Wednesday, 14 March 2018

First visit of the year

I don’t think we’ve ever left the boat unvisited for so long — and after the recent cold weather I’d convinced myself there was bound to be some damage.  We do minimal winterising so surely we’d come unstuck this year.  However, on arriving at the boat yesterday for a visit lasting just a few hours, everything seemed fine.  The batteries were showing as being on a hundred per cent, with credit still on the metre (showing the value of the solar panel even in the winter); I checked the engine and it started first time; I put the shower mixer back on, turned on the water and the water pump, and everything worked without any leaks.

The reason we haven’t used the boat as we usually do in the winter was because of a problem with the stove.  Back in December when we went up to go to the theatre in Milton Keynes, on opening the stove to light it, the front panel moved forward.

We stayed in a hotel instead.  Yesterday, Gary from Boating Leisure Services came to have a look.  He said he’d never seen anything quite like it before, although apparently when these stoves need new tops, you have to put a strap round the stove otherwise all four sides fall off when the top is removed.  He suspects the fittings which hold everything together have corroded away.  We’ll take the boat up to Heyford Fields in a few weeks time, so they can get the stove out and see whether it can be repaired.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Ripples on test

The April edition of Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test of Ripples by JD Narrowboats.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Elgin on test

The March issue of Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test of Elgin by Aqua Narrowboats.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Fantasia II on test -- and Salford Quays

The February Canal Boat is out and includes my boat test on Fantasia II by Aintree Boats.

There's also a four page article about our trip down to Salford Quays last September.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Jescka on test

The January edition of Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test on Jescka, a short and not very wide widebeam.

Monday, 13 November 2017


A quick trip up to Shardlow today for the second boat test in two days. The M1 was uncannily quiet, and we were uncharacteristically efficient in getting the test done, so we seemed to be finished quite early. The local swan came to say hello through the side hatch.

I went back to Briar Rose to pick up a few things, then headed home.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Kings Bromley

A long day today. I finished my night shifts this morning, and drove up the M40 for a rendezvous with Andy the photographer at the Bicester Park and Ride. We then went in his car to Kings Bromley for a boat test. The weather was sunny, but with a bitterly cold wind. The marine is much bigger than it looks from the canal, and part of it is through a very tiny bridge.

We were done by about one o’clock, so headed back to my car. I’ve come to Briar Rose for the night, as I’m much too tired to drive home, and we have another boat test tomorrow.

Briar Rose was pretty cold, so I have the Eberspacher on and the fire alight, and i’ve also run the engine a bit to make sure the starter battery gets some charge, and (as I’ve got a couple of radiators on) to help heat the water.