No Direction

No Direction is our 70ft Narrowboat which is now home to my wife Jayne and myself, it was launched on 4th February 2008.

We spend the Winters in a Marina and cruise in the warmer weather.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Little Boats and Vikings

Friday/Saturday,29/30th July 2011
Moored at Shobnall.

The Festival opened at noon on Friday but the crowd numbers appeared to be on the thin side, but this is a big site so it may have been fuller than it looked.

A lot of the local clubs and societies have taken the opportunity to show people what they do, the Burton upon Trent Amateur Radio Club have erected a huge aerial which was winched  vertical, they then sit in their tent and jabber away with microphones.

Up goes the Aerial

It's up.     Ground Control To Major Tom.

The Viking's are here as well, the group goes by the name of Regia Anglorum and they take it very seriously. They did 2 shows today in the arena and will do another 2 tomorrow, (that's if theirs any of them left) The first show is called "Warrior training" and the second one is the "Battle".

 They made a lot of noise and waved sharp pointed sticks at each other.

We heard the Noise of a of a working boat approaching yesterday evening but when I looked out of the side door all I could see was "mini boat" Eagle towing 2 men in a canoe, the one in the front was holding the remote control unit and the one in the rear had a double paddle to keep the Canoe straight, we recognised the remote control operator as Rob Goodman who moored his Narrowboat Grace (full size) next to us at this event when it was held at Wolverhampton in 2008, Rob had fitted out Grace himself and the quality of the fitout was so good that his boat won best in show and best amateur fitout, beating many professional boat builders, he has now turned his skill to very accurate models.

Mini Boat Eagle, there's a 3 metre rope attached towing the Canoe.

As well as looking correct with miniature sacks in the hold it also made the right noise which decreased when it slowed down and yes it had puffs of smoke from the exhaust.

There are lots of Awards given out at the Festival for various achievements and displays so I have awarded the prize for the saddest looking rear fender to the boat moored opposite us over the weekend.

And the winner is !!

Got to go now as it's 10.15pm and the flower boxes need watering.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Costa Del Shobnall

Thursday, July 28th July.
Moored at Shobnall.

The passing place system we mentioned in the last blog seems to be working as boat traffic through the Festival site is flowing smoothly.

And they mean it.

A boat comes through.

Things get a bit tight by the footbridge as an Historic boat towing a butty come through

The weather has been very warm today, a bit to warm for me, we set up the RBOA stand this afternoon in the Premier Marquee when Vice Chairman Rex Walden arrived with his car loaded with boxes.

RBOA stand, ready for the show opening at noon on Friday.

An amusing article from the "Shobnall Shoveler",  the Festival news letter which is produced every day.    The organisers mark the moorings with white marker paint on the grass between the towpath and canal, they were all finished at midday on Wednesday when a British Waterways contractor turns up and starts mowing the grass, removing the markings, he was spoken to and told to go away.

Now for a few pictures from around the Festival site.

The device in this picture is a special type of plough (my description) when lowered behind the mini tractor it cuts and lifts just enough turf to bury a cable or water pipe.

Garden sheds for Lottery winners. (or MP's)

Midland Chandlers offering 15% discount which brings their prices down to everyone elses level.

Steamer President & Butty Kildare arrived today.

Generator was playing up tonight, it cut out after running for 2 minutes, it will get spoken to in the morning,  as is normal at the Festival, boats can only run engines/generators for battery charging between 8.30 and 10.00 am and 6.00 to 7.30 pm. everbody sticks to it as well.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Eventually we get to Burton

Wednesday, 27th July 2011.
Kings Bromley to Shobnall
12 miles, 13 Locks.

Jayne had her tooth fixed this morning and we left the Marina around 10 o'clock, first lock, Wood End, Straight through, the next 5 locks through Fradley were being operated by I.W.A and "The Friends of Fradley" Volunteers so little delay there despite a hire boat Trying to turn around at the Junction.

If Heineken ran the Canals all Locks would be operated for you.

We stopped at the egg farm just before Alrewas, the owners live on a Narrowboat moored on the opposite side to the Towpath so it's easy to stop along side there boat, a dozen extra large eggs are now in the cupboard.

