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.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Timed it Right

Thursday 31st May 2012.
Braunston to Buckby
4.5 miles, 6 Locks and 1 Tunnel.

Today we had planned to move up the Braunston Locks, the rain stopped at 9.30 so we got going, as we tied up on the lock mooring for the bottom lock someone shouted across from a boat outside the Chandlery that they would come up the locks with us, this was good news as it was Phil who owns Wharf House Narrowboats which is situated close to the bottom lock, he was taking a boat to the Crick Boat Show and had plenty of helpers, in fact we didn't have to operate any of the locks, his crew did the lot, what a result. 

The Admiral Nelson pub (hiding behind the bush) by lock 3 is open again, 
 British Waterways have suspended mooring in the lock flight
so they won't be getting to many boaters in. 

I noticed a worthwhile modification to the lock gates, an extra piece of timber supported by steel brackets had been fitted during the winter to try and prevent the front fenders of boats getting caught in the gates as the boat desends, with possible disastrous results.

With a coat of black paint the extra bit will look like it's always been there, not all the lock gates had these extra bits added so perhaps it's an ongoing thing.

We are now moored on the visitor moorings above Buckby top lock, we did consider going down the flight after lunch but it started raining so tomorrow will do.

Still Around Braunston.

Mon 28th, Tues 29th, Wed 30th May 2012.
Brinklow to Braunston.
15 Miles, 3 Locks.

Monday we cruised from Brinklow to Braunston, there was a volunteer lock keeper on Hillmorton top lock, just as we were about to leave the lock a lady arrived from a boat waiting to go down hill, saw the lockie and asked if there would be a lock keeper on all the locks, she looked disappointed when the answer was no.

We moored just past the Boathouse pub at about 2 o'clock, there was plenty of space, by 5 o'clock the smell of food wafting across got the better of us so went over for a meal, 2 for 1, as long as you stay away from the starters and puds you get a good cheap meal.

Tuesday we had visitors and ended up in the Boathouse again followed by a walk around Braunston Marina.

Today (Wednesday) we moved a short distance and moored on what local boaters call the smelly mooring,  the one between the bridge 91 and the water point/ Elsan disposal although no smells today.

Dark clouds rolled towards us this afternoon and we expected a good thunder storm to clear the air but it never arrived, at 6 tonight we had short sharp showers but nothing heavy then at 8 it really came down and the Internet signal disappeared.

Tomorrow we move up the Braunston locks (open at 9 am) through the tunnel and hopefully moor above the Buckby flight.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Seen Everything Now.

Sunday 27th May 2012
Atherstone to Brinklow.
19 Miles, 1 Lock and 1 Moveable Bridge.

Have a good look at this Cabin Cruiser, notice anything strange, it's at Sutton Stop where the Oxford Canal meets the Coventry Canal, both narrow canals, however, in my estimation this boat is about 8 feet 6 inches wide and it's not going far, apparently he had tried to go into the lock and found he had a problem, as we left he was pulling it around the corner and no doubt planning his next move.

How it got there isn't clear, but what is clear is that this man is new to the world of canals.

We are now moored at Brinklow having made a 6.15 start, in this heat we're trying to start early and finish early, tomorrow we hope to get to Braunston.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Up the Hill

Saturday 26th May 2012.
Bottom of Atherstone Locks to the Top.
2 Miles, 11 Locks.

We had a plan today which went slightly wrong but ended up OK.

I was up at 6 and Jayne at 6.30, plan was get up the locks before it got hot, moor on the visitor moorings at the top and go shopping at the Co-op.

All going well through the first 6 locks, as we were approaching number 5 a boat pulled out in front of us heading the same way, at the lock we saw that he was a single hander (someone boating on their own) most single handers I've seen are very organised at locks, you have to be if you're on your own, but unfortunately this boater was just the opposite, after watching and trying to help him we gave up, reversed back to the short visitor moorings almost under the A5 road bridge then went and did our shop, when we got back we had breakfast and then set off to do the remaining 5 locks.

We got to the visitor moorings at about 11.15, found a spot and that's where we're staying, keeping out the sun.

No Direction with the rear hood up, moored behind is nb Wasp owned by Beryl McDowall, general secretary of the RBOA, behind Wasp is nb Brandywine owned by Joan and Ivor Caplan, Ivor is one of the four boaters representatives on the Canal and River Trust.

