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Monday, 19 February 2018

Cat & Dog Stalemate...Family Visit and "Taster cruise"...

Here we are again... another week has flown by.  I'm trying to get to grips with "Twitter" as apparently it's where we'll generate most interest... that and the dreaded face-ache place.

ANNOYING thing is, that although I am resisting facebook, I conceded we need a presence there... ergo the other week I set up a Mark at Narrowboat Ellis page thingy... I've no idea how it all works if I'm honest - I appear to have over a 1000 new best friends... alas most of them appear to be Russian Brides.   I HOPE to heavens they don't all arrive as we've just NOWHERE to put them....  I suppose if they can dust they may be of use but they'll have to put some clothes on  first! :-)

Moaning a side, I got an email through the website contact form (I'm never sure it works)  asking about the possiblity of doing a taster cruise at the end of March/beginning of April.  So given we're "legal" to trade from the 1st April we going to try and do a 2 night trip to Cooper Bridge and Back... we're doing some later in the year as 3 night ones but if we hurry (and the river is on our side) we should be able to fit it in.  It'll give us a chance to practice being hosts with the most before cruise 1 on the 10th April... So we've now got an official Maiden Voyage! HOW grand does that sound?

IF however the river is playing up (as might happen at this time of year) we still have a plan - albeit covering a lot less ground (water?) down to Fairies hill and back... we'll have to practice winding/mooring and general boating skills to keep them entertained but we'll still have fun. We can always have a walk up to a couple of pubs in Altofts or even Whitworth golf club for a pint (or 3).

Anyway - the reason I'm telling you this is tomorrow when I see the new business mentor, I'll have to eat a big slice of humble pie... THIS contact/booking came via a group I'd joined on Face-book!  grrrrr...

In other news, on Satuday, Andy's sister and twin nephews came for a visit.  IT was raining first thing and it looked like a nice run out would be out of the question.  Luckily around 10 it dried up and a plan was hatched to head up stream into town as far as Calder Island to have a late lunch at the Toby Carvery there (I can't for the life of me remember the name)...

At the first lock off the river, you can see it HAD been up and over in recent days...  in hindsight, perhaps my new blew trainers were NOT the best choice of footwear for the day...

I noticed the crew were taking a while to empty the lock (it leaks and always fills up) so went for a wander... it soon became obvious why - there was a new wide beam in it, having just been craned in an hour earlier at Wakefield Wharf (where we saw the other boat the other week).... tuned out they didn't have any windlasses with them so Andy and crew worked them through the lock - from here onwards they are all electric and they DID have a CRT key.
Like the other one , this also has the paint job done before leaving the builders... and is spray foamed but unlined.  Apparently there was another boat following it but we didn't come across it before he turned left and headed up the river to Thornes Cut.

We chose a very glamourus place to bash some pins in and walk to the pub... just outside the tip!

After we'd eaten, we went up stream a bit further and back on to the river in order to turn around...  since we'd left, the river had risen about half a foot and the flow increasing substantially... for a change I had to use a lot of power to make the turn  - good to know we have plenty as a result of getting the bigger engine.  

Once we'd turned, we swapped roles and Andy played skipper and the boys and I crew.  

Obviously by time they'd done this lock, one of them needed a lay down...
I vaguely remember being a teenager....

Once off the river for the final time, I went inside to cobble some tea together... whilst away, the fender fairies must have been and hung them on the side - as is proven by this photo a friend sent us of the boat approaching Stanley Ferry!

Until next time...

Oh hang on... I nearly forgot:

He comes for a biscuit a couple of times each day... Sox has other ideas - hissing at the poor fellow.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Solar Picking up again now and Valentines in the pub...

The trouble with Wine-Wednesday being on Valentines day meant that during  our usual mid-week skush, we were surrounded by tables for 2 looking longingly into each other eyes... YEAH RIGHT .... the reality was that there WERE tables for 2 but most of the folk sitting on them were glued to their phones and having the "curry and a pint" for a fiver option.  Romantic or What?

