Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas Day 2012
Good morning, and Merry Christmas to all who read this log.
Cath has been playing with her new toy, a Samsung tab. The boat is full of cries of "Why can't I do this?" and "It won't let me do that!!". However with the help of Damon (using my laptop and a video chat programme) things are getting better.
In concert with almost everyone else in the country the weather is damp, not pouring down, but the occasional shower. I don't think we'll be going out anywhere today. Cath is cooking duck for our Christmas dinner, and we'll doth try not to eat too much. whether we succeed in that I don't know.
Once again Merry Christmas to all.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Friday 21st December 2012
Yesterday was our 38th wedding anniversary, but we decided to postpone the celebration meal until today. Lucky really, as yesterday's weather was foul and we had to walk about a mile to the restaurant.
Despite the forecast, this morning dawned wet and once again we thought "Those pillocks at The Met Office have got it wrong again!", but it cleared up to just a dull day and we wandered  along to Bibi's, a lovely art deco Italian restaurant here in Leeds. The meal was wonderful as we had hoped and expected.
This afternoon we've been relaxing here on board and will be heading off to bed as soon as I've finished this because Damon has just phoned to say that there's been a slight change of plan for tomorrow. Instead of picking us up mid morning to go shopping, to avoid the crush and queuing he'll be picking us up at 6.30!!! Oh joy.
With the further forecast rain I expect that The Aire will rise again overnight. Today we could still see the weir at Crown Point Bridge, and I expect if the rain continues over the next day or so that the weir will become just a ripple in the water, and Leeds Lock gates will be submerged. If that happens I hope to get some photos to put in here.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Sunday 16th December 2012
It's been a busy weekend for us. Saturday morning I picked up the hire car from Enterprise, and later we drove down to Barnsley for my aunt's birthday.
We stopped off in the center of of Barnsley for a spot of lunch only to find the place crawling with policemen. there was a late afternoon kick-off football match, which was a local derby so the militia were out in force and most pubs had large signs on the doors saying HOME FANS ONLY. Very welcoming.
We finally found a Costa and settled for a sandwich and coffee before going around to her house.
We spent a pleasant afternoon chatting to family and but only stayed a couple of hours because at 90 Bobbie gets tired easily.
On the way back we stopped off at a supermarket to get something for our dinner and then just settled back with a good meal and a bottle of wine.
Sunday I had to move the car before 10 am because of parking restrictions, so I fished all our empty fuel cans out of the boat and set off for Normanton, where there is a garage selling red diesel at a reasonable price - 85 ppl.
When I got that lot back to the boat Cath told me that we were expecting a visit from the family. Not just Damon, Liz,and Daniel, but her father John and his fiance Sara. They stayed for about an hour and then we went shopping again, for a more substantial selection of things, including the all important wine, gin and whiskey. No, I'm not alcoholic, YET.
Just when I thought that was it for the day, the loo can went red, so I had to trundle that down to the disposal point.
That's it now, I'm settled in for the night and it'll take a stick of dynamite to move me.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Saturday 15th December 2012
My visit to the dentist went off smoothly and I now have a smooth end to the tooth again. Always a bit of a pot luck when you choose a new mouth vet, but this one seems OK.
The cold weather has shown up the fact that our central heating wasn't working at peak efficiency. On Thursday and Friday it seemed to struggle to get the boat up to temperature, so this morning I had a bit of a poke around and discovered that the inlet air filter for the compressor was a bit blocked. Replacing it brought the flame back to its usual shape, and the temperature of the fluid is back to its 'I can't touch the radiators' point. Lovely and warm again!
I always do a jigsaw while we're moored up for winter, and this year is no exception. Last summer I swapped one with Ian, who we shared a lot of the L&L with earlier this year, and it's now nearly completed. Embarrassingly I can't remember the name of his boat, but I'm sure we'll meet again somewhere around the system.
This morning I picked up our hire car from Enterprise and we motored down to Barnsley with a box of chocolates for my Auntie Bobbie's 90th. Gail and Derek were there as we expected. Gail has a lot to answer for in life as it was she who introduced Cath and I when they were both students. I must add that I don't regret it!!
Tomorrow we'll do a raid on Morrison's and then use the car to get a load of diesel for the boat from Normanton.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Another lovely cold morning, but because it's the middle of Leeds we're a lot warmer than many out there.
We had a lovely day yesterday. Decided to take the train to York for a look around. because the weather was so foul this year we didn't manage to get up The Ouse so we took this opportunity.
A day return is only £11.40 and takes just around 30 minutes.
Here the river is looking a lot more benign than it has of late, but it's still higher than when Lyra last visited in 2007.

We decided to visit Jorvik and York Minster.
  Looking down the Nave

 The west window of York Minster

 This is a mock up of the east window, hung in place while the original is being re-furbished. it looks very realistic.
Underneath it you can just see The Orb, a small exhibition of some of the restoration work on the window.
There are also very interesting displays of stone masonry as well.

