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, 7 November 2013

It's Gone.

7th November 2013
Poole, Dorset.

On Tuesday we completed the sale of No Direction with the handover of the boat at Kings Bromley to the new owner Marcus Murray, we understand that he will be heading back to Macclesfield with it and intends to eventually live on it.

Great Haywood Boat Sales did a good job for us, we're glad we chose them plus the fact that we saved money, whilst the boat was on one of their sales jetties at Kings Bromley we didn't have to pay mooring fee's or licence the boat as it was on "Trade Plates" so 3 months mooring and 6 months (minimum period) licence was saved.

No Direction hauled out a couple of weeks ago at Great Haywood Marina for a survey before the completion of the sale.
With No Direction weighing 22 tons plus a huge trailer you need one of these.
Well you couldn't expect us to live on the edge of Poole Harbour without owning a boat so this is our latest acquisition, Seajay on her mooring at Lilliput Sailing Club, Jayne say's she won't be coming sailing with me but we've joined the sailing club as joint members so you never know.
As we're not "Travelling in No Direction" any longer this is definitely the last blog, (maybe)
 So thanks for reading and over and out.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The End of our Little Adventure.

18th May 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

When we sold up in 2007 and moved onto the canals we didn't have any idea how long our liveaboard life was going to last, well we do now, as we've just bought a property on the south coast at Poole in Dorset.

We've been considering our future for the last few months for various reasons and decided to set a strict criteria for any property we would look at thinking it would take most of this year, however last month we found one, made an offer which was accepted and bought it, this all happened a lot quicker than planned.

No Direction is now on brokerage having done a fine job of looking after us for the last five and bit years we've lived on her.

We've enjoyed our liveaboad life on the canals and the years before that on our weekend/ holiday narrowboat April Rose, also a couple of years on our Glass Fibre cruiser in the seventies which we moored at Hockley Heath on the Stratford Canal.

The waterways won't be getting rid of us completely as I'll still be involved with Nutfield and Raymond when time allows so we may still see some of you around.

Obviously with no narrowboat or canal matters to blog about, our blog, which we started in May 2010 will finish when No Direction is sold.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Time for Another Blog.

Thursday, 9th, May 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

We're back on No Direction now for a couple of weeks after our May bank holiday weekend doing other things, Jayne visiting relatives in Derbyshire and me sailing.

I've posted a couple of short videos on You Tube taken with my new Contour Roam 2 headcam, it's a small camera, the type cyclists fit to their helmets to film their journey, I fitted a 32gb SD micro card in place of the 4gb which it comes with so have about 2-3 hours of filming available.

A Tour of Challenger 4
We finished 20th out of 104 starters and 5th in class which is apparently very good for the type of boat we were sailing, the forecast 10 knots of wind turned out to be 20 to 28 knots with gusts up to 37 knots, so much for weather forecasts.
The train journey back to Lichfield on Monday evening went fairly smoothly, Portsmouth Harbour to Southamptom Central and then to Birmingham New Street, unfortunately the Cross City train from Birmingham to Lichfield had received a couple of modifications to the seating arrangements.
Someone been out in the sun all day without a hat on?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

We're Still Here

Wednesday, 1st May 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

There hasn't been much going on lately to blog about that would interest canal boaters so that's why blogging's been a bit thin.

Last Fri/Sat/Sunday Jayne was staying with our Daughter in Leeds while I was sailing round the Isle of Wight on Challenger 4, training for the Fastnet Race in August.

Next weekend we have the first of three races we need to complete in order to be allowed to start the Fastnet, this ones from Cowes to Le Harve via marks in the channel.

 I've been travelling back and forth to Portsmouth on the train, Lichfield to Birmingham then onto Southampton and finally Portsmouth Harbour and every train has been clean, on time with helpful staff, just how it should be.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

A Room With A View.

Saturday, 20th April 2013.
Holiday Inn, Southampton.

We're in Southampton this weekend as I'm attending two training courses at Stormforce Coaching for the sailing trips which I will be on this summer.

We were shown how to use different distress flares without setting fire to each other or singeing our eyebrows.

Early this morning whilst it was still very dark I heard a tannoy system outside the hotel but didn't bother looking what it was, when we got up and drew the curtains back we were confronted with a huge floating hotel in the form of "Independence of the Seas".

