Sunday, 22 December 2019

So far..

A bit more progress and obviously a lot of hard work..

Here is 'Ginge', the person behind all this graft and progress.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

A thorough rub down..

Ginge and Tash of Norton Canes Boat Builders paint department have been very busy over the last few days.  It is a case of off with the old paint before they can start on Steadfast's transformation. 
Although Steadfast still looked good for a boat that is ten years old the original paint preparation had been a bit suspect.  The primer coat was excellent but the top coat parted company with it's base as soon as masking tape was used anywhere indicating that the primer had not been 'keyed' properly to get the top coat to adhere.

Saturday, 14 December 2019


Norton Canes Boatbuilder, Sarah Edgson, sent me some more 'work in progress' shots of Steadfast yesterday.   With all the fittings removed it was time to mask up.

Thursday, 12 December 2019


Steadfast has gone into the paint dock at Glascote basin this week to be prepared for her new livery.    The first thing was to finalise what we required so that Chloe, (Ginge to her colleagues),  the paint-sprayer is clear  about what needs painting and what the colour scheme is going to be.  That done, it was time to strip everything off of the boat so it can rubbed down. The cratch board, well deck locker, the mushroom vents and the portholes have all been removed. The gas locker hatch and the rear slide are off as well.
Steadfast is going to be sprayed in two-pack paint but thorough preparation is key to getting a great finish.  We are also having a solar panel fitted which will make cruising even more leisurely next year.

Monday, 25 November 2019

And the reason for the jaunt is...

Steadfast is now settled at Glascote Basin Tamworth for the winter where she will be repainted in a new livery by Sarah Edgson and team at Norton Canes.

Glascote here we come

Lazy start today we didn't stir ourselves until gone eight but we're on the move at 8.30.   The day started mild and misty then it rained... heavily and then the sun broke through..just.

Huddlesford junction.  When this link is restored, note we will probably be in our boxes by then, we could take Steadfast straight back to her mooring at Hatherton via Lichfield.


Peel Wharf Fazeley

He's coming up, Glascote lock 

Winded just past Glascote basin and moored  ready to go into the basin Monday morning.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

It's Autumn, it's leaf soup

We pulled pins at first light and moved off towards Rugeley. We needed to get to Fradley or beyond today in order to make it to Glascote for Sunday.
Wood End Lock

We met a boat, the first of the day, as we approached Wood End Lock.  There were no more boats on the move as we worked down to Fradley Junction.

Shade House lock

Steadfast turning on to the Coventry canal at Fradley Junction

We pushed on through the leaf soup, frequently employing a burst of reverse gear to clear the prop of leaves, and made our way to StreetHay Wharf where we filled with diesel and had a pump-out ready to leave Steadfast for winter. 
Moving on a little further as the light diminished we arrived at Huddlesford and The Plough pub. A pint of TT Landlords, and delicious pizza and a G&T with a local, Lichfield, gin rounded off the day.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

And we're off

We travelled up the the boat yesterday, our three weeks temporary mooring at Great Haywood  marina was nearly up and we were hoping that C&RT had completed the work on the lock allowing us to continue our journey to Tamworth.  We drove to the village and I skedaddled along to check the lock.... It was operational!
As soon as we were had loaded the boat with assorted paraphernalia we secured the car and headed out.

Great Haywood lock

Our second lock of the day , Colwich.

It rained heavily but intermittently but we were kitted out in full wet weather apparel including new warm sealskin gloves.  Frequent flourishes of reverse gear were required to clear the autumn leaf fall from the prop but we made steady progress and moored as the light failed at Brindley bank just north of Rugeley.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Tucked up

Himself and I woke this morning at 6am.  I rolled out of my warm bed to put the kettle on before retreating back to bed with cups of tea and biscuits. By 7am we were up and dressed and on our way slipping under the railway bridges mentioned afore.

We started off in clear weather but by the time we reached Tixal Wide the rain had started.

As we reached Great Haywood the rain eased a little. We turned left on to the Trent and Mersey canal heading north towards the entrance to Great Haywood marina. We have never moored in the marina though I recall using the laundry facilities when we were iced in at the junction over one Christmas period.  We were on NB Caxton but being unable to fill the water tank meant the onboard facilities were redundant.

Joe threaded Steadfast through the marina to our allotted berth at the rear and backed in to our slot.  Web breakfasted and showered before stripping our bed and packing for the journey home. We will be back in three weeks to resume the trip to permitting.

Return to boat

Half six Monday morning saw Joe and I strapped into the car and en route to Penkridge from Peterborough.  We arrived to find Steadfast all in order, got the kettle and the fire on and awaited the arrival of engineer Richard Milligan who was going to fit the new starter motor.

Richard arrived at 10am as promised, encumbered with tools and soon in the possession of a cuppa he set to work to switch out the starter.  An hour later all was done and Steadfast fired up.  I then drove to Great Haywood to hopefully arrange a temporary mooring.. the breakdown had thwarted our attempt to get to Tamworth so we have a three week wait before our road is clear of CRT repairs.

We were lucky, one space left in the marina.

Richard had followed me and gave me a lift back to Penkridge and the boat.

We set off at 3pm after visitors David and Amanda left us to head off to visit a boat builder they had an appointment with.

