Saturday, 27 September 2008

Sorry Ang, I lied!

I had a call yesterday lunchtime from our friends Ang & Tony who live in Kings Lynn. 'Are you doing anything?' says Ang. 'No' says I. 'We thought we might come over and see you this afternoon'. 'Ok' says I, 'see you about 2'. At about 2.20 the phone rang - the car had overheated on the A1, and they had pulled into a petrol station not a mile away from us to let it cool down. The A1 outside our village is a nightmare at the moment due to a contra-flow, and the traffic was solid and hardly moving. An hour and a half later they still hadn't appeared, so I phoned to be told that it had overheated again, they had abandoned it in a layby, and were walking to our house! Five minutes later they arrived - by this time it was nearly 4. The traffic cleared after 6, so Rog took Tony back to the car, and they managed to get it to our house without it overheating again. 'Stay the night' say I. They didn't need much persuading, and so, after a few phone-calls to cancel their evening arrangements, and to their grown up daughter at home, to check that she would be in to look after their 14 yr old son, they did!! A huge Chinese take-away and much alcohol was consumed, and we had a great evening. What could be better than spending an unexpected evening with good friends? Not much I say! So, knickers inside out, and with the coolant on the car topped up, they left at about 10.30 this morning. No trouble with the car at all on the way home, Ang says it must have been sabotaged! 'Not guilty' I cried - but sorry Ang, I lied - I put the fluence on it from afar!! Thanks for a great evening - see you soon.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Does the NeoCounter speak with forked tongue?

We have been watching the NeoCounter with interest since we started the blog - and are beginning to doubt it's reliability - 515 hits from 41 countries?? We know who some of the readers are from other countries - family members and friends who live abroad, but I seriously doubt that it is of interest to any of the visitors from places like Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand etc. Some we know are from 'Comment spam', which we had a bit of trouble with at first before we discovered how to keep them out, so I suppose that they are still visiting. Can anyone tell me, do the automatic computers they obviously come from pick up on certain words in the blog - like 'pretty' for example - we had a huge jump in number of countries after the last post, which contained the word! Makes you wonder doesn't it ? There are some weird perverts out there!!

And, while we are on the subject of comments - come on you lot - those of you who know us, and those who don't, we would like to know what you think. Are we doing it right, or is it boring you senseless? (Lesley from nb Caxton is excluded from this - as is Greygal from DogsOn Tour, and Chas and Ann from Moore 2 Life - thanks you lot - you are the only readers that we've had comments from - keep 'em coming)

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's............


No sooner had I posted the last progress report than we received some more photos from XR & D and I was moved to doctor the above photo and send it to Gary!! Still a shame about the pose though!!

Cabin sides - and portholes!

And again

Gary working!

How pretty is our bow-locker?

And fireworks to celebrate!!
Thanks Gaz - you're a 'Super-hero'

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Sunday, 21 September 2008

Progress Report No 4

On Wednesday, Ali and Andy from Beacon duly visited XR & D with the plans for the positioning of the portholes and side doors, and also to discuss other planning details, Ali took some photos and emailed them - below is a selection

Port bow showing lovely Josher curve

From the bow, again showing curves

Scroll-work on the bow

She has a roof!

Gary of XR & D - what a fine figure of a boat-builder!! Shame about the pose though, Gaz!!

Saturday 20th September
It was such a beautiful day yesterday, we decided not to waste it, so we went over to have a look at Market Harborough Basin. What a lovely, peaceful spot.

We then went over to Foxton Locks, one of our favourite places for a 'fix', had some lunch and then took Cassie for a nice long walk along the towpath. On the way we enountered Les, taking it easy on board nb Valerie, and had a chat with him. Meanwhile nb Skyy came cruising past! We have been reading boat blogs for a long time now, and not having met any of the bloggers, and now we've met 3 in a week!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Swallows and Amazons to the rescue!!!

We read on Moore 2 Life's blog on Friday evening that Charles and Ann had been stuck at Wansford Lock on the Nene for a week. As it is only 10 minutes from us, on Saturday morning we thought that we would go over and introduce ourselves and find out if they needed anything. After being given a very warm welcome and a cup of coffee, we took Ann to Tesco in Peterborough as they were running a bit short of essentials. When we returned we found Charles down the weed-hatch trying to cut free a rope which had become wrapped around the prop when they came up the lock. He wasn't having a great deal of luck, and his arm was cut to ribbons by the edge of the hatch by this time, so Rog, having arms as long as a gorilla's, offered to have a go. There was a great deal of choice language coming from the depths of the weed-hatch, and after a while he managed to free the prop. All was not well, however, as the engine would go into reverse, but would not engage forward gear. The men fiddled around for a while, as men are apt to do, but to no avail. I think a call to RCR was in order.

