Sunday 27 February 2011

Beacon Boats build slot available…..

Due to a cancellation, our boat builders, Beacon Boats, have an unexpected build slot available in 2012. If anyone is interested in having Beacon build a boat for them, please use the link here to browse their website.  Contact details are on the website also. 

The slot would also be available for a refit. 

Please note – they are fully booked for 2013 and the first half of 2014.

Thursday 24 February 2011


Winter frost damage fixed!!  Rog replaced the shower mixer tap today without any problems, and the parts we ordered for the drinking water tap arrived and have been fitted. We turned on the water pump, ran the taps, and the Webasto – water and central heating, and all seems to be working fine.  So far there are no puddles on the floor to indicate any broken pipes, and the water pump turned on and off when expected and stayed off, which I don’t think it would have done if we had any leaking pipes.  So, all in all, I think we’ve come off lightly.  Fingers crossed!!!

Wednesday 23 February 2011

New look for the blog…..

Having spent so much time looking at the blog recently whilst fixing my blunder with the photos I became thoroughly bored with the look of it.  This won’t affect those of you who follow the blog on Google reader (or any other reader, come to that!), but I decided on a change of look and have redesigned it, and have added a couple of photos as well.  Hope you all like it – let me know what you think.

Monday 21 February 2011

Back to black(ing)!!

We collected Windsong from Blisworth Tunnel boats this morning, after having her re-blacked and given an engine service.  They have done a very good job – especially above the rubbing strakes where we had decided to have the hull blacked up to the gunwales.  The black high gloss was lovely when it was new, but impossible to keep looking good after it had become scratched.  We are very pleased with the result.





The weather was appalling this morning, and Rog was very wet and cold by the time he arrived back at the Marina – it started to rain even more heavily as we were tying her up to the pontoon, and struggling to get the soaked pram-hood up.

Incidentally, we suffered a small amount of frost damage during the really cold weather before Christmas.  The shower mixer tap broke on the temperature control side.  Apparently, as we have discovered recently this is not unusual, even when properly drained down, as we had done.  There is a ceramic ring inside the tap which breaks at very low temperatures.  We have bought a new mixer tap from Ebay for £30.00 which we will install next week. 


Our water filter under the galley sink also suffered, but this time it was our own fault – we totally forgot about it, and didn’t unscrew it!  Subsequently, the ceramic filter shattered and the plastic filter housing broke.  We are awaiting a replacement part from Aquafax.  As far as we can tell (touch wood!) this is the only damage we have suffered – we consider ourselves lucky.  There are boats in our marina that have come off far worse!

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Bloggers blunder….

Whilst looking back on the blog for 2009 today, for a particular photograph, we discovered that the photos had all disappeared!  Well, not all, but all the photos from the blogs dating from early June 2009 until the end of last year!!!  Ahhh, thought I!!!  I know what I’ve done.  Now, I’m only ‘computer user’ literate, i.e. I know how to send and receive email, use the internet, create,store and print documents, upload the blog and all that stuff, but don’t know anything about the ‘guts’ of the damn thing, or understand what links with what etc. A couple of months ago I discovered a Picasa Web Album with loads of duplicated photos in.  They were obviously copies of files I had created of photos to use on the blog, and knowing that all our photos are backed up on our external hard drive, I deleted the albums.  WRONG!!!! The blog obviously ‘looks’ at the albums for the photos!  Rog spent some time trying to find out whether we could restore the blog but couldn’t find any way to do it.  So, I am now engaged in replacing the photos on the blog, starting with the latest posts and working backwards.  We have discovered a reasonably easy way to do it using Windows Live Writer, which I use to write all the posts anyway, as it it is lot easier and quicker than using the blogspot ‘dashboard’, but it still requires an edit to each and every photo.  However it may take some time, and some post don’t re-load to the blog as they should.  If any of our regular readers use Google Reader to follow our blog, you may find odd old posts appearing as new posts – please ignore these, don’t worry, I haven’t gone mad, just trying to undo my blunder!!  I won’t be deleting anything else in a hurry!!!

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Preparing for blacking….

We popped over to Blisworth Tunnel Boats this morning just to check that Windsong had come out of the water ok – there was a slight worry about her rear-end weight (bit like me really!!) and the power of their hoist, but everything was fine.  We checked her anodes and stern gear – it all looked okay and apparently the anodes still have plenty of life in them, at least enough to last until her next blacking.  The painter said that the steel was in good nick – but it looked awful to me!  When you compare it to how it looked the last time we saw it out of the water – brand new- well, it would, wouldn’t it!!!


