Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Herbie Awards first results
Very few boats were on the move. We had no trouble getting an overnight mooring at Paddington and there were a few spaces at Little Venice too and plenty at Kensal Green. However a lot of the other visitor moorings further east are now given over to booked winter moorings.
On the way into Paddington basin the alternator charge light came on and half the gauges switched off. Aargh!! I feared an alternator fault as the fan belt was intact. Luckily Mike whatisname, the boat engineer from Uxbridge was moored nearby so I asked him to come and take a look. His diagnosis was a short within one of the domestic batteries as they are now on their last legs. "Probably blown the voltage regulator but you'll get home alright. Get some new batteries asap."
Well things weren't quite so bad because when I started the engine again everything seemed to be working and the charge light went out. It might have been a dodgy earth on the alternator - was the other idea. A bit of wire waggling may have done it. We got home on Sunday without further incident.
Anyway I'm getting new batteries real soon and putting a better crimp on the earth cable. We live and learn!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Some you win, some you lose
Now I just need a new plug. It looks like a brass screw will do it if I can get the right size. Looking on the web I find I could buy a new plug , but they're nearly nine quid! Outrageous for a tiny brass screw with a big head and a tiny plastic washer.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Superbrain fails to rescue quiz team
Sadly, the quiz master had neglected to include any astrophysics questions, and I am sorry to report that Robin's knowledge of the works of Brittney Spears and the cast of Emmerdale was less than adequate. We came 4th out of 5 teams.
In my working days I designed many a questionnaire and I know how hard it is to construct one which allows the respondent to get across their point of view. So BW, I forgive you. Nevertheless it is a bit frustrating. For a start I am asked to choose one of a number of cruising areas on which to comment, and of course a boundary between two cuts right through the middle of where we cruise. So we get to comment on half of our journeys in an area we only use half of.
Questions such as what is your typical crew number are impossible to answer. We have anything between two and five. How many locks do you do in a typical day - well none if we go to Paddington, or perhaps twenty odd if we go from Bulbourne to Aylesbury. How many miles in a day? Depends how many locks doesn't it. I just dreamt up some averages.
I chose to comment on the greater London area which is where we have most to grumble about. The other option for us would have been the Grand Union north of Watford which to my mind is pretty good as far as we reach and unknown beyond that.
In general I am not one of the folks who perpetually gripe about BW. They have a huge task and much of the network is very well maintained. So what were my grumbles.
- Too many boats moored bankside between Cowley and Rickmansworth. You have to cruise for miles at very slow speed. It wouldn't be so bad if less of them were illegally moored!
- No dredging or weed clearance in the Slough arm
- Proliferation of submerged plastic bags between Bulls Bridge and Hanwell. About one every yard I reckon..
- Infrequent clearance of floating rubbish below Hanwell- especially at Osterley where it all gathers like a huge log jam and bars entrance to the lock.
- Poor provision of recycling facilities.
- Overstayers on key moorings eg Camden
However on the positive side I was able to indicate (through tick boxes) that other facilities such as sanitary stations, boatyards, water points etc were sufficient, although not regularly enough cleared / maintained and that the BW waterside staff were unfailingly polite pleasant and helpful, if a little slow. Towpaths were generally good as was the condition of the banks (Slough arm excluded).
Well, I've done my bit, and I may even get lucky in the draw for a free years licence.
Don't hold your breath.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
The Herbie Awards
Best overnight mooring spot
Most scenically attractive days cruise
Best pub meal
Most coveted boat seen
Best shop near the canal
Best guest crew member
Most scary moment
Worst canal lock
Worst day's cruise
Quite a challenge. My mind is already buzzing with nominations. Its all too much to cope with in one go so I've decided to do it bit by bit between now and Christmas. That way, the blog will be a regular series of glittering occasions (or possibly not).
Just to get us started, the nominations for Best Overnight Mooring Spot are:
- Alongside the reservoir near the foot of the Marsworth flight - sheltered, lots of bird life, near a favourite pub, mind blowing views over the reservoirs at sunset.
- Great Linford, alongside the park - good views over the park, undisturbed, good pub within sight
- Paddington basin - secure, ideal spot as a base for enjoying the capital
- Fenny Stratford - dunno why, I just like it! Didn't even take a photo! Handy for shops, good fishing.
I'll announce the winner after consultation with crew members (who may also like to make nominations in other categories).
Monday, October 08, 2007
Geoff and Laura the new owners will be living aboard and are reportedly getting ready to spruce her up. A good wash will make a world of difference. I'm also pleased that they will be taking her out for a spin soon. Not only good for the boat but also for us, since it will mean that we can moor Herbie against the bank for a couple if weeks and get on with rubbing down and painting the gunwales. Weather permitting of course.
Lady Elgar's original owner Trevor Pavitt has written a book about his exploits with her and his old cruising blog can still be seen here
New owner Geoff also has a blog which you can see here. His photos even give glimpses of Herbie moored against Lady Elgar. There too are pictures of Emblem, the lovely sea going boat he is leaving behind at Chatham.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Which also reminds me of my favourite album title. Way back in the 70's at the height of Simon and Garfunkel's fame, a west country folkie called Trevor Crozier issued an album called Trouble over Bridgewater. Now don't you wish you'd thought of that!
Friday, October 05, 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007
What we also have is a stack of cherry logs from a trunk which I save from the woodchip machine when the local council were felling surplus trees by the roadside. According to Ray's rhyme "cherry logs across the dogs smell like flowers in bloom". I can hardly wait.
What we really look out for is Ash.
Ash logs, all smooth and grey,
Burn them green or old
Buy up all that come your way.
They're worth their weight in gold.
*If ever I get on Desert Island Discs, I want Ray Mears for my one luxury item.