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Saturday, February 25, 2006


Well we arrived at Cow Roast lunchtime on Friday. The last 100yds or so upto the lock the canal was covered in very thin ice. We passed through the lock and winded after 2 attempts, not bad for the first time of winding 58` of steel. After dropping back down the lock we walked round to the chandlery and purchased an ash pole that proved very useful on the return trip when just before Berkhampstead we encounterd a very low pound and needed the pole to keep us moving. BW were in attendance and as we passed through Berkhampstead it was obviouse where the water had gone as the towpath was underwater in places.
Arrived back at Winkwell Sat morning and went off to see Sue`s Bedford Blues rugby team lose to nottingham in a very cold windy Bedford ground, still it was warm in the pub later when we had a meal.
Now making plans for next cruise but first want to do few things on board that came to light on the maiden voyage.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Woke up this morning to snow, not settling but a mini blizzard at times. Nothing was going to stop our first trip after being moored at the marina 10 days since taking over the boat. Most of this time had been spent loading possesions and shopping for bits and bobs like towel rail waste bin etc, those of you who have taken on a new build will know what we mean.
Anyway about 10.30 snow or not we were going and we did. Caste off and drifted across to the towpath side ready to enter our first lock at winkwell. Good job we drifted where we wanted as we could get no drive and after 5 mins of headscratching realised the f`ward/reverse control had a lift up to engage the drive, i was probably told all this but so much going into my brain at once i forgot. So off we go i set the lock opened 1 gate and SUE steered NB SELEUS into her 1st lock clean as a whistle didn`t touch the sides. Cleared the lock only to find winkwell bridge out of action and had to phone BW to send a crew out to open it by hand. This will be the case utill repairs are carried out on the 27th so be warned.
Several locks later entered Berkhampstead and dived into a pub "The Boat" and sat by the fire with 2 cups of hot coffee, yes i know pubs sell beer but we needed to have our wits about us on this our maiden voyage. Anyway fell out the pub 30mins later intoxicated by the warmth of the open fire and followed the ARGUS coal and diesel boat through the next lock, she was two abreast loaded with coal and soon stopped to service the needs of boats moored so we went past and decided to stop outside Waitrose for some nice crusty bread and use the cash machine.
Wish we hadn`t as when we came to caste off--nothing. Forwards backwards--nothing. Now remember this is the maiden voyage of 2 virgin boaters. So plenty of water movement when forward engaged so i thinks prop is revolving but just in case have a look down the weedhatch, ok be honest how many of you are laughing. Prop clear so i think are we aground, rocked the boat and it seemed fine so i phoned Phil the builder as he said phone and he will be with us if we get into bother- what us!-get in bother! You lot must be hysterical by now. Anyway he established on the phone after a few questions that we had run aground slightly at the very front end, but i knew that just testing him wasn`t i.
Off we go through the next lock and off i go to set the next one SUE doing a great job as captain only to find it padlocked. Seems they are locked by BW t about 5pm because of vandalism. OK no problem we will stay here the night. Tied up and put the tv aerial up when a chap comes along and says that the very short pound we are moored in quite often drains overnight so i pulled the boat back the short distance through the last lock and moored on the much longer pound below and that everyone is where we are blogging this and laughing i am sure as much as you. But we are happy and warm and had a hot meal and will not be waking up for work in the morning. Long post to-night but it has been quite a day.
Now you`ve laughed with us please leave some comment we do so appreciate it.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