Rog took a lovely photo of their Jack Russell, Molly. What a poser!!! She is a sweet little dog, it made us wish we had taken Cassie along with us - they would have had a wonderful time chasing each other around the field next to their mooring.

It was lovely to meet you both - hope you will be on your way again soon. We look forward to meeting you again in the future, and thank you, Ann, for the lovely flowers.
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Saturday, 13 September 2008

Progress Report No 3

We received these photos on Friday - they show the forming of the bow, and a bit more work on the stern.

Rumour has it that they may be starting on the roof in a few days time. She really is beginning to look like a boat now. Ali and Andy from Beacon are going on a visit next week with the full drawings and measurements for the ports and door layout and will take some more photos then.

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Sunday, 7 September 2008

RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman's Course

Tuesday 2nd September

After our visit to XR & D we were in high spirits as we continued on to Shropshire. We were heading for Offley Grove Farm where we had booked a nights B & B as we wanted to be at Norbury Junction for 8.30 the following morning. The B & B rooms in the main farmhouse were full so we were given a lovely cottage all to ourselves for the night, and partook of an enormous Offley Grove breakfast the following morning - I could feel my arteries hardening as I ate - but I didn't care!!

We arrived at Norbury Junction in good time, and Terry Robertson met us on Shropshire Lass with the kettle on! We unloaded our bags, and, after a coffee, Terry took us on a tour of the boat, and quizzed us to find out how much knowledge we actually had. We set off about half an hour later, heading for Market Drayton where we were to spend the night. We did lots of zig-zagging at different speeds to see how the boat handled, and he taught us how to reverse the boat properly - I was useless at it, but Rog was really good, so that will be his job. I did manage to wind the boat successfully though - I've always let Rog do that in the past, but I will happily do it myself now.

Concentrating hard!

Looking along the roof - before it started to rain!

We worked through Tyrley locks in the afternoon - always one of my favorite places on the whole of the network - and Terry seemed happy that we knew what we were doing. By this time it was raining hard - but we didn't care - we were happy just to be out on a boat again!
We had a meal at a pub that evening, but didn't stay long as I we were both totally cream-crackered! Terry laughed and said that everybody was the same - it was the combination of concentrating hard, and learning new stuff! We were in bed before 10pm!

Our mooring at Market Drayton

Wednesday 3rd September

We pulled the pins (I've been dying to say that!) at 8.00 and headed back towards Tyrley locks on our return journey to Norbury Junction. The side-washes at the locks were really fierce so Terry taught us how to enter the locks at speed to counteract the flow of water - it was terrifying! I have never headed straight towards a lock wall at that speed before, then moved the tiller at the last minute to get the bow in, then again to get the stern in - then hard into reverse to stop the boat before it hit the top gates. But it worked. I only did one like that - I was too scared to do any more, Rog did the rest, and I worked the locks! Terry also taught Rog how to do a lock single handed which we hope he will never have to do - but it's as well to know how. We did some more reversing practice - I was still no good at it. We moored back at Norbury Junction about 3.30pm and, after a cup of tea, and more questions, Terry went off the spend the night at home. We ate at the Junction pub, and then had a couple of games of cards before bed.

Rog, getting wet!

Nosy ducks at Norbury Junction.

Thursday 4th September

We set off again about 8am, this time bound for Wheaton Aston, to practice all we had learned. No locks this time, just more reversing, winding etc. We winded when we got there, then Terry made me reverse again to the facilities so he could do a pump-out. I made a right hash of it yet again. The heavens opened once more, so when we had finished with the pump out and set off back towards Norbury, Terry went inside and heated soup for lunch - never has a mug of soup been more welcome - we were drenched by this time, but still smiling!

We arrived back at Norbury at about 2.30, where Terry gave us our certificates, and said he hadn't had to teach us much! Wrong - he taught us loads, and we had a great time. Even though we have been boating for 10 years, on hire boats, on our own old narrowboat, and on a share boat we knew that we still had lots to learn. It was well worth doing. Thanks Terry!!!!

A boat is born.... our first visit to XR & D

On Monday 1st September, on our way to Shropshire for our RYA Boat Handling Course, we made our first visit to XR & D at Newark to have a look at progress:

The stern is almost complete, and the swim is in place

Looking down the port side.....

and the starboard side......

and down the centre of the boat towards the stern.

One of the many decorative scrolls.

The bow is the next part to be done, and is probably in place by now - we will go up again in a few weeks - it will look more like a boat by then!