Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Blogging Service is temporally unavailable

Sorry I haven't posted a blog in a long time, there are reasons, my brain isn't firing on all four cylinders at the moment and when it starts working again I'll hopefully start blogging.

Monday, 21 September 2009

A weekend to Fradley

What an amazing weekend!!! Mrs EB had booked a couple of days off and after packing and getting ready then doing a food shop we got to the Marina around mid afternoon. Mrs EB unpacked I made TRB ready and we set off towards Rugely. It was then we remembered we had forgotten something foody so about 5pmish we stopped in Rugely and Mrs EB did a quick walk to Morrisons. I actually liked where we were and we decided to stay there for the night.

Later that evening The President and Kildare passed us...what a shear joy that was... we set off again the next morning, the was breaking through some light cloud and we just plodding along. Just after the Armitage Shanks factory an idiot who had clearly seen me decided to pull out making me throw TRB into reverse to stop me hitting him!!! he hadn't banked on there being a big queue at the locks into Fradley he wouldn't even look at me or acknowledge me!!

We got to Fradley about lunchtime and moored up just opposite the Waterways offices and stayed there until Sunday morning. what a great spot, we watched the world go by at various speeds!!! LOL moorings were busy and it was nice to enjoy a beer at The Swan and sit outside and just relax. Saturday I had to pop back to Sutton and some picked me up whilst Mrs EB did some cooking. We had invited a few friends to TRB for a little get together which was good fun. Though the batteries died at 9pm so I had to start the engine for while..sorry if you were near us!!!

Sunday morning I reversed into the lock (it wasn't pretty but I did it!!!) and we turned at the junction and headed back to Great Haywood...and just in time it would seem as there were 5 boats behind us waiting to go up the locks as entered. The trip back was just wonderful the sun shone the birds sang and we just plodded along... one of the best weekends of the year.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

A tiny update

It's coming up to the last Bank Holiday of the year!! Crikey that has come around very quickly. We are planning on spending it on TRB, maybe even a nice short round trip. Not sure where too, but that doesn't matter we will have food and plenty of wine on board so a field and some peace and quiet.

It's IWA festival this weekend as well but I really don't fancy a trip to Nottingham just some peace and quiet and good company and good food and plenty to drink.

Saturday, 1 August 2009


Towards the end of our 4 counties ring trip we stopped off at Stone, we had an excellent mooring on one of the 12 hour mooring just above the bottom lock of the town. We moored up, and Mrs Eb went off to Morrisons for provision's. I looked up at the sky and what was blue had turned purple. (We had had amazing weather on our trip, and the bad weather had always been behind us hahaha), I really didn't like the look of it so I put up the tonneau and started to put up the pram hood with some urgency and noticed a middle aged couple watching me with great interest. I carried on, then I started to clean out the gully under my grab rails, I was walking up the gunwales and they were looking and obviously talking about what I was doing. I was looking at the skies and hoping I would get it all done before the heavens opened up. I double checked the mooring lines and just got under the pram hood and "BANG" went the thunder and woosh went the rain, it was the big heavy rain and rivers of it were coming down, I looked up and saw two middle aged people running for thier car soaked to the skin.

Moral of the storey if you see someone on a narrow boat battening down the hatches head for cover!!!! Don't stand and watch like a numpty they are doing it for a reason.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Sorry I just haven't be honest after out wonderful holiday round the four counties ring, going up to Tattenhall Marina for a look, then across to Alrewas for a few days, I have not felt motivated to blog. Maybe this blog has come to the end of it's life? I can't be bothered and I have lost heart in seems to short and there are other things to do....anyhoo this is probably just a phase, I have a few issues I am dealing with that I can't go into here, so maybe that is it.

See you soon? maybe

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Four Counties

Sorry I haven't done a proper blog in ages, I just can't find the motivation if I am honest.

We did the four counties ring with a diversion up to Tattenhall to see the new marina just opened by the guys who built Great Haywood Marina. The ring was a great trip, that both Mrs EB and I enjoyed so much.

We had a couple of little problems on the way..1 being the fan belt on the domestic alternator snapped ...RCR to the rescue eventually. Then there was the tree that fell across the canal at Sandbach...that lead to a wonderful BBQ evening.

We saw some of the most amazing scenery and wildlife from Deer to Kingfishers.... we really enjoyed the evening cruising, the walking around some af the market towns and the wonderful food. Sea Spiced Duck from Market Drayton is just amazing and well worth the trip just for that little find.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Monday, 22 June 2009

New posts at Tixall lock

Penkridge and the pub is calling

We should be in the village

Monday, 15 June 2009

another quicky

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while...this and that has gotten in the way.

