Sunday, December 28, 2008
Premier Award - Best Crew Member 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Pic of the Year
Is it the snowstorm we encountered on our way down to Bull's Bridge in April?
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
After giving it some thought I realised that one of the nicest things about doing this blog is knowing that there is someone out there that actually reads my ramblings. In particlular I'm always really happy when someone takes the time to add a comment. So this Herbie Award goes to YOU dear reader for your interest and support.
In particular I'd like to add a Star to the award for people who have sent in comments. So congratulations and many thanks to:
Adam on Debdale
Andrew on Granny Buttons *
Mortimer Bones on Bones
Brian and Diana on Harnser
Halfie on Shadow
Heth on Takeytezey
Rick (Best Crew member 2007)
Saltysplash on Lady Elgar
Simon on Tortoise
and a special Gold Star to the wonderful Vally P who has sent in comments on no less than 23 occasions.
Thanks to you all for keeping me going and have a great Christmas
*(if my blog was as successful as Andrew's, there'd be too many people to list)
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Final fling -the Thames from the air
coming in to land at the end of the "flight"
Quite a day all in all.
Monday, December 22, 2008
The Thames at Warp factor 8
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Under Tower Bridge in a Thames Barge
Will is a fine looking boat built in 1925 and she used to carry between London and Portland with all sorts of cargoes. Nowadays she is reduced to carrying corporate parties and the like, and they have converted her hold into an oak panelled dining room.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
No way on the Wey, and worrying prospects for a trip next weekend.
At times like this I get really glad that we moor on a canal and not a river.
I looked up the visitthames website and it seems the Thames is all on red boards at the moment.
Which is all a bit concerning as we are due to do a boat trip on the Thames next Saturday. Not on Herbie but on the Thames barge Will on which we have booked a 90 minute cruise, a Christmas treat for Jacob. This will take us under Tower Bridge, which will have to open for us, and down to Greenwich or thereabouts "depending on tide". Will is a big boat and the tidal Thames is different from the rest of the river, so I hope we'll still be able to go.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Fishing boats and brilliant pubs
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Third Eye gadget you already own.
However it did let me down the other day when I was trying to take a picture of the main water tank stop cock.
See that square opening bottom right. That's where I put my hand through to turn off the tap. I stuck the camera in there and had several unsuccessful attempts to get a picture of it.
What would be really good I suppose would be a little webcam attached to a laptop, then you could see what you were doing in real time. Hmm, must add one to my christmas list.
Monday, December 08, 2008
He's a PC at Camden, but nobody at Three Mills
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Time and Tide
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Best Boat Maintenance Gadget
Monday, December 01, 2008
Warm and dry
I had a good look at drain taps for the plumbing. There are four of them, all neatly labelled, at the bottom of the cupboard by the back door, which is virtually the lowest point as the boat is a bit higher at the front. Should the weather get very very cold I may well totally drain the pipes if we are leaving the boat.
Whilst I was on the floor there I took a look in the little hole that gives access to the bilges. Regular readers may recall I found quite a bit of water in there in the summer and cleaned it out. I'm delighted to say that it is completely bone dry in there now, so it looks like the previous water there was a one off from when we had a leaky water pump.
The other thing we did for the winter was to re-erect the pram hood over the rear deck. We don't like it aesthetically, and since March it has been in the shed at home, but in this cold weather it makes a super porch. I can even work on the engine in the warm and dry. It's very easy to put up and I managed to erect the hood on my own in the dark. OK, so I did get the two hoops back to front at first, but even then the whole job only took ten minutes.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Why I love/ hate maple trees
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Seeing ourselves as others see us
People are always curious about boaters. Quite often we get questioned by bystanders at locks. One Indian family up the Lee navigation were amazed that people could actually live on a boat. "You mean you sleep on it? Out here on the river? At night? Do you have a bed?" We gave them a guided tour and they were amazed. "Look, a toilet. Look, a cooker and a sink!" Kath is now getting quite good at guided tours of Herbie. Sometimes we give rides between locks and occasionally let them steer. I think BW should pay us PR money.
