Wednesday 4 December 2013

The painting is finished

John Sanderson and Kinver Canopies have done us proud.

Honey is looking gorgeous in her new colours and livery - and only a lack of space in the wharf (and time to do anything about it) prevented me from getting her into a position to take some proper photographs.

That will have to wait until after Christmas when we will have a short "Brass Monkeys Cruise" back to Swanley Marina.

Friday 18 October 2013

Honey in her underwear (warning: adult only content)

Honey's repaint is now underway - and I have taken the opportunity to get some saucy snaps of her in her undies while John Sanderson touches her up. 

Tuesday 27 August 2013

The End of the Season

Unusually for us, there will be no boating during the autumn of 2013 - so after the cancellation of our Spring trip due to a reluctance to suffer the cold, we've had a very short boating season.

Our final journey was a short sprint from the Llangollen to the painter at Dadford's Wharf where (if we can decide on the colour scheme) NB Honey will be repainted.

Next time you see her she will be dark blue & red. Or blue & grey. Or black & grey. Or turquoise & blue. Or (if John loses his patience with us) "Hammerite black with logs on the roof."

Saturday 17 August 2013

The Numbers

The closure of Barrowford Flight added 114 miles and 55 locks to our three week holiday - taking it to 226 miles and 230 locks in total.

NB Honey is now safely tucked up in her new home on the beautiful Llangollen Canal, where she can have a week of rest before she gets a thorough cleaning & servicing and then will be delivered to John Sanderson for her new frock.

Meanwhile, we are now back on dry land - which is nauseatingly solid and still.

Friday 16 August 2013

Different Worlds

We were a bit disappointed with Manchester: unlike Leeds & Birmingham there were no Champagne bars with moorings. 

The Ashton & Rochdale Canals were also very urban, not always pretty to look at, and full of locks. 

Castlefield, in Manchester, is a fabulous place to moor, surrounded by some very nice places to eat (I recommend the barbecue bar next to the bottom lock on the Rochdale.)

But heading West out of Manchester involves the very pretty and completely lock-free Bridgewater Canal - the oldest on the network and easily one of the nicest. 

Sunday 11 August 2013

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Yes, we're back on our favourite waterway.

There are hazards here caused by low water levels, leaks and loads of silt - as you can see here.

But it is also surrounded by spectacularly beautiful countryside and lovely, easy-to-fill narrow locks.

Saturday 10 August 2013

27 Miles & 20 locks in ten hours.

According to Pearson & the waterways navigation software, it's a 13 hour journey - but that assumes 3mph on all waterways (who does 3mph on a river?) and every lock set against you. 

NB Honey loves rivers. In deep water, there is no bounce-back of her wake from canal walls & beds to slow her down, so a throttle setting that pulls 3mph on a canal results on 5mph on a river.

And we we met some very friendly, happy & helpful boaters at almost every lock. 

It's been a good day. This evening, nice wine, steak & chips and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

Friday 9 August 2013

Don't Upset the CRT Staff

If you're going to run aground on a river, don't spend the previous two days upsetting the people who have the keys to the only tug in the county that can tow you off.

I think they were rushing to find a spot in Clarence Dock. Sadly, they missed it. 

Tuesday 6 August 2013


This is a broken lock:

The triangular piece of concrete is the cill, and the foundations under that have worn away. Without it, the lock leaks and won't fill. 

So now we have to divert and take another, longer route. 

Monday 5 August 2013

That was Yorkshire.

The minute we reach Lancashire, the fine weather ends and we get stopped by a broken lock. 

It's going to take a couple of days to fix, so meanwhile we're going to drink gin and play cards with the other boat crews. 

Friday 2 August 2013

Wednesday 31 July 2013

Industrial History

We're now in the Victorian Model Village of Saltaire, founded by the industrialist & philanthropist Titus Salt on the banks of the River Aire in 1851. 

The idea of a model village was popular among the people enriched by the Industrial Revolution, improving the living & working conditions not just of their workforce, but also their families as well.

Edward Akroyd built Copley, David Dale built New Lanark, George & Richard Cadbury built Bournville, and Joseph Rowntree built New Earswick. They all shared the common theme of affordable houses with gardens, parks, churches, school, libraries and meeting rooms.

So between Leeds and Bradford is a very pretty small town dominated by Salt's Mill, which straddles the canal and now contains David Hockney's art gallery. 

We spent the afternoon exploring the culture & history, scoffing ice-cream, and meeting our boaty friend from the Dutch Barge Halcyon. 

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Gunboat Alley

That's what local boaters have called the L&L in North Leeds. 

It's not unpleasant, but it is lively in the evening - and on a warm, sunny evening any boaters mooring overnight may be invited to a boozy swimming party.

We've had a great day cruising, under glorious sunshine (and the occasional shower), meeting other boaters and enjoying watching Leeds disappear into the background and be replaced with the beauty of rural Yorkshire. 

Tonight - drinks with dear friends (the sun is below the yard arm!)

Tomorrow, the famous Bingley Five Rise, and after that, the Dales. 

Monday 29 July 2013

And we're off!

You can see how much lower the water levels are today - you can even see a bit of green on that board!
So we set off towards Leeds (stopping to see the ducklings, load up with water, avoid a thunderstorm and catch a spot of sunbathing) before finally checking in at the champagne bar in Granary Wharf. 

Sunday 28 July 2013

Delayed departure

Last night's rain was pretty spectacular. Yesterday the River Calder was low, today it is more than two feet above the red line on the lock safety markers.

When the river is this swollen the problem is the speed of the flow - easily more than Honey's engine can cope with.

All we can do is wait for the water to subside which, after twelve weeks without rain and one night of storms, shouldn't be long.

Saturday 27 July 2013

Ready to go

You can tell we're setting off on our holiday tomorrow - just look at the weather forecast.

So much for the heat wave...

Anyway, the route has been planned and the "boat rations" (a supply of non-perishable food to fall back on if we can't find fresh) have been bought. Insect repellant and sunblock supplies have been topped up. The batteries are fully charged, the stops to fill the water and diesel tanks are booked, and all we need to do now is clamber aboard and set off.

But not before we buy one last essential item: Mic insists that there is always a vase of fresh flowers when she is on board. It is more important than the Queen's flag...

It will be sad to leave Fairies Hill after what feels like such a short time, but we have explored the local waterways thoroughly enough now, and it is time to go and discover another part of the country. We have never visited the Welsh waterways before, and are excited at the prospect of investigating an area famous among boaters for its beauty.

If you rummage around the Fairies Hill website, you will see the letter of thanks I wrote to them after two happy years mooring there.

But tonight is our last night on dry land for three weeks. Our daughter is marking the occasion by having one of her infamous "90 Minute Karaoke Showers" - only possible when you have unlimited hot water.

Saturday 25 May 2013

No boating this spring

We've had a busy spring, and not even managed a day trip yet.

Honey has survived the winter in good fettle, with the exception of her starter battery, and we had originally planned to move her to her new home during the Easter break (no, I'm not telling until we get there - but we're really excited about it!)

However, the sight of three inches of snow on her roof three days before our planned departure had Mic shivering, and the trip was postponed.

May half term is also a no-go because our daughter is taking GCSE exams the week of our return, so I've done nothing more than meet a couple of lovely friends on board for a natter, dust & clean, and burn a few logs on the stove to drive out any damp.

Nothing to see here, move along. Come back in July...