I have been on few trips. One was so special it will be hard to blog about. Last year I went Mozambique to see some amazing things that a couple and their kids had done over 12 years (see my mozambique mission blog). Anyhoo they are in the UK at the moment(another very long story) and their boss man had flown over to the UK for some moral support and we all went out for the day. It was so special it will be far to hard describe at the moment, I will blog about it in a few weeks.

We have also done a few short trips up down the T & M and I have been getting TRB ready for a two week cruise of the 4 counties ring... Which I am sure I will be blogging about and doing some photo updates via my mobile phone...

Anyhoo this is just to say I am alive and well

Monday, 18 May 2009

a small needed update

I am sorry I haven't blogged in ages.

There are a couple of reasons...1. Mrs EB and I went out for a short trip and passed two boats and were told to slow down when we were in tick over!!!! and that really cheesed me off.
2. I forgot.

Well I did a mens day out on TRB there 8 guys and myself we met about 9am at Great Haywood had a mug of tea and then headed up to Weston had a nice lunch then up to Sandon Lock turned around and headed back. It was a day of relaxing and chatting and just having some fun. I believe the guys enjoyed it, even though person said TRB was like a caravan.... ho hum.

Yesterday my friend Martin who gave Mrs EB and I the boating bug came over to TRB and showed me how to service the engine... another few quid saved and it was well worth the mess.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Finally we Meet Mr Granny Buttons Andrew Denny.

This weekend we haven't been up to The Robber Button. Last night was a massive charity night that my parents had organised for MacMillan Cancer Support. It started with a series of karaoke talent nights in various pubs and clubs around North Birmingham. Then last night it was a Gala night with the winner winning £500. A band came down from Manchester and did a great spot a guy bought his karaoke gear down for the singers. All in all it was a great night, even though I hate karaoke with a passion. A lot of money was raised which is what it was all about.

So today we decided to go into Birmingham City Centre and have a walk around the canal, I remembered that Andrew Denny from Granny Buttons was in the area and checked Google Latitude and he was about. I text him and we arranged to meet up for a pint and a chat. What a nice hour that was, great to meet up.

I am hoping that we can get to TRB next weekend and maybe even take her out for a little trip?

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Nice weekends and crappy boat handling

My friend Ed thinking

I arrived at Great Haywood Friday afternoon to do a few jobs on TRB, there are always a few jobs to do, I don't know why, but there are. So I set about fiddling and fixing, Mrs EB arrived at around 6pm and I made coffee, we listened to The Now Show an excellent half an hour, then we tootled off to Stone by car for a curry. Castle Balti I think it is called does a fine curry and has large portions. On our way there I received a TXT from a friend to ask if his family could visit TRB the next day, I check with Mrs EB and I called him back.
The Day crew working the lock

Saturday was a little over cast and quite windy to start off with but that burned off, our friends arrived and off we set, well if only it was simple. I was having one of those days, I tried to help J&J move a boat, but for the life of me I couldn't turn it in the wind, setting off with TRB I had problems getting out of the marina. Later that afternoon, turning at the winding hole above Sandon Lock a BW Boat was moored on the winding!!!! so that proved a nightmare, then getting back into Great Haywood I missjudged the turning and that was as messy as it could get...with someone asking if we needed help. I don't think I could have been more embarrassed if I tried.....
Some of the day crew resting after a little liquid lunch

Well apart from all of that we had a wonderful day, some great company and some good unwinding time with a family I think are wonderful. It gave us time to talk time to laugh and time to just be with friends.... excellent. We went to Western first for a pint and then up to Sandon for the winding, its a nice few hours 3 locks and wonderful countryside and lots of peace and quiet.

More days like these please without the crappy me bits.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


Easter weekend was taken with commitments to our Church and on Bank Holiday Monday with a wedding... We did manage an over night stay on Good Friday evening which was just wonderful. When we woke on Saturday morning the weather couldn't have been any better but we didn't really have the time to go out, we did pop out in the car for an hour.
I am so looking forward to an extended stay on board but time and other commitments seem to be against us that moment, so I am living vicariously via everyone's blog's keep them up with your travels!!!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Boat Handling and Dr Who

Easter is up on us, and I guess its the first big break when boaters will brave the canals of England, the schools are on holiday and the hire boats are all polished ready to go. We wont be going out as we have commitments else where at Church. Though a night on board will be had on Friday and maybe a lazy day Saturday. The problem with not having a TV on board is I am a massive Dr Who fan and Saturday evening is a one of the 4 Dr Who's of this year, I will record it, but I know all too well come Sunday morning at Church everyone will be talking about it and all will be told from how handsome David Tennant looked to the SFX and even the plot will be discussed (we do go to a lively and full Church of about 400 people...) So if I don't watch it Saturday there will be no point. Sorry about that waffle, back to the blog about boat handling...