Prop and rudder look fine


Anodes still look good, and the bow thruster is clean and clear


In the shed – supported over the water by just a few planks!


Rog is wondering if they protect the new blacking from the chains when they put it back in the water!

After much thought, discussion, and changing of minds back and forth, we have decided to have her blacked right up to the gunwales.  It may not look quite so smart, but then neither does scratched and patched high-gloss black, which, when you do a lot of cruising, takes the brunt of the knocks and scrapes.  By having the whole lot blacked it will be easier to keep it looking good and the steel protected.  Of course, it’s always yours truly’s fault when we get a scratch when I’m driving, but always something sticking out of a lock wall, or a broken bit of Armco when Rog is driving – funny, that!

Monday 14 February 2011

Geocaching Travel Bug

Back in November 2009 we started off a Travel Bug in a cache near Blisworth Tunnel.  For the uninitiated, a Travel Bug is a ‘trackable’ which is intended to be moved from cache to cache.  The idea is to see how far it gets.  Each has a unique number which, when entered into the geocaching website, will bring up the details of the Bug, the intention  - in this case to ‘travel the inland waterways of the world’, and where it has been.
We had a look at ours today, and it is currently in Germany, having travelled from Blisworth to Braunston then on to Dorset.  It then left our shores and went to Flensburg in Northern Germany and then to Solvig Voldsted in Denmark. It went to Copenhagen, and then to the east coast of Denmark for a while (place names are missing from the log) and then to the ‘Lost Places’, in Sachsen-Anhalt, back in Germany. It then moved again and was last picked up, still in the Sachen area of Germany, back in October last year.

We have sent a message to the person who picked it up asking for it to be re-located so it can continue it’s journey – we hope that they will do so, as it would be a shame to lose it!
We plan to start another Bug early on our travels this year, this time asking that it remain in the UK.

Pitsford Reservoir geocaching….

It was such a beautiful morning this morning that we decided to take Cassie for a walk at Pitsford Reservoir which is not very far away from us. 


There were a couple of geocaches within a mile of the car park so we decided to have a look for them.  This is the first time we’ve been geocaching since Rog hurt his toe, back in Oct 2009 (apart from once with Karen and Ian last year, and Rog stayed behind on the boat).  We wondered if we’d still have the knack of finding them, but we found the first quite easily.



For the second, we needed to go back to the car and move away from the reservoir a little, back to a road that used to cross the valley before it was flooded – it now goes down to the water and a Nature Reserve.  We found the second cache only 100 yards down the track, so continued on down to the Reserve.




but could go no further as dogs were not allowed.  All in all, Rog’s foot held up well, so it all bodes well for our summer cruising this year – I won’t have to work all the locks!

Saturday 12 February 2011

A short trip out…..

This morning saw nb Windsong throw off the shackles mooring ropes and head out for her first trip since we tied up at Blisworth Marina in the middle of September.  It was to be only a short trip out, 20 minutes down the GU to Blisworth Tunnel Boats to be hauled out of the water for her first pressure-wash and a few coats of blacking.


The sun was shining brightly when Rog set out alone on his ‘epic’ journey, but not before I’d had a little ride around the corner to Gayton Junction services to empty a cassette (we couldn’t be bothered to lug it half way around the marina and over the bridge to the Elsan at the marina!) We then turned around and headed back the way we’d come, dropping me off back at the marina to collect the car and drive it to Blisworth Tunnel Boats to meet Rog at the other end.  I was sad that I had to go by car, as it was a lovely morning, but too far to walk back, with Rog’s toe still a bit tender.


Arriving at the boatyard, we tied up alongside one of their hire-boats and dropped off the keys in the office.  I have to admit to being a bit nervous about the lift-out, as it’s the first time, but having seen their hoist, I feel happier now. It’s a bit like a covered dry-dock, but instead of emptying the water out they just lift the boat and slide planks underneath.  We plan to go over about Tuesday to see how they are getting on.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

A few pics of our new ‘mooring’…

I have been waiting for a decent day to take a few photos of the village where we are renting a cottage, and they have been few and far between lately, but yesterday morning turned out to be an ‘I’d rather be boating’ sort of morning, so out came the camera.  I took these on my daily walk with Cassie.



Down the lane where I go to walk Cassie



Views over the Northamptonshire countryside


The village green


Our little lane – just two cottages and the old farmhouse at the end – ours is the one in the middle with the slightly lower roofline.