At 58 feet length, TQ (as we call her) is a steel hull narrow boat built by Colecraft and fitted out by Elton Moss Boatbuilders. Currently based at Aqueduct Marina in Cheshire we're able to cruise some of the most popular waterways in Britain. The Shropshire Union, The Trent and Mersey, The Llangollen Canal, The Four Counties Ring and Cheshire Ring and more.

Our friendly Syndicate decided to go down the Self Management route on 1st March 2012 and so far it has been very successful. Please visit the other pages in this blog to see the new Web Site and if shares are available for sale. (There'll not be many).

I am having to place a watermark on the blog content as someone on Facebook is stealing photos and claiming them as their own. I wouldn't mind if they asked first and attributed it to my blog. If it continues I will name and shame them. I hope it doesn't spoil your enjoyment.

All content is Copyright N. B. Tranquility © 2008 - 2019

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Friday, 30 September 2011

Work to be done.

Just a short cruise today to Oundle Marina as I have some work to do. On arriving I went into the chandlers to get a new TV aerial, but they had none in stock. I'm told the signal here is very poor so no TV for us again tonight.

Just after sunrise this morning.
I got down and dirty in the engine 'ole today, and fitted the new Webasto which is now up and running. A check on the antifreeze content will be required back at Calcutt.

This is how I did it:-

The first job - fit the mounting bracket
There's no thread in the holes and self tapping screws are supplied. No tapping fluid, so I had to make do with WD40. At least the screws shouldn't go rusty.

This is where it's got to go.
Next is to offer it up to where the old one was and check to see if the holes line up. Luckily they do, and using the three original stainless wood screws, (there should be four) attach the unit to the wall.

Unit fully installed and working.
Then fit the exhaust using assembly paste and tighten up the retaining clamp. Attach the air cleaner and supply tube, this is a push fit and no clamp is supplied in this case. The cleaner fits in a flexible clip screwed to the wall. Then the fuel supply, simply push on and tighten clamp. Fit coolant return hose to the pump and tighten the Jubilee clip, and then push on the coolant supply hose only so that there is a small gap at the top. this is to allow the air to escape when I open the two red handled valves. When coolant is ejected, push hose fully home and tighten Jubilee clip. Press in the two electrical connection blocks, replace the fuse and cover, and now its ready to test. Turn on the fuel cock and switch on at the usual button, and success, it fires up nicely. There's a lot of gurgling going on so I removed the cover from the head of the radiators where there is an air bleed cap. I unscrewed it slightly to let the air out, and then screwed it back down again when the coolant came through. I needed to do this several times while I ran the system for the first hour. After that it was fine. Last job is to check and fill with water to just over half way, the header tank in the wardrobe. Thats it, job completed, we now have heating and hot water.

The next job is to repair the light over the mirror in the shower room. First things first - SWITCH OFF THE MAINS SUPPLY. Remove the diffuser and Oh! what's this? The lamp had been pulled out from one end to prevent it from working. Presumably because it was "broken" in the on position and couldn't be switched off. OK two wood screws and remove the light from the wall. Using a meter confirm there is no mains potential at the supply point. Disconnect the mains supply wires from the terminal block on the back of the unit. Clean the unit inside and out. Re attach the pull chord into the switch lug and tie a bigger knot. Re assemble unit and fit back on the wall. Fit lamp and diffuser. Switch the mains supply back on and test. Hey, it works. Another job done.

I don't know how I do it for the money!
It's got busy here this evening, There's been no one here all day then this turned up:-

Busy, busy.
More tomorrow...

Thursday, 29 September 2011

You never know what you might see - CHECK THIS OUT...

When we left our moorings it was in thick fog, and there was a log jamb in the water next to us. A mixture of logs and weed had floated down during the night and parked itself next to TQ. No problem getting out though, and we made or way upstream in the fog toward Water Newton. The fog had nearly lifted by time we got there and the sun was gently warming the Autumn air.