Then we get the questions about where the canal goes to, why they put in all these locks to slow us down, how much it costs to moor up overnight, etc etc. The one comment we nearly always get is "Oh it looks such a lovely relaxing way to travel". Well it can be, but I wouldn't exactly call a day working 15 Grand Union locks relaxing. Actually, I see it more as a way to keep fit!
It is rather nice being envied. Although I sometimes add "You could have one too if you work hard for thirty odd years and save up." Anyway, it's all a question of priorities. I expect they have newer cars and nicer houses than we do. Half of the cars on Top Gear cost as much or more than Herbie.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I don't think we'll be going anywhere but it'll be nice to get some respite from family duties. One thing I will try to do is to check that the plumbing on the boat is as frost protected as we can get it. When we leave the boat we always turn of the water and open all the taps, and drain down the heat exchanger in the gas water heater, but that only offers limited protection.
This time I want to look at the plumbing to and from the hot water tank. Ideally I'd like to be able to drain the tank itself if we ever get a really cold spell. I know there's a drain tap on the floor of the cupboard by the back steps. That is probably the lowest point on the boat so that might do it if it's in the hot water circuit. Even if it is, collecting several gallons of water from a tap an inch off the floor might be fun!
We'll also reinstall our removable secondary double glazing which Roy, the previous owner made. It really works well, especially at eliminating condensation on the windows.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Signwriting - second attempt
Sunday, November 23, 2008
For now, however I'll be concentrating on basic shapes, proportions and neat brushwork. I reckon that will be challenge enough.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Signwriting practice - first attempt
1. I don't like the font - next time I'll use something with more exaggerated serifs and wider uprights
2. I forgot to use masking tape at top and bottom of the red lettering to get nice sharp edges
3. My vertical lines are wonky - next time I'll use a marl stick (one of those sticks with a cloth knob on the end) to steady my hand
4. I used whatever paint had to hand so the pale shadowing on the uprights doesn't stand out well enough against the background (a piece of painted hardboard)
Never mind, it's only a first practice, and I've already learned a lot of lessons. I was generally pleased that I took trouble to work out letter spacing OK, and I liked the long hair chisel tip brush I used.
In real life the signwriting would need to be about twice the size which I suspect might make it a bit easier. However the big disadvantage of doing it for real is that you have to work vertically sitting or kneeling on the canal or dock bank. I aim to do a lot more practice before I would dare try. Anyway, I'm enjoying it.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Best Pub, Best Pint
The Grapes at Limehouse - a unanimous decision. It's a pub you want to take your friends to, and it scores on character, location and quality of food and beer. What else is there to say?
The Best Pint Award is always going to be more contentious, so the Award will be based on my personal choice, although I suspect Phil would back me up as he waxed lyrical about it on our recent trip. There are lots of good beers, but occasionally you get a pint of a generally good beer that is in absolutely tip top form, and such was the case this time. Even one of the local regulars in the pub was singing the praises of this particular barrel. So the big prize goes to a pint (well more than one actually) of Fullers ESB served at the Black Horse at Greenford in October. Stunning.
A really really good pint like this must surely rank alongside the very finest of wines. The difference is I can afford to buy the beer whereas a bottle of wine of that quality would cost about twenty times as much.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Fear and trepidation
I‘ve decided not to commit yet to the full job until we’ve practiced on a relatively inconspicuous bit. When we get a spell of decent weather I’m going to have a go at the rear doors and the inside of the semi trad stern walls. I reckon the painting is relatively easy once you get good surface, but it’s the rubbing down and levelling that will be hardest. I don’t suppose we’ll get the right weather for it for a while but that’s the plan.
Meanwhile I’m going to practice sign writing. Oddly enough I’m less scared of that than the plain painting of the flat surfaces. The people next door at home have just had their kitchen ripped out so I’m off to scrounge some cupboard carcase offcuts for something to practice paintng "HERBIE" on.