Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Simple or Senile......


Been cruising along getting into the work regime to fill the winter months. Had a couple of beauty frosts but generally not very cold yet although there's been plenty of showery days.
Leonie's working for a construction company, already hit her thumb 4 times with the hammer, Na she's in the office, in central Oxford so drives herself to and from work, 40 miles return each day, and has learnt how to use the bus lane and not get caught on camera.. yet. They have builders, stone masons and a joinery shop with a staff of about 160. One job for a private family has lasted 7 years, just built a chapel on site amongst other things and Leonies handling the masonry "bill" which has reached 4.25 million quid so far. Someone in the office said the pool doesn't look very big. That ones only for the staff. Getting near the end of that job but the word on the street is that the property owners will probably add another residence on site, about 3.35 million quid..
We save up to replace a light bulb...
Another job has lasted 10 years.... And it's not because of a slow work rate...

I've been filling in the day setting up a new car sales site near Bicester which means I only have to travel about 15 minutes each way in a work vehicle with no real traffic hassles. Been to the auctions with Spencer buying "Mota's" and should have 18 - 20 on site by the end of this week then we can run some adds in the local "Rags"... Would you buy a car from this man???..

Anyway back recent exciting necessary things we've done...

The task of......


Making Raspberry and White chocolate ice cream is a necessity......

Also keeping the fire stoked, Oh Yeah, forgot to mention been whack,n up some more pallets for fire wood. Got access to a chain saw now so No pallet, Not One, within Ten miles is safe. Nice and warm onboard...


 
Can slowly cook "Tucker" on the log fire...

And turns the  Narrow Boat into a "Junk"..


 
Complete with "Chinese" laundry...

When the new flavor ice cream is hardened... We used the freezer...



Time to add Custard and "Nanas".....

Another exciting chore, now it's icy, is to put a cover over the "Racing Ford Focus" windscreen which saves the pouring of warm water in the mornings over the windows to regain visibility.
A few nights ago by 5.50pm the ice had already started to form on the wet rear deck of the NB so drawing the short straw I headed out in the dark to do the chore.
Our boat is moored in a line of a few with the jetty on the Port side and the car was parked in line, directly behind, facing the stern of the NB about 7 metres away. So familiar with the task I alighted the boat got the cover, opened the car front doors, put the cover over the front screen and shut the doors to hold the cover in place. Easy as, that'll keep Ol Jack Frost off.
Same O'l Shit, different day..... So Familiar with it all could do it with my eyes closed...

So Why The F - C - did I walk onto the jetty on the Starboard side..... there isn't one there...
Didn't even see it coming.. next thing it's pitch black with a coldish feeling and I'm briefly sitting on my Arse on the mud of the canal bottom... fully clothed with the car keys & remote and my phone in a pocket. I later checked I never missed a call.....Also wearing my glasses which give me awesome visibility...

I surfaced and rapidly grabbed hold of a pipe upstand that holds the rear seat, managed to get one leg over the rudder and some how extracated the body from the murk..
Standing on the icy rear deck I'm thinking.. I've been here before....I checked to see if I could poke an eye out but couldn't... good news there..

Upon me calling out Leonie opened the rear doors...



Love the "Training".. just done another ten lengths... phone port side.. car keys starboard...

"Your not coming in Sweating like That" says Leonie...

Got to get my...



"Training Kit" off.... Then....

Just a......



Gentle squeeze... Freak,n getting a bit Chilly by now....

May as well check to see no one.....



"Snuck" a fish in one of my pockets....

Nearly there.....



I mean what's the hurry.... One more squeeze.. If I stand here long enough I'll be able to take the cover off the car for Leonie in the morning.....

Hot shower and trampled my kit at the same time in the shower, like clothes washing in the "Freak,n Ganges".. ... Then into the washing machine, there wasn't room for me, everything dried by the fire, there was room for me. The phone was dead but took it apart and it shared the fire too and by the next morning was back to new....
So there you are.. Simple, Senile or just too Familiar.....



