Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dog Sitting in Kent

While Derwent6 was being looked after by Pat and Keith ( Del's mum) we were down in Kent for our two weeks holiday looking after Dog Molly, two cat's and a pond full of fish for our friends Steve and Erica who went on their holiday to Florida. It gives us a break from the canals, but we must say we seem to miss it after about three days. It is also a great reminder of the chores of living in a house with things like housework, grass cutting, car cleaning etc. etc. etc............... We also take the opportunity to see as many of our friends and family as possible, in between walking the dog twice a day. It also gave us some real quality time with our god kids Tanya and Zak, who are now both driving. The whole thing kicked off with an afternoon and evening with Len (Del's Dad) as it was his 74th Birthday. We met up with Cliff and Lou, Deb, John and Dale, and Kerry. We had a lovely meal down by the seaside.

We then got the train up to London for the day with Maxine and Graham, with a walk through Hyde Park, and had lunch at Hard rock Cafe. We then proceeded to the BBC studios at Shepard's Bush as Maxine had got us tickets to see the show Frank Skinners Opinionated. If anyone watched it we were actually on it for about two seconds.

We also had a lovely time out with Bernie and Sarah, Maxine and Graham, Tanya and Hannah on a music night in Charlton.

We had another day out and were treated to another lovely meal out with friends Zoe and Greg for the help we gave them at their wedding six months ago now. Sorry we forgot the camera!!

We also had another Birthday yesterday as it was Tanya's 20th and we had another meal out at The Beeches restaurant.

We had a fabulous time while we were down and we are sorry for the people we never got round to seeing, and a big thank you to Steve and Erica for letting us use their house and car.

We really did miss Derwent6 and it was great to get back on board.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

28 Years Strong

Today is our 28th Wedding Anniversary and we woke up to a cup of tea and a few presents.

We have had just the most fabulous twenty eight years anyone could have, and long may it continue. We are so lucky to have so many friends that support us and family that care for us.

But in all it is because we are so happy together and now we are having real quality time with each other.

Lots of love and thanks to everyone x

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hickery Dickery out the Dock

We got up early as we didn't know when we were going to be told that we were going to be afloat again. Del wanted to get the Bow and Stern buttons back in position and also check the rudder, and re-grease the bearings. We also wanted to add a de-rusting additive to the bilge as it was now dry. The guys at the marina then pulled out the planks and we started to fill with water and soon Derwent6 was floating again. We pulled out with ease and soon noticed the extra power of the new Axiom propeller. In fact it felt strange, you could feel Derwent6 really being pulled through the water. The great thing was that stopping power was very much improved, and it was still very easy to moor up Derwent6.

We spent the rest of the day getting the dust off the roof and side panels and it must be getting close to Spring as the barrels went back on the roof. We just had some time to take in the sunshine with a great view from the cratch.

We then saw Alan and Frances on n.b Lazy Days and they pulled up in front of us. We made a plan to meet them in the pub but we had already been invited on to Pat and Keith's boat, n.b. Thema for something to eat. We would try to meet up later in the evening if possible, but due to a few bottles of wine and not finishing eating till 9.45pm it never happened. We had a lovely meal with Pat and Keith and was pleased to hear about their little win on the horses...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dry Dock third day

We were up early again this morning and making the most of our time in dry dock. Oh! just a reminder...... make sure you've got plenty of pain killing tablets on board if you are doing your own blacking lol...

The first coat had dried nicely overnight so the first thing we did was give it a quick rub down to take off some of the rough edges and also it gives the second coat a key in case it was damp on the surface.

We then rubbed down the bands at the stern and added the primer. We also removed the weed hatch for painting. We then both gave Derwent6 a second coat. We found the sponge rollers better than the cloth ones, as they leave loads of bits in the paint surface.

We then finished the red and white bands on the stern and did all the last minute touching up.After cleaning up brushes and sorting out the workshop, we were all done by around 5.30pm and had a well earned drink in the pub. We ended up having fish and chips as well for all our hard work.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

First Coat and a New Propeller

We were up at 6.30am and Del was out prepping up the other side of Derwent6. It took up most of the morning and then the shell was ready for the black stuff. Derwent6 has been blacked in Colvex VT which is a Vinyl Tar which gives off strong fumes. We were given masks to wear by the Wharf guys and boy did we need them. We started at the bow and made our way to the stern. Al worked her way down with the roller and Del followed with the brush. This worked quite well and we were all done by 5.00pm. We only stopped for lunch and when Alan and Dave turned up from Axiom Propellers.

