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.

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.