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, 30 November 2012

The Swans Are On A Winter Break.

Friday, 30th November 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Our resident marina swans, know as Nic and Amanda (long story) spend the Spring sitting on and hatching their eggs, Summer, raising the young cygnets, Autumn, showing them how use their wings to get airborne and then chasing them off to start their adult life.

After the youngsters have left it's time for the hard working parents to take a well deserved break, so where to go, a cruise along the canal is the answer, today I spotted them at Handsacre which is 2.25 miles from Kings Bromley Marina.

Nic and Amanda enjoying their Winter break at Handsacre
 before starting the whole breeding process again next Spring.
Nic, is very aggressive when he has young to look after but
 during the Winter becomes placid preferring to leave
 Amanda to sort out any trouble with the Geese.
(look at the damage to his beak and
 you can see how he got his name)

Progress at Kings Orchard Marina.

Thursday, 29th November 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Out cycling again today, first stop was to check on rumours of logs left by contractors working for the national grid who had felled a sycamore tree which was getting close to power cables, unfortunately most of the wood had gone and what was left wasn't worth bringing the boat out of the marina to collect, still you can't win them all.

Maffi's Boat, spotted on my travels today.
A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the new Kings Orchard Marina which is being built at Streethay near Lichfield, work had completely stopped with no personnel or plant equipment on site.

After another visit today I can report that things are moving again with work to divert the towpath over a bridge which will become the marina entrance. I'd like to think that the M.D. read our blog and thought he had better get on with it, but that would be complete fantasy.

New towpath.
Leading to the new bridge.
The approaches to the bridge will have steel railings either side when finished, an identical bridge and railings are fitted at Fazeley Mill Marina which was built by the same company.
Work on the marina entrance.
Next stop was Alrewas, the river section is still closed, the water level has only dropped a couple of inches since Saturday.
Lock mooring below Alrewas lock, still a bit damp.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Things May Be Getting Better

28th November 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Called in at Midland Chandlers (Penkridge) again today on the way back from visiting my mother, StoveGlow still £10 a bag with 10% off if you buy 6 bags, problem was they only had 5 bags left but Jayne still negotiated the 10% off.

More winter maintenance taking place, this time at Park lock on the Staffs and Worcester Canal outside Midland Chandlers, nice to see money being spent on things that benefit boaters,  I'm slowly warming to the Canal and River Trust.
On the opposite side of the road from Midland Chandlers the fields we completely covered with flood water from the River Penk, still the seagulls and ducks were enjoying it.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Murky Waters.

Monday, 26th November 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

We had a small flood at the Marina on Sunday morning when the Bourne Brook which runs past the Marina, through a culvert under the canal and carries on to join the River Trent overflowed its banks and sent muddy water across a car park and into the Marina.

Bourne Brook, the twigs caught on the trees show where the water level was on Sunday.
Moorers with cars parked had to move them quickly, however today the Brook has dropped a metre but is still a metre above normal.
View from our side doors, we can normally see the Carp, but not today.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Mentioned in Dispatches.

Saturday, 24th November 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

A few bloggers have been mentioned in the latest edition of Boaters Update from the Canal and River Trust under the heading "Blogtastic".

Jim of Starcross fame gets a link to his boating blog along with No Direction, Maffi and a few others.

The Boaters Update is written by Damian Kemp who's brief is to talk and listen to boaters and, he gives an Email address for any comments.

Theres also a mention about the amount of paper which arrives after enrolling as "A Friend" of the trust, Retirement with no Problem has got this one rolling.

I haven't been paying much attention to previous Boaters Updates when they landed in the inbox and it was Jayne who spent time reading through this edition, you can see who the patient one is.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Water Water Everwhere.

Friday, 23rd November 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Quick bike ride down to Alrewas today to look at the short River Trent section of the Trent and Mersey Canal, it was rather full.

