Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Friday 30 May 2014

Travelling through the salt towns

Bank Holiday Monday the sun won its battle with the rain and we pulled pins and headed off towards Middlewich where we were going to service the boat and get in some more fresh food from Tesco's. We got through Big lock and moored up on the visitor moorings and set off with rucksacks to the store getting everything packed away whilst we watered the boat. The sun had brought out the boating community and there was the usual queues getting through the locks but we made steady progress and chatting to fellow boaters at locks is part and parcel of boating anyway..

Yarwood passing Croxton Flash on the T&M

On the Middlewich, Nantwich bound
We turned onto the Wardle canal and through the first lock onto the Middlewich Arm of the Shropshire Union canal.  We found ourselves a remote mooring for the night in the countryside.   The next morning we set off again with the intention of getting to Nantwich.
 Making the turn on to the Shropshire Union Canal from the Middlewich Arm

 Moored by Nantwich basin
We moored on the 24hr visitor moorings by the basin but every boat that passed caused Yarwood to scrape on the 'shroppie shelf' much to Joe's irritation and Fletcher's consternation.   After a flying visit into town where we bought a stack of motorhome magazines to browse/devour ahead of a potential life change in a couple of years time. 
 Yarwood serviced and away out of Nantwich
Wednesday morning, kitted out in full wet gear we serviced Yarwood and left town again but on the way I spotted a familiar boat moored just along from the services, Nb. Ellen.  Jon and Angela had been at the Audlem music festival over the BH weekend and had only just arrived in Nantwich.  I stopped a chatted for 10 minutes or so and then had to run along the towpath to catch up with Himself and the boat...the old ticker was having a *'goodness gracious' moment by the time I caught up!
*And who know/recalls what I refer to here?

 And lookee here, fellow bloggers, Angela and Jon on  Nb. Ellen moored just along from our overnight mooring at Nantwich
Angela and Lola...
Jon got pushed out of the shot by the dog!

Cheer up, it's raining again

Here are a few photo's I took when the sun came out on Monday last... a bit of cheery colour as it is raining yet again and hardy boaters are passing us as we sit it out in the warmth of the boat.
I own up to not having a clue what the butterflies are but who cares they were lovely and bright and a pleasure to see flitting amongst the hedgerow flowers.


Lunch for the Crested Grebe

Thursday 29 May 2014

Six hours there, six hours back...

My trip to Essex from Anderton was quite straightforward although pre-booking the train fare would have saved a pound or three...
Note to self, think ahead! 
A taxi from the Anderton Boat lift car park to Northwich rail station and then a train to Stockport, change there for a train to London Euston, usual cross London dash via the underground and then a train  from Fenchurch Street to Pitsea where my brother was waiting for the last hop to Mum's.  Six hours from leaving Yarwood and I was walking in the door at Mum's to a VERY welcome cuppa.
I hired a car the next day and we did lunch out an on the Friday I took Mum to Norfolk to see brother number two where we were staying for the night. 

Having access to wheels and being this close to Suffolk and a certain boater/ex-blogger called Greygirl, aka Sarah, I had arranged to meet her for lunch in Bury (Bury St. Edmunds).  The venue got changed to a pub in a village outside Bury but the hire car had Sat-nav and I had a smart phone so after dropping off Mother, I headed off to Thetford to fuel the car and then make my way to our rendezvous...only problem, the sat-nav had not been loaded in the in-car device and the phone had to signal in the wilds of Norfolk/Suffolk but Hey Ho, how difficult can it be to find a tiny village somewhere in Suffolk???

I headed for Bury and hoped for the best and with no elderly passenger in the car I had great fun driving hard and fast along the country lanes - (hard, fast and safe that is.)  arriving at Whepstead and the White Horse 15 minutes later than arranged but I had made it.

Whepstead White Horse
 L-R Sarah, aka Greygirl (who has just completed the BCN challenge as crew for Nb. Indigo Dream) and Me

The next few days saw me seeing family and friends before making the return journey back to Anderton, another six hours door to door.  On my first full day back I arranged for a delivery from Tesco and then on the Thursday we slipped out of Uplands Marina in the rain and headed out to Billinge Green Flash where we stayed over the bank holiday weekend.

