Monday, 30 September 2013


The Boat Safety Test was booked for Thursday evening. I spent some of Thursday checking everything was OK. Mike Price came (he only lives a couple of miles from Semington) and did all the checks he needed to do to satisfy himself that the boat passed her safety checks. Hooray! One less thing to worry about.
Friday I spent preparing the aft section of the roof ready for painting. In the evening I went and joined a number of the local boaters at 'The Somerset Arms' just down the road. One of the talented local boaters provided the entertainment and then handed a great variety of percussion instruments around the audience. With a bit of prompting everyone started to create rhythms and beats, getting louder and faster as the evening progressed. It was quite magical in its own way. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
On Saturday I continued painting then went to a 'Boot & Barge Music Festival' at the same hostelry. This was an all afternoon and evening event. Some of the groups were really good and got us all going. Another great evening.
Sunday was a bit more of a day of rest.
 The aft section of the roof is now grey undercoat
 The stick on the left marks a giant dog turd that I do not want to step on!
The wraps go back on now that the paint is dry.
The next job will be to get some green gloss on the roof so it will all be the same colour. Next spring I will attack the wooden hatch to see if I can re-caulk it and make it water-tight. That is the main reason for having the (faded) orange tarpaulin over it.

Monday 23rd September

'Twas on the Monday morning we set off, heading east. We motored on, passing Bathampton, Dundas and stopping at BoA for lunch. In the afternoon we moved on to Semington and stopped just off the end of the 24 hour. Absolutely ideal position. I fetched the car, loading and off-loading took place and we went home.

Sunday 22nd September

We were joined by four friends from our home village for a special trip to Bath. They arrived nice and early and we went down through BoA lock.

On our way there was a reminder that autumn is on its way, some of the trees are beginning to take on a wonderful colour.
And then we arrived at Dundas Basin in time for lunch.
In the afternoon we moved on to Bath and went down a couple of locks, generally playing about...
 Helena, Jacqui & Brian enjoying the sunshine
 Entering Bath under Beckford road bridge
Going past Sydney Wharf
Going down...
 Treva looking back at camera as I tie up
 Brian lending his muscle to open a gate
 Treva approving the moves
Jacqui & Helena enjoyed it too!
After the locks we all enjoyed an evening meal before returning to BoA to find their car. I left our car at BoA and caught the bus back to Bath.

Saturday 21st September

Judy & I came to Constance to tidy up, move and prepare for Sunday.
We then turned round and found a spot on the 24 hour just above Bradford-on-Avon lock and went to Sainsbury's to buy loads of stuff for Sunday. I made loads of space in the cratch by off-loading some of the winter firewood to the back of the car. I then took the car to Bath and caught the bus back to BoA.

Monday, 16 September 2013


I said today would be different. The sun was shining for an early start and the drive up to Stoke Pound at the bottom of the Tardebigge Lock Flight between Bromsgrove and Tardebigge village. Chas 'n' Ann from Moore 2 Life were friends from long ago, Chas & I worked together in a former life & we have kept in touch ever since. They were on their travels from the Droitwich Canal and finding their way back to Kings Norton Junction - this would mean going up the Tardebigge Flight.
We met at the prearranged location and after a short 'catch-up' we were on our way.

With Ann's vast experience and my bit of fresh muscle we soon dropped into a rhythm and in only three hours we were moored beside the Tardebigge pumping station (now an Inn) in time for lunch.

We all enjoyed a lovely hearty soup made by Ann before having a long chew over the past, present and future. We will all meet again soon.
I cycled back to the car to go home, stopping to admire a couple of cottages which were sprouting aerials -

Somewhere in the back garden of the top picture there is an 80m 3 element beam which can be lifted by crane and rotated as required. I suppose, being that far 'out in the sticks' the background noise levels are lovely and low.
It was a lovely day, meeting up with and helping old friends and the weather stayed good all day.

To Bradford-on-Avon in the rain

My time on that lovely mooring where I could do the work has come to an end and I need to be nearer to Bradford-on-Avon for next weekend. The forecast was not good. With bicycle on board I turned and set off for BoA. Sure enough it started to drizzle, then the drizzle turned to rain. Anywhere after Widbrook Bridge would do, but it was pretty much nose to tail with boats all along the straight bit before Sainsbury's bridge. The short term moorings on the approach to BoA were no good as I need to be able to stop for a week, so it was down through the lock and hope for the best.
The volunteer 'Lockies' were a welcome sight and cheerfully helped me through the lock in the rain. Beyond the Tithe Barn it was boats as far as the eye could see. Eventually there was a Constance length gap and a mooring was made. It was hissing down by now and I had to cycle all the way back to Hilperton to retrieve the car. Nothing for it but to grin and bear it. Luckily it was not too cold.
With car retrieved and parked near the Tithe Barn it was batten down for the night and dry off. Tomorrow will be a different day...

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Taking advantage of location 2

More cleaning, preparation and painting.
The engine bay area - I decided to clean out a much greater area. I liked the grey of the Danboline, it made the deck much lighter coloured and easier to see. As the vertical surfaces were black, I cleaned them up and painted them with the grey Danboline.
You could eat your dinner off the clean surface! Having put two coats on, it will take a while to completely harden, so it was left in favour of another paint job.
Some while ago I started cleaning and painting the gunwale walk ways. Both sides have been cleaned, primed and had two undercoats. As the port side is alongside a coat of black gloss was applied, followed, the next day, by a coat of non-slip black gloss. The kind of paint that has sand in it.

It is impossible to see the graininess of the sand, but it can be contrasted with the glossy half inch of gutter nearest the vertical panel of the cabin-side. It is now non-slip.
Carrying on - the panel below the gunwale takes a bit of a beating and has been looking tatty for some while so that go the rubbing down, de-rust, priming and first undercoat treatment.
Now ready for further painting. My time on this wonderful location is coming to an end, the weather is closing in and becoming very autumnal so my chances of getting another coat on over the next few days is getting a bit slim.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Take advantage of location

Currently Constance is moored miles from anywhere. Nobody to disturb. Alongside a bit of Armco, so the 'bank' is excellent. The end of the Armco had a concrete cill at two inches above water level. This is absolutely ideal for working on the boat.

So, one outstanding job was putting in the exhaust skin fitting for the central heating. Not a big job in itself but the location (beside the Armco & cill) made simple work. However...
To get to the inside of where the skin fitting had to go meant emptying out all of the ballast weights. You know, those heavy bits of metal - odd castings, engine flywheels etc., that hold the back end of the boat in the water. Well, this revealed a load of rust. After a lot of cleaning, rust treatment, priming etc., then Danboline - a much better appearance.
Now the boat has a list to starboard and lots of scruffy weights distributed around because I can't put the weights back in until the Danboline has fully dried.
That's how one job leads to another!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Making the most of the fine weather

The weather forecast looks good for the next couple of days. Time to do some (long outstanding) painting on the roof. Back in the late spring I managed to get one of the roof sections up to the 2nd undercoat stage. The summer has been too hot/threatening wet, too windy etc. to paint.
I moved from Hilperton to a bit of Armco that I could remember about 1.5 miles east. This would give a good surface to work from.
It looks better than the grey undercoat. Now I need to wash the front section so that they both look good and green. The towpaths are good on the western end of the K&A, this is because it is a National Cycleway. The down-side of this from a boating perspective is the dust. As the cyclists pass at speed they kick up a cloud of dust which settles all over the boat.