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.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Back in Routine

Late rising today but it matters little. We had the routine "water run" to complete. The gas bottle ran out on Sunday and we need to get another spare, the level is creeping up in the toilet tank and we are depleting the water tank. So we have to do what boaters do!

That means taking the boat into town, throuh the loft bridge to the water point. We then stop to fill with water before working down the lock. Today we stopped below the lock for breakfast. Then we proceded another 3/4 mile to turn at Bankside winding hole. Here the rain started so we stopped for a few minutes to get the waterproofs on.

Then back to the lock, pausing as a crew member bumped their head on the hatch which had been closed for the rain, then through thte lift bridge to Sovereign Wharf. We had to wait a few minutes for a boat that had lost a crew member in the town shopping to move off the wharf. Gas bottle exchange, pump out and chat completed we returned to home mooring.    2lock, 2 Lift Bridges, 2 miles, 2 Hours cruising.

Nice to be back in the old routine.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Canalside Songs of Praise

Thank you to Holy Cross Church Shipton-on-Cherwell, Thrupp Canal Cruising Club, local BCF members and the Oxford Christian Music Choir for putting on the Canalside Songs of Praise event at Thrupp Wide yesterday. We had a lovely time. We do not get a lot of invitations to sing and speak and it was a privilege to be part of this event.

A special 'thankyou' to Rev Brian who courageously read the clouds and took advantage of a blue sky opportunity that was just long enough to complete the whole planned programme before we took shelter from a heavy downpour under the canvas provided by Annie's Tea rooms.

Thank you also to Ken of NB Carpe Deum which provided the stage from its tug deck.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Coupling Day

This year has obviously been a crazy one for damsel flies. Getting together is nigh in impossible in the rain so it apears that two months of the mating season has been lost to the weather. But today was very obviously perfect weather. Coupled damsel flies were everywhere.

I asked the Best Mate which damsel fly has to fly backwards when they mate on the wing. Right on cue a mating couple flew past us and settled on the boat. They both fly forwards. The male (the pretty iridescent blue one) is definitely on top and the female (the drab plain brown coloured one) is underneath.

I have heard that bees have swarmimg days when the queen selects the fittest drone, ants have flying days when the males leave the nest but I did not know that damsel flies have coupling days. By todays viewing apparently they do. And today was it!

Summer has started!

Wow it's hot! And yesterday and today we have been boating. On familiar waters maybe but very pleasurable.

Having Piglet away this week on a Citizenship Bonding Week at an outward bound type adventure centre we just leisurely meandered up to Cropredy. We had a wonderful evening in the evening warmth with our friends on the Cropredy Old Coal Wharf. A bottle of red wine and some John Smith's bitter and a fantastic home made (by our friends) rhubarb fool were consumed to wonderful conversation to the sound of church bells.

This morning we woke to bedlam. The water point at Cropredy becomes a honeypot at 9.00am and boats were queueing, jumping the queue and generally getting in each other's way as canoeists jostled to get out of their club compound and away from the converging steel. We abandoned the plan to moor on the water point and wash the boat and pulled away to breakfast outside of the village. Breakfast was over by noon and, seeking shade, we then dawdled back to our mooring.

As we approached I noticed a boat pulled over into our mooring space.  I assumed it was to let us by. Another boat was just entering the narrows of the Marsh Foot bridge. There is plenty of water here for three abreast and so I hollered "That's my mooring!" to let the boater know that we were not going to be able to moor with his boat on the mooring. It would soon get very congested! Both crew members got off the boat so hollered again "That's where we moor!" and waved him on.  I think that I may have upset them because they were not too pleased that I mentioned that they should have known our boat as they have been around quite a bit!  I didn't mean to be rude or anything but I really thought that they had just given way without any real need to. Why they got off the boat was a mystery. The boat was Wren's Nest! Nice to meet you Chris. Next time we might just moor alongside and open a bottle!

We spent the rest of the day in the shade of the trees by the mooring as the temperature soared toward 30 degrees!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Cranky Old Fridge

We have a Dometic Electrolux RM4270 Gas/12v/240v fridge. We run it on gas and only use the 12v to light it.

It did not get cold. Our milk went off, our apple juice went off, our orange juice went fizzy and our bitter went rancid. We used freezer packs and kept it as a cool box for a week but this was a pain and the milk went off etc.

I enquired at a local domestic appliance repair specialist (in Bridge Street, Banbury) about repair or servicing. They supplied us the fridge in 2004 but now they do not touch them. They said I would have to get a "gas safe" man to look at it.

I popped into Tooleys' Boatyard and asked their man whether they would repair a fridge. The helpful advice I received was to clean out all the cobwebs and grot from around the flame and see if that helped. I got the fridge out of its housing cleaned out the flame chamber but found the exhaust chimney flexible connection had perished/disintegrated. Tooleys did not stock them, the repair man in Bridge street did not stock them, Sovereign Narrowboats this time came up with the helpful advice to go to a motor factor for flexible exhaust hose (available in two metre lengths). I needed eight inches at the outside. In the end I settled for corrugated aluminium tubing as used for air inlets. At only £2.99 for a metre this was a snip and I have enough to do the job another three or four times.

The fridge still didn't work. So I rang Tooley's again and talked to Matt. He told me that a gas man was coming to the yard today to do a boiler service and he would speak to him. I brought the boat down to town and waited for the gas man to arrive. When he did come (in due canal time) he asked whether the flame was alight. On received a positive reply he then said that in that case he could not help. I needed a refrigeration gas man. It had to be something to do with the fridge gas circuit. However he did say that giving the fridge a good shake or turning it upside down might do the trick!

So we tilted it all the way over one way and shook it about. Then we tilted it the other way and shook it about again. Then I put it back in its housing.

We took the boat through the lift bridge and  lock, turned at Tramway, filled up with water and returned the boat to the home mooring. As I shut up the boat I felt into the fridge. It was cold! Thank you to the gas man for his advice. A good shaking may have done the trick.