 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Changeable.....



It really has been changeable, the weather, since we moored up. The temperature has dropped a shade with the odd cold day and a lot of rain has fallen. The awesome summer weather has moved on and I think we timed our parking up pretty good...

Last week leonie and me headed off up to the Caravan & motorhome show at the NEC Birmingham.
We had visited the earlier show, same type, in Febuary this year and like then we spent the whole day checking out motorhomes and to a lesser extent camping accessories....
In fact we liked some things that much we went first on the Wednesday then went back on the Sunday for some more...


The early model VWs are still a favorite...



 But this is brand new in the old style.... 40,000 odd quid... Sold......


And the view looking......



Through the side door.....

This model didn't look as flash to me.....



But was more expensive.....

A reminder of those....



 
Flower power days.....

The brand new T20 VW vans were plentiful in different fit outs....

This one starred.....



Black and yellow with LED lighting........

And this one starred.....



Black and yellow with LED lighting..... but different fit outs of course.....

Getting back to basics....


 
 This little beauty was a towing job.....

And for a bit of old school....



Here's a couple..........

Looking inside....



Old valve radio mounted in the overhead... classy as..........

Looking to the near future....



Was this model.....

And a view inside...



From the rear.. A bit like a super yacht  moored off Monte Carlo...... sort of...

A very nice, 120,000 nicka, motorhome was this....



Burstner with dual rear axle...the windscreen went on forever into the roof... Insurance Co, nightmare...
But to keep the sun off or for nighttime privacy it had shades that came up from the bottom and down from the top.......

But in this format......



 
 Ideal for Aaasshhooonn drivers........

Anyway Leonie got thirsty so we decided to get a quencher...
Turned out to be a bottle of genuine French Champagne, good stuff, like nothing we'd ever had before....
I said "Christ man, bloody hell, you could buy a house for that".....
So the fella chucked in a....



Motorhome as well.....

So this is what you get if your thirsty......


 

2015 Pilote... built in  France to order.... pick up in April.....

The interior upholstery above will be as...

 


This interior  upholstery...

Same for the......



Joinery......


 
 

 
Above the dining room is.....



An electric drop down double bed.... joinery to be as above two photos.....

Kitchen with the....



Electric fume remover.... Range hood....etc.....

And plenty of room to store the.....




Fishing gear.... Does it look like a place to sleep?, like the  Dog Box.......

 
So come May another chapter should begin in the quest to Dodge Work..........

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Parked up......

We left our last mooring just north of Cropredy on our final day of our NB adventure.
After the previous days steady rain it was clear with a cool wind, in fact it was the coldest day we had moving on the canal since last April when we set out for the summer.
After two hot summers forget Benidorm, the English canals are the place to tan up.....

We had to take a couple of nostalgic photos.....



Leonie on the locking job.....




Steering coming out of Banbury......



And me having a go... Notice the precision.... Dead centre of the waterway......

As we left Banbury we rounded a corner to see appropriately on our last day one of the canal Icons and fighter for the good guys rights....



Maffi with Millie checking us out... just mooring to pop over to the Morrisons, as we had just done, for some supplies....

Maffi later moored in Aynho and I joined him in the Great Western to destroy a few ales....

We approached our last lock....



Under Weir  bridge ....The bridge from which the farmer spied Leonie raping his favourite mushroom paddock, last year, (blog... Mussheess, 24th Sept, 13)  and proceeded to head her off at the pass on his tractor named Blue....

A slow filling lock is the unusual shaped......



Aynho Weir lock... it gave us time to reflect.....

And then with 300 Yds to go.....



Both hands on deck... My bloody good 1st Mate......

On Friday we spent a day and night in London. Drove to a park and ride in Oxford and caught the Oxford Tube / bus to London.
In the afternoon we visited the Tower of London to see how the planting of the 888246 ceramic poppies to represent those lost in the First World War was progressing.....

And what a sight.....



Across the front of the Tower...


 


To the corner by the entry to the tower.....




Along the side....