When we bought TRB in September 2007 we had a one day boat handling course (our only real handling upto that point) and then we were left to it. I do find it kind of strange, if you have any other motor propelled vehicle you have to have a test, you don't have to have lessons, but you must pass a test, but not for the inland waterways? Anyhoo we had the one day boat handling and off we set. Mrs EB had to go back to work on day 3 so I was on my own and was not happy when I ended up bouncing TRB around a lock. For a time after that first trip I didn't enjoy steering TRB but I pushed through it and now I love taking her out and seeing the beautiful English countryside.

I have taken TRB out a few times over the winter and this has proved to be invaluable in the learning curve on boat handling, it has been a slow process learning how to manoeuvre a 57 foot boat backwards whilst steering and using the wind to get her into her mooring. But over the winter that is what I have done and I am proud to say I can now do it and in the strong wind coming from either direction, using under steer or over steer. It isn't always the prettiest sight to watch, but I do it without damage to either the Jetty, my neighbouring boat or TRB.

The day TRB was put back in after the blacking was windy and no one was around so I spent half an hour just playing, using the wind to blow me whilst I tried to manoeuvre around and into mooring letting it blow me sideways and back and forth, at one point a couple of asked if I needed help, I just said no thanks I am playing with wind, and they just said oh OK and looked at me as if I was simple and had been let out for a day to play on a boat.... then one of the Jon's of Jon & John the marine engineers asked if I wanted help, when I explained I was playing using the wind, he said bloody good idea, no one is around, get the experience!! You can't really practice at our marina as it is a busy and lively place most times and where we are moored we are on the path to the diesel and pump out and we are next to the marine engineers (a fortuitous spot) so boats are usually going past all day from morning till dusk. So I took the opportunity when I had it and played for a good half an hour and well worth it I think.

Well as the Hull is now blacked and the inside is ship shape I need to go up and really give TRB a jolly good wash and wax and get the winter grime off, I did give her jolly good wash and double wax with a friend before winter set in, but she is looking a little jaded now and needs a loving wash and she will be ready for an enjoyable year tootling around.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Boats and Modems and Sound Technology

We are relatively new comers to the boating world, TRB is our first boat and we wanted it to be a real home from home, so we wanted it to have what we have at home apart from the TV. I love modern technology and think we should embrace what we like and leave what we don't. I have worked in Recording Studios, Production Houses and Radio Stations for a long time and I find I get withdrawal symptoms if I don't have a computer to play on for more than a few days. I love the internet, I don't read News Papers, it's yesterday news and tabloids are so obsessed with 3rd rate celebrity wannabe's and sex I just can't even look at the front pages in news agents. So I read and get my news online, and I use various websites to stay in contact with people.

So when we eventually found the boat of our dreams, certain things needed looking into.1st did it have 240v as well as 12v, did it have a good shower and a pump out loo and a good galley to cook in with plenty of space!!! (I know, but it does). Could we actually have our own space? and is there a decent dongle modem that would give us the internet at a fair price when we cruised. We don't want a TV but we did want a sound system to go with our IPods that would sound amazing and not cheap and thin...

We found T Mobile had the best coverage and gave you unlimited internet access (fair usage, not sure what that is, but we never get charged any extra) we do find we spend most time out of the 3g area but that's OK. After a lot of searching we found the perfect sound system for an IPod. Now I am very hard to please with sound systems, I don't care what other people have but I like to have a good sound. The Fatman ITube Carbon was what we settled on with some Tannoy Mercury F1 Custom Speakers and it does sound really amazing. I am able to plug my laptop into it when we watch a movie on my laptop. I need to get some sand filled speaker stands as I am losing some bass through the floor into the bilge.... but that is a small issue.I guess we all have our own idea of what sounds good and what we like, I know this little beast of an amp is truely amazing, the valve amps soften the clinical digital sound of the IPod and make anologue recordings sound truely awsome, I was listening to some Abba tracks and they just blew me away, Led Zeppelin come to life and a live blues album I recorded a couple of years ago is stunning. Movies sound fantastic and have that cinema feel with the bass and middle sounding larger than life.

So we are happy we have all we need really, well apart from enough time onboard to enjoy it all.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Boat Licences and non payers

When I am out and about on TRB (something we don't do enough) it really cheeses me off to see boats with an out of date licence or no licence being displayed. Why should they not pay to use the waterways when most others do? I know having 2000 miles of canals is hard to police, but our Marina is inspected regularly (I remember it being done twice in as many weeks around October 2008, we have strict rules at Great Haywood Marina about having insurance, Boat Safety and water licence). It seems to me the canals just outside are not inspected at all? I have seen long term moorer's at various points on the Staffs & Worsc and on the Trent & Mersey without a current licence being displayed.

