Monday, 30 April 2012

Some useful features on Jubilee

Covering both aft and forward decks is a flexible plastic matting which seems to work very well.

It gives a good non-slip surface while allowing rainwater and dirt to drain away.

On both sides, front and back, are fold-out steps which make climbing up to the cabin top easy. I'm going to have to do something about the slippery (gloss painted) surface up there, though.

And one more feature is a holder, fixed immediately behind the rudder post, for the rotary washing line. This will be very useful for Ally and Ben in the marina. The clothes line was supplied too.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

To lag or not to lag the hot pipe from the calorifier

One more job to add to the list (!) is to lag the pipe which takes the domestic hot water from the top of the calorifier.

The calorifier sits in the engine compartment, probably on the swim (but I'm not on board to verify this), and pokes through a cupboard in what I'm calling the "engine room" (is this the right description of the area one enters by opening the slide and the rear steel doors?).

The space above the slatted shelf over the calorifier would make a good airing cupboard. We've used it to keep bacon butties warm while steering! But the outlet pipe really should be lagged.

Or should it? The hot water has always - so far - felt hot enough. Perhaps there's enough waste heat while cruising to keep this cupboard nicely warm. Perhaps it should be unlagged while cruising and lagged when marina-bound!

Another thing for me to investigate - there's a lot about Jubilee I have yet to learn - is the plumbing of the central heating. The radiators are fed from a Webasto diesel heater which, I think, also supplies domestic hot water. Presumably the hot water output of the Webasto is pumped through a coil in the calorifier before passing through the radiator circuit. But I haven't seen it with my own eyes yet.

Visible in the top photo are (clockwise from the blue oil can): tiller arm; calorifier; timer for immersion heater; two RCD-protected mains sockets; header tank for central heating; electrics for Webasto; stop cock in hot water pipe.

Top Thirty, 2012 week 17

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty places) as it stood at 1935 on Sunday 29th April 2012. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 Pennine Waterways (=)

3 CanalPlanAC (=)

4 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

5 Retirement with No Problem (=)

6 UKCanals Network (=)

7 Waterway Routes (+2)

8 Granny Buttons (-1)

9 Water Explorer (-1)

10 nb Epiphany (=)

11 Takey Tezey (+5)

12 Towpath Treks (-1)

13 Canal Shop Company (+2)

14 Jannock Website (=)

15 ExOwnerships (-3)

16 Narrowboat Bones (+5)

17 boatshare (-4)

18 nb Waiouru (+1)

19 nb Lucky Duck (+3)

20 Chertsey (+3)

21 Nb. Yarwood (-3)

22 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (-2)

23 Halfie (+3)

24 Trafalgar Marine Services (-7)

25 Narrowboat Briar Rose (+2)

26 Derwent6 (+2)

27 Baddie the Pirate (-3)

28 Seyella's Journey (-)

29 Boat Build Blog (-)

30 Google Earth Canal Maps (-5)

The figures in parentheses denote the number of places moved since the previous chart;
(-) denotes new entry or re-entry into the chart;
(=) denotes no change.

There are 155 entries, up from 153 last week.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

A familiar face at Fazeley

Saturday 21st April 2012

The face was familiar, but the beard wasn't.

From Fazeley we winded just south of Coleshill Road Bridge, then returned to the junction and turned right along the Coventry Canal for three miles, ascending the two Glascote Locks. At the locks I noticed a bearded man walking purposefully towards us. I didn't immediately recognise him in his disguise.

Andrew Denny tells me he has now shaved the beard off.

He joined us for the obligatory tea and tour up to the winding hole by the golf course and back.

This is Jubilee approaching Glascote Top Lock.

And this is AD being careful not to scratch it.

Those fenders, like the beard, really have to go!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Willington to Fazeley

Friday 20th April 2012

This was the third and final day of our short cruise to get Jubilee from Kegworth to our temporary moorings in Fazeley. Ally and Ben were due to meet us in Fazeley, so I set the alarm and made an early (0620) start.

