Trip reports 2002

Tuesday January1st 2002

I am writing this on the boat, having had brunch. It is a lovely day. Beautiful blue sky, sunshine and quite warm, although the canal is frozen. Draco left to return to Napton at 11.00am followed by Thorn and ‘P’ heading for the top of the Stockton flight. One Moore and Ravern are on their moorings in the marina and Duplin is on the towpath. Malcolm is restricted to a slow journey back to Crick due to Watford Locks not being open until Saturday.

Well that’s about it. Will send his message and then head home to Evesham.

Our thanks go to all those who attended and a special thank you to the Woodings, who organised the trip in the first place.

Sunday 17th February 2002

We left Evesham at 3.00pm after a very good lunch at Sankey Marine and arrived at Braunston Marina at 4.00pm. The unloading of goodies from the car was soon completed and arrangements made for an evening visit to the Plough for Dave and myself at 8.00pm. LPF left for home at this time and Wendy decided to let the ‘boys’ have a night out on their own. The boys night out was a great success, with much merriment, although we did fail miserably at the guess the celeb quiz. Back to the boat for 11.30pm, and a definite decision to be away at 9.00am the following morning.

Monday 18th February

As usual with us the best laid plans were delayed, mainly in the getting up department. We eventually got away at 9.30am, and after a dunny dump and a stop at Midland Swindlers to get some Porta Potti seals, left the turn at 10.00am. It was a lovely day, cold but bright and sunny. The canal was still, few other boats moving at all. We proceeded up the North Oxford at a fair pace and soon reached Hillmorton Locks. Another boat, horrah, and coming the other way. The three locks were completed with ease and we were on our way again. It was quite cold, stood on the back of One Moore, so Wendy and I took turns to steer. An hour on and an hour off. I used my warm up hour to write emais and try to send them via the laptop. No chance. For some reason the laptop had repositioned the IR control onto com1 instead of com4 and I could find no way of changing it. So, no sending, or receiving of e-mail, while we were away. At Stretton we had to move the swing bridge out of the way and then replace it. Under the M6 and we encountered the green stuff that floats in the canal at that point. At 5.00pm we arrived at Hawkesbury Junction and moored on the Coventry side. We had been advised by Dave Rivets, to the visit the Boat pub for eats. This pub is only a short step from Sutton Stop, however upon arrival at this establishment it was shut. Apparently opening time was 7.00pm. We decided to risk the Greyhound, back at the junction. It was open but there was a problem. The landlord informed us that he didn’t start cooking till 7.00pm and that was that. Nothing for it, have a drink and wait till the appointed hour to give our order. Mixed grill for me and stilton and mushroom vegi for Wendy. I have to report, the food was very good but from a service point a view the Greyhound gets nil points. Back to the boat and a little TV (8/10 picture quality) and then to bed to sleep soundly.

Tuesday 19th February

Wendy woke early and made the tea. The forecast for today and the rest of the week was for cold, wet and windy weather. Do we carry on or go back?. Much discussion took place and more tea was drunk and the press on camp won the day. So it was, in cold and overcast weather we left the mooring and headed north. By now it was 10.30am. The canal wonders though the outskirts of Coventry and on to Nuneaton. There are all maner of things in the water, ranging from beds to large plastic bags. Once or twice we caught something round the prop but fortunately the objects came off after reversing and then going forward a few times. It remained dry all the way to Atherstone and then only rained in short bursts while we were going down the lock fight. Still not much about in the way of other boats and having to set every lock slowed an otherwise good run. The rain now started to come down hard and after loosing my umbrella at one point, in the high wind, it was time to stop. We moored at Polesworth at 5.00pm. Shower for me and Wendy but the gas ran out just as Wendy was rinsing off her hair and there was nothing but cold water. Why is it that the gas always runs out at the most inconvenient moment?. The evening was spent with the TV, (excellent picture on all 5 channels). Waterworld was very good but finished just as it was getting going. More TV then bed, 11ish.

