Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Back to Whittlesey

On return to Whittlesea I phoned my friend Tony Head, who runs a local bus company, and asked if he could help us get our belts? He came up trumps ;o) I did a solo pub crawl around the town, starting in The Boat Inn, crap beer and a bad attitude by the landlord when I pointed it out. So back to the Letter B, great ale, great company. then I went to Hub's Place on the square, a community pub that was opened by a local lottery winner, a great place to go, the ladies' darts team were still playing when I left at 01.00 a.m.!
In the morning we headed to Wetherspoon's George Hotel on the square to use 'the facilities' and to get their cracking veggie breakfasts.
I noticed that the veggie brekkie was a much better deal with two eggs instead of one, three hash browns instead of two and a tasty veggie sausage to replace the bloodless meat option.
After this fine brekkie we left Whittlesey, heading for Stanground lock.

As we approached Briggate bend we saw a tatty-looking boat moored in a strange spot, as we passed they shouted "Have you got jumpleads?" We pulled over and dug our starter pack out, minutes later, in clouds of smoke, it started. This photo shows them moving off in a blue haze!

Monday, 30 November 2015

March, a strange place.

Ashline lock needs a Middle Levels windlass and like Stanground lock is not quite wide enough for two narrowboats.
WooHoo, something interesting, a bridge! LOL!

The view opens out once you reach the old River Nene

On our cruise to March, John and Rita suddenly slowed and stopped, they had snapped a belt, luckily John had an old belt with a bit of life left in it. but he struggled to get a part number off it. This made us realise that we should pick up some spares while we could still read the part numbers on the old ones. tried to get the numbers off and realised that the raw water pump belt was not tight enough. After noting the part numbers I tightened the belt. But after a few hours it was loose again. Had we found the reason for our overheating problem?
Bill, Ben and Little Weed man the border of march

John posing on the moorings we took for the first night
That bloody man is still posing! LOL!

We slipped into March, stopped at the service point and noted that the moorings in front of The Ship were taken, so we moored on the moorings opposite the service point.
It was very noisy with drunk/druggies shouting, swearing and threatening each other, but nobody bothered us.
Next day we were woken by Middle Level  weedcutters zooming past, rocking boats with a tidal wave. We then moved onto the moorings below The Ship, and walked around the town, visiting the market, we had seen an amazing number of mobility scooters wizzing about, it seemed there was a mobility scooter rally next to the market, but no, it was a stall selling them, never seen so many anywhere else in the UK.
Our preferred moorings below the lovely Ship pub
We had a great night in The Ship and after breakfast headed a bit further to find a winding space and headed back towards the Nene.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Whittlesey, a nice place to moor

While we were slowing down, with the umbrella wrapped around our prop, another narrowboat came roaring up behind us, passing moored boats with a tidal wave. I allowed him to pass us, but John decided he was out of order, and refused to allow him past. 
So John & Rita reached the E.A. Whittlesey moorings first, the other narrowboat could have moored there too, but he threw a hissy fit and and carried on towards Ashline lock.
After we cleared the prop, we moored up next to John & Rita and wandered into town. We went to the Letter B pub (they say that there were so many pubs in Whittlesey that they ran out of names and started to name them after letters!) It's a nice friendly pub with good real ale. As we left, the rain returned with a vengeance and we got soaked on the walk back to the boats.
There's also a Wetherspoons on the square, which came in handy the next morning, as the public loos are out of order! Here is a top tip, when getting brekkie in Wetherspoons, we get veggie breakfasts, for the same price you get 2 eggs instead of one, 3 hashbrowns instead of  2, tomato, mushrooms and the veg sausage is a lot tastier than the anaemic meat sausages. You can always get an extra portion of bacon.
The next evening, I walked to The Boat Inn, but was disappointed by a bad pint and the landlord's refusal to sort it out. So it was back to the Letter B and then on to Hub's Place, a pub opened by a lottery winner.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Briggate Bend with a bang!

We were a bit nervous about negotiating the sharp and tight Briggate Bend in Whittlesey, we had been losing power and I said I'd check the weedhatch when we reached Whittlesey moorings. We actually rounded the bend with no problem, but when I blipped into reverse, there was a big bang and we lost all power, just as the heavens opened! The culprit was this umbrella.

Entering the Middle Levels

John and Rita exiting Stanground lock

Wonderful to be able to have barbeques and late night pit fires in October.

Can't be bad, October and John is still in shorts late into the evening.

So much for the horror stories about mooring in Peterborough!