I was luckier than most however as Sally and Sheree (however you spell it) sent me a message around half 4 to say they were in the pub and had secured a table for us...  well it would have been rude not to join them (we'd originally planned meeting up about half 6) I went on ahead whilst Andy was at work.

It's fair to say, the pub HAD made  an effort and we tried to get into the valentines spirit as best we could

WE managed not to spend the evening on OUR phones, instead preferring to communicate with each other!

Andy joined us after 8 and we had a quick extra bottle tea before he gave the girls a lift home - the balloons are currently STILL in my car!

During our chats, a couple of plans were formed for meeting up later in the year when we're in Skipton - on route back from Liverpool in late June for a meal out - We'll have a visitor on the boat so we'll invite them to join us for the evening too.  Another plan was also hatched for the Xmas day posse to come aboard for a couple of nights before we go in for blacking on 20th August (we're booked into dry dock for a week)... at the time (read, after a good few venos) it seemed a good idea for Sally,Lee,Sheree,Josh and Emily to join us in Leeds and we'll sail back to Castleford so they can get the train back - AFTER an over night for us all on the boat.  WHERE we're all going to sleep is another matter... this might need more thought.

This morning, I did a load of washing and took the boat over to fill up with water (we're getting 4 days now before filling up) and I noticed when I came back from turning the tap on, at about 9.30 the panels were putting in 3.8amps.  The sun must be getting higher (I forget what the correct term is - I've got it somewhere on the solar predictions stuff from the house)... 

Anyway - in a few weeks it'll be noticeably improved and the currently charging regime of combined generator, engine and solar can be relaxed a bit.  

Until next time...

Monday, 12 February 2018

Business Licence Approval - Tick...boaty creche and Andy fell off the wagon.

Today I got a call from a nice chap at CRT, confirming the business licence approval and offering to take payment for it and whilst we could  have deferred it until nearer the start time, doing it now will speed up the refund for the remaining balance from the old one.

True to his word, the chap sent the vat invoice and new license by return  so we're good to go.  

RATHER relieved given we've got 6 bookings thus far. Hopefully a few more will come along soon but it's a great start.

BACK to the weekend,  we'd arranged to meet our friends Tony and Vicky a few boats back for tea in the pub and a few drinks.  Andy has been on the wagon until now but decided to have a day off  sobriety and join in.  We all had a few jobs to do during the day  - including fitting the recessed handles from Screwfix for the wine-cellar
I bought 2 but so far have just fitted 1 in the corner near the freezer... I've forgotten to take a photo of it but trust me it looks ok and does the job.  

BEFORE they arrived, I was sent out to get some more tonic water - only having 3 bottles left on the boat...  on my return, I was accosted by Claire, Mick and Andy (and Hettie the sproglet) with a choice of jobs:  HELP Claire fill her boat with diesel or baby sit whilst Mick did it...  Well, having just gotten out of the shower prior to my trip to Tescos, I opted for the baby.

Claire promptly handed the child to me and I palmed her straight off on Andy... who spent the next couple of hours, happily watching ceebies (Andy not the baby)... we could tell she was getting a bit fractious (apparently hungry) but didn't want a G & T so we tried distracting her with Sox the cat... unbeknownst to us, she's afraid of them.

Oh it was ok - Sox didn't take offence but aforementioned child found her voice briefly before being rescued by her mum.😅

NEXT time, I'll take the diesel!

So - Tony and Vicky turned up and admired the wine-cellar... from which I removed a bottle to share... that lasted not very long and we opened another...  Having then gone on to the pub, only to find it too busy for us to get a table in the adult section - and me still in shock from the creche experience, we waited and had a few more drinks until there was space away from the kids.

They had a couple of specials on and I chose Belly pork which was rather good actually... much better than most of the stuff they do.  After dinner , we retired back to our boat as it was our turn to host... last time, us finishing off rather too much of their Sloe Gin.

A very convivial evening was had by all - taking turns in the hot-seat (well stool) by the fire) but in all honesty we over did it...
These were full bottles at the start of the evening...