I have already published this photo - this is five minutes before I set off.

The aqueduct over the River Dove ...

... has a pillbox at the far (western) end.

We stopped at Fradley services to empty the loo cassette for the first time, then up Junction Lock, swing left, and through the swing bridge on the Coventry Canal.

At Streethay we stopped to replace the gas cylinder which had run out just before we bought the boat. While there I topped up with diesel and noted the engine hours (2429) so I can do a consumption check next time I fill up. I also bought a couple of Jubilee clips for the top ends of the aft deck drain hoses. A familiar boat was there.

We tied up in Fazeley at 1745, an 11.5 hour day.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Jobs to do on Jubilee, mostly electrical

(not necessarily in this order)

1. Get an isolation transformer.

2. Polish the mushrooms.

3. Clean off the nasty tar stain.

4. Fit the (supplied) new domestic batteries.

5. Investigate a more powerful battery charger.

6. See about replacing some of the 20W halogen spotlights with LED bulbs.

7. Second centre rope?

1. The isolation transformer is for when the boat is hooked up to mains at the marina. The only sure way to remove the possibility of potentially corrosive earth loop currents is to use a mains isolation transformer so there is no connection to the shore line mains earth. I distrust so-called galvanic isolators, which comprise two pairs of back-to-back diodes. I'd rather spend £350 on something I know will always work than £70 on something which might work sometimes, but possibly not if a switched-mode power supply is being used on board.

2. Needs doing.

3. I made the mistake of burning some green wood. The smoke condensed on the underside of the coolie hat and tar dripped down onto the cabin top, along the hand rail and down the side of the boat. I actually saw this happening, and touched the run with my finger. It was wet but not sticky, so I thought I'd be able to clean it off the next day. Er, no. The next day neither water nor white spirit would budge it. When I next go to the boat I'll try meths - unless anyone has a better idea. (And no, I won't be tempted to drink the stuff.)

At the top of the picture you can see where the handrail has a break to allow for drainage. Running down from here are two or three trickles of tar. Not easy to see, I grant you.

4. The former owner has been very good to us, considering we were taking away his pride-and-joy. Not only did he weld new anodes on and black the hull after we'd already said we'd buy the boat, but he also left us three brand new batteries to replace three which no longer held their charge. Now in the domestic battery bank there are currently five batteries. I'm thinking of removing all of them, and installing just the three new ones. As well as keeping to the good practice of not mixing old and new batteries, I think that there's more chance of keeping three batteries fully charged, compared with five. If we're careful with power usage, especially when not on shore power, I think this should work. I'll have to do one of Tony Brooks's energy audits.

5. There is a small battery charger connected to the battery bank. This can be switched on when connected to shore power. The charger will only be able to supply a trickle charge - no good if the batteries are being heavily used, such as when powering the inverter or running all 19 (!) 20W halogens. I need to find out about a more heavy duty device, one which will monitor the state of charge and adjust its output accordingly. The engine is fitted with two alternators, and there's a Sterling "Advanced Digital 4 Step Split Charge Alternator To Battery Charger" box in the engine room.

I don't know what it does. (But if it's "digital" it must be good, eh?!)

6. Or don't switch them on.

7. Get a second centre rope (or remove the wretched fairleads, which seem to serve only as traps for the rope, so you can't flick it over to the other side).

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

First Jubilee cruise day 2: Shardlow to Willington

While we were at Shardlow Ally and Ben came up to see their future temporary home for the first time.

They liked it, which was just as well.

In the morning (Thursday 19th April 2012) we set off for Willington where we'd arranged to meet up with Nev from Waterlily.

While Nev was on board a swan tried to get in on the act, hissing suddenly and loudly through the open side hatch. I was just walking past at the time - it didn't half make me jump!

It was good to meet you, Nev, and when we turned into Mercia Marina we saw your boat too.

