The duck shoot, the bare facts

There was this terrible knocking noise like rumbling thunder at 4.30 in the morning. So I leapt out of bed and went and stuck my head out of the kitchen window and realized it was a duck pulling and eating weed of our boat.

How dare they peck holes in her, I took hold  of the miniature water pistol I sometimes use on cattie if she is being bad and scratching the furniture.

I aimed a good shot through the kitchen window she jumped and went off

I do love ducks, I really do, I feed them all the time!

Sorry no photos I’ll leave you to guess why 😀


… and there’s another week gone!

This week has been odd job and do it yourself week we have enjoyed being moored up against Acorn No 5 whilst Chris has been doing several jobs on it for John. I  have learnt how to get over stiles properly as there is one to get out from his garden.

We seem to have spent half the week in Wickes and Maplins, I was left in the car, nobody would even do that to a dog in this heat!

We moved the boat yesterday such a long way…the other side of the canal to the 48 hr moorings so as Chris could put his tools on it from his workshop at the Wharf. This resulted in us sawing his big tool box in half to accommodate it on the boat. Phew what hot work! Mitch, bless her, was an angel in disguise and bought me a coke and helped Chris lift in his dad’s tool chest (which Jeremy, our son, is going to have) into the car. That was mighty heavy!

I went along to Upper Heyford to join in their low impact exercise class, I thought this would build up my muscles for all those locks I have got to face….

We really enjoyed having visitors pop in yesterday, the crew of Marjorie B called in as they were on their way to the pub.

Catty put on her sad face, “Please let me out of my cage they are mean to me.” she doesn’t mean it, as soon as she is let out she wants to get back in, I think she thinks of all those mice she is missing.

A Cruise to Thrupp & back

We spent a very pleasant weekend with our friends Paul & Allison cruising down to Thrupp and back.  We set off yesterday morning stopping at The Rock of Gibraltar for lunch and arrived at Thrupp just in time for tea & cake at Annie’s Tea Room where we met Bones & Maffi (now there’s a surprise) We had hoped to moor up on the very pleasant stretch alongside the road leading up to The Boat, however others clearly had the same idea and so we ended up moored between the Jolly Boatman & Gunpowder Wharf which was pleasant enough until I realised that the nearest winding hole was two hours away at Dukes Cut… Argh! Bones brightly says “Well just reverse back to the liftbridge by the tearooms.”

After a sleepness night (not really) I decided to give it a go, early.. before anyone was about, only to find someone had moored up on the offside (wrong side) opposite another boat right next to the bridge without enough room to get through. I was about to start the long journey to the next winding hole when our guardian angel Bones hails us and volunteers to get us through the gap, even if it means waking the silly so-and-soes up. As it transpired the two boats had been set adrift from outside the Jolly Boatman overnight and had drifted on through the bridge with no-one waking up, so they were forgiven! See Maffi’s photos here.

The reversing went reasonably well, with a little help from the newly repaired bowthruster except an overhanging willow tree made off with our sack truck which was knocked off the roof 😦 We were back at Enslow for breakfast at 9:30, elevenses at  Kirtlington Quarry where we stretched our legs with a walk to the top, which has spectacular views and back to Heyford for tea.

Fathers Day Tee Shirt
We ‘breasted up’ (moored alongside.. see how I’m learning all the jargon) with Acorn No 5 which I’m going to do some work on tomorrow. We bade our farewells to Allison & Paul and collected our post from The Wharf which included a Fathers Day Tee shirt from Jer, Sadie & the Grandkids. Thanks Guys:D

A worthwhile day

Today we intended to go and ‘downsize’ our storage unit at Banbury first thing (well 9ish anyway) as most of the stuff we need on  the boat, is now on there and all that remains is boring stuff like business accounts which HMRC say I must keep for donkey’s years and sentimental stuff like photo albums which we simply can’t bear to part with.

….. however, just as we were leaving the phone rang and it was Wilsons of Kinver from whom we ordered a new cratch cover  last week (a kind of hood on  the front of the boat for you non-boaters) and were quoted 6-8 weeks delivery. I must have sounded pathetic with my tales of rain coming in, because they said that they had their man Scott in the area and could he come and measure up, well of course we said yes and by 11 o’clock he was here with a large roll of plastic sheet which he cut, taped, snipped and marked to produce a pattern for them to work from. He suggested improvements to the original design so we hope to have a lovely new cover with no less than two windows each side within a fortnight.

While waiting for Scott to arrive I made a start on fitting the new brushes to the bowthruster and am please to report we now have one that works 😀
Just need to try it out now… Yes I know… Real Boaters don’t need them but my excuse was if I have something it has to work! (Our friend Gilly remarked that she has something that doesn’t work… He’s called Ian! She has a cruel tongue that woman :D)

After a light lunch we continued with our original plan of downsizing the storage unit and managed to pack it all into a unit of half the size with room to spare.
A little shopping was done in Banbury and a new PortaPuzzle was purchased for Joy to do her puzzles on and it also enables her to store them away.

The newly moved washing machine was successfully tested today as was the (camping) clothes drier, although it’s cover appears to have disappeared into the canal whilst were out!

In  the midst of all this I had a call from another boater who had heard about my (ahem) skills in boat electrics and so I went and had a chat with a view to doing some jobs for him, but tomorrow I must attend to our own boat’s electrical system as when I plug the shoreline (mains-power) in, nothing comes out the sockets on the boat. Members on the ever-helpful (if sometimes argumentative) Canalworld Forums have suggested a solution which I shall investigate.