 Moored on the flash, sitting out a weekend of torrential rain and strange angler behaviour?  At times we were the ONLY boat moored on the flash but on our first day two anglers turned up and one set up immediately on our bow and his mate immediately on our stern??  And when I say 'immediately' I mean you could put a fag paper between Yarwood and their fishing kit. Is this some kind of strange angler etiquette that we are not aware of??

All alone..

Thursday 22 May 2014

Strange marketing policy

Apologies for the lack of blogs. I bumped up against the unfathomable Tmobile fair use policy. 

Today I received an email from Symantec (various Norton anti-virus products) informing me that our subscription was due for renewal on-line for £64.99 a significant increase from the £29.99 we paid last year. Minimal hunting on the web revealed that I could purchase the same product from Norton for £54.99 (UK) while the USA price is $49.99. I will probably go for Bitdefender as it has had a good review in one of the computer comics and costs a lot less.

Mrs Blogger is back and we have moved out to Billinge Green Flash, near Broken Cross, so normal service will resume shortly.

Friday 16 May 2014

Nerves of steel, Will of iron, Heart of gold.

Knob of butter. Unfortunately I am unable to aspire to these synonyms(?). Any experts on the English language are welcome to correct me as I was absent due to a tummy ache on the day they did English at my school. 

Friday is normally a fast day on our 5:2 diet regime. However, after spending four hours sleeping while I slopped bilge paint around various parts of Yarwood, the dogs needed a break, so we went off to the pub. The boys had a pint of Punter from Upham Brewery, Wiltshire, plus a packet pork scratchings each. Being underage the dogs sensibly refused the beer and in a waste not want not mood I drank it for them. So much for the will of iron.

While sat I drinking said ale and eating lunch (including chips) there was a man stripping back the roof of a house opposite. It must be a fairly old property as there was no felt under the battens. The only house we have owned that was still like this was a 1930s property in Great Baddow, near Chelmsford, Essex. The obvious downside of a roof  without felt is that the loft is draughty and in our case fithy with soot  from decades of coal fires.

Anyway this chap must have the nerves of steel that I lack. He was standing on the same rotten battens that he was pulling off easily by hand and then de-nailing as he went along. I really don't like going on roofs. Its not so much height that bothers me, its the feeling of insecurity when standing on a 30 degree slope.

I suppose I will have to go back to the pub to see what progress is being made.

With regard to the job I have undertaken today. 

In March 2013 we were on the Little Ouse at Brandon. The river was in flood and washed down huge quantities of a thick, strong weed which built up around the propeller and under the boat. When the river subsided it was difficult to clear this away and when clearing the prop from the weed hatch a lot of water came into the bilge with the weed. This led to surface rust in this area which later was treated with a rust converter to stop oxidisation. 

The bilge area before removing pump and cleaning
Under normal circumstances this area is always dry as I have rigged up a small paint kettle to catch any drips from the stern gland. Yarwood seems to be better than our last boat Caxton in this respect as there are fewer water drops and the stern greaser (no this is not a 1950s Teddy boy with attitude) only needs refilling about once a year. I think that this may simply be due to the the much lower engine/driveshaft rpm.
I have applied Damboline bilge paint which according to the manufacturers leaflet takes between 8 and 16 hours to be touch dry. Bearing mind the base plate will be at canal water temperature this will be towards the 16 hour mark. Therefore I will be getting out the folding bed and sleeping with the dogs tonight as the paint fumes are strong in the back cabin.


I never see anybody when I'm out and about

Thursday 15 May 2014

And if you go chasing rabbits

"And if you go chasing rabbits" are words in a song from the 70s and became a bit of an earworm for me today. This was probably because Floyd woke me up at 05:00 as it was daylight and he wanted feeding (as usual). So after feeding (30 seconds + a hide chew 2 minutes) the boys were ready to go for a walk. The early morning light was very good and there were lots of rabbits around so Floyd was puffed up in hunting mode, while Fletcher took no notice at all. So although there were no White Rabbits the lyrics came to mind.

Following on from yesterdays ramblings. I managed to charge the battery for the camera, switched it on and discovered the display was distorted and had black lines. Realising that this was one of numerous items of electronic equipment (phones and cameras) that Lesley unintentionally rinses with canal water I found another camera but no charger . Eventually I used a universal charger (fits nothing properly) and the correct USB. Hey presto its photie time.

Marina entrance sharp turn just before service block

Duck or grouse!

Temporary spot in front of slipway as the boat being worked on is not going out for a while.

