Thursday 30 May 2013

First BSC…

Being 4 years old on 4th June, Windsong is due her first Boat Safety Certificate.  The examiner came today, and I’m pleased (but not surprised!) to say she passed with flying colours.  Phew, what a relief!!!  Another job jobbed.

Now we just need her to go into the paint shed on Monday, as scheduled, to have her roof re-painted, and we’ll be sorted!

Tuesday 21 May 2013


I’ve redesigned the blog ready for this years cruising – hope everyone likes it!

Saturday 18 May 2013

The best laid plans…..

Yesterday we went to the Northampton Arm to fulfil a long tern commitment to help Matilda Rose and No Problem up the 17 locks.  We parked at the top and started to walk down the locks towards Northampton, expecting to meet the two boats about 3 or 4 locks up the flight.  But things didn’t go strictly to plan!  At Lock 13 we decided to hang around as it was quite a long way to Lock 14.  When there was no sign of either boat, I texted Jill on MR to find out where they were, only to discover that they had about 10 tons of wire around their prop and that Graham was currently head and shoulders down the weed hatch with a pair of wire cutters.  No Problem was continuing up the locks.  When they eventually appeared half an hour later, Rog stayed with them while I tramped on down the locks to see if I could see MR.  It was too far to the next lock, let alone to the one they were stuck by, so I turned back, to find that NP now had stuff around their prop!!  However, it was only weed and soon cleared and we were on our way again.  MR got going eventually and caught us up when we stopped for lunch, with NP in one lock, and MR in the one below – good job the flight was quiet!  The delicious home made soup and equally delicious home made bread (courtesy of Sue and Vic – NP) was very welcome. 


Stopped for lunch


Matilda Rose all on her own in the lock below

Unfortunately, we couldn’t carry on with them any further as we had to get back for Ozzy’s appointment with his groomer.  Still, at least we did get to see everyone eventually!  Well, that will teach us to make plans!  That’s boating for you.

Ozzy’s groomer wasn’t at all pleased with me – he was filthy, and very wet.  She had to bath him twice before she could clip him!  He now has a new name – Shorn the Sheep!  A little shorter than usual, but hopefully it will be easier to cope with his rapidly growing coat during our summer cruise.


Ozzy sporting his new haircut and his new collar – a belated birthday present

This morning we were out again, this time to Foxton to visit Ali and John on nb Triskaideka.  We had coffee and a chat and then Ali and John had to move the boat over to the other side of the canal for Sam the engine man to service their engine.  It was only a flying visit, but it was lovely to see them again.  Thanks for the cake Ali!

That is probably all our boat visiting done for now, but, you never know, someone else might appear in the vicinity that we need to go and see.  Hopefully, by the time we meet up with the next lot of boaty friends, we’ll be out on the boat ourselves.

Another job jobbed…..

The last few cold winters have not been kind to Windsong.  The winter before last the temperature was so low for so long that the steel contracted to such a degree that some of panel pins in our tongue and groove ceiling popped out, allowing the boards to drop, primarily in the shower room.

Photo0029 ‘Before’

We have been putting off the job of repairing it because we weren’t quite sure how to best to tackle it as the ceiling wouldn’t push up into place again.  However, after last weeks’ craning out and in again, the boards were really loose and in danger of falling down on top of one of us while sitting on the loo (!)  as the problem had extended to the rest of that side of the shower room, and also to a lesser extent into the saloon.  So, having consulted with Beacon Boats on how best to fix the problem, and having received details instructions and an offer to come over and help if it proved too difficult, we picked our day (the sun was shining and the steel had warmed up and expanded)  and set to work.  We originally thought we’d have to remove the trim and then remove the T & G boards and pin them back up one at a time, but that proved not to be the case.  We found where the battens ran by locating the tiny heads of the panel pins and then Rog proceeded to hammer in more pins while I pushed up the boards – it worked!  Amidst much swearing, cursing and dropping of pins, we got it done.  I don’t think I’ve heard the ‘f’ word quite often for a long time, as Rog again and again hit his thumb or fingers with the hammer – not easy nailing and hammering above your head!!



And ‘After’

Doesn’t look like much of a big job, does it?  But 50 something feet of it makes it so!

That’s another job jobbed!!

Monday 13 May 2013

Back where she should be…..

A second coat of blacking was put on the top part up to the gunwales yesterday and we were told that she would be craned back into the water today.  Having been told on the phone this morning that Windsong was being craned as we spoke, we left to go and collect her and put her back onto her berth.  We arrived to find her still on the bank, but in the crane’s straps.  Apparently the crane driver had been called away!  So, there we sat, in the car, waiting.  About 15 minutes later the crane driver and two of the marina staff came out and things started to move.  Neither of us could watch as she was lifted, swung around, and dropped back into the water.  All I know is, that, before I shut my eyes, she was bouncing up and down in the straps due to the strong wind!!!  Scary or what?  Anyway, no mishaps!


