Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The annual maintenance

Well, it's now annual. Watch this space next year and see if we kept it up! We realised last year that we were going to have to devote time to Bella, and more than a weekend here or there. So we both took just over a week off work and here we are, day 2 (or 6 or 4) depending on when we start counting!

Last Thursday was the first day off work for what felt like weeks for both of us. So we took ourselves out for coffee with Bella's daybook in hand to write down what needed doing. Quite a list! Patching paint, clearing rust, renewing window frames, renewing the cratch cover, deep cleaning inside, resealing the bathroom, removing the winter curtain liners and cleaning all the curtains... Exhausted before we started.

After coffee, we took ourselves off to the chandlery for the essentials. Paint, primer, brushes and...not on the list - new brass flush cupboard door handles, 12v electrics to rewire lights.  Hmmm. A longer list.

From Friday through the weekend, we did inside fun things of changing our table lamps to LED 12v, putting up another few lights in the clothes room and fitting the new cupboard door handles. Monday, the slog work started in earnest. By the afternoon of day 2, we have: renewed the window frames in the dining room and bedroom (remove from window, take outside, sand, replace, varnish), cleaned associated curtains, polished brass rods, restored roof spots (standing, anti rusting, priming, painting), cleaned mould from various places, cleaned the cratch cover (bow cover) and generally cleaned as we went along. More similar things tomorrow.

All the while, the sun is shining, the ducklings are hatching, the swans have built a nest and the birds are singing. Day 1 Elizabeth was grumpy. Day 2 is much better.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

We've been to Braunston and back

...and utterly forgot to blog about it! Our apologies.

We've been having what seemed to be a mysterious water leak from the calorifier (hot water tank). Pete checked all the fittings and did what he could but we realised that an expert was needed. So on Monday, one of Pete's rest days this week, we took ourselves to Norton Junction, glided through Braunston Tunnel, breezed down six locks and moored up on the work moorings of Days Afloat (more about that connection below).

At first glance on Tuesday, a problem couldn't be found even with much scratching of heads and use of torch for dark corners. Then Pete raised the potential of the relief valve (the valve which lets out water if there is too much water pressure in the tank). Hey presto, there was our leak. Within a short while, a new pipe and a new valve were fitted. We had prepared ourselves for a new calorifier (tank) and all new fittings, so were delightfully surprised at the the small, quick and far less expensive outcome.  By Tuesday evening, we were across the canal and moored on the towpath, much more to our Josie's liking.

We stayed the rest of the week, with Pete working the final three days of the week based from the Stop House in Braunston. We set out this morning to a fine day. Good thing, as now we're back at home-home, Pete's cleaning the roof. We were moored under some very messy birds!

So, Days Afloat. When we first moored at Hillmorton, Roy was one of the kind helpers who worked in the workshop there. A number of years ago, he moved to his own workshop in Braunston and set up Days Afloat doing all things boat building. It was Roy who introduced Elizabeth to the landlord of her studio, the unit on the reverse side of Roy's canal fronting workshop. We feel quite an affinity with Days Afloat!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Work begins

Pete is preparing Goldeneye and partner for today's dredging. He would be out managing water as ever, but last week Hilda's registration plate took a swim in the River Nene. Whilst she (the work 4x4) was on the road. It's just that the Nene decided to move to further shores, as have so many UK rivers in the last month. So whilst Hilda waits to be legal again, Pete's driving the boat whilst his colleague dredges.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A bit big for the bath tub

With Pete's van off the road for a few days, he has resorted to taking this 90 footer home instead.

Friday, 7 February 2014

A morning lean

We woke up with our home on quite a lean this morning. So so much rain! There is so much water that the ropes have held us fast and pulled our starboard side down toward the bank. Auto close on a few doors!

On rivers where this is expected with the usual rise and fall of the river, ropes are tied to rings which slide up & down poles. The mooring bank isn't ground, but floating pontoons with bridges to the land. So our river boaters are still level. But then they can end up settling on a field if their ropes pull off...

Canals don't usually rise this much, so the first thing Pete will race out to do after breakfast is to let the water out. Flood paddles open, wier boards off, we should be level later today.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Swan prepares

Here is Mr or Mrs Swan. His/her partner is just along the bank ahead of Bella. With the careful arrangement of grasses a few moments ago, we suspect nest building and eating up are in progress. If so, we'll keep you informed!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Misty frosty morning

Another stunning winter morning.