Thursday 30 April 2015

Movement at last

After almost two weeks of suffering a metabolism similar to Lonesome George, bless him, and having exhausted the World's supply of Lactulose, Senna and Macrogol, some movement was finally achieved this morning ( much to my relief, if you'll excuse the pun ) . In the interests of conservation I intend returning to nature for the immediate future . Apart from attending to my needs I spent this morning undercoating our new gas bin extension for the boat. If the afternoon remains dry ( it looks unlikely) I'll add the blue topcoat to fully complete the boat improvements ready for our next voyage to the City of Lincoln on Sunday.

Monday 27 April 2015

So much to do. So little time

Lynne hopes to get her toothache sorted today. The extent of necessary treatment will have an affect on our boating aspirations. We also have a number of outstanding jobs to slot into our plans. The engineer at Barton Marina has offered to help reduce the drive-shaft water leak. We still have to paint Steve's gas bin extension,which involves bringing it home, as boat maintenance is severely restricted in the Marina. We will need to compile and copy evidence for any Trading standards action against MCC. In addition there is the remainder of our summer cruising programme to plan and complete.
It's a tough life !!
It is strange how fate plays its part in people's lives. Having stated this morning we have lots to do and little time to do it, the dentist came to our rescue by insisting Lynne spends a week at home on anti-biotics before revisiting on Friday, problem solved. The break also gives us the opportunity to improve our boat electrics knowledge via a session with the electrical engineer at Shobnall Marina.
In addition the sun and blue skies have returned, but still accompanied by a cool breeze unfortunately.

Sunday 26 April 2015

Medical updates. Human And boat.

A frost overnight but we are comfortably off at home whilst I see a doctor regarding my food processing systems and Lynne has some dental treatment. I have completed a letter to Trading Standards regarding MCC/Stensen's.
We took a bus into Kingston in the forlorn hope of activating Lynne's "new" I-phone, but we should have known better. All this new technology inevitably makes things far more complicated, not simpler.
However, an old-fashioned phone call seems to have done the trick so the I phone should be activated in the morning.
My food-processing system has been given assistance via 3 types of jollop so we await results with some trepidation.

Saturday 25 April 2015


No rain this morning but a dull day all the same. I hope to complete my letter about the MCC failures to Derby Trading Standards today and start the ball rolling on the "justice" front.
Strangely, I suspect our case may be jeopardised by the "accidental repair" of our boat electrics as Trading Standards normally prefer to have a qualified engineer report on the alleged faults, but clearly this will not be possible in this case as the faults miraculously no longer exist, but it is the principal of us suffering 2 years of hell and frustration, added to by MCC's indifference and arrogance, which we hope to address.
I completed the letter and need to get copies of the original boat spec, the rear toilet variation and correspondence from me to MCC over the past 2 years to enclose with it.
In the event today morphed into sunshine and warmth, allowing me to complete the weeding of the garden before the trip to see our friend in Leicester Royal Infirmary, familiar territory for me.

Friday 24 April 2015

Alrewas to Barton

It was far chillier for the final part of our cruise "home" to Barton Marina where Tardis Two will stay whilst Lynne and I return to dry land home to attend dentist's, doctor's and friends as necessary.
Whilst covering "old" water this short trip proved a revelation,given that the long-standing electrical "problems" were accidentally resolved as was the new overheating problem, so the boat we finished the trip with was the boat we should have had 2 years ago, had it not been for those twits at Stensen/MCC not having the intelligence or the will to face-up to the fact it was their fault all along. We do not expect even a hint of an apology from arrogant Eddie, he of the ludicrous suggestions we only cruise between marina's with electric hook-ups, only open our fridge once a day and cruise at 2000 revs, sufficient for water skiing and for breaking the national canal speed limit by at least 200%.
If a Martian space ship ever lands on earth and Eddie and/or his siblings,get taken as hostages the Martians view of human intelligence would prove unbelievably  embarrassing. 
The Bernie Winters of boatbuilding.  
Karen, Steve and the two of us made a leisurely return to our respective marina's at Stensen and Barton Turns and it even rained to mark the occasion. Tardis Two was expertly reversed by Lynne into the visitor mooring prior to our return home once the car had been started by our faithfull technical workshop team. I will have to investigate why the battery goes flat so fast if the car is not used.
We loaded the car with piles of dirty clothes between showers, adding Sadie as a final resort because we expect to be on land for a few days to visit a very sick friend in hospital, I need to see my GP on Monday and Lynne her dentist on Tuesday, then we aim to get back on the canals soon thereafter .
It rained virtually all day and long into the evening today, which is some consolation.