Now reading an article on Granny Buttons about the Oxford it seems just maybe BW are actually doing something about it. It would be a good thing for BW to get something done about it, it would actually make finacial sense to have all of the revenue come in wouldn't it? So wouldn't it actually pay them to hire a few more staff to walk the tow paths of our wonderful heritage and actually find the licence dodgers and either get them to pay up or take their boats and and sell or crush them? If these people actually thought they might just be caught they would do something about it, but as the chances of being caught is about the same as winning the lottery they take the chance.

Sorry rant over

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Some photos from Wolseley Bridge & Tixall Wide Trip

A few photos from last weekends trip to Wolseley Bridge with Mrs EB's sister Liz. We had a marvellous time.

Great Haywood Junction heading to Tixall Wide from Wolseley Bridge

Heading back to Tixall Wide2 Grebe on Tixall Wide

Mooring up before Great Haywood Lock

Cows crossing a bridge behind us (EB and Liz)

Little Haywood Lock
Spring has finally Sprung
How beautiful is England!!! who needs anywhere else?
A swan nested at the winding just after Wolseley Bridge

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Thanks Bones.

I was reading Bones's blog and she mentions that her Boat Safety Scheme Certificate is due and this has caused a very slight ripple of urgency in her. This has made me check my paper work on TRB today when I popped up there to set the heating and pick up my IPod.

I have found 2 certificates of complience in my "The Robber Button" logbook folder. The frst one is from 2005 when the hull was completed by Keith Woods and then I have one for 2007 from James Barron-Clarke on the completeion of the Build and remedial work when we took over TRB as a new boat.

So I either need a BSS certificate this year or in 2011? I will ask Derek the Gas installer who fixed my gas leak earlier this year. I'd like to thank Bones as I could be in trouble if I hadn't checked all of that paper work.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Wolseley Bridge

Photo's will be added this evening

So Friday arrived and we met at TRB for a weekend of relaxing, Friday afternoon we did the usual shop and also bought a treat the new James Bond film. Once back from the supermarket and tea was made and enjoyed we settled down to watch A Quantum of Solace on my laptop. I nearly cried as they destroyed the Aston Martin DB9!!! (I really do love that car)

Saturday morning Mrs EB set off home to meet her sister who had just flown back from her holidays and then they drove to the marina. I made TRB ready and we set off about 11:30am for Wolsey Bridge, two locks and about 2 miles. Not a vast trip but enjoyable and it was freezing with a damp air with the odd bits of rain. We got there about 1:30pm and had lunch and a glass of nice red. A little bit of chat and stuff, I then took us to the winding and turned TRB round and headed back to Wolseley Bridge as we had planned on going to the Wolseley Arms for tea.

Waking early Sunday morning 8:30 (really 7:30 DST started), we had taken a day off Church (that doesn't happen very often) I set for home about 9 am we went via Tixall Wide as then sun was out and it was the most beautiful morning. Arriving at Great Haywood Marina at about 11:30 we needed to refuel and pump out, there was queue 1 boat in and one waiting, so I moored up at the side by John and Jons Marina engineering. Mrs EB's sister loaded her car and I went and said hello to Jeff, one of the owners of the marina. He was as rude as ever and even tried to stop me getting in the club house!!! I had the last laugh, he was helping to to moor a boat that was filling up and I had a bacon butty, and winked at him and said if he had been a little nicer he could have had on as well.

After filling up and pumping out I moored up and we cleared away, I topped up the water and washer TRB down, Mrs EB tidied up TRB. It was a wonderful weekend and very nice to see Mrs EB's sister.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Wet Black Bottom is now in the water.

So today after 3 days of jet-washing, and painting The Robber Button was trailered back into the water, a slightly nerve racking experience. Jon Sharpe an expert with the tractor and trailer reversed the huge lifting trailer upto TRB
This is when an amazing piece of driving is needed, one slight misjudgement and our wonderful boat could be damaged beyond repair, John made it look very easy.

After a short time I climbed aboard the trailer and onto the stern of TRB whilst John drove up to the rear gates and then revered down the slipway, I put the tiller arm on and made her ready to reverse off the trailer. I have to say I was slightly nervous, the wind had got up and there were waves on the marina. It went very smoothly and I was soon reversing off the trailer and up to our mooring. I was just reversing onto our jetty when the wind took the bow.... and I had to start all over again, I have never done this on my own, Mrs EB usually grabs one of the guide ropes and pulls TRB in whilst I am guiding the boat in with the engine and tiller. It was interesting and fun, I was offered help by a couple of very helpful people, but I declined as I really wanted to achieve this on my own, and I did it!!!! yay

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A Very Wet Black Bottom (day 3 of Blacking)

I drove to the Marina with a scowl on my face it was raining and boy was it raining. It was also very cold, but at least it wasn't freezing. There are rules to painting blacking on a boat, rule 1 You can't do it with the risk of freezing or at a temperature below zero and rule 2 you can't do it in the rain.