Wasp and Brandywine are heading to the Crick Boat Show

Short Hops.

Friday 25th May 2012.
Fazeley to Bottom of Atherstone Locks.
9 Miles, 2 Locks.

The last time we came this way we did Fazeley to Nuneaton in one journey but that was on a cold September day, with today's heat a short hop was all we wanted, we have moored on the visitor moorings below Atherstone Locks intending to climb the flight early tomorrow when it's cool.

Not that many boats about, there was plenty of room on the moorings at Fazeley last night, the moorings by bridge 54 at Polesworth were full but apart from that there's space everywhere.

Work has ground to a halt on the new buildings at Fazeley Junction, a sign of the times. Years ago it was a coal wharf.

You can just see the slipway sticking out under the modern floor in the large door aperture.

Included in the new build is the preservation of an old factory which has been home to basket makers and a boat builder in the past. 

The following came from  local history section, its part of an account by a 88 year old Fazeley resident Mr Joseph Hunter taken in 2008, the site won't let me link directly to the page.

Several tradesmen later occupied the premises and then along came Bob Houghton, who had served his time on aircraft carriers. He built a slipway on to the canal and carried out his business of building boats. After his demise, Richard Barnes, from Fisherwick, bought the premises along with the now closed Methodist Church and produced tail fins for racing cars.
Now sadly, at this time, that corner of Lichfield Street has been demolished to make way for still more housing. It includes the navigation wharf, where, as a boy, I saw coal unloaded from Samuel Barlow's barges by crane and boat horses stabled overnight at the Three Tuns.

Friday, 25 May 2012

And Their Off.

Thursday 24th May 2012.
Kings Bromley to Fazeley.
13 + a bit Miles, 3 locks, 1 swing bridge.

Left the Marina at 9.45 today, nice and cool before the sun burnt off the cloud, leaving the first lock of the day, Woodend, we met Pete and Dave on nb Hyskeir, they're heading for the River Festival at Stratford but going the long way round, Staffs and Worcs canal, river Severn and river Avon.

The rest of today's journey was uneventful and we're now moored on the visitor moorings at Fazeley, it's been as scorcher, but you all know that, makes me glad I'm not at work anymore.

Between Whittington and Hopwas a farmer was dismantling a field of poly tunnels, the Tractor takes the weight of the arch section while a couple of lads disconnect it from the footings, hard work especially in this heat, they were having to move quickly as the Tractor driver (obviously the boss) wasn't hanging about.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Falling Prices

Thursday 24th May 2012.

The new manager at Kings Bromley Marina, Sue Poynton is making a few changes for the better, not only has she amended the Terms and Conditions of mooring to reel in a few dog owners but she has also made some small price reductions which are available to moorers.

Every little helps

Canada Geese are such good parents.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Remote Boat Painting.

Tuesday 22nd May 2012.

Well, my Mothers replacement knee passed it's test at Oswestry Orthopaedic Hospital this morning and her walking is almost back to normal so we are now free to cast off on Thursday.

The service we've received at Oswestry has been excellent, to replace a complete knee joint on a 84 year old and have her mobile again in 7 weeks makes you appreciate how fortunate we are to have a free health service employing top notch people.

Just out filling our watertank when I spotted some of the Marina staff moving rather swiftly on another jetty so just had to go and have a nose.

An aerosol can of grey primer paint on an unoccupied boat had exploded due to the heat, the tin of paint was in a side box with the lid closed and the sun directly on the front of the boat, the force had lifted the lid and sprayed the contents everywhere, some landed in the water but quick action by Sue Poynton the manager and her staff quickly had it confined with floating absorbent booms then dispersed with detergent.  Fortunately is missed adjacent boats.

Whilst over in a different part of the Marina with a camara I clicked a picture of Cepheus, a Star class boat which looks pretty original, haven't seen it out and about much, must keep a eye out for anyone on board in future. 

Monday, 21 May 2012

Look at the Weather !!

Monday 21st May 2012.

Look at the weather for the coming week, 21/22 degrees, if it does hit these temperatures it will set off the automatic systems on No Direction which un-tie the mooring ropes, fit the tiller arm, drop down the rear hood, fire up the the engine and start moving towards the Marina entrance, yes if all is well when we take my Mother for a final check up on her replacement knee tomorrow we are free, just in time as Marina fever is really kicking in now.

