Sunday, 6 July 2014

Slowing Down Continued

Work party over and only a day late we’re back.
Yesterdays work party consisted of clearing the weed from the by-wash at lock 16 and doing a bit of strimming around the depot while others carried out some work on Centauri and other stuff up at lock 18. WRG and CRT reps arrived to set up for next week, which looks like it’s going to be a busy one. The plan being to prepare a hard standing  site at lock 15 ready for the plant and machinery needed for the restoration. It sounds like it may be heralded as the new way forward with Grantham Canal Society, Waterways Recovery Group and Canal and River Trust all working together to improve our waterways. If this all comes to fruition don’t forget you heard it here first. J
Today just a quick trip to T-A to retrieve bedding and the like that may become stale if left on board and a few catch up jobs around the house.
Back to the trip.
Monday morning saw us away through the Beeston and Nottingham canals through to the Trent. I must say I was impressed with the state of the waterway having expected to find it like Leicester but it turned out to be a pleasant run without that run down feeling. A quick stop at Sainsbury’s on the way through for Karen while I dog sat.
Getting back out onto the Trent we passed Lock 1 on the Grantham canal.
It’s a shame that this lock will never be used again but if all goes to plan the new route will come out further downstream and below Holme Lock and the watersports centre.
A lot bigger that what we are used to but one reason for this trip is to see how we would cope with the larger locks if we want to go through to York in the future. After mooring we walked up to the lock and spoke to the lock keeper who was most helpful and explained the best practice for navigating these locks and pointed out this was the deepest and the following locks would only drop us about seven feet whereas this was 14. Through Stoke lock and moored at the pontoons at Gunthorpe bridge. Friend Ian Joined us and treated us to a meal at the Unicorn, a very pleasant way to spend an evening.
Having lost so much time to rain at the start of the trip we decided to turn back the following morning (Tuesday) rather than go through to Newark. This run was to be a new experience for us as well, owing to the fact that we had the headroom to run with the wheelhouse up.
Leaving Gunthorpe.
Just a short run and night stopped at the moorings above Holme lock
Chose the higher mooring as the preceding lower bank has a concrete shelf protruding under the water. Perhaps not the best decision because the new paintwork got christened even with loads of fenders. L
Ah well it had to happen some time.
Spent the evening watching canoeists practicing
And trying to take arty photo’s
On Wednesday it was  steady run back to Devil’s Elbow because Karen wanted to get some wax on the other side of the boat before I scratched it any more.
This seems to be the dogs favourite spot.
Back to Pillings on Thursday to tank and pump out (Which we can do at the same time now that the openings have been separated) before mooring up and home.
A good relaxing break – but why do weeds and grass grow twice as fast when you are away?

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Slowing Down

With the completion of the work on Trudy-Ann getting so close I have found myself trying to rush things so it seemed like a good idea to back off and concentrate on doing the best job I can. With that in mind work has stopped on T-A for the moment but the driveway gates are up at last
and the old ones are now firewood.
Karen had a week off work coming up so we decided it was a good time to try the boat out, intending to set out on the Friday for a trip to Newark and back but that idea was soon kicked into touch because of rain. Us being the fair weather boaters that we are. Stopped in the marina until the following morning and headed north to Devils Elbow because Karen was wanting to get some wax on the new paintwork
If we are busy the dogs are left on board to stop them wandering off when we’re not looking but they like to keep tabs on what we are up to
The following morning (Sunday) it was off again towards Nottingham through Trent junction
Making sure we were out of the way of the local speed merchant.
It started raining again so we called a halt at the mooring after Beeston lock. Amused by a swan that appeared to have taken exception to the fenders on the narrowboat opposite.
Anyway I’ll have to finish this tale later as it is time to disappear for another GCS work party.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Getting Through The Task List

Still chasing my tail. Every job sorted seems to make one job more. The new pedestal for the toilet has been made in oak to match the floor
But while I was at it, it seemed sensible to move the toilet as I was fed up of sitting with my nose against the shower cubicle.
Still got to be finished off but you get the idea. It actually takes up less space but gives the feeling of more elbow room. In this position there is more room behind the toilet so I was able to replace the copper single step plumbing reducer with a tapered reducer from Vetus which hopefully will reduce any back pressure. Either way it can’t do any harm.
The gang plank was showing signs of going rusty so it was brought home and rubbed down before a good coating of silver Hammerite.
When the covers were taken off the self tapping screws were also found to be going rusty so all the holes were re-drilled and tapped.
Brass machine screws now hold down the tops.
Also been doing a few bits of panelling on the control desk which is now nearly complete.
The seat lockers in the wheelhouse have now got new ash faced tops. Once again made more jobs by deciding it was a good time to paint the inside of the lockers and line them with rubber sheet that I had left over from the step treads down from the wheelhouse to galley. While I was at it also made some rubber liners for the roof bars to protect the new paintwork from getting scratched J
The new paintwork is starting to look grubby already do gave it a quick wash down but it is ready for a good polish to stop the muck sticking.
New water filler cap fitted so the fore deck is fully watertight again.
At home the new driveway gates still haven’t been fitted but have had six coats of paint applied and are ready to hang. Held up a bit by the drizzly weather we were having last week, seems a long time ago now.  Looking at the old hinges it was decided to get a complete set of new gate furniture as heaven knows how old it is.
Out at an old colleagues retirement party in Nottingham last night and felt obliged to point out how much hard work is involved in this retirement lark.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Another Busy Week