I wish I'd took the trouble to see what the noise was as the outside wall of our room is all glass and we would have had an excellent view of it coming in.

Amazing to think this huge ship came into the dock and tied up with virtually no noise (apart from the loud speakers), we've had more disturbance from people mooring a narrow boat close to us when were out on the cut.

While I've been in the classroom Jayne's been doing the rounds in the West Quay shopping centre and will probably be back there tomorrow.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

It's Now or Never !

Wednesday, 17th  April  2013
Kings Bromley Marina.

I've always fancied being on a large powerful sailing yacht in a good blow, well heeled over with plenty of spray.

I sailed Boards for eight years both long and short, I've been out in a friends dinghy a couple of times and had been contemplating booking a round the island day (Isle of Wight) on an Open 60 racing yacht until my dinghy friend gave me his Royal Yachting Association (RYA) magazine to read, amongst the ads in the back was the answer, crewing on the Fastnet Race aboard a 72 foot ocean going yacht run by the Tall Ships Charity, so after a phone call to Richard at Tall Ships to check if I was eligible I signed up and paid up.

The Fastnet Race is a serious business and the organisers have rules to ensure the safety of crews, so later this month I'm off down to Southampton for RYA Sea Survival training and an International Sailing Federation (ISFA) safety course.

The following weekend its Portsmouth for 3 days training on the boat out in the channel.

During the following three months the yacht, skipper and crew have to compete in three qualifying races covering a minimum of 300 nautical miles (nm) before being allowed to start the Fastnet on August 11th.

Jayne takes the opposite view about sailing and certainly won't be joining me, preferring to catch up on visiting relatives instead.

Fortunately these events won't interfere to much with the cruising we had planned for this summer, apart from an trip along the Macclesfield and Peak Forest Canals in April/May which will have to wait. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Today our Page Views Trebled !!

Wednesday, 10th April 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

As we haven't blogged for ten days our page view graph was fairly flat but tonight the hits have trebled and its still going up, why today, why have people been clicking on today, or is it another strange glitch, it's happened before about three months ago, weird.

Anyway back to the real world and tomorrow I am going to use my bus pass for the first time, but not on a bus, as I'm registered in the West Midlands I get free train travel in the Centro area so I'm off into Birmingham on the train, the service is run by London Midland who have been criticised for the poor service they've been providing, hope it,s ok tomorrow.

Cotswold Outdoor and Evans Cycles are on my list, I tell you what goodies I buy next blog.

No pictures this time, I did take a couple of a lorry fire which closed one carriageway of the A5 at Shrewsbury yesterday as we travelled back from visiting my Mother but as I took them on my phone in a hurry they didn't come out to well.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

One Day we'll all Need This.

Saturday,30th March 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

My Mother,85, has always struggled with mobile phones and the newer they get the more complicated they are, I'm sure there are lots of older people who master the modern mobile but my mother isn't one of them.

But now we've bought her a Doro 605 mobile, designed for non tech older senior users.

They don't come any simpler.

It has a flip up screen which covers the big, easily to read keys so she won't activate it accidentally, a largish screen and very simple functions including the facility to turn certain sections off, we've turned texting off as she never uses or even knows how to text anyway.

We bought it from Argos for £69.99 and used her old pay as you go sim card, hopefully now, no more wrong numbers.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

All Cut Up.

Thursday, 28th March 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Yesterday afternoon we continued to reduce the trunk of the Oak tree into manageable pieces, with a girth of around 30 inches it took quite a while with Phil starting one end and me at the other.

A small pile of the wood.

It,s all cut up now and lying in the corner of the field, we've both got other things to do today so won't be moving it until Friday or Saturday.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Just in Time

Tuesday, 26th March 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

At 8am today I put our last log on the fire, an hour later my mobile rings, it's my mate Phillip who lives on a small holding not far from the Marina " Can you give me a hand to drop an old dead oak tree in one of our fields, yes, a fresh supply of logs.

Once a mighty Oak, now a dead stump.
All the action in 21 seconds
The tree then gets savaged by the Stihl's

Phil hurtles across the field on his old dumper truck with an air cooled Lister engine complete with hand crank starting.
Only to get stuck in a snow drift, it doesn't look that deep but we had to use shovels
to get it moving again.
Theres still a large length of trunk to be cut up so I shall be round there again tomorrow.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Flapjacks, You've Been Warned.