From chaos to firelighting in one 24 hour period!! We came over on Friday evening after Sue finished work to spend our first weekend on board. Les had been very busy during the week assembling the chairs and chest of drawers, finding homes for some of the box-loads, and trebling the kitchen cupboard space by using Ikea wardrobe basketry! More to follow on this in the next blog!!
We'd cooked a casserole on Thursday so believed we only had to heat it and cook some veg to get a quick and nourishing meal on Friday night. WRONG!! The gas cooker kept going out unless the door was open - not much re-heating going on then. Vegs were nearly ready and Sue cursing the b****y oven. Plates warming in the grill (that kept warm when the jets were alight) and cold meat in the cass. READ THE HANDBOOK - oh! the jets need about 1/2 hour running to bed in. Finally it all came together and a lovely but late meal was taken.
An early night was planned, then 2 sets of instant messenger friends were spotted and we ended up chatting on line till late. Hope to meet up with them soon.
Up early for a major tidy up before the first of the weekend visitors arrived. The shower is very good, quick brekkie then Les lit the stove. Phil had said it would smoke a bit, but this was not too bad. The eco fan was soon spinning warmth all along the interior, Les fitted loo roll holder, towel rail and had just finished the shower shelf when Rachel + Chris arrived (Sue's neighbours) bearing champagne and 2 YES TWO cakes!! We had a smashing few hours chatting, snacking and demolishing the champers and culminated in starting the engine for the first time and Sue doing a roof walk to prove she'll be able to 'do the garden'!! The kingfisher which flew across in front of us all and landed on an adjacent boat was surely the icing on our 3rd cake!!
So very tired again now, but warm and content. Another busy days of family and friends tomorrow to look forward to!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

WHAT a day!!

Moving house is listed as one of the most stressful situations for a great percentage of people. Well, preparing to move to a narrowboat is now right up there in stress factor for us. On Friday last Les sold the van within hours of placing his advert, so we knew we had to arrange transport for today. Fortunately his son was able to help out, so the van duly arrived mid morning. All his boxes and bags loaded in good time, and with Sue frantically 'follerin' the van' down the M1 and avoiding the dreaded 'Magic Roundabout' we arrived to find Phil still not quite ready. (Typical boat builder!!)......but such a nice guy we had to forgive him and does'nt fresh lacquer smell good?
After unloading all aforesaid contents on the path a cuppa was decidedly necessary, only to discover we'd forgotten to bring milk, so Les had to track down the local cow. Boxes started filling up all that beautiful floor, Phil had taken his last minute photos and van returned to base, leaving us to start unpacking. At this point Sue decided there was not enough cupboard space, so next on the 'to do' list is finding those clever additional slidey shelf thingys to add to the HUGE kitchen cupboards. Any tips on whose are best? (ta, in advance!).
Nothing to sit on between emptying one box and starting the next except the steps - God are they hard when you're getting tired, so finally we decided we'd done enough for the first day, retired to the Three Horseshoes for the days special of roast beef and all the trimmings. Just exactly hit the spot!!
Tomorrow, with Les now insured to drive Sue's tiny Polo (tiny compared to the now departed large German tank) will take Sue to what should hopefully be the last few days of commercial work, then return to make up the lovely armchairs and chest of drawers. We plan to stay over on Friday night, have another serious sort out during Saturday, by which time more boxes will have been taken in and dealt with, then convene OPEN DAY on Sunday for family and friends.
We've christened hob, sink and loo, turned on and off the heating and lights, had a quick lesson on all the other switches, guages and stuff and promised Phil we'll read, learn and inwardly digest all the handbooks ready for his exam at the end of the week. 'How to turn the engine on' will surely follow? Then what? Oh boy, is this fun living or what?
We're totally knackered right now, pills are just lightening Sue's headache so its off to bed, and do watch this space.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

last knockings

Well here are the latest pics taken today. We are due to take possesion on saturday. Phil (builder) is just adding the final touches which includes lacqering some wood trims so time of drying between coats pushes handover day to saturday. Anyway we are in no hurry in fact we have arranged to moor at the yard for the first month to do a few short trips to break us in gently. Also have to sort sue`s house sale and sell my van and as the yard is only 25mins away it makes sence.
We will be moving a lot of stuff onboard monday and having the fun of finding space for it all.
Keep a tab on the blog and will let you blog watchers know how the move and handover goes.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs