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.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Someone's On Our Roof !!

Tuesday 25th December 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Late last night while we were in bed we felt the boat rock and heard a noise on the roof, we went out and spotted a man wearing a red suit, carrying a sack, and muttering about small chimneys with fires still burning.

Having problems with small boat chimneys.
He wasn't happy about being photographed and let us know,
his language was terrible, good job there were only
old children around.
Fortunately Jayne's presents, an ipad and a phone upgrade had arrived a couple of days earlier.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Boat Names with a Musical Link part 4.

Monday, 24th  December, 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Only 1 day to go, we're getting very excited now, hope Santa got our letter Email.

OK, you've arrived at the 4th and final part of "Boat Names with a Musical Link".  All the boats are moored at Kings Bromley Marina.  I had to be careful creeping around photographing boats, you don't know if anyone's on board, or if their dog might be hungry !!!

Serendipity,  you decide.
Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
Bridge over Troubled Waters.  Simon and Garfunkel.
Slow Motion,  ok if you like rap, we don't.
Suzy Q,  Suzi Quatro.
Tangled up in blue.  Bob Dylan 1975.
Led  Zeppelin.
That is defiantly the end of "Boat Names with a Musical Link" you'll be glad to read, now  we can get on with enjoying Christmas, we'll blog tomorrow to let you know if Santa made it onto the roof of No Direction.
       Happy Christmas. 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Shrinking Quality Street.

Sunday, 23rd December 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a tin of Quality Street chocolates, first produced in 1936 by Mackintosh, later by Rowntree Mackintosh and now by Nestle, my mother always buys a tin for us, the sweets were £5 last year and the same price this year, a bargain, or is it.

We kept last years empty tin, it's full of various bits and pieces in a cupboard, this years tin looks roughly the same but is about 10mm less in height, a check on the underside reveals that last year the contents were 1kg, this year the contents are 820g.

Last years tin on the left.

Friday, 21 December 2012

What To Buy The Dog Who Has Everything

Friday, 21st December 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Our Daughter has a 7 year old Staffie, it came from a dog rescue centre a few months ago so may not have had the best of times previously.

However, for Diesel (the name he came with)  life has certainly changed for the better, he now lives in a warm house with his own memory foam bed, gets a walk in the morning and another in the evening, at weekends he goes to the park for a good run.

Every couple of months he's off to the local dog pampering salon for a claw manicure, ear clean and shower, the dog must think he's died and gone to heaven.

As is a Staffie's nature he loves a good chew and can destroy most dog toys in an afternoon, however we found a toy which lasts a lot longer, it's a thick rope with knots at the end, we had bought him one previously and tied an extra knot in the middle to slow him down even more, so for Christmas he's getting another in a different colour.

 Today we called into a Pet Superstore at Lichfield and bought him another rope.
This should last a couple of months, he also gets a notice for the window to warn intruders they may end up being chewed as well. 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Boat Names with a Musical Link part 3.

Thursday, 20th December 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

We're really getting into the Christmas spirit now.

Welcome to the third part of "Boat Names with a Musical Link", well, at least your still clicking on it.

Electric Light Orchestra,  from Birmingham.
I've never heard of Sandy Denny
But I have heard of  Reginald Kenneth Dwight
To be on your own
 With no direction home
 Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone.
Fireman Sam,  The Great Fire Of Pontypandy !!.
go on, it's worth a click.
 The Common Sandpiper is a small wading bird, and all birds sing.

The end of another gripping blog. Part 4 to follow.



Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Bits and Bobs.

Wednesday, 19th December 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

The new Kings Orchard Marina at Streethay has announced that it will open on the 3rd of June next year, the first phase will have moorings for forty plus boats, although it appears that they're still having problems connecting to mains electricity as they mention generators being used to power things until a mains connection is completed, due to this they are offering a further reduction in mooring fee's. The second phase of the marina will be constructed at a later date.

