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, 31 August 2012


Friday 31st August 2012.
Stafford Boat Club to Penkridge.
4.5 Miles and 4 Locks.

First lock today was Deptmore Lock, a very deep one, worked through in warm sunshine, we passed the Fudge Boat shortly afterwards, Heather and Tony were busy cooking up another load of Fudge probably for the Black Country Festival in two weeks time.

Above Park Gate Lock we moored up so I could get a couple of things from Midland Chandlers, then it was on to Penkridge where we are moored now.

Yesterday we passed a Glass Fibre Cruiser, it was the same model as Jayne and I bought in 1978, the only difference was that ours was clean and licenced.

Dirty and un-licenced.
On yesterdays blog I mentioned the broken down boat Hercules moored opposite, at about 9.30 last night a van pulled up and there was five minutes of feverish hammering from inside the boat, then it went quite and the van left, wonder if they fixed it.

Off Again.

Thursday 30th August 2012.
Kings Bromley to Stafford Boat Club.
15.5 Miles and 3 Locks.

We were going to cast off yesterday but the rain put us off so it was today that we left the Marina.

Heading towards Great Hayward the canal was very busy, at one time we had 5 boats in front of us, fortunately three stopped at Rugeley and one more stopped by Taft bridge.

It's named Maid of Oak, because it is.
Built by Bates Boatyard.
We turned left at Great Hayward Junction onto the Staffs and Worcester Canal, bit chaotic where the canal narrows as it passes over the river Trent.
Arriving at Tixall Lock we were lucky to find a boat just leaving and went straight in, things got better, we were told to stay on the boat by a hireboat crew waiting to descend, as they would work the lock, they knew what they were doing too.
Happy Hirer's at Tixall lock, four on the lock and two on their boat.
We're now moored opposite Stafford Boat Club, on the other side of the canal on the boat club moorings is nb Hercules, one of our Winter neighbours at King's Bromley Marina, we heard last week it had broken down near Stafford, as it's an old boat the part required to repair it is not available and has be specially made.
Hercules, not living up to the name.
Friday we'll try and moor at Penkridge, Jayne likes the market there and I like Jaspers Bakery.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Alvecote Day 2.

Sunday 6th August 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

In the car again this morning back to Alvecote for day 2, weather was much better and a lot more visitors to the site.

View from the Pub balcony, there were almost as many old boats
at this event as there were at the Braunston event in June. 
Friends of Raymond set up shop raisings funds to keep
the boats going.
The parade of boats was lead by this inflatable complete with
flashing orange beacon on the front, maybe we'll all be required
 to employ an escort boat in years to come.
And the band played on, this time from the balcony, the one
on the left is the multi-talented Steve Evans, besides singing
 and playing bass  he's also an excellent sign writer who
did the signwriting on our boat.
 A lot of the boats will be leaving the event on Monday including Nutfield and Raymond, I had originally planned to drive over and help get them up the 11 Atherstone locks but looking at the crewing list for Monday they should be ok without me.
We'll now start to restock the cupboards and freezer on No Direction ready for our next journey, the school holidays have almost finished so Wednesday will see us off up towards Great Hayward, we have 2 weeks to get to Windmill End Netherton so this part of the trip will be at a leisurely pace.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Alvecote Historic Boat Gathering.

Saturday 25th August 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Today I was at Alvecote Marina for the boat gathering  (by car not boat) helping out with Nutfield and Raymond, plenty of Historic boats but not many visitors when compared with other events we attend.

Boats lined up at Alvecote.
The weather was ok until 2 o'clock when we had a torrential storm just as the boats were setting off for the parade, the storm lasted about 15 minutes which was enough to soak everything.

Nutfield during today's parade.

I'll be there again on Sunday, the event lasts three days but I think most of the boats will be leaving on Monday morning, weather forecast for Sunday looks ok, so perhaps there will be more people around.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Jobs Done This Week.

Saturday 18th August 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

As we're staying in the Marina for a couple of weeks it's an opportunity to get a few jobs done. First job was to paint the gas bottle compartment which had a bit of rust at the bottom. The loose rust was scraped off and the area wire brushed, then I applied  Rylards rust konverta followed by a coat of Zinc based anti corrosion primer and finally a coat of Bitumen paint, not the easiest place to apply paint but it had to be done.

