Monday, 8 September 2014

On A Whim

Another pottering about week. Met up with Scott from CRT on Monday, seems like one of the information boards on the Grantham Canal is in need of repair and it has been suggested I might be able to do something with it. Turned out that it needs a new frame after the old one has rotted off at the bottom.
Doing a bit more work on the wheelhouse doors and finally ran out of sapele that I could use so it was over to Market Harborough to get some more on Wednesday. Got a couple of 8 foot 15” x 2 ½” boards   I also picked up a piece of white oak that should do for the notice board frame.
That little lot should keep me busy for a while. J
Looking at the weather forecast we decided, what the heck, lets have a couple of days out on Trudy-Ann so Thursday saw me taking down bedding and the like before doing a bit of hovering round the house (eek) ready for Friday.
Friday morning it was just a case of load up the dogs and fridge stuff and we were off.
No big licks just a gentle cruise down to Zouch sharing locks with another couple. Moored up using the new fenders as the stone edge here has a noticeable slope.
And they worked a treat.
Karen gave the old girl a good scrub down while I touched up the paintwork scraped at Holme lock.
In the mean time the dogs were having fun romping up and down the towpath.
Finished the day off with a first rate meal in the Rose & Crown. This is the life.
Saturday dropped through Zouch lock to wind and back up to moor so we could give some TLC to the other side before another gentle cruise back, this time sharing locks with one of the Pillings day boats on a birthday treat.
Roll on the time when we can do this on a regular basis.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

It's All Go At The Mo

Tuesday was spent vainly trying to catch up with some of the jobs around the house and garden.
Wednesday morning doing the regular trip to the butchers and into Melton for a restock on dog food and household stuff. In the afternoon disappeared into the workshop cutting timber for the wheelhouse door tops. Not been to Market Harborough just yet, working on the principal that when I run out of wood completely I’ll have a better idea of what I need. At the moment I’m recovering odd bits of usable timber from under the benches.
Work party with GCS on Thursday surveying the self sets. For my part walked from lock 16 to Casthorpe bridge (Br 64). Plenty of work to do here as we have the go ahead from CRT to remove all the self sets and scrub between the towpath and canal over autumn and winter. Most of the sets are young ash, sycamore or willow, not very big but just too big to pull out by hand.
Friday. Working on the new wheelhouse door tops and popped over to Screwfix for some new hinges and the like. Trying to get a outward sloping angle so that water will drain from between the top and bottom sections. This is proving to be a pain. If it was just a case of running it through the saw it would be no problem but the bottom section is raised at each end so it must be cut by hand. I’ll post a picture when the hinges are fitted and both parts can be seen together which should make more sense.
Out with the GCS again on Saturday, tidying up the depot and then joining the work parties out at Casthorpe bridge doing the preparatory work ready to start sapling removal in earnest as soon as we pass the official autumn threshold (Sept.1)
Clearing out the yard this morning (I seem to have been making a lot of sawdust just lately) and splitting a few logs ready for firewood. In the afternoon it was over to Newark for the CRT open day at their dry dock.
Good to see these gates are well watertight.
It is the bow – honest!
Thoroughly interesting and well worth a visit. Dropped off to have a look at the work CRT are doing, repairing the lock chamber at lock 11 near Cropwell Bishop.
Pointing up
And replacing brickwork as required.
It’s great to see.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Fruitful Weekend

