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Category: Narrowboat

Moving on

Moving on

From here.

I’ve sorted my boat out, as much as I can.
I’ve sorted my teeth out, as much as I can.

The flooding rivers, (Thames and Cherwell), are finally abating (a little), although the Thames is still on red boards as I write this.

It’s time to move.

Here’s an update on some of the things that have been going on over the last 2 weeks.

Easter in Gloucester

Did a little tour of my relatives for the holiday period.

Went to visit sister in Gloucestershire for bank holiday Monday.

Due to the wetness of the environment, the usual bank holiday walk in the country wasn’t possible. Instead we took a look around the Cathedral at Gloucester.

Here there was no danger in getting covered in mud, or rained on, falling over or damaging or embarrassing yourself or causing damage or injury to your person. These things being the main consideration when walking in hills or valleys in the current climate. These are waterlogged and the paths deep in mud.

Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral

As you can see, there’s no mud here. It’s not even raining!

Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral

Prefer the walk in the country, but sometimes that just ain’t possible.

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Boat safety certificate

Boat safety certificate

Every four years, boats on the UK canal and waterways require a safety examination called a Boat Safety certificate, or BSS.

Most of the stuff they’re looking at is to do with your fuel and energy supply and isolation. That means the batteries, the gas and the diesel.

There’s a set of guidelines published in the Boat Safety Scheme, and compliance is dependent on one of their certified inspectors visiting your boat and ensuring it meets the required standards.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the inspector Mark Paris, based in Thrupp, (just down the road) come and do an inspection. It failed due to a leaky regulator.

The pressure in the gas system to the stove had dropped off, and it’s something I had noticed by a slightly less aggressive flame.

I was going to check on this device because of that fact.

It’s called the regulator.

Gas regulator with pressure gauge
New Gas regulator with pressure gauge

This is a new regulator with has a pressure gauge on it. This can be used to a)see how much gas is in the can. b)see if it is leaking.

The gas bottle is full. And since replacing the regulator, my system is gas tight. No problems.

There were an number of other lesser things which were also been brought to my attention. These include fitting fuses to the battery side of two of my solar panels.

Additional solar

When I fitted the additional panel, I bought a battery side fuse to fit. This sits between the battery and the charge controller, (which controls the solar panel output). If there’s a short circuit on the battery>controller side, the fuse will trip preventing stopping the batteries from blowing up or the wires melting, or something nasty like that.

My existing sets of panels fitted had already been wired with fuses when I put them in. This last one I hadn’t got around to. So, that was a job I had to do.

Sunpower 100w flexible solar panel
Sunpower 100w flexible solar panel
12v Fusebox
12v Fusebox

As you can see, the fuse was able to go into the existing fusebox alongside the existing fuses. All I had to do was run the MC4 cable to the back, insert the fuse I bought from Bimble Solar, connect it up press it in and put the box back in place.

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Floodwater sweeps Bonnie away!

Floodwater sweeps Bonnie away!

Swept away

Went to get some water on Sunday, this involves moving the boat to the water point rather than the other way around.

Which ever way the boat is facing, I go in that direction until I reach one.

North is Thrupp 1hr 20m. South is Wolvercote 1hr 20m.

They’re both a similar distance, both have 2 locks.


Overflowing overflow - Kidlington
Overflowing overflow – Kidlington

Lots of it over the last few days, to add to that which was already on the land from the previous few weeks.

It rained quite heavily the night before, and when I set out the canal was flowing quite fast down toward Oxford.

This made things a bit more tricky. Firstly because the level of mud was quite high and moving around on the towpath was quite slippery. Then the overflows were taking on a lot of water from an over full canal, which dragged the boat in a little. Where the overflow re-joined the canal below the lock, the flow was very strong from the one side and would blow the boat into the opposite bank.

I got to Oxford and filled the water tank up, took about 40 mins. Had some lunch and a glass of wine.

When the tank was full, I turned the boat around at duke’s cut and went up through dukes cut lock back up north toward home.

The overflow to duke’s cut lock was like a mountain stream! When I got off the boat to close the lock, Bonnie drifted into it’s flow and blocked parallel across the intake, so the water had to flow underneath the boat to get down the weir.

This is very dangerous because it means you have several tons of pressure on the side of your boat. It’s very difficult to move.

I decided to put the boat into reverse and pull it back into the mouth of the lock. I got it so far and it wouldn’t go any further. It was stuck.

The front of the boat was far enough from the front of the inlet that water could flow around the front of it, so I grabbed the front rope from the towpath bank and tried to pull it out.

It was very heavy. On my own, I couldn’t do anything with it. Luckily Wolvercote is close in to Oxford so you get many people using the towpath at this time of day for running, walking and doing those kind of activities by the water.

