Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A 10 hours day today.

24th April 2019

Himself was up and set off while I dozed on. The sun also struggled to get up today, it was past noon before it made an appearance and shone on us. There used to be a golf course or similar on the offside just North of Alvecote marina, now its an enormous building site.

We passed through Glascote locks and headed North through Fazeley, Hopwas and Whittington towards Fradley junction where we turned left onto the T&M. The weather decided to rain as we approached the swing bridge immediately before the junction and remained on and off for the rest of the afternoon.

As we were ascending the first lock at Fradley, a grandma and granddad accompanied by a young girl were watching us pass through. Grandad was trying to explain how everything worked to the young lass but was a bit out of his depth. We offered them all a lift into and through the second lock which they accepted. Having briefed them and settled them into the front well deck Graham explained things as we passed through the second lock before disgorging them above the lock and continuing on to Woodend lock.

By the time we arrived at Armitage the weather had turned to shipping forecast style ‘squally
showers’ (aka bank holiday weather :^) We continued on past this shed at Rugely which appears to be gradually collapsing to eventually moor for the night at Wolseley Bridge.

Graham was amused that the special reserved swan area at the Taft was being completely ignored by the swans who had made a nest at the other end of the moored boat. Obviously they cannot read the sign.

A ten hour day to do 29 lock miles.

Tonight's dinner was a chicken and veg curry; the Pataks butter chicken jar was dated best before 2015 but was still OK; was it OK to accompany it with Staffordshire oatcakes and call them Roti Staffs?


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

St George’s Day

Tuesday 23rd April 2019 (however the Church of England thinks different)

The day started with Owls (or an Owl) dominating the dawn chorus at 5:30am. We were not moored in ‘Hooty Wol Woods’ so that is definitely not fair!

Graham was up and at-em early in the engineering department.The water had not been getting hot when the engine was running so he suspected so it was time to investigate. After much deliberation
he turned cardiac surgeon and decided that there must be a one-way valve in the system that was interrupting the flow. He opened ‘her up’and found that there was a valve in the bottom connector on the new calorifier and that it was clogged up with rubbish carried in the cooling water and so was effectively a ‘no way’ valve. Our hot water system had a heart attack. No scrubs needed, valve and muck removed and circulation restored. Unlike humans, no replacement valve was needed.

Things one can buy canalside – for the person who has everything, Alpaca poo at only £3 per bag. It must be good stuff at that price. The woods approaching Atherstone are full of Bluebells – a lovely sight.

We made a shopping stop in Atherstone after the 5th lock. Everything we wanted was available except DIY wubber gwubs – a lovely place to shop. No Alpaca poo though.

Completed the flight of locks, dumped our rubbish at Grendon Sani-station and then carried on to Alvecote where we eat in the Samuel Barlow this evening – the steaks were excellent although there was an acute shortage of ale on the handpumps – I suspect they had a very busy bank holiday weekend in the lovely weather we were blessed with.


Monday, April 22, 2019

That Deja Vu feeling

Monday 22nd April 2019

Glory be – sunshine and warmth all over Easter which is so unusual for a Bank Holiday.
I had a couple of last minute jobs to do as well as filling the water tank, doing a pumpout and depositing all the ‘not wanted on voyage’ stuff in the car.

After a couple of hours I noticed that the pipes from the engine feeding the lower coil on the calorifier didn't seem to be getting hot. I tried disconnecting them at the tank end and there was water there so I decided there must be a one-way valve in the bottom of the coil so we pulled over and I swapped the two pipes over. After that the feed pipe started to get warm but still
did not heat up the water enough. There was an unusual duck adjacent to Charity Dock - looks like a black Indian Runner duck as it's stood upright. It would appear that Jemima Puddleduck was also an Indian Runner duck.

We continued on, through Hawkesbury junction and up the Coventry canal to Springwood where we moored for the night. I tried bleeding any air out of the pipes but there is something wrong with the engine circuit. The Alde circuit works well and so we heated the water up with that so Brenda could have a shower this evening.

This evening’s mooring is accompanied by lots of bird song, one of Brenda’s favourite sounds.

Easter Weekend work party

Saturday/Sunday 20th & 21st April 2019

When you go somewhere exotic for a holiday, the first couple of days are fine then it’s days spend in the bathroom – why should Jannock be any different?

I was up early, washed, dressed and ready to ackle – no change there then. Sufficient water stored, I went to turn off the water pump and found that it was leaking as well. Luckily we always carry a spare for that – currently sat in a soggy carboard box beside the leaking pump.
All three water system components have failed at once, what are the chances of that? At least all can be fixed whilst we are at the mooring with a car handy if more items are needed.