We haven't been to the Jorvic Centre for many years, in fact since 1984 when it was first opened. Much has changed of course, and it's an attraction which we can thoroughly recommend to anyone visiting York. I didn't get any useful photos of Jorvik because of restrictions.

 When we returned to our mooring it was already dark so I got this picture of Clarence Dock dressed up ready for Christmas.

And this is our small contribution to the festive season.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Monday 10th December 2012
As seems the norm throughout the country we've had it a bit cold recently, but still nothing like the winter of  10/12. The river level is good and the dock gates have remained open.
Leeds market is full of gorgeous things to eat leading up to Christmas, but we're being fairly good to ourselves, at least until closer to the holiday time.
The same as happened last year we're having a strange festive season. Because of the work patterns of both Damon and Liz, once again the main celebration will be held over the first weekend in the new year. Cath and I will have the actual Christmas Day tho ourselves on the boat and on Boxing Day Liz, Brenda and Daniel will be visiting us, which will allow Damon to get his sleep in peace (he's on night shift).
Yesterday I managed to break the repaired end of one of my front teeth. The legacy of an old motorcycle accident (an argument with a tractor which I lost!). So this morning I had to find a dentist. A quick glance through the offerings on Google and I'm booked in this afternoon for a poke and prod around by a jawbreaker in Leeds center.
Next weekend we've hired a car to get us to Barnsley for the 90th birthday of my Aunt. This will also give us transport to fetch some more fuel for the boat from the garage in Normanton.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Sunday 2nd December 2012
The end of the year seem to be rushing towards us. I haven't updated this blog for some time now as life has been fairly samey, and others have had a lot more to talk about than we have (floods etc.).
The water here has long receded, and the river is once again a pussy cat. The sun has been shining brilliantly for the last few days, but of course it's been darn cold.
One exciting (for us) thing was that last night our grandson came to stay overnight for the first time, This may not seem much to some out there, but believe me it was a big deal for us and hopefully paces the way to further visits. We had planned to go for a short cruise with him this morning but with the temperature outside below 0 we chickened out.
Our Hurricane central heating continues to produce heat, but is getting a lot noisier. I'm just waiting for it to fail completely so that hopefully the supplier will at last fit the later type of compressor which is supposed to overcome the failures of the type fitted to ours. For those not acquainted with the problem we have experienced with this heater, After about one year of use the compressor in it became very noisy and finally failed completely. The supplier fitted a new one under guarantee. That one started to get noisy after only a few months and we then found out that there was a known issue with that model, which the maker had addressed by changing the design. We took the boat to the supplier (we happened to be passing in our travels) and they said that they wouldn't change it until it actually failed. I was a bit put out about the decision, but had to accept it. The trouble is, of course, that they will always fail when you need them most, when it's damned cold, and then you have to wait for the replacement. I only hope that we don't get any hassle about replacement free of charge, because it is a known faulty part.
An interesting boat has been in the dock over the weekend. Looks like a nice design, as long as you don't want to do the narrow canals.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Tuesday 20th November 2012
Hopefully a successful day. I say hopefully because we've spent a lot of time trying to re-do our shrink film double glazing.
Some may remember that this is something we apply every winter to try to stop the rivers of condensation from our metal window frames, and also it helps with heat retention.
This year's first effort wasn't a success. The first  attempt went slack very quickly, and trying to re-tighten it didn't work for long.
We tried several times with different methods, and the one which seems to work best is with double strips of the stick tape, spaced apart.
With one window now looking as if it might be ok we decided to have a go at the rest. All seems fine at the moment, but time will tell. The picture shows one window finished, but despite both of us saying "don't forget to put the sun catcher back up before applying the film, guess what, there it is on the back of my chair!
I'm also having trouble with my 3 broadband, so after several complaints to the aforesaid company they have agreed  to give me a rebate on this month's bill because of the maintenance issue with a local mast. Result! but I'd rather have the speed. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Wednesday November 7th 2012
On Monday we hired a car and drove down to Bristol to sort out a problem with our house. 
Paul and Jacqui came up trumps yet again, and even though they were off on holiday to Malta they insisted that we use their house as a base while we were there.
Over the weekend before setting off we both caught cold and over the next few days they have developed into real streamers, and we're both suffering like babies.
All went well with our problem, so this morning we set off back to Leeds. The roads were quite clear, and apart from some roadworks we moved along quite smoothly.
We're now back at the boat and are wrapping ourselves up warmly to try and shake these colds.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sunday November 4th 2012
Sunday morning, and it's darn cold out there. 2.5 degrees C
Yesterday we were due to go to Saltaire for a look around the art gallery. both Cath and Damon are interested in art.
Damon rang in the morning to tell us that Daniel had been poorly in the night, so it wasn't a good idea to take a long car trip. We decided to go round to their house instead, and maybe go to Roundhay Park if Dan perked up.
He duly appeared to bounce back through the morning, so we set off to feed the ducks in the lake and then have a spot of lunch in The Lakeside, a fine cafe on the lake edge.
In the afternoon we settled back at the house. Dan had a long afternoon nap to get over the exertion of running around in the park.
Later we had dinner and then returned to the boat.
This morning I dived onto the engine compartment to finally clear up some of the accumulated detritus in the bottom. I've been putting it off for years!
It looks a lot better now, certainly not pristine, but a big improvement.
Tomorrow we will pick up a hire car and travel down to Bristol to visit friends and try to sort out a glitch with the house.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Thursday November 1st. 2012
Home at last. After nearly 3 weeks away Lyra is once again tucked up snugly on a pontoon in Clarence Dock.
Last night, after waiting a long time for the completion of our modification to the central heating circuit, Dave finally got around to cutting the hole and re-routing the central heating pipes so that the flow is through a header tank now. This allows any air to escape naturally, which it would not do before.
This morning I was finally presented with the bill and I went into town to get the money from the bank as I'd told the guys I would pay in cash.
Once back at the boat we prepared for departure and I tried to start the engine. No go! A quick look at the instrument panel showed that it was getting no power.
I dived into the engine compartment to see if I could see anything obvious. I traced the power feed and found no troubles in the main supply. The only thing I could think of was that during the work yesterday some damage had occurred in the wiring loom so I called Dave over for help.
The problem was soon found to be damage to one of the main feed cables to the instrument panel. When he had drilled through the bulkhead Dave had nicked the cable. He soon made repairs, but then we had to find the fuse that had been taken out by the grounding. it took a while, but finally he located it, and we were back in business.
By now the time was pushing on, and just as we started to leave the yard one of the sand barges came past, taking the lock.
We plodded around to the lock mooring to wait our turn. Unfortunately, after that one had gone through, there was another on its way from the other direction, so we had to wait even longer. By the time we got through Castleford Lock we had been waiting an hour and it was now 12.00 o'clock. 
Pulling out onto the river I gave Lyra some welly and off we went. The good news is that the modifications made to quieten her down have worked very well, the high efficiency silencer and soundproofing have made a great deal of difference . We can now talk easily on the back deck, even at high power settings,also the mods to our rudder appear to improve the drive and the steering
When we reached Lemonroyd Lock, once again the fates were against us, the gates refused to open and after waiting a long time, and trying many times to get the gates to open we gave up and called C&RT to report a fault. Just after that Cath tried the gates again and, wonder of wonders, they opened. I called C&RT to cancel the help and we continued on our way.
There were no more hold ups, and we finally arrived in the dock at about 3.45, not bad considering the holdups.

