Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Busy, busy Bank Holiday weekend on the canal

Ok, I should expect it, or rather, hope for it. The weather wasn't too bad for a Bank Holiday weekend. There were masses of hire boaters around, they weren't too bad. The ones to watch are the day boaters. Most of them haven't a clue. Too fast, wrong side of the canal etc.
We stayed in the Bath area, on the end of the esplanade Friday & Saturday, doing a bit of shopping and Raven pie & pint.
On Sunday we decided it was time to move on. We needed water and loo emptying so we moved off...
There was a bit of space along the promenade because one or two had moved on, previously it had been completely full.
We turned at the winding hole at Sydney Wharf and made our way back towards Dundas. The offside bank is very overgrown in many places and this makes the canal seem very narrow.
We had to back up into the offside bank to let this wide-beam through on the approaches to Dundas.
After Dundas it was on to Bradford-on-Avon. It was busy there too, so we stopped behind the Tithe Barn on the restricted area for the night.

@*&*@! RANT - CaRT have allowed a wide-beamed boat (business) to moor on one of the first visitor moorings near the smelly (scented soap?) shop. The congestion at that point has to be seen to be believed. The number of boats waiting to go up BoA lock, then some coming down picking up crew etc. I just do not believe it!!!! RANT OVER!

Sunday we went up through BoA lock, having joined the queue, not quite having to double park with the aforementioned wide-beam, but only just!
Judy had to hold on to the mid-line.

Lunch was a much quieter affair.
Just past the winding hole between Widbrook and Biss. We needed to find somewhere to stop for the night so eventually, reluctantly, we moved on.
Past the Hilperton boat yard until we found somewhere to stop. I cycled back to fetch the car.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Porthole liner finally in place!

The culmination of the weekend's work is that the porthole liner is now in place. A suitable piece of self-adhesive plastic bath strip was procured from B&Q. This was cut and moulded to the porthole liner to give it the extra depth needed to do the job.
All was sealed with silicon caulking and it looks OK. I am proud of the whole job and the difference it makes to the bathroom. Previously there was no outside light and very little ventilation, now there is a removable porthole. Whilst I had the caulking gun in my hand I re-did the perimeters of the sink and cooker worktops.
During the weekend I moved Constance, first to Claverton Bridge, by Ferry Lane, so I could have the car nearby, then on towards Bath, so I could leave her for the week until Judy & I can get back.

Monday, 12 August 2013


There was a message showing up on my mobile phone's answering service. It was from a previous owner of 'Constance' who had passed by on their travels. By now they were at Devizes, so I contacted them and arranged to meet them at Devizes Wharf.
Their present boat is called 'Marmite'

Robin & Carole owned Constance for about 10 years between 1995 & 2005. They had not seen her since and had been looking for her for many years. We met and chatted for ages about what they had been doing in the mean-time and how Constance was progressing. A great end to the weekend.

The porthole in the loo...

The porthole liner for the loo and a new ignition switch both arrived on Friday. Great excitement. Off I went to Constance to fit them. First I had to remove loose tiles around the opening.
Then the porthole liner was tested - the hole in the wood was too small. Out comes the jig-saw to make the hole half an inch bigger. The porthole liner fits but does not have enough depth to reach through to be sealed to the outer shell of the boat. Anyway, I decided to reshape the cut tiles to fit. Then all the tiles were glued back on to the wall.
Whilst I was fixing tiles to the wall I could see the stern end of a narrow-boat drift slowly by the loo porthole. It was the boat that was (should have been) moored behind me. There was nobody on board and the doors were still locked. Out with the boathook and hammer. Catch the boat (62') and manhandle it back to where it should have been moored. All three of its mooring pins had been ripped out of the ground. Find new places to bang in pins, tighten everything up and hope for the best!
Back to the porthole. The depth of the porthole liner was a problem. I am not sure how to get over that one. It needs to be 1.5" deeper than the one supplied. Back to the drawing board.
Other than that it was a lovely weekend.
The ignition switch has been intermittent ever since I have owned Constance. Finding the 'Glowplug' position was only possible by looking closely and the 'Battery Voltmeter' and watching for a dip the voltage. When moving the key to 'Start' only caused a 'click' to be heard until the key was taken back to 'Off' then back to 'Start'. It is amazing how we learn and live with these foibles. Anyway, I now have a brand new ignition switch that works first time, every time. Hurrah!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Guess who has to empty the loos

Having had three of us on board for a week and a half, the loos were full again. I came up on Saturday and took Constance to Dundas and emptied the loos. I stopped for the night just immediately after Bridge 177, which is just on the entrance to Dundas Basin on the Bath side.
The speed of (most) the boats was such that my three pins did not last the morning (Sunday). I had to use four pins, tightly held with back-springs. I decided to move and found a quieter spot a little more towards Bathampton. The weather was disappointing all weekend so nothing got done outside. Inside - a little cleaning, some tidying, a couple of small electrical jobs and some reading.