At the Alrewas visitor moorings we past a Cruiser which had just lost the propeller from it's Outboard Motor, I could have recommended Halfie. who specialises in finding lost Propellers.

The Propeller-less Outboard Motor

There were also Volunteers operating Alrewas Lock when we arrived, we were warned of a long queue of boats at the next Lock, Wychnor Lock, due to a fault causing it to fill slowly, the warning was well founded as we found ourselves 14th in the queue, we were delayed for almost 3 hours.

After clearing Wychnor Lock we had no futher delays and arrived at Shobnall about 7.30, the Harbour Master pointed out our reserved mooring spot which is on the Towpath side, on the opposite side the Festival workers boats are moored 2 abreast which leaves the channel for boats passing through only 1 boat wide, so what happens when 2 boats meet travelling in the opposite, well one of them will have to pull into a passing place, these are gaps left in the line of moorings and signed" Passing Place" tomorrow we will see if it works.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Blog 126, (can't think of a title)

Monday, 25 July 2011
Moored at Kings Bromley Marina.

The usual  hold up at Fradley Locks are eased for a week or so as I.W.A Volunteers work boats through, unfortunately the relief is only a temporary measure to help boats get to the I.W.A. Festival at Burton, we were down at Fradley in the car on Sunday morning and the Volunteers looked well organised with Windlass's ( or are they lock keys ) and life jackets, but guess who forgot to take a picture.

The reason we called in at Fradley was to pick up Cheese from the Cheeseboat which has been moored there over the the weekend, my Mother and her Sister think it's wonderful stuff so we bought them a selection.

Should keep them busy for a while.

Six different flavours which include, Amber Mist with Whisky, Brandy Braf with Apricots and Brandy, Pickle Power with Pickled Onions and Cennin Cenarth with White Wine.

After buying the Cheese we drove up to Leeds for Sunday Lunch with our Daughter and her Partner, it was well worth the journey, before Lunch Jayne was presented with a homemade birthday cake in the shape of our boat No Direction.

The water looks a bit rough.

Today I have been busy with the paint brush again and Jayne has been compiling a list for a big shop on Tuesday ready for our trip to Burton.

The pretty bits are not my work only the green and black.

After reading about "Favicon's" on Jim's Starcross blog, we now have one, I know, we're all like sheep, baaah.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Paint & Things

Saturday 23rd July 2011
Moored in Kings Bromley Marina.

Nothing much to blog about, Jayne chipped a tooth on Wednesday and it's not going to be fixed until next Wednesday morning at 8.30 so that has delayed our departure to the I.W.A. Festival, we had planned to travel there on Tuesday, a day later won't make any difference.

Finally got round to re-painting the front and rear of the boat, the new paint looks a bit bright when compared with the original which is over 3 years old but it will calm down after a few weeks.

All nice and shiny again

If anyone fancies a job as a Marina manager there's a vacancy at Kings Bromley, the present manager Darrel and his wife Pat are retiring and moving to Scotland.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Wheeler Dealing

Wednesday, 13th July 2011.
Moored in Kings Bromley Marina.

As we plan to cruise the Shropshire Union Canal later this year and bearing in mind the difficulty mooring close to the side in certain places due to the rocks below the water, we have followed other boaters and bought a couple of wheels which, when tethered with the right length of rope will float on their side and act as very large fenders, (we hope).

Diameter is 14 inch's

We could have used old car wheels but thought they would be heavy and look tatty when stored on the roof so today we drove to our local Tool Station and bought two new plastic wheels with pneumatic tyres, £26.50 the pair, that's cheaper than Screwfix, their price is £31.98

Next it was into Birmingham to Rapid Paints, makers of "Narrowboat Paint", I needed another litre of Black to paint the sides of No Direction, I prefer to travel and buy it direct from the manufacturer as paint has a shelf life,  I know one chandlery where some of the paint has been on the shelf for 2 years already.

Thursday the paint went on and dried quickly in the warm weather, with rain forecast for the next few days the rest of the paint touching up will have to wait.

