Thursday, 3 August 2017

Youngsters on the cut

I was on the boat last week and when I arrived there were four boats opposite our moorings. I think this was/is a record.

One shared ownership boat, one broken down boat, one moving around the system boat, one fit out boat. Its amazing how you can tell or find out about such boats and their use. Some from sitting fishing just watching  - and listening as people don't always realised how sound carries when it is just one voice. Last time we were on the Fradley visitor moorings a very well to do couple came back from the Swan to then have a very loud argument - well she was having strong and industrial words to her fella about texts he had been receiving and sexual acts she though he was being given .... yes it was that clear and she was that loud.

The broken down boat had been brought the day before and now had developed a gear box fault, the fit out boat was from the little boat company above Common lock. Both crews were in their twenties so it was nice to see the next generation on the system, possibly as the cost of housing is so high this is their best option, not a bad one if they understand the limitations and  depreciation.

When leaving the next day the broken down boat was limping off to  'thousand pound Rays' place at Streethay. The lad was using  the stern rope to try and control the boat while waiting for keepers lock, I asked if he was receptive to a bit of advice and he was very keen so I suggested he take the stern rope off and put it as a temp centre line while cruising, as I left he was making the change. A small detail but he was happy to listen  - all the advice we can get is helpful he said, well done to him, he will hopefully soon be a better skipper than I especially if he spends all year cruising the system.




Monday, 31 July 2017

I've met a few....and a bit of fame

This blogging lark does allow you to make friends and offer opportunities outside of the canals. I know there is a little group who formed a team (albeit seemingly out of a common kinship against their winter marinas rules) that meet up in Southern Spain and are planning adventures further afield this winter.

Other bloggers have ventured to India to meet up with friends made on the cut. How special is that.

I have met some of the serial bloggers, some I'd class as royalty of the canal blogging community and now a new and entertaining Vlogger has been helped through Fradley - well one lock.

Journey with Jono  click here is a very entertaining and inspiring vlog about a sailaway but rather than opting for a marina or hard standing to fit it out Jono has started the big tour before and while doing the work on the boat. A bit like the Guy Marin series but with skill and ability - on the fit out and the boat handling.

Jono was spotted waiting at keepers lock the other week, so I went over and introduced myself and locked him through on his way to Nottingham to have a focussed period on the boat fit out. He has done more rivers in a few months than I have done all my boating and I have been on and off boats now for what must be pushing 20 years !


What interested me was the different kit he had to film with. We all watch the Vloggers now but it takes a lot more work to get something on Youtube than it does to get a post like this up. Then again I do not do it for any sort of income (not saying Jono does) but some do so it is a return on investment I guess.

Anyhow he was a really nice fella and I look forward to his on going videos of his fit out and paint job.

The picture was as I left Jono filming the Keepers lock he had just left.

I have just seen Jono's latest vlog and its the best yet, I am a little biased as I am in it.

A little embarrassed  as he is past a location that I have yet to get to but will be a landmark for my cruising. Shardlow or rather the last lock before Derwent mouth  was a favourite conker spot for me and my lads and it was also a place my dad took us to to do the same when I was a lad. It was also a place where my mum and dad used to go fishing before they were married - they used to cycle to it of course, no one in my family owned a car then.

Its part of the Leicester ring of course, see previous post here ..... click me 

Saturday, 29 July 2017

The reinvention cruise planning

When I recently  undertook a pre-retirement course (which was very interesting in that I was the only one there with what I considered enough hobbies to keep me entertained) there was a general discussion on what retirement 'meant'

For me work has defined me, probably more than I would have wanted, but that is another blog post for when I have left. So to be changed, albeit over 30 years, I need to change again. So henceforth it is not "retirement" but "reinvention".

Part of my planning, and I am trying not to do too much of that, is a couple of weeks on Percy, so it feels like a holiday I start but never end !

To this end I spent a few hours looking at 2 week cruise out and back from Fradley Junction. Click the image below to bring it up in a larger view


It was easier to compare the respective routes by putting the into a spreadsheet so there was some immediate comparisons. Apart from the four counties option all the planning was based on 5 hours a day cruising. Not exactly reinvention  pace but that'll come.

What would you choose ?

Froghall is top of the list  (being top of the physical list is by accident ) as I will only have Rachel on board for one week as sadly she needs to go back to something called work? This means I can walk home from the terminus, have a bath, wash some clothes then collect the car, and she can drive south while I do the return trip on my Jack Jones.

The Ashby is a beautiful canal and a lot less locks, We did it on Waterlily a few years back - all the way to the end. Plus this is where Percy was born ! I guess a taxi (or son pick up ) is not too bad from here or we could leave a car in the area....

The Macclesfield is a beautiful canal but going the wrong way for a trip south. Might be one to have for a four week cruise when we both retire. Plus I'd be doing the Bosley locks on the return trip, I hear some of my single handed friends having a little titter at this  !

Stourport... not a great deal more than the top two in locks and distance. I could always wind at Kinver. I like the Staffs and Worcester and it will be a regular trip.

All of the others are a little grander or should be part of a joint summer cruising plan in a couple of years when Rachel finishes.

So Froghall or Ashby.... I think it will be the former with the Ashby being a possible trip later in the year when the canal are quieter and I have a back stove fitted.



Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Sadly another blogger has to depart

Just as my time comes to get more canal miles another friendly boat blogger has to depart. Due to family support reasons the Aussie crew off NB Ferndale have put the boat up for sale and are returning to down under  - link here 

It follows on from some other very sad news from Chas of NB Moore 2 life here, truly heart breaking news of a terminal illness forcing them off the cut immediately. So sad and I hold them in my thoughts.