Monday, 29 October 2012

29th October 2012
Winter is now galloping towards us. With the turning of the clocks to their winter setting, the nights start so much earlier.
Yesterday I went for what started out as a short walk into town to try and source a couple of 3/4" ball valves for the modification to our central heating. first call was Wilkinsons, I didn't really hold out much hope of them stocking it, but they were on the way so I thought I'd give it a go. No luck, so onwards to Homebase, where I did expect to find them. No go there either, but the chap told me that there was a Screwfix in town, about 5 minutes by car. I am, of course on foot, but that doesn't sound too bad, so off I went.
Sure enough, there was the huge Asda which he told me was a landmark to look out for. Now, where's that Screwfix? No sign, so out comes the trusty smartphone, and, sure enough I'm in the area, and it's down this new road leading to an industrial estate. Another few minutes walking, and there it is. But, this must be the only Screwfix in the world that doesn't open on a Sunday!
So, the long walk back begins, but it's now winter clocks, so the light is fading, bit of a shock that. Not a problem, just unexpected, and annoying to find them closed.
Work on the boat progressed well yesterday, the soundproofing is now finished and the difference in sound levels is as good as we hoped. We can't wait to get her out on the water to try it under cruising conditions. All that remains now are the central heating mods.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Friday 26th October 2012 (2nd. post today)
At last there's movement on the mods we wanted. The new silencer is now installed and working, it does make a difference, but we won't be able to fully evaluate it until we cruise. A start has been made on the sound insulation and Shane tells me that all the work should be completed tomorrow.
One problem has reared its ugly head. The engine start battery is struggling, I don't know if it's because it's getting old and past it (aren't we all) or it isn't being charged when we're on shore power. I'll have to check that out tomorrow. 
The weather started to turn cold today, there might even be a frost tonight.
Thursday 25th October 2012
Nothing happened yesterday on the modifications. I did get down into the engine room and did a bit of tidying up and pumping out. The latter is necessitated by the engine bay drains which constantly block up allowing rainwater to cascade into the compartment. I finally got around to using the special oil soak up pads which I bought a long time ago. They seem to work very well, leaving behind the water which is easy to then pump/suck up away.
After that we got around to installing the winter double glazing. This seems to be a standard fix on canal boats these days. For those who are unfamiliar with it, canal boats in general have windows with metal surrounds which create gallons of water through condensation when it gets cold outside. Several DIY chains sell a shrink film which you stick to the wooden surround to make a simple double glazing. It works very well.
Maybe the boatyard will start work today. We're off into town for a bit of provisioning

