Friday, 28 November 2014

Brass Farthing


IMG_4808After a day of chilling above Church lock near Leighton Buzzard we pulled pins on Thursday morning at 09.55 and headed towards Pitstone and to a mooring we always enjoy stopping at . We passed a Wide beam travelling in the opposite direction just after setting off and when we arrived at Slapton lock we found the bottom gates both open. We know that sometimes gates will swing open by themselves so we didn't want to be too quick in blaming them for leaving them open.

IMG_4818Filling with water at Slapton with our new hose reel. I must admit i am not a great fan of the new water points. They are very poorly made with 304 stainless and not Marine grade 316 as you would expect. The base on this one is starting to rust and Gaffer tape has been used on it already.   Bring back the old ones !!!!

IMG_4843What a handsome beast.

IMG_4846As we continued up towards Pitstone every set of locks that we got to had their bottom gates left open, it seems the lazy wide beam couldn't be arsed to shut them after all. With a lot of the top gates leaking and the idiots leaving the bottom gates open some of the shorter pounds were getting very low on water.

IMG_4807I wonder how many youngsters know what a Brass Farthing is.

IMG_4860Coming through Pitstone bridge and look !!! Another wide beam and its moored in the bridge approach..The further you head South there are more and more wide beams on the cut. Fortunately as with Narrowbats only one or two of them are inconsiderate nobs boaters.

IMG_4864As we got near to are planned mooring we did what we always do and checked how much Internet signal there was. To are amazement there was over 27 Megs of mobile Internet. In all our time aboard this is the highest we have ever come across.

IMG_4876With no other boats anywhere near us we moored up and set up the TV hoping that the signal would be good as Spurs were in action on itv4 . With a good signal we settled down and watched my beloved Spurs make it through to the next round of the Europa cup.

The plan for Friday is to stay where we are as we have a few small jobs to do and Carolyn wants to spend more time practising on her Saxophone. With Carolyn on her Sax me and the dogs will be taking a very long walk and try to get as far away as possible.

                                                                                  Happy Days

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Narrowboat roof clutter


IMG_4765As i mentioned in our last post Carolyn was off to buy a new bike. Although we both had bikes when we first started out we soon found out that we hardly ever used them. So they were sent back down to Devon where they are now gathering dust in my parents garage. But Carolyn has now decided that a bike would be very useful and said she will get a lot of use out of it…. Time will tell.

IMG_4769With the sun going down on Monday this is our view from our front room window. We have been joined by our friends Stewart and Fran on Nb The Boat and as usual while myself and Stewart stay at the boats fishing and putting the world to rights the girls are off into Leighton Buzzard and hitting the shops.

IMG_4775On Wednesday and with 3 full toilet cassettes and a low water tank the decision was taken to make a move. So after saying our goodbyes to Stewart and Fran and with the temperature at minus 1 degree and a heavy frost we pulled pins at 09.10 and headed towards Leighton Buzzard.

IMG_4781We passed this King of Fishers on the way and he stayed still long enough for me to get this photo.

IMG_4786Passing the Globe Inn at Linslade and after a bad experience there last year we did consider another visit , but after looking on Trip advisor and seeing the reviews we decided against it.Carolyn says i take too much notice of what is written on Trip advisor, so we may drop in on our way back when we next pass some time in December and hope they have improved since our last visit.

IMG_4796He's a long way from home…..Well that's what everybody says to us when they see we are from Devon.

IMG_4792What a pleasing sight . It would seem that the entire Wyvern hire fleet is now tied up for the Winter.

IMG_4799After a shop in Tesco and Aldi and filling with water it was off and up through Grove lock and then we picked up a mooring in the long pound above Church lock at 15.10. With heavy rain forecasted for Wednesday we will spend a day or two here. We have good TV, Internet and full cupboards and not forgetting the full wine cellar.