Catty continues to enjoy being a Boat Cat and and amused Scott no end this morning by arching her back, fluffing herself up and scaring a passing dog whose owner declared it to be a “great poof” I’m sure she’s going to come unstuck one day!

Where does the time go?

I thought this boating life was supposed to be relaxing and here I am trying to catch up on a weeks worth of blogging!

Wrens-Nest Panel Our son Jeremy pointed out that there was still no photo of the completed ‘Wrens-Nest’ by Mike the signwriter, so here it is Jer, its the best I can do for the time being. By the way that’s ‘Aunty’ Carol’s hand in the top right before you ask 😀

Last Sunday afternoon we were pleasantly invaded by friends from church (Heyford Park Chapel) our minister Ian and wife Erika plus two children &  a dog along with our near neighbour Nicky and her two children, we fitted them in quite comfortably and served them tea & biscuits.

Monday was spent sorting things which we had put into storage, visiting Screwfix (! this might become a theme !) planning DIY activities but mostly wasted trying to buy a 3G router (to share my mobile internet with Joy) from Currys which the previous owners of the boat had recommended, Banbury branch.. “No, we’ve only got what you can see’; Oxford East, despite having Superstore over the door was “One of the smaller branches” but their Harry did check stock at other branches and phoned up PC World at Botley Road to confirm they had one and would reserve it for me. That kind of service impressed me so we drove to the other side of Oxford to get it but on arriving there was met by blank looks and a total denial of receiving any such phone call! Hey Ho, I’ll order it on the ‘net then. HA!!! “Your payment card has been declined, please try another card” Three cards later still the same, so I phoned them up… “It’s because you have asked for delivery to a different address to the card’s registered address” Why offer it then!!!!!!!!!!! Can you take the payment by phone, “No, same problem”. By now I have three cards locked and have to make phone calls to my bank to unlock them! Do I then go back to Currys? Not blooming likely! Found a similar product on Maplins site and had it delivered (to the address I chose) next day… and it works too 😀

On Tuesday our old good friends, the aforementioned Carol and husband Ted came to visit, now we have known these folk since our kids were small and took our first narrowboating holiday with them in 1983! image0-15 We even still have our log of the journey which we found when we cleared out our loft.

Oh.. My.. Goodness!

Don’t we all look young? Well it was 27 years ago.

Sorry Jer, Karen obviously didn’t want you in  the picture 😛




After having lunch together, we took them on a mini cruise up through Somerton Deep Lock and back, it even stopped raining on the way back.

Left: Child Labour 1983 style.

The DIY has progressed throughout the week and we now have the washing machine & tumble dryer installed in the 2nd toilet in place of the vanity unit, which has enabled us to install our ‘Merchant’s Chest’ which has been in storage into what is becoming my ‘office’ in the back cabin of the boat. All I need now is a workbench for the other side which my friend Derek has promised to make me.

Yesterday I felt the need to take a break from exercising my remedial carpentry skills (My dad used to say “You’d make a good carpenter boy… make him B well cry!) so I decided to tackle something more within my ‘skill-set’, the non-working bowthruster (Gaythruster or Girly Button as my friends at the boatyard would have it) after a little investigation the cause of the problem became clear, the electric motor brushes were completely worn out to the extent that the commutator had been scored by the exposed brush-tails. A trawl of the t’internet revealed a price of £89 for a set of brushes, they’re having a laugh… I wasn’t in the auto-electrical trade 20+ years for nothing! I’ve ordered a set of starter motor brushes the same size, let you know next week if they work!

Jade (aka Catty) has discovered the Great Outdoors, after making an initial escape through the kitchen window, and has been enjoying herself in the nearby woodland, staring out large dogs and bringing us a present of a temporarily live mouse.

Today’s post has been produced using Windows Live Writer, recommended by Maffi (thanks mate) and seems to be a good piece of kit although it did take all night to download. He also brought us the not so welcome news that Bones was in hospital with a cut that has become infected. Get well soon girl, hospital is no place for a doctor 🙂

A New Name

It’s always a privilege to see an artist’s work develop, and Mike Doig, our signwriter is no exception, after a brief discussion about wrens, nests and the font style for our boat’s name and us being somewhat vague about it “Something like the previous style with curly bits on the first letters of each word” within a few minutes Mike had sketched out a layout in white pencil which looked OK so we said “would you like us to bu**er off for a bit?” He said “Yes please” and by the time we got back, this is what we saw …. Fantastic!!!

The next day Mike was back to add the Wrens and after one last night in the paint dock whilst the paint dried we are back out on ‘The Cut’ and showing off our new name to anyone who will look. In honour of the new name and our new start we now have a new blog address so we look forward to seeing you there in the future.

In Dock

Well folks, sorry for the break in transmission over the last few days but our boat has been ‘indoors’ making internet access ‘interesting’. The reason is that we are having our name panels repainted which on Bank Holiday Monday involved a trip to Midland Chandlers at Braunston to buy a can of ivory paint, as Ian, the painter declared that the cream paint we had ordered didn’t match.

After a round trip to Braunston we returned with said paint plus two anchors and two TV aerials for my erstwhile boss, David, who hearing we were going there offered the loan of his van if we could just pick up a couple of things!

We then turned around and set off for Crick Boat Show where we had intended to go first thing in the morning. We bought a few bits and pieces but our star buy was a tiller pin with a wren on it 😀

Arriving back at the wharf in the evening there was a note from Ian saying “Sorry, its not Ivory either” so on Tuesday we made a decision NOT to try and match the colour but use a can of dark red/maroon which had been used on the rear doors, I’m happy to report that results are quite pleasing and today our signwriter Mike came to paint on her new name, but more of that in the next exciting episode.