Thursday 23 April 2015

Armitage (Plum Pudding) tunnel towards home.

PFollowing a shopping trip in Rugely for essential supplies and some additional hooks for clothes storage I retired to bed for the afternoon feeling distinctly below par. Whilst I was asleep Karen and Steve requested a move to nearer the Plum Pudding pub and assisted Lynne moving through the Armitage "open top" tunnel to a new mooring spot virtually next to the pub, so I awoke in totally new surroundings with the intrusive sound of the A513 main road extremely close by, persistent throughout the night. It was similar to mooring on the central reservation of the M6, if that were possible. Needless to say the night's sleep was not my best and the below par feelings were heightened considerably. I do not intend detailing the reasons, but as a hint, they are linked to my body's waste management systems. The earliest doctor's appointment Lynne could arrange is for next week so I will have to live with the problem till then I suppose. Whatever happened to Andrew's liver salts?
Lying in bed, suffering with stomach cramps and sleep deprivation, my thoughts returned to my "meetings" with "Mad" Frankie Frazer, the chief torturer for the notorious gangland murderers the Kray twins. Not that I was ever part of the London gangland scene you understand, but our paths frequently crossed during my latter working days in London at a café very near his "retirement" home and my office.
Despite his reputation I found him to be a very nice man with a good sense of humour, but I can imagine him mooring my boat on the A513 during his "working" days, if I had upset his bosses.
Our rear toilet became a "cloakroom" with the addition of 4 double coat hangers, whilst the rear drying cupboard gained hooks for my life jacket and Lynne's cruising jacket.
The weather quickly turned from hot and sunny to breezy and chilly so it was mutually agreed to moor near Alrewas , a considerable distance from a main road, railway or other disturbance.
A quick walk to a chemist in Alrewas solved my plumbing "blockage" speedily and painlessly ( Lactulose ).

Wednesday 22 April 2015

The Haywood's to Rugely.

A cool,misty morning, first sampled in my PJ's as our gas bottle required changing. Sadie woke Lynne at 0600,who woke me when she found it difficult to undo the valve on the empty canister and, unusually, since my treatment, sought my assistance. Job done.
A number of incidents yesterday, non serious but personal confidence sapping, has caused me to re-evaluate the value of me being in charge of Tardis Two for lengthy periods. Lynne now has far better boating skills than me, maintenance and helmsman, so I need to acknowledge the facts. Hard but true
A very gentle cruise to Rugely  found us a space at the visitor moorings.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Aston-by-Stone to Salt

Another beautiful sunrise over Cannock Chase,the Trent Valley and some outstanding scenery, with the promise of another "summer" day for a further top-up of my sun tanned face and arms.
A summer day actually materialised, but a cool breeze kept the temperatures lower than yesterday's.
We eventually moored near Great Haywood and Shugborough Hall, now a county museum.
We had dinner in a pub at Great Haywood and watched/listened/discussed some historic pop video's on the pub TV's, relating vivid memories of star concerts and festivals attended. Between the four of us I guess we have seen every major 70's/80's pop star that ever existed (or still does) memories eh?