The black hole where the gas bottles live.

While these various coats were drying I filled in with a couple of other jobs, one was to fit a 12v cigar lighter socket just inside the rear hatch so I can plug in the hand held spot lamp I bought from Midland Chandlers on Wednesday, handy to have an extra light for tunnels. 

Also handy if I decide to take up smoking.

The Brita filter got changed on
 the drinking water tap.

And the engine had new oil and filters and
the gearbox had an oil change.

Next week the weather looks drier for Wednesday and Thursday so the roof may get a coat of paint.

Next job tonight is to set off at 11pm to Weston Park in the car to collect our Daughter and partner who have been at the V Festival, plenty of bin bags to cover the back seats and carpets I think.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

End of the Dandy!!!

Tuesday 14th August 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

No boating so I can babble on about something else.

It looks like the Dandy, which has been going for 75 years may soon be a bit of history, it's weekly circulation has dropped below 8000 and the publishers are deciding if it can keep going.

As a schoolboy I read all the comics including the Dandy but my favourite was the Beano, especially the Bash Street Kids, I also thought the Jellymen and their plans for world domination in the Beezer were a bit scary.

We're going into Lichfield today shopping, I bet you can guess what I'm going to buy.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Hiding in the Marina.

Thursday 9th August 2012.
Fazeley to Kings Bromley.
13 Miles 3 Locks 1 Swing Bridge.

We're back in Kings Bromley Marina now until the end of the school holidays, things are getting busy out on the cut so a couple of weeks in here fettling the boat will do just fine.

Flags and Bunting at Tamworth Cruising Club
they had an event on last weekend.

Passing the new Marina at Streethay, not much happening,
it was completely deserted today, couldn't see anybody
working or any machinery on site.

 Fradley locks, a hireboater has left their
 windlass in a very dangerous position.

We'll be off again at the end of August, first a few days on the Shroppie before heading for Windmill End Netherton .

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Watching The Olympics.

Tuesday 7th August 2012.
Brinklow to Fazeley.
29.5 Miles 14 Locks.

No not the Olympics in London but the Nuneaton ones. Moored opposite Springwood Haven on the Coventry Canal Tuesday evening we were privileged to have grandstand seat.

First up was the shooting, we could hear the crack of air guns in the wood close by as the local militia took aim at anything they fancied, I thought it unwise to actually go and see what the target was, if you know what I mean.

Next came the Canoeing, not slalom or white water, this event was all about speed, 3 times the canal limit I would estimate as they hurtled past, extra points were awarded to those managing to flick a paddle full of water through open side doors of the moored boats.

Dressage next as 3 horses, along with their riders trotted past along the towpath and very good they were too, almost in step.

But the next event was new to me and one you won't see at the London Olympics, yes that Nuneaton speciality, towpath motorcycling, it must have been a sprint event as they only came past twice, the larger competitors at the controls with younger ones perched on the petrol tanks. 

No cycling events though, but with all the other stuff going on I'm not surprised, they would probably end up in the canal.

Nuneaton don't you just love it.

We're now moored at boring old Fazeley, I have only ever seen one motorcycle on the towpath here in the last 8 years and never a horse, what is wrong with the yoofs of Fazeley ?

Monday, 6 August 2012

Annoying People

Sunday/Monday 5/6th August 2012.
Braunston to Brinklow.
15 Miles 3 Locks.

Sitting down to watch the games Saturday night we could hear a boat over on the pub mooring's with it's engine running, no problem it was only 7 o'clock, at 8.15 it was switched off, peace.

At 10.15pm it started again, it was an old boat with a noisy engine, at 11.25pm it was switched off again.

Sunday morning I called across to one of the crew and asked if it was their engine that was running last night, yes came the reply, I then asked if he was aware that 8pm was the limit, yes he did know and apologised but had a flat battery due to a fault which had now been fixed, so it won't be running tonight then I asked, no came the reply, and I'm pleased to say that it didn't.

While on the subject of noise, the boat in the picture is called "That 70s Boat" it's usually  somewhere on the North Oxford Canal, the sign mounted on the back (which I failed to capture) reads "Noisy generator run till late at night".