We called in on Heth and Dave of Takey Tezey - they have some great pictures of us and our boat on their blog here.

Mercia Marina is dominated by the five cooling towers of the power station.

Just before we tied up, by Coach and Horses Bridge 25, we saw gambolling lambs in a field next to the canal.

That's number 78 with a bounce in its step.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Our first cruise on Jubilee: Kegworth to Shardlow (and a narrowboat weathervane)

Jumping back to last Wednesday I'll briefly describe our very first journey on our very first 100% owned-by-us boat.

Shortly after midnight on 18th April 2012 I made the payment from my bank account which completed our purchase of Jubilee, meaning that we were free to go. At a more reasonable time in the morning we untied from the mooring and carefully navigated under Kegworth Road Bridge, off the backwater and onto the main River Soar.

It was a fantastic feeling! We were on our own boat! It was raining and I didn't care! In fact it poured. As we passed a boat on its mooring at Red Hill a man popped his head out of the side hatch and shouted, "You must be mad!"

Our first stop was at Sawley Marina on the Trent where we bought a 12' shaft. We'd bought an anchor, chain and warp the previous day and had taken them to the boat by car. This was my first full-length photo of the boat.

We were soon at Shardlow where we tied up.

Near the Clock Warehouse I spotted this narrowboat weathervane on another warehouse.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Inside nb Jubilee

As promised, here are some photos of the interior of Jubilee.

The galley worktop is solid wood (beech?) which we are instructed to brush with a special oil every month to keep it waterproof.

The dinette converts to a cross double bed. Not my preferred arrangement - pullman style would be better - but it's how it is for now.

The bathroom is wonderful.

In a sensible piece of design there is a pigeon box directly above the quadrant shower cubicle. Perfect for letting off steam!

There's a heated towel rail ...

... and a Thetford cassette loo with electric flush (use sparingly!)

In the bedroom there's a wardrobe with sliding doors: one side has shelves; the other has two hanging rails, one above the other.

The other side of the bulkhead at the head of the bed ...

... is a utility room. A washing machine has shelves above and storage space below.

Photos of the business end to come.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Jubilee: the hiccup earlier referred to

We've been rather busy the last couple of days with Ally and Ben on board, seeing their new home-to-be, and that's why I haven't blogged recently.

Lots of you have very kindly sent your congratulations on our new acquisition - much like you would if we'd had a new baby! In a way I suppose it is like that. It's certainly going to take a lot of our time and money; we will lavish it with our attention, care (and even love?); and it will reward us with, well, with just being our Jubilee.

Before I put up photos of the interior, here's another exterior. That's Ally at the bow.

I'm going to have to do something about those fenders. That's how the boat was when we took it, in its freshly blacked state. There are a couple of bonglers fitted with carabiner-type clips: I think I'll just use these when tying up for the night.

Here's a brief summary of the events of the last few days:

Last Sunday we returned to Shadow at Wigram's Turn, and sorted out the insurance. From my online bank account I paid the vendor the first wodge of money, phoned him and said he should have the cash, and (cheekily) asked if we could come up to the boat and stay overnight before making the next payment.

He said that that would be all right, so we drove up to Kegworth where the boat was.


The money hadn't appeared in the vendor's bank account! He knew why, though: he'd given us the wrong sort code! My immediate thought was, of course, where is my money? Fortunately, when I looked at my account, it was back in there. Phew!

So I set up a payment to the correct account, but the rules of the bank meant that I had to wait another day, putting everything behind schedule. On Tuesday we drove to Sawley marina and Long Eaton. At the marina we bought a heavier anchor than the one on board, complete with chain and warp. Chris Nixon at the marina spliced it all together for us. Back at the boat I waited up until midnight, and then made the second and final online payment. Thankfully this went through without a hitch. We'd bought the boat!

Finally for this post, a photo of a heron by a weir. This was the river section of the Trent and Mersey between Wychnor and Alrewas.

