About Me

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The name describes my demeanour and voice! I can make a sunny day gloomy. I love narrowboating and that is why this blog is mainly about the boat and our interaction with it. I have been keeping a log for Sonflower ever since we bought her and moved onto her as our main residence. Some incidents in our boating life have been hilarious, some scary and some down right dangerous. I cannot tell what will come in the future but you can now share them! The crew are an 'ordinary' family. 3 adults:-one man and wife, one adult son - and a teenage six footer.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

(NO) New Technology

Uxbridge to Hemel Hemsted

We have just had two very pleasant days of boating from Mill Road Bridge No 187 (aka Gas Works Bridge 187 and Cowley Mill Road Bridge 187) to Old Fishery Lane Bridge no 148

Regular readers know that I was frustrated with the 3 dongle to connect with the internet.   I have invested in a 4G mobile wireless router from Maplin. I read the instructions fully and tried it out in the lounge at home. It works a treat with my little tablet, Sony Experia and Samsung phones. The instructions said to charge for at least four hours so I put it on charge overnight.

I left it on charge when we left to go to the boat in the morning so have had two days of internet free cruising!

                                                                                    18miles, 27 locks, 14 hours

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

New technology

I have just received an email from The Best Mate. It was headed "i Hate Technology" without any further comment in the message.

I understand how she feels. A server that was used for processing our mail was on a Blocking List and bounce messages were coming in thick and fast.

I must admit that at times I too have the same feeling. Today I have been trying to set up a new mobile wifi for use on the boat in conjunction with a tablet. I have attempted to have a live run so that it all goes smoothly in the boat. But all has not gone smoothly. I have three gmail accounts. I tried to get one of them added to the email client on the tablet but I have had messages telling me that the password was out of date and that someone tried to log on to my gmail account from an app that was insecure. They want me to use google apps. The tablet came with its mail client installed as firmware. I have no idea what it is but it worked with a virgin.net account. Why not with gmail! I haven't tried the other two gmail accounts yet!

So getting email on the boat will still be hard and difficult I may have to resort to tactics like using webmail which I hate.

I am looking forward to getting back in the boat in Friday morning. It may be a couple of days away form it all again, including eMail and Facebook!

We will be boating through the civilised areas of Uxbridge, Rickmansworth, Watford and Hemel Hempstead so hope fully mobile signal will not be a problem too!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

HIgh Time at High Line

Friday 6 May 2016

You may have seen from my recent facebook status that that we were booked in for an engine service at Highline Yachting's Cowley Peachey base. I took the photo while we were waiting. It was such a lovely morning. We left our overnight mooring in West Drayton and cruised the short distance to moor and wait in glorious sunshine for the place to open. 9 o'clock came and our engineer for the service popped up from his boat and got started. It was Bob,who used to work at Tooley's yard in Banbury but has now moved to the metropolis to earn some real dosh. He said he never gets a break he is so busy. After re-acquainting ourselves he settled down to the essence of his business.

Our engine has been described as "the best little BMC 1500 I have seen, mate!" by a RCR mechanic who fixed the engine stop cable so I didn't expect any problems. But Bob found a couple.

One was that the top sealing plate was missing from the fuel filter. Without it the fuel short circuits the filter and can flow straight from the inlet to the outlet. Why have a filter? Bob searched the oily engine bilge for any sign that it may have fallen off and not been noticed when the filter was last changed. No joy, so he went away to look for a replacement or to make a new one, as getting the correct spare would mean we would not finish today!

The other was a diesel leak on spill rail return to the diesel tank. No problem remaking the screwed joint but a little problem making an adequate support to stop it rattling loose again. No problem to Bob. The spilled diesel was aquavac-ed from the bilge, new absorbent mats fitted and the job was done. Just two hours or so longer than expected.

While all this was happening in the engine bay I was using the lovely dry day to remove the sealant from the windows, add Jenolite rust treatment, apply a coat of hammerite and re-seal with mastic sealant. This all went to plan except that I have not had a chance to see whether there are any leaks. It all looked very good! While in the mood I painted the handrail too.

When Bob had finished his stuff I had the tanks replenished with diesel and we were on our way, thanking him for a good service. Maybe he will return to the Oxford some time. He said he missed it.

So we cruised to Cowley lock where we stopped outside The Malt Shovel in the sunshine and had an ale and a cider with some locals before progressing onward to moor before Mill Road Bridge No 187 for the night before return to Banbury in the morning

Friday: 2miles, 1 lock and 1 pub                   Total So Far this year: 145 miles, 112 locks

Monday, 9 May 2016

Now, where are we?

I have been back in Banbury for a couple if days. I feel that we have not really touched down yet!

We arrived here on Saturday and I write this in Monday evening. On Saturday I was welcomed by a pile of mail and 154 emails in my inbox.I was working all day trying to clear them and deal with the pile of paperwork, real and virtual. The Best Mate set about loads of washing. Exhausting to the extent that we had to go out to eat as we had no energy to cook for ourselves. We went to a favourite country pub, The George and Dragon at Shutford: never disappointing.

