Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Having one's knuckles rapped - by CRT

Oops! This evening I looked at my e-mails and discovered one from CRT headed "Please keep cruising if you've been moored for over 14 days". In it I was very politely told that my boat had been seen moored in the same general area for more than 14 days. The message included links to the relevant parts of the licence conditions. How could this have happened?  Well, we moored by Bridge 5 for two weeks, then moved to opposite Lyon's Boatyard for a further two weeks. This was while we were working on a house we let nearby. I had hoped that moving from Bridge 5 would be sufficient, but it appears that moving half a mile or so still counts as the "same general area".

our mooring opposite Lyon's Boatyard
Very few people stop at either location, and I had hoped that that might mean that the mooring police would not have bothered. But I'm impressed that we had been clocked.

When I read the e-mail we had already moved on - to Hopwood on the Worcester and Birmingham - but I wonder what the minimum moving distance might have been. The two miles to King's Norton Junction? Or less? Anyway, we have now finished the planned work at the house so we are cruising at last.  And I am very sorry to have been judged as overstaying.

Yesterday we were in Sheffield visiting Andrew. This electrical shop in Wicker caught my eye. It looks like just the sort of shop I would have loved as a small boy. I'd probably quite enjoy it now too.

The signs on the windows look as though they haven't changed from the 1980s, advertising 'video and cassette tapes', 'drive belts' and 'stylus', among other electrical essentials such as fire elements and urn spares. It's not all in the past, though. There's a website address above the shop.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Laminate floor laid

(not on the boat.) Some of what we've been doing here in Birmingham over the last weeks is sorting out a floor in a house we let near the Stratford Canal. What we're now calling a utility room is a monopitch roofed 18' by 6' extension behind the kitchen. This appeared to be an unfinished project by the previous owners of the house in that, before we attacked it, the room had no insulation in the ceiling, a garden gate for a door to the side alley and water pipes running diagonally across the bare concrete floor. Oh, and the window frames and the clapboard exterior wall were rotten.

A few years ago we had the rotten wood replaced with white plastic, the windows were replaced with double glazed units, then I insulated and pine clad the ceiling.  I installed lighting at the same time.

On Monday last week we removed the severely delapidated side door and boarded up the hole. Tuesday's job was the removal of the copper pipes from the floor and replumbing in plastic around the edge of the room.
On Wednesday we cut and laid the sheets of 18mm ply we'd squeezed into the car the previous week. And on Thursday - at last - we could lay the laminate flooring. Never having done anything like this before, I must say I'm pretty pleased with how it went.

And here's the finished result.

It's not perfect. We found that the concrete was rather uneven, leading to the ply sheets not lying very flat. But - fortunately! - the laminate on top seems to have sorted it out. There's just a small bit of 'bounce' when entering the room from the kitchen.

Our next job is to box in the pipework where it runs across to the washing machine. At some stage we will have to tidy the end walls, but that can wait.

Today we went to Yardley Wood Parish Church for the 0930 communion service and explored the extensive churchyard afterwards. This gave way to informal paths through a forest of fern, and then this vista of rosebay willowherb.

Immediately behind the camera is a steep bank down to the canal some thirty feet below.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Diesel interference patterns after spill

We are now back opposite the moorings at Lyon's Boatyard. As we approached we became aware of diesel on the water making its unmistakeable interference patterns. If I remember my school physics correctly, this is caused by light reflecting from the surface of the diesel combining with light reflecting from the water surface, just a molecular distance further. The thickness of the diesel is so small, approaching the wavelengths of light, interference patterns are set up revealing light's component colours in a rainbow effect. I'm sure someone will tell me if I've got this wrong.

As the diesel spreads out from the original spill I believe that surface tension effects quickly cause it to be only a molecule thick, i.e. not very thick at all. So a small spill can cover a large area, making it look worse than it probably is.

The next day there was no evidence of the diesel.

This afternoon Scorpio came past.

