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Saturday, October 31, 2009

THOUGHTS of FREEDOM

Been moored here at Marsworth for 25 days and as my back is much much better the urge to once again be free to cruise is getting stronger. Although the mooring here is 14 days max the BW guys who rescued me said they would make sure those that needed to know would be informed and for me not to worry about overstaying and just give the back time to heal. One of them has even stopped by to ask how i was and also to take away my rubbish.

Friday last with the inboard water tank near empty i decided to go down through one lock to take on water and empty the toilet cassettes and return to the same mooring. Apart from the need to get water it would also give me an idea how i felt doing a lock, glad to report all went well and i can`t explain how good it felt cruising the boat just a few hundred yards turning and reversing onto the water point.
Perhaps in the next couple of days l`ll make a move very slowly away from here to pastures new with a different view through the windows.

The Aylesbury arm was my original destination but that will have to be a future cruise although
l have walked along part of it and visited the end by bus so perhaps i might do a blog on the arm even if it might be cheating not having cruised it......yet.

Two of the g`children(Jordan & Jack) paid a very short visit and we visited the Natural History Museum in Tring. The museum houses on 3 floors the vast collection of Lionel Walter Rothschild and was gifted to the nation in 1937 by the Rothschild family.
Jack and Jordan joined the other half-term visitors armed with clip boards and questionnaires printed for all ages on a tour of the museum seeking the answers the reward on the way out being a stamp on the bottom of the sheet. With free entry i wasn`t at all surprised by the large number of children running around and sprawled across the floor filling in the answers so if you as adults want to visit avoid the school breaks.

Regular readers of the blog will be aware of Mike Perham the youngest person to sail solo round the world and this Thursday(5th Nov) the Cutting Edge programme on C4 is about Mike`s voyage.

Quite a long time ago i added on the right of the page the NeoCounter that has so far recorded 16,879 visits from 74 countries. I wonder how many of those visits were accidental with people using search engines for say a boat cruise holiday or whatever. Also did any of them across the world carry on following the blog? Come on readers if you are following the blog from outside the UK let me know. From e mails i get i do know of some but there must be lots of people who read but never comment or make contact so if you are one.....let me know.

The other 2 stat counters on the blog are Top 100 boat sites and UK waterway sites showing my positions as 78 and 40 respectively. I have been higher in the past but hey it`s not a competition, well not for me anyway, so why do we bloggers put them on our sites. Are we a competitive bunch having entered want to be top dog, the winner or the best. If you think it through none of these can be right as we all provide links to other blogs (fellow competitors) be a bit like Tesco encouraging people to go to Asda never to return. Ok i hear the question.....well for a long time i had none of the stat counters on the blog and as more appeared on other blogs i did wonder how i would fare in the tables plus they cost nowt to run and........all right yes i did hope to be higher than others i suppose. But why! It`s not like the football league where the top teams have played better to gain top positions, top viewed blogs are of a style that more people like to read similarly perhaps more love stories are read than crime the authors are both good just that more readers like a particular style.
Oh heck it`s all getting complicated so hello to all my readers however many just glad you enjoy my wittering.

Just reading back this post so far and it`s not my usual style but things have been a tad unusual of late and i just felt i needed to do a blog and have been at a loss what to write.
Dug out some figures that might be of interest, over the last 12 months i have used;

967 litres of diesel £1.15 propulsion & £0.72 rebated (12 months ago)
£1.11 -- & £0.64 -- (October)

5 bottles of gas (5th still in use) Last one cost £21- 80

4 engine oil changes about £20 each

2 G`box oil changes about £8 each (ATF fluid)

I do not keep any other records so no idea of number of locks or miles travelled other than it`s one hell of a lot but those locks and miles have taken me to many beautiful and interesting places and i don`t regret a single lock/mile or litre of fuel that has given me this wonderful life.



Just leave you with these 2 evening shots the first shows Jack & Jordan up on the reservoir.
Thanks again to you all.












Monday, October 19, 2009

FEELING BETTER

Well i`m glad to say the back is mending and i have moved back on board Nb Valerie. Still some pain so the orders of the family is to stay put and no cruising for a while.

I must say a big thankyou to all of you for your good wishes not just on the blog but also the people that E mailed.

Today i managed a bus ride into Aylesbury just for a change of scenery and noticed a stoppage just near to the canal basin which together with the big notice here by the entrance to the arm stating it will be closed off fully from the 2nd November means the cruise to Aylesbury is off for this year.

Thanks again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ON SICK LEAVE

Friday was a day of 1st`s.
1st ride in an ambulance
1st day off the boat through bad health

It all started on Thursday when i lifted my generator back on board after the Boat Safety test, not a problem no pain so carried on with life as normal. Couple of hours later set off to go through a few locks and the pain in my back started and the last lock paddle was wound on my hands and knees.