Monday we got going at 7 o'clock, weather was cold but dry, rain was forecast for later as we started our journey along the North Oxford Canal, anyone who uses the North Oxford cannot fail to have noticed the state of bridge 80, it's defying gravity by staying up, at long last it's being repaired along with bridge 79 which is also in a poor state, today lorries were on site dropping off materials ready to start the job, it should be finished sometime in October.

Poor picture as I only had my phone with me.

We moored up about 2 o'clock just in time to avoid a heavy shower, tomorrow we're heading for On Board Energy at Spingwood Haven, Nuneaton to have a chat with Kevin the Victron expert about an intermittent glitch with one of the inverters.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Locking With Badger.

Saturday 4th August 2012.
Norton Junction to Braunston.
4 Miles 6 Locks.

Not many boats around again this morning as we travelled towards Braunston Tunnel, a hireboat came out of the tunnel we just as we were entering and we met two more inside, the second, a hireboat had a chrome beer pump mounted in the front well deck dishing out pints to the crew.

Once out of the tunnel we tied up and waited for another boat to drop down the locks with, one turned up after half an hour, it was a small Springer named Badger, we shared all six locks with Badger and crew, the male half  locking and the lady steering, in the bottom lock we delayed emptying it while we bought cakes from the little shop, cakes safely on board we went down.
Again, plenty of mooring space at Braunston, not like it used to be a few years ago.  We had heavy rain showers again this afternoon, seems to be the pattern of the last few days, nice in the morning followed by heavy showers early afternoon then fine again.

No pictures today so here's one from yesterday taken when we stopped at Weedon for breakfast, if you look carefully you can see a rope from the top of the boat to a tree.

Fortunately they eventually removed it.

Friday, 3 August 2012

New Inn at Buckby, Closed.

Friday 3rd August 2012
High House to Norton Junction.
6.5 Miles 7 Locks.

As we approached Buckby top lock this afternoon we were told by a boater on their way down the flight that the New Inn pub which over looks the lock had closed, not through lack of business but because the owner had allegedly made a mistake with the V.A.T.
Normally at this time of the year those tables are packed with Gongoozlers.

Another boater who moors on the long term moorings by Norton Junction confirmed that the pub had been closed for about a week but was confident it would soon re-open with a new owner/manager.

Before all this excitement we had a stop start day, we got to Stowe Hill Wharf for fuel at 9 o'clock and found ourselves third in the queue so it was 10.30 before we got going again.

Not many boats around today so we were surprised to find a queue of five or six boats at the bottom of the Buckby Locks, we reversed back and tied up on the visitor mooring to let it clear which was a good move as we had heavy rain for the next hour.

The rain stopped and we made for the bottom lock as the queue had gone, a hireboat had just past us and was waiting on the lock moorings, turned out they had never been through a lock before and asked Jayne to show them how it all worked, at the hirebase they had been shown a video of "How to work a lock" but found the sight of a monster Buckby lock a bit different.

We shared all the locks with them, things didn't go to badly, after clearing the top lock they winded at Norton Junction and moored up, they only picked the boat up on Thursday afternoon from Gayton and had to get it back for Sunday morning.

We carried on a little way and moored between Norton Junction and Braunston Tunnel.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Things We've Seen Today.

Weds/Thursday 1/2nd August 2012.
Stoke Bruerne to High House Wharf.
10 Miles  0 Locks.

Today's journey has been quite short, we tied up about 1.30 opposite the Caravan field at High House just as the sky started to look dark and threatening, light rain on and off until 4.30 when the heavens opened for 25 minutes, it wasn't enough to put the fisherman off on the opposite bank, he sat through it.

He must really enjoy fishing.

The weather started of ok today.
Looking towards the top lock from our
mooring for the last two days.

And back towards the Tunnel.

A Yellow Peril (Viking Afloat) hireboat attempts to turn
 above the top lock only to find that it's not going to happen.

Nutfield and Raymond moored at Blisworth ready for
the Blisworth Canal Festival, 10th/11th August. The Festival is

St John's Ambulance Boat The Mountbatten Crusader, specially
adapted for disabled people and moored at Gayton Junction.
It took part in the Jubilee Pageant on the Thames.

Converted ships lifeboat, somebody must love it.

Anyone remember The Boat That Guy Built ?,
 someone's having a more serious attempt this time.

Tomorrow, weather pemitting we'll moved the short distance to Stowhill Wharf and top up the Diesel tank, then on towards the dreaded Buckby Locks.