Saturday, 3 November 2018

New blog is up

I’ve just published the first post in the new blog: Just One More Darn Boat. It’s a new blog, so give me time to tweak the appearance – I’m not at all sure about the pink!

Incidentally, I’m now using BlogTouch Pro to compose these posts on the iPad. It’s early days, but it seems mostly ok so far, only had it crash once!

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Here we go again

We’ve decided that we might be getting old. Sanity Again is a wonderful boat, but at 70’ and 23 tonnes displacement she can be quite a handful to heave about on a mooring or lock landing. We thought about getting a shorter used boat, but couldn’t see anything we liked. So it’s going to have to be a new boat, a Braidbar naturally, and the next build slot is not until early February/late March 2021.

After an email exchange with Donna and a phone call with James, we’ve booked that slot.

I’m going to repeat what I did with SA and keep a separate blog about it. There’s nothing up there yet, but I’ll give the link here when there’s something to read. As before, I’ll do occasional posts about our design thinking in the run up to the build and then probably a weekly one once the build is underway. What I can say here is that the theme will be minimum maintenance and a modern approach in a much shorter boat.

We’re really looking forward to working with James and his team – I reckon he’s the most exciting designer in his field these days.

Monday, 15 October 2018

What’s up?

I’ve had a couple of queries from followers as to what we’ve been up to since getting back to Mercia in July, so I thought I should do a quick catch up. The drought meant that it wasn’t possible to get to the Owners’ Weekend by boat as the Bosley Lock flight was closed. So Elanor gave us a lift there on the Thursday and we stayed in the Adlington Travelodge for the weekend, relying on the kindness of fellow owners for getting to and fro.

Despite the rain, the weekend went well. We had seven boats to show off and the weather meant that virtually all the visitors were serious about potentially buying a boat. Orders taken since the event means that the next available build slot is a start in 2021, not earlier than March (though that slot may be gone by now).

Since then, we’ve been living in the lodge and doing various bits of maintenance of both the boat and the lodge. We’ve a programme of work to do on Sanity Again, running repairs and cleaning, mostly.

Thinking ahead, we may well take a trip down the South Oxford next Spring, going on from there to Crick for the Show, then back to Mercia for health stuff. After that, we might go down the Trent to Torksey and so to Lincoln and Boston again.

Possibly, depending on the weather and our mood...

Sunday, 22 July 2018

A bit of excitement on the way home

We had a couple of interesting experiences on the way home yesterday. First off, there was the body on the towpath above Tatenhill lock. Lying on the waterside edge of the towpath, this old dear was curled up on her side with some belongings nearby. I couldn't get the boat in before the lock landing, so Elanor had a bit of a walk back to her, wondering what she was going to find.

In fact she was just asleep with her glasses neatly on the ground beside her and her head resting on her handbag. Later on, as we were entering the lock, I saw her stand up, turn round and lie down again.

Just seemed an odd place for a kip, that's all.

Secondly, we've previously had bother persuading Sanity Again to leave Dallow lock when working downhill, but this time she was firmly aground and flatly refused to move. In the end, I had to draw a top paddle and flush her out. Once she was moving, I dropped the paddle and she promptly stopped again. I had to leave the paddle up until she was clear of the lock.

The pound was a bit down, but not that much. There's just too much silt in the bottom of that lock. I've emailed CRT via the website about it – they don't seem to publish email addresses for individual waterway offices any more, so I've bunged another email off to Damian Kemp at head office about that, too.

We're now back in the lodge, hiding from the sun and catching up with the laundry. Next trip will be towards the end of this month, on our way to Poynton for the Braidbar Owners' Weekend. If there's any water to boat in by then, of course...

Friday, 20 July 2018

Alright in Alrewas

A pleasant if routine run has brought us to Alrewas, leaving Kings Orchard just on half seven and arriving at a bit after ten. It was my turn to steer and for once I made the turn off the Coventry and into Junction Lock in one smooth sweep despite the audience of one volocky.

We had a straightforward trip down the locks, Sheila, Elanor and Sally lockwheeling. There was a moderate amount of traffic, so I had to hold back above Common for a while, no problem on an airless day. We've tied above Bagnall as usual.

After coffee, Sheila and I walked into the village to get a last batch of supplies including pasties for lunch from Coates. It's actually been raining a bit this afternoon, but the main shower is scheduled for six o'clock, just when I'm due to fetch the fish and chips.

We'll return to Mercia tomorrow – I won't blog about that unless there's something unusual to report.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Retracing our steps

We're getting into a routine with Elanor and Sally on board. Sheila and I get our breakfasts, walk Sally and give her her breakfast, then start boating. This lets Elanor have a lie in, being on her hols, but if she wants to get some steering, she has to get going before we finish for the day...

We've come all the way back to Kings Orchard, it being a very pleasant morning for boating, so Whittington was too soon and we decided we'd rather have a bit of road noise here rather than a lot of train noise at Huddlesford.

Elanor did a good chunk of steering, including the tricky stuff through Huddlesford with a fair bit of traffic the other way. It's a good mooring here and we've had only one untoward incident when a rather scruffy Serenity (one of the many) scraped all down the side of Sanity Again. When I remonstrated (quite calmly) the steerer said "It wasn't that bad"!!!

Must have been watching a TV programme featuring a pair of ageing actors...

We managed to get the roof, bow deck and well deck washed before lunch and have been taking it easy this afternoon. Tomorrow, on to Alrewas.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

A curious pub and heading back

We walked the mile back up to the Dog and Doublet for dinner last night. I'm left with mixed impressions of it. The food was very good – two excellent pieces of pie and a sirloin steak, all with chips – and I had a decent pint of Abbot Ale. But Sheila's Kipling was newly tapped and a bit cloudy and the only dark beer available was Guinness.

It's very much a locals' pub and the smallish bar was full of large men and their dogs. In days of yore, no respectable woman would go in a pub by herself and even when accompanied would expect her companion to enter first. Those days are long gone, and quite right too, but it felt as if the old rules applied in the Dog. I didn't feel that much at home myself.

So we ate outside, with Sally quite on edge with so many other dogs around, and didn't stay for a second drink. I doubt if we'll go back.

We had a straightforward run back to Fazeley and have tied on the exact same rings we used two nights ago. A bit more shopping has been done in much more comfortable weather. In fact, as Sheila and I came out of Sainsbury's, some wet stuff started falling out of the sky.

There's a name for that, can't quite remember it...

Tomorrow, back to Whittington or Huddlesford or Kings Orchard. Somewhere, anyway.