Monday 20 April 2015

Stone external body experience

With the boat apparently fixed and working perfectly  two years down the line,I now find the focus of my attention being curing problems with the cat and me. I'm conscious of the fact I am not a vet or a pet physchiatrist so I have little confidence in curing the former, but the latter should, in theory, be a doddle for anyone with my experience and depth of knowledge. Another hypo in the night, taking on board my revised diabetic regime, has left me flummoxed and floundering on the edge of despair and despondency. Last night's  was particularly frightening, an"out of body" experience involving me "dying" of hypothermia. As with most diabetic hypo's these episodes are alarmingly realistic, assisted by the fact Tardis Two was frighteningly cold, as was I. As usual Lynne saved the situation with the help of a calm head, Lucozade and Chocky biscuits, but not before I realised I did not wish to be dead or die of hypothermia, especially on an unfathomable and seemingly endless boating "mission" on a canal I did not wish to be on yet again. It reminds me of my pre-retirement daily commute, not a memory I wish to cherish, dead or alive I Understand plan z is to turn around and return to where we started tomorrow, but I will only believe it when and if it happens. I am told the mission has been a great success. The boat electrics are working as they should have done two years ago and the recently encountered engine overheating problem has been fixed. Furthermore, Karen's boat handling lack of confidence has been addressed and partially conquered. Hey ho.
This morning is very sunny and reasonably warm for a welcome change.
The promising morning turned into a full blown hot summers day and we eventually moored on the canal near Aston Marina, having turned round at Burlaston around lunchtime.

Sunday 19 April 2015

Sleepless in Stone

For the last few nights/mornings Sadie has turned from the model on-board cat we had dreamed of having to the cat from hell, doing Yoko Ono singing impressions endlessly at some unearthly hour or other. Feeding her ends the torture very briefly but then she starts again and the cycle begins again. We will very soon have a Guiness book of records fat cat, a hairy, non swimming,meat eating hippopotamus  quite likely to ground the boat at any point. in addition the owners will appear in the same book as humans able to survive on the least sleep ever previously recorded.
The morning, despite my sleep deprivation, was beautiful with steam rising off the canal above the white frosted towpaths and below seamless blue skies and bright sunshine.
We made a late start on our journey for lunch in Stone, a quite picturesque little town with lots of character and some excellent cafe's and restaurants, with the Trent and Mersey running through the centre, including 4 locks. 
After a pleasant lunch we left Stone for a top-up with water and coal, plus emptying our toilet cassettes and dumping our rubbish in ever increasing sunshine and temperatures, almost summer-like. By late afternoon my lack of sleep last night took it's toll and we moored early for our overnight stop adjacent to a quite posh new housing estate. Karen and Steve are still with us but we, and they,remain confused regarding where we are going, or for how long. It makes life interesting, I suppose.

The Haywards Semi final hypo

A bitterly cold breeze spoilt what could have been a beautiful day cruising through Great and Little Hayward, the latter quite congested on the canal, making progress through the lock slower than anticipated. We moored soon after in a lovely spot overlooked by farmland housing heavy horses and geese, not Canadian. Sometime during the Reading - Arsenal FA cup semi final on TV I managed to have a hypo,missing the second half and extra time. Overall Arsenal won 2. -  1, by not playing well at all. I must have scared Steve somewhat but have yet to confer with him. He will be watching "his" team       
Liverpool play Aston Villa in the other semi-final with me later today so I hope to avoid a repeat. 
My diabetes control has been very poor lately which will need radical action to rectify but lack of access to a good diabetic doctor or nurse is the issue, and not just on the boat. As usual Lynne and I are left to tackle it, but we already have a plan and have put it into place. Results pending.
Sandon Lock was traversed without major problem but at Aston lock there was a considerable queue, delaying passage quite considerably. As the number of crews gathered on the lock and its depth (8ft, 8inches)stressed Karen,together with the large number of boats out and about, we decided to moor for the remainder of the day.

Saturday 18 April 2015

Trent and Mersey Kings Bromley Wharf

Moored near Kings Bromley Wharf, now more like a Marina and very pleasant too, hidden in woodlands.
The morning is bright, sunny and reasonably pleasant, temperature-wise.
Today we will be passing the huge Armitage Shanks sanitaryware factory ( toilets to you and me ) near Handsacre and through what was once the Armitage tunnel, now a narrow cutting through solid rock since the collapse of the roof due to mining subsidence many years ago. It always reminds me of queuing for one of the futuristic rides in Alton Towers.