Top Thirty, 2012 Week 16

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty places) as it stood at 2020 on Sunday 22nd April 2012. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 Pennine Waterways (=)

3 CanalPlanAC (=)

4 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

5 Retirement with No Problem (=)

6 UKCanals Network (=)

7 Granny Buttons (+1)

8 Water Explorer (-1)

9 Waterway Routes (+1)

10 nb Epiphany (-1)

11 Towpath Treks (=)

12 ExOwnerships (+10)

13 boatshare (=)

14 Jannock Website (=)

15 Canal Shop Company (=)

16 Takey Tezey (-4)

17 Trafalgar Marine Services (-1)

18 Nb. Yarwood (+1)

19 nb Waiouru (-1)

20 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (-3)

21 Narrowboat Bones (+2)

22 nb Lucky Duck (-1)

23 Chertsey (+5)

24 Baddie the Pirate (-4)

25 Google Earth Canal Maps (-1)

26 Halfie (=)

27 Narrowboat Briar Rose (+3)

28 Derwent6 (-)

29 boats and cruising (=)

30 (-3)

The figures in parentheses denote the number of places moved since the previous chart;
(-) denotes new entry or re-entry into the chart;
(=) denotes no change.

There are 153 entries, the same as last week.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Some boat details

Today, in rather less rain than yesterday, we cruised Jubilee from Shardlow to just beyond Willington, meeting up with fellow bloggers Nev of Waterlily and Heth and Dave from Takey Tezey. We plied them with tea and proudly showed them our new toy. Before that we'd stopped for a fry-up on board, and I discovered the shortcomings of a saw from Poundland. (Note to self: get a proper bow saw, and soon.)

Tomorrow we'll be making a dawn start (that'll surprise her) as we want to get to Fazeley by 1900. By my calculation there are 24 miles and 11 locks.

(By the way, I hate the new Blogger system. Does anyone like it?)

I promised some details about Jubilee. Where shall I start? Well, outside first.

The shell is a 2003 Liverpool Boat Co. 10/6/4 with sprayfoam insulation.

The paintwork is excellent, looking as though it has just had a full repaint. The colour scheme is predominantly light bluish grey, with blue borders and cream coach lines. Jubilee has just been blacked, and the tunnel bands were painted at the same time. It has a mix of portholes and rectangular windows, with one smallish side hatch. There are two pigeon boxes, one over the galley and one directly over the shower cubicle.

Inside, from the trad stern, steel doors and a steel slide lead into the engine "room" with cupboards for the inverter, electrics and calorifier. The engine itself is under a deck board which can be removed together with side panels to reveal a 41HP Isuzu.

Then there is a utility room with washing machine and storage; followed by the bedroom with full-size double bed with storage underneath, a small chest of drawers and a wardrobe with sliding doors.

Forward of that is the bathroom with quadrant shower cubicle, sink and electrically flushing Thetford cassette loo.
Next comes the galley: Stoves cooker, circular stainless steel sink and matching drainer, 230V fridge, solid beech worktop.

A table and bench seat convert into a cross double bed, and the saloon has a leather settee, shelves and Morso Squirrel stove.

The floor throughout is oak tongue & groove, which is one of the things which attracted me to the boat.

The panelling is a light coloured wood (ash?) with mirror graining (if that's the expression), and tongue & groove boards on the ceiling. Lighting is mostly by a multitude of halogen spotlights:  there are 10 in the open-plan saloon and galley, with three more under high-level cupboards and shelves. There are four in the bathroom, which creates a very bright space!

There seems to be lots of storage, which will be very handy for Ally and Ben when they live aboard from July.

The standard of joinery seems to me to be mostly very high.

I'll post more photos when I get round to it.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

We have bought a narrowboat!

At long last, and after a worrying last minute delay (more on this later), we are now the very proud owners of a new (to us) narrowboat. We have decided to rename it Jubilee.

