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Tag: continuous cruising

Back at the Pig Place

Back at the Pig Place

‘Where the dear and the antelope play’…

Or just pigs.

We have some buffalo in the field opposite.

So it could be, ‘where the pigs and the buffalo play’.

Aynho Wharf

Had to go to Aynho Wharf. For water.

Turned around.

Came back up again. Took about 2.5 hours from where I was before.

The water takes forever to fill up at Aynho because of the low pressure.

Solar and the cost of living

Able to do all my cooking on solar now the sun’s out.

That means I only use the gas now for:

  • Washing
  • Showers
  • Washing up

Made a 13kg calor last for 4 months last time.

Gas. A gas bottle is £40 now for 13kg. When I started boating in 2016, it was £28.

Equates to around £10 per month for gas.

Electric is free.

Diesel. I bought £75 in January. Might have to get some more in July to get me up to Calcutt boats, in Napton. That’s £12.50 per month.

So.

All in all, £22.50 currently in monthly overheads on the boat.

Narrowboat Ropes

Had a slight bit of wear and tear on my front and rear ropes.

As you can see, the rear rope is frayed and the braiding is coming undone.

I’ve tried to strap it up with some handlebar tape.

It’s really starting to become a hazard, especially in locks, where it can become entangled in things such as the rail bar, or not fly through the air properly because part of the rope become entangled on your hand as you try to throw it.

A danger.

Frayed mooring rope
Frayed mooring rope

For this reason, I had to take a trip up to the Chandlers.

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Aynho Wharf to Pig Place

Aynho Wharf to Pig Place

Spent 3 weeks at Aynho Wharf. Perhaps a week more than I should have, but it appears no-one is counting.

Anyhow, yesterday, I moved on.

New Job…. At Amazon….

Working in the warehouse that provides the parcels that make up the delivery routes I do for Amazon Flex.

It’s a 5am start, then 8 hours handling parcels and shipments bound for the Midlands area.

Not a lot to it: Sort parcels when they arrive off lorries and log them on the system. Group the parcels into routes. Issue routes to the delivery drivers. That’s basically what the day consists of.

The pay isn’t bad, £14 per hour, plus there’s a potential £3,000 bonus if you stick it out for long enough!

That consists of £1,500 after the first 6 weeks, then another after 12 weeks has passed. So you have to stay for 3 months!

Not sure I’m going to do that, but 6 weeks takes me beyond the Christmas period.

Fixed pumps

Both of my pumps broke.

That’s a pump that brings cold water in, and a bilge pump that pumps dirty water out.

Both broke, or started causing problems as I was leaving London.

A life without pumps on a boat is a smelly dirty life.

No fresh water to wash and cook. No showering if you can’t pump the water away afterwards….

For this reason, I needed to get them fixed pretty quick.

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Bonnie in London

Bonnie in London

Soon to be….

A move down to ‘the smoke’. Such a casual thing….

Just 4 days sailing and £40 worth diesel. Approximately, in both cases. If the weather changes, (drastically), that may change the temperament of the old Thames.

Boards

On the canal and river system, they have these things called, warning boards.

Red boards - River water flow warning system
River flow warning system

When the boards are on red, you’re not meant to travel.

People do, but the ‘powers that be’ don’t sanction movement on red boards, it’s kind of frowned upon as unnecessarily dangerous.

After periods of particularly heavy rain, you might see the boards turn to red. The majority of the time, they remain on amber or green.

This trip down the Thames will depend the boards remaining off RED.

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Covid on the socially distanced cut – Dodford Meadows

Covid on the socially distanced cut – Dodford Meadows

Continuous cruising rules are back in operation, meaning I have to move. The boat, not my personage.

I’ve moved 2 stops down, skipping my usual stop in Weedon Bec.

I decided that the excess of pedestrian traffic around that area was probably best avoided at this time.

I’ve moved a little further to this spot which is closest to a village called Dodford. I call it Dodford Meadows.

I’m moored opposite Canna Mead Wharf‘s boat crane. Sometimes they lift the odd boat out here to do a bit of work on.

They have a day boat for hire nowadays, but no website.

There used to be more boats moored up here. Some of them appear to have moved off.

From 2017

I took this picture at the end of 2017. Actually, I’ve been here a few times.

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Covid on the Cut – May the 4th be with you

Covid on the Cut – May the 4th be with you

Now into my forth edition. 8 Weeks of solid lock down.

I’ve grown tired of the whisky….

The thoughts of it’s aftertaste are no longer a comfort.