Wednesday 20th February 20 - Palindrome Day 20:02 20/02/2002

The weather during the night had been terrible. Heavy rain and high wind. This morning though was lovely. Bright blue sky and glourious sunrise. First job, change the gas bottle!. We left prompt at 9.00am and headed for Glascote and the SMH boatyard. Through Polesworth and past the new moorings and towpath, very impressive and soon we arrived at the top lock in Glascote and the boatyard. The trip was windy and dry. We were to early to get into the building shed, so we filled up with diesel, Ł1.30 per gallon and purchased a new gas bottle. I took some external boatyard pictures and then at 12.30pm we went into the shed, while the lads were having their lunch and rattled off my camera. The boat is nearing completion and its very exciting to see it with the windows and hatch holes in place. You can see the pictures at

  http://mysite.freeserve.com/Narrowboat_Ultimate/index.html 

A word with the great man himself about the seat position and height in the welldeck, lunch and then away back to Polesworh. By now it had started to rain hard, although it did come and go. Most of the journey back was ok but as we neared Polesworth, the rain came down in stair rods. Moored up at 4.00pm. In the evening we met our friends Mary and Brian. Our intention was to eat at a local pub, however there is not a pub in Polesworth that does food!. Tamworth is about 3 miles away so we went to the pub next to the canal by Steve Hudsons yard at Glascote. The food and service good, although my rump steak was a little on the chewy side. Back to the boat about 10.00pm.

Thursday 21st February 2002.

We rise to quite nice weather and head off at 10.00am ish. It stayed dry for most of the time, just the odd shower and quite windy. We did not see another boat until we reached the Atherstone flight. All the locks apart from one were with us but the upward journey seemed long with the locks filling very slowly. Got a bit of abuse from a fisherman, it seemed just for being on ‘his’ bit of the canal. It was then on through the built up areas and the rain started to come down with some force. Around 5.45pm, as it was getting dark, we pull up about 200 yards from the junction at Sutton Stop. Great TV picture. For dinner, liver and onion, peas, potatoes, and fruit salad, all cooked by Wendy. A warm fire. Bliss.

Friday 22nd February 2002

Today we wake to a gale and a rocking boat. At 10.00am we leave the mooring and head off with some power needed to get away from the jetty. Funnily enough it’s quite warm in the sunshine but steering the boat is tricky in the high wind. The trip is uneventful and quite pleasant out of the wind. At Hillmorton locks it starts to rain and by the time we reach the pub, The Royal Oak, we decide to stop for the day. A quick recci of the pub tells us that food is available all day and we can go and eat anytime. It’s now only about 3.30pm so I play with my computer and try, again, to get the link working with the IR port. All to no avail. At 8.00pm we go and eat. The service is splendid, cheerful staff and very helpful. Plaice for Wendy and large Yorkshire pudding filled with beef for me. Excellent. There is also a music quiz going on. It seems very popular with the assembled drinkers and a good time is being had by all. Back to the boat early and bed.

Saturday 23rd February 2002

A late tart again. At 10.00am I press the starter button on the boat and as usual the engine bursts into life. Not as usual the engine then stops and all the power goes off. What now! This week has been a disaster for electrical items. The laptop/phone refused to work. My radio, the one I use on the back of the boat while steering, refused to work. My video camera chewed up the tape of the boat building progress and now this. I checked the wires for any hanging off and generally poked about, as you do and found the problem was the main switch. I took all the contacts off and cleaned them and put the switch back together. Problem solved, no. The switch itself must be faulty. The problem could be overcome, by slightly bending the wires and holding them in position, while starting the engine. So that’s what I did and we were underway. The next two hours were spent in a variety of sunshine, rain, sleet, snow and wind. Amazing how the conditions could change in the space of 30 minutes or so. At about 12.30 we arrived back in Braunston Marina. A quick cup of tea with Dave and LPF and then we headed off to the NEC and the Caravan and boat show. The show was a little disappointing from a boater’s point of view. There were about 7or 8 narrowboats to look at and go in. We wanted to look at loos, fires and TV stuff. We managed to see what we wanted so the trip was successful for us but it was a shame there were not more chandlery type companies. We left just after 5.30pm and headed back to Braunston. In the evening Wendy and I attended the birthday party of a well known member of Cutweb along with a few other well known members of Cutweb. Being a gentleman, I shall not give away details of the age of the lady concerned. I will say however, that the evening was a great success and a splendid party it was. Back to the boat in the early hours and slept very soundly.