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Wednesday 24th October 2012
Not a great day. When we got up this morning there was hope that work could start on the mods to the boat.
However the yard appeared to be deserted apart from the two other boaters who live here on site.
Before setting off for a walk into town we checked to make sure we wouldn't be locked out when we returned. Assurances were given that we could get in, so off we went. We decided to take a different route to town which took us over the footbridge across the weir. It's a great view, and well worth doing. While on the bridge we met another of our temporary neighbours who assured us again that access shouldn't be a problem, but if all went pear shaped there was a way in at the back, but it was a bit difficult.
When we got back, sure enough, the gates were locked and we couldn't raise anyone to open up.
I walked around to the previously mentioned back "door" to find that I could climb the fence, albeit with difficulty, but on the other side there was a large mound of very soft earth which looked as if I needed wellies to negotiate. Luckily I managed to get the attention of one of the neighbours at this point so he went around and opened for us.
Later in the afternoon I started to fit the new kitchen tap I'd bought from ebay. A bit of a disaster on that front. The darn thing doesn't fit, and I think it's because of the manufacturing tolerances. I have fitted two other taps on this sink over the years and they all have the same style of clamp into a single hole, as does this one, but the radius,(diameter?) of the fittings (clamps and hoses together) is very slightly greater than the hole in the sink, so it won't fit. Back to the old one for the time being.
Maybe tomorrow the yard will get on with our work.
PS We now have a gate key!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Tuesday 23rd October 2012
Lyra is once again floating in her proper environment. Yesterday afternoon the dock was flooded and we're now moored up awaiting the other work which we wanted done here. Namely, re-routing the central heating pipes so that the flow is through the header/expansion tank, fitting a high efficiency silencer, and adding some sound deadening in the engine compartment.
We've been told that this work should start tomorrow, but I'm not holding my breath.
Now that we are properly tied up to the side Cath has returned from a week of living with Damon and Liz. It's great to have company again. We went for a wander up into Castleford town centre this morning to raid the market for a bit of food and I'm looking forward to Cajun chicken for dinner tonight.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Tuesday 16th October 2012
Here it is Tuesday and Lyra is still moored up outside the drydock waiting for her turn. Starting to get concerned about how long Cath will have to spend at Damon and Liz's because of the difficulty of access while actually in the dock.
The yard tell me that we should be floated in this afternoon, so I wait in hopes.
Meanwhile I'm continuing the varnishing, and doing all the other mundane things like running the washing machine, and spending too much time browsing on the computer. I really should get down and service the central heating, and the travel power belt needs tightening as it's started to squeal, but it's started to rain again so that's a good excuse to sit here and do not a lot, lazy toad!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Sunday 14th October 2012
Luckily the forecasters were right and the weather stayed dry on Friday.
Saturday morning and the gates were still closed. I took a wander up to have a look at the river, it was a pussycat again so we hoped to see the gates open by about 10.00 o'clock.
Half ten and still no sign C&RT guys to open up so I gave them call to see if there were plans to get the way clear. I was told that they were on the way, so it was just a case of waiting.
About 11.15 the gates swung wide and we were on our way. As I already hinted, we had hoped to get a flyer today, but it wasn't to be, so I decided to go for it and run a lot faster than I normally would. Moving down stream we at least had the advantage of current, but it wasn't running very fast. At Knostrop flood gates the river goes off to the left and the rest of the trip as far as Lemonroyd Lock is on canal.
We made really good time with only 2 of the 6 locks in our favour and approached Castleford lock in just under 2 1/2 hours!. The hurry was because Cath was due back in Leeds to child sit our grandson, Daniel. Result!
I'm now alone in Lyra, pottering around doing some of jobs that winters were made for. First of all though was an engine and gearbox oil change. That done it was back to sanding and varnishing. While that drys I'll take a walk up to the boatyard and check out our arrival plans.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Friday 12th October 2012
It certainly rained a bit last night! Yesterday when I checked the river level/flow it was a pussycat, and while we knew it would rain overnight we didn't reckon on it having a dramatic impact on the level. Big mistake. When we looked out this morning I was very surprised to find the dock gates locked and the level very high.
I later went and had a look at the river and it's going over the weir at quite a rate.
I phoned Supreme Marine, where we have a booking for late Sunday, early Monday dry docking and they were quite laid back about it. They know the state of the river, and the boat which must leave to allow room for us can't come out until Monday afternoon anyway, so we should still be ok.
If the gates do open tomorrow we will set off then, but Sunday is a non starter because Cath is child sitting Daniel all day so it could be Monday before we get going.
Looking forward to lovely hot chilli con tonight.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Thursday 11th October 2012
After a week of having the gates to the dock closed they were open again for last weekend. 
On Saturday morning I wandered over to the gates for a look and found several boaters hanging around them waiting for C&RT to open them up. Apparently someone had turned up and unlocked, but then had gone away without opening them saying they had things to do but would be back later to open up. Finally they returned and the way to freedom was clear. There was then a mad flurry of movements as boats came and went. There were two boats moored up to the high wall outside the dock waiting to come in, and nearly all of the boats trapped inside made a run for it as soon as the gates opened.
We had an interesting day on Wednesday. With the weather still staying dry we decided to take a train ride to Harrogate for a look around. It's a pretty place, and we'll go again as it takes more than a day's mooch around to do it justice.
It's been fairly dry all week, and the river level is still dropping. The forecast for tonight says rain, but then clear again tomorrow. We've decided to start our trip to Castleford then, just to ensure nothing prevents us for making it to our appointment with the boatyard on Monday.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Friday 5th October 2012
The weather around here has been very changeable this week. The rain has once again caused the gates to Clarence Dock to be shut so we're all trapped. Mike and Sally were due to take Bendigo to Castleford for work to be done, but unless the river abates quite a bit I don't think they'll make it.
Earlier this week Damon took me up to Arnold Laver, a timber merchant who stocks faced MDF where I bought a sheet of 19mm ash faced board and had it cut to size so that I can get on and replace some of the external door panels which have deteriorated over the years. I would have prefered ply, but it wasn't available.
Though the week I've been painting and varnishing. Painting the table which resides in our well deck, I made this table a few years ago and varnished it and now it's looking a bit tatty so I decided to sand it down and paint it. The first effort was a total failure! I hate painting, and I didn't sand it down enough and leaving some varnish on caused the paint not to take properly. After another really good session of sanding I tried again and this time with some success. The colour we chose was a light blue and it looks fine now.
I've started to varnish the new door panels, but won't be installing them yet, there's a lot more varnish to apply and I won't cut the old panels out until after Lyra has been dry docked to have her bottom done.
Speaking of which, if this weather doesn't improve soon we may not be able to get to Castleford to have the work done. Not looking forward to that possibility at all.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Saturday 29th September 2012
It looks as if we're here for the winter now. We will of course be taking short runs out, the first will hopefully be to Supreme Marine at Castleford for blacking and other work.
Today looked to be the best weather of recent times so we decided to go for a wander up to Roundhay Park just to get some fresh air. It's a lovely place, with a tropical house for kids of all ages, it even boasts a canal, but I think calling it that is being generous in the extreme.
By the time we had returned to the boat the wind was already blowing hard, so the rain can't be too far behind.

