Monday, 28 March 2011

Monday 28th March

We have just had a wonderful few days in Bristol staying with Paul and Jacqui who kindly put us up while Cath and I had A few things to see to.

They had organised a tour of the BBC studios which everyone found very interesting. The tour includes a chance to have a go as Archers actors or TV presenters. It's a great laugh, Cath became a sound effects person, Jacqui presented Points West, and I was cast as the weather man. All in all a great afternoon out. Of course we also did a bit of geocaching, very interesting, and you get to see places locally which you never knew existed.

On Wednesday Cath went out to have an evening with old friends from her time at SMRT school and on Thursday we all went to The Bird in Hand at Saltford to meet with friends from the Marina we spent several happy years on.

Friday we set off back to Stafford and decided to stop and shop at Sainsburys. That was a mistake!

While we were parked up some chap misjudged his parking manoeuvre and scraped along the side of our car. He was very honest though and came into the shop to call us and exchange insurance. By the time we got home his insurance had already organised repairs and the only real nuisance is that we wanted to sell the car this week and now can't until at least Friday which means we have to stay here a little longer than hoped.

The new curtains are now nearly all finished and hung and tomorrow we are planning on going to Birmingham as Cath wants to see an exhibition of pre-Raphaelite drawings in the art gallery.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Nearly ready for the season
Sunday 20th March
The bulk of the painting has now been done and Lyra looks much nicer now with shiny paint where there was ugly rust a while ago. This is no boat show job, just making her look presentable. The other day I was talking to some folk who had just had their boat professionally repainted and while it did look excellent it should have at £5,500!!! I can understand some of the boats we come across who are “very precious” about their boats. I suppose I'd be worried if I'd paid that much for a paint job. I quote the oft used phrase – Narrow boating is a contact sport. There will be many who hate me for that.
On Friday we went out to the Cannock Chase museum for a look-see. Very interesting, we were unaware of the extent of the mining operation around here.
Cath has nearly finished the new curtains now and we've started removing the temporary double glazing, ready to fit them. I'm varnishing around the windows where moisture has gotten in and made a mess of the woodwork.
Oh, nearly forgot, Cath has made some more marmalade, which does nothing for my waistline!!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Moored up on Tixall Wide for the night

15th March 2011
After a nice quiet weekend I had to attend the local hospital on Monday for some more tests. I won't get the results until I see the quack.
Today we decided to take Lyra out and moor up on Tixall Wide, a lovely spot on the Staffs & Worcs Canal, not far from Great Haywood Junction. The weather man had promised us fine weather, but as usual they lied. At least it hasn't rained, just been a bit dull.
I spent a pleasant afternoon with the camera and chatting with some of the neighbours, one of whom is a diesel engineer and he gave me some more to think about on the subject of the mods I want to carry out on the alternator drive.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Steam engine driving the machinery

With the weather improving recently I have finally started painting the hull side below the gunwale where it gets scraped quite frequently by my wild steering.

With our time in the marina drawing to an end we decided to finally make the time to visit the Gladstone Pottery Museum in Stoke on Trent. When we were near here a few years ago Cath got to see it but I was too busy fixing our old Eberspacher heating unit and didn't go with here. She was very impressed with the place so I decided that while we were here I would take the opportunity to see it for myself.

The place is excellent. The last pottery to use bottle ovens, that was in the '60s, it has been turned into a very good museum with demonstrations of several of the skills from the past, including flower making and painting as well as throwing pots.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Friday 4th March
After a very pleasant few days out we are now back in the marina. With the engine nice and warm I got around to doing an oil change on it and the gearbox ready for the new season.
While we were moored up at Fradley Junction we met two other boats we knew from our travels. Sanity Again who ere heading down the Trent & Mersey in the direction of Shardlow and Raymond and Maureen from Ramyshome who were visiting friends moored nearby. They are still on their winter mooring but hope to start cruising again soon.
Now I am hoping for some dry weather to get some painting done before we set off on the summer trip.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Tuesday 1st March

A much nicer day. The sun tried to shine, and even succeeded a couple of times. Almost everyone we passed commented on the change.

We chugged off after a leisurely breakfast, passing over the River Trent at Brindley Bank and on through Rugeley. We stopped for a short chat with Bruce and Sheila, our erstwhile neighbours in the marina as they had stopped to do some shopping, and then carried on to Fradley Junction.

As expected there was no mooring to be had at the junction, so we turned around and made our way back up the three locks to find a mooring up there. Our intention is to walk back to The Swan, the pub on the junction, and have a meal tonight.