Saturday, 4 April 2015

A Short Catch Up

Only a couple of quick visits to Trudy-Ann over the last few weeks, mainly to check that there was no damage after the high winds.
Replaced the stern line as that seems to have been chafing on the mooring shackle. Otherwise everything is OK bar a bit of water coming in at the wheelhouse doors ( Slap on the wrist for me because I started remaking the door tops last October and still haven’t got them completed.) Got side tracked and am now in the process of making shutters for the lounge at home to replace the curtains but still plenty to do there. Otherwise the rest of the boat is bone dry and in good order but in need of a clean. With that in mind I ordered a new pressure washer from Karcher, but it arrived with a broken case. Reported it straight away and was given a return address and a collection arranged for a day later with no fuss. Courier failed to show so collection has now had to be arranged for next Tuesday – Easter Bah Humbug!
On the gardening  front. All the plots have been rotovated  and all the potatoes are in and earthed up despite the dogs trying to knock it all flat again.
Karen has erected all the necessary runner bean wigwams and pea runs but has only been able to plant out the broad beans as of yet but has lots of stuff ready to go out in the greenhouse and cold frame.
Still plenty going on down at the Grantham canal we seem to be running work parties at least once a week and last week-end boat trips for discover Lincolnshire on Saturday and Sunday. Skipped off a work Party today as I’m helping out on Sunday and Monday doing our usual Boat trips over the bank holiday 10am to 4pm but running from Woolsthorpe this time rather than the usual trips from Harlaxton Wharf. Should be plenty of tea and home made cakes on offer if last week was anything to go by.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

So Much Going On

Not so much happening on the boating front at the moment but on the restoration side things are getting very busy. The scrub and trees on both sides of lock 15 on the Grantham canal have had to be removed to allow access for plant to begin the restoration and it all had to be down before the start of spring and the nesting season. The volunteers set to with a will and it’s good to see how big the work parties are becoming these days. It would seem that the more people can see something happening the more there are who want to be part of it and it’s great to see. Just wish I could remember all their names.
In here somewhere.
 Slash and burn
You couldn’t see those farm buildings before.
Once the scrub was cleared WRG forestry section came in to drop the big stuff.
All down by February 28.
Never knew that gate was there.
Just leaves us to clear away with the very welcome help of local farmer John.
Now it’s all back at Woolsthorpe with the intention of selling it for firewood to raise funds for the society once it has been split and dried.
There are some lovely pieces of ash, willow and hawthorn I have purloined with the thought of turning out tiller handles with the different types of wood recovered during the restoration.
Otherwise on the GCS front. Osberton is now fully functional thanks to the efforts of Dave and Steve. Just needs to be blacked now before putting it back in the water, unfortunately it has taken a bit longer than hoped because of the deadline at lock 15.
Platform repaired and back in place.
And joy of joys the chains I remade didn’t break on the first operation.
Three Shires the trip boat has been serviced and the front seats braced and strengthened. The seats take an extra pounding because of all the people stepping on and off especially on the bank holiday trip days the society runs.
On the home front the trees have all been given a haircut and the rotavating has just been completed though the ground is still a bit on the soft side. They reckon it has been a sunny winter so why do we seem to be running later than usual? Karen has given the grass its first trim but the mower is playing up as it looks like the engine brake cable has frayed in the sleeve. New one ordered but it will take two weeks to be delivered.
In the workshop a new router table with elevator assembled and is up and running but I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet because the is so much going on.
Don’t know if I have been bored or countersunk at the moment. Hopefully I can catch up as the days get longer J

