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Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Well i`ve got the wind generator up and running. The Rutland 913 will put a charge into the batteries with a modest wind speed of 5 knots, just under 6mph. With a wind of say 28mph it should put in about 9 amps.
So far since trying it out the winds have not been great blustery but not continuse but still the batteries have gained at the end of the day even after using power all day. Don`t forget on a boat all your power comes from the batteries and the worst power consumer is the 12volt fridge/freezer, then you pump your shower water then pump the waste water overboard. Your cuppa needs pumped water to fill the kettle. The loo uses electric to flush, the radio/stereo all these things are taken for granted on land but on board you have to be aware of a limited supply. Anyway with the wind so far the generator has ended up putting back what i have used during the daytime plus a small amount on top. All this adds upto less running of the engine to charge the batteries. Fine if the wind`s blowing i hear you say, true so my next thing is to do some research on solar panels. The control box i have fitted to the wind genny also allows connection of a 100watt solar panel so no wind means the slar panel will help things along and if i get wind as well so much the better.
In the picture above you can see the mast is held firmly by metal guy lines that go down to the roof and in the picture below you can see the mast is held in place by a heavy duty metal bracket that allows the whole thing to be folded down onto the roof after two of the guy lines have been released at roof level, all done in less than 5 mins.
I have to thank daughter in law Bevs dad Alan for making the bracket from a picture of something similar and a few rough measurements i supplied. Thanks Alan it works a treat.
All that needs doing now is to tidy the cable by putting it into some plastic pipe and fixing same to roof.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Foxton Locks are on the Leicester Arm of the Gd. Union Canal and consist of two lots of 5 staircase locks with a passing pound in between. The rise is 75 feet and as you can see in the
picture from the top you get a panoramic view of the countryside. The locks opened in 1814 and passing through the flight takes about 45mins. Behind me at the very top stands what was once the lockeepers cottage, now a coffee shop, and next to it the original stable that gave the boat horses a well earned rest for the night. Nowadays it is used for school visits when it has information boards and seating for visitors to eat their sarnies.
On the right of the picture can be seen the museum that once housed the old boilerhouse that provided power for the Inclined Plane Boat Lift.
In the picture above that i snapped in the museum you can see how the boat lift operated.
Two metal troughs each carrying 2 narrow boats counter balanced each other taking boats up and down the slope. the power was via a steam engine.
The lift opened in 1900 to help speed up passage through the locks so that canal companys could compete with the railways for cargoe carrying. Sadly in 1911 with road transport being a huge competitor the lift closed to save money and boats reverted to the lock flight.
Below is all that`s left, just some of the track bases that carried the rails. It is hoped that with
fund raising and Lottery grants the boat lift can once again operate. A lot has been done around the site including clearing the slope so the tracks can be seen and at the bottom all the trees have been cut down so now the canal can be seen.

So i leave you with this view of the Foxton Locks Inn. Behind me the canal goes to Leicester, to the left Market Harborough and to the right is the entrance to the lock flight. Below the same view at night. The boat on the left nearest camera used to give horse drawn boat trips at w`ends but now sadly only for private bookings.

Night all.

Monday, September 17, 2007


HAPPY BIRTHDAY OZLEMOzlem is one of my 3 lovely daughters in law.
After a wet summer and all the flooding that made our cruising plans change we now find ourselves to far south. The plan each year is to come south to Bedfordshire/Hertfordshire to see the family at christmas time plus i am getting the boat out of the water early November to black the bottom but this year having to change the route a bit some time had to be used up.
So having gone down the South Oxford canal to just below Banbury we winded (turned round)
and as we came back through Banbury i took the above picture as i saw this same scene in a newspaper showing flood water rushing past Woolies back in June/July. Can`t remember the exact date as time means nowt to me.

Back up the Sth Oxford to Braunston stopping off at some lovely villages,Cropedy and Fenny Compton to name just two, then through Braunston tunnell and up the Leicester arm where i

spotted this bridge in need of some TLC but i suppose after the 200 plus years some of these structures have been around they will fall apart eventually.
Carrying on past Crick you can see below the new marina extension for 80 berths is well under way. Pity they hadn`t dug it earlier in the year the weather might have helped fill it.

Carried on to the outskirts of Leicester before turning back to Foxton and at the bottom of the locks turned onto the Market Harborough Arm. Two hours of twisting and turning through some beautiful countryside brought us into M.Harb` basin and a chance to stock the galley from the supermarkets in the town.
So returning to Foxton we stayed about a week which gave me a chance to have a good look around and get the wind generator installed. I`ll get some pics done for next time.