We made it to Radford Bank before the light failed. Mooring up we were asked by a fellow boater where we were headed. Great Haywood we replied, "You won't get through, they have scaffolded the railway bridge today and it is too low to get through."  Heart sinking I tramped on to have a look at the railway bridge followed by an extremely grumpy husband.  Torches in hand, pitch black by now, we arrived at the railway bridges to find...NO SCAFFOLDING!!
Thank you God. We tramped back to the boat and went to the pub for supper.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Thank you Mr Bixter

Joe had spoken to Dave Bixter of Grantham Bridge Boating Services at Hillmorton, the Russell Newberry spares specialist and learnt that their was a suitable starter motor in stock. I called Saturday am to ask whether we could pick it up Saturday morning.  Dave Bixter was a star, he went the extra mile collecting the part and locating it discreetly at the Hillmorton site for us to collect.  We picked it up and headed home, dropping our crew, Amanda back in Norfolk.  Monday morning we head back to Steadfast to meet Richard Milligan who will fit the starter for us.  Hopefully, hopefully we then continue our cruise to Tamworth.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Captain we have a problem

So here we are again, back at the boat to take Steadfast to Glascote basin before the winter stoppages kick in. We travelled over Thursday evening so that we could have an early start Friday morning. Extra crew had been press ganged to assist with locks and try out a rudimentary guest bed. Amanda (of boat sharers fame with NB. What a Lark) has been persuaded to  join the Steadfast crew.
We were up an at em this morning at 6am and the boat slipped her berth at 7.30.
 We whizzed through the locks until we were out of Penkridge and had three hours under our belt and stopped for breakfast and a break. Cups of tea and eggs on toast saw us vitaled and ready for the off.  Amanda went to set the next lock as Joe and I untied...

A small problem had crept in, the boat wouldn't start.

Amanda was recalled, Joe took the engine room to bits to discover that the starter motor had failed.
We called Richard Milligan, (Black hands) who had rebuilt the engine. This will not be an off the peg starter so we will have to source a new one or have ours refurbished.  Given that we were now moored in the proverbial middle of nowhere we decided to bow haul the boat to somewhere it can be accessed.

Off we went, a mile to go and one lock to do.

So now hauling the boat was a new experience and perfectly okay until we encountered a moored boat.  How were we going to get around that?  The solution was Joe on the gas locker with a boat pole steering, a long line on the centre to haul until we got to the boat and then the person on the line carefully flipped the line over the chimneys, wood piles, solar panels and exhausts until we were passed.  We are now moored where a rescuer can access us so tomorrow we see how to resolve our problem.


Friday, 25 October 2019

Middlewich to Hatherton

My apologies for the lack of posts but a combination of poor signal and the inability of my phone to link effectively with my laptop meant that frustration stopped play!  All is well now so in the words of the song I will 'finish what I started'...

Wednesday dawned overcast and by the time we had made our way into Middlewich it was raining cats and dogs. Mooring up above Kings Lock Joe went into the Kings Lock Chandlery to get some diesel for the Refleks stove, there was already a  boat on the service mooring hence Joe walking down with a five litre can instead.  I had also requested another key for the water/diesel tanks while he was there.   As I was tidying lines etc.  the chap in the adjacent boat came out to warn me that two boats, one of which was his, had had their windows broken the previous night by local youths. Nice..

When Himself arrived back with the diesel and key we set off again and I contemplated whether I was going to use the plastic key he brought back or frame it... £5 for a plastic key seemed a tad exhorbitant!
Kings Lock Middlewich

 Watering at Wheelock

We were aiming to moor at Wheelock overnight and tackle the Cheshire locks the next day. Having got ourselves moored we took ourselves off to The Cheshire Cheese for a late lunch cum dinner and a pint of ale.
After a quiet night we set off before 8am and started the long haul up heart break hill.  All but two locks were against me so I was turning locks all the way but we were joined after a couple of locks by a crew of four experienced boating Aussies in a Black Prince hire boat. With me leading and cracking locks for them and they closing the gates behind Steadfast allowing me to prepare the next lock or locks we made excellent progress.

 A bright start to the day on Heart break Hill

Arriving at the last locks before Red Bull services I spotted a boat that looked both distinctive and rather familiar. As we approached looking to moor behind this boat we spotted a chap on the towpath. Joe tooted the horn and I waved as I walked along the towpath towards him. Of course said chap didn't recognise the 'new' boat and was obviously befuddled by the scruffy old biddy waving at him... I saw the light bulb go on we he recognised us and was greeted by a most welcome bear hug.

NB Seyella, Geoff and Margaret's boat

The kettle went on and we joined Geoff and Mags and old dog Meg for a welcome cuppa and a catch up on all the news.  We all crossed the Wash together in a convoy of Narrowboats back in 2015.

 Taking our leave the following morning, Geoff and Mags and below Meg the dog

We got off just before 10.00 on the Friday and made our way to tunnel where we were waved through. We took on water at the south portal and worked our way through Stoke stopping for a break above Etruria.

 The must have photo of a bottle kiln

 Middleport Potteries

 Etruria flint and bone Mill

 The overnight stop on Friday night was Barlaston

Next morning we were woken by the distinct engine note of a Lister and peering out of the porthole saw tunnel lights approaching in the pitch dark and lashing rain. Historic boats, The King, Ilford and Thea heading north. We headed back to bed.
On Saturday we made our way into Stone, stopping at Stone Boat Building for diesel before mooring up above Star lock. Sadly Stone Boat Building will be closing this winter, another chandler bites the dust. 
We did some shopping and had lunch in town.

Next morning we were away before 8am on a lovely sunny day. We made our way to Great Haywood and turned onto the Staffs and Worcs for the last leg of our Autumn cruise.   We moored on Tixal Wide and I cooked a roast dinner and then we just took it easy for the rest of Sunday.

Our final night out was spent moored on the service point at Otherton Marina. The staff had gone home and we were invited to moor up by resident boaters to await the services of the marina pump-out the next morning.  I washed the side of the boat down and made friends with Monty a Wheaton Terrier.  The next morning the boat was serviced and we got on our way for the last stretch to Hatherton.

Gailey round house, the last picture of our cruise.

We will be back in a couple of weeks to move Steadfast to Glascote Basin Tamworth more of which later..