The boat is in such good condition that to say that we are pleased would be a gross understatement. When I managed to transfer the last of the monies to the vendor in the very early hours of this morning, I was so excited that I woke Jan up. I just wanted to tell someone!

Even now, nearly 24 hours later, and after four hours of cruising in pouring rain, it almost doesn't seem possible that we've landed up with such a good boat.

We bought it in Kegworth and are now tied up in Shardlow, heading towards Fazeley. Give us a shout if you see us - but you won't see a name on the boat yet.

I'll give some details of the boat in a later post, but this will do for now.


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Doing lots of "first time" things today...

The title says it all, really. Can't say much more at this stage, but regular readers will be able to guess what's going on.

There was one hiccup, but things are back on track.

The full story will come very soon.

And photos!

Top Thirty, 2012 week 15

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty places) as it stood at about 2200 on Sunday 15th April 2012. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 Pennine Waterways (=)

3 CanalPlanAC (=)

4 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

5 Retirement with No Problem (=)

6 UKCanals Network (+2)

7 Water Explorer (-1)

8 Granny Buttons (+1)

9 nb Epiphany (+1)

10 Waterway Routes (-3)

11 Towpath Treks (=)

12 Takey Tezey (+5)

13 boatshare (+2)

14 Jannock Website (-2)

15 Canal Shop Company (-1)

16 Trafalgar Marine Services (+4)

17 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (+1)

18 nb Waiouru (+1)

19 Nb. Yarwood (+8)

20 Baddie the Pirate (-)

21 nb Lucky Duck (=)

22 ExOwnerships (-6)

23 Narrowboat Bones (-1)

24 Google Earth Canal Maps (-1)

25 Contented Souls (-)

26 Halfie (-2)

27 (-)

28 Chertsey (-3)

29 boats and cruising (+1)

30 Narrowboat Briar Rose (-2)

The figures in parentheses denote the number of places moved since the previous chart;
(-) denotes new entry or re-entry into the chart;
(=) denotes no change.

There are 153 entries, up from 152 last week.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

On the North Oxford

Tied up just above Hillmorton Locks. Victoria and Archimedes chugged past heading towards Braunston as it was getting dark, both with their tunnel lights on. Yesterday we passed Raymond and Nutfield as we ascended Buckby Locks.

Photos will have to come later.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Survey received

Very quick post to say that we received the surveyor's report this evening. Have read through a couple of times, and have e-mailed list of questions back to the surveyor.

That's all for now...

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Playing the waiting game

Hmm. We were expecting to hear from the boat surveyor today. Nothing. I'll give him another day...

I have spoken to three insurance companies today, though. It was much better actually talking to them compared with filling in web pages to get quotes. I was able to explain about Ally and Ben needing to live aboard in July, but us using the boat before then.

The three companies in the frame at the moment are Euromarine (EIS); Collidge & partners; and Towergate (or is it Towergate Mardon?). The quote from the latter has come down to a much more sensible figure - not the nearly £600 it originally appeared.

In the meantime we're aboard Shadow with David, Penny and Fergus. We've been down the GU to Stoke Bruerne, and are now tied up just north of Gayton Junction.

It was frustrating bashing away on the computer while David was steering south from Bugbrooke in the sunshine. I emerged just as we entered Blisworth Tunnel.

No photo again, sorry. There never seems to be any spare time!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Tripling his chances on the UEA broad

Is this angler tripling his chances of a catch?

Photo taken at the end of January this year at the University of East Anglia Broad.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Narrowboat insurance

Wow! What a minefield! This is really complicated. Here's the situation: I need to insure the boat I'm buying so I can get a BW licence for it. But in three months I won't be using the boat, Ally and Ben will. And they'll be living aboard in a marina. One insurance company I looked at quoted for either "marina" or "living aboard", implying that the two were mutually exclusive.

And do I get third party, fire and theft or comprehensive cover? And what about contents?

