Tuesday, 7 April 2020

The Tillerpin

It is interesting to reflect that I still own one of the Tillerpins commissioned for use on the vessel,

This has for sometime been installed on the windowsill of our house in Oakthorpe. Which has aptly been given the appellation of ‘Tillerpin Cottage. And this in turn has become a registered business call Tillerpin Cottage Ltd.

I have been handicapped with a disability which means I can no longer manage a boat of any size, if it requires repeatedly boarding and disembarking from a boat.  This does by no means imply that I can’t make myself useful elsewhere. So I have done just that.
I will therefore continue with this site and add all the material that was written for NB Mariner plus extra stories and associated business.

I intend to take advantage of new technology and incorporate video compilations as well as commentary. I will probably change quite a lot and may move to using a a website and/or video log as a replacement

Friday, 28 August 2015

Just about the end of summer - so a few additions

It would be rather good if I could transfer all the posts from 'Midlandrover' to this site, because some clown has obliterated access to it by overlaying with another site that is only concerned with a lot of advertising and such rubbish. This I can't get rid of or even view my own material.

View from bedroom two/office
widow - canal is adjacent to tree line.
Enough moaning, we have had a very interesting time since we now live in our house in Oakthorpe - which we have called 'Tillerpin Cottage', as previously mentioned - what I forgot to add is that one can see where the now closed section of the canal used to follow the edge of the field behind us - that is if you look over from the upper storey windows.

The community spirit is very strong in this Parish, which incorporates Oakthorp, Donisthorpe  and Acresford. All are situated in the National Forest http://www.nationalforest.org/  near the Ashby De la Zouche canal, which we hope will son be re-united with its original destination of course Ashby de la Zouche, a nearby historical town.

Bosworth Battle re-enactment
Nearby there are many places of historical interest, including Bosworth Field where of course that famous battle occurred during which King Richard III was killed and Henry VII took the crown and the commencement of the Tudor period which was to last 118 years - but all this and the re-enactment each year are the subject of a following post.
Battle of Tewksbury -
Bosworth field
Meanwhile Tillerpin Cottage has acquired a fascinating piece of early (1929) - a Lister LR1 Petrol D series stationary engine. It is in perfect condition, having been lovingly restored by a chap called Kevin who (like me) hails from Kent - mind you, he lives there and having purchased her had to drive down and collect.

Never mind, we bought a charming
pole axe from this stand!
That was some drive! especially as the engine weighs well over two hundred weight plus trolley and wheels. I am going to try and upload the video entailing most of the above, but Google may balk at the file size - so here goes.

Hmmm..... it didn't work, but here is a link through which it can be viewed - watched anyway. Neither did that, though it may be found by opening Vimeo and searching for 'Lister LR1 and Garden'.

I'll pop in some ordinary photos shortly, but meanwhile must go pubwise as I have said that I would meet Trevor and Ian at the Holly Bush!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

A restart to an old diary of happenings

Obviously I no longer own the boat after which the site has been named, but as it is still available on Google search, I thought that it would good platform for a reincarnation of our comings, goings doings etc.

I also realise that little has been posted for ages, however I thought to update this would e a better idea than starting a new blog site - I intend to copy this to those that I already have in place.

The big news is that since last time I put anything together, I have had a few health issues (perhaps not surprising at my age!), however both of us are now very well and living a house called 'Tillerpin Cottage' in a lovely village called Oakthorpe (easily found by entering DE12 7RJ on Google maps or earth).

The house has a huge garden which again we have split into sections; a lawn area with cottage garden theme, Vegetable and fruit area - again with well drained raised beds, and this time we are raising poultry - namely bantam hens with a couple of bantam rooster. I call it a micro holding as it is only half an acre.

Our little (well sort of little) dog Bosun loves the place - though I wonder if he misses being CPO on  the boat that he grew up with, NB Mariner. Anyway he really enjoys going for walk around the local area as we are situated in the 'National Forest' which encompasses the counties of Leicetershire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire. I'll see if I can still incorporate some pictures - but I seem to be having to rediscover the use of the blog devices.

I also have some video material to include - but that needs some explaining and might be best slotted into the next posting.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

A possible new continuation

This needs a little explaining - I haven't posted anything on this site since we sold the boat because we didn't feel that we ought to compromise the feelings of the purchasers by continuing under this name.