Out the Marina, turn right heading for Stoke Bruerne and the  Gala Weekend.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Yob with a Dog.

Sunday 20th May 2012.

Kings Bromley Marina has a loose attitude towards moorers with dogs, allowing them to let their animals run free, chase the wildlife and leave a mess, of course the terms and conditions of their mooring say this shouldn't happen and 95% of the dog owners follow the rules and are no trouble at all, however, as in all walks of life there is a minority who manage to spoil things for the rest.

This morning at 9.45 we witnessed a moorers dog running loose, the moorhen chick feeding on the grass area next to our boat couldn't get away quick enough and was killed by the dog,
Jayne was very upset having watched the event through the window, I have never seen her so upset and angry before, the dogs owner hearing people shouting came and put the dog on a lead, picked up the dead moorhen and went to the office to report it, then disappeared in his car along with his dog.   

Jayne has made a complaint at the office, they said the dog owner was distraught with what had happened however as he had let his dog chase the wildlife 4 or 5 times on Friday afternoon and again at 7.15 this morning I don't really think he's that bothered.

The news media discribe a youth on a run down housing estate walking around with a threatening aggressive dog as a "Yob with a Dog", however anyone with a dog has a responsibility to control it and all times.

So I now view this boater/dog owner who travels down from Yorkshire every fortnight in his expensive car to spend a weekend on his smart Narrowboat a Yob with a Dog. 

Just to show that we're not anti-dog this is a picture of Sootie, who we had to have put down a couple of years ago after she suffered a stroke, she came from Birmingham Dogs Home in 1994 and is greatly missed.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

You Never Know.

Tuesday 15th May 2012.

You hope that you never need to use one but would feel terrible if someone was in the water and you hadn't got one to hand, so you should carry one.

Now we need 10 metres of 6mm nylon rope to fix to it

Our old Life Ring came with our previous boat which we bought in 2004, it had developed a large split although it was filled with foam so may well have still floated, the replacement is a cheaper version without the foam inside, we bought it off Ebay "Buy it now" from Barnet Marine Centre for £19.95 + post and packing. It must be suitable for Canal use as it said on the invoice packed and sent by Laurence Lock.

Our Friends Val and Michael Lee came past Kings Bromley yesterday, if you need to know anything about living on a Narrowboat then ask this pair, they have been liveaboards for 17 or 18 years.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

New Life.

Sunday 13th May 2012.

The Marina Swans have 5 Cygnets, about 10 days old now.

and 2 of the original 5 Moorhen Chicks are still around.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Reservoirs Filling Up.

Wednesday 9th May 2012.

Our inbox is full of emails from Waterscape telling us that things on the Grand Union Canal may not be as bad this year as we thought due to "Increasing reservoir levels", I sympathise with anyone on a hireboat but we really do need the rain.

Another two weeks and we should be out on the cut, my Mother is regaining her moblity after a replacement knee operation and won't need our weekly visits, it has delayed our cruising plans a bit this year, but, family first.

The Friends of Raymond have been busy over the past six months, any one who saw Nutfield and thought it looked a bit rough (well it did) will be surprised to see the boat now.

Nutfield as it looked last October.

Click here to see it now after a new cabin and repaint.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

No Smoking

Saturday 5th May 2012

No Smoking as there might be someone trying to sleep in here.

Today I've been out logging and now have enough wood see us well into next winter, all piled up in our shed at Kings Bromley Marina, it's pretty dry already so should burn nicely come October.

The Land Rover and trailer belong to my fellow logger Phillip, he lives in a old farmhouse which has two open fires so gets through a few logs as well.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Great Tea Debate.

Thursday 3rd May 2012.

Lot of traffic lately on the blogs about the best way to make a cuppa, I won,t get into the different methods as everyone thinks their way is superior, but as I tend to view most things from a engineering angle I think a calibrated mug is essential.

Unfortunately it's a poor picture but the colour gauge goes from Milky on the left through Classic British,  Builders Brew and ends with Just Tea.

P.S. Please forgive any spelling errors as my grammar school educated wife isn't here to check wot i av riten, she's gone up to Leeds for a few days to visit our daughter.