Yesterday we went out for a very leisurely lunch with our friends Michael and Val, they are liveaboards who winter at Barton Marina, we picked them up in the car and drove to The Albion at Shobnall, it's a Marstons two for one pub and is not far from Shobnall Marina, Michael and Val are about to start their eighteenth year living afloat and are a mine of boating information.

Christmas lights have been going up on boats at Kings Bromley, some since the begining of December which is a bit to soon for us, we put ours up last weekend.

The red rope lights are about five years old now,
the blue twinklers were bought earlier this year.
We always buy Xmas decorations in January, 50% off !

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Taking Care of Safety.

Tuesday, 18th December, 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

There is simply no excuse these days for boats not to be fitted with smoke detectors and a CO detector.

We called Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service back in 2009 after reading a leaflet pinned on the notice board at the Marina, we arranged for them to inspect our boat and fit smoke detectors in the area's where they though they would be most beneficial.

Their view was that four would cover the boat and supplied them free of charge, they were prepared to fit them, but we fitted them ourselves, only two screws each.

The name on the detectors is "Fire Angel" and are described as toast proof, meaning that they don't go off when cooking or making toast (bit obvious that).

We hope we never hear it.
We have one fitted at the front of the boat in the area where the solid fuel stove is, another in the kitchen, one in the bedroom and one at the rear in what we call the utility room where the washing machine and electrical cupboard are, we already had a CO detector and followed the advice regarding the best location.

We test them regularly, last week we found one not working so removed it, Jayne called into Lichfield fire station and explained the situation and was offered not only a free replacement but another visit.  So on Friday afternoon a Fire Appliance came through the gates and turned onto the carpark, two of the crew came down to the boat, one carrying a large plastic toolbox.

Once on board they replaced the faulty detector, had a general look around including the solid fuel stove and gave advice about what to do in case of a fire including escape routes, I often think about that when we see boats with people on board and a padlock on the rear access hatch.

There's no excuse for not having smoke detectors, there free and so is the professional advice.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Boat Names with a Musical Link part 2.

Monday, 17th, December 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Welcome to the second instalment of Boat names with a Musical Link.

Tricky one, how about James R Flynn.
Plenty of options for this one.
Freebird, Lynyrd Skynyrd, it doesn't get much better than this.
 Genesis, not really my stuff.
Jaybee, he has a website so must be good.
Diamond Jubilee song, did Gary Barlow get his O.B.E, for this?
An Australian band apparently.
Thats all for this exicting second edition but don't worry there's two more coming.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Marina Prepares for Christmas.

Sunday, 16th December 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

This looks suspiciously like a modern version of a vehicle which in our youth was called " A Black Maria" or "Paddy Wagon" obviously things have changed since then, mainly the colour.
Why is it parked at the Marina ?, maybe their expecting a boisterous Christmas period.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Boat Names with a Musical Link. part 1

Saturday,15th, December 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Walking round the Marina it struck me that many boat names could have a musical connection. So here goes, part one of "Boat Names with a Musical Link".   I admit that some of these link's are a bit tenuous but they do exist and it is Christmas after all.

Easy one, early Fleetwood Mac.

Puff, the magic dragon, lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee.

Blue Moon, written in 1934.
Blue Moon again, It's also sung by Manchester City fans.
Camberwick Green, a band I've never heard of, but Google had.
Absolute Classic Rock,   It's a radio station.
Elizabeth, getting desperate now.
Part two will follow whenever I can't find anything else to blog about, cheer up, it can only get better.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Everyone's Feeling The Cold.

13th, December 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Being a Duck, Goose or Moorhen must be hard this time of year, the waters covered in ice and the grounds rock hard so we try and help, they seem to enjoy a bit of wild bird food.

A few handfuls keeps them busy for hours.

We buy our bird food from Princes farm, it's  a couple of miles away from the marina on the A513, they also sell free range eggs, proper ones.

Chickens roaming around, you have be careful as you drive
into the yard, chickens don't have much road sense.
Should last a couple of weeks.
We also have a couple of the more cheeky ducks walk up the jetty and eat from a bowl outside our side doors.
This lady has a damaged leg, it's been like it all year
we don't know whether she will survive the winter.
She manages to eat ok and holds her own with the
other ducks, but this time of year it's survival of the fittest.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Having a Bad Day.