River level indicator is at the upper end of the red segment.
 Bollard on the lock moorings.
Obviously the sign said closed to boat traffic although passage through the Alrewas Lock which takes boats from the canal onto the river section was still closed after maintenance work with security fences in place, these were being dismantled today ready for opening on Saturday. 
The CaRT enforcement team have been round Alrewas.
We've had a dry day today which allowed us to finish tidying up one side of the boat and turn it around so we are now in our normal position, stern towards the jetty which makes it easier for Jayne to get on and off.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A Festival, A Marina and Coal.

Thursday, 22nd November 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Not much blogging lately as we haven't been up to much apart from general boat maintenance, best to get all the scrapes touched up and servicing done before the winter weather arrives.

One thing we have done is sent off our entry for the 2013 IWA National Festival, it's at Cassiobury Park on the Grand Union near Watford, we stopped there for a couple of days in 2010.

Things appear to be moving again at the new Kings Orchard Marina near Lichfield with CaRT issuing an advice notice warning of activity on the towpath next week while it's re-aligned with the newly built bridge over the Marina entrance.

We've always found prices at Midland Chandlers a bit top heavy, however they're now selling coal at a very competitive price, Jayne spotted it on their site a couple of weeks ago and we called into the Penkridge branch on our way back from visiting my mother. 25kgs of StoveGlow for £10 less 5% for IWA members so we had two bags for £19.
We called in again on Tuesday intending to pick up four bags this time, but they offered us 10% off if we bought six bags, so with a bit of re-arranging in the back of the car we left with six bags at £9.00 each, bargain.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Winter Maintenance.

Tuesday 6th November 2012
Kings Bromley Marina.

The winter maintenance programme appears to be well underway with plenty of work going on at Fradley, last time I cycled past it was being dredged, yesterday they were doing some serious work on Junction Lock.

Junction Lock, Fradley.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

We're Back.

Sunday 4th November 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

We're back on the boat now after a few days away, Jayne's off shopping today as we let the food stock run down before our short break, Morrison's looks favourite as they are offering 15p a litre off fuel when you spend £60 on groceries which isn't difficult.

The I.W.A. have released the dates and location of the 2013 National Festival so theres planning to do for next year's boating, so far we hope to do Chester and Ellesmere Port, then back to the Stoke Bruerne for the Gala, return to the Marina so we can drive up to the Lake District and share a holiday cottage with our daughter for a few days, now the National is back so that needs to be considered as well, It's all go.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Museum Day.

Thursday 1st November 2012.
York Pavilion Hotel, York.

We're having a short break in York, there are four of us, friends Val and Pete, plus Jayne and myself, Val and Jayne used to be in the same class at school so have known each other a long time.

Waiting for dinner.
This worked out well yesterday as the ladies went shopping leaving Pete and me to visit the Railway Museum
We walked along the footpath which follows the River Ouse from  our hotel into York , the high water marks left by the recent floods are scary with debris on the trees six feet above the footpath which itself is about eight feet above normal river level.

Hireboats available on the Ouse at York.
Big wheel, not sure about these springing up in cities.
At the museum we joined a short queue at the entrance but once inside it wasn't too crowded.
First thing that grabbed me was a cut away Napier Deltic engine, 18 cylinders, 36 pistons, 3 crankshafts, 2 stroke diesel, a mechanical work of art to me, first developed for the Royal Navy and later used to power diesel trains in the early sixties, they made a beautiful noise.

Bit big for a Narrowboat.
I found the Royal Train carriages interesting, as you would expect, very luxurious with lots of buttons and cords to summon the servants who were in their own basic carriage directly behind.
The Flying Scotsman was in the workshops having a complete overhaul, although according to this report things are not going well.
The troubled Flying Scotsman in the workshop.
Last stop was the souvenir shop,  I bought a "Bisto Gravy" cloth shoulder bag for Jayne and  for me a copy of "Bradshaws Guide" the one which was used by Michael Portillo in the BBC series "Great British Railway Journeys".