The Canal at Roundhay
Add caption

Sun at Clarence Dock in late September

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tuesday 25th September 2012

It certainly looks like it was a very good call to get back to Leeds!
As the rest of the country will know we've had a little bit of rain recently.
Sunday morning wasn't too bad, Liz picked Cath up in her car and they went shopping while I got on with a bit of boatwork. Cath returned in time to beat the expected rain, but a couple of hours later it started. It seems to have been raining ever since.
Yesterday we we just sat in the boat, doing not a lot, enjoying the rest and the sound of rain on the roof.
This morning I took the camera out and got some photos of water levels around here. I'll put some of them on here, but unless you're familiar with the normal state of things it may not mean a lot.
While I was out there I met a chap from Leeds City Council Emergency Team surveying the state of the river. Millennium Bridge had been closed overnight because the steps leading up were flooded, but the river has actually dropped a bit this morning but he told me that they expect it to rise again during the day. There are sand bags already in place at the flats on the North bank, just across the river from The Armouries.
The bad news is that I will have to go out to empty our can some time today, not looking forward to that.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Saturday 22nd September
Friday morning dawned dank and damp. Later on it started to brighten up so we decided to move on a bit nearer Leeds.
Castleford Flood Lock was closed, but available for self operation. The indicator board at the upstream end showed just below the red so we continued heading for Lemonroyd. Once there we found the indicator board in the red. It had started to rain again so we decided to stop once we were through the lock. There were a couple of C&RT guys at the lock so I asked what the chances were of Clarence Dock gates being open. It turns out that they were shut this morning, but with the weather expected to clear overnight they should be open in the morning.
The rain continued to pound down for the rest of the afternoon, but the weatherman kept promising Saturday would be fine.
This morning dawned bright and clear so we set off. Our intention was to get to the dock, if it was shut we could tie up on the pontoon just below Leeds Lock and wait for the river to go down.
At Knostrop Falls Lock the indicator was well in the green and I asked a C&RT man there and he confirmed that Clarence Dock was open.
We arrived back on our mooring at about 10.30. A short walk into town to get the all important bottle of wine for tonight and now we've settled in for the day.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Thursday 20th September 2012
Castleford again. As we suspected, we got up this morning to find it raining. A glance at the Met Office site and we decided to settle down for the day.
However, by 11.15 the sky was brightening so we put the kettle on for coffee and agreed that if it looked ok by the time we'd finished it we would  set off for Castleford. The reason for this is the lack of facilities at Ferrybridge, and if the rain get worse tomorrow, as they predict, we may get a bit low on water and also need somewhere to dump a can.
The sky continued to brighten so we set off. It only sprinkled a bit of rain during the journey, Bulholme Lock was manned when we got there, we only had to wait while one of the commercial barges cleared the lock and we were in, without anyone having to lift a finger.
We've once again tied up at Castleford, near the services. If the prediction about weather are correct we'll stay here tomorrow. After that we aren't sure but the current thinking is to do a couple of short days on the way back to Leeds. I reckon it's a bit early in the year for that, but fine days are getting fewer.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

