Thursday, 5 February 2015

Mabel on test

The March issue of Canal Boat is out, and includes my test of Mabel by Stoke Boats.

Saturday, 31 January 2015


A quick dash up to Yelvertoft Marina today for a boat test.  It was snowing quite heavily when we arrived -- that's snow on Crack Hill in the background.  It wasn't the ideal weather for a test, but we got it done!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Cheshire, Stoke, and Hatton

I had a boat test to do in Stoke on Trent today, so we made a weekend of it.  Yesterday we drove up to Cheshire to see my sister and her family, and other friends who live up that way.  We stayed overnight near Crewe.

This morning it was just a 20 minute drive to Stoke.  We met the boat at Westport Lake, and fortunately the sun shone for the next half an hour or so, which was great for the photos.  Walking back along the towpath, some of the old industrial buildings looked quite atmospheric.

We were on the road back home at a reasonable time, so decided on a lunch stop.  The cafe at Hatton Locks isn't far off the motorway and is always worth a visit, so we went there.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Mirabilis on test

The February edition of Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test of the Braidbar boat, Mirabilis.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

End of Year Cruise: Day 4

Actually, not so much of a cruise, as we didn't actually go anywhere.  This morning, all the ice had gone, but it was a miserable day -- dull, damp, and blowing a hooley.

We had a relaxed start to the day, then Adrian headed home mid-morning, as he's back at work tomorrow.  I've pottered around clearing up, and had a sleep this afternoon as I start my night shifts tonight.  I'll be heading to work shortly, and will go home from there tomorrow morning.

We might not have been anywhere, but we still feel we've had a good break for a few days.  We've had quite a social time, meeting family and friends.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

End of Year Cruise: Day 3

Another clear night and another very frosty morning.

With no prospect of going anywhere, we drove down to Cow Roast, and visited Les and Jaq on Valerie.  It was great to see them again (and for Adrian to meet them for the first time), and especially to see Lee feeling so much better, and stronger every day.  We spent an hour and a half or so there, being plied with tea and excellent cake, and chatting about all sorts of things.  On the way back we stopped at the Grand Junction pub at Bulbourne for lunch.  It's opposite the old waterways workshops, and we got a nice table right by the fire.

By the time time we got back to the marina it had warmed up a little.  The ice on the canal looked well broken, and someone had either left or entered the marina, as the entrance was similarly broken up.  We decided we'd attempt to spend a night out on the cut.  Getting out of the marina wasn't too bad (although it wasn't as clear as it looked, as there was still ice under the water).   A few yards out of the marina we decided it was madness, so went back in and back to our berth.  At least it checked that the engine still worked.

This evening we've got a nice bit of lamb so we'll have a nice roast dinner, and do our best to stay awake until midnight.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

End of Year Cruise: Day 2

We woke to another hard frost, and another very sunny day.  The ice on the marina was still thick -- it was even a job to break it by bashing it with a pole.

An exchange of texts resulted in a plan for the day.  We went to visit my second cousin, Catherine, husband, Nigel, and kids Grace and Matthew, who often come and help us with locks or for a ride through a tunnel.  After coffee at their house, we all went for lunch at the Admiral Nelson at Braunston. The food took a while to arrive, but when it did it was very good.  There were a few boats moving up and down the locks, even though there was quite a lot of ice.

In fact, we've seen a few moving boats.  As we crossed the locks at Stoke Bruerne this morning there was one coming down, and we also spotted one at Watford Locks as we came past.

No idea whether we'll get out tomorrow.  If not, we'll have to come up with another day out.