                                                                       Happy Days

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Cyclists Beware

IMG_4758On the news yesterday was the story about Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine getting caught doing 16 mph in Hyde Park where the speed limit for cyclists is 5 mph. The topic was discussed on his programme, and the subject of speeding cyclists on Canal towpaths was mentioned. We have experienced this problem several times and it can be very frightening when a cyclist hurtles towards you with no intention of slowing down.The problem is worse in towns and cities were the towpaths are used as a short cut for people to commute to and from work and avoid busy roads . Most cyclists are very considerate ,but as with anything its the one or two that just don't give a toss about anyone else. Maybe we need more signs like the one above or as some people have mentioned some type of speed restrictor like speed humps on the towpath. So come on cyclists think about other people on the towpath    thank you !!!
PS   Look out, Carolyn has now decided she needs a bike and is off to buy one today .
                                                                                        Happy Days

Thursday, 20 November 2014



IMG_4706We pulled pins from Fenny Stratford on Tuesday at 10.25 after Carolyn did a quick shop to get a Newspaper and some milk. Passing this shed Carolyn reckons it would be perfect for me.

IMG_4710Passing Willow bridge Marina and this boat was having a hull survey carried out. I'm not sure if its good or not but if the figures are millimetres it doesn't look that bad.

IMG_4718Little progress is what we are making at the moment.

IMG_4716Passing through Stoke Hammond lock and yet another lock where you have to leave a paddle up when leaving the lock . Its usually done because of leaky gates or poor leaky brickwork in the lock and its easier to get boaters to leave the lock empty than carry out expensive repairs, The only problem with that is that over time it gets worse and worse until you have a massive failure that costs twice as much to repair and can shut down the navigation altogether. But at the moment Canal and River Trust seem to operate a repair when it breaks policy with virtually no preventive or routine maintenance.

IMG_4726We picked up this mooring out in the country a couple of miles North of Leighton Buzzard.

IMG_4729Maintenance is something that we try to keep on top of on Inca. The Morso Squirrel multi fuel stove has now been keeping us warm for several weeks and its surprising how quickly the flue gets sooted up.It only takes 5 minutes with a flue brush and then its up and running again. Having the Stove fitted to Inca has to be the best thing we ever did. It heats the whole boat 24/7 and combined with the double glazing we get virtually no condensation.Even after adding bricks to reduce the size of the fire and the air feed to the stove turned down we still end up opening the windows to cool down….Brilliant !!!!

IMG_4738I have been persisting with trying to catch a Pike. But these little monsters keep nicking my bait. They are Red signal Crayfish and are aggressive little sods that try to get you with their claws. At about 6 inches long they are non native and are killing off our native species.We have got a few traps so we might have a go at catching some and making a meal out of them. The only problem will be purging them somehow as the canal is not exactly that clean. We will have a couple of days where we are and then head into Leighton Buzzard for a shop and then decide what to do after that…

                                                                                                                 Happy Days

Monday, 17 November 2014

Pesky Pike


IMG_4621It seems at Cosgrove no one knows how long you can stay on the moorings and it could be anything between 48 hours and 2 weeks. Something really needs to be done about signage as we have seen signs unscrewed and thrown in the cut and even arrows like the one above turned around.

After 4 or 5 days at Cosgrove it was time to move on and you may remember i wanted to head North while Carolyn wanted to go South. Guess what ?  We are heading South. The decision was made a bit easier as our TV went on the blink and we decided to get a new one. The TV we had was a 20inch 12 volt Cello and it drew 48 watts of power which is 4 amps. We have our eye on a LG 24 inch LED TV which although is 240 volt only draws 22 watts which is under 2 amps. We will run it through a 120 watt inverter , so it should be a lot more economical on power usage than the old one.

We pulled pins from Cosgrove on Thursday morning and after filling with water and Winding below the lock we headed to Wolverton for yet another shop in Tesco. With the offer on wine still going with 25% off when you buy 4 or more bottles it would have been silly not to buy a load more.

IMG_4670After filling Inca with Wine and food Food and wine it was off for a night at Giffard park where we passed this boat… Another good use of names

IMG_4671We have seen this boat a few times and wonder if this is the biggest outboard on the canals ?, Mind you the bow of this wide beam is square so it will need a fair bit of power to move it.