A litle after 2, Tony decided they should be heading off back to their boat ... getting his boots on was too complicated after the JD (he was the only one drinking that) so he went home in my trainers!

Perhaps you can tell from the inane expression on his face  smiley happy look on his face, he was well gone and I of course escorted them back to their boat to rescue my trainers  ensure no harm came to them (OK - I half expected him to fall into the canal ) and wanted to get a photo  rescue him should the worst happen.  

All was well - although getting the boat unlocked was entertaining too... I SO wish I'd videoed it rather than just snapping.

Suffice to say, whilst we all enjoyed the evening, Sunday was a difficult day... that said , I did manage a load of washing, filling the water tank and cooked a leg of lamb.

We're BOTH back on the wagon again - at least until wine Wednesday when I'm hoping to be lead astray by Sally.

Until next time...

Friday, 9 February 2018

Wine Cellar and goody-2-shoes...

Don't you just hate it when you try and corrupt someone for a crafty lunchtime pint and 2 for 1 burger  - only to find them finishing off a pork sandwich with a can of coke in their hand?  Grr - bloody goody goodies.

THAT's what happens to me on 'wine Wednesday' - ... having already been banned (by Andy) from our usual mid-week scush (skush?) - AFTER I'd been to Castleford to buy a couple of bags of coal (btw, we've settled on "room heat" from Steads at £7.80 for 25kgs),  as the sun was shining and I'd already seen my boaty mate Tony pottering on his boat - I thought I'd call in and encourage a sneaky lunchtime libation.  Hmmf.  Personally, I think he's under the thumb and had been instructed to DO something on the boat...  if you don't know what I mean, think back to the "Two Ronnies" and the "worm that turned".... keep looking over your shoulder Vicky! 😀

So then... quilted in to doing something productive inspired by his productivity, I decided it was time to begin the 'Base-plate cold store'  "Wine cellar".

I admit - I've been putting it off for months as the floor took a lot getting down in the first place and I just knew it would be a pain.

Anyway - I remembered an door frame (don't ask) I had left in the garage at home so went to collect some post and loaded it into the car.

Not wanting to buy any more wood, I convinced myself that it wouldn't look odd using both 1 and 2 inch sections to make a frame.

Having gone back into the boat, I rather sensibly (for once) had the idea to number the pieces on the floor before taking it up.  I used a bit of masking tape and simple 1-36 system.

Once the frame was the size I wanted it, put it on the floor, drew around it and then took it up.  Having already removed ballast here, there were cut sections in the sub floor but of course NOT the place I wanted them...  to add insult to injury, there was also a bearer in the wrong place meaning the last 6 inches of the store would not be usable.  Not the end of the world though as I just moved it up a bit.

Moving it up of course meant I needed to cut some MORE floor out... and of course having sold my corded multi-too when we emptied the house/garage out, I was left using the battery version.  Luckily I had a few charged up batteries *note to self - rotate the regularly on the charger*.

That seemed to take all afternoon so I abandoned it for the day and came back to if fresh yesterday afternoon (having had chores to do in the morning).

I began fitting back in the cut out sections down each side (once I'd tested a bottle of Pepsi (other coal flavoured soft drinks are available)) would fit. and then cut the sub floor to fit  into the recess.

Whilst I'm sure I DID take more photos as I was doing things, my phone seems to have other ideas... as the next one it has stored is the (relatively) finished result.

It's VERY sturdy and doesn't flex at all when walked on...  I still need to find some flush handles to lift it out with and I'm toying with the idea of fitting hinges on one side.... It doesn't look too bad and  I'm quite pleased with it.   I still need to paint it out inside... I've got some hammertie garage door paint lurking somewhere so  that will suffice.   

Today, I intend using it as a temporary store for the contents of the freezer whilst I defrost it (again)....  I think someone over filled the ice cube trays the other week which meant when the water expanded it came into contact with the top freezing element and stuck fast.  I'm sure it's causing the  freezer to stay on more than normal.... NOT forgetting the fact, getting ice out is bloody difficult frustrating.

