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.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Something Different.

Friday. 29th, June, 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Tomorrow morning we'll be boarding the Scarborough Flyer pulled by 46233 Duchess of Sutherland, leaving Tyseley at 7.45 and arriving in Scarborough at 14.08.

Picture from Vintage Trains website.

We're in a Premier Dining carriage so we get a proper breakfast on the outward trip and after three hours in Scarborough, probably getting wet, an evening meal on our return journey.

A civilized way to travel.         Picture from Vintage Trains website.

We're not steam train anoraks, it's just something different and hopefully a good day out, there's four of us going, Pete and Val, the other two often do steam train trips, the last one was Tyseley to Plymouth and back in a day.  

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


Wednesday, 27th. June 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

The Moorhen pictured below has decided the back of a Narrowboat would be a good place for a nest.

There's 7 or 8 eggs in the nest.

But what the Moorhen forgot was that the boat needs to go for a pumpout every 3 or 4 weeks and last Sunday was pumpout day, so, the rear mooring rope was gently undone and the boat steered over to the service quay where the pumpout took place, the boat then went back to the mooring and tied up, although the Moorhen made a lot of clucking noise it never abandoned the nest and is still there now.

 Well hidden nest.
 The boats for sale on Great Hayward Boat Sales.

Today we had a car trip over to Shrewsbury for a Mother visit and called into Turners at Wheaton Aston, Red diesel price was 70p ltr base price.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Never Done It Before.

26th, June, 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Yes, never bought a copy of the Sun newspaper before, but today we made an exception as it has a feature on Jayne's sister Pam and her Family. Link.

Sign of the Times.

Tuesday, 26th June, 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

In the past, Steve Hudson of S.M. Hudson Boatbuilders , one of the top boat builders in the country has been unbending in his attitude to boat design, all his boats were built with a traditional back end, the only decision's you could make were, length, level of interior fitout and if you wanted a modern engine under the rear deck or one in it's own engine room, in 2005 we approached him to build a semi traditional style boat and were told that he wouldn't do it.

However, it may be a change of heart or a drop off in orders, but now, besides his recently introduced budget boats, the "Tame Class" he's now offering semi traditional style boats as well.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Another Job Done.

Saturday/Sunday. 23/24th June 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Continuing with a list of indoor jobs on the boat due to the poor weather, yesterday the central heating got some overdue attention.

We have two systems joined together, at one end we have a Bubble multifuel fire with back boiler and circulation pump which pushes the heated water around six radiators and a heated towel rail, this is used throughout the winter and works well.

At the other end of the boat is a Webasto diesel boiler, this uses the same radiators and also heats the hot water tank, we use this system during the warmer weather when we just want the radiators on for a short time in the evening.

The fluid in the system is a mix of water and anti freeze, although our radiators never get cold enough to freeze the mixture is also a corrosion inhibitor so its presence is important, it's recommended that it's replaced every three years, ours had been in four so was well overdue for replacement.

The old fluid was almost clear and well past it's best, however as there's
no rust it's been doing it's job.

It's almost impossible to guess the total capacity of the system unless you were the one who filled it originally and measured how much it took, which I wasn't, ideally the mix needs to be half and half so a bit of guess work is needed.

The header tank lives at the back of the boat, boxed in with a lid over it.

I added ten litres of Morris Lubricants anti freeze and topped up with water, then the fun of bleeding the rads began, this is not as simple as it sounds,  especially when you unscrew one of the bleed screws too much and it drops on the floor and rolls away, but it's all done now. 

The Webasto, lurking in a corner.

Webasto water heaters have gained a bit of a reputation for unreliability, in my experience completely unfounded.  Webastos are used on many large cars and 4x4s to aid quick warm up, and, on the most expensive vehicles to warm the interior and engine before the driver gets in on a cold morning. During my time at Land Rover a reported failure of a Webasto was investigated very quickly and always found to be caused by something other than the unit itself.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Pirate Trouble

Friday, 22nd, June, 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Last Friday (15/6/12) we were moored at Braunston opposite the Boat House pub, at lunch time a Hireboat arrived with a crew of twenty-somethings dressed as Pirates, they moored outside the pub on the pub moorings.