A lovely clear autumn day. Wall to wall sunshine as we cast off for Ferrybridge.
Birkwood and Kings Road locks were in our favour and someone was rising in Woodnook, so we had an easy ride as far as Castleford where the flood lock was also open.
Bulholme Lock did need our attention, but all went smoothly. Carrying on we passed the monster that is Ferrybridge Power Station and hence to Ferrybride Lock. Getting off the boat on the at the upstream end of Ferrybridge Lock is awkward, the quayside is the same height as the top of a narrow boat. I jumped off and started to cycle the lock, Cath brought Lyra in and as I walked to the other end of the lock to operate the the downstream sluices and gates the sluices started all by themselves. While I had been operating the other end of the lock, the keeper had arrived to deal with a commercial boat which was due, so she had completed our cycle for us.
After mooring up for the day I took a quick look at tomorrow's weather. I got a bot of a shock there. According to the Met Office the next two days are supposed to be very wet. If they're right we will probably stay put.
While we were passing Whitworth Wharf this morning there was a boat being loaded with sand. Have a look at how low his stern is.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Tuesday 18th September 2012
The day looked lovely when we got up this morning. After breakfast I dumped some rubbish and a can before casting off.
We'd just let go the last rope when it started to sprinkle a little rain, Cath asked if we should carry on or wait it out. Having just cast off I wasn't going to try and moor up again straight away, anyway it was just a sprinkle. Oh yeah! It soon turned into a deluge, it only lasted about 15 minutes, but of brother, it RAINED.
Just as quickly as it appeared the sky cleared and out came the sun, just in time for the first lock.
This is one just like Leeds Lock, a duel size, with 3 sets of gates, but only the short set powered up and in use. This short pound is only just long enough for Lyra, it's probably 62 ft.
That was the last powered lock on this canal. At Fall Ing Lock the navigation takes a turn off the river for a short canal section. Strangely this lock is large, but isn't powered. Those gates and paddles are very heavy!
Just after the lock there are some permanent moorings, and at the end of that line there are some visitor moorings. We tied up there and I took a wander into town to get a few things we needed, milk and salad stuff.
On the walk in I crossed an old bridge over The Calder, which has been superseded by a large road crossing. From the bridge you get a good view of a lovely wier, and on the bridge there is a chantry chapel, it boasts of being one of only 4 in the country, and is still in use twice a month.
The picture of the chapel isn't mine, I pinched it from the web.