The port side of the boat was in the lee side of the wind and rain, so I managed to get that done pretty quickly, unfortunately the starboard side was in the wind and was really getting a battering. I couldn't do anything at all for about an hour and half as the rain was relentless. After that it did ease slightly, so armed with a drying cloth and my roller I started again only to be rained on again after about 15 minutes. That was how it was until the starboard was done about an hour or so later.

Now The Robber Button has a nice Blacked Bottom and is ready to be put back in to the water tomorrow afternoon.

To have the backing done by someone would have costed £7 per foot plus the lift out of £150. which is a whopping £549.00 I am guessing plus V.A.T. I do have to pay for the paint I have used, about 1/3 of a large tin which I am getting at trade from the wonderful Jon & John as I have been helping them out, so I have saved a heck of a lot of money which is just wonderful, as being out of work means no money, but I do have to say I am well tired and in need of a large curry and cold beer.

This is my first real D.I.Y job on TRB, I am not in the class of Mortimer Bones or Captain Ahab, but I do feel very proud of myself for having done some major D.I.Y work on The Robber Button.

Knowing that TRB will be back in the water tomorrow we have a weekend trip planned Mrs EB's sister is joining us and we will be popping out to find a pub on the cut for a meal and few glasses of something of the vine or from the Hop.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

We have a Shiny Black Bottom!!!! (Blacking day 2)

So I arrived at Great Haywood in glorious sunshine. I was given an old paint brush and an old roller and a paint tray and off I went. Painting first with the brush the water line, I painted a good thick layer of bitumen paint 57 feet one side and 57 feet the other. Then I started on the roller and about 4 hours later she had a covering of blacking all over the hull and the swim.

I took a break at about 1pm and popped into Great Haywood and bought a lot of bacon for sandwiches and made us all bacon sarnies...Mmmmmm I love bacon sarnies. Then after lunch I used the roller again and painted the water line once again. That was that for the day, nature will take it's course and the paint will dry and tomorrow I can give TRB her final coat of Blacking.

TRB looks great with her Shiny Black Bottom.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Day 1 of Blacking (prep) (or cleaning a big dirty bottom)

I arrived at a rainy Great Haywood Marina, to be greeted by John and Jon I was to be the first boat pulled out. I helped John, for insurance reasons, John would sail the boat onto the trailer, basically if the boat was damaged or fell off the trailer I wouldn't be covered.

So by about 10:30 TRB was on the trailer being hauled out of the water. This is amazing to watch and is not an easy job, well I know I wouldn't want to reverse someone pride and joy and place it on blocks...... Anyhooo 8 large wooden blocks were placed under TRB and she was lowered onto them.

Once on them I made us all a cuppa and then I was shown the huge jet-washer, diesel powered and so strong that it is a fight to keep it spraying onto the hull of the boat. So for the next hour and half or so I was spraying the bottom of my boat, two and half years of grime and weed was just flying off, along with old paint and rust. With the help of very heavy rain, it was a very wet and messy business but highly enjoyable. The jet-washing job was done but it was raining and Jon and John had to go to do something away from the marina so I locked up a boat on stilts and headed home.

Tomorrow as long as it isn't raining too much the first coat of blacking will be going on.

To be honest her bottom wasn't too dirty and it would have lasted another year, but I am going on what I was told and that was 2 years should be the Maximum time between blacking's, she has never been blacked and I was really surprised that she wasn't as bad as I expected. One side had a heck of a lot of weed growing on it and some big rust pockets. It was also good to see first hand the propeller (read this link)

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Good weather...needed

I popped up to Great Haywood yesterday with my Mum, she hasn't seen TRB for a very long time and remarked how nice the boat looked and how wonderful the marina now looked now that the plants had settled in and the grass was now established.

Not at the boat today as Mrs E.B is in London at a meeting and I will be at the marina from Monday blacking TRB if the weather allows. It isn't looking good, the boat needs to back in the water by Saturday.... Lets hope and pray I can it all done by then.

Monday, 16 March 2009

The Hammock

I thought I would add a couple of photo's from inside TRB below is the Galley and the Saloon, on the work top is the bulkhead hide from the bathroom where the leak has soaked it...well it is drying out nicely and I will be putting it back this weekend. Over the Kitchen hatch is the new fly screen which is a very welcome addition. The most comfortable bed in the world "The Hammock" it is just wonderful and is even better when it is a very windy night.....

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Windy morning

I had a meeting with a friend on Friday afternoon so I didn't get to TRB until around 6pm and the marina was all quiet and deserted. I got on board and turned the heating on and lit a coal fire Mrs EB would be about an hour behind me as she was working late. I set about cleaning and making TRB all nice for her arrival, which was at about 6:50 I was listening to The Now Show on R4. Once that was over we had a drive up to Stone and found a wonderful Idian and had a great curry. The portions were huge and the herns and spices tasted fantasic.

