Friday, 22 May 2009

Not Granny's Button

While we were in Banbury, we splashed out on a brand new button (stern fender for those not waterways wise), as our old sisal one had just about had it. We suspect that it was second hand when installed anyway, Bernard or Richard at Swiftcraft probably found it lying around the humpy that they call their workshop. Anyway it was also too short and would only protect the rudder when the helm was push it right over.

We had also tried to install the thing at our (very public mooring) in Banbury. Five minutes into this spectator sport, I dropped the shackle bolt into the cut. It is very difficult not to say things that shouldn't be heard by women and children when that sort of thing happens, so we gave up for the time being - couldn't find another shackle anyway.

I bought another shackle bolt (and a few spares) from Arrow engineering supplies in Rugby and set to work fitting the button, turnbuckles and all to the stern. This would be a lot easier if you could kneel or squat on the water while holding said button (as would cleaning and painting the other side of the boat), but that sort of feat hasn't been achieved for about 2,000 years. I really like having the taff rails to sit on and the swan neck is a wonderful steering aid, but the contortions your body performs to suspend a heavy button over the stern while fastening the shackles can be excruciating.

Luckily Neil and Ruth were here doing some work on Nerus, because Neil lent sturdy assistance from the pontoon side - he has great stamina and patience. Anyway with a bit of team effort the job was accomplished, The highest accolade should be awarded to Jeeves, who wth great determination managed to attach the bottom chain!

Brinklow Marina is indeed in a beautiful location, however it is rather exposed to the wind. Earlier I was explaining that painting the other side of the boat is a bit tricky when only one side is up against the pontoon. Neil and Ruth noticed this too, when they were placing their boat name transfers on the bows - starboard easy, port not so. But of course turning the boat around is the answer (power cable out of reach of course, but port side accessible). So Neil took Nerus out of the berth astern - it is a doddle to do a 180 degree turn in a marina this size isn't it???

While all this was supposed to be happening, it was a lovely day outside, and we were enjoying coffee and cakes in the saloon aboard Gleemaiden . . . . . .

Remember what the weather has been like? Well, it was perfectly calm when Neil backed out, but went from force 1 to force 9 on the Beaufort scale as soon as he got 10 degrees of the turn in. Narrowboats are not built for sailing, but in open water with the wind broadside on, they can go faster sideways than we are allowed to travel forwards on the canals - Nerus nearly did. So Neil decided that discretion was the better part of valour and motored down the end of the marina, turned and made another attempt. Success this time.

It was a bit of a race against time though, with Nerus approaching from the North at 3 miles an hour and a huge squall heading for the now empty pontoon from Church Laawford in the south - Neil got there first, but only just. Then of course, there was no outside work until the weather passed.

It might have been noticed by the keen sighted observers that images posted on this site have been somewhat marred by a blur in the top right hand sector of the photos. I thought that I had bought another technological lemon, with no recourse to a photographic shop to apologise and have the fault remedied. Careful observation showed a slight smudge on the lens of the camera. God knows how it got there, the thing is covered most of the time, anyway with great care and a very soft cloth, I think I have removed it. As these pictures taken subsequently by Audrone should demonstrate. They were taken last night actually; the light and colour is a bonus that can be gleaned from.

This is very tedious you know - especially editing, so . . I'm not yet ready to give up my day job as a retiree.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Topsy turvy week

So much for cruising - we seem to be having April weather in May, but then that is not really daunting, as we had May weather in April and took advantage of it! This goes to shoe that we are not necessarily 'die hard' boaters and are prone to put off setting out in gale force winds and rain squalls (although if out and caught in it. . . well, that is life isn't it?).

We have however, had some good on board entertainment and some frolicking in the local watering holes with visitors - notably Loretta who dropped in last week between visits to relatives in Dublin, Donegal and York. It was good to catch up with Loretta again - she was going to visit us last year when her Aunt was in Coventry and we were in York - but then Rugby and Coventry are a lot closer to London that Bradford!

The accompanying images are not of Loretta, but of Jeeves and Aunt Agatha taken on board while dinner was being prepared - they had both visited the Plant Display at Easenhall. Those fluffy toys incidentally are the same tweety birds that hold forth conversations with their live cousins on the cut (see Blogs passim). And no, I do not think that two cans of Merydown is an excessive amount of cider - not compared with 10 cans of Carlsberg Special Brew, Gussy Finknottle!!!

Pictures when I get back. . . . . Right so here I am and there are they.

Other friends have turned up at the Marina, this week. David and Doreen who own 'Beaurepair' which is an old name for the region around and including Belper in Derbyshire.

The point made earlier about spring showers and the like were very well brought home to David and Doreen who set off at 07:00 on Tuesday morning with a good chance of getting through Hawkesbury Junction by the afternoon. They did; but not after being rained on hailed on and blown all over the cut - as I mentioned very blustery weather.

Both Doreen and David managed to lose their glasses on this trip, but David struck gold in a pub where he was having lunch: the gaffer wanted to know why he hadn't decided what to order having scrutinised the menu for some time, so David explained the predicament:

'I can't read it, can I?'

'Why not?' Asked the concerned chap.

'Lost my flippin' specs - they went in the canal' said David.

'Might be able to sort that for you, just try some of these that have been left behind.' Offered the helpful gaffer.

David did;

. . . . . . And was able to order a smashing good pub meal. hear is wearing them now, having been allowed to keep the specs that let him read his dinner menu. Pity I can't expect to do use any specs but my own - if mine were any stronger, I'd be looking at the world upside down.

Audrone had a splendid idea; we meet the intrepid pair at Stretton Stop, which we did. NB Beaurepair slid nicely through the ready opened swing bridge and I stepped aboard to meet up with everybody back at Brinklow. Audrone took Doreen by car, Richard (the son in law & Mr Van Man) must at this time have been less that amused waiting at the gate with his van, given that D & D had told him that we would be there.

Well we we weren't actually as the pictures show, we were all over the North Oxford in boats, vans and cars.

Thing is though, I have to take my hat off to David, who stood at the tiller for 14 hours. And endured one of the heaviest rainfall I've ever had to endure with the bathroom hatch only a quarter of an inch open - I was soaked and not even in the shower!

Now I have to tell the story of NERUS. But I need a new entry for this. So the next post will begin with a load of eggy nonsensense.

Aaaaagh, the whole stupid system went into meldown - here is the eggy bit anyway.

Yes, well, these little chaps seem to have some an understanding of what it is like to have an egg for breakfast - and a little bit of toast, but they don't know about that.

Neill and Ruth were doing the signwriting on NERUS while this was happening, so they are innocent!!