Time to Fix the Stove.

Summer maintenance of the multi fuel stove is a task most boat owners put off, like me, until the last minute.

The flue was swept on an earlier sunny day so it remained to replace the firebricks and the broken glass in the door.

The door glass accidentally cracked, to be fair the glass was due for replacement as it had started to look like crazy paving which is a sign that the glass could shatter at some point. The bricks were worn and cracked and replacements were purchased end of April, from a canal side chandlers at the Middlewich/Trent & Mersey junction.

I enquired about a replacement glass and was staggered to find locally a small piece of glass  priced at almost £40.00!

Boaters who C.C. understand the problems related to goods shipped to an address when cruising the network! I spoke with the staff at Skipton Post Office and confirmed I could have a package delivered to the Post Office for colection.

During yesterday morning I sourced a replacement glass from fastglassdirect.co.uk  in Aberdeen, at half the local price with free 1st class postage. A user friendly website,  easily identified the glass for our stove and placed my order. Gave Fast Glass the address and waited….

This morning a mobile call from Skipton P.O confirmed the package was with them!  Ordered at 1.20pm from Aberdeen and delivered to Skipton by 11.00am the following morning………..Well done the Post Office! Well done Fast Glass Direct!

While the rain *issed down this afternoon the glass and fire bricks were installed, …..out of the rain a little sunshine..etc..job done! (I will give the stove a clean tomorrow)


Wet dog in a narrow boat!

Well looks like we have missed the summer here in Yorkshire, The rain gods have taken to thoroughly washing the area. It has not stopped raining hard for 24 hours and there is more forecasted.

We are moored in a convenient spot with access to the town and country park, but with everywhere awash and the towpath under water attempts to keep the inside of the boat dry are challenging……Even more so, when needs must Rusty has to step outside. The only folk in the park are other dog owners all faced with similar problems……Joggers and baby buggies are all absent.

Returning to CYAN and avoiding transfer of rainwater and mud from the deck into the salon is a problem, add to that Rusty shaking hard to dry his coat is a nightmare! He then ventures into the boat and finds a suitable place to dry out, all 40 kgs of him…………Just hope the sun will return soon to Yorkshire…….

Looks like we will need to light the fire tonight…..ahhhh thats another story.

A Scramble Up The Diggle Flight…In The Rain

Classic boaters dilemma, we need to be at the Standedge portal by 11.30 a.m. Wednesday, but it is hissing down, and we are at the bottom of the Diggle Flight….Hmmmm.

Stay put and hope for ‘better’ weather tomorrow for an early morning dash up the flight? Or do we bite the bullet and scramble up the flight in the rain, with a promise of a hot shower and an overnight near to the portal?

After a morning walk with Rusty in the rain I felt  it was worth pushing on today, after all we both returned wet through…..

As we left our overnight mooring, below lock #24, the Greater Manchester weather gods decided to show what they could do!

The clouds covered most of the views of Saddleworth Moor as I walked the flight of 9………poignant and fitting; following the news about the demise of Ian Brady. The rain was relentless……

Jen and Rusty stayed on board while I wielded the windless, the locks are so close together it is easier to walk than jump on and off the boat.

After 2+ hours we reached the top, and the aqueduct mooring before Standedge Portal beckoned.

Weather note, once we had secured CYAN the rain promptly stopped!

CYAN snuggled up on the aqueduct….


Saddleworth revealed at last, feels like we are on top of the world

The Standedge Portal at Diggle awaits…..tomorrow

Amazing portal gates securing the tunnel access


The tunnel rules and advice

Another wonderful achievement by Thomas Telford

Mayday Bank Holiday- staying put!

Early this morning it was ‘misling’ but mild. After dog walking it was decision time. Soon there was water traffic in both directions and our overnight neighbours prepared to set off. That’s it then, no point in joining the bank holiday scramble so we were staying put…….’cause we can! Time to catch up on emails and other tasks while the world rushed by…..then……the phone rang!

‘Where are you?’ It was Ian and Denise gongoozling at Bosley lock flight which is only about 8 miles by road from our mooring in Scholar Green. ‘We are about 2 days from you but about 20 minutes by road’……See you soon then….

Quick scurry around CYAN to tidy up, as you do,  then there was a knock on the side of the boat, Ian, Denise and their dog JoJo had found our mooring. Great to see old friends again.

Brief tour of the boat, well a walk from one end to the other is brief, then off to the ‘Rising Sun’.