Around the corner........


 
 
To where the volunteer planters are now assembling each poppy and planting...
 
 

And down the other side with more planters.... Never saw a weed in the bed........

Very spectacular.... They are to be sold for 25 quid plus postage with proceeds going to charities...

We then caught up with a couple of mates at a bar and had a good time... Arrived back on NB FireflyNZ at 2am.... zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.........

Monday, 6 October 2014

Stayed Put......


The forecast rain arrived in the early hours of the morning and continued most of the day so as planned we never ventured out in the gloom although several did with the first NB going past about 7.30am then more passed at irregular intervals, private and hire boats, all looking like drowned rats.
Late afternoon it stopped so I ventured out to look around. It blew quite strong during the night and our NB had a liberal coating of leaves and insects from towpath trees...

The NB roof ....



Before I took the broom to it...

A couple of these....



Crested ducks hanging around so I gave them a feed of bread out the side hatch......

The sky lightened....



But the sun reflected from behind the clouds.....

But that didn't last too long......



The sun was soon enveloped in the cloud.......

Tomorrow looks fine so an early start is on the agenda....

A real interesting part of travelling the canals by NB, whilst preparing the locks and walking between locks on the towpath, is the fellow boaters you meet and get to chat to. Sometimes you find out in a very short time things about husbands, wives, etc that you really didn't need to know.
It's all good fun and the nice people out number the others by 99.5 to 1...
Hearing of what others do for a job is interesting and it's usually the people on the hire boats, because they have to return to work, who surprise...
Some we've met...
I fly a private jet for the second, reputedly, steel magnate, likes curries, richest man in the world.
He has a fleet of 3, two for work , 55 -70 million US dollars each, the other for family to go on holidays.
Based in the UK and can get short notice to fly anywhere in the world.
The Boss says hello, hope we have a smooth flight, does business work then goes to bed, generally...
The average passenger load per flight is 2.5 people......

I commission nuclear submarines...
Sea trials take 3 - 4 months if nothing goes wrong, like break downs, or you go back to base to repair it then more trials...
How many you do a year? I ask...
None a year. It takes 6 odd years to construct a nuclear sub... I have a commission next March....

I sat next to an old fella, well retired, on a bench seat as we waited for the water tank to fill on the NB. During the course of the conversation I asked what he had worked as..

Professional Bell Ringer in Churches..
For real?..
Yes done it all my life.
He rattled off some, name dropping, church names but not being a regular attender of the establishments they've slipped my memory.
I guess he still has a handy income though... Be getting Royalties from those songs he used to ring....

Then there was the Coincidental affair..
Joined in a double lock on the Grand Union canal by an English lady steering the NB while her husband was helping with the winding above..

She looked at the side of our boat with the letters NZ then asked, Are you from New Zealand?.
yes I answered
My brother lived there
Where
Um Oh dam.. God I've been there 4 times. George, husband,  where'd my brother live?..
Napier
That's our home town
Oh really. But he's dead now.
What suburb I ask?
Um oh Dam.. he played, well was national president of the bridge clubs.
Wasn't Taradale was it?
Yes
That's where we live
The Bridge club was there to
In Devonshire Place I say, it's a culdersack street about 250 yards long.
That's right
My Panel shop was directly opposite, the Bridge club moved recently after 25 years there.
Oh he had bought a house before he died and moved into the city.
Where too.
Um oh Dam.. that's right the street was known for it's...
Art Deco houses I say.Yes
Tom Parker avenue?
Yes that's the one
Well I say, see those two people travelling with us, here on holiday, Nat & Bruce, they've just bought a house in Tom Parker Avenue which they are renting out.
We roughly worked out that her late brothers house was probably only a couple of houses apart..
Freaky EH......

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Back to Aynho....