Water Newton

Photos don't do it justice

Cobwebs in the lock gate
After Water Newton and in the distance we could see steam rising in large quantities. Its Thursday, the Nene Valley Railway can't be running steam today can they? They surley can, and what a surprise too.
Cop a load of this:-

Introducing The Duke of Gloucester

Apparently, His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester visited the Nene Valley Railway yesterday and today the locomotive was doing some photographic work for the railway enthusiasts. It can't be denied, this is an amazing piece of engineering, it has a weighty presence that I find is quite astounding. You can sense the power and ability even though it was only trundling up and back the line a few times, easy work for this giant. There are steam engines and there are real steam engines, this falls into the category of the biggest and best steam engines.

There are some quite nice properties around here.

This one's empty, probably for sale.

Very Wisteria Lane

Oh! look, two blokes wearing the same hat.
It's a sign to indicate canoe portage. There's a lot of this goes on down the Nene.

TQ moored near Ashton Lock
As the Sun sinks slowly in the West...
Its been another steaming (literally) hot day today, and it looks like tomorrow is going to be much the same. Red sky at night - shepherds delight, red sky in the morning - shepherds house is on fire!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

There again and back again

'Twas a foggy morning this morning, though it soon cleared and we've had wall to wall sunshine all day, and its been very warm. This is the first time we've had decent weather since we've had TQ, it makes a terrific difference.

Tonight is the first time we've seen TV as the aerial is broken so I've cobbled together an aerial from the base of the old one and a piece of welding rod I use for cleaning the gutter drain tubes under the deck board and weed hatch. It works perfectly.

The perfect bodge

The perfect result

Good news, the new Webasto is now in our possession and I'll fit it later in the week. More good news, the repair to the exhaust is still holding out. Even more good news, the bow thruster still works, though we only give it minimum use.

What have we done today? We've been back into Peterborough again and this time we went to Peterborough Boating Center to pick up the Webasto and fill up the diesel tank. Then we filled up the water tank on the Embankment. Then Lin went shopping in Asda again, more on that later. We ended up back at Alwalton Lock in exactly the same place (within a few millimetres) of where we were this morning. It's a lovely spot, only marred by the noise of the A1 trunk road, though we've experienced worse.
Now, shopping at Asda. We had steak tonight, finest rib eye, with onions. Unfortunately, Asda didn't have any disposable barbecues ("the season's over, you know") so Lin had to cook it in the grill. It was delicious, cooked right through and tender on the inside, with caramelised juices on the outside, all washed down with a glass of Abbot.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

More trouble - minor this time.

We're not too keen on The Embankment, only really due to the Fairground, which isn't there all year round. The shining sun made things a bit better but it wasn't long before a mist rolled in and most of the morning was shrouded in cloud. We slipped our moorings and made our way to the sanitary station for water and a pump out. And the PUMPOUT IS FREE, YES FREE! The pump on button has to be pressed on the wall of the toilet block to get it to work, and it switches off automatically when done. When we left our moorings we did a 180 to get to the sanitary station, another 180 to ensure the port side of TQ is on the Embankment, and another 180 when we left to head out of Peterborough. The river is plenty wide enough here and its possible to turn in one, so its all very easy. To Asda then, to do a bit of shopping, (gotta be dun), and onward to Orton Lock, stopping at Alwarton Lock for tonight in the backwater beside the lock - ideal.

By lunchtime the sun came out and it turned quite hot this afternoon, there's a light breeze to slightly chill the suns heat - a bit of relief, really.

I decided to get down and dirty and investigate why the bowthruster has failed. So first things first, read the book, and I learned a lot from that. So off with the lid to see what's inside. Oh! dear, how sad, never mind.
There's 30mm depth of water in the bottom. That can't be doing it much good.

The bow thruster motor.