Happy to pose for a picture.

As you can see, the boat, Wenlock, a 69ft 8 berth boat had come from Union Canal Carriers based at Braunston bottom lock, it was steered the short distance from the hire base to the pub, a journey of approx 12 minutes by a staff member of the hire company who, after showing the crew how to tie up left.

After a couple of hours at the pub they decided to move off, it was then we found out that 12 minutes tuition wasn't quite enough as they managed to hit nearly every boat between the pub and Braunston Junction on both sides of the canal.

On the Hireboats website they claim that the boats are "easy to handle" and the staff, "will spend adequate time with you to ensure that you feel safe and confident", very reassuring, I shall remember that when I have the paint brush in my hand repairing the damage.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Looking After The Panda.

Thursday, 21st June, 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

As it was raining today I had to find a job on the boat I could do without getting wet, so this morning our Fischer Panda Generator. got serviced.

Our little Panda.

It's fitted on top on the right hand swim in the engine compartment, with half the acoustic cover removed all the bit's you need to get at for servicing are accessible, there's not that much to do, just change the oil every 100 hours although it tends to get done every 50 hours, the little 309cc diesel engine only holds about 2 litres of oil so it's not expensive to look after.  

While changing the oil I also cleaned the raw water filter and removed the water pump, the   pump's made by Johnson, it's designed for boat use, made of brass/bronze and stainless steel, the reason I remove the pump it is to examine the impeller for signs of fatigue, we had the original one fail 2 years ago at The Buckingham Canal Society event at Cosgrove and at the time didn't carry a spare, we carry 2 now, although since the failure the replacement always passes inspection.

The impeller's behind the round plate.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Can We Have Your Bank Details Please?.

Tuesday, 19th June 2012
Kings Bromley Marina.

We had an Email from H.M. Revenue and Customs,  or so the sender would like us to think, very official looking with all the right logo's.  It contained good news, a tax refund of  296.50 GBP ( strange way of putting it ) was still pending due to invalid account records, it even gave us a Case ID number : HM-503-472-569, attached to the Email were ten pages of waffle, one page was to fill in with our bank and credit card details, however a call to the real tax man revealed it was, as suspected, bogus.

In yesterdays blog I posted a picture of a fallen tree on the Coventry Canal and said that I'd contacted British Waterways about it, well today I had a reply saying that they had known about the tree for five weeks but it had wildfowl nesting in it, however the birds had now left the nest and the tree would be removed.  This is not the first time I've contacted British Waterway about a problem and have always had a positive reply. So if you see a problem while boating let them know ( politely ) , if they don't know then nothing happens.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Back at Base.

Monday, 18th June 2012
Fazeley to Kings Bromley
13.25 Miles, 3 Locks.

After the early starts of the last 2 days we had a late one today, at 9.30 we were ready to go.

British Waterways building at Fazeley, it's been painted but I doubt they used volunteers.

Scorpio left Fazeley Wharf this morning on it's way to a festival,
the crew did tell me which one but I've forgotten, it wasn't

We past the new Marina at Streethay, the opening  "has had to be put back from August 1st 2012 to the spring of 2013. This unwelcome delay has been caused by some construction issues mainly involved with the connection of vital services to the marina" Quote from the latest news letter.

Today they were building the entrance, there were a couple of
mechanical diggers and dumper trucks working on site. As the entrance
is on the towpath side of the canal a bridge is required.

Shortly after we past  bloggers Lynne and Paul on Piston Broke and stopped for a quick chat, it also allowed a couple of boats to pass that had been following us, I hate being followed.

We had to squeeze past a fallen tree just before bridge 91, there was enough room but we were scraping to bottom due to being close to the edge.

This tree was down when we came past 3 weeks ago, I've Emailed
a picture of the situation to British Waterways at Fazeley.