Sunday 24th February 2002.

David Frost on TV and the Archers on the radio. Pack up the car and home. A good holiday, slightly spoilt by the weather but it’s always nice to go boating.

Easter Trip 30/3/2002 – 3/4/2002

Saturday March 30th 2002

We left Evesham by car and arrived Braunston at 7.15pm after the standard one hours journey. On route, we hear the news concerning the death of The Queen Mother. How very sad but what a good innings and a great life of service to the UK. She will be missed, by the nation and her family. Dinner on board, a bit of TV and snuggled in for the night.

Sunday March 31st 2002

We rise late, nothing, new there. Breakfast and finish loading the boat and then after the usual engine checks start the engine. It started, just. The batteries had been a bit sluggish the last couple of times in the engine starting dep’t, so I decided to clean all the contacts and see if that made any difference. It didn’t and I came to the conclusion that either the batteries had not been charging or they needed replacing. One Moore as two engine starting batteries of 6 voles each and the date stamped on them is 1991. The domestic batteries, consisting of 4 6vole batteries are fine. At 1.pm we leave the marina and head towards the Braunston flight. There are a few boats around and we have to wait in the queue at the bottom of the flight. A hire boat (Willow Weed) is having problems, huge clouds of smoke coming from the stern. Apparently their heating boiler has packed up and some diesel has got into the exhaust system. A man is fixing it. We enter the bottom lock with another hire boat containing 10 youngsters, ex Uni chums. They are keen to do the locks so we take it easy. Wendy goes on ahead and lets us know the status of each lock by walkie talkie and I relay the details to the lock crew. An excellent system and we are soon at the top. Little water around as we approach the top lock but enough for us to get through o.k. On through the tunnel and we meet 2 other boats going the other way. As we approach the Junction with the Leicester section we make the decision to carry on along the GU instead of heading up towards Crick. 2 reasons. We intend to go that way for the boat show in May and it is unlikely we will be going the Northampton Rally, so better to go that way now and we can take in a trip to Canal Craft at Blisworth to get our boat properly valued. Oh, and we have the help of a boat full of young strong men and women to help with the Buckby flight. The weather is fine, sunny on and off and quite warm. Nearing the bottom I spy a certain TNC boat with Neil at the helm, off to the UM launch, and beyond. We exchange a few words, including me calling him Graham, where did I get that from?. Anyway, we will meet again on Tuesday night. We crack on through the countryside. It’s nice to see cows, sheep and horses in the fields. This time last year it was a very different story. The mainline trains rattle past on one side and the cars, vans, coaches and lorries rattle past up and down the M1 the other. We are very content to be at 4 Mph in the middle. After an hour or so we reach Weedon , our overnight stop and wave the youngsters goodbye. Our mooring is just below the bridge. The TV picture is crap. We can either get 1and 5 from one transmitter or 2,3,4 from another. We take the latter as it’s Coronation Street Tonight. At 8.20pm we leave the boat and head for the pub, not the Globe the other one. It’s deserted!. We thought we might have a problem on Easter Sunday getting a table but not a bit of it. The food was, well o.k.. Steak for both of us and both meals were warm to cold. Normally we would have complained but we were that hungry. Perhaps that’s why the pub was deserted on Easter Sunday!. Word about the food had got round. We left at 9.20 and had a gooey chocolaty thing back on board. Bed early as we both tired after a very busy but enjoyable day.