What was wrong with the propeller you might ask? Well absolutely nothing, but Alan and Dave wanted to see what the prop looked like after two years on the cut, as we were one of the first continuous cruisers to have one fitted. We had hit a few shopping trolleys and had rather large lumps of rope wrapped round it, both of which stopped the Beta 50. It had been cutting up ice and the odd lump of wood, but to all of our amazement it was still in pretty good shape. Alan and Dave had turned up with another prop as they wanted to take our one away to run tests on it's performance on the test bed, and also show potential customers what it looked like after two years cruising. Anyone interested will be able to see our propeller at the Crick Boat Show on the Axiom stand.
Anyway it meant we were having a new prop. So we now have dropped a size from a 19" diameter to a 18", but we now have the Mk2 version which has a bit more power... we are very excited about how it will perform. Watch this space!!!!As the blacking was drying tonight we were not able to shower on Derwent6 as the water will run down the sides and ruin all the good work done. We have got extension pipes in all the holes in the hull but they still tend to leak so we won't be taking any chances. We are lucky enough here to have the luxury of using Pat (Del's mum) and Keith's house for a shower. In fact we really took advantage and had a long hot soak in the bath, something we hadn't done for a long time....

We then went back to Derwent6 relaxed and knackered!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

In for Blacking

We set of early as we had to be at Welford Wharf for 8.30am because Derwent6 was going in for blacking today. The mist was a bit thick but we got through Welford lock and managed to reverse up onto the water point, fill with water and wait for the nod to go into the dry dock.
We reversed in and then the water was drained out of the dock which took a hour and a half. While this was taking place we got changed into our old clothes and got out the scrapers and wire brushes ready for action. When we were down to about a foot of water the power washer was already knocking off the scum on the hull. It is best to do this while it is wet as it comes off easier. While we were doing this Jo and Keith on n.b Hadar (see link) nearly joined us in the dock as their seventy foot coal boat just manages to turn here. We arranged to meet later!

Then it was out with the scrapers and wire brushes to get rid of the barnacle like bits which had attached to the hull. This was the hardest bit because as the hull dried it was really hard to get off. We only managed to get one side done before it got dark but the prep was going well. As we were on shoreline we also managed to get all our washing up to date and even washed the duvet cover.

We then had a shower before we headed off over to the Wharf Inn pub (a handy 100 metres away) for a long catch up with Jo and Keith on what had gone on over the past year. It was good to see Keith looking so well again.......They were waiting to lock up by the time we had finished.

We are still able to live on Derwent6 as they have given us a key to gain access to the workshop. So it was straight to bed for a early start in the morning.....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Getting ready for the shed

It was another hard frost last night and it was a good job we kept the fire in. We have got it down to just four coals now which seem to just last enough for us to get a few logs on in the morning to keep Derwent6 warm.

The sun came out and Derwent6 was creaking and groaning with the heat on one side and it still covered in ice on the other. Del decided that the gunwales on the starboard side were not bad enough yet to paint the whole side. So we ended up just touching bits in and rubbing a few bits down to make it look good. We thought we had better not move today, so we could let the paint dry. The wind picked up a bit and we had to pick a few leaves out but it will be ok. We are now ready for the shed tomorrow...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Invited to Sunday Lunch

We were up early as we wanted to turn Derwent6 around and get on the same spot where we are, here at the end of the Welford Arm.

We wanted to start work on the starboard gunwales but just as we were about to start it started to rain. We managed to do some degreasing but that was about it. We could see the sun trying to come out but we had an appointment for lunch, so after a quick shower, and bottle in hand, we walked into Welford.

There we met Pat (Del's mum) and Keith who were on n.b. Thema in the marina. We were invited for Sunday lunch, an opportunity not to be missed. It was lovely to meet up again after being stuck the wrong side of Atherstone locks for the winter, and we had loads to talk about.
We left at 5.15pm with clear blue skies, and got back to Derwent6 just in time to run the engine for a hour before it got dark. We watched Dancing on Ice on telly with ice forming on the windows outside. We were warm and toasty though.........

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Painting the Gunwales

We had lovely sunshine when we surfaced and we also had seven boats here with us, but one by one they all disappeared and left us all alone. This gave us the chance to do some jobs and one of them was to make some noise and cut up some wood. As we are on a low edge here we then decided to paint the gunwales.. This took up the rest of the day as we had to degrease them and then rub them down before we painted them. Luckily it clouded over, but never rained until late in the day. We will have to turn round tomorrow to do the other side, weather pending.

