Monday, 31 October 2016

Blacking - Day 2

Well not much to report today, we have mainly been watching paint dry!!

After a busy and tiring day yesterday we had an easy day today. James put the Fertan on the other side and made sure all bare metal bits were covered. I did a quick sand down of the tunnel bands, and put Red Oxide primer on the bare metal bits to be glossed. Then the sun came out and we watched it all dry.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Blacking - Day 1

We popped up to the club house at Stafford Boat Club last night, well it would have been rude not too, there were only a few people there, but it gave us the opportunity of meeting some of the members, including John who takes care of all the bookings for the slip way and also Frank who was on duty this morning to haul LJ out.

There were two boats ready to go back in and we were the first of two to come out. As we were moored in the arm we just had to wait for the second boat to pass us then it was our turn to go up.

Heading for the slipway 

Up she comes

As soon as we were up the pressure washer was checked then the hard work started. James started the washing whilst I removed the front and rear buttons, then it was onto scraping. We had a quick lunch stop and got the rest of the scraping finished this afternoon.

And she's up and in place

James getting to work with the pressure washer
We are trying out Keelblack this time instead of the usual thick bitumen so all the bare steel and any rust patches need to be treated with Fertan first, James got it on one side today as well. Feeling pleased as we are slightly ahead of our schedule. 

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Tixall Wide to Stafford

Yesterday, after a week, we left Tixall Wide. It had been a productive time with James catching up on pens and I prepared the gunnels for painting. We are booked in Stafford Boat Club for blacking tomorrow so thought it would be a good time to freshen the gunnels to. I sanded the whole lot, then put Fertan on the bits that had gone through to bare metal. We had a few battle scars this year and one bit particularly bad where there was a horrible stuck out part of piling. 

This has been the view from my kitchen window
On our last night, there were only four of us moored on the wide, a boat arrived late afternoon and decided to moor 10ft in front of us, it was odd as it was probably the only part of piling that wasn't straight and as a result it ended up with the middle of the boat on the stuck out part leaving quite a gap front and back. If it had moored another 20ft further forward it would be been close to the bank.

It was a short journey to Radford Banks moorings at Stafford with just Tixall lock to go up. We had a wander up to the pet shop with Dudley yesterday to stock up on food and came away with another new toy as well - Fox had joined Dudley's Gang.

This morning it was a quick pop to Aldi, it's so handy being really close to the canal, and stocked up to get us through the week we are out of the water.

Tixall Lock

Aqueduct over the River Sow
This afternoon we arrived at Stafford Boat Club and were directed onto a vacant mooring ready to be hauled out tomorrow morning !!

Temporary mooring, with the club house behind us

5 miles and 1 lock

TOTAL 677 miles and 615 locks

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Very Brief 2016 Catchup

July - Chester to Saltisford Arm - 98 miles and 104 locks
After leaving the floating market in Chester we made our way back along the Shropshire Union and via the Wolverhampton 21 into Birmingham and then out again along the Worcester and Birmingham to Kings Norton Junction and onto the Stratford down Lapworth to Kingswood Junction and then onto the Grand Union, down Hatton flight and into the Saltisford Arm. The day we did Hatton we started off very early in the morning, is was an incredibly hot day and normally we wouldn't have tackled the flight but we had a train booked to go to Poole to visit Jess and we were leaving the boat in the care of the Saltisford Canal Trust in their private arm.

We had a lovely time down with Jess and Dudley enjoyed his paddle at the seaside. It was all too soon to continue our journey down to Blisworth to attend their hugely successful Canal Festival.

August - Saltisford to Blisworth - 36 miles and 38 locks
So it was on through Warwick, Leamington Spa, up Stockton lock flight, followed by the three at Calcutt. We had a stop in Brauston to redeem my prize of a free meal at The Boat House, where the lovely Manager also included the bottle of wine we had. Then it was onwards continuing our journey up the Brauston locks, through Braunston Tunnel and then down the Buckby Lock flight. We stopped for a week at Bugbrooke, such a lovely village and lots of nice walks for Dudley. James was catching up with pen making as, if last year was anything to go by, we were going to have a busy time in Blisworth.

Blisworth - And what a busy time we had, there didn't seem the amount of people there as last year, but our pens were proving very popular and were selling out fast. By the time the weekend was over our stock was very depleted - not that I'm complaining!!

August - Blisworth to Stourport - 129 miles and 110 locks
Our next event was a couple of weeks away at Stourport, we decided to take a slightly different route and went down to Stratford-upon-Avon and then out onto The Avon. At Evesham Jess joined us for a couple of days, she left her car in Worcester and got the train to us in Evesham. We had a lovely trip with her and the weather was mostly kind. At Tewkesbury, the end of the we dropped down Avon Lock and out onto the Severn, then it was up river to Worcester. Where we said goodbye to Jess and continued our journey to Stourport.

September - Stourport to Birmingham - 38 miles and 62 locks
Our next event was the floating market in Birmingham, we decided to go back out onto the Severn to Worcester again and then follow the Worcester and Birmingham Canal all the way up.

Birmingham to Tixall - 38 miles and 34 locks
We left Birmingham by the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal down the Farmers and Aston flights, through Minworth and down Curdworth locks to Fazeley, where we met up with some friends and enjoyed a curry in one of our favourite Indian Restaurants, Kudos. We continued our journey through Fradley, Rugeley and Great Hayward, turning left at the junction onto the Staffordshire and Worcester and stopping at the gorgeous Tixall Wide.

TOTAL 672 miles and 614 locks