Friday 17 April 2015


A small village of no particular character and 2 canal side pubs, of no great merit, although our meals in the Red Lion were quite substantial and good.
From there we had an uneventful cruise to Fradley Junction and the Trent and Mersey once again, although we were able to turn left towards Great Hayward as Steve has still not had confirmation of his new contract and in this way he and Karen gain at least a couple of days out on the cut, which we are all pleased to accept.
Tardis Two continues to behave herself impeccably to our considerable relief. Today was dry, overcast and quite cold.

Thursday 16 April 2015

Coventry return

With the last two Atherton locks to tackle this morning in mild temperatures with non-rain clouded skies above the mood aboard remains good.lynne elected to delve into the bilges once again, this time with a large sponge and the multi fuel Stove utensils ! The new drip tray below the prop shaft "joint" was full, which indicates the seal is not as effective as that on Karen and Steve's boat, which does not drip at all, but we will have to live with it for now as replacement is likely to be expensive. However, we have resolved to improve the emptying process, the only problem being how?
We stopped for food supplies at our "regular" supermarket on the Coventry canal at Fazely, which involves hiking alongside a field of rape for half a mile or so. This particular Branch of Asda seems to recruit staff half a sandwich short of a picnic, which makes the process of shopping particularly slow and frustrating compared to our more usual Sainsbury's or Waitrose, who seem to recruit along the lines of intelligence and customer care/satisfaction. The shopping "experience" and the long trek back to the boat wasted most of the afternoon, hence locating a more suitable overnight mooring spot took us into very late ( for me ) dinner territory at the Red Lion in Hopwas. The Wild Otter looked a better bet but would have proved cold eating outside as we were accompanied by Benson, Karen and Steve's minute dog. The Red Lion is dog friendly, the Wild Otter is not. The food was OK, but we returned to our respective boats knackered and ready for bed. The night was cold and Sadie was particularly restless and noisy. Hence we got up early, still knackered.
Queen of Coventry
A gross, grumpy uninvited lunchtime "guest".

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Normality on Ashby

After yesterday's shenanigans and further delays to our schedule, if one ever existed, today we head back to the Coventry canal. Whether we turn left to Coventry or right to Shobnall Marina is a decision for Steve ( who has a new job to start) and Karen to make this morning before arriving at Marston Junction, about an hour up the Ashby canal. Today should be more relaxing, we hope, although I have learnt not to count my chickens before they hatch.
Before a decision was made regarding a destination the Ashby gave us an extra bonus of a mallard duck with a clutch of 13 ducklings, the largest and earliest clutch we've seen and the first of this year.
In addition another vole was spotted, the third this trip, although it could have been the same one seen twice, plus another I suppose. But who cares?
We turned right towards Shobnall on the Coventry canal, picking up calor gas from a slightly weird place which actually charged for use of their water tap and toilet facilities. We won't go there again.
9 Atherstone locks later (remember them?), we moored in the middle of nowhere, exhausted but happy in the late sunshine. The engine cooling and electrics performed perfectly.  My suntan has returned in it's full glory  and all is well with the world,or at least our part of it.