Monday, 25th March 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

During my life I have done some fairly reckless and dangerous things, windsurfing, motorcycle racing, getting lost in remote places but you will never find me anywhere near a triangle shaped Flapjack.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Ticket to Ride.

Thursday, 14th March 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Well twenty tickets actually, for three separate return journeys between Birmingham and Portsmouth for one person, although I admit the three on the top right are collection receipt's it still seems a lot of paper.
I ordered and paid for the tickets online using my newly acquired senior rail card (it's saved me £48 so far this year) and collected them today from a very slow machine at Lichfield station.
After the station it was a drive to Oswestry Orthopaedic Hospital to collect my mother and take her back home to Shrewsbury after her knee replacement operation, considering her age and what's been done she was amazingly agile, just using a walking stick to get from the car to her bungalow, she's certainly made of strong stuff. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Modern Times.

Sunday, 10th March 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Living in the twenty first century isn't all bad, despite what some people would have you believe.

First, modern surgery, my mother (85 next month) had her knee replacement operation on Friday at 11am, at 2.30pm she was sat up in bed eating lunch, on Saturday afternoon she was moving around the ward under her own steam with the aid of crutches and talking to Jayne on the phone.

So that's two new knee joints in twelve months which allow's her to keep her independence.

The second bit of modernism concerns volunteers taking over the simpler maintenance tasks on the canal system, although volunteers have been restoring canals and rivers for many years these were mainly on specific restoration projects, since The Canal and River Trust (CRT) took over last year and started encouraging volunteering for more general jobs people in hi-viz jackets are popping up everywhere.

On Saturday I joined other volunteers from The Braunston Canal Society and The Friends of Raymond and set to work clearing overhanging trees and bushes from a section of the Grand Union Canal at Braunston, we started at the Stop House by the marina entrance and worked down towards the main road bridge. 

Loading up outside Braunston Stop House.

Friends of Raymond used their 1936 working boat Nutfield and CRT supplied most of the other equipment including hedgetrimmers, lifejackets and other safety gear.

CRT also supplied a workboat which, being like a large punt is ideal to use as a work platform. (Thats probably why it's called a workboat !!!)

Once the boats were full the load was taken to a pre-arrange dumping site by the junction, this is the second load.
This is now the view from the Stop House looking past the water point back towards the A45 road bridge.


Thursday, 7 March 2013

A Busy Couple of Days.

Thursday, 7th March 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

We've a hectic couple of days approaching, Friday we're taking my mother into Oswestry Orthopaedic Hospital for a knee replacement, she had one replaced last Easter, now it's the other ones turn.

All this means a very early start for us, we have to get to Shrewsbury, pick her up and then on to Oswestry for 7am as the surgeon will operate the same day.

On Saturday I'm at Braunston with "The Friends of Raymond", we've volunteered to carry out some vegetation clearance around the place, for such a "honeypot area" Braunston has not been well maintained.

The job on Saturday will involve cutting back overhanging trees and bushes between the Stop House and the A45 road bridge, if we do a good job then we may be asked to help again in the future. 

We're using our working boat Nutfield and CRT are supplying a work flat (it's a boat, not somewhere to live!), tools and safety equipment, we also have two people coming from Braunston Canal Society who are certified by CRT to use powered hedge trimmers plus our own Nick Scarcliffe who's a professional forester.

So if anyone's boating around Braunston on Saturday keep clear of the "Slash and Burn Gang".

P.S.  For anyone who read the blog earlier I have amended Buckingham Canal Society to Braunston Canal Society.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Tuesday, 5th March  2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

A lot of boaters moor up at Rugeley on the Trent and Mersey canal for supplies, it has plenty of shops including a Morrisons, Wilkinsons, Post Office and a proper ironmongers, Rugeley also has excellent re-cycling.

The re-cycling bins are at the side of Morrisons car park, a short walk from bridge 66, they take all the usual things and there's not much sorting to do as everything goes in the same bin, glass, tins, newspaper, plastics cardboard, it all get's sorted out later, there's even a bin for small electrical goods.

They even take the plastic carrier bags.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Doing Something Different.

Sunday, 3rd March 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Guess where we've been this weekend, the Spinnaker Tower and HMS Warrior are easy clues.

This summer I'm involved in a different type of boating (Jayne declined the offer) which fortunately dovetails nicely with our summer cruising plans on No Direction so you'll still see us around.