Monday April 1, 2002

The weather as we wake is fine, dry and warmish. It’s 9.30 when I try and start the engine. She starts but it’s a struggle. A new battery I fear. A few minutes down the cut we come to Stow Hill and the shop at the marina is open. We need to dump the dunny so stop. ‘Can I dump the dunny’ say I , ‘yes’ comes the rely, we charge a pound unless you buy some thing. Cut a long story short, we buy the new battery, connector adaptors for the different fittings and some other bit’s and bobs. The man there, advises on the best battery to buy and helps me carry it to the boat. Very good service and a deal on the battery to boot. The changeover soon takes place and we are on our way. The weather has changed a little and there is a stiff breeze, although still dry. This part of the canal is quite lovely. Good view across the countryside and plenty to watch as the fields pass by. There are lots of boats around. At Bugbrook we pass Badger but no sign of any Pecket family. We meet Roger Millin and the misses just leaving Albion and stop for a wee chat. At the Northampton Junction we pass Lexa and Sefton but no sign of any crew. It’s then on again and we arrive, rather windswept at Blisworth and Canal Craft. We moor up and a man, Dave I think, came out to give us his opinion of One Moore’s worth. Seems we were a bit over optimistic with our 20K. 15K is more the mark. He explained the reasons and said he would be pleased to sell the boat for us if we decided to go ahead. They charge 6% plus VAT. We will let him know. Rather sell it myself, if I can. We lunch on sandwiches and leave for the return journey at 2.00pm. I head into the boat to write this and Wendy steers. Will now try and send this. Last time we were out the laptop IR was up the swanny. Fingers crossed.

Monday April 1st – Continued.

Well, seems the mobile/laptop/IR thing worked as it should and I will now continue with part 2 of the report.

On the route back from Blisworth, I get a call fro Wendy who is steering and upon exiting from the boat cabin spy Badger with glen on board. We stop for a chat and then continue with our journey. The wind is quite strong now. We pass some lads on the towpath and a little further down the cut some stones are fired at us, which hit the roof. We are too far away to get at the little people who do not know who their Fathers are! Fortunately no damage done. I take over the steering and Wendy goes in for a warm by the fire. Just before Weedon we pass a boat called Copperkins, name rings a bell, anybody on this list? And we pass Corixa in the Marina but I don’t think it’s Sid’s boat. We decide not to moor at Weedon but press on and find a mooring in the countryside. Before I knew it, I was having such a good time, we were approaching Buckby Locks, so pulled in. this is not the best place to moor. Trains 100 yards to the left and the M1 100 yards to the right. If you are a light sleeper don’t stop here. The TV picture is good on 3 and 4 and passable on the other channels. We eat on board, TV and bed at 11ish.

Tuesday 2nd April.

Boy will this be a day to remember!. We leave the moorings at 9.00am, early for us, and head for Whilton Marine. As we are going right past the door, we are going to ask them to value the boat. At the desk I am greeted by one of the salesman who asks who built the boat. ‘Sandpiper’ say I. ‘I know’ says the salesman ‘Northampton, must be early 70’s then’. I am impressed, not many people have heard of Sandpiper, this guy must know his stuff. Another salesman comes to have a good look at the boat and then explains all about what they do and how they would sell her. He puts the value at about 16.5K. They charge 6% or 1250UKP whichever is the greater. Between Canal Craft and Whilton, the latter get my vote. At 10am we head on up the flight with 2 other boats. A 60 footer and a 26 foot Springer with outboat engine. We all fit in the locks very neatly and between us we set up a good system of opening and closing gates and paddles and forward parties to set the next lock. The weather is now sunny and warm. We soon reach the top and continue on with the 60 footer, through the tunnel and down the Braunston flight. I walk on and set each lock. As we near the bottom it starts to rain but it does not come to much. At the second to last I am waiting with the gates open ready for the boats to appear, when a man arrives and starts to close the gates. ‘Excuse me’ say I, ‘boats coming’. ‘Well how long are they going to be’ says man in disgruntled voice, ‘about 30 seconds I reply. Man pushes gate open again and with that the boats duly appear. Why are some people in such a hurry?. As we reach our mooring in the Marina we spy Raven returned from her Easter trip. Having moored we decide to fill up with water. I then notice that there is a message on my phone from Cap’t Beeky. I phone Beeky to find out that the poor man is having trouble standing up and is confined to bed. There has also been a bereavement in the family and he will not be able to get to the pre launch bash or the launch. While I am doing this I completely forget the water going into the tank. Well, it turned out a few minutes later that the water was going in the boat, not the tank, as the fill pipe had come disconnected from the tank!. The front bow locker and bilge was full of water and everything was soaked. HELP. I had no way of getting the water out apart from sponge and bucket, which would have taken forever. Enter Dave Hearmon with hand operated oil sump pump and a collection of hoses. This did the trick and between Dave, Wendy and myself soon had the water out of the bilge and into the cut. Thank you Dave you saved the day. Now back to the Beeky Bash. The venue had also changed as the original pub was deemed unsuitable for mooring and was a little close to the road for a quiet nights kip. So after a few phone calls, a shower and tidy up Wendy and I left by car and headed north to Armington and the Gate Inn. We arrived at about 7.15 pm and soon the other attendees converged on the pub. Dave Jackson was there, as was Will and Jane Chapman with son and nephew, Neil Arlidge and Family, Bob and Rosemary Wood, Dave and LPF arrived for a drink but no eats as they were heading home and Wendy and I. The talk of course revolved around Beeky and family not being there although he did communicate via the wonders of mobile, so he was there in spirit. The food and service was good and we all had a jolly time. We all left at closing time. Dave returned to home some 5 minutes away, Wendy and I drove back to Braunston to sleep on the boat and the others toddled along the towpath to their respective boats. What a day.