There's a cavity with the thrust tube and mounting for the mechanism which is bolted to the mounting. Various wires lying loose round and about, so I unplugged the control supply and the contacts inside are covered in verdigris. Not good for conducting electricity, a squirt of WD40 should help here. Next the fuse (checked - OK), cleaned contacts and replaced.

Too much verdigris here

Then check the brushes, Aha! here's the problem, the wire bonded into the carbon brush has burnt through very close to the brush. So how am I going to get around this I ask myself. Then I had a light bulb moment. Place the remaining wire under the retaining leaf spring where it touches the carbon brush. The spring will clamp the wire to the brush and make electrical contact. Right lets test it - on with the control panel, press starboard - YES! Port - YES! bodge accomplished. Hopefully it will do 'till we get back to Calcutt. Note to self (and anyone else who would like to know), Brushes as fitted:- 4 x Vetus part # BP1133. Note this brush appears to be for a 24v system, identified by it having one wire as in the photo:-

Also the brush holder appears to have melted slightly.
(This is one of the remaining good brushes)
Now I've a feeling the wrong brushes have been fitted, as it says in the manual all 12v systems have twin flyleads fitted to the brushes. This stands to reason as 12v systems draw twice as many amps as a 24v system, and therefore requires more wire to carry the load. The correct brushes should be Vetus part # 1134, with twin flyleads. Am I right or am I wrong?

I've placed the cover back on and noted one of the bolts has a stripped thread. Lets hope it all holds out.

We're here at Alwalton Lock
Back to Peterborough tomorrow to collect a parcel.

Its a lovely evening, me and my beer are going to watch the sun go down - cheers!

Monday, 26 September 2011

We're in Peterborough with time to kill.

We left Wansford this morning in bright hazy sunshine and slowly meandered our way to the first of three locks, Water Newton Lock. This is a very pretty place and the waterside church even has its own boathouse.

Just imagine the Bride arriving by steam launch

Gate open ready to go in.

Going up srteam you needn't open the paddles.

Water Newton Mill
Next is Alwalton Lock. This is quite pleasant here too and there are moorings in the bywater right next to the lock.

The final lock today is Orton Lock. Here the first signs of the city are evident. there is a golf course on one side and Peterborough Yacht Club moor on the South Bank. There's a lot of boats here, all tied up and no one about. The Nene Valley Railway terminates here aswell. Onward and still quite rural, there's no sign of Peterboroughs river heritage until we get to the railway bridges.

Spectacular cast iron railway bridge over the Nene

We moored on The Embankment next to a Fun Fair (not good) and in the afternoon there was some very loud thump thump music noise, so we picked up our mooring ropes and moved up through the High Road Bridge. There's a few more narrowboats here but the mooring rings are widely spaced and its a job to find a place suitable. I've had to join ropes together in order to make them long enough to reach.

A parcel has been posted to arrive at Peterborough Boating Centre on Wednesday, so we'll have to hang around 'till then to collect it. It's a new Webasto heater.

We've not had any TV since we've been on board (the aerial has gone open circuit) and I thought I'd try out our new satellite system. I think, no I'm sure I found the dot in the sky, but the receiver says no. I'm going to need to work on the configuration.

More tomorrow.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

So much happened today...

What a day its been, we left our moorings at Fotheringhay at around 09:40hrs and chugged down stream without much in the way of plans.
Fotheringhay Church

 First we spotted some red kites. How do I know? They've got white patches under their wings and black wing tips. Also there's that distinctive vee tail. Impossible to take a photo, though. Whilst staring into the sky, we spotted some parachutists further in the distance. The aircraft doing the dropping was flat out all day making sortie after sortie with more parachutists.