The events are Portsmouth based so a weekend in the area to check out various things was quickly arranged, I'll blog about what's going on in a few weeks time but for now a few pictures from our short visit.

Now this is what you call a dry dock.

The new Twin Sails Bridge at Poole, raised.

And almost down.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

More on the Fradley Jetty

Thursday, 28th February 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

The new jetty at Fradley looks like it's finished now with the handrails in place.

There's also temporary signs attached which say "No Mooring Permit Holders Only" which doesn't sound good.

A bit further along the canal maintenance work is underway at Woodend Lock.

Hope they re-hang the bottom gates, the one side's been
swinging open on it's own for the last six years.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

A Little Project to Ease My Problem.

Saturday, 23rd February 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

I can't handle cluttered things, boats/houses/cars, ( I should probably seek help ) but that's how I am and the older I get the worse I become.

Recently I've taken a dislike to the contents of the shelves behind both of our toilets.

One of the shelves, emptied, this ones at the rear of the boat.
So, what to do about it, answer, fit sliding doors. First I needed to locate some plastic guides for the doors to slide in, after wasting two hours of life in a B and Q warehouse store looking for some I eventually found it on Ebay where I should looked in the first place.
During the week Jayne called into a joiners and picked up some 4mm oak faced ply for the doors and a length of Opepe hardwood for the frame and after half a day sawing and glueing we now have sliding doors on the shelf in the rear toilet, I suppose it's a cupboard now it's got doors.
They are two separate sliding doors, the picture
doesn't show the overlap in the middle.
At first I bored 15mm finger holes to open and close the doors but then found a packet of four wooded knobs which I bought in Wilkinsons a couple of years ago and never used.
Sunday will see the shelf in the bathroom get the same treatment, I've already cut the plastic guides and wood to length so a couple of hours should see the job finished.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Today I Applied For My Bus Pass.

18th, February 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Yes, I am fast approaching the time of life when I'm allowed to get in peoples way on the bus for free.

Like most things it's not as simple as it sounds, qualifying for a bus pass is a bit like the donkey trying to reach the carrot on the end of the stick, just when you think your there they move the goal posts, but I'm almost there now and will get my pass on the 6th March.

Being registered in Birmingham I also qualify for free travel on trains in the Centro Area which covers quite a large area in and around Birmingham.


We had a comment from Halfie on a previous blog about how to sharpen a chainsaw, well you need a tool like this.

It's a round file of a diameter to match the saw tooth which clips into a guide, the file protrudes below the guide far enough to engage in the tooth and on top of the guide there are angle lines scribed to help you keep the file at the correct angle.
It takes me about 15 minutes to sharpen all the teeth on our Stihl, but eventually you have to replace the chain, the last one I bought cost £8.09 + vat so it's not to bad.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

If you've had your bike nicked in Leamington Spa, it's probably in the cut.

Sunday, 17th February 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

The Mid-February Bulletin from the I.W.A.  carries a report  on a clean up day carried out earlier this month by the Warwickshire branch of the organisation. The aim was to clear rubbish from the Leamington Spa section of the Grand Union Canal.

Twenty eight volunteers with grappling hooks dragged out almost four tons of scrap metal, including over 30 bicycles, 20 shopping trolleys, road signs and other general junk, they even removed  a Christmas tree complete with baubles and stand, all deposited there by persons unknown.

Persons unknown is about the only description I can use without being censored.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Log On.

Friday, 15th February 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Another load of logs heading for storage in our cratch, these are oak, the best for heat, the tree they came from had been lying in a field for 12 months, it certainly tested the chainsaw, I had to stop and sharpen the chain halfway through the job although they split easily.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

So Hungry I Could Eat a Horse.

Thursday, 14th February 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

As Halfie has brought up the delicate subject of horse meat I feel I should tell people that it's ok to eat a horse as long as it's fresh and cooked properly like any other meat.  
Jayne and I are living proof that there are no after effects.
In 1972 whilst marauding around Europe in a Transit minibus a group of us found ourselves in a Swiss cafe/bar and hungry, we ordered steak and chips (and plenty of beer) as the English do when abroad and  were served with what I remember as one of the best steaks ever, halfway through we found out it was probably horse but nobody bothered we just carried on eating and drinking, perhaps the waitress mis-understood when we said.

