Sorry there haven't been many travelling tales yet. But, as you can see, getting ourselves shipshape has been a long old process. We've learned a lot, and met some really friendly, and interesting people along the way. No regrets. We're both still having fun. Which was our primary goal.
We're all currently down in Dorset, taking care of 4 months of washing, while Sheena has her teeth fixed. The gearbox has been overhauled (at eye watering cost) by the experts at 'TW marine', and should be waiting for us when we return.
TW marine were knowledgeable and very experienced. I'd recommend their services to anyone with a Bukh. From them, we discovered that Coles Morton stopped making boats in 1981. So there's no way ours can be from 1985. Coles Morton also made boats for other hire companies, so 'dogma' has had an interesting and varied past. Which is backed up by the different paintjobs we uncovered while resurfacing the roof.
Being in a house, deep in the country, is very nice. With it's beautiful scenery, bath, mains water, and all. But now the engine is sorted, we're both looking forward to getting back up there and using it again.
The universe smiled at us, with a well timed royalty windfall. Haven't seen the breakdown of which shows, and which countries yet, but I'm continually amazed that our music is still being broadcasted, when record companies spend millions on pushing their flavour of the month and identical bands down people's throats. We're also fully aware that we're not exactly spring chickens with flawless complexions anymore.
Doubt I'll be buying Fitzroy Square back off of Guy Ritchie anytime soon. But, the small trickle of funds does have a very real effect on our lifestyle. This time, it's paid for the gearbox overhaul. So we are very happy.
Thankyou... playlisters, schedulers, and producers.
Oh Dear. The gears aren't engaging, because our clutch plates are knackered. Just as we were getting used to manouevering the boat around, now it seems we won't be going anywhere, fast. To add insult to injury, 'Bukh' want £340 for a new plate. And we may need to replace both of them. £680. Plus mechanics hours.... Ouch.
Needless to say 'Bukh' weren't our favourite people, last night.
We debated whether to 'bin it off' and replace it with something cheaper and more powerful, but when it's working, it's a very nice, quiet and economical little engine. Tough choice. In the end, we decided to stick with it, get it working, and enjoy living our lives.
The upside is, once replaced, and treated with respect, it should last another 25 years. That's what I'm going to tell myself, when I lug it down to the post office, anyway.
Went for a late walk with Sumo, because the sun had been too fierce during the day. Delighted to find Narrowboat 'No Problem' tucked up in the bushes. Vic and Sue's blog was inspirational reading, back before we sold the house. When we were wondering what it was like to be liveaboard boaters and continuous cruisers. It was lovely to spot them out in the wild. Noticed Meg and Lucy off in the distance, but didn't want to impose ourselves on such a beautiful evening.
On our way back, Sumo tugged us towards Lucy to say hello. So we introduced ourselves to Sue, who promptly invited us back onboard for a cup of tea and a nosey! Completely gobsmacked at the warm and friendly hospitality towards a pair of strangers, we negotiated their gangplank without falling in, and admired their comfortable and elevated steering position.
Onboard, Vic explained the arcane art of Sky TV attenuation, and Sue told us how to use a compass to align the dish with the satellite. we petted Meg and Lucy, who were gorgeous. Sumo stomped in their water bowl, but was otherwise very well behaved. He then made a beeline for Vic, who gave him lots of fuss.
In the couple of hours we chatted, they gave us loads of useful advice, ranging from mooring up with pins, to chainsaws, to crossbeds. With many and varied subjects in-between. We marvelled at their beautifully fitted out boat interior, compared to the 'shabby chic' of ours. Particularly worthy of "wow", was their dinette, washing machine, fully removable windows, and LED lighting setup.
Thanks Vic and Sue, for inspiring us to "just go for it" in the first place, and your wonderful hospitality when we did finally meet up. Hope all your travels are happy.
An overcast day, with a few showers. But unusual, in that there was hardly any wind, and the river was barely moving. A perfect day for us to practice again, and make sure that everything is working as it should. Safe in the knowledge that the marina tug was there in case we got into any trouble, and with our 14kg Danforth anchor nestling in the well deck, we shoved off.
As usual, as soon as our rear end was out in mid channel, we got hit by a sudden gust of crosswind, which pivoted us back towards the bank. Then further. Towards the railway bridge! For a few moments, it looked like we'd be heading off downstream. But then the idiot on the tiller realised that the boat wasn't in gear.
With the propeller actually doing something, we pivoted round in our own length, and were able to carry on in the direction we'd originally intended. Took it all nice and slow. Did not panic. And the oil/filter change we'd done, seemed to have cleaned up the black smoke problem.
Enjoyed a delightful pootle up to Marlow. Got bumrushed by a big pleasure boat full of pensioners. But, thankfully, they'd passed before we had to turn around. It was intimidating to have such a large vessel steaming up behind us. But the pensioners all waving at us was nice. Unfortunately, slowing down and manouevering towards the bank, also meant we had to annoy 2 anglers. They looked a bit peeved, when we snuck around the bend, straight into their lines. But our sincere and genuine apologies seemed to dissolve the angry looks. Then we managed a perfect turnaround, and Sheena steered us most of the way back.
Another slightly hairy moment, just before mooring up again. But the hireboat was also turning around, and we both did syncronised turns that were simply beautiful. I'm also happy to report that we glided back onto the jetty in a textbook fashion. Engine off. Kettle on.
Didn't ram anything, run aground, or have any embarrassing incidents. Though we only covered bits of the river we knew, today was a great success in beating back the fear, and genuinely.... boating.
Our good friends Jonothan and Rachel were able to drop in, enroute to Wales and the Lake district. We didn't want to endanger them and their whole family by venturing out onto the river without an anchor, so we spent a nice sunny couple of hours just catching up, and feeding the ducks & geese.
Sumo got a lot of firstclass fuss from the girls, which he enjoyed very much. Then he climbed into the driving seat of the car to stop them driving away. This is the impressive list of foodstuffs we dispatched overboard.. 1x Baguette Roll 6x Doughnuts 1x Box of Breadsticks 6x Sausage Rolls 6x Pain au Chocalat 6x Crossaints
Nice to see you Jonothan and Rachel. Big wags from all of us.
Well impressed with our sticky lettering. We made the right decision in letting the professionals do it. Several people have already asked if it's signwritten, and I don't think they're just being kind. Great job, Damar Signs. Thanks..
It's been so hot in the boat, that milk has been going off in less than 24 hours. It's not a pleasant surprise to pour big curdled chunks over your coffee in the mornings. The fridge was 'new' allegedly, but it had never worked properly. Previously, I'd just turned it upside down. But this time I inverted it for an hour, turned it on it's side for twenty minutes, AND gave it a good shake. Which made it work!
We now have COLD STUFF and fresh milk onboard. Which is great.
Sorry for the lack of updates recently. Our dongle reception has gone from being rock solid, to severely patchy. And, most annoyingly, it always seems to drop out right in the middle of an online purchase.