At Fradley we stopped on the waterpoint to unload Jayne's scooter so she could zip up to the locks, coming through the swing bridge was another blogger, Chertsey and crew, no doubt on their way to the Braunston Boat Rally. 

Volunteer lock keepers at the Fradley locks and everything running smoothly.

You work the locks and I'll steer the boat, suit's me.

So were back in the confines of the Marina for about 3 weeks then off again, next blog will be about some crook trying to get hold of our bank and credit card details.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Getting Wet.

Saturday/Sunday, 16th/17th June 2012.
Sat 26.75 Miles, 4 Locks.
Sun 18 Miles, 13 Locks.

Saturday we left Braunston to start our journey back to Kings Bromley, we have a few things going on over the next 3 weeks which require the use of the car.

Weather was cloudy but dry in the morning, all 6 locks were open at Hillmorton with a volunteer lock keeper and a British waterways one, both very good.

Hillmorton twinned locks, all open on Saturday.

The rain held off until 1 o'clock but then it came down heavy all afternoon, we stopped for the night at a quiet spot we use between Bedworth and Nuneaton, Saturday night was very windy.

There was a steamboat rally in Coventry on Saturday, and another at
Sutton Stop on Sunday, these 3 were outside The Greyhound pub Saturday.

Sunday I was up early and set off at 6 o'clock, no rain but it was cold, we arrived at Atherstone locks and flew down the first 5 before catching up with a hireboat which slowed us, at the bottom we moored up for a late breakfast, leaving the bottom lock we left the gates open for nb Jennyanydots, we recognised the boat as they moor at Kings Bromley, they also said "we read your blog", ( I immediately apologised for the content and quality)

Jennyanydots in the lock just as the rain started.

We were planning to get to Hopwas today and eat in the Red Lion but decided Fazeley was far enough, so thats where we are tonight.

Friday, 15 June 2012

To Braunston.

Thursday/Friday, 14th/15th June 2012.
Norton Junction to Braunston.
4.5 Miles, 6 Locks and 1 Tunnel.

There had been a boat ( you know what sort ) moored on the water point at the top of Buckby locks all night, on Thursday morning it had a hosepipe connected to the tap, problem was, the tap wasn't turned on, when I pointed this out to the male half of the crew, who was sat on the back deck with a cuppa and fag he then instructed the female half to disconnect the hose,  we were then able to top up our tank using a long hose and get going.

Volunteers preparing to paint Braunston Locks.

We try and time our arrival at Braunston for about 11am hoping to find a space after the overnighters have left and before the hireboats stop for lunch, today we were thwarted by a volunteer lock keeper ( I know, last blog I was praising them ) it wasn't his fault entirely as he was with a British Waterways man, they made us wait for boats coming up the locks which included a single hander, but they weren't helping him, there was also a delay at lock 2 as a running repair was carried out on one of the top gates.

Volunteers supervised by British Waterways staff repairing lock 2.
( Safety in numbers )

After picking up a fresh loaf from the shop by lock 1 we moored for lunch on the disabled mooring by Butchers bridge, it's also the best place to moor to use the shop in the village.

The other side of the bridge two other bloggers were moored, Seyella and Rock and Roll, I said a quick hello as I walked up towards the pub to check for any mooring space, Geoff was splicing rope, repairing the damage caused by vandals earlier in the week at Atherstone.

Geoff and Mags on Seyella leaving Braunston heading for the Oxford canal and then the Thames.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A Bit Of Sun.

Wednesday 13th June 2012.
Nether Heyford to Norton Junction.
6.25 Miles and 7 Locks.

We set of quite early today in glorious sunshine expecting to find a queue at Buckby bottom lock but found nothing, not even a boat on the visitor moorings opposite the Marina.

Two boats had gone up 10 minutes earlier which I saw through the Binoculars, the Canal is straight for half a mile as you approach the bottom lock, so with nothing behind we went up the lock on our own, at the second lock we met a volunteer lockie and another at the third lock.