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Time Off

Happy new year all!
Plenty doing on at the moment with the Grantham canal, which is where I think I may be for quite some time over this spring. The new weed boat is hoped to be up and running shortly so it can be used before the nesting season starts and plenty more self set trees and bushes to remove between towpath and canal.
Looks like the lottery funding has come through and there is over £800,000 in the pot to restore the next two locks from Woolsthorpe (14 & 15) and do some preparatory work on the next two needing restoration. As I understand it one of the provisos is that volunteers are encouraged to train on various aspects of the construction, so if you want to learn how to drive a dumper , work a digger or lay bricks etc. come along and join us.
Trudy-Ann is as ready as she will ever be. There will always be little tweaks or adjustments to be made, just like any home.
The initial reason for this blog was to celebrate the building of a new boat and our excitement as it developed.
Unfortunately it turned into a warning about the cowboy that fitted it out, but from then on it also turned into a record of the rebuild and the pleasure in seeing things come together.
I may use this blog as a record of our cruises but there will not be any major trips until Karen gets to retire which hopefully won’t be too far in the future but as it stands the main reason for this record is over so don’t expect too many entries in the near future.
Safe cruising folks.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

All Sorts

The title was going to be ‘Wing walls, flying boats, tidying up and poo tanks’ but that seemed to be a bit over the top but none the less that’s what has been happening over the last few weeks.
Most of the work at home has been to tidy up the garage/workshop so I can actually work in there. Its been OK up to now with the fine weather because I could work outside with the larger projects. Fortunately all the bigger machinery is on wheels so it can be shifted about.
Been doing quite a bit with the Grantham Canal Society lately. A work party down at Woolsthorpe clearing scrub from the off side of lock 17 and one at Harlaxton clearing self set trees and shrubs from between towpath and canal but cried off early because my new safety shoes were giving me grief. Think they will be for the bin unless I can find a way of spreading the steel toe cap.
Some of the lads have been re-pointing the top wing walls at lock 17 and have done a marvellous job in very dirty conditions. Making temporary dams so that the pointing can be done right down to the canal bed.
Ralph hard at work. As you can see even with the pound drained there is still water about. They have only been able to dam off a small section at a time yet have managed to work all the way round. Hats off to them.
At the same time the society has become the proud owner of the weed boat ‘Osberton’
Leaving Rugeley
Now in Woolsthorpe depot in readiness for repainting and reassembly. If anyone out there is feeling rich or would like to help raise funds to assist the society with this project have a look on the website Better still come and give us a hand.
I know blatant begging bowl stuff, but it is in a good causeJ
On the T-A front, the water tank has now been drained down with the intention of lifting the top to recoat the inside once it has dried off. And a new sender unit has been purchased for the black water tank after the old one let us down last time.
No more floats and arms it is all done ultrasonically. Progress innt wonderful.

Monday, 17 November 2014

In A Whirl

Lots going on at the moment but not a deal with T-A. Been down to the boat a couple of times to clear the roof and start getting ready for winter.
The main event over the last few weeks has got to be our day out in London. Starting out at St. Paul’s and walking down to the tower along the embankment with its views of the shard and HMS Belfast.
Only one picture of the poppies at the tower as there have been so many shows on TV.
Look beyond the red and see the hoards of people surrounding the moat to get a view –they go all the way round.
Just as we were going in a warship came through tower bridge so I wanted to get a picture of the bridge raised.
But all I managed to get were the crowds.
Inside the tower fortunately for us was a lot less crowded but no less amazing.
Apart from the usual there are various sculptures all over the place.
Look closely and you will see they are made from just chicken wire – amazing.
The main project is clearing out the workshop so I have enough room to work inside during the bad weather. Otherwise I has been doing some of the autumn jobs around the garden.
On the Grantham canal front there have been a couple of work parties doing a bit of tidying up and sorting out.
At long last the information board for Clarks bridge is back in place.
There seems to be a few canal developments as well, but more of that in the future.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Discovery Day