Monday 13 April 2015

A very long learning curve

A still, overcast morning but we're filled with muted euthoria as we seem to have overcome our electrical problems, by sheer accident, only to be supplanted by a mechanical one in the form of engine overheating which we are working to resolve, via  river and canal rescue.
Whilst randomly checking electrical connections in our "electric cupboard" Steve ( not an electrician ) accidentally  came upon a loose connection on the master board, in fact the connector fell off which took considerable force and effort to reconnect and, eureka, all the low readings and ailments disappeared into history and the boat has since behaved as a "normal" boat should. Hopefully "our" professional electrician should be able to  confirm what the duff connection was and why it had such a profound affect on the boat, although he will not know why MCC missed it for so long ( they are pillocks? ) We think we have solved the mystery of the Dometic box for both ourselves and MCC. It is apparently a form of electronic generator. Again "our" electrician will hopefully be able to confirm what it does and why we need it, if at all.
Whilst waiting for our knight in shining armour to appear Lynne disappeared into the bowels of the "engine room" and began removing all the water and grease in the base. Over two hours later the bowels were immaculately clean, whilst Lynne resembled a car mechanic after a hard and messy day's work and our boat mop was wrecked beyond redemption, lying prostrate and abandoned on the towpath.
Karen, Steve and I volunteered to go shopping at the "local" ( in Steve's opinion ) general store. "Local was anything but and we staggered back to the boats after almost 2 miles hiking, picking up a "lost" boat engineer on the way, who promptly diagnosed the problem as air locks in the cooling system and commenced rectification. We learnt a lot from Mark during his time with us and now have the reassurance of a Barrus/Shire expert on the end of a phone.
Someone,sometime failed to replace the thermostat gasket which, over time, allowed air into the system. At some time we may need to fit a replacement gasket but providing we monitor for leaks it should last indefinitely.

Sunday 12 April 2015

4 seasons

,The severe wind has dropped this morning to be replaced by a still, cold and foggy start to the day. Thus, in the last 24 hours we have endured sunshine, hurricane winds, lashing rain and impenetrable fog. A typical English spring day I suppose?
The forecast is for warm sunshine over the next few days, so we have decided to "plan" our future movements as we go along, ( no change there,then ) but first we need a gas bottle, fruit and no more engine cooling alarms (not necessarily in that order, but no more alarms would be a good start ). Once again the boat electrics behaved themselves overnight even though we watched some TV without the engine running, for obvious reasons. Lynne lit the stove so the central heating boiler was superfluous. The boat remained warm and cosy throughout a cold night and morning.
Healthwise I have been suffering with stomachache for a couple of days, which appears better this morning, but Lynne has also suffered the same symptoms so it may be linked to something we both ate ?

Top:   Ice on the stern horn, lights and bilge pump switches, early morning.
Bottom: ice on boat roof,but less obvious due to good insulation.
To put our minds at rest we checked the engine water and diesel levels, greased the drive shaft and cleared some gunge out of the bilge, plus loaded the bucket with coal for the stove. And who said boating is relaxing?
Funnily enough, it will be a relief to be back on a canal with locks ! 
We stopped at the new Trinity Marina for gas, coal, diesel and water, but of our main requirement, gas, they had none. We passed a solitary water vole past the Marina entrance, but it was exciting to see,all the same.
We moored before we reached Marston Junction, our last night on the Ashby canal this trip, as Steve had received confirmation of a new job, commencing on April 20th and necessitating his return home.
Our trip to Coventry necessarily put on hold, but not to worry as it had not been on our original schedule anyway. 
Lynne has made arrangements to meet-up with the electrician at Shobnall Marina next week to discuss our electrical issues and how to further resolve them.

Saturday 11 April 2015

A "where are we ?" Moment + black sheep

Awoke this morning near the Ashby Canal Centre at Stoke Golding, still on the Ashby canal but getting closer to civilisation. With low blood sugar levels I had a genuine "where are we?" moment until Sadie and extreme cold woke Lynne and normality was restored, not to mention the central heating.
We passed a complete herd of black sheep yesterday afternoon, another first for me, although I would have preferred a colony of water voles. I guess I will have to settle for the single specimen spotted on this trip, but I'm not complaining. 
The wind appears to have dropped today and warm sunshine is forecast, thankfully. We intend buying a new gas bottle today before reaching Coventry by nightfall, another boating first ( Coventry, not the gas bottle , although that will be the new, bigger, version thanks to our recently extended gas locker.)
Health-wise this first week afloat has been a great success for me, as it has been for Tardis Two.
In the event the wind suddenly increased to gale force proportions restricting our movement to cruising a mile  or two before Karen and Steve's catch cover virtually got blown off, which, together with Tardis Two getting side-swiped by a speeding young couple's boat, made all our mind's up to moor for the day and replan our itinerary. 
Having said Tardis Two had been behaving herself an alarm emanated from her electric box when the engine was running, which we could not trace so an alarm call was made to the River and Canal Rescue people who offered to come out to check. However, before they arrived we had narrowed the problem down to an overheating engine, even though both Steve and myself had inspected the cooling expansion bottle and confirmed it contained sufficient water later to be confirmed as incorrect due to "water stains" on the bottle interior. A quick word with the engineer on his way out to us gave us a cure by topping the bottle up and running the engine with the pressure cap off to expel any trapped air in the system. Eureka. It worked,but we still opted to stay where we were for the night, having "wasted" several ( very windy ) hours and see what tomorrow brings.