The online news site Narrowboat world (or should that be Negativeboat world) seems to have a bit of a downer on the volunteer lock keeper system, we think it's working well and will get better, all the volunteers we've come across know what their doing and are very helpful. 

We're now moored on the visitor moorings between Buckby top lock and Norton Junction, when we arrived the moorings were completely empty, we've spent the afternoon cleaning, hoovering and the washing machine's been on.

Entering Buckby top lock, always a welcome sight, 
this flight of seven locks is hard work.

We always try and time using Buckby top lock so that we go through before noon, that's when the pub opens and on a sunny day there's plenty of Gongoozlers sitting outside.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A Day Without Rain.

Tuesday, 12th June, 2012.
Stoke Bruerne to Nether Heyford.
10 Miles, 2 Locks and 1Tunnel.

We moved up through the two locks this morning and got onto the water point outside the Boat Inn just as the Fudge Boat left, filled the tank, got rid of the rubbish and re-cycling.

Blisworth Tunnel was very wet as you would expect after all the rain, we arrived at our planned mooring at Nether Heyford around lunch time and after tying up, turning the stern greaser and putting the hood up I cycled into the village for a few supplies.

The One Stop shop in Nether Heyford is handy but could do with a bit of competition to sharpen the staff up, someone once said the customer is king, but the last two times I've been in  there it's more like the customer's a pain in the backside, unless your a local then they stand chatting for ages, also they don't hand you the till receipt, you have to ask, Grrrr.

Tomorrow it's up Buckby Locks, and maybe down Braunston as well.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Monsoon Season.

Monday, 11th June, 2012.
Still at Stoke Bruerne.

It's rained all night and is still raining so no boating for us today, at 7.30 this morning I walked up to watch Nutfield and Raymond leave on their trip back to Braunston, President and Kildare had already gone, can't say I envied them.

Boats are still coming  past today returning from the Queen's Jubilee Pageant, the Mountbatten Crusader came past, it's a wide beam boat owned by Northamptonshire St Johns Ambulance and used to take elderly and disabled people on short canal trips.

Next past were two boats from The Lyneal Trust, another charity organisation which took part in the Pageant, probably hoping for a mention on the BBC coverage which never came. 

The only boating today was watching a DVD which I bought yesterday,
it shows the correct way to handle a pair of working boats,
the crew of President should watch it after the mess they got into yesterday. 
Tuesday's weather looks much better so we can get going in the morning, probably only go as far as Nether Heyford as we need a few supplies from One Stop.

Stoke Bruerne Gala.

Saturday/Sunday 9th and 10th June 2012.

Saturday was very windy with a couple of light showers mid-morning but after that it was OK, plenty of people around as always at Stoke Bruerne, both trip boats were running continually, the small one, Charlie goes into Blisworth tunnel a few yards to give the passengers a taste of what it's like and then reverses back out, turns and returns, the bigger boat, Indian Chief runs trips right through the tunnel and back.

The weather forecast for Sunday had improved so we had another good day.

Competitors receive final instructions for the Sunday morning scooter sprint (12 Volt Class)  on the left is Geraldine from The Cheese Boat and on the right is Jayne.

At lunch time Steam Boat President towing Kildare arrived and moored up, they're on their way back from taking part in the Queen's Jubilee Pageant last weekend, they're staying here tonight and moving off at 6.30 on Monday morning.

President and Kildare breasted up (tied side by side) pick there way through the moored boats after leaving the top lock.

At 3.30 the Pirates invaded which involved a lot of smoke flares, bangs and shouting with a fiddle player half way up the tower.

Sundays Pirate attack.

Monday we hope to move up the 2 locks and moor by the Museum although rain is forecast if it's heavy we'll be staying where we are.

Friday, 8 June 2012

In The Summer Time.

Friday 8th June 2012.
Moored at Stoke Bruerne.