So, again it is life telling us  - reminding us it is limited and so precious, no time to delay if you can seek your goals, ambitions, aspirations then do it before fate catches up with you.

I have been remiss in not updating this blog, Facebook does not help as small thoughts and events get recorded instantly, but the photos used do give me a great prompt to update this blog. After all as I have said before this will be my diary of what I did for me when I am a dribbling mess  and hopefully inspire my sons and grandson to not wait too long to realise those dreams  - however small or personal they need to be realised.

So where was I ..... handing in my notice and walking my valley and being on my narrowboat. Yes the narrowboat, the reason most read this blog I guess.

So in a boaty theme we were out walking the south coast, Chichester harbour in the main earlier in May. Dreaming of learning to sail and buying a boat and doing the uk coastline bit by bit....



Vlogging seems to be the next must do thing, but you have either have to have a BBC voice or good looks and nice tits like the couple who started blogging on their yacht and got so popular they were give  a million pound catamaran to cruise the world on!! All the detail here . Anyhow we just dreamed of owning this little boat !

Then I was off to France/ Belgium/ Germany with 8 other bikes to do a fantastic battle fields tour with a good friend who is a guild of battlefields tour guide.

Educational, emotional everyone needs to experience the sad, reflective  peacefulness of an American war cemetery. Pictures do better than my poor words.



We stopped off at the V1 V2 launch site on the way back 


A great group of blokes



The tour was focussed on the battle of the bulge in the December months of 1944, allied success was based on the bravery of small groups of soldiers fighting delaying skirmishes against quite a large German army. 

This was the American cemetery 



Bastogne was the location of fierce resistance and was never captured even though it was in effect surrounded. This was the HQ in a Belgium barracks 







Last decent picture of my Honda Pan European ST1300. I hit another bike on the return trip. There is a story to it, those who know me know how it happened. Bottom line was the insurance company wrote the bike off - bugger







After the Belgium/ Germany trip it was family time with all of my family coming to the cottage for a lovely Sunday meal and then a walk after before we all went back to our respective locations.

This little fella is all our futures, Teddy Wells and grandad Wells 





Don't feel too bad for my bike accident, I am lucky enough to have another - half the size in CC terms but still quite capable. On the trip to Germany there were two other riders on 650 Deauvilles


I took these pictures as the sun was setting reflecting off the cottage windows


More to come but I needed to get at least one post in July !



Friday, 30 June 2017

Super peacefulness but the chores still have to be done

Most who read this will already be aware of why they are on the canals as they have the option of peacefulness as we can choose our home location for the night, for 48 hours and up to 14 days - then we move on through the same beauty and find the same again.

I have this on my mooring also so I do not need to move but I want to. One of the reasons to retire and sod the work treadmill with all its associated BS.

My cup does indeed overflow'th with tranquility and peacefulness. On the boat fishing, in my valley walking.

I did a further walk the other evening  - into my valley and out by Kingsley far bank. Over canal, under railway across river, then into a water meadow then up the side of the valley.

It was a little bit of a 'blow' walking up the other side so I took the opportunity to sit on someones bench and soak in the view.











Watch the one minute video below, turn your volume up and enjoy the sound of silence !!





Anyhow this attracts a few canaloholics so 'back on the boat' the longest day has come and gone. One day on returning (with Leia I did not leave her aboard) the boat was a balmy 40c !!


Nothing for it but an evening of slow nightfall watching nature go to sleep while sitting out in shorts and T shirt fishing.



On another evening I had chores to do - water up as cold showers were the order of the day. Percy has two tanks joined by a connecting pipe, to fill up fully it has to be done slowly  - I recon I have 2 x 200 litre tanks, my in line water meter somewhat confirmed this.


I pulled Percy back to give the mooring a decent cut and strim. You can see from the next picture what happens if you do not do your own grass cutting for the £1600 a year mooring fee.



I did strim Mandy's mooring but it really should be being done by C&RT  - I ask them not to as they have damaged my boat on more than one occasion. 

Then it was more fishing !!




Thursday, 22 June 2017

Clocking off ..... proper life decision


Not a small scale clocking off.... a real life event as I have resigned from my job of the last 29 years and 11 months and will be no longer a paying in member of society come the 8th September 2017.

I will be retiring into hobbies/bucket lists/house husbandry and all things not work related.

Work does define you - it does/did me and when you get joy from work that definition is a positive one, however when you eventually realise you are grinding and grudgingly working through your day it is burning precious seconds only a fool or a desperate man would continue to spend those seconds in such a negative way.

I have worked solid all of my life - never been unemployed. I started my print apprenticeship on the 4th September 1978 and have worked since.... that will be 39 years to the day. When I set out on my working life I do recall having a goal - or aspiration/dream of finishing when I was 55.... well I will miss that target by 23 days  - 23 days over 39 years is not too far off ?

There is a back story to me ending work, nothing sensational but if we ever meet I am sure parts of it will be told, maybe not.

I'll end this note by reminding myself of what was said on a related course quite recently.

Don't call it 'retirement',  call it 'reinvention' 

So for the last time I'll take something from a work sponsored course and say I am reinventing myself, stripping off that work definition I have assumed in the past with gladness and in the latter years with a little bitterness. What will a reinvented Nev be .... well time will tell.

And that is the most important point of all - time ....there are few opportunities in life to buy time but by sacrificing my pension and excluding myself from the pursuit of material wealth I hope to be more relaxed happier and content. Time to try it out .......