Until next time...

Monday, 5 February 2018

Cabin Fever... experimental catering and a new boat is launched.

Well we're still alive - just... despite the grim reaper lurking around the boat of an evening...

Having spent most of the week indoors feeling sorry for myself (well part from the occasional meeting and drunken scush at the pub) - WHEN Sunday morning dawned and it was neither wet NOR windy, I decreed it was time we went for a chug to charge the batteries a bit.

The river was still a bit in flood (well the red light was flashing) so we turned and went the other way - towards Fairies Hill.  It was actually quite a nice (if cold) day to be out on the water - we weren't the only ones having the same idea as we met a couple of other boats charging their batteries too.

IT occurred to us to go downsstream to Castleford and have a night away from our mooring but once again, when we arrived at Woodnook lock, the  lights said "no".  THAT said,  When I went down to take a look at the board, it WAS in the yellow and dropping so could have made a dash for it to the flood lock - though on discussion, we decided that the Aire might be higher making our dash across it a bit perilous.

Instead, we filled up with water, turned and headed back the way we'd come.

On our return, Andy decided he was going to have a play at some vegetarian recipes:  Red Lentil Pate' , a potato, pesto, pasta and parsley soup along with a Tomato, mozzarella French stick  AND a potato, pepper and mushroom hash.

It turned out nice enough but despite often eating vegetarian when I go out, I couldn't help but still feel hungry quite soon after... 

This morning, we went into town to do a few chores...  including hair cuts, collecting post from the house and also "mat hunting" - the latter was a total failure but when on route back to the boat, we passed a narrowboat on the back of the lorry.  NOTICING the crane at Wakefield Wharf looking ready for business, we nipped back and parked the car before heading onto the Hepworth Gallery walkway for a proper look.

It wasn't until we'd been chatting with the woman whose boat it is for a few mins that I realised they had the SAME delivery driver as we did.  As in our case, just  making one slick reversing manoeuvre to get into the boat yard.

I videoed it here:

IT really brought back those nervous feelings of when ours was being craned in... I was beside myself - even Andy (who is usually quite laid back about things) went green too lol.

IT's a self fit out - well I say self, it's going to be fitted out by someone on the owners behalf - but they had the paint job done before it left the builders.....we'd like to have done that but money wouldn't allow.  

It's on it's way to Dewsbury to be done so we'll no doubt bump into them/it at some point - not literally I hope.

Until next time...

Friday, 2 February 2018

Non-Private BSS - TICK... Wine Wednesday and Man flu...

The rumours of my demise have been exaggerated...  only just though - this new man flu seems even worse than it's predecessor.  We're both stricken with it but it's not playing out like it usually does... THIS one's a slow burner but just when you think "I've been feeling rotten 5 days now I'll wake up feeling better tomorrow" - you wake up feeling that little bit worse.  hmmmf.  STILL ... I'm not one to moan as I'm sure you already know 😉...  Our wills are made so worse case (and we've no cash on the boat) we're not TOO worried about boaters rummaging through our useful stuff and claiming the odd bit that will come in useful sometime....

Assuming we DO live, things are going well re the start of our Hotel boat "live aboard holiday experience" life in April.  YESTERDAY (Thursday 1st) we had the "non-private" BSS done to the 2002 regulations... WHICH will CHANGE soon to the 2017 regulations including those for Hire boats...

The chap that came to do it wasn't the original chap we'd use as because he didn't qualify until 2006, he was unable to certify us (no comments required)...  He DID recommend a fellow he knows and we arranged to meet in the pub car-park at 10.30 yesterday morning.  I knew immediately when he sent me a text just after 10 to say he'd arrived he was going to be my sort of chap ... someone early.

Having explained our plans he brought with him 2 sets of check lists (2002 AND the new ones for next time).  We worked our way through them together - me being confident everything would be ok.