The only photo I managed to take this morning, just as she was back in the water, I had my eyes shut most of the time!!

Rog reversed back to the marina entrance and, unusually, had to have two goes at reversing into our berth as the wind was so strong it kept pushing us too far over.  Managed in the end though.  So, that’s one job jobbed – next is to arrange the surveyor to do the BSC – can’t believe it’s 4 years already!

Saturday 11 May 2013

Blacking done….

Windsong was lifted out of the water late on Tuesday, in preparation for pressure washing and blacking to start on Wednesday.  Her bottom was not a pretty sight.




By Friday, we were told she was going back into the water, fully blacked.  We went across to the marina to find that they had forgotten to black all the way up to the gunwales, even though it was highlighted on the worksheet – luckily they hadn’t begun the craning when we got there so we were able to point it out.  So, she didn’t go back into the water after all.  They finished the job yesterday afternoon, and it’s now looking much better.




Just a bit of rust to deal with just above the waterline on the tunnel band and she’ll be good as new – well except for the damn roof!  We have booked a boat painter to take it back to the bare metal, and he will put a coat of rustproofing on, then 2 coats each of primer, undercoat and top coat.  They can’t do that until the first week of June though, so we’ve a few weeks to wait yet.  Still, at least when that is sorted we might actually be able to get away for a bit of cruising! I feel a few days of washing, polishing and cratch cover scrubbing coming on over the next couple of weeks – weather permitting.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Tuesday 7 May 2013

A paint job…..

Yesterday we went over to the marina to make the boat ready for the crane to lift her out this afternoon for the blacking to be done.  It was the first time we had had a really good look at the roof, and it wasn’t pretty! 




We have been struggling to patch up peeling paint on the roof for a couple of years now, and the last two severe winters haven’t done it any favours.  The paint is now peeling off in sheets, so we have decided that it must all come off and be re-painted properly.  Lacking the tools and the skill to do it ourselves we have asked for and received a rough estimate for it to be done by the boat painter here at the marina.  Hopefully, they will be able to fit it in within the next few weeks.   Oh well, it’s only money!!!

Sunday 5 May 2013

More narrowboat visiting…..

We found out yesterday that nbs Matilda Rose and No Problem were moored not more than 5 miles away from us, at Great Doddington on the Nene, so a few text messages and phone calls, and we had invited ourselves for coffee this morning.  Knowing roughly where they were moored, we set out to find the lock nearest them to park.  After not finding the particular footpath that Graham had told us to follow along the left bank of the river – we realised that we were at the wrong lock!!!  Bit of a misunderstanding between me and Graham, or perhaps between me and Rog, and we were one lock downstream of where we should be!  Oh well, never mind, at least we found out before we had hiked it along the river bank!  Jumping back in the car, we headed back the way we had come, to find Graham waiting for us at the correct lock to lead us back to the boats – he obviously didn’t trust us to find our own way!!  Well, I can’t say I blame him.  We had a lovely morning catching up and introducing Ozzy to the hoomans, as well as to Baxter, Muttley, Meg and Penny.  Sue is the real reason we have Ozzy.  On our way back from Stone last year after losing Cassie, when we hadn’t the heart to go on with our cruise, we bumped into Sue and Vic on No Problem. Sue and Vic, having not long lost their dear Lucy and having ‘got straight back on the horse’ with puppy Penny, practically threw a wriggly Penny across the gap between the boats and into my arms!  It made me realise that we could have another puppy straight away, and that having another wouldn’t devalue in any way how much we had loved Cassie.  And the rest, as they say, is history!!!

Ozzy had a lovely time with 4 other dogs to play with, especially with Penny, who is only a couple of months older than him.  She ran him ragged, and he has been flat out asleep all afternoon.

We left them at about 1.30 to enjoy their Sunday lunch, superbly cooked by Vic, and hope to see them again in a couple of weeks, when they can drag themselves away from the Nene and up the Northampton flight to re-join us ditch-crawlers.


Nb No Problem


Nb Matilda Rose


Collies Meg (foreground) and Penny


L to R  Baxter, Ozzy, Muttley and Meg (and Jill’s legs!)


Jill, taking a forbidden photo of me, taking one of her, with Sue looking on!

PS.  Windsong is booked to come out of the water for blacking next Wednesday – keep everything crossed, folks, that the crane remains in working order until after she goes back in!