Tuesday 19 October 2021

Licence holders

Our licence holders were falling apart, so I ordered some new ones.  They are £1 for a pair on the CRT website, including postage.  As they cost 72p to post, I can’t imagine CRT make any money on them.  On Friday afternoon, I spent a considerable time carefully scraping the old adhesive from the windows with the blade from a Stanley knife.  Then I put the new ones in their place.

The trouble is that they have a printed section at the top, which means that when you put the licence in, the boat registration number is covered up.  This is literally the only part of the licence a checker needs to see.  At least our number is painted on the boat — but this does seem to be something of a design fault.

Sunday 17 October 2021

Smoke hood

After I swept the chimney on Friday afternoon, I cleared a load of debris off the top baffle in the stove, both by sweeping it off with a poker, and by lifting the baffle so the stuff at the back could drop into the stove.  However, when I lit the sire, I found that every time I opened the door, smoke poured out.  I had to open all the windows and doors to get rid of it.  I couldn’t really understand what was going on, because there was also smoke coming out of the chimney, and the flue was getting hot.

Eventually, I thought some more investigation was needed,  Perhaps I hadn’t cleared all the debris off the baffle properly, and the flue was a bit blocked.  So I shut the fire down and waited for it to cool down a bit.  Opening the door again meant another boat-full of smoke, and then I put the still hot coals in the ash bucket out on the towpath.  Shining a torch above the baffle, I could see that there was a cover over the bottom of the flue.  I looked in the instruction manual, which identified this as a smoke hood — and also said that if the stove was in a boat, where the flue was likely to be less that 4.5 metres tall, it should be left off.  Further research confirmed this should be the case.

To get to it, I had to take the sloping side fittings out of the stove, which allowed the top baffle to be removed.  Then the smoke hood could be twisted off.  Then I could see that it had prevented more debris from coming out of the flue — so it was partially blocked.

I left the smoke hood off, and reassembled everything in the stove.  Lighting it this time was much easier, with a decent draw quickly being established.  I’m hoping this adjustment will mean the stove lights easier in future too.  And if you have a relatively new Morso Squirrel, check to see whether you have a smoke hood fitted.

Saturday 16 October 2021


I had fun and games with the stove last night, but I’ll do a separate post about that too.  This morning I walked the mile back to the marina and drove up to Debdale Wharf for a boat test — via Towcester where I met Andy the photographer so we could travel the last bit in one car.  Our trip out on the boat took us to Forton Junction, where there were a few people about but very few boats.

Back at our marina, I walked to the boat, then boated back.  I was heading home by about 4.30.

1 mile, 0 locks.  (4 miles, 0 locks)

Friday 15 October 2021


I came up to the boat after work as I have a boat test to do tomorrow, leaving behind a rather dull and drizzly London and arriving in warm sunshine.  It was far too nice to stay in the marina, so I headed out and turned left.

The space I like through Bridge 63 was free, so I carried on to Baxter’s where I turned around, and returned to it.  I moored so I can see through the gap in the hedge from the galley and the dinette.

After lunch I did a few jobs, firstly sweeping the stove chimney, then blacking the stove itself.  Both of them are rather messy jobs.

I needed to get some steps under my belt, so headed through the gap in the hedge and across the field, which has been harvested and ploughed.

Across the next field is a bridge over the River Tove, meaning I was into Buckinghamshire.

The path goes through woods, then a field of sheep.

I turned through a farm yard and across another field of sheep, up to Castlethorpe.  The railway goes through the village in a cutting.  It used to have a station, but it closed in 1964; you can still see the platforms, although the central one is very overgrown with trees.

The village has a nice sign, and there’s a little shop.  I retraced my steps back to the boat, covering almost 5km.

I spend the next little while carefully scraping old adhesive from our licence holders from the windows, before sticking new ones up.  I’ll do another post in a couple of days about how ridiculous they are.  I lit the fire, because I know from experience that the blacking makes fumes if you haven’t polished off every last trace — so I wanted to get it going while it was still warm enough to have windows and doors open.

3 miles, 0 locks.

Saturday 9 October 2021

Kenmillone on test, plus Crick show boats

The November Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test on Kenmillone by Pendle Narrowboats.

There’s also a review of the narrowboats which were on show at the Crick Boat Show back in August.