However I have come to the conclusion that this could be jolly good forum for our Bosun who is CPO of NB Mariner to have a little say about what it means to be a member of the crew. So from here on, all words are his - but of course I have to vet the photos that he would like to include, given that he is rather adolescent and prone to showing off.
So, here is a start.
I was heading the press gang down at Stratford - we needed a few extra crew members for the locks.
Unfortunately I was restrained before I could overpower the lazy bugger. The 1st Lieutenant explained that gentlemen were exempt from the press and took me off to find more suitable sorts in a nearby tavern,

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Late Final Extra

This is just a final posting to let anyone who still looks at this weblog that the principal subject of the site 'Gleemaiden' has been sold and that both of us have moved into a house in Rugby.

Of course one didn't feel too much like posting bulletins while the boat was up for sale or subsequently for some months. We wish the new owners all the best and hope that they have as much enjoyment from cruising the waterways as did we. It was a sad day when we finally left her.

Meanwhile for those those who are interested in what has been happening in our lives; I have started a new weblog, which will be (hopefully) updated regularly and provide some insight into what we do and what we experience in both travels and home life,.

The site is called 'midlandrover' because we we live in the Midlands, which is our base and travel around in a Land rover Discovery - which is pictured here. Also here is the weblink or whatever it is called.


 So, thanks for your interest and hope to hear some comments etc on the new site.

Jeeves and Wooster.    Of course the real Wooster would have bought a two seater roadster!

Monday, 18 January 2010

The new year rolls on

This is going to be an interesting year. perhaps I should have written this posting before the last one, but forget the chronology, it is the content that counts - well anyway the relevance of the subject matter.

It is now just coming up to being a year since I started this weblog, and I notice that this is posting number 52 - wow! one a week; fantastic for a lazy sod like me. I am certainly no Granny Buttons in the scheme of things.

So, as readers might have gathered from blogs passim, we have been dividing time between the house and the boat; with the nett result that the house has actually commanded more time than the boat of late. So lets start with that.

The raised vegetable beds were completed just in time for late Autumn planting of over winter crops such as onions; garlic; shallots; brasssicas and a large number of asparagus crowns. We also managed to get in over forty raspberry plants; three gooseberry bushes and some hybrid soft fruit including thornless blackberries before the frost and snow set.

Amazingly enough, we will have to start tilling the remaining beds and start our spring sowing next month, but we are glad we got such a head start already! I have been watching too many repeats of 'The Good Life' methinks, but haven't extended to goats and pigs yet. Though it seems that Jeeves now has a mind set on raising hens, fowl which did actually occupy our garden until they; were removed next door when the house was sold.

Well with any luck, we won't have to visit the fruit and veg section of Sainsbury's so often in the coming months. All in all it is rather exciting.

Now on the last posting, I mentioned that we were invited to Derek's surprise birthday party - something that certainly could not be put on this site prior to the occasion. The whole evening was a huge success and Derek certainly did not tumble to what was happening until he turned up at the restaurant in Rugby.

Derek and Sheila were at this time moored up at Napton and very solidly iced in, so we couldn't go back to Clarence for after dinner drinks, but we had their daughter Nicki and her partner Dave staying with us - a delightful couple. So we weren't short of company in Rugby either.

There are some things to be said about the ground thawing out - you get to see your lawn again; bulb shoots are peeping out of garden beds and you won't fall over walking down the pavement to the corner store. However, it isn't February yet and we all know that last this was the coldest month.

Perhaps we shall do a little more of this ice walking nonsense - and no, we don't use skis or wings, well anyway a wing and the prayer that we don't fall through! We know that we wouldn't drown, but how cold and wet would you be getting out of zero degree water and walking back to where you could change.

Here also are a couple of pictures of the marina and how we bravely used Gleemaiden as an icebreaker to charge out on to the Oxford Canal in search of fresh water and diesel fuel.

Actually not true of course - because you don't spend five hundred quid on a blacking and take it down to bare metal six weeks later. Funny thing is that NB K2 went icebreaking last year, but I doubt if even she would have got through this thickness of ice.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

A walk on the canal

Happy New to everybody who has been following this weblog. My apologies for not posting much news lately. No excuse of course, but not much boating either. We do of course visit the boa frequently, to make sure everything is shipshape and rather importantly that water hasn't frozen in the pipes or condensed in fuel tanks, we find living in the house a little more convenient at present.

