Monthly Archives: October 2013

Stormy Weather?

With a big storm predicted for Southern England and Wales tonight, I hope that everyone is safely moored up and has their hatches duly battened!

As I sit here writing, the weather outside is remarkably quiet – it is windy, but the boat’s not moving that much. Part of the reason for this is that we have moved away from our normal mooring spot on Midsummer Common, to an area where mooring’s not usually allowed due to navigation width. But for one night, we decided that we’d do well to avoid the tree we moor next to on the Common, just in case. It’s very close to the river bank, unlike the rest of the trees on the common, which are either set back or much smaller. After our narrow escape in 2011 from being squashed by a falling tree, we’re naturally wary!

Trees bending in the wind on Midsummer Common

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Our temporary mooring for the night. no trees around, and sheltered by the concrete wall (and yes we have fenders out to stop us catching on the wall if  the water level rises!)


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Another shot of the rainbow!

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Categories: Daily Life | 2 Comments




Our fenders are now finished and paid for – we’ll be picking them up soon hopefully! This photo was taken by Sarah E (who sorted it all out with the fender maker – thanks!) when they were still in progress. Other Sarah (from Chertsey) suggests that once dunked in creosote they should last a long time and won’t need keeping indoors, but can stay outside attached to the counter.

Categories: Fitout | 4 Comments

That Fuller Do

A few photos from a lovely weekend with spent with friends old and new enjoying old boats, little trains, and good music. Our friends have a boatyard full of interesting old boats, with a narrow gauge railway around the outside, and every October they invite a bunch of people over for a party. It was great to catch up with some people we’d not seen since we went to Stone last year, and to meet others properly for the first time, including the canal laureate, Jo Bell! She describes the Fullers’ boatyard thus (in a great post about how she moved back North via the Severn!):

“Just uphill is a little yard where famous working boats, the grubby queens of the waterway, are healed and relaunched. Here Roger collects signal boxes and old railway cars and unusual, ragged machinery, and brings it all back to wholeness with a mixture of love and welding.”

We also had the added pleasure of staying the night in the butty Ilford, which was very cosy! So, thanks for having us, Fullers!

We also acquired a larger than usual 70s handbowl (for our larger then usual boat!) from a passing boater who was throwing it out. I have plans to repaint in in Severn and Canal colours, as it’s fairly crudely painted and unless I can be convinced otherwise I don’t think it would be a travesty to start again!

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Mending a bent point on the railway:

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Categories: Out and About | 2 Comments

Fitout 43: Battery Monitor

We bought quite a few bits and pieces on Midland Chandler’s most recent “Freaky Friday” 20% off day, one of which was a Victron battery monitor. We’d been relying on a handheld multimeter which did the job but it was a faff as you had to go into the engine room to check battery levels. This one displays the battery status 10m away from the battery bank, using a data cable. The question was where to mount it once connected up.

It’s a little round display, and looking at it I wondered if it would fit in one of the LED light fitting holders which Simon had kindly made for us out of oak while we were still up at Langley Mill. We had a couple still unused as we’d mounted them in their brass surrounds rather than in these ones in the bedroom and bathroom. Co-incidentally, it fitted perfectly!

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Next, we had to fit it to the wall at eye level, in the kitchen, so that we could easily keep an eye on the state of the batteries. James used the multitool to cut a gap in the panelling and a channel behind for the cable, then nailed the oak strip back over it.

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Very pleasing. P.S it’s at 14.08 because the engine was running to power the multitool.


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Another photo of Willow in 1972

Discussion on the Canal World forum has brought another photo of Willow to light, taken in August 1972, at roughly the same time as the ones we already have of the boat at Hayhurst. This one however shows the cabin as it was then in a little more detail, and the name written on the side. It’s nice to get confirmation that the Severner in the other photos is Willow, or at least a boat named as such! Left to right, the boats are Willow, Holland and President.

Hayhurst 1973

Photo: John Milton

Oh yes, and I was just asked on Twitter what happened to them.

Well, most boaters have heard of the steamer President which lives at the Black Country Living Museum when not out and about at rallies. Once , it visited Cambridge, before we were even boat owners!

Photo: Colin Bailey,

but Holland, having spent time as a latterly rather down at heel trip boat is now restored and looking wonderful too.

Photo Ros Prettyman, HNBC

Categories: History | 4 Comments

Autumn Cruise

On Sunday we went out of town for the afternoon – it was such lovely weather, we just had to go boating! As soon as I was finished rowing, we were off! On the way out we met john Pippin on the towpath, coming the other direction on his bike. After cycling off to take some photos of The Engineer’s boat from the other side (for their Christmas card!), he caught up with us again. He took a lot of photos of us on Willow from the bank, which was really nice as we have so few photos of both of us on our boat! After locking through Bait’s Bite, we stopped to grab some boaters’ gold (chunks of wood) to take home and season in the garage ready for next year’s burning.

