Monday, 26 April 2010

New View

view from front doorSteve sorted out the battery bank, and popped the engine back in. The mooring under the crane was needed for other boats, so we were moved by tug up to the last space at the end. Which is a fortuitous 60ft long.

what we wake up to
Away from the hustle and bustle of the Marina/Restuarant, and with no other liveaboard boaters around, it's beautifully peaceful up here. We're making the most out of every single minute afloat.

Sunday, 25 April 2010


The big urinalWe all took the 'Virgin Cross Country' train up to Sheffield. Via Oxford, so we wouldn't have to change at Birmingham. Pete the guard (sorry, train manager) made everybody's life as miserable as he possibly could. We arrived quite stressed out. Even though some kind gentleman who was travelling up from Derby gave Sumo a sausage. Went for an early evening stroll to unwind, and a nice bloke called Clark tried to sell us some beers.

Sumo likes Sheffieldnice coffeeMoon over Car park
We enjoyed a fine lunch with Martin and Richard in the sunshine. I had the calimari, Sheena abstained, and the guys had pizza. In the afternoon, we soundchecked and had a practise run.

The inaugural MFRA gig went really well. Richard H. Kirk delivered a great DJ set. Nobody got bored or walked out during the screening. And the audience applauded very loudly at the end. Afterwards, we all got incredibly drunk at the novotel bar, and I laughed so much it made my skull hurt.

Pete, the fascist guard wasn't on our return train. So we had a much more relaxing journey on the way home. Played 'spot the canal/boat' and the time went pretty quickly.

Sunday, 18 April 2010


Somebody left a free pair of sunglasses on the cruiser stern. Presume it was the same person who tapped on the roof at 2am, causing Sumo to give them 7 woofs. (bark protectively).

free shades
The marina was heaving with people again, so we walked up the hill across the river. I found a rope swing, and had good fun swinging about for 5 minutes. Before Sumo decided he'd attach himself to the rope, and dangle bodily from the knot. Game Over.

posh rope swingA few flings of chuckie ring later, and we finally attained the summit. He behaved really well. No running off out of sight, and no rolling in miscellaneous poo.

top of the hillno planes againOn the way back, he had a good old dunk in the river, and now he's knackered. Convivial early evening chit-chat and birdsong fills the air.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Hot Dogs

Another beautifully sunny aeroplane free day.

The bounty pub was full. The river was full. The marina was full. Everybody was out buffing up their boats, and showing off their 100K landrovers. Saw about a dozen narrowboats go downstream, but none came back up. And somebody fell in from a dinghy while messing about.

knackered shower pump
Tried to investigate the shower pump, but was only able to ascertain that it pops 15 amp fuses as soon as it's turned on. My not-so-professional opinion is that it's knackered. Oh well, at least we can get to it for disassembly now.

hot dog
Sumo was hot, so I took him for a splash about up near the swans, and the marsh that has dried out. Mr 'dissapointing ice' was there. But everyone else had stopped for tea & pimms by then, so it was remarkably peaceful after the mad boat parade of earlier on in the day.

opposite the cabbage fieldlooking downstream ~ not a plane in the sky
No flights to/from the UK until Monday.
More sunny weather is forecast.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Sound of Silence

You tied it up like the Titanic!

Peter liked my no-nonsense style of mooring.
But they favour a quick release method here..

for quick release
Enjoyed another beautifully sunny day. Made all the more so, because all flights are grounded in the UK, and there are no contrails cluttering up the sky. Can't remember when I last heard no noise from planes. At all. Probably won't ever hear or see it ever again. Truly remarkable.

Painted the well deck in the morning. And went for a nice bimble across the river in the afternoon. The only low spot was when Sumo decided he'd eat and roll in every piece of poo he found. Took chuckie ring, but he wasn't interested. Even a dunk in the river didn't shift it, so had to use the Dry foam shampoo. He's now asleep and snoring on the couch.