Today however we felt like a bit of fresh air having been to Derek's birthday party (more of this later in the posting) last night. Well, a trip on the boat was out and setting the fire just to sit there at the marina, drinking wine and watching telly didn't seem awfully exciting either.

. . . . . so, off we went for a nice snowy walk down to Clifton Bridge and yes believe it or not we went for a walk not along the canal but on the canal! Which just goes to show how dedicated we are to exploring the waterways even when our boat is stuck in ice dock.

So here in a few words and some pictures is how we set out to follow the footsteps of the great explorers; Sir Ranulph Fiennes; Shackleton and Scott without even having to cross the equator.

The first step was to see if we could free the Framm from its icy grip and the Chief Officer put her life on the line boarding across the dangerous pack ice,

A brave attempt was made to save the stores and the rotavator seen on deck. (methinks this maybe serious case of trespass - ed)

The Terra Nova can be seen also trapped in the ice astern of the Framm.

Undaunted, the crew set off on an intrepid trip to bridge 65 to seek help from the Norwegians who were drinking with Amundsen in the nearby Crown on Newbold.

Luckily we made it before the next blizzard.

I'll tell you something for nothing though - and I hope that British Waterways know; there is a hell of a lot of bridge bits and barricades, as well as other rubbish that the local chavs have tossed into the canal from bridge 66. The first boat that goes through after the thaw will need to have the draft of an Oxford punt if the rubbish isn't removed immediately after the thaw.

Next posting will be the party and a bit on winter vegetable gardening.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

After the blacking

After a very rainy couple of days - particularly on the Saturday when the dry-dock picture in the previous posting was taken. Sunday however turned out to be perfect and a phone call late that afternoon confirmed that Gleemaiden was now Glee-ming (at least from the rubbing strakes down), so would be ready for collection the following morning at 8.30am.

Jeeves has also asked me to include a picture of Biggles at the boatyard which I mentioned in the last posting - so here he is 'soclialising' with a dog that for once he didn't dare jump on or growl at. Actually this huge dog has a lovely nature and delights in playing with a squeaky toy shaped and looking like 'The Times' newspaper. Not all newspapers carry stories as sqeaky clean as this one does!

I don't usually do promotions on this weblog, but I can but highly commend the work done by Grantham Bridge Boat Services at Hillmorton (just above the bottom lock). Here is a link which takes you to Canalbreaks - their website.
The phone number is the same for boat repairs and blacking as it is for their boat hire service. Anyway they did a great job and checked other under water items such as the bow-thruster tubes and rudder skeg.

Readers who aren't boaters may also be interested in Canalsbreaks.com for hiring purposes - they also own and run Willow Wren which as previously mentioned was the company owned and run by Leslie Morton, who used to use the Admiral Nelson pub in Braunston as an unofficial Midlands office.

It was still a dry dock when we arrived, but slowly filling with water. Jeeves and I were amazed at the size of the rudder (all nicely blacked of course) - we hadn't seen it fully exposed since the launching.

In the background can be seen the coffer dam that keeps the water out of the dry-dock. It works on the same principle as many of those that you Will see along the cut, usually next to a bridge hole with an accompanying crane to drop in the baulks of timber. This one though is much smaller of course - as is the lift bridge that crosses the opening.

The forecast was terrible, but there was some sunshine as we left the boatyard and more as we negotiated the bottom lock, so we decided that rather than moor at Hillmorton, hoping for better weather, I would take advantage of what appeared to be quite good cruising weather for the morning. I set off a sole operative again, with Jeeves taking the car and aiming to be picked up at a bridge hole not far from the marina.

All this duly took place, with Wooster at the hellum picking up Jeeves at bridge 50 next to the Barley Mow. It eeemed to be getting blustery as I eased the boat slowly toward the bridge - no white horses on the water though (as if -ed). Jeeves told me though that the conditions at Brinklow were quite, if not severely blustery.

Well! I should have opened my ears a little more because half an hour later I attempted to swing in through bridge 39 in the usual fashion which involves a little reverse and correction for a 60' boat entering from the south.