Heavy rain during night to mid-morning, followed by extreme winds and low temperatures, in which we commenced our return trip on the Ashby. It was back to hat, scarves and layers of sweaters. Through the Snaresdon tunnel without problem. 250 yards with a pronounced curve, mirroring the rest of the canal's contours. The Ashby goes through the quintessential English agricultural landscape and has an atmosphere all of it's own, but winds have nothing to stop them and as a consequence narrowboating was "interesting" today......and cold.
We moored early to watch the university boat race on TV.
The First-ever Ladies race was won by Oxford, as was the "usual" men's race that followed. Not a good day for me as a Cambridge supporter but Arsenal beat Burnley to become second in the Premier league, so all was not bad. The future looks bright.

Friday 10 April 2015

Shine on April sun and boats

We bravely watched some TV last night prior to bed with no adverse affect on the batteries, even this morning. Read into that what you will. As predicted it is warm and sunny again. As of last night the intention today is to turn both boats round and polish their other sides before heading back to civilisation, if you dare label Nuneaton that way. However, once we have conferred with our fellow travellers after breakfast the plan may have changed. All is well with the world.

The end of the Ashby 2015 style.

Officially the hottest day so far this year so we finished polishing the boat and it looks stunning.
Once completed we opted to walk to the nearest town to the current canal end, Measham, a round trip of  5 miles for supplies, something of a record for Lynne and the longest for me since my health problems.
The canal will by-pass Measham and actually finish at Moira, once disputes between the local council,the Canal and River Trust, plus a few other interfering organisations and a Badger sett are settled.
Maggie Thatcher and her famous "The woman is not for turning" statement sprang to mind today as
Tardis two was turned 3 times to facilitate polishing the bow side, filling with water and pointing the right way for leaving tomorrow.

Thursday 9 April 2015

Ashby new section

A very sunny,bright start to the day in which we intend to explore the freshly dug part of the canal towards Moira, a first for us. Apart from needing dredging in parts the "old" Ashby is in pretty good condition.
The current ( excuse the pun ) end of the Ashby is a lift bridge, almost 3 miles from where the "real" end will be when they finish digging it and the whole thing is complete.
Today was brilliantly warm and sunny, so with no locks or other obstructions to worry about, it was a real holiday until this evening when Karen produced a "new" magic formula polish (as in shiny surfacing, not nationality ) she had bought so Steve, Lynne and I polished the shore side of both our boats in next to no time with minimum effort, and very good they look too.
As we are moored near the temporary lift bridge canal ending and a winding hole (boat turning point) we intend turning both boats round and polishing their other sides in the morning before heading back to Nuneaton and the Coventry canal. Similar weather to today's is promised.
We suspect something simple was done to the boat by those twits at Stensen's during the time it was there to improve it's electrical performance, (such as upping the charging rate),but they were too embarrassed to tell us and/or wished to avoid legal action. Too late, Eddie.
At present the battery charge is being retained/replaced much better than over the past two years, plus we have a better understanding of how to maximise it's use .

