Friday, November 21, 2014

A bit of light reading

Whilst doing a bit of 'browsing' on ebay last week I came across a couple of books to read over the longer winter evenings which will help with our cruising plans for next year. Not a Nicholsons or Pearsons guide, but far more important information !!

Total cost for the two inc p&p £6.15. Bit of a bargain I'd say. Best get reading....hic

Friday, November 7, 2014

Very pleased with our new look

Well it's finally official and we have the boat renamed. We haven't actually seen it yet, but Jim from M&W Signwriters has been working hard over the last two days and has sent us a few pictures through and we are very pleased indeed. We are leaving the boat in the dock over the weekend to give it a bit of a chance to dry off.  

Neither of us are very superstitious, so Ploddin' Along was not out of the water when the work was done. Let's just hope we aren't going to regret that over time !!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Slow progress through a film set

With the weather set fair for the weekend, we thought we'd take advantage and decided to have a quick out and back cruise up to Great Haywood, which is about four and a half hours for us from Kings Bromley. 

It soon dawned on us that we were getting nowhere fast though as regular bursts of reverse were required to get rid of leaves from the prop. An early visit down the weed hatch to make sure there was nothing else wrapped around the prop was needed, but just lots of vegetation was removed. More alarming was the presence of smoke in the engine bay !! A minor panic, but no smell of burning. I always thought it was no smoke without fire, but thankfully not on this occasion. It was put down to a trace of oil from my engine servicing last weekend on the hot engine. Panic over and the boat now back moving as it should........phew !!

Is it really November ??
Quite a few boats out and about taking advantage of the weather. Even the buzzards we regularly see approaching Rugeley were catching some rays as we passed.
Fascinating creatures
We moored close to Great Haywood Junction and then spent a really enjoyable evening in The Clifford Arms. Jasper was his usual charming self and wanted to be everyones friend, but he was just one of a number of well behaved dogs in the bar. He was particularly fond of 'Ruby', a very sociable Patterdale Terrier, and of course this then sets the owners off talking and before you know it you've got a cracking evening. We got talking to other locals too and also the crew of nb Besorah (hebrew for good tidings) who were just great company. So, after Jasper and Ruby exchanged numbers, it was back to the boat and not much rocking required. Unfortunately we were woken by a screeching owl in the tree right next to the boat, but you can't complain too much as some folks will never have that privilege.

Jasper and I enjoyed an early morning walk in the grounds of Shugborough Hall. He was more interested in chasing squirrels so missed coming almost face to face with a lesser spotted woodpecker. Now if it was Irene on Free Spirit you'd have a photo of it, but sadly I didn't even have my phone to capture it. Never mind.

After breakfast, we winded at the junction. All the hire boats at Anglo Welsh have probably done for the season now.
Anglo Welsh at Great Haywood Junction
Colwich Lock could possibly be our last lock of 2014
Colwich lock
Approaching Handsacre, we were astonished to find two lads, bare-chested, wading in the canal. Not only that, one was wearing a rubber pigs head and the other a rubber sheeps head. Now before you read that again or check the label on the bottle of wine you may be drinking, here is the proof.......
Are my eyes dreaming ??
Louise couldn't wait to get a quick snap. The bigger picture below will throw a bit of light on the matter.....they were in the process of making a film for their school. My only question would be which subject they're studying and indeed which school !!

We finished the weekend leaving the boat at Bromley Wharf awaiting our signwriter later this week. What a bonus weekend that was.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Nameless up a blind alley

Well I suppose we'd better get posting on the new blog seeing as we have four followers before a word has been written. Thanks go out to Adam, Nev, David and the lovely (but slightly crazy) Lisa for joining us so quickly.

So, nothing to report in the form of actual cruising, but we are now the anonymous boat with no name after we picked away at the old 'sign writing' which luckily happened to be vinyl decals and not paint,  and Jim our sign writer is happy with the state of the panel underneath that it doesn't need any extra work. We have our draft design and so all being well, it won't be long before we assume our new identity.
Waiting to be named
We have spent the weekend down at Kings Bromley. I've given the engine a full service and we are just about getting things how and where we want them now. There is a slight modification to be done to the weed hatch at some point (more on that another time), and we have finally managed to get a kitchen blind fitted on the starboard side.

I say finally, because we initially ordered it some ten weeks or so ago. We already have one on the port side which we brought with us form Blue Moon, so when I placed the order with the same company and was told the new one would be 7-10 days, it was expected to be ready on the return from our last trip.....wrong. Phone call after phone call, excuse after excuse, no call back after no call back, I finally lost my patience and looked elsewhere. 

Enter Dave from Cabincare. What a difference. Nothing too much trouble, calls back when he says he will and when he says 7-10 days, he means it. Goods arrived in a week and I arranged to pick it up from him yesterday morning on the way over to Kings Bromley. And the best bit about it is that his price was £45 cheaper than the other company for EXACTLY the same product. So, if you want furnishings, flyscreens or even a blind for your kitchen, give Dave a ring and save yourself some stress and cash.

On the way over yesterday, we stopped off at the new Canalside cafe at Great Haywood for breakfast. Nice surroundings and the food was good (if not a little overpriced I thought). Louise thoroughly enjoyed her scrambled egg and smoked salmon. Worth a visit if you're passing through.

So the clocks have now gone back and the dark nights are officially here. Hopefully we'll manage to get out for a short weekend chug before it's too late. Let's hope the weather hangs on just a little bit longer.