Friday 20 May 2011

Share sold

We're delighted, and a little sad, to say that our Debdale share has been sold.  What's more, it was thanks to this blog!

We wish the new owners many happy years of cruising on Debdale, and we'll look out for her on the cut.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Debdale share for sale

Our one-twelfth share in Debdale is now officially for sale.

This share gives three weeks holiday a year -- two in high season (April to September) and one in low season.  For this year, it has a fortnight in June and a week in October booked.  Most of this year's running cost contributions have already been paid.

For next year, the share will be at position 3 in the rota for chosing weeks, so it will be very easy to get the weeks you want for 2012.

The share is priced at £5950.

For full details of Debdale and the share, please click here.

Sunday 17 April 2011

End of an era

After four very enjoyable years with Debdale, we've taken the plunge and are buying our own boat.

It's all happened remarkably quickly.  We saw it online last Saturday, viewed on Sunday, had an offer accepted on Monday, and a survey on Thursday.  The purchase is due to complete after Easter, and Adrian will go and pick up the keys on the day of the Royal wedding.

I've started a new blog for the new boat here.

Once the other owners of Debdale have had first refusal on our shares, they'll be up for sale.  So if you want to own a share of this fantastic boat with friendly owners and an efficient private synicate, please let us know.

Sunday 10 April 2011


At Hatton Locks, where we stopped for lunch at the cafe, on the way back from somewhere else.

Saturday 9 April 2011

Indigo Dreaming

Yesterday, a day more like the middle of August than early April, I joined Sue on Indigo Dream for a trip through west London.  She'd posted on the blog that she was due to single hand from Paddington Basin to Uxbridge, but had been told there was a lot of rubbish in the canal and was worried about having to go down the week hatch.  So I volunteered to go along and lend a hand.

I arrived at Paddington Basin and found Indigo Dream under the glass footbridge.  After teas and coffees were made, we set off in fantastic sunshine, through Little Venice.  There were a surprising number of boats on the move, including an enormous hopper barge, pushed by a tug, which pulled out behind us.  The skipper asked us to warn any oncoming boats.

We made a couple of brief stops -- at a canalside Sainsbury's to buy lunch, and at Packet Boat Marina to drop off some rubbish.  We moored at the end of a fantastic day's boating just below Cowley Lock on the GU main line.  I'm sure Sue will do a much more detailed account, so I'll let the photos do the talking.

Little Venice

A40 flyover

Aqueduct over the North Circular



Bulls Bridge Junction

GU Main Line

Mooring at Cowley Lock

Thursday 7 April 2011

Shared Ownership Show

The May edition of Canal Boat is in the shops.  Not much in it from me this month, just a news report on the Shared Ownership Show held at Braunston last month.

Sunday 3 April 2011

Birthday Cruise - Day 4

The Bridge 8 moorings are very nice.  There's the hum of the M54 in the background, but not enough to notice.

We woke to a much sunnier day than we'd been expecting, and set off at 8.30.  This is a stretch of the Shroppie we've done many times, but it was looking beautiful in the sunshine, with signs of spring everywhere.  Buds on many of the bushes look fit to burst open, and many of the trees have bright new leaves.

We had to turn Wheaton Aston lock (our only lock of the day).  Once down, we stopped at the water point and filled the tank.

Setting off again, we passed a man washing his boat on the Wheaton Aston visitor moorings.  He said he was probably going to make it rain.  About two minutes later, the rain started.  It lasted only about ten minutes or so, but included several torrential downpours, and by the time it stopped I was pretty wet.  Then the sun came out again, and within half an hour or so everything was dry.

As we went along, we cleaned the inside of the boat.  Adrian did the kitchen, I did the bathroom, and Adrian vacuumed.  We had a quick lunch on the move before arriving back at Norbury Wharf.  Just as we approached, there was another shower.  We tied up in the rain, but it had pretty much stopped by the time we needed to load the car.  We were on the road by 2pm, and had a pretty good journey.  The worst hold up was two miles from home, where there'd been an accident on the opposite carriagway of the A27.