Yesterday was a good day. Church was great: real worship and praise; specific and directed prayer; a sermon/teaching on the apostle Paul's view of church and our desire to bring about the reality of a New Testament church in the 21st century; sharing bread and wine together and chocolate cookies and coffee after. And all with people who are joined neatly and carefully together by Christ the Cornerstone!  Then we had a roast lamb dinner with my mother and sister. In the afternoon we prepared the same for our son who returned from his football tournament in good spirits having won three of his four games and scored a goal to boot! Yes a very good day.

Today we went to Kings Langley to a Waterways Chaplaincy meeting and then to a funeral in Putney this afternoon to honour the life of a friend from the Boaters Christian Fellowship. Can a funeral be good? Yes when one knows that the friend was at peace with God and ready to be with His Lord for ever.  HIs life was one of a faithful servant, described as a plodder and the Lord needs them in his church!

But it all leaves me drained and wondering where we left the boat. Oh yes, we have got it to Uxbridge. But I have already told you that, haven't I?

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Little Venice to West Drayton

Little Venice to West Drayton
We had to leave Little Venice after the IWA Canalway Cavalcade 2016 at 4pm. We were offered an overnight mooring breasted up to nb Miss Mattie who had been our neighbour for the weekend . However as we passed Delamere Terrace she was outboard of two other boats already.
Our exit from the Browning Pool was interesting. As we had been moored stern on between boats nb Lotus and nb Miss Mattie, who had already left, the remaining boats drifted to starboard, away from the direction we wanted to leave. The wind was from the West too. Show I had no option but to make a turn to starboard, reverse, turn 180deg and leave. Frank, skipper of Lotus, popped up to ask what I was doing as I turned across his bows. The Best Mate thought I had lost control and shouted CONCENTRATE! as it must have appeared that I had lost control as I was answering him.
Unfortunately half way through the turn another boat down the line decided to come out to go East! I turned away from her course and ended up calling for assistance to keep my bow clear of Lotus. I heaved  to and waited, completed my turn and exited without a collision.
°
We stopped at Sainsbury's to do some shopping and as they close at 7 pm on a Bank Holiday we decided to stay overnight.

Tuesday morning was sunny but cold. We moved a little  further  west to Kensal  Green Sainsbury's. Here we moored and I we t in search of ZoĆ« storage boxes. I was persuaded to sort out The Man Cupboard. I did find a few less useful  items to throw away. In the main the need was for boxes to replace some crumbling plastic catering trays that I rescued from a pub bin about seven years ago. Wickes had nothing suitable but Sainsbury's had some toy boxes. I did rationalize the contents of three trays into two boxes.


Wednesday was a free day. We left early. Too early to call in on nb Shiraz for coffee. We watered up in Greenford and moved on in sunshine to Willow Tree marina where we pumped out, bought gas and deposited our rubbish. Then cruised a little further and stopped at very green spot near Bridge ?. Here the portside gunwhale received a glossing over. Then we moved to West Drayton via Bull's Bridge  Tesco for some fresh chills and mint needed for an on board Baltic chicken supper.
14 mils 0 locks 2 restful and rewarding days

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Cowley Peachy to Bulls Bridge

I made a mistake yesterday about how long we had been in Uxbridge . We didn't need to move because I had mixed up my weeks. But Crowley Peachy is a quiet location. We enjoyed our evening and were asleep by 10pm.

This morning we were up with dawn after a really cold night. The stove needed immediate attention. Relighting was   necessary but se soon warmed up. The clear sky and north wind sere more like December than April.

After a  light breakfast set about better now.. I did a few drilling jobs and then s0 Sawing and splitting firewood and the interminable cleaning and sorting out.

The Best Mate needed more stove blacking so we went to the Packet Boat Marina but they do not have a chandlers. We got some at High Line Yachting next door.
Then we looked in The Waterside Bar and decided that we might try it for lunch when we pass again on 6 May and High Line service our engine.

Then we headed off to Bulls  Bridge. We were invited to moor alongside Nb Brandywine who  is also heading for Little Venice. After shopping we backed perfectly, winded faultlessly ( no one was looking) and started up Paddington Arm. We   stopped for a Cumberland Sausage in French bread with mustard and decided not to move  again today.

More chores this afternoon. The brass looks better now.                          3.1/2 miles 0 locks 2 hrs

Tuesday, 26 April 2016


Uxbridge, Cowley Mill Road Bridge 187 to Packet Boat Lane  Bridge 190

At about 4.30  this afternoon  we thought about how long Sonflower hadbeen in Uxbridge. Oops! It may take a little time to get used to this moving every 14 days. So at 5.00pm, just short of 15 days after we arrived here, ewe left and moved to the next  place: Cowley Peachey. Here we moored behind a South  African  boater who came out to help us  moor, pointing out the various pieces of rope that others had left for us to moor on. He also pointed out a submerged wall that we just  cleared at the stern of the boat.

We did a few chores then got ready for dinner .

We decided to visit The Packet Boat pub. This is a real ale (Fullers) pub with Thai cuisine. We had the Korean chicken and riche off the Specials Board, economically priced at a fiver. Washed down with red wine (best mate) or London  boat and concluded Pride (the skipper) it was a lovely meal. We left before the poker started.

We returned to the boat and concluded the day with a game of Yahtzee and a glass more of red wine.                                                                                         1.1/2 mile 1 lock 1 hour