"We're so hungry we could eat a horse".

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Toilet Talk. (but only cassette users)

Sunday, 10th February 2013
Kings Bromley Marina.

We've recently tried a new product (well new to us) which removes the need to carry 4 litre containers of Elsan Blue onboard, for readers who haven't a clue what we're talking about, all toilet tanks on boats need a chemical added before use for obvious reasons.

Elsan now produce the chemical in dried form contained in a bag, all you do is drop a bag into an empty tank and add a little water which dissolves the bag.

 The container holds 18 bags and measures 140mm x 100mm so will make storage easier.

Each bag will treat 20 litres, our cassettes are 17 litres so that's ok, they also remove the risk of spillage and having to measure a dose.

We bought ours from Midland Chandlers for £9.98 which is reasonable when looking at online suppliers, we'll stock up when we call in again as we have a 15% discount voucher which runs out at the end of March.

WARNING  Don't confuse Elsan Blue with Esso Blue as adding paraffin to you toilet tank is not recommended and could be potentially dangerous, especially for smokers : ).

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Bathroom Talk.

Thursday, 7th February 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

One of the jobs on the boat I've been putting off for a while now is replacing the silicone sealant between the bottom of the tiles and the shower tray, so with Jayne away this week it was a good time to attack it, out came the old discoloured stuff and after cleaning and drying in went the new, I've  always found that white sealer goes discoloured eventually regardless of how much you pay for it and what the makers claim, the old sealant had been in exactly three years so it's not so bad. 

One of my least favourite jobs, working with showers and silicone.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Lack of Crew.

Monday, 4th Febuary 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

The crew of No Direction has been reduced to one for a week, Jayne has jetted off to Lanzarote with three other ladies for a week in the sun, I dropped her off at the Holiday Inn close to Manchester Airport on Saturday afternoon ready for her flight at 9am Sunday.

Due to the mind boggling technology with have at our fingertips these days I was able to track the progress of the plane on a map, in real time showing position, altitude, speed, distance travelled and distance to destination.

I've plenty of jobs to keep me busy starting with splitting  some oak I cut up on Friday morning, courtesy of a local farmer.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

New Fradley Jetty.

Wednesday, 30th January 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

After removing the short finger jetties and dredging the area Land and Water working on behalf of CaRT have now built a new jetty at Fradley opposite the 48hr moorings between Junction Lock and Keepers Lock.

What it will be used for when finished I don't know, more visitor mooring ? the pub will certainly be happy if that's the case.  I was told the reason the jetty isn't closer to the bank is to keep boaters safe from passing cars while mooring up, sounds reasonable.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Mooring Consultation.

Saturday 26th January 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

We've had a Canal and River Trust mooring consultation document Emailed to us asking for our thoughts on visitor moorings in the South East Region, not all S.E. visitor moorings are listed as this appears to be more of a trial to test new time limits. The Trust are asking for boaters comments on mooring time limits at honeypot moorings such as Stoke Bruerne on the Grand Union and Thrupp on the Southern Oxford Canal.

There seems to be a desire to reduce some 14 day visitor moorings to 5 or less, I've always thought it strange to allow 14 day visitor moorings when boats can moor beyond the moorings for 14 days anyway.

Obviously we've only commented on the moorings we know and use regularly, some of the ones further south we haven't  used since 2010 so have no up to date experience.

Anyone can join the consultation at  It's a small opportunity for boaters to do something that will benefit us all ( the ones that follow the rules that is ). 

Monday, 14 January 2013

How Long !!

Monday, January 14th 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

Married 39 years today.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Just Like Buses.

Thursday, 10th January 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina.

We've been looking for one of these 56lb weights for years, now three turn up all at once.
It's a handy bit of kit for keeping the boat level, we store the coal in one of the side boxes in the cratch, as we use it up during the week the boat leans the other way, it only leans a couple of degrees but I'm really fussy when it comes to how the boat sits in the water, now I can compensate by moving a weight.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Back to Normal.

Wednesday, 2nd January 2013.
Kings Bromley Marina

That's it now, Christmas lights are packed away and the cards will soon be in the re-cycling bin.

We'll try and find something to blog about over the next 3 Winter months although it will be very infrequent. We set off on our travels again in April so hopefully will be able to start regular blogging again then. 

One problem we won't have this year.