Wednesday, 12th, December.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Sailors should always study their charts.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Around The Marina.

Tuesday, 11th December 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

We've moored a boat a Kings Bromley Marina since July 2007, we had first approached them for a mooring a couple of months earlier, at the time it was owned by Land and Water, the people who built it, we left our name and number and went onto the waiting list, at the time we owned a 41ft boat and were moored at Fazeley Mill. King's Bromley was sold to Castle Marina's at the end of 2007.

We started  planning our new boat in March 2007, it was going to be 70 footer.

The moorings at Fazeley Mill were on very long jetties with boats moored end to end with a gap between the rows wide enough to get a boat through, this required that boats had to be either reversed in or out between other boats, if you were on the end of the row it made life easy but you had a very long walk to your boat. They didn't have room for anymore 70ft boats and we fancied a change.

After a couple of months we had a call from Daz, the manager at the time to say there was a berth available, we went over the following weekend and were offered a "Super Berth" these were all 70ft with double jetties which means a jetty on both sides of the boat, (great for window cleaning but not for touching up the blacking).

We accepted the berth as it was the only one, our 41ft boat looked lost as most of the others on the super berths were 60 feet or longer.

We asked to stay on the waiting list for when a cheaper single jetty berth became available and one came up just in time for when we took delivery of No Direction in February 2008, we then asked to go on the waiting list for an end of line mooring which is where we are now, we have a boat moored on one side but on the other side we have a view over a small grass peninsular.

Our mooring.

View from the front of our boat.
Part of the "Super Berth" moorings, the white stuff in the distance
is from the cooling towers at Rugeley power station.

As the marina is not connected to mains sewers, all the waste from the toilets,showers and laundry block goes into this tank where bacteria gets to work and and all that's left is clear water which runs into a nearby brook. The only problem I can remember was when some bright spark ignored all the signs and emptied a portable toilet tank in the toilet block, the "blue" knocked out the bacteria, it took 2 weeks for them to recover during which the facilities were closed.
This is where the numskull should have emptied their portable
toilet, it goes into an underground tank and is taken away
by road tanker. On the right is a small library.
Christmas tree's up.
Although we try and cruise from April/May till October we retain the mooring all year. The Marina isn't the smartest around, the toilet/laundry block is a bit basic, the roads aren't tarmac and there's no bus service but the attraction for us is the location which gives us a choice of cruising routes to take, there's no pub or club on site causing a noise, the grass is always cut, there's plenty of shrubs and trees, and, it's not far from Lichfield.

Monday, 10 December 2012

From Coal to Internet Shopping

Monday, 10th December 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Love it or hate it,  Internet shopping is here to stay and one of the largest Internet shops, Amazon opened a new centre in Rugeley in August 2011.

The Flair building, as it's called, is part of a business park which has been built on the site of the old Lea Hall Colliery which closed in 1990 after operating for 30 years and producing 37 million tons of coal.

The huge building, which at 700.000 square feet is one of the biggest in the UK was empty for 2 years before Amazon took a 15 year lease at a cost of £42million.

Its very big.
44 loading bays and almost as many on the other side.
Around 700 people are employed which swells to 1300 over the Christmas period. In the seventies and eighties the main employers were the pit and the power station but after the pit closed and the power station became more automated things were bleak, the new business park must be a welcome sight for local people.

Not many signs like this around.
The business park has grown quickly and with it all the usual add on's, McDonald's, Premier Inn and a pub called "The Collier".

Lea Hall Colliery was started at the same time as Rugeley "A" power station with the coal going from pit head to the power station on conveyor belts, Rugeley "A" power station was replaced in the seventies by Rugeley "B", the original eventually being demolished, the cooling towers and new gas desulfurization plant dominate the skyline for miles around.

Rugeley power Station 2012, now owned by a multinational
 and fired by coal brought in by train.