We did hit one slight problem and that was re gas installations - you see, whilst it WAS safe (bubble tester didn't indicate any leaks) one of the things was "all connections available for inspection" (those aren't the correct terms so I'm paraphrasing here) and of course  as the oven and hob were not fitted with flexible hoses, ACCESS to their connections necessitated me taking apart the kitchen cupboards/worktop to facilitate access to them for inspection.  I won't lie - it was a bit of a faff and I found myself cursing the chap that fitted them.  TO be fair, I later remembered him saying we'd need to remove said cupboards every 4 years at the time but it was ME who didn't want a perishable rubber pipe using.  DOH!

The only other thing he pulled me up on was a missing sticker indicating the location of the battery isolator  - the thing itself HAVING a label on I thought was enough but we needed one pointing to the area from above deck if you follow.  LUCKILY I had a pack of stickers that still had some left on so I was able to remedy that immediately.

I gave him the wiring diagram I did to show him where everything was and what cables/fuses were used etc. and was quietly pleased when he shook my hand for a job well done.

Working through both check-lists meant that we're confident NEXT time it's due (subject to any future amendments) we'll still be compliant....So that's that - £180 lighter for the experience but we're now legal and I can send the final licence paperwork into CRT for them to tick their boxes. 

BTW - we got another booking this week too for our jaunt on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at the beginning of October so that's 6 in all now  which is quite amazing considering this is our first season and we expected to be travelling alone.  It's a good thing though as we still need to sort out the sale of our kidneys to give us some breathing space lol...  *ponders whether to set up a crowd funding page*
                                                           . . . . . . . . . . .

In non-boaty news,  a friend (dental practice related) has been preparing for a quality inspection (some acronym required here but I can't remember what it is) and working SILLY hours in readiness to ensure things were tickety boo - EVEN on Sunday (they were the ones that pulled out of our planned drinks)...  SAID inspection was Wednesday and (unsurprisingly given how hard she works/thorough she is) all was well .  

WHAT else is there to do on "wine Wednesday" other than to meet in the Ferry pub for a few wines.  WHICH we did.... Well I say WE, Andy was at work until 8 so I went on ahead and suffice to say, by the time he'd arrived I was seeing things

An improvement in at least ONE case 😆

Right - I need to go have another MAN-size lemsip...

Until next time...

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Bath time.... (us and the boat )and pumpouts

It'd had been AGES since we gave the boat a good wash down... so long in fact, the summer bedding plants were in bloom.  It's one of those jobs that you dread... and once you get started, wish you hadn't  but when it's done feel relieved.

SO - early Saturday morning, we moved Ellis over to one of the water points and I set to with the telescopic brush connected to the water supply.  I won't bore you with the details, suffice to say that it really was filthy and took a lot more effort than anticipated.  Add to the wind factor NOT a pleasant job.  When one side was done, I turned in front of the Ferry and then proceeded to do the other side... It looks much better now and although I was soaking wet and cold, a job well done.

Whilst at the water point I thought we might as well do a pump out as the tank was about 3/4 full and the boat had been beginning to pitch a bit to one side and despite my best attempts at ballasting it  level, we'd began sleeping upside down!

ONCE Empty, I put the machine on Pause so that someone else might get a free pump out should they come along and discover it... I'll take a look next week and if it's STILL on pause, bring the boat down and remove another weeks worth.

THAT said, when I took some rubbish down to the bins on Saturday night, I met a chap with 2 25 litre containers coming out of the elsan point - working out he'd been doing a "manual pump out" himself, I suggested that he might want to bring his boat down - telling him I'd left the machine on pause and he'd get a free empty.  He explained his tank only holds 100 litres and he was currently moored in Woodlesford and had driven to our service block to empty them.  Rather him than me.

In other news, Andy has been going through the "box sets" of dvds we've been watching our way through:  American Horror Story (1-5)... The Walking dead (WAY too many)... True Blood...Game of Thongs....(well it may as well be called that) and a few others I forget.  He'd listed them all on Ebay and has just about recovered what they cost in the first place which is a result - AND on Sunday although initially we'd arranged to meet some friends for a drink in the pub, when they cancelled on us due to work obligations, we decided to have a night in a local hotel so as to enjoy a bath.