Back on board I decided to sleep in the hammock, which was great and so comfortable, during the nigh the wind really got up... I was rocked to sleep. The nest morning I went to see when TRB would be pulled out and I was given a date of a week on Monday, so that will be a busy week of painting. The wind was really blowing across the marina so we decided not to go out but stay at the marina, John and Jon asked for a hand when they were putting a boat back in the water and taking a boat out and the wind wasn't playing so I was on a guide rope.... all great fun. I cooked the guys a bacon and egg sandwich which seemed to hit the spot.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Hire or Not

There is an article in this months Canal Boat about how many people are now renting out their narrow boats, and not changing the licence and or their insurance, thus they are not properly covered. I have to be honest I would no more hire out The Robber Button than I would sell my own mother. But what worries me is what if a boat without the proper insurance damages my boat....

I love people to come along and and enjoy The Robber Button but she is ours Mrs EB's and mine and I am selfish I don't want other people taking her out and maybe damaging her.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Nice relaxing Saturdays

We arrived back from a cold Barcelona yesterday evening after eating and drinking far, far too much. Though Barcelona was cold it wasn't too cold to explore the labyrinth that is the Gothic Area, a wonderful place of tiny back streets crammed with tiny shops and Tapas bars or tapes bar as one said...hehehe
OK a heating update:- The central heating still has a slight weap on the feed to the bathroom radiator but I can live with that.... So after waking this morning we thought it was a fartoo nice a day not to go to The Robber Button. Arriving at Great Haywood Marina the sun was out and there was a definite feeling of spring in the air. It was decided to take TRB out and have bacon sandwiches and big mugs of tea moored up somewhere. So here was are moored at Tixall Wide, a coal fire burning away, Mrs EB sat in front of it reading her Dean Koontz book, I am listening to Miss Marple on BBC7, there is a large flock of black headed gulls flying around calling and a flock of sheep bleating away. There is quite a strong breeze staring up and to be honest all is wonderful with the world.
I believe that either next week or the week after TRB will be pulled out of the water for that blacking job that is looming...

Monday, 2 March 2009

Mini Update

Well I went to see if I still had a leak on the central heating and guess what? YES but it was only a small one. I have tightened up the nut a little more and also put some sealant around the joint... Lets wait and see...

It really gets my goat that I can't seem to fix the leak, but everything else seems to be OK, the boat is drying out but the bathroom & wardrobe doors still wont I am guessing a good long stay on the boat will soon dry that out and they will fit again. It is getting a little closer to when TRB is taken out of the water for her blacking, I am also going to see about a little electrical job with the bilge pump. and brushing the flue, a full service and we should be all ship-shape for a good season of cruising.

No trip or visit last weekend as it's Mrs EB's 40th Birthday and we were out with friends having indian food and lots and lots of wine.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Grrrr Central Heating

*big sigh* I went to TRB this morning to speak to Jon & John about Blacking the hull, I am hoping to have TRB out of the water in two weeks time... whist there I popped on-board and the central had lost all of it's header tank yet again...... even after my dad had "fixed it" grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

So I took the wooden hide away in the bathroom to find it soaking wet, at least I knew where the leak would be... I felt around the joints and one was wet.... *another big sigh* I am at a loss, I fetched my wrench and started tightening up the compression easy fit fittings... I am guessing this will not be the last time I blog about this.

Sunday, 22 February 2009


The weekend weather was just fantastic...but we didn't get to TRB which is a crying shame... It is Mrs EB's 40th birthday in a couple of weeks and went into Birmingham to buy her a nice present. I am hoping to get to TRB in the week to arrange for her to come out of the water for a much needed blacking, I need to price it all up first, but as money is very tight I will be doing the blacking myself...I have helped Jon and John on a blacking so I know the score...its smelly, very dirty and I will end up wearing blacking...

If anyone has some good tips on blacking please post them, thanks


Monday, 16 February 2009

Weekly Update and Yay we went to Tixall Wide

We arrived at TRB just after 10:30pm on Friday evening, in fact just in time to open a bottle of red... though it was quite a cold bottle so it wasn't as good as could be, but it was OK.

We got up Saturday morning, the wind was mild, the marina wasn't frozen YAY!!! After breakfast I made TRB ready and off we went to Tixall Wide for a few hours, there wasn't a great deal of traffic and when we arrived there were plenty of moorings. I lit a coal fire and then went for a little walk and I found a nice log just the right size for the burner. It was so wonderful to be back out of the marina. I cooked us some bacon sandwiches for lunch then I went for a little walk with my scope and tripod, I saw 3 kestrels fighting!!!! what a wonderful thing.

About 3pm I popped outside again, Mrs EB was having a snooze. It was turning bitter cold so I made TRB ready to set off back....turning the engine over stirred Mrs EB, we set off and had a nice trip back. Back at the marina I filled her up and moored up.