Over the last couple of weeks we've made our way South toward Aynho down the Maccelsfield, Trent & Mersey, Coventry and Oxford canals.
We parked up at Fenny Compton last Thursday and then got picked up on Friday to spend two days at Oulton Park Racetrack up near Chester.
Today we continued South with a leisurely start about 1pm. We cleared the 5 Claydon locks and moored as continuing on to Banbury wasn't an option with a canal festival being held there over the weekend and spare moorings, there weren't any....
Tomorrow, if the forecast rain doesn't arrive, we should make our winter mooring in Aynho.
The weather has been sunny and mild and cruising the twisting canal between Marston Doles and Fenny Compton on a perfect tranquil morning was what narrow boats and canals is all about.

Down the Maccelsfield and we had arranged to meet with Elaine & Paul, ex NB The Manly Ferry...
They walked a couple of miles from where their motor home was moored along the tow path toward us and jumped on at a bridge hole...

Paul assumed the position on the helm and soon proved he....



"Still Had It"... after a short while the NB had run aground....
We could put it down to the approaching NB not giving us much room, plus Paul being "To nice" and giving them a lot of canal.. He's lost the "Killer" instinct..... since he became a motorhome driver....

We passed what could be called.....




A "Real Mans Shed"......



Tools, Toys and collectables.......

We moored at Higher Poynton, nice docking by Paul.
He continued to show he....



"Still Had It" by doing the old "Coiling of the centre rope" on the roof.......

We later went for a meal and a catch up at the local pub, Boars Head, a good time....
Next morning Leonie and I walked to the mooring site of the motor home..

During the coffee break...



Sammy done the customary "sharing of his tongue". He's quick as a flash and it pays not to expose mouths, noses and ears.......

While.....



Bombo .... he likes a good rub behind the ears.........

We said goodbyes and continued down the Macc,.....

Passed a typical modest family home with the usual...



Two choppers in the back yard.....

Through Maccelsfield and past....



The site of the Hovis Mill... birthplace of the famous flour and now breads......

Quiet as not to disturb.....



BBAAAAAAAAA.....

And the reason it's not "Wrong" to be having an ale by 10.30am because.....




It's.........

At Congleton the canal passes through a couple of....



Snake or Cross over bridges...




When the towpath changed sides of the canal it enabled towing horses to cross over while still towing the working boat and not be unhitched......

Has this bridge got a......


 
"Lean on" or was it built on the "piss".....

Some more houses that.....



 
 Caught.....


The.....


Eye.....

The last lock on the Macca, .......



Hall Green stop lock with only a rise or fall of 1 foot......

The day we passed through Stoke On Trent turned out to be a cracker as the sun shone late in the day.
So we got some "Greasy's" for dinner and pushed on farther than we intended...
In fact passing through a cutting by Trentham it became quite dark and....



With homes backing onto the canal our passing was turning on security lights in back yards........

Leonie steered through the ....



Atherstone flight of 11 locks.....

An approaching NB gave us a bit too much....



room and disappeared into the willow tree then emerged at full revs to take on the opposite canal bank....

Moored at Fenny Compton we were picked up by John enroute to a couple of days racing at Oulten Park up North by Chester....





The "A Team" at the track..... John, Spencer, Steve, Leonie and....
Thanks Guys for another great time...

In a couple of days our NB experience will come to an end...
After 20 months of living aboard and travelling the network we will be putting NB FireflyNZ  up for sale and moving on to the next adventure....

A map showing.....



canals we have travelled over.... some 3 times to get elsewhere...
From the top, Skipton, Leeds to the bottom London, Bath, of the system it's been an Awesome adventure.....Most of the lines on the RH side are rivers that we never intended to cruise.....

Our boat has proven to be the perfect live aboard....
Over the next few weeks I'll do some maintenance jobs, paint touch ups, full service etc, getting FireflyNZ ready for a sales advertisement feature .....

Until then here are a couple of photo's and.......
 



Everyone knows someone who wants to buy a narrowboat and.....



"Live The Dream".....

So.....



Spread the word.....

 


So others can live the dream.....

Remember... You'll Never See A Hearse Towing A Trailer.....

And tonight.......



 
Out the side hatch.......
 
Cheers......