After a while, a jogger, youth from university, came past and saw that I was in trouble.

“Need a hand” he says, “yeah” says I, and explains I was trying to pull the front of the boat out so I could get going again.

With two, I thought we might be able to get the end away haha, as it were, but it wasn’t moving. “Might take 4 more people to pull that” says I. He agreed.

I explained I’d been able to pull it back away from being right across the overflow to back slightly. At the front of the boat there was now some space between the opposite bank and the front of the boat.

“Why don’t you move it forward into that space, and I’ll try and pull it over as you’re moving it forward, with the inertia”.

“Ok”. Says I. Sounds like a good idea.

Jumped on, took it out of reverse, and started moving forward.

Bonnie wasn’t particularly keen on moving, but slowly pulled away from the concrete of the lock mouth, across the front of the overflow, and up under some bushes on the opposite bank.

I didn’t think this would be enough to do it. The boat came to a halt, with no-where to go apart from to wedge further into the bank. I let the engine off… Lo and behold, the athletic student youth pulled hard, and like the arm of a clock, Bonnie’s bow began to move slowly around. As the propeller and steerage turned away from the overflow and started facing out into the canal, the boat started flowing backwards over the little weir! I had to put the engine on full blast and a large pulse of water flew up in the air and into the overflow and the boat shot forward out of harms way. A close run thing! It was being dragged down the overflow like a pooh-stick!

Although it wouldn’t have actually gone down the overflow, it would have been enough for it to get stuck again. Maybe have damaged the steering gear.

Overflowing overflow - Wolvercote - Dukes cut
Overflowing overflow – Wolvercote – Dukes cut

After a few more seconds, the student had pulled Bonnie fully round, I had blasted her out into the middle of the channel, and I was able to grab the centre rope and pull her into the towpath. We pulled her over to the bollards and tied her up. I thanked the student and after a few seconds taking this picture, set off on my merry way again back home.

No damage was done to Bonnie. It set me back about 10 minutes. It could have been worse. Not a mistake I’m going to make in the future. On the canals, we get used to not taking the water too seriously. It just goes to show, when there’s a lot of it after the heavy rains we’ve been having, even the canal can be dangerous.

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Winter floods

Winter floods

Still in Kidlington, getting my teeth treated. Slowly.

Thames Walk


Since my last post, there has been a lot of floods.

These have affected the Cherwell and the Thames. These are two rivers which sandwich me in my current position.

Although they are navigable now, a lot of the last month, they’ve been flooded pretty badly.

Life otherwise goes on.

Made a short video of the weir at Osney Locks on the Thames.

You can see the levels have gone up a bit.

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Flooding on the river Severn

Flooding on the river Severn

Had a little walk down to Ironbridge today, New Years Eve close to my parents house.

Made a short video with the River getting going. It’s been higher that this in the past, but with more rain set to come, it remains to be seen how high it will climb this year.

YouTube player
Christmas on the Canal

Christmas on the Canal

Still here in Kidlington.

Had the first part of my tooth surgery done the other day which consisted of removing the root of the old tooth.

They had put a stem and cap. The stem had fractured the root and the cap fell out. They advised that the root was beyond repair and options included 1)bodge 2)removal.

I opted for 2)removal although it was more expensive.

Chewing gum is bad for your fillings and caps

‘Dental experts’ tell us chewing gum can aid in the dissolution of plaque. Chewing is healthy….

What they don’t tell us is that the chewing of gum for significant periods of time isn’t so good for caps, fillings and other artificial oral constructions made in place of your teeth.


Since I started doing this job full time. I’ve been chewing gum more routinely. Every day in fact. When I work, I (used to) get in the car and have some gum.

My fillings I’ve had since I was at secondary school. The cap I had done when I was at school also. 35 years ago.

All fine for 35 years. Had the cap stem re-cemented when it came out around 18 years ago, otherwise, all fine.

As soon as I chew gum every day. Filling comes out after 4 months. Stem snaps root after 11 months.

I’m not putting this down to chance.


Only one thing has changed in my oral habits and that’s chewing gum.

Dental work is very expensive

No coincidence the fact that a)you can’t get an NHS dentist nowadays b)dental work goes from expensive to eye watering.

I’ve had an idea! Chew more gum…


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Cute Baby Hedgehog escapes from hovering Red Kite

Cute Baby Hedgehog escapes from hovering Red Kite

That’s the title I created (without the help of AI).

Due to my continued mooring in Kidlington, I’m hoping to publish a couple of youtube videos, to keep the content rolling.

Here’s one I made the other day.

YouTube player

Baby Hedgehog

As you can see.

I could have waited for the Kite, which would have made a better video, but I was a bit short for time, so I picked the little blighter up.