for the locks we heard a lot of shouting from the bottom lock. A boat had dropped down into the bottom lock and opened the white paddles on the bottom gate but had not closed the red paddle first. This resulted in all the water from the bottom pound going straight out through the bottom gate. To make things worse the boat got caught on the cill and when one of the volunteer lockies got to him his boat was just about to start taking on water at the bow due to the angle of the boat. They closed the bottom paddles and got him off the cill but by then the skeg had been damaged and his rudder was jamming on the back of the boat plus it had damaged the bearings on the tiller shaft. The shouting was because the boater said that he had closed the paddle and reckoned someone had come behind him and opened it. But the lockies argued with him that it was his fault. I did give the guy a hand to try and move the rudder but it was solid and would not move. Anyway it could have ended a lot worse he could have sunk his boat. A few other boaters did comment that he was a single handed boater and it was his first time down The Foxton flight and that the lockies should have helped him. We are not sure exactly what the volunteer lock keepers are meant to do as some help and work the locks and are very good yet others just stand back and do nothing. There were 3 keepers on and in all the time it took us to go up only one of them was helping other boats and the other 2 were stood by the centre pound talking and doing nothing for the entire time it took us to lock up the flight.

back up foxton 007                                        We then had to wait for the boat to be pulled out of the lock and then for the bottom two pounds to be filled.

back up foxton 012                                             Carolyn explaining to some Gongoozlers (canal watchers) how Foxton locks work.

back up foxton 015                                                                                                 The view up the top 5 locks.

back up foxton 022  Eventually we got to the top and met this chap just the other side of Husbands bosworth tunnel…King of Fishers… Not a brilliant picture but the best so far.

back up foxton 027They have now started work on the new North Kilworth marina. It is being built by the same people that own Debdale where we had the work on Inca done . With all the money that we have just spent there they should call it The Inca marina.

back up foxton 034We picked up this lovely rural mooring about 2 miles south of Welford junction. This will do us for a couple of days to just chill and readjust back to the slow speed of canal life.

                                                                                       Happy Days

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Heavier and lighter

We have had a very busy few days down in Devon.  The weather has been very good and we have had a good time meeting up with family and friends. We took advantage of having a car and Carolyn hit the shops and bought more clothes which is ok but i don't know where we will put them all. The plan always was when you buy new clothes you throw something out to make room for the new item as there is very limited storage space on a narrowboat. But try telling a women that !.
curly 005                                                             On the last morning in the hotel we had a final walk along Goodrington beach.
On Friday we got the call from Debdale marina to say all the work on Inca was finished and she would be put back in the water later that afternoon. So as we would be travelling back to Debdale on Saturday and it being Carolyn's birthday we went out on Friday night for a birthday dinner and a good-bye to everyone.
zinc bottom 004After 4 hours of travelling on Saturday we went into Market Harborough and did a small shop as all the shops are closed on Sunday for Easter. We will do a big shop on Monday and stock up with the bulky items (Like wine, wine and bit more wine). It was then back to the marina and our first sight of Inca. And doesn't she look good.
zinc bottom 001The hull is now so smooth. We spoke to one of the guys that did the work and he said the hull was in perfect condition and there was not a single pit or rust spot on the hull . We now have the ultimate hull protection with molten Zinc having been sprayed on the base plate and the Hull sides up to the top rubbing strake. I'm not sure how much heavier Inca is now with all that metal sprayed on her but i know my wallet is considerably lighter. But we are sure it was worth it …And after all Inca is our home.
zinc bottom 010                                                             We also now have a lovely new red stern band as the old one was grit blasted away.
zinc bottom 009We now have a couple of days of marina life. The hire car has to be back on Tuesday morning so as soon as that is done we will untie and start our new journey. More about that later…
zinc bottom 026                                                                After a week in kennels it was bath time for Molly and Hamish.
zinc bottom 022                                                                                                            Happy Birthday Carolyn . You don't look a day over ??.
                                                                                                              Happy Days

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Decisions, decisions, decisions

On Monday morning we were up early and at 08.15 pulled pins at Foxton and cruised the short distance to Debdale marina. We were told that we would be the first boat out which would have been great if that had happened but for some reason they lifted another boat out before us. We could have left the boat with them to lift out but i wanted to look at the hull and rudder once it was out and we hadn't fully decided on what hull treatment we were going to have done. As we couldn't stay on the boat as the work was being done we decided to hire a car and get a Hotel down in Devon for a few days, So while we were waiting we got a Taxi into Market Harborough and picked up the hire car. Eventually at 13.30 Inca was lifted out.
boat lift and hotel 003                                                    Carolyn and Curly taking charge of the lift.

boat lift and hotel 008                                                                        Out she comes.

boat lift and hotel 011                                                           Inca on the blocks ready to be pressure washed.

boat lift and hotel 018 Just as we thought the blacking just came off in big sheets due to the mill scale on the steel hull.Fortunately there was only a bit of surface rust on the hull.

boat lift and hotel 017  With the sides pressure washed Inca is then lifted higher and then the base plate is pressure washed.

boat lift and hotel 009You may remember my dopey moment when i just caught the cill on the Top Buckby lock.Fortunately there is no visible damage and nothing appeared to be out of align. But as the tiller is still a bit stiff they are going to remove the whole assembly and check everything is true and aligned.
The Decision we had to make was what sort of treatment we applied to the hull. We knew that the hull had to be grit blasted and then blacking applied on top of the steel hull but we were given 3 options.

Option 1..Grit blast hull then apply Hempel 2 pack epoxy finish .

Option 2..Grit blast hull then metal spray and finish with Rytex blacking .

Option 3.. And the ultimate hull protection..Grit blast hull then metal spray and finish with Hempel 2 pack epoxy finish .

