Monday, 24 March 2014

The start of Spring

I haven't mentioned how we rely on NBAlton and last weekend,  we had friends Onboard when Brian and Anne Marie arrived, they were most impressed with how everything flowed we do - diesel, coal, Elsan all bought within a short time. Coalboats are a lifeline to liveaboards - use them or lose them!

It was oficially the first day of Spring on Thursday - i had booked a half day holiday and went to collect my bike - the government in the UK do a cycle to work scheme - you buy a bike and get tax relief on the cost - pay over 12 months as well. So am now the owner of a red hybrid bike and a rather natty helmet with its own rear light! Watch out on the towpath for me!

Spring has definitely sprung - daffodils are out, ewes in lamb and even the sun has made an appearance.

Finally had my leave authorised - i am not sure why it has to go up.the management line if you want more than two weeks off at a time, or why it then takes nine weeks to authorise; but am now off from the second of May until the 28th May and now the cruise and holiday planning starts - Stella's eldest is over from New Zealand for that time and wanted to go.through Manchester, so.we thought we would finish The Cheshire Ring and go up the Llangollen Canal returning up the Bridgewater Canal through Manchester - the beauty of this is that she can join us and still see family and friends whilst here.

At present we are moving up the Peak Forest Canal towards Whaley Bridge and hopefully Bugsworth Basin will be open for Easter. It is typical Spring weather, brilliant sunshine one minute and pouring with rain the next. At least here the towpath is tarmac and not a mudbath as it is in Marple unfortunately.

We had an.eventful journey to Whaley Bridge - there is a swing bridge at Furness Vale and I normally get off Gracie at the previous bridge so as to have the bridge ready. Chris slowed her down; Shiva jumped offood, but Simba wouldn't - i grabbed hold of his harness to lift him off; his back.legs went in the canal, buy I got him.up and then slipped as I was getting off and fell heavily on my right wrist. Very sore .and grazed hand, got a tubular bandage and painkillers today, which are helping, but it's amazing what makes it twinge. I cycled New Mills this morning as I managed to leave my bank card in the Co-op yesterday; slight flaw in my plan on my return - a headwind and changing gear was very painful! 

This is the view at New Mills - a lovely walk down to the River Goyt and along - it is a shame there are no visitor moorings here, as it . Is a friendly town with some nice shops and an indoor market. 

Once again, though the engine is playing up and so we into River and Canal Rescue as Gracie will not start again! 
HopeFully we will be up and started soon as the engineer Is on his way.upupdate to say that the engine now working - lever had jammed owing to a frayed cable! 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Seven months Onboard and our sixth wedding anniversary

We are coming to the end of our seventh month Onboard - a steep learning curve in engines - we have had to get a new starter motor and when fitted it must have loosened the wires connecting the batteries to the alternator - apart from a valve perishing and so water was coming into the bilge. Gracie doesn't like the cold but last week it was twice we just couldn't get a charge into the batteries and had to get a neighbour to jump start her.
Of course as soon as anyone sees an engine cover off - advice is given, tea is drunk and finally on Sunday - a lovely day - we thought, up early, water up and off to New Mills; Gracie, however, had different ideas and decided she wasn't starting. We had had this before and she had started eventually once the air temp warmed up, so I took dogs, Elsan and water bottles to Marple and met Kit & Mike on Here be Dragons, who had helped us earlier and Mike went off to check heaters etc - I went off and got water and on the way back saw two other friends on their boats; who told me the engine was now going.
Turns out there were three wires loose to the alternator and once fixed, she has started like a dream and is charging the batteries up in 2.5 hours again rather than the six it was taking! Also, Chris topped the starter battery up, so that obviously helped.
So the landlubbers, now narrowboaters, learnt another lesson and a big shout out to Wayne and Mike who fixed Gracie's engine and a heartfelt thank you
It is our sixth wedding anniversary on Friday and on the 17th March 2012 we got a nine week old black Labrador, whom we named Shiva, it seems longer than that, we have had a ball really and roll on the next 56 years!