Not so! I got her head around and went astern to head through both bridges in a nice straight line. Rubbish! a nice powered turn went horribly wrong. As soon as I dropped to forward power, the gale took hold and pushed the bows back into the cut. Worse was to follow, as being now alongside the entrance I was blown against to opposite bank by the blast.

After much scraping and swearing, we got Gleemaiden amidstream and south of the entrance again, out of the way of the wind tunnel.

This time I put the bows straight into the entrance at an absurd angle and touching the arnco. From there I was able to swing the stern around using the thrust against the rudder and by keeping the wind from pushing the bows out of the entrance once more.

Once through, with the wind coming from ahead we realised that getting into the pontoon mooring with a cross wind like this was going to involve a lot of banging - there really were white horses in the open stretches of the marina. So, we moored up at the South end and took her alongside the following day - also gusty, but we were lucky to have Neil and Ruth to help.

Thursday, 12 November 2009


Lovely day for boating, all set and no wind; but forgot to take the television aerial down didn't I? Also setting off single handed, realised that one has to manage ropes by one's self.

Pulled up nicely by the arnco at the end of the marina and uncoiled one of he centre ropes (not being silly and stepping of the the boat to do this, of course). And then having disassembled TV mast, got under way again.

Jeeves was at bridge 39 to wave me on if no traffic was offering to ram us amidships as I put the helm over to head south again.

Yes! Gleemaiden is off for a blacking and will have to bare all before the stalwart chaps at Grantham Bridge (also Willow Wren of Les Morton and David Blagrove fame).
Had I been working locks and heaving on ropes one gets quite warm in any weather; as a solo operative though on stretches with few such diversions and opportunities for exercise, the man at the 'hellum' can really get to feel the cold.

Anyway, I was only starting to lick the the ice away from under my fingernails and wishing that I could drift for a bit while I made a coffee-laced rum, when the mobile rang. I was passing under Clifton bridge with another boat coming the other way - in fact I nearly dropped another mobile phone in the cut while ducking under the bridge. You also have to dodge bricks - some chav managed to drive a car over the edge; but the canal is free of that at least.

So; 'Clifton Bridge' said I, missing the oncoming boat by inches. The golf course will be coming up shortly.

Ten minutes later another call tells me to look out for her and Biggles - so we slide into a nice strait mooring, not far from the bottom lock at Hillmoton.

Here os a picture of Gleemaiden in drydock and one of Biggle scared pantless by a large German Shepherd at Grantham Bridge Boats.

Got a brilliant e-mail from Neil and Ruth on Nerus (see blogs passim),which tells of trying times that can occur when faced with a water shortage on the cut! Neil has told of some of the odd discomforts that you might experience when waking up in you bed at this angle - I can only say that we would have found ourselves heavily entangled under the gunwale with five feet of uphill mattress to negotiate before even going to the loo along a sloping corridor (thanks for the detail Mr S).

Now here is another think - I haven't done the pictures yet, so I'll have to go and get the camera! Damn! Done that now, so on to the next posting.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Bonfire Night

Look out! Its Bonfire Night!

No bonfire, but lots of . . .

. . . well fireworks.

This has nothing to do with boating we simply weren't there - there doesn't seem to be a lot of interest from boaters in making fire and brimstone erupt around the cut or at the marina. Anyway dogs don't like them and towpaths aren't really suited to pyrotechnic displays.

So for the first time in a number of years we had a little display in our back garden. And jolly good it was too, a bit on the light side compared with the public displays, but if you really want to have some fun throwing money away in sparks, smoke and bangs, I could recommend such an evening as we had.

Just think for the cost of only five packets of cigarettes, we had about two hours of colourful if smoky entertainment without having to worry about withdrawal symptoms afterwards.
Derek and Sheila were on assited with the celebrations and Derek was a great help with the handy match and lighted taper. Derek also had a mortar type of firework which would have put the fear into . . . . . no never mind, needless to say that it was quite spectacular!

Minnie and Cain from next came to watch our shenanigans before they and their friend held quite a display of their own - some great rockets!

And Biggles tells us that both wars are over and he is quite happy to stay in bed and ignore all the noise and kerfuffle.