IMG_4679After a wet night and morning we pulled pins from Giffard Park at 11.45 once the rain had stopped. At Lionhearts boat club we passed this pair of boats Oak and Ash. They used to be owned and run by the ex Reverend Martin Reed who had a bit of a reputation for being a very angry boater. The boats now have new owners who seem a lot more friendlier.

IMG_4684Passing through Campbell park in Milton Keynes and it certainly seems to be a hotspot for wide beam boats.

IMG_4696After going through Fenny lock and topping up with water we picked up a mooring above the allotments. With Gary on his coal boat and Dave moored just along from us it wasn't long before we had the rods out and doing a bit of Pike fishing .With a bet of 50p a fish it was all action. But at the end of the day our money was safe as no Fish were caught. We put the lack of fish down to the Temperature of the water ,colour of the water,wrong bait, too many passing boats ,and any other reason we could think of. Anyway we will be here for a few more days so hopefully we will get lucky.

We picked up the new TV from Argos and it works a treat . With a bigger screen and better picture and sound quality we are well pleased with it.

                                                                                      Happy Days

Saturday, 15 November 2014

breasting up

This was recently released by Canal and River Trust on their Boaters Update . I must admit i am not in favour of it becoming compulsory as suggested by some for most of the reasons against it listed below.I also find it bizarre that 80% of the people that responded thought it was a good idea as everyone i have spoken to have said they would be against it. I have e-mailed CaRT and said to them if they do issue stickers with the licenses can they also print a sticker saying “PLEASE DO NOT MOOR ALONGSIDE ME”.  As i understand it anyone can breast up now if they want to, so why cause trouble as it surely will by enforcing it.

Breasting up – your views
In the last edition I mentioned that a boater had suggested that breasting up at popular visitor moorings should be made compulsory. We then asked if you had any views on this idea. Well, you most certainly did. Of all those who responded, just over 80% thought it was a good idea. Some of those supporting the idea also said, as a first step, stickers displaying ‘moor alongside me’, or words to that effect, should be sent out with licences. If that doesn’t work then make it compulsory. One correspondent helpfully gave some advice on breasting up etiquette:
  • Always ask, the boat on the mooring may be moving off shortly.
  • Agree how the lines should be fixed for the convenience of both boats.
  • Be ultra-considerate especially if you have animals, children or rowdy teenagers. Do not run your engine or generator.
  • Ask when the inside boat intends to move off and, even if it's early, be ready to assist and re-moor.
  • Don't obstruct the free movement of other boats passing in both directions.
Those who didn’t like the idea either; preferred the idea of more encouragement for boaters to share rings, felt breasting up increased the fire risk or that the positives don’t outweigh the negatives, such as:
  • If you are on the inside you have no view out onto the canal.
  • If you have a dog you need to be on the inside (and then hence a)) or are constantly crossing the other boat, which can be difficult (with or without a dog) depending on length, style, boats facing opposite directions etc.
  • We had an unpleasant incident (before dog ownership) of a cat from the boat breasted up to us getting into our boat and peeing on the bed - ugh!
  • If you decide you want to move off earlier than originally intended for any reason you cannot do so without disturbing the other boat, more so if you are on the inside, it is then is a major task.
  • If the boat has a poor electrical system say and needs to run engine excessively to charge batteries you will feel the vibration and hear the noise for extended periods, also if the engine is smoky/smelly this can be a nuisance and there is always the risk of CO leaking into your boat, any time engines are run, smoky or otherwise.
  • If your neighbour has a coal/wood burner alight and the wind is in the 'wrong' direction' this can be a problem.
  • Lastly of course, if your neighbour is not very considerate (noise etc.) it can be a generally unpleasant experience.
So, there we have it – most seem to like the idea while others make strong arguments against… Would it be enough if stickers were issued, as mentioned above, and if a sticker wasn’t displayed then the assumption is against breasting up? .                                                       Happy ish Days     ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
                                                                       Happy Days

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Capability Smifff ?