We cleaned the chimney, and then watched the football in the afternoon (yes, it's been a bad couple of weeks). A film in the evening to take our minds off the result!

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Long Six Hour Cruise

We left sharp at 8.00am today and the wind had dropped slightly and the sun was out. We made our way to the Watford flight which has no lock keeper at this time of year. Al checked the way was clear before we headed up the staircase. Del has still not managed to turn Derwent6 into lock three without hitting the wall here, and a few items were dislodged inside Derwent6, but no damaged done. We've tried it slow, and we've tried it fast, but we haven't tried stopping yet! We will manage it one day, perhaps one of those bow thrusters would have been handy here lol. (Did we really say that!)

We cruised passed one of our favourite spots and soon got to the very wet Crick tunnel. We then reached Crick where we were surprised to see Edwards restaurant had been changed to The Moorings bar and restaurant. We stopped and Al got some provisions from the Co-Op while Del wiped down the roof to stop all those white bits you get after going through a tunnel.

Just as we pushed off Jo and Keith on n.b. Hadar came round the corner on their coal run. We knew we would be seeing them later in the week so we quickly arranged a meet and went on our way. We still had a four hour cruise ahead and the weather was getting windy and cloudy and it was also feeling a lot colder again. It just seemed as though we had this section of canal all to ourselves, it was lovely. We were quite sad to see five sheep had fallen into the canal and we had to maneuver Derwent6 through them. :-(

We were getting quite weary by the time we moored at Welford and it was nice to get in by the warmth of the log fire. With glowing faces and exhausted from our six hour cruise, we chilled for the rest of the day with one of Al's Friday night Curry's.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Windy at Norton

We woke up this morning to forty mile a hour winds and so it was no go for us today, with the canal so choppy..Why should we risk it.!! We took a walk down the closed Buckby flight of locks and went to the Chandlers at Wilton marina. We noticed the new lock gates and beams had been fitted. We picked up a new loo filter and some more paint for the gunwales from the chandlers. On the walk back the BW workmen were having their tea break (as usual), and we asked when the locks would re-open. "Should still be tomorrow" was the reply... There seemed a lot of tidying up to do if they were going to fill the pounds by tomorrow. When we got back Del changed the filter and also sorted out the stern gland tube which was leaking grease.

In the evening we met up with Hilary and Andy on n.b. Masibert in the New Inn pub for a few drinks. It was lovely to catch up.

We got back to Derwent6 at around 11.15pm and it was bed for us as we wanted a early start in the morning.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Back on Home Ground

With rain overnight the weather looked a bit iffy, but we set off with a long day planned. We made our way along the Barby Straight and were shocked that the new Barby marina is still not finished. Rumour has it that they have run out of money, but we did see a excavator working on it. Must have been the owner!!!

We then got to Barby Hill and saw bloggers Sue and Vic on n.b. no problem and long time no see Les on n.b. Valerie, so we pulled over for a hour for a chat.

Les is on cloud nine at the moment and it was so refreshing to see him so happy, with all the bad things going on round the world. He came on board for a cup of tea and a catch up, and he never stopped smiling. We said our goodbyes and we all pulled the pins and Sue and Vic followed us up to Willoughby, where we passed Chas and Ann on n.b. Moore2life We then got to old hunting grounds of the rolling pastures and the lambs playing in the fields. As we approached Braunston we passed n.b. piston broke (yep we saw them all today!!) It started to rain, well a quick shower as we passed through Braunston and we stopped and picked up some things in the Chandler's. The sun came out again and we decided to fill with water and make our way through the locks. They were all against us but we paired up with another boat and got through them quite quickly.When we got to the top we noticed all the work had now been done at the tunnel entrance, and it looked nice, but was shocked to see all that work on the towpath had still not sorted out the flooding, so you still can't walk along there without getting your feet wet.Another waste of good licence money.

We didn't meet anything in the tunnel and the wind had dropped at the other side. It was lovely cruising as the sun set on our backs. We turned at Norton Junction, and knowing Buckby Locks were closed we were amazed to see a slot to moor for the night here. Derwent6 squeezed in quite nicely. In the evening we watched Spurs show Arsenal how to get into the last eight of the Champions league.