Thursday it rained all afternoon, we had planned to have a meal in the pub before watching the Mikron Theatre performance at 7.30, but in the end it was so wet and miserable outside we did neither, the boat was just too nice and warm.

The high spot of today (Friday) has been tonight's fish and chip supper, served from a mobile chip shop and eaten in the entertainment marquee by the Museum, possibly the best fish and chips ever. 

Weather forecast is better for Saturday but mixed for Sunday.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Going Backwards

Tuesday 5th June 2012.
500 yards, 2 locks, Backwards.

This morning we reversed down the top 2 locks and moored in the long pound where we'll be until Monday.

Opposite our mooring there's a Swans nest with five cygnets and their parents in residence.

Neighbours for a week.

Further down the pound Nutfield and Raymond are moored, they're due at the Gala Weekend.

Rain started this afternoon and has now turned to drizzle, forecast for tomorrow and Thursday is more rain

Monday, 4 June 2012

So Many Boats Around.

Monday 4th June 2012.
Nether Heyford to Stoke Bruerne.
10 Miles and 1 Tunnel.

Today was busy, the Grand Union Canal was more like a Motorway than a Canal, I think every boat in the area was out.

We stopped as planned and went to the shop in Nether Heyford so we're set up now for a week or so. Next stop was the services at Gayton Junction to fill the water tank, then onwards to Stoke Bruerne, Blisworth Tunnel was very very wet, we caught up with a boat whose steerer was having problems, 2 or 3 times he hit the tunnel walls which really echoed, I think he was a tunnel virgin.

Boats visiting the Stoke Bruerne Gala are moored down below the second lock in what is known as the long pound, we always turn around when we arrive so we are pointing in the right direction to head back this involves dropping down another 3 locks to a wide section of water, however this year we decided to turn at the winding hole by the tunnel and reverse, so that's what we've done, not all the way yet as we found a space above the top lock just in front of the Fudge Boat where we'll stay tonight, the space was a bit tight but we squeezed in.

Jayne shouted there's about an inch to spare but it was an exaggeration.

And at the other end it was fender up.

Tomorrow morning when the locks open we'll reverse down the 2 locks and tie up until next week.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Are You Wet?

Sunday 3rd June 2012
Moored at Nether Heyford.

Are you wet, well you would have been if you were one of the steerers stood on the back of boats who past us today, we haven't been outside at all, the rain hasn't stopped. 

We've had the heating on but I refuse to light the fire, I made such a nice job of cleaning it out and blacking it  a couple of weeks ago it's not getting dirty again until October, besides it's June and I'm an optimist.

Plenty of boating to watch on the box though with the Pageant taking place so that's what we did all afternoon, we particularly enjoyed the choir singing at the end, standing in the wind and rain giving it their all.

Tomorrow we will be moving, just a short 15 minute journey first to bridge 32 where we can moor up and get to the One Stop shop in Nether Heyford for supplies to last us a week or so while we're at Stoke Bruerne, once stocked up it's onwards to the Blisworth Tunnel, should be plenty of water cascading down inside after all this rain.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Stopped For The Weekend.

Friday 1st June 2012.
Buckby to Nether Heyford
6.25 Miles, 7 very heavy locks.

The British Waterways man arrived at 9 o'clock this morning and un-padlocked Buckby top lock, then disappeared and left it to the Volunteer Lock Keeper to sort all the boats out, apparently volunteer lockie's are allowed to organise and operate the lock's throughout the day but are not allowed keys or padlocks !

We went down with another boat who's crew were as slow as us so it worked well, once we cleared the bottom lock we stopped for lunch opposite Whilton Marina.

Next stop was Rugby Boats at Stowehill Wharf to top up the main Diesel tank, we had plenty but prefer to keep the level nearer the top of the tank than the bottom, besides it was quite cheap, 84p ( or was it 86p ) per litre.

View from our side hatch tonight.

We are now settled for the weekend opposite the Touring Caravan field at Nether Heyford, weather forecast doesn't look good but it is a bank holiday and, the Crick Boat Show both of which usually attract bad weather.