Sat outside with drinks and dogs being on best behaviour, then the sun made an appearance. Gloriously warm sunshine and banter with friends on a bank holiday, what is there not to like! The food was soon delivered and all consumed, 5 stars to the chef’s…………

All to briefly they had to leave and we returned to the boat with a promise to meet up again when we get to Marple Top Lock.

Post lunch Snooker on the TV followed by Liverpool v Watford completed a super day……..back out on the cut tomorrow, once the waterway has quietened down, heading north towards the Pennines.

0 Locks 0 miles

Left The Monty On A Soggy Wet Day

We stayed put last night as it was raining from 3pm. Today it was softly raining from early light, and continued until well after 3 pm! Typical bank holiday weather……..

We had a travel slot for today; we had to be at the Welsh Frankton locks by 12.00 noon to get up the flight, and onto the Llangollen again. Nothing for it but to push on in the rain…… Stopped off at the services arm to water up, and deposit the rubbish in the C&RT skip. The challenge is that on this arm off the Monty, there is no place to wind (turn around) the boat, the only way out is to reverse the way you came in.

Those who boat know that reversing is an art form, and when other boats are nearby they prove to be a magnet or collision hazard. As I was being observed closely from behind twitching curtains the nerves were jangling…..

Madra Mia…….without touching the sides we moved slowly backwards to the main channel, and headed off towards the lock landing to await our passage onto the Llangollen, with chest out and a sense of pride in not hitting anything or anyone!

We found others waiting in the rain, we were number 5 in the typical British queue……that’s one thing we can teach the world….how to form an orderly queue!

It was impossible to get close to the bank due to low water in the canal, so Jen held onto the centre line (in the rain) while Rusty and I maintained a management position on board!!!!!!

After some delay we moved forwards to take our turn at ascending the lock flight. The locks are fairly deep and water cascades past the gates……while the boat is at the bottom! It was great to reach the last lock and make contact with the Volunteer Lockie Chris, handling the staircase locks.


Back onto the Llangollen and heading off towards Ellesmere moorings…….Tesco’s tomorrow for provisions!

Fair Exchange Was Robbery!

After April 1st when her indoors felt we needed to ‘exchange’ duties, i.e. “Your turn to work the locks!”, my shoulders recovered well from the 5 locks down at Adderley that day. “Are you fit to continue?” she asked!  Yes Mam ready to go again. I should have known that there was a catch….hmmmm. Just about a mile from our overnight came the first of 15 locks in the Audlem flight! Male pride, ego, stubbornness or what, this was a challenge not to be passed over!

The sun was up as we reached the first lock which was set against us, the chamber had to be filled before we could descend to the lower level. Lots of windless twirling later we were off….. Another lock, and we came across a boater coming UP the locks….., so we now had lock chambers full, no need for windlass twirling before descending, great!

Under Bagley Lane Bridge (#76) the full extent of the Audlem flight came into view. Oh my giddy aunt!

Windlass twirling is a very sociable occupation, I met several ladies, doing ‘men’s work’, pausing for a chat, tips on best lock technique, things to observe during our planned voyage. There was an ‘Honesty Box’ half way down the flight, with free range eggs and cakes for sale. Just leave the money in the cashbox……..

I had started the day with 3 layers of clothing, but by now I was down to tee shirt and jeans. As the locks are fairly close together it is impractical to ride, so walking to the next lock is the norm…….., I didn’t realise I would be walking the mile and a half to Audlem as well as windlass twirling. It was at this point I realised the exchange of duties was robbery!

Under Audlem bridge before lock 13 there appeared a pub! The Shroppie Fly, I insisted we moor up and take some well earned refreshment, well it would be rude not too 🙂

Oh no the pub was closed?

Change of management or something, but it was securely locked on a gloriously sunny Sunday lunchtime!

Fortunately there was an alternative source of refreshment, the Bridge Inn was serving Marstons……..

Suitably refreshed we returned to CYAN and ready to take on the last 3 locks. As we were about to board a stranger approached us, enquiring about the boat, how long had we been on the network. All the usual questions boat owners like to talk about! This polite, neatly turned out gentleman (John) was from the ‘Friends of the Canal & River Trust’. It was like the moment at motorway services when the ‘AA’ man asks you ” Are you a member sir?” We were hooked!

Twenty minutes later we were signed up for a £5 monthly donation to the trust and given badges, books, leaflets and magazines. Well it is for a good cause eh……., well done John, excellent sales technique ……

The final 3 locks were accompanied by several Gongoozler moments, it was warm sunshine, a Sunday afternoon, and they were a friendly lot. One couple had just moved to Audlem and didn’t know there was a canal nearby! We discussed the history and engineering and they vowed to take out a hire boat to try boating for themselves!