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Sod's law

Sod's law manifested itself fully this morning. The central heating switched itself on as per timer setting of 06.30,...brilliant. However,almost at the same time the calor gas bottle in use ran out of gas whilst I was being lambasted for failing to supply an early morning cup of tea. The rubber/plastic "bung" on the new bottle refused to unscrew and threatened to break, so the two of us were perched on the boat stern,in dressing gowns and PJ's, armed with pliers and spammers in sunshine but very low temperatures, attempting to wrestle the bung off, with eventual success.
Sunset on the Coventry canal just before we entered Nuneaton, suburbia and allotments in excess where the sun rarely rises.
However, the gloriously scenic agricultural and lock-less Ashby canal presents a welcome escape route half way through Nuneaton, which we took without hesitation, heading to Moira, once a thriving coal mining town from where the Narrowboats supplied upmarket Londoners with very high quality coal during the 1800's. Rare Water voles are still present in two colonies, one near the Coventry junction and one near the canal end prior to Moira.
We popped into a very small farm shop just past the Triumph motorcycle factory and a modern Marina but too late in the day to find most of our requirements for dinner but found a traditional pub, The White swan, in Stoke Golding, serving very large and delicious home made food. The 13th century St. Margaret's parish church looks like a very ornamental small cathedral and is floodlit at night.

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Coventry hyper

A cold,very foggy morning. Surprise,surprise we awoke to a freezing boat but high battery readings,which meant we could switch the central heating on without the assistance of the engine or go outside. Apart from the extremely long cruise and switching the inverter off overnight we have no idea why, but we'll carry on experimenting
We set off in the thick fog with external lights blazing until the sun burnt it's way through and the day became very summerish. We spent the afternoon rising 80 feet through Atherstone locks,11 in all, in searing heat until we moored for tea somewhere near Hartshill where Lynne gave me my first home-made haircut with some electric trimmers Katie very kindly gave me just before this latest adventure started. It was certainly a cut above the rest and a great success, boosting Lynne's confidence no end. Is there any end to her talents?
Answers on a postcard.

Monday 6 April 2015

Coventry hypo

A brilliantly warm and sunny cruising day, very summer like. All went swimmingly unti Glascote locks where the Middle one had a broken paddle, causing a queue, delays and frustration. Boaters are a patient lot, but there is always an exception in any situation, yesterday's was a middle aged chap with a young family to impress, creating a disaster from an inconvenience. Us experience boaters have learnt to ignore them and not get involved. All locks have two paddles each end to allow water in and out,so they still operate with one broken, only slower.
We eventually got through and moored in the middle of nowhere near Amington where I had a hypo, admirably dealt with by Lynne, as usual, although it was something of a shock to Karen and Steve.

Same old electrical problems

.Over the last couple of days we had been lulled into thoughts that those buffoons at MCC may have corrected the electrical faults but failed to communicate the fact to save their embarrassment ( assuming they have the capacity for such.)This morning was an eye opener in that matches were required to light the gas and the engine was needed to start the Webasco boiler, requiring going onto the stern in the weather elements. Groundhog Day. We spent the evening on our friends boat so used nothing electrical on our's following a long day of cruising. Annoying or what ?  We cruised through the morning, initially cold but very warm later and stopped for lunch near Tamworth, taking the opportunity to top-up supplies from Asda having hiked along a footpath from the canal. The exercise was very welcome after several days of relative inactivity on Tardis Two .

Sunday 5 April 2015

Coventry canal

Today we are halfway down the Coventry canal and making new friends as we go. Our co-travellers Karen and Steve produced and fitted an extension to our calor gas locker on the stern so we can store 2 larger gas canisters which last longer and are cheaper. All we have to do is add some paint to match the boat. Steve also solved the mystery of why our TV has not worked since we delivered Tardis Two to MCC for repair. He discovered our TV booster box had been switched off. As we were unaware of the box's existence we could not be responsible, so blame likely lays with MCC, typical.
John, from another boat helped us pump up the folding bike tyres and unsuccessfully attempted to fit the bike rack to the boat stern, originally recommended by Dean of MCC, enough said. He also offered to fit it but I guess it was too much like work for him and never got done.
A chilly start and finish to the day but sunny and warm in between. Thermals on, thermals off, thermals on again.

Saturday 4 April 2015

We're off.