A quick look on threw up quite a few hotels in /around town ranging from 29 - 110 quid for the night (room only)...  with my discount, we settled on a room at the Best-Western Hotel St Pierre at Newmillerdam.  £44.10.   Bargain...  and 2 long awaited soaks in the bath later, we returned to the boat feeling clean and relaxed and still in credit from the DVD sales.  Result!

In other news, my new camera lens (for my phone) has arrived so at some point I'm going to have a go at fitting it...  

From the various "you tube" guides I've seen, it only takes a hot air gun, sharp Stanley knife and (for me no doubt) a quick trip to A & E to replace it... can't wait.

MEANWHILE - I need to tidy out the places the BSS man will want easy access to on Thursday morning - looks like my car is about to become a "shed" again.   Still, at least I'll be able to do an inventory of what I've got stashed where... I'm sure I''ll find ALL SORTS of useful  things I'd forgotten I had.

Until next time....

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Leaky January & Senior moments...

I have to admit, I'm not a fan of this January...  most years it comes and goes but this year it seems to be lingering a bit too long.... PROBABLY because it keeps being windy and rainy.  Rain I can cope with - ideally coming straight down but the two together are a pain as the external side hatches HAVE to be closed or it comes in through the glazed inner sections.  The alternative would be to put a piece of perspex over the OUT side of the glazed sections but that would be a faff to attach without making more holes in the wooden framework - It did occur to use self adhesive magnets of some sort of another but I suspect the wind would rip off the perspex and it'd be floating off down the cut somewhere.  SO when it's windy and rainy together, it's just porthole light and I have to admit it' can get a bit gloomy indoors.

Of course it's a small price to pay for the freedom of living on a boat and being masters of our own destiny -

There's not much going on right now on the boat - I think we're ready for the non-private bss which is booked for next week... another £180 to "tick a box" for crt but there's no point in sulking about it... it HAS to be done to be legal yada yada.    MORE box ticking too wth the dwp as yesterday I had to attend a business planning and marketing workshop.... although that was actually far more enjoyable than I'd expected - helped mostly by having the best mentor you could ever want running the group.  It was good to chat with other people in the same boat (not a boaty boat if you follow) and learn how they plan to get their businesses up and running.

STILL no luck re-homing the cats despite trying every person I come into contact with.  It's looking like they'll be having a LONG stay in the cattery (at considerable expense) when we set sail in April poor things... can't think of what else to do with them as what with George still hating the boat and Sox wandering off any chance she gets, it just won't work with guests on board :-(

We've made it from Sunday to today without filling with water and that's included a few loads of washing and 2 daily showers... along with the usual cleaning, washing up and toilet flushing.  The tank has gone "boom" now so today, despite the wind, we'll have to go fill up. ...WRITING of filling up, I topped up the diesel yesterday and it took 60 litres to fill... engine hours since last top up were 45 but the Webasto has been running a couple of hours a day so from my best guess precise calculations reckon it's using about a litre an hour which is fine.  HOWEVER, during the crouching tiger hidden dragon manoeuvre required crouching procedure, I split my BESTEST most favourite shorts from r sole to breakfast time.  MOST undignified - especially as at the time I was chatting with a dog walker.  To spare her blushes I had to retreat in reverse.  ... I'm still mourning their loss as there's just no way I can repair them :-(

I mentioned in the post title "Senior moments" - that's understating it a bit to be honest as it's not been a moment...more like 4 days!  - I'll explain....  I've been feeling tired this week...mostly on a morning and rather than having an afternoon power nap (which I heartily recommend btw) I've almost been dropping off about 10 am... NOT good or like my usual "up with the lark self". ... I've found out why now - EVERY day when I get up, I take my pills and this morning when I took them actually LOOKED at my blood pressure blister pack that I've been popping out of all week, I noticed it WASN'T Losarton but piriton - you see, for whatever reason, the chemist that my prescriptions are sent to have changed brands and the new one is almost incidental to a blister of piriton.  ERGO, in the pill drawer with bleary eyes they look the same.    

