About Me

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The name describes my demeanour and voice! 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' couple. The Best Mate and I.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Network Coverage

I have just had a text from a friend who asks "just a qn about internet access on canals. Do you ever get connections or use it or is it a waste of time?"

The real answer is that it varies. We are on 3 network. On the way to Braunston this week we have been out of signal from Fenny Compton to Napton. However Braunston, which used to be a mobile phone blackspot, is fine. We bumped into a friend who was wandering around Braunston looking for his wife! He complained that there is no signal for O2 users. However at Napton O2 is fine.

So it depends on which network one uses and obviously the terrain immediately around the canal. Signal strength at Braunston has always been far better standing on one leg on the arm of the seat half way up the path toward the post office from the marina bridge.

The real answer is to check the signal map for your network before setting off and then take into consideration that there is bound to be no signal in a cutting on the approach to a tunnel! Calls tend to get cut off in the bottom of Somerton Deep lock as well.

All of you bloggers must think it is all right and with iphones and newer technology it is getting better all the time.

A great idea comes to fruition

Here is the result of a suggestion by friends of ours.

We have had difficulty bolting the front door fo4rm the inside since we bought the boat because you have to hold the sharp edged bolt and pull it toward you thus increasing friction between it and the slide which makes it difficult to get into the socket to secure the door.

Our friends borrowed the boat and had the same difficulty. "Could you fit a handle to pull the door in while we bolt it?" thye asked.

Well her it is!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Water Shortage

We got awed in Cropredy ay after a couple of showers yesterday and arrived in Cropredy to moor a couple of hundred youards short of Bridge e 153 at 10.30pm. The water levels were very low and there were BW craft all over the place. A tug, a facilities craft and a hopper were between the Mill and the Bridge. We could not get the stern nearer than 10feet from the bank but because ofthe hour moored like that anyway.

This morning we found out the reason: a BW man informed us that Slat Mill top gate was leaking badly and there would be a four hour stoppage tomorrow morning for repairs to seals. The water supply from the River Cherwell has been cut to 25% of the normal because of shortage of water for Thames Water at Banbury. Hence the low levels.

We rendezvoused with Matt the mechanic of Tooley's at 0930 this morning and he got 'a bit more' on the injector joint that has been leaking. He left it dry of diesel but asked me to keep an eye on it. If the leak persists the injector assembly will neeed to be sent away for remedial work and pressure testing.

We left at about 10.00am and have made progress but needed to fill every lock on the way to our lunch stop at Claydon Top Lock. We expect to moor near The Wharf at Fenny Compton this evening.

It is great to be cruising. One small problem is that I have forgotten the lead that connects phone to laptop. Pictures will need to be added later!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Setting Off

We should be setting off on our Summer travels now. Unfortunately, the BBC weather site has got it all wrong and the whute cloud that should be here is a few shades darker than that and there is wet stuff falling all around. Why boat in the rqin if in doesn't have to? As I write the sunis breaking through so we may make a move sometime this evening.

Today's trip t the Joh Radcliffe hospital to see Professor P int eh Neurology department went very wel. The patient is doing very well and we don;t have to make this particular trip again until September 2011. While the Best Mate and thepatient were waiting for the good professor, I went for a wander. I investigated the Thresher down the road who advertised a tempting real ale offer and then walked along Marston Road for a little way intending to get a bus somewhere and back. However, I was lured by the mellow tones of a tenor saxaphine that were emanating from a wonderful looking shop that boated brass and woodwind instrument supplies and repairs. I entered and once inside wished that I played a wind instrument and could have a go at teh treasures on display. I spent a wonderful twenty minutes talking about music since the fifties with the proprietor. Once a professional musician, and always a business man, he had played with the greats like Ronnie Scott and now had the business as a paying hobby. One of only two brass speciaists in the country now. I didnlt know such a place exisited. As I left I walked away to the hauntong tones of jazz from the solo sax.

He recommended a guitar shop in Summertown for my next visit to JR!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Intermittent Cruising

Some of our regular readers will be wondering why we are not on our way to Cropredy, Fenny Compton, Napton and all points north as is our usual practice as soon as the schools break up.

We have to delay our cruise this year by the necessity of wafting Piglet to Paradise, aka as Luton Airport, at silly o'clock on Monday morning so that he can fly to Germany for an international youth conference. While there, he will be palling up with a Germam lad who will come back to England via Birmingham International Airport. They then need to be taken to another youth event, Newday, which is at Norwich showground again this year. They will be delivered back by another parent and we will then have some additional crew for a short cruise. The pal will need to return to Germany from BHX.

All this means that the summer cruising, which is usually of the continuous nature, will be intermittent with much consideration given to safe moorings, buses, trains and trips to the car. Consideration will also be given to long pounds and lock free canals.

I will attempt to keep posting blogs of interest. These too may continue to be intermittent rather of a continuous nature.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Pleased to be of service

To the ladies of narrowboats Puddleduck and Digitalis, who were looking for the bus stop in Cropredy to get a bus to Banbury, I just say that I am pleased to have been of service.

I always wonder how these little villages carry on with only two buses a day and, in this case, the return bus leaves Banbury at 2pm which is early in any body's book. To have to depend on the village shop (if there is one) must be diffucult. In the case of Cropredy however, the village store (Bridge Stores next to Bridge 153) is excellent even though it is a bit pricey by supermarket standards.

I just happened to use the luxurious 2pm service to get back to Cropredy this afternoon as we left the boat there overnight. An excellent trip.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

She's in Fenny Compton!

Yes, SONFLOWER is in Fenny Compton this evening. We lent her to a couple of friends who took their family for a ride. One daughter was 20 yesterday! She brought along her boyfriend; another daughter was aboard with her husband and tiny daughter; and grandmother came too.

They wrote in the log that they had seen pirates! They apparently only stopped for lunch and Pimms!

I am sure that they enjoyed themselves.

Meanwhile. . . . we were enjoying a barbeque in a friends garden with visitors from Atlanta, USA and spent a lot of the evening comparing little ol' England to the big US! A good time was had by all and quite a few steaks were consumed withthe salad.

Tomorrow we will be boating back!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Lad's Day Out pt 2

A picture of SONFLOWER entering Slat Mill Lock with Alan on the tiller. He had declared that he had no intention of working any locks today. He certainly couldn't from there!

A great day was had by all and both the lads were asleep when the girls arrived!

Monday, 5 July 2010


I have done a little bit if shopping today for a lad's day out on the boat tomorrow.


Anything missing?

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Another wedding today

No boating again this weekend. We are at a wedding. We attended the church service at this afternoon and are now preparing to attend the evening reception.

A lovely picturesque village church setting right next to this lovely and newly restored castle.

However it was not the Manorial family who were celebrating. Quite a large and dressed up congregation however.

For the second week running the bride exited to "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba"