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.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

I care

The name of the boat says it all. nb Past Caring is moored between the no mooring posts at a winding hole. Being on a boat handling course with other students who wanted to learn to turn a narrowboat boat correctly and efficiently, having this idiot moored in the way was a little less than convenient!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Nearly There

SONFLOWER was running her engine all day today. There are still some ice flows on the canal so it s not really appropriate to go any where but she is having her proving run.

I took a photo of the instrument panel which shows her doing 2750rpm! The engine never goes that fast and this highlights another problem. The Tachometer is not calibrated to the new alternator. The temperature gauge showed a temperature of 90 deg C. which is a tad high as well. Oil pressure is a steady 3 bar and the voltage is 13v. They are OK. The interesting one for me is the water temperature as before this overhaul we could never get the needle to show on the gauge. The engine never warmed up. Because of that it smoked and spluttered. Now it should be running much more efficiently.

Tommorrow the filters will be changed and the running in oil will be changed for the good stuff.

After that, a few snags to fix, like the tachometer before Tooley's hand me the keys.

After the fast

I had to see the doctor today. A good check up and tidying up some details after the gastric disorder. Blood Pressure checked out at 122/76. The doctor said it was a perfect result so I celebrated with a full english breakfast. Here it is!

The thing about a full english is not just the eating. It is the bubbling, spitting, crackling of the cooking, the release of the greatest aromas ever to get up the nostrils and then, oh what a flavour hit as a whole yolk is consumed in a mouthfull.

There is nothing like it.

I have to check back for the cholesterol test results later inthe week.

Friday, 15 January 2010


I got the caretaker at the school to take the picture to prove that we don't do nothing! I was at the school to meet the head about a couple of very wintery issues. This is me keeping warm and helping out with the snow clearance from the car park.

The snow plough from Cherwell District Council did not appear. The salt and grit in was never put into the boxes by the highway department. In fact, there is a world shortage of salt. We will be passing the salt mines of cheshire in the summer. I might put a couple of ton on board for next year!

's n'ICE problem

Here is the reason my friend's narrowboat stopped driving. He was following the lead of another boat in attempting to get to the water point. Forward and back to crush and split the ice when he lost drive. The coupling had failed in a big way. Fortunately, our wonderful alladin's cave of a chandlery at Tooley's had the appropriate coupling. Here is the replacement.

Of course, the price tag was not his only problem. I gave him the good news that fitting the key was a skilled job. The key steel has to be the correct size and a beautiful slide fit (+0.000" to +0.002" fit) in order to transmit the toorque from the engine to the propeller. It is not just a case of wanging up the nuts and tightening up a grub screw!
"Surely you knew that!" came a voice from the next bar table.
My friend, I hope is now looking for a marine engineer to fit the coupling correctly. One thing he did know was that the nyloc nuts are not re-useable. He has a nice colection of sixteen previously owned nuts to confirm previous sorry attempts at making the coupling couple.

Trying to be an ice breaker is turning out to be an expensive occupation

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

New Electrics/looming great

Here are the old switch panels. The wiring of the boat is in pretty good condition but the switch panels were very outdated.

Now modernised, with sensitive Circuit breakers, the electic system is now very good.

Also needed was replacement of the engine loom because of age related insulation brittleness.

Narrow Boat

It is cold enough to read the wonderful chapter in Narrowboat concerning the coming to Banbury of the icebreakers. We anticipate that we will be iced in for about three weeks this winter.


Chapel on "Oxford Canal"

Here is an interesting article. The beeb are not usually lax about facts and stuff though.

The chapel, according to the article was 70 ft long and 14 ft wide. It wasn't on the Oxford Canal then, was it! However, It was quite a feat to get 150 people on board. At 70 Kg per person that is a 10,500kg payload. With a bit of happy clappy worship and dancing they must have got the boat a-rockin' even for a widebeam!

The BCF are off to see Britain's only current floating Church. It is a converted dutch grain barge in West India Dock, serving Docklands and Canary Wharf etc. More about it next week

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


Just a couple of shots from my moibile as I passed SONFLOWER moored under the Museum bridge at Tooley's. The snow cannot reach her to make her look beautiful and the street lighting is not quite good enough to show her glistening reflection in the ice.

She stands forlorn and 'abandonned'.

But, believe me, she is most loved of vessels and if I were fitter and better I would be seeing more of her in the daylight. How the days are too short and the sunshine not strong enough to light her up as she deserved.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Done and Dusted

I had a phone call from Tooley's today. Matt rang to tell me that the boat work is now complete and that they are ready to start the 50hour proving run!

The boat has a heater aboard to keep it from freezing in the current cold snap and the engine will now start its re-commissioning trial. Because of the icy static conditions of the canal, the prop will need to be engaged to give the engine a good work out against a mooring rope. We hope to give her a good trial shake down!

I hope that I can get down to the yard to see it tomorrow.

"Another small problem. . . " Matt said down the 'phone. "The money hasn't reached our bank account yet." On checking the internet banking site I found that the money left our account on 31 December 2009 destined for 'Tooleys' but then returned to our account on 7th January 2010 from 'Tooleys' with no record of a payment being made in the "Transfers and Payments" list. Curiouser and Curiouser, me thinks. I added "Tooleys" to the list of recipients again and made another payment. This time ASAP. I do hope that they get their money. Tooley's bank with a nationalised high street bank and so do I. The money has been in the either for a week. I haven't been getting interest. Tooley's haven't been getting interest. Who gets the money when this sort of thing happens? The government must have wondered where its extra cash came from over last weekend! I hope I haven't upset their year end figures!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

WInter Cruising

what wonderful weather for winter cruising.

But I have been viewing it from flat on my back, with my hooves in the air, through the sticks of the roof between trots out to pasture to dispose of fluid through every orifice of the body except the ears!

Eeyore has had a gloomy time with gastric flu.

Piglet has suffered from a less severe case but The Best Mate has had to be very busy keeping up with the laundry and the moaning.

I started on Sunday. We planned to do things this week:

50 HOUR 'SHAKEDOWN" CRUISE maybe as far as Thrupp and back--POSTPONED

48 HOURS sleep on board to check out electrics and new water heating: POSTPONED


I have managed to view the lovely full moon through the holes in the roof and thought about Andrew of Granny Buttons who must have been out there taking the most beautiful frost sparkling moonlit photographs.

I have missed it.