A few bits happening on the boat front at the moment. Apart from the varnishing side I’ve decided to rehash the wheelhouse doors. The big mistake I made with the first build was to measure the originals and use the same dimensions, but as you can see here the door is an inch shorter than the frame.
The plan now is to make the door bottom 1 inch taller but that means that the tops have to be an inch shorter. The reason for doing this is that the door top has to be narrower so as not to catch when it is folded down and the result is a hole each side of the door when the wheelhouse is up. Not much to worry about but it is annoying me and it does allow some water to get in especially of the wind is from the side.
What with this and making new shutters for the front windows at home there is a shortage of sapele so it looks like a trip to Market Harborough next week to get some more. Doing all this cutting the table saw blades seem to be running rather hot indicating they are losing their edge. Tried cleaning and a quick rub up with a hone but not a lot of difference. Rather than buy a new set I’ve ordered a machine specifically designed for sharpening circular saw blades. It’ll be interesting to see if it is any good when it arrives.
The past couple of days has been out with the Grantham Canal Society running trips for the public over the bank holiday weekend. This time we were running from Woolsthorpe to give the regulars a change of scenery from Harlaxton. Loads of bodies on Sunday and certainly more than I had expected today.
Unfortunately not such good weather as yesterday but most people still wanted to sit out in front to enjoy the ride. Plenty of positive feedback and enquiries about becoming active members.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Surprising Update

With the last blog entry I copied a link to Maplin customer services (Got to increase the ratings somehow) as it seemed only fair to let them know my comments.
Had a response within 15 minutes and further e-mails through the week-end. The upshot being my complaint is being taken up with the store manager and a donation is being made to the Macmillan charity. Quite a positive result all in all.
Otherwise it’s still a case of harvesting and varnishing. Plums are in full flow at the moment so if plum juice has the same effect as prune juice we should at least be regular in our habitsJ

Saturday, 16 August 2014

A Bit Of A Surprise

Still pottering about with a couple of trips down to T-A to bring back bits of the wheelhouse woodwork for varnishing.
Yesterday with Karen having a bit of time off work we had intended to take the boat out so we could get alongside to touch up those annoying scratches but the weather forecast made that rather pointless.
Instead we opted for a meal at the Otter on the way to Kegworth which was first rate as usual and then on to Pillings Marina. Going through Loughborough I decided to pop into Maplin to stock up on some lithium batteries  but ended up picking up a few extra pieces  as well.
One of which was this weather station that was on offer.
Down at T-A just a quick visit to remove the cabin doors for varnishing and home.
First job was to set up the new weather station. Opened the box to find that most of the components were missing!!!!
A quick check to make sure I had the receipt and repack the box(or is that repack the packaging). Now it’s getting on for 4 o’clock on a Friday and so it’s a mad dash for the twenty or so miles back to Loughborough to try and get this sorted out.
Arriving a Maplin it was identified that I had the box for the display model. Rather than an apology I was asked why I hadn’t noticed it wasn’t as heavy as it should be. Jaw hits floor – perhaps I should have compared the weight of all the boxes in the stack. Anyway replacement was issued without question but the to my amazement the empty box was again added to the stack on display!!! I don’t suppose there is much storage space in the shops but this is ridiculous.
Another twenty miles home, hopefully not taking my frustration out on other drivers.
Today  the weather station is up and working well, cabin doors have been rubbed down and had a coat of Impreg in preparation for varnishing while Karen has been sorting out the garden.
Just came in to order some circlips off the Beal website and to rub salt into the wound found that CR2032 batteries that I bought in Maplin for £3.99 each are available for 45p so I have ordered 5 at the further reduced rate of £2.20 and am interested to see how they perform.

Saturday, 9 August 2014


Or should that be a blinding flash of the obvious?
After scratching the new paintwork I’ve been wondering about ways to keep Trudy-Ann from rubbing against the bank. Well last week I ordered a new wheelbarrow wheel to replace the one ravaged by hawthorn cuttings and as soon as I saw it I ordered two more.
I’ve seen wheels used elsewhere but they always seemed too bulky and soon showed signs of rust, these seem to be made for the job.
Otherwise there has not been too much happening over the last few weeks other than some enjoyable days down on the Grantham canal. It may be classed as a remainder but it still sees plenty of use
In the garden all the fruit seems to be about two weeks ahead of the norm so it has been a case of lots of picking, freezing or juicing. Certainly getting our five a day at present.

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?