Jubilee is tied up on the towpath.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Big load? The Volvo isn't floored

We picked up the ingredients for flooring the lean-to conservatory in a house in Birmingham today. These included four sheets of 8' x 4' plywood (or their metric equivalent), all of which - fortunately - needed cutting down slightly. I had measured the boot of the 240 and ascertained that they would fit, albeit at an angle.

It was a tighter squeeze than I'd thought but, after we'd moved the front seats and tilted the backs forward, and with a bit of juggling, everything fitted. That's two sheets of 1.99m and two of 1.77m length, by 1.22m wide (and 18mm thick). There are six packs of laminate flooring in there too.

Getting it out at the other end was, somehow, harder work. Now all I have to do is make it all fit in the house. (I've not attempted this sort of thing before.)

After the heat wave of last week, some boats near us have had their stoves going. Not us.

Oh, back to the Volvo: when I started it up today the ignition warning lamp stayed on. The alternator belts were still in place. I switched off and on again, this time the lamp went out. Coming away from the builders' yard the same thing happened. I think that, after 199,000 miles, the alternator may be giving up. Come on, car, just another thousand miles! You can do it!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

These historic boats have been shifting

I was elsewhere when a small fleet of historic boats passed our boat this morning, so these are Jan's photos - thanks Jan. I didn't see President and Kildare at the historic boat show at Braunston, but some of the others in this procession were certainly there.

Steamer President is usually seen towing butty Kildare, but here President is itself under tow.

And here comes Kildare. I can't make out the names of the towing boats - can someone identify them for me?

Emu followed after a short interval (I'm told). This boat won a water can for "Best in show".

I believe these boats may have left Braunston on Saturday afternoon (we didn't see them during out visit on Sunday). Even so, they have made good progress as CanalPlan reckons on 22 hours to get here to Lyon's Boatyard. They passed us between 1000 and 1100 this morning.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Sea Otter shows how aluminium burns

As we left the Braunston Historic Boat Show we saw the dreadful end result of a fire on a Sea Otter boat, just along the north Oxford Canal.
It's made of aluminium, which is good for not rusting, but which actually burns in a hot fire.

This fire, which I was told had taken place only two days previously, had evidently been very hot indeed ...

... burning the roof completely off and singeing the trees above.

In places the side of the hull has been destroyed almost down to the water line, threatening the boat's imminent sinking.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Braunston Historic Boat Show 2017

We took a break from working on the house in Brum to drive down to Milton Keynes to visit Ally, Ben and Josiah yesterday. We had a lovely time during which Ben tested my eyes.

This morning we drove up to Braunston to catch some of this years Historic Boat Show, seeing among others Sarah and Jim (Chertsey), David, Mary and Richard (Kew), Terry and Chris (Grace), David (Trimstone), Stephen and Gwyneth (Chyandour) and Alan (Tranquility).

We saw only part of the last parade, which seemed less chaotic than in the past. Perhaps fewer boats were taking part, although there seemed to be plenty there ...

... tying up six abreast at the entrance to the marina.

I wonder if Jules Cook would like this one of her.

Kew, prominent as ever, is in the centre of this photo.

I was able to admire Chertsey's freshly blacked hull.

Next: how aluminium burns.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Dredging on the Stratford Canal

We moved from our Yardley Wood mooring to empty the elsan. The nearest facilities, as far as I could work out, were back at Kingswood Junction (a day's cruise away) or at Holliday Wharf in Birmingham city centre, there and back in a day. Neither option what you might call convenient, given that we wanted to return to our mooring. A third choice was to investigate Lyons Boatyard, half a mile from here. Yes, we could empty the elsan for £2.50, or for nothing if we filled up with diesel. We needed diesel anyway, so that is what we did.

At the boatyard Land and Water were emptying dredgings into a lorry.

We came across the actual dredging operation between the boatyard and Brandwood Tunnel on our way to King's Norton Junction to wind. I should have just reversed back to Bridge 5 - it would have been quicker. Not that the dredging held us up - despite the notice warning of delays of up to 30 minutes, in practice as soon as the operator saw us coming he moved the hopper out of the way.

Brother David arrived just as we were tying up back at Bridge 5. He's come to help me with some fencing.