Fast forward to Friday AM and i couldn`t stand up without holding onto something and dragging my feet along. Moving through the boat i missed a hand hold namely the back of a chair and crashed to the floor. My head hit the top step at the front door, shoulder landed on the second step and the rest of me just stopped dead. The pain in my back was un - believable and i couldn`t move at all and i don`t mind admitting i was real scared. All i could do was push the front doors open and attract the attention of a passer by who got help from 2 BW men working on a lock just behind the boat.

The BW men were stars and in no time at all they had an ambulance and paramedic car very near to the towpath after opening up some gates and meeting the vehicles at the road.
25 mins later after a lot of painkilling gas and checking my spine they all collectively had me sitting up and 15 mins later half carried and dragged me up a grassy slope into the ambulance.

The hospital doc determined i had badly ripped a muscle at the base of the spine made worse by the fall and said i wouldn`t be allowed to leave until the painkillers they gave me and a bit of massaging enabled me to stand on my own 2 feet so the next 6 hours were spent in A&E.

So folks a big thank you to BW ( i`ll be searching them out when back on the boat) and the medical help both canal side & at the Hospital.

At the moment i am taking it easy land side at one of the boy`s houses hobbling around slowly.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

UPDATE...still blogging

Thought it time to update the blog although not to much has happened lately and i haven`t travelled any great distances. So sitting here on a wet afternoon having just fired up the stove with a couple of logs I`ll update you.

Normally i would be down south early November to be near family for Christmas but for personal reasons the journey south has been earlier this year and the intention was to go into London and up on the rivers Lee & Stort coming back late November. But the life of a continuous cruiser is the ability to change plans as and when you want.

Two years ago, click the link pictures much the same as this blacking Nov 12th 2007 Nb Valerie was hauled out of the murky depths of the Grand Union so that i could black her hull and so the time has come to lavish some TLC on her again in the hope that she would carry on giving the pleasure i have enjoyed in the past years. My chosen location for the blacking is once again Cow Roast as i find the open ended shed ideal with no worry of the rain stopping the painting and plenty of air flow to speed the drying between coats. Pressure washer and electric hook up and all boaters services make for an ideal location plus i can still get a Sky signal, yes Andy/Tina it is possible with dish re-location.

So with several w`end slots available i continued south with the Lee/Stort in mind stopping off here and there for a few days reaching Watford(Cassio Brg) where a week passed with visits to family and a cruise to Rickmansworth with 2 of the grandchildren who were allowed to bring mum & dad along brought me back to Cassio and that is where the plans changed. A boat turned up with a lady, yes ok i can hear you all but it`s not like that at all, who with the help of family and friends had managed to get her newly purchased boat through London to be near her home and was making her way to Cow roast to have some work done on the boat. It turned out the people selling the boat had failed to show the workings of the equipment on board and she was in need of some help. I managed to sort a few things out including cutting off the padlock after she left the keys on board one night, done that myself, and so i decided to travel back to Cow Roast with her and her daughter as they hadn`t actually operated any locks themselves and having booked my w`end slot for blacking Nb Valerie set off.
Lucy and daughter Phoebe thanks for the meals and i hope we stay friends and meet up again sometime.

So sitting here alone again the boat having just gone back in the water after applying 3 coats of blacking my thoughts are a trip along the Aylesbury arm which will be virgin waters for me.
While i was here i decided to get a Boat Safety Certificate test, bit like an MOT on cars. The certificate lasts 4 years and this would be my 1st test as the boat was covered for the 1st 4 yrs by a Recreational Craft Directive- Certificate of conformity issued by the builder. The test was done yesterday and covers things like ventilation, electrical wiring, fuel lines and most important in my opinion the gas system to name just a few. The cost was £130 but remember it lasts 4yrs and i don`t know the cost of MOT`s but i imagine 4 MOT`s equates about the same. Anyway i am glad to say Nb Valerie passed with flying colours.

Other bloggers heading south are Del & Al on Derwent6 who came aboard for a couple of coffees and a long chat having not seen each other for a few months. Thanks for the help with the little electrical problem guys.
The following day gave me time to chat with Ian from NB Nobby over tea who i last saw over a year ago, it`s so nice to meet up with people every now and again and exchange travel stories.

Still raining so a couple more almost free logs - just a little petrol for the chainsaw now and then- go on the fire and i`m warm and cosy with just a memory of those big winter gas bills in the house.
Now i`ve up- dated you all i will leave you with a few pics of things along the way and all being well the next blog will be along the Aylesbury Arm.


Just 16 feet long!


Solar powered hot water.

Just one of the huge Carp in the canal.


Kingfisher gives a rare pose.



The Herons are always up for a picture.


Lucy posing.



Here come the girls.


Up up and away in my beautiful balloon.

My Boat Safety Certificate