I have spent hours and hours researching metal spraying and everything i have read on it shows it to be very effective and results have shown that you can expect it to last up to 15 to 20 years and beyond. It also includes the base plate in the process.The process involves melting Zinc to its liquid state then spraying it onto the hull . When we were looking at boats to buy we started looking at boats that were between 8 and 10 years old and it was amazing how many of them had problems with pitting and corrosion to the hull although you could say some of it was through bad maintenance it nether the less reduced the price of the boats by several thousand pounds and made the boats more difficult to sell. Also on the plus side the boat would not need to be lifted out every 2 years to be re-blacked and should go 3 or 4 years before it is lifted out and checked. Also when the boat is eventually put up for sale it should be a good plus point for the buyer. It also comes with a ten year guarantee. I have also spoken to several other boat owners but as always with narrowboats everyone has a different opinion some are all for it and others wouldn't bother. After a lot of weighing up the options we have decided to go with option 3. Time will tell if it is the correct decision but we think its the correct way to go.

                                                                                                Now back to Devon
boat lift and hotel 027                                                        Carolyn and Curly enjoying the sea from in front of the Hotel.

boat lift and hotel 030                                                        A morning stroll on Goodrington beach in Paignton.

boat lift and hotel 038 With a bracing Easterly winds the waves were crashing over the sea wall and Curly was having fun not getting wet.

 We now have a very busy few days down in sunny Devon before hopefully being back on Inca at the weekend.

                                                                Happy (Expensive) Days

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Back to Foxton

On Friday we pulled pins at 09.40 at Welford junction and soon passed the site of the new marina at North kilworth. They have cut the hedge down and are now preparing to dig out the marina. I just hope they have done their research as there seem to be a lot of new marinas opening and I'm not sure where all the boats will come from to fill them.

12 04 14 006Not long after we entered the Husbands Bosworth tunnel. Its only 1170 yards long and apart from a bit of water leaking through the roof at the far end it was a fairly dry passage through.

12 04 14 041We were really lucky to pick up this beautiful rural mooring with open views over the Leicestershire countryside and with the Laughton Hills behind us it has to be one of the best moorings we have ever had. It wasn't long before Curly got all her craft work out which was kindly given to her by Lesley and Gordon who we met on their Narrow boat at Welford junction .(Hope to meet up with both of you again). It kept her busy for most of the day.

12 04 14 053                                                                         Chilling with a small glass of the red stuff. (picture by Curly)

12 04 14 085What a cracking mooring ,miles from anywhere and hardly any people walking the towpath, just the way we like it .The evenings are still a bit nippy so we still light the fire every night.

to foxton 001We spent Saturday sat still chilling then on Sunday we pulled pins at 08.30 and headed for the top lock on the Foxton Flight. We filled with water at the top and then being the first boat on the locks went straight into the lock and started our descent.

to foxton 005                 Carolyn working the paddles. Remember.. Red before white and you will be alright . White before red you'd wish you were dead.

to foxton 029                                As Curly hasn't been here before we showed her how the incline plane worked. Above is Curly understanding how it all worked.

We are now moored below the locks and are preparing for Inca to go into Debdale marina on Monday to have her bottom and sides grit blasted and blacked.

                                                                                        Happy Days

PS    5 years ago today i gave up smoking…. but i still often want one !!!   but I'm not going to have one.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

1st year complete


12 04 14 110                          We have now been living aboard Inca for one year  !!!!!  And are now looking forward to our new adventures this coming year.

                                                                                                         Happy Days

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The visit

Chloe and Curly (Abbie) were due to arrive on Tuesday morning. Chloe was going to spend the night with us then head off down to Bournemouth to go on the Razz and then leave Curly with us for a few days.

curly arrives 001                                       While waiting for them to arrive we had a good old fry-up in the Lockgate cafe at Whilton locks

curly arrives 010              As soon as they arrived we set off up the Buckby flight of locks. As you can see Chloe couldn't wait to start swinging that windlass.

curly arrives 016Seeing as Chloe wasn't that keen on working the locks i took a huge risk and said to her you can have a go at taking Inca through a few locks. Curly and Hamish both looked a bit concerned. By the fourth lock and lots of crashes into lock walls she got a bit more used to it ,but in doing so she removed most of the paint from the hull.

curly arrives 023                               Look at the concentration on her face….. Shame she never concentrated like that when she was at school !

curly arrives 031                                                                                     Just like Carolyn they cant pass a shop without going in.

We moored on Tuesday night just along from the Buckby shop (above) and below the Top lock and had a very pleasant meal in The New Inn at Norton junction.On Wednesday morning just after 09.00 Chloe departed and we pulled pins filled with water then turned right at the junction and started heading North on the Leicester section of The Grand union canal

curly arrives 042We soon reached the Watford flight of locks and Carolyn was back doing what she loves doing most.You can tell its getting busy as we had to queue at the bottom of the locks behind two boats..

curly arrives 076                                                                                                                   Inca approaching Cracks hill.

curly arrives 082After a wet passage through Crick tunnel we picked up this mooring below Cracks hill on the other side of Crick. We have passed it a couple of times before but never had the chance to go up it. So this time we decided to go for it.

curly arrives 084                                                             And it was well worth the effort. The views in all directions are very good.

curly arrives 089                                                                                                    Curly as high as you can get on Cracks Hill.

curly arrives 165We pulled pins at 09.15 on Thursday morning and cruised for nearly 4 hours finally finding this mooring on the Welford junction and a bit in No mans land as we are right on the border of Northamptonshire and Leicestershire.

Tomorrow we have the Husbands Bosworth tunnel to go through and then we will try and pick up a mooring below the Picturesque Laughton Hills.

                                            Happy Days