Monday, 29 June 2009

Penultimate Day

Tomorrow we start OUR big adventure, leaving Brinklow and launching ourselves as CCer's, Continuous Cruisers that is, those who travel the network of canals and rivers day in day out without a home mooring.
Today therefore is a day of last minute chores.
And with this in mind, we were woken this morning by Floyd and Fletcher jumping on our bed; the bedding has now been stripped and washed and the door between their sleeping compartment and us will remain closed in future.. Towels are now in the tumble drier and another wash is in the machine.
I have promised myself that I will empty the larder and try to exert some sense of order; it is bulging at the seams as I have brought goods from the larder at the cottage to add to that which is already aboard Caxton - just how much Worcestershire sauce does anyone need?
Joe has gone off early to take the car to Peterborough and then return by coach to Coventry and finally by taxi back here to Brinklow where he will expect to see all the scrapes to Caxton's blacking rectified by you know who....

It must be Braunston

Leaving the two dogs aboard a well ventilated Caxton, we tootled off to Braunston to see the Historic Boat rally.
Glorious sunshine helped make the event that much better for all and the towpath was busy with enthusiasts and those with of a more superficial knowledge, like us.

Above is George and on the tiller of this gargantuan vessel with a single cylinder Bolinder throbbing away below decks, is a mere scrap of a boy that was knee high to a ..., you know the saying. This lad is a third generation boater and he handled the boat with great competence and aplomb - made me feel a real wimp as I still avoid this task.

I haven't a clue what the two boats are (2nd and 3rd from left) but I loved the look of their bows.
This however I did recognise, an ice breaker, a Coventry canal icebreaker. A lovely looking boat.

And this lot of reprobates were also recognised - Adam and Adrian of NB Debdale and Nick Hall the Canal Boat Magazine editor.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Machete a Must

Here we are taking a walk along the North Oxford Canal towards Newbold Tunnel. Brilliant walking, all the towpath is clear as you can see above, however, the same cannot be said for boaters that might just want to moor here. Investment in a machete is a must if you want to get near this bankside!

Simple Things

This morning, much to the chagrin of 'piggy-boy' Floyd, we fed the carp that were swimming around the stern of the boat here in Brinklow Marina. It was enormously enjoyable seeing the fish, wild fish , this close; simple things aye?

A hundred and Eleven

The North Oxford canal has been like a motorway this week with so many historic boats heading for Braunston and the FMC (Fellows Morton and Clayton) Rally. Between chores I have been walking the dogs along the towpath and we have seen no end of glorious boats. Marquis, above, is 111 years old and looks stunning. We will probably pop down to Braunston tomorrow and have a drool....

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Sure as fate...

I washed and waxed the port side of Caxton yesterday morning - heavens opened in the afternoon; is it me? Starboard side some time today, so apologies in advance.

New togs for Caxton

Kathy, of AJ Canopies, is busy making the detailed pattern that will be used to make Caxton a new cratch cover. A collection of Seasearcher magnets, crocodile clips and felt tip pens are used to produce the patterns.
We have decided that as Caxton is our home and we are going to be cruising all year with two dogs the cratch cover needed to be both flexible and robust; two zips instead of the one we currently have making access/egress easier. We chose AJ Canopies because we are always impressed by the look and fit of their products whenever we see them on other boats. We are going the whole hog and having a new tourneau for the stern that will allow the TV Aeriel to be erected whilst the cover is in place and a zipped flap at the rear to allow Joe to steer Caxton with the cover in place, protecting him from the elements.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Oil changed

A key chore on the list was to change to oil and filter - above. Himself busy in the engine bay having been to Midland Chandlers at Braunston for the required ingredients.
I have emptied wardrobes and cupboards of the winter clothes, sealed then in vacuum bags and stored them under the bed and filled the empty wardrobes with summer clothes. It seems I have vacuumed packed ALL his socks though, silly me!

Done and Dusted

Tuesday came and the removal men turned up at 9am with a trailer and storage crate. We have arranged to store some items for two years with an option to extend the term. It is a balancing act between the cost of storage and the value of the items you wanted to store. We have been quite unsentimental about things - in fact most of the home has been given away to keep storage costs reasonable the result is that we are paying £7 per week for secure storage in a a warehouse which seems acceptable.
The removal men were very adept at cramming a quart into a pint pot, or 'pint crate' but we still had to fore go the spare bed and fridge. My brother and sister-in-law arrived with a high top transit and trailer and we proceeded to load all but the kitchen sink - actually that might have got loaded as well..., onto and into said transport. They went off looking like the Clampits had been a visiting!
We headed for Caxton with a heavily laden car, me, himself, the dogs and all the treasures we thought we would require on the boat;quarts and pint pots again!!!
Anyway we are done and dusted with our land based life and just getting a few chores done ready for the off, or which more later...

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Last few ...

These are the last few land based days for.....well, for several years we hope! We have arranged to store the remnants of our home for two years with an option to extend this time. Most of the home furnishings have been, or are about to be, free cycled. We have however decided to store our car; the resale value of a three year old low mileage car is pitiful and we cannot bring ourselves to give it away for silly money so hence the decision to store. With this in mind today Joe has been fitting a solar panel to our garage roof to charge the battery of said car. The detached garage is not going to form part of any rental agreement so we have a secure cheap lock-up at our disposal - very useful!
In the meantime I am steadily working through the tasks that need doing in order to move out and leave a clean property for the letting agents: windows cleaned, nets washed, paintwork wiped down etc. etc. Nevermind, not long now...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Loading, loading

Himself has set off this morning to Brinklow and Caxton with a heavily laden car. A bulk supply of dog food - there is room in wood crates on the boat roof so why not use it me thinks? Summer clothes to add to supply of winter wear that is already on board, a printer should we need one, artist materials and more books. We move back on Tuesday. The plan is that Joe will change the oil etc. on Wednesday and I will get provisions while we have the car and get everything stowed away. Thursday Joe will drive back to Peterborough, garage the car and head back to Brinklow on public transport. Friday we have AJCanopies coming to measure Caxton for a new cratch cover, semi-trad cover and houdini covers and either Friday afternoon or Saturday morning we will head off north. Can't wait!!!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

New Toy

I have just ordered a critical piece of kit for life aboard a narrowboat in the winter, yes, the chainsaw! Last winter we were the beneficiaries of someone else's forward planning, namely the crew of NB. Matilda Rose who had a chainsaw. As travelling companions through the winter months we got to use the free fuel that we were able to find and that the 'MR chainsaw' made usable. This year we are equipping Caxton so that we can pull our weight when it comes to cutting and sharing the wood harvest.

Monday, 15 June 2009

We'll be back!!!

Well we are nearly back. Last few days of wrapping things up here in Peterborough and then we move back to Caxton next Tuesday as PROPER liveaboards!! The project bungalow has been refurbished (one day off in eight weeks and I don't want to see another bloody paint brush or roller thank you..) and tenants are now installed. The old Volvo (dog wagon) has gone to an auction today, removal company has been arranged for next Tuesday and the keys to the 'home' bungalow will be handed over to the letting agency tomorrow.
I am back blogging again now that our watery life is within hands reach...