Old calorifier removed and new one installed in order to get the water back on as soon as possible. Then remove the old Alde boiler. Chimney connector was welded in place to the top of the boiler by internal corrosion so it had to be cut off in order to get the boiler out. New aluminium pipe required. Rang Midland Chandlers, they have one in stock so arranged to go and fetch it in the morning. Replaced water pump and turned it on to refill the system – only
one weeping joint which sealed itself when I wiggled it. OK we’ll test the new immersion heater – it’s brilliant and meant that I could have a nice hot shower at the end of a hard day’s work.

In the evening Pat and Mike (nb Nuggler) popped round for an evening of home brewed beer and sewing natter. As they left we spotted a fabulous red moon rising.

Sunday morning and I went back to Braunston to get the chimney extension pipe. They had said on the phone yesterday afternoon that they opened at 9am. They actually open at 10 am on a Sunday and so breakfast was an cerial bar and a cube of juice from the emergency stock kept in the Touran while I waited. Then back to Brinklow to rebuild the new Alde heat exchanger unit into the old case and fit into the narrow gap beside the airing cupboard. The chimney still had a large lump of aluminium tube stuck in the bottom of it which needed extracting. Then refit it onto the roof and the boiler. Talk about a boatman’s holiday ;^)
Deep joy, the new calorifier is so well insulated that there was plenty of hot water available in the morning even though the immersion heater had only been on for an hour or so. Hopefully in future there will be no requirement to run the engine for several hours in order to have a morning shower.
While we were eating dinner in the cratch one of the local ducks hopped onto the front of our neighbours boat and started tapping the glass obviously expecting to be fed - they've gone away for Easter mate :^)

Friday, April 19, 2019

Day two and we’re back where we started from.

Friday 19th April 2019
Last night, when I turned on the Alde boiler, the unit made some horrible cracking noises as the flame started heating the water jacket. A while later all we could hear was air bubbles being circulated in the radiators. I tried bleeding the radiator and topping up the header tanks but with no joy. Investigation in the ‘black hole of Calcutta’ (aka the heating cupboard) revealed that not only was the Alde losing water but also the hot water tank was sat in a puddle of it’s own. After discussion we decided that tomorrow we would turn and head back to Brinklow where I could sort out these issues with access to parts and transport if needed for fetching bits.

This morning investigation revealed that a guy named Graham Cutmore in Northampton sells exchange refurbished Alde boilers but he’s on holiday and not back until 24th April. Midland Swindlers Chandlers at Braunston had the calorifier in stock that I required.
So, having been embracing the luxury of having an extended cruising season it a bit like one step forwards and one back again. We cast off and proceeded to the first winding hole, just after bridge 18, turned and then made our way South back to Hawksbury junction and a hard left onto the North Oxford canal for the run back to Brinklow marina. I spotted this old BCN spoon dredger moored just before Stretton Stop – I suspect it must be owned by the Rose Narrowboat peeps.
Back on the mooring, with little wind luckily, and straight out in the car to Braunston. The man there was very knowledgable about all this plastic plumbing and so proffered lots of little bit I would not of thought of to help connect the new calorifier to our old plumbing – we’ll see how it goes tomorrow. It also turns out that Midland Chandlers also sell the Alde boiler water jacket as a spare part so I’m hoping to move all our other bits from the existing boiler onto that once I’ve got the hot water on again.
On our way back to the mooring we did shopping at Alde and Screwfix and then collected Fish and Chips for tea from Brinklow chippy (under new management since I last used it but still as good) Brenda was pleased that they used cardboard boxes rather than polystyrene to contain the fish and chips – far more eco-friendly.
There may not be a blog post tomorrow as I’m likely to be up to my armpits in plumbing tomorrow.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The 2019 cruise has finally started.

Thursday 18th April 2019
We arrived at Brinklow yesterday and spent the afternoon preparing Jannock for starting a new cruise. Life has been very busy since I retired from work on 31st January and so we are looking forward to a bit of extended cruising in 2019 now that life has calmed down a bit.

We left Brinklow marina at 10:15 today and headed North towards Coventry. The trees in blossom are absolutely lovely at present.

At Stretton we had to stop immediately before the bridge to allow 5 southbound boats to squeeze their way passed boats moored three abreast at Rose Narrowboats wharf. We finally got through the bridge to find yet another southbound boat coming through the narrows. Luckily the footbridge was being left in the open position to ease passage.

Wildlife of the day – Water Voles (and very plump they were too) spotted either side of Ansty on the offside. The sign pictured is nearer Hawksbury on the disused power station site.

We turned North onto the Coventry canal at ‘Suttons’ and headed to Bedworth where we stopped alongside nb Grace and had a chat with Christine and Terry R. when they joined us for tea (or beer) and cake onboard Jannock. We said our farewells just after 5pm and continued on  past Charity Dock and Marston Junction before mooring for the night near bridge 16 (Arbury Park bridge)