The rain couldn't have come at a worst time for the Volunteers who start work at the I.W.A. Festival site this weekend, they have 2 weeks to get all the fencing up and the moorings sorted plus hundreds of other jobs, you can check on their progress at the blog is written by one of the volunteers.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Alvecote Weekend

Friday, Saturday & Sunday
8/9/10th July 2011
Moored at Alvecote.

The weekend was not really a boatie types event, there were around 35 Historic Working Boats moored in the Marina and a couple more outside but only about 12 modern boats, most of the people around on Saturday were there for the pub.

Sunday was the main day with the Alvecote Summer Fair scheduled to start at noon, stalls were being set up in the car park from 9 am with charity stalls and childrens rides, the forecasted rain stayed away and by 2 o'clock the fair was packed, there was a small display of old Motorcycles in one corner of the car park and the Cheeseboat was doing a roaring trade.

A 1960 B.S.A.

We ate in the Samuel Barlow pub twice over the weekend, the chef Paul, an Australian spends as much time out with the customers chatting and making sure everything is ok as he does cooking ( or supervising the staff ), the food was excellent, no menu's as everything is on the blackboard,  the drinks prices are reasonable as well, the pub is quite small, one room down stairs and a function room upstairs, all with full disabled access, you eat downstairs in the bar area, unusually dogs are allowed in but we don't find that a problem as a well behaved dog is infinitely preferable to a badly behaved small human.

Del Boy has fallen on hard times.

I went for a short walk on Sunday morning and found this well known van, three wheel Reliants used to be made in Tamworth.

 The factory was at Fazeley on the old A5, you could smell the Glass Fibre as you went past the place ( Reliants had Glass Fibre Bodies ) they also made a couple of four wheeled model's, but I think they are remembered for the Three wheelers. The factory has now been replaced by a housing estate.

One reason behind the Three wheel configuration and lightweight body was to keep it below a certain weight,  (8 Hundredweight I think) so that it could be driven on a Motorcycle licence and pay lower road tax, but if you did drive it on a Motorcycle Licence reverse gear had to be blanked off, it sounds mad now but things like that were normal in the fifties and sixties.

So that's the weekend over, tomorrow afternoon we will arrive back in Kings Bromley Marina for a two week stay.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Where's Summer Gone ?.

Thursday 7th July 2011.
Fazeley to Alvecote.
4 Miles and 2 Locks.

We had very heavy rain last night, it woke Jayne but not me, the first I knew about it was when I saw big puddles on the towpath this morning.

We left Fazeley around 9.30, through the 2 Glascote locks and arrived at Alvecote at 11.30, we are moored next to the Cheeseboat but not the one we normally see this is Cheeseboat 2, crewed by Canadians selling Welsh cheese on the English canals, what ever next !

Moored next to Cheeseboat 2.

We put the Bunting and RBOA banner up after lunch

The wind was very strong around midday but has died off now, tomorrow rain is forecast.

Relax and watch the boats go past, open air lounge at the Samual Barlow.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

On the Move Again

Wednesday 6th July 2011.
Kings Bromley to Fazeley.
13 Miles  3 Locks.

Our 2 weeks in the Marina has past quickly, and today we set off again, only a short trip this time to Alvecote Marina for their Summer fair and Boat Gathering this weekend where we are flying the RBOA flag. 

 It was raining hard when I got up but around 8.30 the sun was trying to break through and apart from a short shower we had a dry journey.  The Canal wasn't that busy considering it's July and we had an uneventful trip apart from meeting a hireboat that failed to make a bend and went straight on into the trees.

We had intended to get to Alvecote in one day but ended up mooring at Fazeley, it's like that when you live on a boat, the urgency just disappears, I walked over to the Tesco Express to get Salad for our meal tonight, I always find Fazeley a busy place, chip shop, 3 or 4 restaurants, Tesco's, a pub, garage, chemist and hundreds of cars.

Tomorrow we get to Alvecote around lunch time, we will be moored next to the Cheese Boat right outside the pub according to a phone call tonight from the organisers, which will be handy.