Wednesday 3rd April – UM Launch Day.

The alarm went off at 6.00am and after 2 cups of tea and a chocy biscuit we left just after 7.00am. We had a fear that we would encounter mega traffic at that time of the morning but not a bit of it and arrived at Glascote one hour later. We were too early to go the yard so had breakfast at Sainsburys, did a bit of food shopping and then headed for the yard in good time to see the launch. WRONG!. When we arrived UM was already in the water and under cover in the dock having its grey undercoat put on. We had missed the bit splash. The others arrived from the towpath and were also disappointed. The party then viewed UM and general approval given. My what big portholes you have!. Wendy and I then had a guided tour of Quiddich, out on her maiden voyage and a splendid boat she is too. We said our goodbye’s and after a quick look at Lord Toulouse, which is progressing nicely made our way back to Evesham. End of a very eventful Easter trip.

Saturday May 5th 

Arrived late after a working day for me. We had given up smoking the day before but had forgotten that there were some fags on board.  3 each, we smoked them. We eat on board and were interrupted from an evenings TV viewing by the sound of stones on the roof. Investigation proved that The Wooding's and a chum of Kristina's were attacking the boat. As the attackers were friendly we let them in and drink all our booze. nothing new there then!. They left at about 11.30pm and we turned in.

We left Braunston on Sunday am and traveled to Newbold. The journey was cold and I had to rap up warm. There were quite a lot of boats about and we had to wait at Hillmorton Locks. The journey was uneventful and we arrived at Newbold late pm. The original idea was to eat in one of the local pubs, but it was a good night on the TV and there is a good picture in Newbold so we had our supper on board, snuggled up by the fire.

6th May Monday - Bank Holiday

We woke late as usual and awaited the arrival of Brian and Claire. They were coming back with us for the ride to Braunston. The weather stayed fine and an enjoyable time was had by all on the trip back. A quick return to Newbold to collect Brian's car and then in the evening we met up with Dave and LPF for dinner in the Plough. A splendid day.

7th May Tuesday.

Today we start to pack up the boat and get her ready for selling. Wendy polishes the boat sides, they do come up well. We move the boat over to the loading bay in Braunston Marina and load the car with things we want to keep. We are putting back the original settee so our the chairs can go to the new boat. Having done that we leave late pm and go home.

Sunday 12th May.

Arrive late at the boat and travel to Napton for lunch. On route I refit the settee bought from home. We also see Raven going the other way. D&L are going house hunting. The Bridge Inn at Napton provides a very good traditional lunch for a reasonable price. The day is cold and overcast. Home about 7.00pm

April - May

We have also had various trips to Steve Hudson to check on the progress of LT. All seems to going well. Am writing this on May 21st having just returned from a visit. We decide today that our green leather chairs will not fit in the saloon where we thought they would, so have decided to have new chairs. We have also taken the view that, the table, the one with extra chairs inside it, will not fit either. A desmo is the answer.

One Moore has had a full survey including the hull and gas come pout very well. For a boat of that age she needs no welding and the surveyor has stated that she has been very well looked after and maintained. So that's all to the good for the sale, which will be after we have been on the final voyage to Crick on Jubilee Bank Holiday in June.