We sneeked out of Stensen Marina quite early and quietly celebrated,much as the escapee's from Stalag 9 must have done. Our next stop was Shubnall Marina hoping to book a boat check over by the highly recommended electrician there. The guy is on holiday for a couple of weeks so we arranged to call again when he returns. Today we cruised for over 9 hours and took electrical readings from time to time, but the morning ones will be the most telling
It was a cold, dry day, gradually warming as the afternoon wore on, resulting in disposal of my scarf, gloves and hat, but that was as far as I was prepared to go at this stage. The River sections of the Trent and Mersey were on yellow boards "proceed with caution", which we did until mooring In Alrewas 

Friday 3 April 2015

Plan C through to Z

Yes, the plan has changed yet again. On arrival at Stensen Tardis Two was nestled among lots of boats in the Marina, very inconvenient for loading the remainder of our summer clothes and provisions, particularly as we had no gate key. A friendly fellow boater let us borrow a key and also helped us hook up to an electric point with considerable funds remaining on it. There was no sign of the Balwin's so we had no update on the boat electrics although John (employee) confirmed Dean had said he would fulfil his kind promise of fitting the bike rack "first thing in the morning". There was no sign of Dean  by 10.30 so I took the rubbish to the bins to the rear of the workshops  and, eureka, I spotted Dean on my way back to the Marina gate. He was clearly not pleased to see me and ignored me until I offered a cheery "good morning" to which I received a grunt over his shoulder as reply, all part of their famed customer care regime. In the circumstances I chickened out of mentioning the bike rack and returned to the boat."Our plans have changed yet again so we are likely to leave Stalag 9 tomorrow (it is currently raining), allowing plenty of time for further alterations. Watch this space and thank God we were not involved in planning D day.
13.30 and still a Dean-free day. We have had a very social day so far, invited onto endless boats for tea, coffee and biscuits, plus highlights of MCC cock-ups over recent years. Entertaining stuff if it wasn't so serious, but it just goes to show how much people can be insulted and conned, whilst still running a business. Good riddance to them. We will be partying as we depart in the morning and intend meeting Karen and Steve at Shobnall Marina near Marstons brewery in Burton On Trent where we intend getting Tardis Two's electrics sorted in due course, hopefully. From there we intend to "road test the boat" up and down the Ashby canal just in case MCC have tweaked something and omitted to tell us,which is distinctly likely given that we intend taking our case of "unfit for purpose" further. It could be embarrassing if we are complaining in court about a "fixed" boat.

Thursday 2 April 2015

Another plan change

Plan B is to "do" the Ashby canal with our friends on "Wegonanddunnit" , after arranging for a  qualified electrician to check out,write a report for Trading Standards/court ( and hopefully fix) Tardis Two.
Lincoln and the Lee Navigation will have to wait till much later in the year, weather and time permitting, or even 2016 . Hopefully all the legal bits and pieces should be done and dusted by the next cruising season. Note the positive and optimistic attitude in my current state of health, whereas this time last year I would probably have been planning or have already executed (excuse the pun) my jump off of Tower Bridge.

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Ready for the off

With Tardis Two fully loaded with food, fuel and our clothes and ready for the start of our 2015 journey, all we need now is for MCC to confirm the electrical problems have been fixed once and for all ( we live in hope ).
Today is considerably less windy and boasts sunshine, good for cruising although temperatures are lower than ideal. The forecast for tomorrow is encouraging when we intend heading north before veering off towards the city of LIncoln, which holds good memories for me as the start of the Lincoln to Boston rowing marathon, all 32 miles.We will not attempt to complete the route due to the excessive weed in that part of the river Witham and I wish to avoid constantly delving into the weed hatch removing the damn stuff from the propellor.
BOAT UPDATE. 1. 4. 2015. Late evening.
In short (excuse the pun) there is no update as Eddie and Stensons /MCC do not have a clue what is wrong with Tardis Two and basically don't give a damn, thus we'll pass this case on to Derby Trading Standards. Our aim now is merely to get Tardis Two useable, any financial shortfall we will have to wave goodbye to as it appears MCC are going under fast.