NO harm done I think - (well I haven't exploded anyway) and at least today I hopefully won't be feeling drowsy as a result of antihistamines.   Silly bugger.

Right - off to do chores now ... the washer has just finished spinning so it's back to Chinese laundry time again...actually - I think as I'm going to the water point, I may put the tumble dryer on as a treat.
I know how to live.

Is it too early for a gin and tonic? ..... NEVER lol.

Until next time...

Sunday, 21 January 2018

A Cp...a cold boat and public transport.

There's pretty much nothing we don't enjoy bout our liveabord lives...  I say PRETTY much because on occasions, the odd irritant raises it's head.

Laundry - or rather getting laundry dry on a rainy/snowy/freezing month gets quite burdensome.  I can fully understand why after a few years, some boaters get a bit less obsessional   laundry proud  - it's easy enough getting clothes cleaned, but getting them dry ... at least without the boat feeling like a Chinese laundry, is difficult.

YES we've got a tumble dryer, but to use it , we have to either start up the generator or leave the engine running for hours/go for a chug.  Going for a chug when it's dry is not a problem but to be honest, chugging in the rain/snow is a bit miserable.    The alternative is putting the drying rack in front of the fire, which whilst does get things dry in a few hours, is a pain.  WORSE so on a bed change a there just isn't the room... hey ho.  IT's not a BAD problem to have I suppose... ergo, I 'll stop moaning about it.

The OTHER irritant is being away from the boat for a long day when the temperature outside is below freezing.  Whilst we can keep the fire in overnight without issue, we're pushing our luck if we leave the boat at 8.30 am and get back about 10pm... as we did on Friday.

I'd banked it up as high as I dare and closed the bottom vent as much a I thought I could get away with (to keep it burning but not hot) and when we got back in... (a little worse for wear I admit), it was only 12 degrees in the saloon- and 8 in the bedroom - with the fire almost gone.

WHY had we been out all day? well some very close friends were getting CP'd in Leeds.  We'd planned to go on the boat the day before but the river had other ideas... Our plan b had been to move the boat in to the town centre and walk to the station... the river put paid to that option too.  SO it was taxi and train time.

I don't like the train... or rather, I don't like hanging around freezing old stations with people "plugged in" to alternate worlds.  There's very little interaction with other people on trains...  people crammed into a small space, pretending the person 3 inches away from them doesn't exist - exacerbated by the earphones/small screens every seems to carry... ANYWAY - of course on Friday (the day of the ceremony, the town was covered in black ice and even the taxi ride to the station was scary.

Every one who knows me, knows how time obsessed I am whenever I have to be somewhere for a set time... AS such, we ended up in Leeds 2 hours earlier than required.  WHICH gave us a little time for a pre-nuptial G & T.

A While back, I installed the Witherspoon's App on my phone -  and I can now confirm it works a treat...  you can sit at a table... ORDER and PAY on your phone and they're delivered to the table.
In less time than I'd have been able to walk to the bar - RESULT.

The only downside as far as I can see, is that AS OF YET, there's no Weatherpersons WEE app! 

After a couple of drinks we went in search of the registry office and met up with our party.  A very civilised affair, complete with Cellist, Saxophonist and a beautiful reading before exchange of vows and signing of the register.  

Once proceedings were complete, we adjourned to their home for an intimate luncheon and plenty of champagne.  I think 20 guests in all - just the right number ... all invited as recognition of their love and support of the happy couple.

It was a thoroughly lovely day - and the wedding cake was equally as good

I'm sorry my photos are a bit blurry - I appear to have scratched the lens on my phone.  I've managed to find one from Sony in Germany so when it arrives, that will be a delicate procedure I'm NOT looking forward to.