I had pork spare ribs and beans for tea, accompanied by charlotte potatoes drizzled with chives and butter. Oh, and the Atlantis 42's finally started it's journey up to Scotland on the back of a bigass truck. Didn't take any pictures, because it wasn't that exciting. Just another monument to an overly rich man's ego. At least the Big Baloo gets his daylight back now.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Sunny Spring Day

Another beautiful day, with full on sunshine.

Job 1 - Disassembled the Thermostat housing. New gaskets are being made in Reading. Ordered two sets, in case the job ever needs doing again.

disassembled thermostat housing
Job 2 - Removed bow storage lockers and rusty gunk from underneath. Wirebrushed, rust-killed and undercoated with red oxide.

all gone rust
Job 3 - Drilled 3 small holes in Pumpout rinse valve. This is to let the fresh air in, and allow nasty whiffs to escape, without stinking out the boat.

for ventilation
It was too hot for Sumo to be out in the day, so I took him for a nice splash in the river, after everybody else had gone home.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


stripped it with NitromorsThis was leaking. With the kind help of other boaters, I now know that it's our engine's thermostat housing. They also told me how to get it off, and how to fix the leaks. If the big brass bit is welded onto the engine body, it's (allegedly) quite a simple task to redo the joint again. If it's not, then all that needs doing is to replace a couple of gaskets, and make sure the top screws are torqued correctly when tightened up. Then I can slap some more red paint on it. job done.

Looked more serious than it actually was.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Bat TV

At around 8.30 every evening, we're treated to a flying bat display, which is every bit as syncronised as the RAF's Red Arrows. They zoom around in a 3 dimensional circular space, skimming quite close down to the waterline, and fairly often, come right up to our windows. Maybe it's their mating season? Unfortunately, our bat knowledge is minimal. And they fly way too fast to photograph. Sorry.

But a bit of googling, reveals that there are at least three types of bat on the thames. Which are... Natterer's bats.... Noctule bats... Daubenton's bats... It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the wingspan is much larger than the ones we used to see in Devon.

noctule batBats of London

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Flackwell Heath

The sun came out, and it was a beautiful hot day. We took a walk up 'Blind Lane', which turned out to be a long steep hill. On the way, we passed many paranoid rich people's houses with tall security fences and CCTV cameras dotted all around their periphery. Eventually, we arrived at this...

Flackwell Heath

Friday, 9 April 2010


ooh arr
It's not too clear from this terrible picture. But we think 'The Wurzels' and their families were on the hireboats moored by the opposite bank. There were three of them, playing accordion, guitar, boran, and tin whistle. They played for a couple of hours. Entertaining folk music which drifted across the river enchantingly. I'm not usually a big fan of folky-type-music. But their joyful little tunes enchanced the day, and the break in the clouds.. perfectly. Then they dissapeared off downstream, never to be seen again.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

New Chimney

Our old plain black chimney looked cool, in a 'Steamboat Willy' kind of way. But it was corroded all around the collar, and full of holes which you could see through. It looked like somebody had peppered it with a shotgun. Naturally, this reduced it's draw and efficiency. We couldn't find a 21" replacement anywhere on the net (they're either 18" or 24"), so we opted for the 24" which should help to keep tar off the roof. Works fine. And hopefully, it will still fit under low bridges without having to remove it.

off with the old
on with the new
sunset by the crane

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Font ~ Willow

narrowboat dogmaWe've decided on this font for our name.
Distinctive, with no cheese factor.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Sumo is 6

Bone on the Boat
Sumo enjoyed his sixth birthday on the boat. We're glad he doesn't have to contend with the steep back garden steps anymore. Or suffer next door's two cats winding him up. He seems to be very relaxed and happy afloat. The same as us.

Took him for a nice afternoon walk on the nature reserve. Where the concrete factory store their aggregate under the lake. Unfortunately, we walked round the wrong way, and ended up close to the sewage treatment works. Which was a bit whiffy. But it is a lovely peaceful place, though.

aggregate storage areaman made lake