Hard work but it was well worth it.
Some of the motley crew taking a lunch break after putting up the marquee on Saturday
John, Tony, Mike, Bob, Rosemary, Bob and Ralph.
Not all of them by any means but Tony and Rosemary are the main organisers and have done sterling work to make the day a success once again.
A misty start to a long day and the WWI field kitchen is being lit in preparation to provide vegetable soup for the workers.
‘Ay up me duck’ (AKA Tony) ready to meet the public and promote the Dirty Duck race.
The mayor of Grantham enjoying the Lancashire clog dancing.
 He and the mayoress really seemed to get involved in all the events and there were plenty of them. (No not mayors)
And they’re off!
The duck race started at 2.22 and of the 200 ducks taking part I had the dubious honour of winning the booby prize for the last duck over the line. A water pistol to shoot my duck.
Lots of entertainment, stalls and interesting displays I haven’t been able to mention but it certainly was a grand day out. I hear the boat trips were all sold out but didn’t have a chance to get up to lock 18.
Rain forecast for Monday so everything was cleared away and the depot was left as if nothing had happened. A pint of shandy in the Dirty Duck and home – totally Christmas crackered.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Trip Diary (Part 2)

Saturday 27th Septmber
Huddlesford to Branston Water Park. A longer day than planned. Slow run back to Fradley  where we stopped off for water before the swing bridge. Back onto the T&M and making better headway stopping for lunch at Alrewas and to give the dogs a break. Carried on to Branston Water Park but this may not have been a wise move after seeing all the rabbits and squirrels running around. This means the dogs will not be allowed to run free.
11 Miles  9 Locks
The obligatory photo.
Sunday 28th September
Branston Water Park to bridge 24A.
Plenty of boats moving today, even had two pass before 07:00. Had a lazy start and set off about 11:00. The last two narrow locks negotiated with ease as boats coming through in the opposite direction, not much traffic going our way. Presumably it’s hire boats and people having to get back for start of work on Monday Stopped off at Stretton bridge 29A for some fresh supplies. Another rural setting tonight in earshot of the railway but nothing to be seen.
7 Miles 2 Locks

Tonight’s mooring
Monday 29th September
Bridge 24AWillington to Aston lock
Fairly early start due to weather forecast being a bit  uncertain for the afternoon. Stopped off at Stenson to exercise the dogs and met up with a lovely couple on an old (1928 I think she said) ex working boat called Mecca. Shared the next three locks with them, planning to stop in the next pound down but ended mooring  just above Aston lock as we could not get anywhere near to the side.
11 Miles 3 Locks
Tuesday 30th September
Aston lock to Zouch. Once again we were luck with locking partners all the way to Kegworth Deep lock on Water Vole. Only Zouch lock was negotiated on our own. It’s amazing how good company can speed up and make the journey even more enjoyable. Passing a boat on the Soar above Kegworth Deep got a call from the lady on board that she follows the blog. Well, I was so gob smacked I forgot to make a note of the boat name – Sorry.
We have had so much glorious weather on this trip that it looks like we will be home two days early. Had a couple of days built in to allow for days not fit to travel (Us being fair weather boaters) but none have been needed. The slow cooker has been on all today so it is stew tonight. Had been planning on a pub meal on the way back but early running has put paid to that. But there is always tomorrow.
11 Miles  7 locks (Not counting 4 open flood Locks)
Wednesday 1st October
Back to Pillings a day earlier than planned. Had thought about a stop over at Zouch but the black water tank has decided otherwise. Gauge shows empty but tank is definitely full. The gauge has never been reliable and I suspect the original wiring configuration may be the cause of its failure.
Pump out and back to our mooring for lunch. Load up dogs and washing before getting away home.
Thursday 2nd October
Catching up with the gardening, things are still growing well with all this fine weather.
Since then it has been a case of doing a bit more woodwork and more catching up in the garden.
Today and from now on it will be going like the clappers with everybody else trying to Help Tony and Rosemary set up for the Grantham Canal Society Discovery Day at Woolsthorpe depot behind the Rutland Arms (Dirty Duck) pub on  Sunday 12th October. Lots to see and do  see website for details
Book your duck for the famed duck race.