If you can zoom this pic check out the sign on the bridge

Monday, 17 September 2012

Monday 17th September 2012
A fine day. Damon came over this morning and took me into Normanton to get red diesel, then ran Cath and I into Wakefield to get some more paint. We're in the throws of tarting up the table in the well deck. I made it a few years ago, and the varnish is looking a bit past it. After rubbing it down we decided to paint it this time. What colour? I wanted to do it in the cream which I used for the cratch 'A' frame, or even the same blue used for the boat. But Cath had other ideas, so off we went to B&Q to look at colour choices. The choice was limited, and we finally settled on a light blue.
Back at the boat the three of us went to the local pub for a very nice lunch before Damon had to leave.
This afternoon I finished off sanding down and under coating the table ready for the gloss tomorrow.
We plan to take the boat down to Wakefield tomorrow and if we find some mooring I'll do a bit of shopping for fruit and veg, if not we'll turn around and go to Castleford.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sunday 16th September 2012
Yesterday the Met Office web site were showing rain starting in our area around 10.00 am. We got up at about 7.30 this morning, guess what? it's raining. It didn't last long though.
After a very indulgent breakfast of bacon and egg sandwiches I emptied a can at the facility before setting off for Stanley Ferry.
Although the rain had stopped there was a chill breeze blowing as we cruised along the Aire and Caulder. 
At Fairies Hill there is a gravel wharf which is still used by the big commercial craft, but today is Sunday so we don't expect to meet any of the monsters. But there is still an obstacle here. Right on the corner, opposite the wharf entrance there is a hidden sand bank just waiting for someone to cut the corner a bit. Having been one of those unwary boaters in the past I now give it a wide berth.
In good weather this is a fine piece of countryside to cruise through, but autumn is coming, the sky is grey, and there is a hint of the colour to come in some of the trees.
The rain held off, in fact the sun put in an appearance for all of 5 minuets, and we arrived at Stanley Ferry after a couple of hours. The moorings here were nearly empty, so we got a good spot not too close to the pub, but not way out in the boondocks.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Saturday 15th September 2012
Woke up this morning to the promised sunshine. We had intended to get going on our way to Stanley Ferry by mid morning but a call from Liz the other day asking us to look after Danny for short while this morning changed our plans.
Dan was duly delivered about 9.30 this morning and we had a great time paddling his balance bike around the area in front of The Armouries before retiring back to the boat to do some colouring. This is the first time we've been left alone with him on the boat. Can't wait 'till he's old enough to take out for a trip without too much supervision.
After he was picked up we cast adrift and headed down river, aiming to overnight at Castleford. The sun continued to shine, but the wind took a lot of the heat out of it.
Leeds, Knostrop Fall, Fishpond and Woodlesford locks were all in our favour making progress slightly faster than expected. At Lemonroyd Lock there was someone coming up so the wait wasn't long. We arrived at Castleford after about 4 1/2 hours travelling, leaving us a shortish day tomorrow when the weather isn't supposed to be too good.
Among the pics I've uploaded is one of "Concrete Bridge", it just fascinates me, they name the bridges over the river, and someone came up with such an imaginative name for this one.
The sunken narrow boat at Woodlesford wasn't there when we were here last Saturday, so it's happened very recently.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Wednesday 12th September 2012
That's the quack sorted for another few months. As usual Boots couldn't fill the prescription without ordering more, so tomorrow will do.
We were going to watch "The Bourne Legacy" this afternoon but when we checked the times again it turned out that it wasn't being shown today. Yesterday and tomorrow, but not Wednesday!
After visiting the quack's we went for a bit of a shopping spree, well that's a bit strong for a couple of mags, some new PJs and some smalls, but sitting still is so boring even that is a highlight.  It isn't really that bad, I've been getting on with small jobs which have been neglected while cruising, and Jeff, from "Bendigo" has shown me another, very good, solution to the problem of adjusting the length of the fenders to compensate for the varying heights of moorings so I'm now making up the new style for Lyra.
On the subject of moving, we plan to take off again this Saturday and take a couple of days getting to Stanley Ferry.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Monday 10th September 2012
It's now Monday afternoon and we've fully settled in. Jeff, off Bendigo came along Saturday evening and told us they would be moving from our mooring early, so we decided not to put any more money into the electric meter on the one we were on.
We were still in bed when we heard Bendigo moving. Lazy toads aren't we?
We finally got our posteriors off the pit, and after breakfast set to moving the boat. There was no wind in the basin so it all went smoothly, and now we're tied up in our own little slot. BW, or should I say the C&RT have even put a sign on the quay "Lyra only". Thankfully, one of the worries about this slot, would we see the Sky satellite? didn't happen, and all is well
The neighbours seem a friendly bunch,  Sally, Jeff's other half, organises a monthly outing for all the moorers. We won't be able to attend the next one as we probably will be out cruising, but with winter coming we'll no doubt join then.
This morning we went up town to do some shopping, and this afternoon I changed the remaining incandescent lamps in the boat to LED, and then finally got on with modifying the table which I made for the well deck. Cath wanted it to move forward further, and for this to happen I had to cut a slot out of the base to accommodate the water tank filler or it wouldn't stand flat on the deck.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Saturday 8th September
We decided last night to get a good start this morning and get to Leeds early.
Duly, we were on our way by just gone 8.00 o'clock. The weather was glorious, wall to wall sunshine and hardly a breath of wind. We cracked along a seemingly deserted navigation to Fishpond Lock. We always seem to forget that this one is there, and are surprised when we check the map for the day ahead, "oh yes, Fishpond Lock, forgot about that". It seems to be in the middle of nowhere, not unusual for a lock I suppose but it just seems remote for some reason.
Knostrop Fall Lock and then Leeds Lock and we were there, home.
It sounds strange to call somewhere home after 3 years of wandering, but having spent last winter here, and hope to make Leeds our final destination if we ever have to give up travelling, it does feel like home.
Steering into Clarence Dock we found that someone else had purloined our mooring and all the visitor  moorings were full, so we took an empty pontoon (reserved for another boat, but they weren't here) and went to see what was going on. "Bendigo", the boat on our mooring, was in fact from the live-aboard moorings between the flats and had moved there ready to go out with friends later in the week. I said they could stay as we had somewhere down the line to tie up, and they would be gone tomorrow so we would move then.
As soon we had completed the ritual of hookup and tune the satellite I dived into town for a haircut. What a relief, it was getting out of hand.