Yarwood is now moored at Upland Marina and taking advantage of the calm weather varnished the scumble on the back doors and cabin sides. The downside of having scumble on the outside of the boat that it will not last long unless it is recoated with varnish frequently.


                                    Minor scratches on varnish not through to scumble

                                   After varnishing. The black blob on the red paint is a shadow.

                              Back doors need care as they have wood panels exposed to the weather

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Year Zero

Mrs Blogger went off early to visit mum. Well I assume she has gone as I didn't see her hanging around the car park waiting for the taxi to take her to the railway station. 

It being a sunny day at last I decided to explore the surrounding countryside with the boys sans wellies and wet gear.  Just as I was getting ready to leave there was a knock on the door and very nice lady introduced herself as Chris from nb AmyJo, who, as you can see from their blog, have a smart Fernwood boat. I was rather surprised to discover this happy, relaxed woman was actually in charge of a bunch of 5 year olds going on the trip boat down onto the River Weaver. I didn't see Chris coming back so she might have been a bit frazzled by then.

The intention was to walk the boys and then take them to the pub, but as it was Wednesday I decided to go back and watch Daily Politics as I like crinkle bonce and sometimes PMQs are worth watching. Today was poor. Dave spouted employment statistics as part of his reply to most questions and Ed conveniently forgot about the mess his lot made of the Kraft/Cadbury takeover. Should have gone to the pub.

I thought I would take a few photies of the surrounding area when I took the boys out this afternoon so I explored Mrs Bloggers camera cupboard. An area, bearing in mind the confines of a narrowboat, I have never visited. It was like going to Jessops during a stock take and I eventually found a small camera which looked well worn and I probably couldn't damage. Unfortunately the battery was flat so after some more rummaging found a charger which may possibly be the correct item. It is currently charging and is not too hot so fingers crossed.

I'm taking Yarwood up to the marina in the morning and might actually do some chores, but as the cats away etc. who knows?  

Monday 12 May 2014


We have enjoyed a couple of days stay on the town moorings at Northwich. The weather has been dire so we have not done too much exploring but rather we have battened down the hatches and watched the world through the portholes.

 Yarwood moored on the town moorings Northwich
As I am off to Essex in a couple of days by train and Joe is taking Yarwood into a marina for the duration of my absence we have promised ourselves an extended cruise of the R. Weaver on my return.

Thursday 8 May 2014

Delighting your customers..or when a mission statement is just words on a website

Starting to think that it is time I went south to visit my Mother soon we have been looking at a suitable marina to moor Yarwood while I am away. Joe wanted to get the boat plugged in to shore power to condition the batteries whilst he concentrated on getting some boaty chores done without me under his feet.  There are two marinas close to the Anderton boat lift so on Tuesday we went into Anderton Marina, a ABC Leisure Group enterprise, to enquire about a temporary mooring next week for a 5/6 days or so.  We spoke to a young man who was polite, if ineffective, but unable to deal with our query but he assured us he would get someone to call us so we left leaving our phone numbers.  A couple of hours later as we were passing the Marina we called in again to see if anyone was about to deal with our request; the office had an 'open' sign but the door was locked so we waited for twenty minutes or so and then abandoned our mission and went back to the boat.  The following morning at 9.15am I phoned and left a message on their answer machine asking them to call me and restating our request with my phone number.  At 14.00 I called yet again and got the answer machine.  At 16.30 I called again and spoke to the same young man we had encountered the previous afternoon. It was like speaking to a blancmange but we were assured that he would get someone to call us.
Late morning today Joe called the ABC head office and asked for their customer services. He was told if he had a complaint to put it in writing.  Assuring them that he wasn't complaining but was looking for help he was permitted to state his case.  The reaction was say that staff were on day off as they had worked the weekend and had Joe called the marina again that morning?  Clearly the mission statement where ABC wants to delight its customers was not operating today, or yesterday for that matter.  Anyway, Head Office staff person said she would get someone to call.
To date, no call has been received.
So, two personal visits to the marina office, three phone calls to the marina and one to headquarters and Nada, nothing.

We abandoned any thought of using ABC Leisure Group and visited Uplands marina where we got a good instant response from a competent person who has taken our booking and our fee; done and dusted.

So Edward Helps, MD ABC Leisure Group, perhaps you should look at the culture of your company a bit more closely because clearly the lack of genuine customer focus at operational level AND in Head Office is something I would be very concerned about if I was in your role.