12 miles, 1 lock.  (40, 12)

Saturday 2 April 2011

Birthday Cruise -- Day 3

Dimmingsdale Lock is a very good mooring, dark and quiet.  The only morning sound was birdsong.  We had a very relaxed start, which included a cooked breakfast.  It was 9.40 before we set off, filling the lock and going down.  I was just opening the gates when an old working boat with a cargo of boy scouts arrived at the top of the lock.  I explained that we were winding and coming straight back up again.  Adrian quickly turned the boat and came back into the lock, and we had no shortage of helpers to wind the paddles.

Once we were on our way again, we passed two more old working boats crewed by scouts.  They'd told us they'd started at Wolverhampton yesterday, and were heading for Birmingham.

After about 40 minutes, we moored at Wightwick.  We got out our National Trust membership cards (those of us who'd remembered to bring them), and were at the visitor reception waiting for it to open at 11.  We did two tours of Wightwick Manor: one about how they care for the collection, then a "freeflow" look round the house.  It's a fantastic house, with great gardens, and well worth a visit.  Both tea rooms were rather disappointing, though, so we had lunch at The Mermaid instead.

We set off again at 2pm, and passed a procession of boats based at Norbury through the locks.  These included several ex-OwnerShips boats and Norbury's new hire boat, Ember.  By now, the sun was out and it was quite warm.

We turned back onto the Shroppie at Autherley Junction, and continued to the SUCS moorings between Bridges 7 & 8.  Having moored up, we sat in the well deck with wine and crisps in the sunshine.

8 miles, 6 locks (28 miles, 11 locks)

Friday 1 April 2011

Birthday Cruise -- Day 2

We had high hopes, weatherwise, for today.  The forecast we saw before going to bed last night suggested that by lunchtime the sun would break through the clouds, and the temperature would reach 19C.  Neither happened.

We were awake quite early.  There wasn't enough power in the batteries to get the Webasto going (not entirely surprising, seeing as the boat had been idle for several days, and we'd only boated for ten minutes last night), so showers were off the agenda.  We had a quick breakfast, and set off at 7.30.  It was a good while before we met another boat.

After Wheaton Aston lock, we decided we'd light the fire.  The coal is a variety I'm not familiar with, as rather than the usual ovals, the nuggets are hexagonal.  We've got only what's in the coal bucket; there's no bag on board.  But I'd be interested to know what it is, as it seems to light easier than Taybright, and burns slowly too.

We're very familiar with this section of the Shroppie now.  The only surprise was that the moorings (Wheaton Aston, Brewood, Bridge 8) were very empty.  We passed Chertsey at Stretton Wharf, then went over the A5.   We had lunch on the move just before Autherley Junction.  Napton Narrowboats had lots of boats in, but didn't seem to be blocking the canal quite as much as usual.  They were confident it wasn't going to rain, as they were painting the roof of one of the boats.

The stop lock was against us, but it didn't take long to turn, given that the rise is about three inches.  Then we turned right onto the Staffs and Worcs, heading south.  Soon afterwards, we saw an orange flashing light ahead.  BW were dredging the canal.  They had a hopper and a dredger, but there was just room to pass, and they beckoned us on.  Unfortunately, we ran aground trying to get round them, indicating that the edges need work as well as the middle.

Compton Lock was in our favour.  Once down the lock, I dashed off to the shop to get some washing up liquid.  Last time we were here, I waked to the Spar shop; this time, I went to the Nisa because it's closer, and was very pleasantly surprised.  It's very upmarket, with a deli counter and a little bakery section.

I caught up with Debdale before Wightwick Mill Lock, and we did a swap: shopping for windlass.  This lock and the next one were against us.

 We  moored up for the night at the offside moorings just above Dimmingsdale Lock.  It's a lovely spot which we've seen before, and which has been recommended by several people.  There's no satellite tv, but the internet signal is very strong.  Tomorrow, we start heading back.

20 miles, 5 locks.