We went to the Emmaus charity warehouse in the afternoon but didn’t come away with anything substantial, then in the evening we had a lovely dinner on Pippin. This evening, we’ll be chugging back into town.


Categories: Daily Life, Travels | 3 Comments

Fit out 42

A bit of a mix of things to blog about; a couple of bits and pieces inside the boat, and some work on the outside.

The biggest job we’ve done to the exterior so far was repainting the rear bulkhead and counter. The wooden rear doors had the paint cracking and peeling in places, and this was letting water in. We’ve had a couple of nice evenings this week, so I hurried home from work on a few occasions to get some paint on them to give it a chance to dry before the evening dew.

The doors were rubbed down, loose paint removed, and the worst patches under coated, and they’ve since had a couple of coats of topcoat. Because the doors looked so good, I also rubbed down and painted the bulkhead either side, and leaned out over the counter to paint around it. The back of the boat now looks stunning, but photos can wait until I’ve finished painting the tiller and the cants at the back- a couple of small jobs that can be done quickly and given a chance to dry before the dew comes. Another job was repainting the cants at the bow, which had been scratched on the journey back, and primed and under coated, but not top coated.

We put a big order in online at Midland Chandlers on their 20% off “Freaky Friday” sale yesterday, getting lots of useful items such as navigation lights, reading lights for the bedroom once we reorganise it, a battery monitor, and lots of useful bits and pieces. We’re waiting now for a very large parcel to arrive at Amy’s workplace, to mystify her colleagues!

The cassette loo, too, has been fettled a bit. It is mounted on a base which can be pulled out away from the cupboard, so the cassette can be changed. I mounted it securely on some appliance rollers from Mackays and mounted some bolts, so it securely attaches into position but can be easily rolled forwards to change the cassette- photos to follow.

Another job was to make, paint, and install a shoe rack at the front of the cabin, in our tiled “hallway”. As we’re not going to have a cratch cover, we needed somewhere to store wet and muddy boots, especially now autumn is drawing in. I had Mackays cut some 12mm aluminium tube to length, cut out some holes in 25mm wooden battens, and, once painted, attached them into the space. There’s plenty of space for boots underneath, and shoes on this rack, so they can all be tidily stored away.


Categories: Fitout, Maintenance | 1 Comment

My Favourite Finds: Sinking in

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We bought this Swedish enamel sink from eBay and it arrived yesterday.

We’d been wondering what sort of sink to use in the bathroom on top of the Victorian wash stand we bought back in January.  Having originally planned to fit a drain to the bottom of an enamel bowl from a charity shop we changed our minds because the shape of the bowl meant that we weren’t sure if the water would run out properly. We’d decided to go for a standard ceramic counter top sink but I still hankered after an enamel one, so when I spotted this on ebay I was a bit excited! It is perfect, having been designed with a drain hole in it, which fits exactly in the 50mm hole we’d already had drilled in the marble top. It’s in really good condition too, with only a couple of tiny chips around the rim. We got into a nailbiting bidding war with one other buyer and ended up spending £50, including the postage, but I think it’s worth it. A standard ceramic one wouldn’t have been much less and wouldn’t have looked nearly as good!

Underneath, it has a brass fitting with a thread but we’ve yet to work out whether it will fit standard British plumbing! If it doesn’t fit anything, we’ll just have to use good old plastic pipe and a jubilee clip, so I’m sure it will work out one way or another.

Can’t wait to fit it properly in the  bathroom on top of the wash stand!

Categories: My Favourite Finds | 7 Comments

Autumn on the Cam

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Autumn came to the river with a sudden drop in temperature that prompted us to stock up on coal. But thankfully it reverted back to almost summery warm days that have meant we’ve only just opened our first bag!

This was a godsend for our friends on Pyewacket, as they hadn’t refitted their stove yet. But yesterday, James helped other Amy fit their little Boatman stove, so they’ll be warm as the nights draw in! (Don’t you just love the proper curvy boaty shape of Pyewacket’s living room?)

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In other news, we’ve also ordered Willow’s new stern fenders, from Joe Hollingshead who makes traditional ones from hemp that need dipping in creosote. He’s going to make them more bent then normal, knowing that they are going to be used on a Severner’s pointy counter! We’ll not be using these on a daily basis – we’ve already got some serviceable but tatty ones for that, these’ll be kept in the engine room for ‘best’!

Categories: Daily Life | 1 Comment

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