We were amongst the last few to leave the party (train to catch) and by the time we'd gotten back to Wakefield it was about 10pm...  Typically, Andy wanted to have "one more" so we popped into the Ferry before heading back to the boat.  They quickly asked us if we intended eating (as the kitchen was either closed or about to close) but we just had a quick one before the  slippery stagger  Walk back to the boat.

The cat's were NOT amused with the temperature inside so I put the heating on AND re-lit the fire.  IF our heating had better controls (as in ones that we could set to turn OFF as well as on) we'd have been able t0o have it come on for a couple of hours before we got back... but, it'really does eat battery power so we had to take pot luck.

Suffice to say, SATURDAY was a delicate day!

oh btw, we got another booking this week  - from New Zealand.  They've paid the deposit but I'm not sure if my emails are getting through as it's been a few days and I've not heard back.  Perhaps we're going into their spam folder..... PLAN b will be to post a booking form off!

Until next time..

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Non-slip surfaces, Tilly the duck and Dry January sprung a leak!

With the weather a little better (briefly) at the weekend, I decided it was time to make both sets of steps 'non-slip'... it's not like they were particulary slippery before hand but with the non-private bss looming I figured it'd be better to be safe than sorry.

The back ones are SO heavy (even when empty) that it had to be a bit of a team effort to lug them outside. Once safely on the picnic bench, I rigged up the genny to charge the  batteries and then used the other plug for sanding... 

I didn't go to town with the sander - just enough to give the lacquer a key.  Once done, it was just a case of sprinkling non-slip granules over the wet lacquer and (once it'd dried a bit) going over a couple more times with fresh varnish.  It seems to have stuck well enough and what with the non-slip tape I've applied to the front of the steps,  your feet should stay EXACTLY where you put them!

Same for the front steps - ugly looking but given we have to tolerate the fire-exit signs everywhere, we'll learn to live with it soon enough.

Whilst I was in "outside mode" we had a run to Wickes to get a scaffold board for the gang-plank... that's been another of those jobs I just didn't get around to...  SO,  armed with a 4 meter board, and some new disks, began sanding that too

Once it was (roughly) sanded, I got it into a coat of grey primer.... WHEN the weather improves again, I'll slap a few undercoats on it before applying MORE non-slip granules and then painting the final coat of dark grey on to seal it.

It's got a little bit of a warp in it but it'll do  We've managed without for long enough - that said, if we HAD a plank on our last trip to Huddersfield, we would have been able to stay "town side" of the lift brigdge rather than in the badlands.

Another job that was LONG overdue was the drilling of the tiller arm /swan neck thingy for the tiller pin.  Andy's mum had sent us a lovely Duck tiller pin ages ago.

I didn't bother measuring and have to admit it's pretty spot on considering it was done by a ginner  my post carpel tunnel status.

We'll still need to get a little padlock on it for those times when we forget to take it in overnight when visiting rough places we're away from our known mooring areas.

Not long after I'd cleaned up the swarf  I got a text message from Sally and her pals who were on their way back from Flamingo Land and calling into  Ferry for a quick drink.  Well, it would have been rude not to join them so we took the boat down (we needed to get water the next morning anyway) and met up with the Xmas day crew again. 

What can I say? - I gave in and had some wine... ANDY stayed on the wagon.  and when I say "some" I mean, quite a few wines...  after which, we invited them back to the boat for a nightcap - Josh and Emily hadn't been on the boat before and we hoped they'd fall in love with the cats and re-home them.  Alas it was not to be...  Sox did her best to charm them but George let the side down.

This morning, I've been to see my new business Mentor and I'm booked on a workshop which should be interesting.  She's JUST the right person for the job - VERY upbeat, positive and genuinely helpful.  

IN THE MEANTIME, I'm going to look at business plans and enter up my figures in to some kind of cash flow thingy...  I REALLY do need to speak with an accountant about VAT - if we register voluntarily (we'll be below the mandatory threshold) we should be able to claim quite a bit back and live off it for the first year whilst the business gets established but I need to know whether we can de-register in year 2  AND what the implications are.  The Hmrc website may as well be written in Swahili!

Until next time...