I stopped off at my Dad and Mum's on the way back, my Dad before retirement was a plumber and we needed to fix the Central heating properly on TRB and also we needed to have a bit of carpentry done, so I asked if he would come and help me. I am such a klutz with D.I.Y !!! I am no Mortimer Bones, that is for sure. You want a a Sound Engineer or Hi-Fi sorting, a TV setting up, a Concert recorded and Mixed a PC problem. You want D.I.Y ask my dad, so I did.

So today I went to my dads and off we set to do some D.I.Y on TRB, the first job was to fit a fly screen on the hatch... so my dad got out his electric wood plain and 10 tonnes of sawdust later I was sanding down what was a plinth and was now all even wood. Whilst I then varnished the frame, my dad was sorting out my central heating and "the dodgy T junction." This did mean me running around like an idiot turning off the radiators and refilling the header tank more than once...hehehe.

The varnish had dried on the hatch frame and we put up the fly screen, I then made us a bacon sandwiches and big mugs of tea, tidied up and then back home.

I will put some photo's of the inside of the boat soon, the hammock, the fly screen and the wood/coal burner.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Unusual Day

Today has been slightly unusual, my car, a little Corsa has been in need of a service and went in yesterday, Will, the man who does, phoned me and said, "When did the rattle start?" I said after I lent it to my Brother in Law in November whilst I was in Mozambique, why? he said that the suspension springs had broken and that was the rattle...then he said "I'm glad you don't drive fast.." gulp I thought...anyhoo whilst I was waiting for my little car to be fixed I did a little video dubbing for Mortimer Bones. from MB Bones, She has this wonderful piece of video of ducks feeding on the frozen canal so I added a little bit of music to it.

This evening before heading to TRB we are at Church where Mrs EB has been asked to sing for a celebration for some friends who have a Christian Charity and it's their 2nd birthday, so after Mrs EB has sung for our supper (litteraly) we will go to the marina and hope for a nice day tomorrow so we can take TRB out to blow the cobwebs away.

Monday, 9 February 2009

This Years Trip

Mrs EB and I have decided to tackle the Four Counties Ring.... I know tens of thousands have done it.. But as new boaters it will be our first ring. After last years Caldon Canal trip which we both enjoyed in spite of the rain we thought a good trip to tackle is the big ring.

It will also mean bumping into and hopefully stopping off for a few chats with friends and of course lots of beer and pub grub.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Weekly TRB Update

I am a worrier and really wanted to pop over to TRB.... Both of us felt a little rough again this morning, but my migraine had lifted enough to drive over to Great Haywood. So about 10:30 we headed off to the marina, once there I was relieved to get on-board and see that all was well. Not even damp...Woop woop woop as the kids would say. But she was cold, I fired up the heating and the kettle and Mrs EB joined me on-board...she had poped off to post some letters.

With a mug of coffee in hand we went for a walk around the marina, it is so pretty with all the boats in and the water frozen solid... I had hoped to take her out to Tixel Wide but that wasn't going to happen.. the basin is in about 2inches of thick ice. A couple of boats moved about later in the afternoon and the noise of the ice breaking and the scraping of the ice taking the backing off the bottom of his boat and all the boats the ice was scraping against was painful.

Well once back on-board I made us some bacon sandwiches... these always taste much better on a boat, I don't know, why but they do. After lunch I went about checking oil, anti-freeze/coolant bleeding the radiators and making sure the engine bay was tidy, it does need a wet vac, I will do that on my visit. I then set the central heating to come on a 2nd time at night for an 3am, the weather forecaster said that it will mega cold tonight and may even get to minus 17!!!! We really don't want anything freezing and damaging TRB. So all is well and that is good.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Fiddle sticks

I am really unsure as to whether to try and get to "TRB". Staffs is under quite thick snow and the marina is round the back of a farm and I am guessing that hasn't been gritted nor the Village of Great Haywood. I really want to pop along and make sure that all is OK with her. I also feel quite bad today I seem to have a migraine that is just lurking in the back ground that has made it's presence felt after eating some cereal...nice. I know that I can call Jon and John the marine engineers there and they would pop onboard and give her the once over. Mmmmm I just feel restless... I would love to turn the engine over and get it nice and warm, turn the heating on and dry her out... But I also don't want to get stuck in the snow and ice in the car.... Maybe we can pop over in the morning?

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Weekend Update

Last week was an interesting week, I was asked to do a little producing which is always good, and the team at Cube are always wonderful to do stuff for. I also got to work with great voice overs again.

On Friday I went over to our boat "The Robber Button" I got there about 3pm and turned on the heating and lit the fire, she does get very cold, I guess its having a portion of her in very cold water that does that.... She is also a little damp, it isn't bad and she soon dries out, but some of the internal doors are a little swollen. I don't really know a way of stopping this unless we leave the heating on about 50% of the time? I do have it come on for an hour a day...