IMG_4566On Sunday and still with beautiful weather its walkies time and on our way we met up with Stewart and Fran on their boat The Boat. Whilst having a cup of tea this wide beam could be heard starting up in the distance. When it passed us you couldn't see a thing with all the smoke and about 30 seconds later he spluttered to a halt shouting back to us that he had broken down. He had been moored on the 48 hour moorings by The Galleon pub for the last 2 weeks so maybe he has been having engine or other problems all that time. After getting his engine running he motored up to Cosgrove then after a while he turned and came back down and back onto the same 48 hour moorings again.

IMG_4580After a good old chin wag with Stewart and Fran it was back to walkies and down to the Aqueduct. After the original one at Cosgrove collapsed this Aqueduct was built in 1811 over the river Great Ouse.

IMG_4570Going through the Horse tunnel under the Aqueduct and even Carolyn has to duck.

IMG_4572The Aqueduct replaced the locks that used to carry boats down to the river where they crossed over the Great Ouse and then locked up the other side This crossing was often very susceptible to flooding and causing long delays.

IMG_4584Inca in the distance on the right and with Carolyn still practising on her Saxophone the moorings are lovely and clear all around us.

IMG_4589The garden at Cosgrove lock cottage . I think i would have employed his cousin Mr Brown !

We now have a slight problem. I want to carry on heading North and back towards Braunston and The Oxford canal as i want to talk to a man at Hillmorton about composting toilets , but her Ladyship wants to head back South towards Milton Keynes, Bletchley and Leighton Buzzard.There are very few shops and large towns as you head North so i wonder what Carolyn's reasons are for heading South. While we argue have a meaningful discussion on what our next move is we will just chill here for a couple of days and then probably do what She who must be obeyed wants to do.


                                                                        Happy Days

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

A narrow boaters poem

Found this on London boaters Facebook page.

A narrow boaters poem - enjoy

The Flow

I'm a narrow boater, a floating voter...
emotional intelligent and mortgage free
I'm a windlass warrior not a rudderless Rodney,
a trained pump out professor, and I can empty a
cassette without getting any on my shoes.

I’ve had to learn downsizing, I’ve had to do upgrading.
My water tank is full, my batteries are charged,
my gas bottles new and my old engine serviced.

I’ve given up meat, I've given up dairy,
I've given up smoking and I've given up
on commuting and chain stores.

I’m on the water, through the locks
on the move and off the grid.

I love nature but I hate mosquitos,
watching cormorants and kingfishers
feeding ducks and swans, I enjoy watching
crap afternoon films but my TV is 12volt
no mains electric.

But I’m a star navigator, a solar sun worshiper a
hurricane harvester and I sometimes dance
in the rain.

I’m digitally (not physically or ergonomically)
enhanced. I’m pre CRT but I’m post BW
a trans county, water bound, train carriage dweller,
with an urge to re-home spiders.

I grow food not lawns, I split logs not heads,
I read books not palms, I read newspapers but
I read between the lines,
reading free papers is a riot
but I've never been read the riot act!

But I share my space, I drop my pace
I go with the flow and I do it all slow.
no rushing no stressing
no shouting no yelling
no pushing or shoving
just smiling and loving.

My spare time is mine
and I don’t waste a dime

I’m pro-active, I’m physically active,
I’m hyperactive and from time to time
I’m radio-active.

My outgoings are down while my income is up,
I love a bargain but I'm the real deal,
I like gadgets but I'm old school,
More uplifting, Less downloading.

I moor east to west sunrise to sunset
my starboard is right and there’s always port left
passing pubs full of characters, they’re here for the beer
with stories to tell bringing everyone cheer.

I’m not always around but I'm back this way soon...

... to play on my uke as I whistle a tune.


(Myles McDowell)


                                                                                            Happy Days

Monday, 10 November 2014

Secret weapon


IMG_4561After a few days moored at Fenny Stratford we moved on to Giffard park and then after a night there and a Chinese takeaway we moved to Wolverton for a Tesco shop. Mr Tesco is being a very generous man this week and giving 25% off all wine when you buy 4 or more bottles, needless to say we bought a lot more than 4 bottles and even ended up doing another trip.