I wonder if Ally and Ben should arrange the insurance, or do I have to be the policy holder in order to get the licence?

And if the boat's going to be in a marina for a couple of years does it need a BW licence at all?

I'm going to have to make some phone calls.

Oh, and we're going boating - on Shadow with David and co. That's bound to create extra complexity if, as we hope, we're to take over the "new" boat straight from Shadow.

If you have experience in this area I'd really appreciate your comments. Thanks.

Top Thirty, 2012 week 14

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty places) as it stood at 1005 on Sunday 8th April 2012. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 Pennine Waterways (=)

3 CanalPlanAC (=)

4 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

5 Retirement with No Problem (=)

6 Water Explorer (+4)

7 Waterway Routes (+2)

8 UKCanals Network (-2)

9 Granny Buttons (-2)

10 nb Epiphany (+1)

11 Towpath Treks (-3)

12 Jannock Website (+1)

13 freespirit (-)

14 Canal Shop Company (+1)

15 boatshare (-3)

16 ExOwnerships (+1)

17 Takey Tezey (+1)

18 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (-4)

19 nb Waiouru (-3)

20 Trafalgar Marine Services (=)

21 nb Lucky Duck (-2)

22 Narrowboat Bones (-1)

23 Google Earth Canal Maps (+2)

24 Halfie (-1)

25 Chertsey (-3)

26 NB The Manly Ferry (+2)

27 Nb. Yarwood (+2)

28 Narrowboat Briar Rose (-1)

29 Seyella's Journey (+1)

30 boats and cruising (-6)

The figures in parentheses denote the number of places moved since the previous chart;
(-) denotes new entry or re-entry into the chart;
(=) denotes no change.

There are 152 entries, down from 153 last week.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Making a list


If our boat buying goes ahead next week, and I'm confident it will, we will have to take lots of things for the galley with us. The current owners are not leaving anything in that department as they've been living aboard and need all their items for their house. There won't even be a kettle!

So tomorrow, after church, we'll be packing some boxes with plates, bowls, mugs, cutlery, etc. etc. We're used to this sort of thing having camped a fair amount in the past. We'll even need sleeping bags as we're staying one night at my uncle's house in Wiltshire for his 80th birthday bash.

The slight complication with kitting out the boat with our stuff is that Ally and Ben will be wanting their own things on board from July. Still, we'll cross that accommodation bridge when we get to it.

Speaking of Ally and Ben, they're really looking forward to seeing their new home! And I'm looking forward to being able to reveal details of the boat very soon.

I wonder what we're going to forget to take.

There's going to be a lot to do when taking the boat over: BW licence and insurance are two which come to mind. Is there anything else? (Apart from paying for the thing, of course.)

Never having applied for a BW licence before (the boat's licence has just expired) I don't know what the procedure is. When I've posted this I'll have a look at

As I don't like publishing posts without a photo, here's one of the Shakespeare boats all lined up ready for the holidays at Mercia Marina four weeks ago.

Now for Waterscape ...

Friday, 6 April 2012

Rudder mod

The current owner of the boat we're buying has welded a bit more steel on the leading edge of the rudder.

It's a bit difficult to make out, but all you can see in his photo is the portion in front of the rudder post.

For comparison here's the rudder as it was:

I hope it works OK!

Surveyor's report expected on Easter Tuesday.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Another Norfolk canal?

I debated with myself whether to pose this photo as a "where is this?" tease, but decided it really would be too unfair. Too much of a trick. It would have been fine for April 1st, but I've missed the opportunity.

This does look like a portion of derelict canal, doesn't it? And it is indeed in Norfolk, but is nothing to do with the North Walsham and Dilham Canal.

It's the moat of New Buckenham Castle which, judging by the exposed tree roots out of view beyond the bridge, is normally in water.

There's not much left of the castle, either. We didn't explore, but the circular keep is thought to be the earliest in England.