Fresh brood of signets. Grand Union - Stowehill.
Fresh brood of signets. Grand Union – Stowehill.
View across Nene Valley toward Flore from the Grand Union Canal
Freshly ploughed field. Nene Valley toward Flore from the Grand Union Canal.

Increase in wildlife on the canal during lockdown

Other areas of the UK urban and city are increasing in terms of returning wildlife, the following area’s of the cut are seeing a re-surgence.

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Covid on the Cut – Grade 3

Covid on the Cut – Grade 3

Now into the third fortnight, sixth week of official lockdown figures.

Whisky

I have taken up drinking whisky. Under the circumstances, it seems like the only sensible thing to do…

Over the last 3 weeks I’ve bought the following single malt whiskies.

Cardhu Gold Reserve – £25 (Tesco)

Cardhu Single - Gold Reserve
Cardhu Single – Gold Reserve

After checking online reviews, I bought this one whilst in Tesco.
It’s a single malt, Speyside, 12 years matured.
The reviews seemed mostly positive at a quick scan whilst in the aisles…
Getting it home, I felt the packaging a bit bulky maybe even a bit tacky. Overstated may be a better word…
After a few sips, I found it a bit sweet, less smokey, complex flavors, a bit more up-front. Made it a bit more-ish, but I don’t think I’d buy it again.
Bit of a novelty perhaps. Not sure why it got all the good reviews. Glad I got it on offer. Not something I’d pay full price for.

Marks and Spencer Speyside Single Malt – £30

Marks and Spencer Speyside Single Malt

Got this one from the Independent’s top 10 Single Malt Whiskys Guide.

Initially, I was quite impressed with the strong flavor. It’s quite strong and heady and it does have that lingering smokiness and smoothness which seems to be the hallmark of most of the Speyside whiskies out there.

I’ve not finished this one yet. It is quite strong, flavor and alcohol wise, it’s not something you’d drink in a rush. So it’s still around.

Aldi – Glen Marnoch Highland – £17.98

Aldi - Glen Marnoch Highland

This one is one of three single malts sourced exclusively by Aldi.

Like many Aldi items, the quality is surprisingly good, better even than higher priced similar products.

In fact, having tasted all three single malts that Aldi currently sell in store, I would say that they are a better, more satisfying whisky.

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Top 10 Advantages of winter mooring in a Marina

Top 10 Advantages of winter mooring in a Marina

Yup.

That’s it for me. I’ve done my stint and from this Friday, (7th March), I’m back on the cut. Away from the protected environs of the marina and back out into the wilds.

Horray.!

Is it better to over-winter in a marina?

Here’s some of my positive and negative aspects of choosing one, or the other.

Advantages of the Marina over the Cut

  1. Electric. Easy and probably the only single reason I’d pick a marina over the cut is the electric.
    It’s in abundant supply, you can use as much as you want of it, and it doesn’t cost very much.
    Contrast this to starting of engines of one sort or another, it’s a greener and more pleasant way to spend those dark nights watching telly or using the computer.
  2. Post. All post is delivered to the marina office. Around Christmas, this is a massive thing allowing you to shop with alacrity.
  3. Parking. No more parking on the road, it’s all secure. Need your keys to get in and out and a short walk to the boat.
  4. Shelter. The boat is slightly more sheltered on the pontoons than areas you might be located on the cut.
  5. No mud. Serious business when you’re coming home from work or doing the shopping and got the towpath full of mud. Not so bad here on the GU, but down on the Kennet, there were definitely areas where the towpath was impassible.
  6. Personal care facilities. If you so wish, you can wash and ablute using the marina’s facilities.
  7. Shop/chandlers. To drop by and pick up things you may need in the future for the boat.
  8. Water-point/Elsan. Is right there! No fussing and planning trips to the waterpoint/elsan. Waterpoints are at the end of the pontoons, and the elsan is about 25yards away.
  9. No passing boats. I’m not one of those people that complains a lot about passing boats, but in certain circumstances, they can be detrimental in terms of noise or wake or collisions or all the above. This simply doesn’t happen in the marina.
    There are no speeding boats. Although the boats do speed around the marina, it has little or no impact on your boat.
  10. Deep charge batteries. For 4 months 24/7, your batteries will be receiving full charge courtesy of the marina hook-up.
    By the time you leave, they will have reached the maximum amount of charge that they can receive.
    From there on in, electrons in your battery electrolyte line up, so they’re all uniform, and ready for action!
    This can significantly improve the performance/life of your battery bank.
Gayton Junction, Grand Union
Gayton Junction, Grand Union

Advantages of the Cut over the Marina

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