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!

Today is a Duvet day!

The forecasters were correct…..wall to wall rain for 24 hours. We thought storm Angus was rough but the following day has proved to be much worse. Thankfully we are in Trinity Marina until the end of November before getting back out on the network in December.

Several minor jobs completed inside CYAN so today is going to be a Duvet Day…..Central Heating on full, stove burning bright, hatches battened down and TV working! Reruns of Open all Hours save the day.

Batteries are now working as normal maintained at 12.8 volts, with the assistance of a small mains charger unit, and no overnight deterioration as experienced previously. However no assistance today from the Solar Panels!……..

Gawd it was blo*** cold this morning!

We are still concerned about the energy being stored on board despite new batteries and solar panels. Overnight our batteries are down below 11.00 volts from 13.4volt when the engine is switched off. Spoke to ‘OnBoard Energy’,
and they agreed to do an energy audit to get to the bottom of the problem, so off we went down the Ashby to get near to Springwood Haven Marina on the Coventry, the home of Onboard Energy….We moored up just past Marston Junction on the Coventry as the light was fading (4.30pm).

This morning it was light at 7.00am, and we woke to find the boat coated in frost!


Centre lines were rods not rope, and the deck slippery with a coating of ice….winter has arrived. With stove coaxed into life, we set off, wrapped up against the frosty morning for Springwood Haven, and our appointment with Kevin Mascall.


Cannot praise the folks at Springwood enough. Kevin set too and soon confirmed that there was nothing abnormal within our electrical systems, and that the problem was almost certainly a duff battery in the leisure bank of 4 x 120ah units. A discussion with the manufacturers resulted in an offer to deliver replacement units in 24 hours, so an overnight in the marina, connected to a shore line, and 2 temp batteries with a trickle charger to hold the voltage until replacement units arrive in the morning!

The bonus is we have a massive WiFi signal due to being in line of sight of 2 communication transmitters, we have 50 meg of broadband download and my laptop is red hot….. 🙂

Multi fuel stove is glowing brightly, and we still have the diesel central heating in reserve. Cushty!

Raw Wind Ends Today’s Cruise

This morning we discussed the need to renew our mooring lines, unfortunately damaged during earlier mooring attempts! One of the ropes had a frayed section at one end, and it was a pity to discard an otherwise serviceable line.....

Quick look at a You Tube video, and Jen set too with scissors and gorilla tape to remake the loop at the end of our mooring lines after removing the defective section........success! Two £25.00 mooring lines repaired as good as new.

While all this was taking place the stove was cleaned and set with smokeless 'Supertherm' and a kiln dried log......minor DIY tasks on the 'list' were also fixed!

We set off with intention of reaching Braunston Marina but it was soon clear that the weather was against cruising, dark skies and a raw East wind. By 12.00 midday we pulled into the bank and secured CYAN for the rest of the day. The Central heating boiler had made the inside warm and snug while we were cruising so no problems with going below for the rest of the day.

There are many boats cruising here on the Grand Union, it's busiest section of the network we have found so far, and several have moored up nearby.

Tomorrow we will push  on to Braunston Marina, depending on how we feel, and the weather of course!



Everything Has Come Together!

Well everything has come together without any drama’s we would normally expect!

The surveyor gave CYAN a clean bill of health with a recommendation to replace the Galvanic Anodes. The boatyard did not agree, saying, “they are only half worn". Despite what the boatyard said, we added 4 more anodes as belt and braces.

The hull was blacked with 2 coats of bitumen and CYAN was returned to the water ready for transfer of ownership on Saturday 27th August.

We signed a contract with ‘EE’ for a mobile internet connection as an extension to the mobile phone sim agreement.

Helmsmen Training for us both was arranged with Willow Wren Training. Two days intense hands on training, with a YHA certification as the prize for achieving a satisfactory standard, was on offer.

Pleased to say we both passed the course and now have photo I.D. certificates of helmsmanship competence to be displayed onboard! Well worth the money, and we both feel confident to handle CYAN on the canal system and with an understanding of the etiquette expected towards other boaters.

Finally we arranged a berth at Trinity Marina in Hinckley for the month of September so we could transfer our possessions to CYAN and carry out some small adjustments, more of which later......

So Much To Think About, and Soooo Exciting!

The owner now has to arrange for Cyan to be moved to a nearby marina/boatyard to be lifted out of the water for inspection, and survey. Once the details are confirmed we will arrange for a surveyor to attend.

After the surveyors report is received, and there are no major defects exposed by the inspection, we have to wait for the Brokerage Company to confirm title of the vessel, and produce a bill of sale. Then upon payment of the agreed purchase price, the vessel is legally ours.

While all that is happening there are other things to do.

  • Arrange insurance
  • Arrange a surveyor
  • Purchase a CRT full licence for a live aboard 58ft narrow boat that is continually cruising the network.
  • Arrange 2 day crew training with Willow Wren Training Centre
  • Decide the location where we can load on board our possessions from Spain
  • Buy a Dog safety harness with a lift out grab handle
  • Once on board we will need to establish communications for WiFi and internet access.

I am sure there are many more things to arrange, but that will do for the present!

Today We Viewed NB Cyan

Today we viewed NB Cyan located at Cheddleton on the Cauldon Canal.

This was a result of our searching for a suitable narrow boat in most of the Marina’s in the North Midlands. We have seen some lovely boats, and some not so lovely ones! We hoped today we would find the one boat that ticks all our boxes.

NB Cyan was located on a private mooring almost 2 km from the main highway down a gravel path, over a bridge, and through a locked farm gate to a canal side mooring.  “Now that looks promising”.......


Cyan was moored on a pontoon in an isolated spot. Paintwork and brass mushroom vents gleaming in the sunlight.

Once inside it was clear that this much loved semi trad stern narrow boat had to be our rainbows end!

A quick phone call and our offer was accepted, subject to survey, Cyan was to be our new home on the cut! A deposit was paid to secure the deal.