Wednesday morning we all go home

On Monday morning we were ready to go into the K&A but the weather was saying otherwise. It rained, heavily. About lunch time there was a break in the cloud and the sun shone, so we entered into the canal, Lock 7 OK, then Deep Lock. Judy & I were on our own. I had to help open the lock gate, then go back on board to move into the lock. I had to rope on to the uprights before climbing up the slippery, greasy ladder to close the lock gate. We started to let in some water and the heavens opened! It was monsoon, thunder & lightning, drowned. Still, I did manage to hold on to the ropes and keep the boat from moving too far. We decided, that as we were completely drowned we would carry on to Top Lock and then change. Clean dry clothes were very welcome. In the evening, when the rain had ceased we walked into Bath and had a pizza at 'Joya', very good it was too.

Tuesday 30th July - we moved to 'The Promenade' looking for a space on the 14 day end. I cycled off to Bathampton to collect the car. In the afternoon the weather improved considerably and we went out in the car for a ride.
We drove round Bath - up Gay Street to The Circle, then out to the Royal Crescent, then up to Bath Racecourse. Whilst looking for somewhere for an afternoon tea we came across the Avon Valley Railway. They were having a special event and we joined them on the train.
On Wednesday, Judy walked into Bath and bought some boxes of Ben's Cookies to take home.

On the River Avon

After coming out of the Kennet & Avon Canal we turned right and went upstream towards the Pultneney Weir.
Before turning round and mooring just below Churchill Bridge, not far from the centre of town and Sainsbury's. We moored for the evening, it rained! In the evening we went to 'The Raven Inn' for a pie, mash & a pint. Raven Gold - lovely!

Sunday morning we set off downstream...
Under the Victoria Suspension Bridge, which is now being restored.
Under the slightly asymmetric looking Dolphin Bridge which takes its name from the adjacent Inn.
And into Weston Lock, the first lock you meet on the river...
Under New Bridge...
And on down the river to Saltford where we came across 'Talisman' which used to be moored above us at Church Lock. We could not visit because they were on the other side of the weir.

We returned to the same place that we had moored the night before, in preparation for re-entering the K&A and going to the top of the Widcombe Flight. In the evening David came to visit us and we all had a meal together. It was the first time David & Grandma had seen each other for ages.

Should have taken the laptop with me...

Monday 22nd July - I took my Mum to the boat for the week. We arrived at Bradford-on-Avon, did some shopping and went to 'Constance'. It was far too hot to want to do anything 90+F. So we stayed where we were.

Tuesday 23rd July - we set off for Dundas - it was lovely to get some breeze through the boat. It was still very hot, but passing through the wooded valleys was lovely. Did the loos at Dundas and parked up just beyond the bridge heading for Bathampton, in the shade.

Wednesday 24th July - it was hot again so we moved on to Bathampton, stopping on the first of the 48 hour moorings just past 'The George'. I cycled back to BoA to fetch the car and bring it to Bathampton. During our journey from Dundas to Bathampton we passed this boat with its lovely woodwork and pulpit.
It reminds me of cars which had wood on them, like the Morris Traveller etc., and is part of the colourful life you find on the canals, as is this fella...

On Thursday Mum & I went out in the car for a ride round. We went to Radstock, Midsomer Norton and Chew Valley Lakes. It made for a different kind of day...

Friday 26th July - we moved on to Bath Top Lock
And stopped not far from here. We walked off to the railway station to meet Judy, who was arriving on the 12:10 train from Salisbury. Judy has now retired from school. We then wandered around Bath, did a bit of shopping and had a cup of tea in Bath Market.

Saturday 27th July - we moved down the Widcombe Flight of locks. This means we went down through Bath Deep Lock - 19' 6"!
It's a devil of a long way down!
Looking back at the cill...
Is this a Banksie?

Then we were out on the River Avon...