ABC Leisure Group Mission Statement...
Or weasel words for the web.

Our Mission Statement:

  • ABC Leisure Group Ltd aims to be the leading provider of products and services associated with canal boats.

  • We wish to delight our customers in everything we do so they will recommend and use us again.

  • We recognise the importance of the Company's greatest asset, our employees, in achieving this.

Afternoon into Evening, first day on the R. Weaver

Weaver   Seyella 001
Joe watching the Trip Boat go pass our mooring

When we had got ourselves moored up yesterday morning we piled onto Nb. Seyella for tea and cake and a catch up with Mags and Geoff.  The dogs piled on as well and had their own ‘catch-up’ with boat dog Meg but they all seemed to gravitate to Mags who ended up as an ‘island’ surrounded by three dogs…sorry about that Mags…
In the afternoon Geoff and I and the three dogs went off for an hours exploring the country park.
Oh look, a doggie water park and the three took full advantage of it..
Weaver   Seyella 008
Aboard Nb. Seyella L-R Joe, Mags and Geoff
In the evening the Yarwood crew were invited aboard Seyella for dinner cooked and served by Geoff, supervised by Mags.  A truly delicious meal followed by a lovely evening of putting the world to rights as you do.  Thank you both!!

Going Down to the River

Anderton to R. Weaver 005

Trent and Mersey canal entrance to the Anderton Boat lift.  You are looking at the holding basin in the foreground and the black structure is the guillotine gates that lock off the access the aqueduct to the lift.

We went along to the booking office Tuesday afternoon and arranged our passage/transit down to the River Weaver. There is a £5 fee to book your passage but a turn up, moor up hang around option is free of charge?  Apparently when this magnificent boat lift was renovated some years ago at something like £7million I am told that British Waterways applied a £15 charge each way…result uproar, further result, toll completely rescinded.  Well I think that it is time to put a toll back C&RT but a reasonable one of say £5 return, and call it a toll, not an admin fee. Something as magnificent as this piece of engineering, working engineering at that, is worth paying for and I can’t think that many boaters would object to contributing directly to its continued existence and maintenance.



Anderton to R. Weaver 006

Here the guillotine gate is being raised to allow Nb. Yarwood and Nb. Ivy to enter the aqueduct


Photo courtesy of Geoff NB. Seyella

Here you can see the aqueduct leading from the Trent and Mersey Canal to the boat lift


Anderton to R. Weaver 013

Nb Yarwood entering the holding basin from the canal and heading for the aqueduct gate to the left

Anderton to R. Weaver 014

Crossing the aqueduct.  When both boats are safely on the aqueduct the guillotine gate will be closed again cutting off the aqueduct from the canal


Anderton to R. Weaver 018

From my vantage point on the boat lift 70 feet in the air I spotted Mags and Geoff tying NB Seyella up.  They had just moved round from their overnight mooring to see us descend.


Anderton to R. Weaver 021

Now in the aqueduct with the gates secured behind us the guillotine gates are raised to allow us to enter the lift caisson


Anderton to R. Weaver 023

Moving into the caisson

Anderton to R. Weaver 034


Both boats in  and waiting for the gates to close behind us to seal the caisson

Anderton to R. Weaver 037

And here we start our slow hydraulically controlled descent

Anderton to R. Weaver 039

Geoff taking photo’s of us


Photo courtesy of Geoff NB. Seyella

Joe on the back of the boat as we are lowered.  The boat with us on the descent was Nb Ivy owned by a Russian gent who keeps it on the BCN until he has visitors, from Ukraine and Russia to form a crew then he takes it out cruising.


Photo courtesy of Geoff Nb. Seyella

That would be me, well wrapped up and trussed by my life jacket, on the tug deck

Anderton to R. Weaver 050

We are now at river level and the gate at the front of the caisson is rising to allow us out onto the R. Weaver


Photo courtesy of Geoff Nb. Seyella

From Geoff’s viewpoint as the caisson reaches river level


Photo courtesy of Geoff Nb. Seyella

The guillotine gate being lifted to release us on to the Weaver

Anderton to R. Weaver 052

Free to go


Photo courtesy of Geoff Nb. Seyella

On to the River we go


Photo courtesy of Geoff Nb. Seyella

Hard left to join Nb. Seyella at their mooring

Anderton to R. Weaver 064

Moored in front of Nb. Seyella at Northwich Country Park