Passing the Leendert R, a.k.a. Charters Bar

Approaching the Grain Barge Chinese restaurant.

Our moorings for the next few nights

We decided to keep it boaty, first we went for a few real ales in Charters bar.

Inside Charters, quaffing real ale and watching the rugby.

Next we went to the Grain Barge for a nice Chinese meal

The view of Peterborough Embankment from the bridge, our boats on the far right of this photo.

Fresh herbs and cracking Environment Agency moorings.

Glenda picks some fresh herbs 'on the fly'.

Entering Ferry Meadows, on the outskirts of Peterborough

What a beautiful mooring, the trip boat can be seen on the left.

We woke up to find hundreds of people doing a park run.

Breakfast on the pontoon.

How to cure a peeping tom!

We moored at Fotheringhay and enjoyed the usual visit to the pretty village and a pint or two in The Falcon.

I decided I wanted a shower, our boat has it's windows muddled up, the galley window is in the bathroom and the bathroom window is in the galley. I looked out of the shower to see a bloke sat, almost touching the window! I think he'd spotted my long hair (and lovely bum! LOL!) I think that when I turned around, he was mentally scarred for life! My tattooed nether regions and hairy chest (all eight hairs!) we are convinced, led to him needing councelling!

A three week cruise to the middle levels.

When our neighbours, John and Rita, on narrowboat Izzyinn II mentioned that they were planning to cruise off for 3 weeks in September, we said we'd try to join them, though we did wonder if we'd be taking a chance on the weather and the possibility of the river going onto fast flow. add to that a recurring problem with our BMC 1800 overheating and spitting it's coolant out. and my, very unpredictable, rock and roll work timetable, would it ever happen?
Typically at the first lock we breasted up, opposite the boats moored at Willy Watts Marina, then another narrowboat appeared. We waved him through and left John & Rita to follow us, with Glenda resetting the lock.
John & Rita following us down the beautiful river Nen(e) on a lovely Autumn day.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Trying to save our boatman's cabin

One of the traditional ways of waterproofing a wooden cabin roof was to cover it in canvas and then paint over it. Over the years the canvas cracked and rotted, allowing water in and allowing rot to set in. :0( Here glenda is hard at work stripping the old canvas back.
Both boats have had many different configurations and there are a lot of blanked off chimney holes and this old, rusty and very leaky chimney collar. I decided to remove it but it was so rusty I had to grind the heads off the bolts, the boards around it were rotting away.
Removing the rotting hand rails to reveal more rot below
The chimney collar has been removed, and plugs made to fill the chimney hole and bolt holes. The first side has had a layer of liquid rubber, the geo-textile tape applied and the liquid rubber on top.
Upstands and corners were also treated to rubber / geo-textile tape

Started using a roller but  preferred to use a brush as I progressed.
The frame, runners and board around the rear hatch was all badly rotted, I used a piece of scrap mahogany (with the castle painting) the oak on the sides and for the tapered wedge-shaped runners.

The first light coat of liquid rubber was rollered on.
Getting there

After the first thick coat of liquid rubber, we had to rush to beat the heavy rain which had been forecast.
The upstands on the workshop skylight.
Now this is an expensive experiment, aimed at nipping in the bud, the incessant leaks in the hope of stopping the rot.
We are heading out, for three weeks, on the river with our neighbours John & Rita. When we return we'll give her another thick coat of rubber then leave it until spring to give it the final coat, which we'll cover with a membrane which we hope will be paintable.

Glenda paints Freyja while I'm away ;o)

Glenda worked hard to rub down the roof and the rear hatch, giving the roof this nice shine.

The new steel hatch rails are now nicely painted and ready for us to replace the hatch. Glenda and Houston are probably musing on what the crazy Welshman is doing stood on Cristina's roof.

Saturday, 29 August 2015


A lovely loaf of home made foccacia bread that Glenda made.

Our new cratchboard progresses

Dovetailed into position
The cratchboard will hinge forward as will the new metal A-frame, allowing us to lower the top plank for low bridges and tunnels

Here I've added the centre panel which will hinge inward to form a small table and to allow Glenda to see out when the tugdeck doors to the bedroom are open.

The panel looked a bit odd to me, as the two lower planks are wider than the top one.
I decided to cut a narrow groove in the two lower boards it will then look like there are five equal planks.
Using UV resistant water based yellow dye first, then UV resistant universal stainer mixed with Chinese lacquer
Then do the same in red
The centre panel with the extra grooves cut in and with a couple of coats of plain lacquer
The old rotten softwood cratchboard and the new cratchboard in oak