Goodnight all, sleep well, i always do.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


The Bygones museum has been created by Andrew Fox at Butlin Farm Claydon. It is easily accesed from the South Oxford Canal at bridge 145 and a walk of just a mile into the village will take you back in time.
The museum overlooks adjoining farm land and the views are fantastic. Also on site is a gift shop and a licenced restaurant.
Andrew Fox has gathered this wonderful collection of items from our past, and i saw tools that my dad had when i was a boy, from towns and villages in scrapyards and old stables, barns, attics, cellars and what were once thriving tradesmens workshops that like so many of our past skills have gone to sleep and to the far east!

Above is the old Granary now home to amongst many things a large collection of old Typewriters and Telex machines, that hit a note as my late wife Valerie was a Telex operator for Kodak that also springs up in a picture below.

Above rows of old shops have been re-created in one building at the museum and the windows of each shop are filled with the goods they sold as in the photographers window below. Also in yet another building that was once a milking parlour for 16 cows several different scenes are created and below is a 1920`s kitchen/scullery and other rooms include a carpenters workshop, an electricians repair room with some wonderful old appliances you thought you would never see again. In all 6 scenes even a Boatbuilders workshop. In the Barn pictured below can be found a Traction engine, road roller and many farm tractors.
Next to the barn another building houses many stationery steam driven engines and a collection of old machinery of all types.Well i`m certainly glad i discovered the Bygones museum and it was well worth the £2.50 entrance and after a relaxing sit down with a coffee i was ready to walk back to the boat.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Well here they are my new crew for a week, Jordan and brother Jack seen here on one of our walks at the top of Cracks Hill in Crick. They arrived with mum&dad (Andy/Bev) at Braunston

with enough clothes for a week and a half (wise mum) plus computer games, DS i think there called but then gramps is old, isn`t he Jordan!, and so they might be make up cases for all i know. So below we have Jack helping move the boat along to a gap in the hedge where they can get into the field and old grandad can watch them while they bravely venture to within 1/2 mile of some cows. Wish i was young and brave.

The picture below came about when grandad told them about boats being pulled by horses but nowadays the boats had engines, my big mouth, so what do they want to see?, the engine and then what? yes to get in the engine bay.
I told Jack boats had to be washed every week, cruel i hear you say, rubbish he couldn`t get the bucket filled quick enough.

Now this thing about female drivers, i can tell you this young lady was a lot better than her brother. Jack tended to push the tiller one way or the other there didn`t seem to be an in between position but Jordan had that gentle bit at a time touch.
So off we went up the Braunston flight and through the tunnell heading for Crick. Jack loved the tunnell but Jordan after showing her face briefly went and played on her game machine inside. Anyway after stops on the way of our months of cruising, well at the end it felt like months ok i was just plain tired and as Jordan said old we arrived at Foxton where i was due to be relieved of duty by mum & dad well in about 24 hrs time.
So off we went to the canal museum that sensibly only charges adults and lets 3 children in for nowt. Jack enjoyed operating the model of the inclined boat lift and they both had fun on the
mock up of a butty boat and after the pair had run around the museum and had a go at getting the boat through the model lock we had lunch at the top of the flight in the old lockeepers cottage that has been turned into a cafe.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Well it`s been a hectic week as i have had 2 of my grandchildren on board. Children near water is a dangerouse mixture and i spent all their waking hours watching them and i can tell you i was exhausted at the end of the week when mum&dad arrived to rescue me, but a near future blog will reveal the angels.
Also i am at present in the process of installing a wind generator, again more on this later.

This is one of the more common traders on the cut selling handpainted canal ware. Also stocked are boaters requirements like coal and rope fenders all made on board. Unusually this boat doesn`t sell diesel.

Graham Philips on board NB Tia sells Environmentally Responsible products. These include everything from washing the dishes, the boat and yourself.

Graham Varcoe has set up a bike shop on board NB Pennyfarthing and sells not only folding bikes but also your bog standard comfort cycle. He also does repairs and among the accessories he stocks are thorn proof tyres. He also has a land based shop in Leamington.

The floating bookshop on board NB Frenchlands II. Rosemary&Colin sell many second-hand & new books. Even found a book by one of my favorite authors Linda La Plant.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs