Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Ortomarine on test

The March edition of Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test of the first private boat built by Ortomarine, who are based near Droitwich.

Saturday, 21 January 2017


Frosty, frozen, and foggy this morning at the marina. I did the little bit of winterising that we normally do, then got in the car and drove up to Ventnor Marina for a boat test. It was foggy there too, and not quite as frozen; then about 11 the sun broke through, and we quickly went and got some running shots of the boat. The drive home was trouble-free.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Staying warm

An early alarm this morning, then out the door at just after 5.30 to get the train from Wolverton to work. It was very frosty. The big question of the day was whether the fire would still be in by the time I got back, some fourteen hours later. I'd piled plenty of coal in the stove before I left, and almost closed the lower vent -- and it worked, as it was still going. I didn't feel too bad about putting the Eberspacher on for an hour, as the neighbouring boat was running its engine. Tomorrow's forecast has improved considerably -- unless that also means the canal is frozen, which would be a problem.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Warming up

I came up to the boat this afternoon for logistical reasons: I have to be in the midlands on Saturday for a boat test, and shift times meant it was easier to come up after work today than tomorrow.

When I got here, the boat was pretty chilly. I got the Eberspacher going, lit the fire, and also ran the engine for a bit to help heat up some water. It was about an hour before I felt I could take my coat off, but it's now more than warm enough.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Eleshanne on test

The February edition of Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test of Eleshanne by Knights Narrowboats.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

End of year cruise: Day 3

Miraculously, we both managed to stay awake until midnight. There were a few fireworks around, but otherwise it was quiet. This morning just as we were finishing breakfast, there was a tiny little wren rootling around at the bottom of the towpath fence.

There had been some rain already, but the forecast heavy rain hadn't yet arrived, so we decided to head off while the going was good. We got away a little after 9.30. Not only was it dry, it was dead calm too. Ahead of us the sky had a bit of brightness in it.

Behind us, though, the sky was very threatening, and it appeared the wet weather was chasing us. We'd almost got back to the marina when the rain started, but the wind was still negligible so making the turn in and getting into our berth we're both straightforward. Tying up was done in the rain, however.

Since then we've been lurking inside, listening to the rain on the roof, remarking on the increasing breeze, and watching The Lady In The Van off the iPlayer. Tomorrow it will be a very early alarm call, as I'm on an early shift; Adrian will also head home early.

4 miles, 0 locks. (10 miles, 0 locks)

Saturday, 31 December 2016

End of year cruise: Day 2

This morning was much more mild and the ice had melted, so we decided we'd head out of the marina. Before we set off, we put some water in the tank (as we had no idea how much was in there) and I checked and topped up the batteries. We left about 10am, turning left towards Stoke Bruerne; it was misty and rather dank, and a bit chilly.

We went at quite a sedate pace to try to ensure the batteries got a decent charge. Even so, it took only a little more than the usual hour and a half to get to the bottom of Stoke Bruerne locks, where we turned around. We'd decided to retrace our steps a bit, and stop out in the middle of nowhere for New Year's Eve. It also means we'll have less to do tomorrow to return to the marina, as the forecast is for heavy rain all day. We carried on through Bridge 57 and stopped at what's usually a very popular spot, with views on both sides of the boat; up on the hill on the offside is Grafton Regis Manor.

There have been a few boats pass during the afternoon, plus a few towpath dog walkers, but otherwise it's been very quiet. We have ham hocks and South African sparkling wine for this evening -- although I have a suspicion that neither us might still be awake by midnight!

Happy New Year!

6 miles, 0 locks.