IMG_4616After filling the wine cellar on Inca we moved on and ended up back in Cosgrove where we were a few weeks ago. When we arrived here there were several boats moored behind us. But not long after arriving they pulled pins and moved away. We now have a new secret weapon for clearing boats off moorings.

IMG_4611Carolyn has bought herself a Saxophone and is now learning to play it. Although i couldn't make it out she tells me that she can play Merry Christmas. I don't think Candy Dulfer has anything to worry about for a day or two.

                                                                          Happy (noisy) Days

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Solar Slave


IMG_4518I said i would never be one , but i am a solar slave. Not just continuously changing the angle every few hours as the sun moves through the sky but also Im always cleaning them and removing leaves or what ever lands on them. Its amazing the effort you put into getting an extra few milliamps .

IMG_4512Just before mid day and with light wispy clouds we are getting 6.2 Amps with the batteries at 82% out of our 400 watts of solar panels. In high summer it would be well over 20 amps. Anyway its all free electric and Still not bad though for this time of year.

                                                                                    Happy Days

Thursday, 6 November 2014

What Gorgeous Weather


IMG_4504At one of our favourite moorings at Stoke Hammond and the weather is absolutely gorgeous. As the sun drops we are left with sights like this.

IMG_4521Can you believe it. Its early November and we are  still fishing in t-Shirts. All the Fish have now moved down deeper as the water temperature has started to drop. I still managed to catch several small Roach on punched bread. It is now time to get the Pike fishing gear out and see if we can bag one or two .

After some great chilling time at Stoke Hammond we pulled pins at 09.10 on Tuesday and headed towards Fenny Stratford.

IMG_4533Not another alcohol related boat name !!

IMG_4553At Fenny we filled up with Diesel from Gary on his Coal boat Ascot which is a Town class and built in 1936. His boat has a lot of History attached to it and it features in one of the most famous pictures of Narrowboats during the war years. The above picture of Ascot also features on the cover of  MAIDENS TRIP a book written by Emma Smith.It tells the story of how Emma joined the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company in 1943 under the wartime scheme of employing women to replace the boaters. The book is still available and is well worth reading .

IMG_4543On our way again and I have never seen anything like this before. There are headlights in the bow of this boat on both sides , I suppose if you do a lot of travelling at night they may work.

IMG_4545It also has 2 tillers . Carolyn said maybe its His and Her tillers and you have one each as you are travelling along….Me and Carolyn with a tiller each , Absolutely no chance.

                                                                                  Happy Days

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Bleeding Hire boats


IMG_4499With Chloe and Curly on their way back to Devon we pulled pins at 08.55 from Linslade on Saturday and went up the lock and headed for the Tesco moorings.  If you have ever been past The Wyvern Hire boat Base at Leighton Buzzard you will know how tight it can be when there are a lot of hire boats not hired out. And the one thing you don't want to meet when passing their base is a wide beam. Well guess what ,we met one. I did the honourable thing and reversed about a hundred yards to the north end of their base. As the wide beam approached us we could hear shouting and a bow thruster singing away. The wide beam was really struggling and could be seen stuck on the concrete side of the bank. The steerer was shouting at the staff at Wyvern about the amount of canal they were taking up with their boats and the fact that they were moored four boats abreast. When he reached us he thanked us for reversing and had a good old moan about them Bleeding Hire boats (or words to that effect) , and was he well pi**ed off with Wyvern or what !!!.

IMG_4479We passed this chap on the way to Tesco…… Now there's a thought ….Venison for Dinner tonight.

IMG_4443 Another good boat name and for a change not an Alcohol related boat name.

After filling the cupboards at Tesco and Aldi and filling with water and getting rid of all that waste, its back to Stoke Hammond and one of our favourite moorings for a few days of chilling…….

                                                                  Happy Days