I was hoping to take her out yesterday for a short trip, but the wind was quite strong and a 57 foot 20 tonne boat tends to act like a huge and very heavy sail when the wind hits her...not a good thing I can tell you. So we just stayed put in the marina. I cooked us a nice bacon sandwich for lunch and Mrs EB did some paper work on her laptop.

Oh well there is always next weekend

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Weekly Update

We didn't get to TRB last was just to busy. We are planning to spend Friday night on-board and I am guessing if Saturday morning is nice we will take a trip out and have some lunch at Tixel Wide or somewhere pretty.

We have a 12v lighting system with little halogen spot lights dotted around the boat and they are great and give off plenty of light, all of the bulbs are 20 watt and are bright. Just over he bed we have a cupboard and this is directly over where our heads are. There are two reading lights...both 20 watt!!! that nearly burn your eyes out. I popped to Tesco yesterday and found they do these bulbs and I found some 10watt....lets hope our sight is saved ;-)

Oh yeah and they are a heck of a lot cheaper than Midland Chandlers (which isn't hard)

Friday, 23 January 2009

TRB Update after the weekend

Yay!!! Mr Gasman has fixed the gas on board and it is now working. I popped to TRB this afternoon to see if Mr Gasman had been and that things were OK. So at the moment everything is shipshape and Bristol fashion....... well she does need a service and a blacking....

We are all set for a good season.... Lets us hope the Weather is with us this year, the pubs are open and the locks are working. If you see us give us a wave or even say hello we are quite friendly...most of the time.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

First Night onboard this year

I arrived at the marina at around lunch time on Friday and saw a van saying C.O.R.G.I Gas Man...ohh I thought, I wouldn't mind him running an eye over my boat, I had lost a bottle gas over the Christmas period, and was slightly I popped into the marine engineers to ask if he could pop to TRB. John said he was on board an Ownerships boat and to go and have a word. with Derek the Gas Man, So I did. Derek is an old school gas engineer. He said he would pop down in an hour, true to his word he came along and I explained about losing a bottle of gas...he tested the pipes, and he said yep there was a leak. After about 30 minutes he had found where it was from, a bulkhead fitting and it was leaking into the insulation, that couldn't be fixed there and then. He went away and did another job he had booked in, then came back, set about stripping the fittings. He then said ...I will have make up some parts for you...I'll be back Monday....MONDAY we were about to spend the night...and had no gas, that meant no cooking. We have an electric kettle, so we could have a mug or two of tea.

Yay, we had our first over night on TRB this year, and all was well, in spite of no gas. Well ,I was awoken in the night, by the wind and went to sleep on the hammock as I didn't want to disturb Mrs EB. Last night was very windy and being in a hammock in the wind is strange, I loved it at first, but after about half an hour I was feeling a little sick. I stuck my IPod on and listened to Stephen Fry's podcasts, that seemed to help, then it started to rain, and boy did it sounded like a machine gun was being fired against the boat, I think I got about 6 hours sleep.

So I woke up very late 10:30!!! after breakfast I suggested a short run up to Tixel Wide, just to give TRB a New Year wake up. So after making her ready we set off, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, there didn't seem to be any other boats about all was well with world. Then Mrs EB said the kettle wasn't working or the microwave...mmmm I thought. I explained how to reset the inverter. Still no joy, bugger I thought, Mrs EB took the tiller and I went to investigate...I got the manual (yeah I know but when all else fails) I couldn't find anything. I checked everything I could, but there was no power to the inverter. I thought oh crap, the inverter is broken. So I said to Mrs EB we had better turn around and head back. So after a few minutes we were at Tixel Wide Mrs EB turned her around and back toe the marina we headed.

We got back to the marina and I moored up at the marine engineers and went to find Jon, who was painting a boat, I said HEYLP!!!! he came and had a check, the main fuse was blown ,a 200amp fuse!!!!! He fitted a new 300amp fuse and hey presto all was working again. We moored up in our birth, had lunch and a mug of tea. Not the greatest starts to the year, but we have moved and had a run. Lets hope the rest of the year is going to be fantastic, with some great tips with friends.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

New Year.

I haven't blogged in ages I am sorry, but the honest truth is, there hasn't really been much to Blog about. I did pop up to the The Robber Button last week and started to fix the central heating. It had a leak and that meant it wasn't working. It is a pressurised system so if the water level drops it will not work. So to it has been so cold we haven't been up. to the boat Well this is about to change it will be fixed this week so hopefully from next weekend we will be back onboard. Yay

So there should be something to blog about.....

The Marina has been frozen solid, and it is quite a beautiful sight but also very sad. The Marina is usually quite a busy place, boats coming and going but when it is frozen solid...nothing moves everything is still.