Bank holiday Monday was a long day for all the people who turned out for the Grantham Canal Society trips from Harlaxton wharf. Even while Tony and Rosemary were setting up the stall people were turning up despite the weather in the morning. All trips were full bar the odd seat left over for the whole day.
Even the locals brought out the kids to show what the strange humans got up to.
A mixed bag for me with one run on ‘Three Shires’ and a bit of dog minding before taking ‘Centauri’ back to Woolsthorpe. Ian made use of the journey cleaning up and treating some of the paintwork.
The weather in the afternoon was kind and it was calm and pleasant as the boats were moored back at Woolsthorpe before being secured and prepared for their next outing.
No pictures since then as most of the time it has been dealing with items already covered. The gates are now in white primer, but still waiting to be hung. That will happen after a few more coats of paint.
All the turning tools and chisels have been sharpened and some of the turning tools have been re-profiled for different cuts. The band saw has had a thin blade fitted ready to cut blanks for turning.
Karen has managed, despite the weather to get the last of the crops in, just leaving me with another row of potatoes to plant but the ground is just too soft to use the plough on the rotovator.( At least that’s my excuse)
Spent a morning cutting willow and weaving it into the hawthorn hedge to the side of the garden as Sox has decided he likes to go exploring through the gaps.
Friday was down at T-A taking back cushions and such ready to for trips out but ended up bringing back the wheelhouse locker tops to be remade as they had been marked by water ingress in the past. The plan is to use the old ones as patterns and remake with ash edging and facing instead of plain birch ply. The new water filler cap has arrived at last so that will be one job for later in the week.
Cried off the GCS work parties last week to try and catch up on some of the jobs at home but was down at Woolsthorpe this morning with John cutting the grass in the depot. Luckily for us the weather was kind and the rain held off. This afternoon it has been in the shed making a new pedestal for the toilet on T-A in oak in the hopes that it will help the flow as at the moment  the blackwater tank inlet is higher than the toiled outlet. Also started cutting the new locker tops.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Gates and Boats

Meeting in Melton for the Committee of the Leicester Branch of the Railway Pensioners and while out got the new furniture for the gates.
Bit more work on the gates and a few odd jobs around the house.
Finished assembling the driveway gates and gave the a first coat of preservative.
Drove over to Crick with Ian from the GCS and the ladies to enjoy a very pleasant if damp day out. I’m certainly glad we are going on the first day as the ground is already starting to get churned up. Karen went looking for a windlass shoulder holster  but didn’t manage to find one but did decide to buy one of those fancy ratchet windlass things. The seller gave us the web address where to get a holster and that has since been ordered on line.
Otherwise it was a case of a few of those little show bits that you always seem to pick up like a blade on a long handle to clear rubbish of the prop (funnily enough Karen still doesn’t want her bread knife back) and the new Nicholsons’s guide for Nottingham that shows the Grantham Canal. Also found time to say hello to fellow blogger Bruce from Sanity Again and Dave and Sharon from Bluewater. A thoroughly enjoyable day, just a shame the weather hadn’t been kinder.
Today (Sunday) crewed with Ian on the GCS workboat ‘Centauri’ taking it down to Harlaxton Wharf ready for the display and trips on ‘Three Shires’ tomorrow (Monday)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Chasing Tails

Well it’s been a bitting and bobbing week again. The driveway gates are well on the way to completion though I am not looking forward to painting them as that is one job I do not enjoy. Volunteers please apply.
It has been very much a week of working to what the weather is doing. When it is raining it’s into the workshop to sharpen every tool in the setup and bring them all up to scratch. Have invested in a 4000 grit stone for the Tormek to give a final edge to those tools that need it. The result is a mirror finish that is scarily  scarp yet keeps its edge – amazing!
Fortunately we have had a lot of fine weather this week so took a day off gate building to pop down to Trudy-Ann on Monday with the TV which has now been remounted on its bracket. The new aerial has been connected up but I realised that there was no cable between wall socket and TV as we had never needed one before having had to rely on a DVD player which uses an HDMI cable. Ah well – fix it next time, and hopefully we will have a working set. Made a new mains hook-up with the remaining cable from the rewire but sod’s law prevailed and it was 6” too short, so the old one will have to stay. Took the opportunity to tank while I was down there ready for when we can get a week-end away.
Otherwise it has been a case of enjoy this remarkably fine weather – the Barbie has been on the go for the previous three eveningsJ

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Time Just Flies

I really must get a grip of time management. As it stands the weather has been causing a few problems on the planned work front.
The original intention was to make some new driveway gates and allow the new paint on T-A to harden off before climbing all over her.
Over to Bassingfield for some timber twice because I can’t add up when I run out of fingers. Brought 45ft of T&G for the panels and then realised I needed 90ft and also needed some 6ft timbers to make clamps long enough to assemble the gates.
Well most of the parts have been made but I just need to assemble them to measure up for the diagonal braces.
The trouble being that the gates are each 5’ square and too big to assemble in the workshop.
So I have had to make do with a smaller project to make a work station for sharpening tools and the like. The guides on the Tormek system are brilliant and even allow for rotating turning gouges on the stone.
I’m quite pleased with this as it is all made from scrap and off cuts. The castors were given to me as the base of an engine delivery crate, with the only purchase being the drawer handles. I know – little things ……….
Otherwise there were a couple of afternoons over the bank holiday week-end down at Harlaxton Wharf with the Grantham Canal Society plus time spent on the usual hum drum items around the house.
Today being a decent day was down at Pillings fitting the new tabernacle and mast. It has been finished a while, just not the weather to fit it.
Poshest TV aerial in town.
So much time – so little done – must get more organised.
Keeping this diary/blog up to date more often wouldn’t hurt. J