This afternoon Damon, Liz and Daniel will be coming along with our mountain of post and hopefully my electric razor, which I had left behind on our last visit. How I missed that thing, I hate wet shaving! We'll all go out for dinner tonight, nothing fancy, just Pizza Express.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Friday 7th September 2012
After a quiet night at Ferrybridge we set off this morning to get to Castleford. This is a short journey, made even easier by the flood lock being open (lack of rain).
On reaching Castleford  we stopped as intended to visit the boat yard where we hoped to get Lyra blacked at the end of this season, and to enquire about some extra work we'd like done, such as fitting a high efficiency silencer, checking out the rudder bearings and putting some sound proofing in the engine compartment.
After looking around the yard and talking to the man there I feel confident of the job they'll do.
The day was still fairly young when I'd finished at the yard, Castleford flood lock was also open, so we decided to carry on further towards Leeds, which will make tomorrow's run shorter, allowing us time for some shopping before Damon and Liz arrive to go out for dinner. Lemonroyd moorings was a definite no-no for stopping, the smell of the local effluent plant is overpowering.
We went as far as Woodesford Lock before stopping for the night. This must be the prettiest lock on The Aire and Caulder. Someone does take care around here as can be seen from the pictures.
My decision to book the Castleford yard was given a boost when I got talking to another boat owner on the moorings here. He had just had his boat blacked there and was very pleased with the standard of work done.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Thursday 6th September 2012
A nice lazy start today. Last night I had a word with Geoff on Seyella and we decided to share the locks up as far as Knottingley, where the waterway splits. We turn left for Castleford and Leeds, while they are heading right, onto the the River Aire and thence to Selby and the River Ouse to York.
Pollington and Whitley locks were traversed with ease, and we said our goodbyes to them, we may meet again some time as we tramp the canals.
We are now tied up at Ferrybridge Lock. We had planned to eat in The Golden Lion this evening but when I checked they aren't serving food tonight just our lick. Not the end of the world, it looks like we're having burgers tonight now.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Wednesday 5th September 2012
We had a quiet night at Stainforth and set off about 8.33 with a lock and several swing/lift bridges to do.
Bramwith Lock is a strange one, a double chamber, hand operated. I suppose the double chamber allows longer boats where needed.
Turning on to the main line heading north we started the bridges, they're all powered, so no muscle needed. Here we joined a plastic boat and they opened the first bridge for us, in the usual style we did the next, but on reaching the third, Kirkhouse Green Lift Bridge, we hit a snag They got to it but when they tried to open it all that happened was that the road warning lights started to flash, then nothing. Unfortunately at that point it won't let you have your key back and you can't stop the lights. So, while we waited for help someone had to stay on the road and tell the traffic that the lights didn't mean anything.
By the time rescue arrived we had amassed quite a flotilla of boats. The next lock was a big one and took all the boats on one go. The last bridge was ours to open so we ended up tail end as we finished the South Yorkshire Navigations and turned onto the Aire and Calder. The convoy broke up here and some moored up, some turned for Goole and two of us headed west. We travelled as far as Pollington Lock and have moored here for the night and have been joined here by Geoff and Margaret on Seyella, who we shared to trip down the Trent with.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Tuesday 4th September 2012
Being a bit unfair maybe, but Keadby seems to be the end of the world. I took a wander around last night and there didn't appear to be anything there except the lock and some marine services.
About 1/4 of mile along the canal from our mooring there is a railway bridge across the canal. In the book it's marked as a "sliding bridge". it's the noisiest thing you can imagine when a train goes over it. Although it was a fair way from us, whenever one of the long freight trains crossed it there was an almighty clang, clang, clang sound that seemed to carry a huge distance.
When we got to it this morning I was intrigued to find out how it worked, but unfortunately I couldn't get to watch it because I had to move the boat fairly smartly so as not to hold up any trains. I did see though, that it definitely does appear to slide back into itself. I was also surprised to see a house next to the track. How anyone could live with that noise I don't know.
This place is full of surprises, as well as that interesting sliding bridge I've seen several manned level crossings. I thought they had all gone.
We're on the Stainforth and Keadby canal, part of the South Yorkshire Navigations. For the most part it is straight line boring, linked by the occasional corner. But at least you can see over the banks. This time of year the scenery isn't that inspiring, the fields are mostly hay bales and the trees haven't turned to colours yet.
We've moved down as far as Stainforth and moored up for the night. I took a walk into town, it appeared pretty dead, but when I asked someone local about shopping I was pointed to a shopping centre about a mile out of the village which appeared to be quite thriving, there's even a small Asda.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Monday 3rd September 2012
This morning dawned bright, just as promised for a change. There were three of us preparing to head down river this morning, 2 of us to Keadby and the third was stopping at West Stockwith. The lock keeper had advised us that between 10.30 and 10.45 was the best time to start our journey. This would would put us pushing against the incoming tide for around the first hour, then, as the tide turned we would be riding ebb flow.
At about 10.45 we headed into the river. As expected, the early going was a bit slow against the tide. At high speed cruising revs we were only making about 3mph. After about an hour, the incoming flow eased and our speed over the ground increased steadily. About an hour later we were flying along at 8mph.
The river was at its best today, and we couldn't have wished for better weather as we cruised along under clear sky and only a gentle breeze.
By the time we reached the M180 bridge over the river, our landmark to call the Keadby lock keeper with about 2.5 miles to run, we were bang on time.
Luckily, the boat we were with was experienced with how to enter this lock. It's tricky. Heading downstream, as we were, you first had to pass the lock entrance, and then wind so that you're heading into the flow of water. Then you must move in close to the wall and fight the current as you creep forward. At the last second you turn hard to get your bow into the lock. Luck was with us and we made it perfectly. The lock keeper reckons it's not often he gets two boats that come in without hitting one of the sides.
We're now moored up just past the lock for the night. Tomorrow it looks like we'll be facing a lot of swing and lift bridges.
On a note of interest we once again came across something that has me intrigued, the maps call them "mooring dolphins". I was expecting to find something that floated, but no, they're just like large fencing to moor against. Why are they called dolphins?

Mooring dolphin?

Heading into the river

Not to be argued with

West Stockwith power station

What a carpet of weed we faced once off the river