Completed Audlem Locks

At last Lock 15………yes. Now for some TV footy and a relax with a can or two

Aston Marina What A Great Place To Moor Up!

Motored on the Trent & Mersey for  2 miles, reaching the entrance into Aston Marina. We had reserved a berth from 10th till 14th December. Wow what a great place to moor up! The 7 day reception was warm and friendly, lovely farm shop and bistro. Everywhere clean and tidy, mooring pontoons ample, non slip and secure. With large areas to exercise Rusty. Top marks for a top marina.

Once again Mr Tesco found our location and delivered, on time….

Weather has been mixed, and I just had to include an image of the sun setting over the marina on Sunday 11th December, nature is always capable of springing a surprise and it did not disappoint.



Jen has used the excellent laundry facility to get our washing dry. Always a problem on board when outdoor drying is not possible.

Meanwhile time to get decorations up, on-line shopping finished, and Christmas cards written and sent before we head off on Wednesday.


Snuggled up in Great Haywood Marina

Having navigated the icy conditions on the Coventry we motored north west on the Trent and Mersey towards our intended destination, Tattenhall Marina, where we plan to spend the festive season.

The ‘Pramhood’ is ready to be fitted and we arranged to spend a few days in Great Haywood Marina while Peter Roberts completed the installation.

So glad we settled into the Marina as the weather is still very cold and we have both been struck down with heavy colds. Typically Jen has almost recovered but my ‘Man Flu’ is proving to be stubborn, and has developed into Bronchitis…….treatment involves keeping warm and consumption of regular hot toddies, I know it’s tough but..etc..

The Pram Hood looks great and fits beautifully…..Peter’s attention to detail and his careful installation really shows in the finished article.

With the cover in place it was a good opportunity to get down the engine ‘ole and change the oil and filter. By the look of the oil drained from the sump, this job that should have been done weeks ago! Tips picked up during the Willow Wren Diesel Engine Training Day proved very useful, including wearing of gloves to prevent skin contact with waste oil! I only have one issue and that is how to dispose of 6 litres of waste oil? The chandlers sell fresh oil but do not have a facility for the waste oil…..for the moment the oil is ‘stored’ below the deck in a suitable container……

Now the weather is rapidly improving we plan to be back out onto the T&M from Thursday morning. We have had deliveries from Mr Tesco and Rusty’s favourite dog food from Millies Wolfheart, so we are good to go!

Thursday morning began with a keen wind and rain showers, we delayed our start until midday when the sky had turned blue with a strong breeze blowing over the marina. Heading north on the Trent and Mersey, the wind pushing us along……

We have booked into Aston Marina, close to Stone in Staffordshire,from Sat 10th until 14th. This is to allow the work being carried out on the top lock at Stoke on Trent to be completed by 16th. Until then the navigation is closed at that point. No chance to make a detour in a Narrow Boat! We moored up on the canal side 2 miles south of Aston Marina for 48 hours.

No pressure and chance for a lazy start to the day before a Full English……

Why is that water pump running?

The alarm bells were ringing when during the early hours of Wednesday Morning the water pump kicked in!

For those not familiar with the on board water system, water is pumped from a holding tank, and raised to a system pressure by an automatic pump. When the system pressure drops, the pump kicks in, and restores the system pressure. The sound of the pump is normal, some say reassuring, when water is drawn off through the various taps, shower etc…

However the sound of the pump running, for even a few seconds, when all outlets are closed is an indication of a system leak!

I lay in bed working out the possible reasons…..then went back to sleep dismissing the incident as a one off…..

Thursday evening, while settling in front of the TV, the pump kicked in again for about 4 seconds! I decided there and then to investigate in the morning….water outside a boat is normal, water inside a boat is dangerous…

After checking for signs of a leak, beginning at the storage tank, there only remained the bathroom..:(

There is a small holding waste water tank behind a panel. Waste from the wash basin, kitchen sink and shower are all collected there before being discharged by the ‘Whale Gulper’ pump. There were signs of water leakage in the area so on with the marigolds and out with the tank to reveal a damp patch below the cold feed pipe to the shower….yes here was the site of the pressure lose. A loose connection just needed a slight tighten …..

Now replacing the holding tank revealed that connections had been leaking and water was under the floor of the bathroom. I used the ‘Whale Gulper’ pump to empty out the water, and mop up with towels. Plastic pipes had hardened with age and split, replaced with new pipes before refitting the tank.

So far so good, no more unusual pump activity…….

The moral, do not ignore unusual noises on board a narrow boat!