It was very windy again today, you can tell by the way the trees are bending.
Paul McCartney sang "The willow turns its back on inclement weather"

At Yarwell Lock we moored up on the landings there and a fellow from the boat already in the lock said that the mechanism had broken and the guillotine gate had stuck half way down. He couldn't get his boat out of the lock because the gate was down too far, and he couldn't fill it because the gate wasn't down far enough. He'd phoned the Environment Agency and they were sending someone to fix it. After the risk assessment and the method statement had been written a work permit was applied for. Then a job sheet had to be issued and overtime at 2x rate (Sunday) had to be authorised...No, I'm kidding, they got on with it straight away and it wasn't long before we able to go through. Apparently a shear pin dropped out, its a mechanical fuse.

EA engineers at work. Well done fellas and thank you.

Our mooring for the night (48 hour)

A bit of additional information for you.

View over the railway bridge
Wansford Signal Box

Shortly after we arrived...good job I had the camers ready.

The driver is waving at Lin on TQ - He's pulled!

An aerobatic display

And to cap it all off, we had our own private aerobatic display by this pilot in the bi-plane - The perfect end to the day.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Day Seven...

Another smashing day today, it started off misty with clear skies and then clouded over for much of it until around 3pm when the sun broke through again, and it was warm.

The view from TQ at 07:00hrs today.

The very pretty Lilford Lock

The Church at Cotterstock
They like their churches around here, they're all large and well looked after, and so many of them. I'll blog a photo of Fotheringhay Church tomorrow.

Our current location
Its lovely here, you could hear a pin drop.

I didn't realise how long the River Nene is. CanalplanAC reckons we could go as far as Ely on the River Great Ouse, but we have to turn back on Wednesday as that is our halfway point time wise. In addition we have to pick up a parcel from a boatyard in Peterborough on Tuesday/Wednesday, and then I have to fit the new Webasto heater. All this is going to take time, so we're going to call it quits and fore go the Middle Level and the Great Ouse this time.

One thing I've noticed today, there are more moorings along this stretch of river than further South-West, some even have facilities.

By the way, the exhaust is still holding its own.

Don't miss another exciting episode tomorrow. (Hopefully).

Friday, 23 September 2011

The best day so far.

The exhaust is holding up nicely and the sun shone for most of the day - and it was warm with a lot less wind. First things first and Lin did some shopping in Wellingborough and posted a parcel while I washed up the breakfast dishes. When she came back we left our mooring and made our way to the first lock of the day, Wellingborough Lower Lock. This is unusual in that there are two ground paddles on one side and none on the other.

This viaduct is known as High Rail Bridge
 There's some spectacular scenery on the Nene and some secluded places too.
Big sky country

Seen at Rushden and Diamonds Football Club
 Take no notice what any of the books tell you, there is nothing here for the boater. In fact we're lucky to have moorings, and this goes for most places along the Nene. The books say there are moorings with services in many places, but in reality very little of it exists.

Irthlingborough Lock - Deepest on the Nene
Winding me wheel
It has to be said the weather has really made today, this doesn't happen to us - ever, so lets hope tomorrow is similar. I've just checked the forecast and it bodes well, although windy at times, and Wednesday is going to be sunny, 26C and 14mph winds from the South. No, that can't be right.

Tonight we're moored on the first public moorings we've seen with water available. It's at Islip on a little backwater very close to the main road bridge and only big enough for two narrow boats. Also, across the road is The Woolpack, (nothing to do with Emmerdale), where we had excellent fish and chips, two for less than £10.00. Might call in on the way back.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Weed, weed and more weed.

We'ed (accidental pun) been making good progress and enjoying the scenery when we came upon this:-

A bit of a problem

Unable to fully open the gates here!

OK here's the plan. We fill the lock, and open both gates to get in as it's impossible to get one gate fully open. Reverse TQ off the lock mooring and go back far enough to line up with the entrance. Give the engine a bit of gun and develop some speed (not too much, you need to stop the other side of the weed), power over/through the weed and place the engine in neutral and coast through the rest of the way to prevent the prop becoming entangled. Once stopped in the lock, tie up well to the bollards and engage forward motion and carefully increase engine speed to "blow" the weed back out and clear of the gate entrance. Now we can close the gates and operate the lock normally. However, we had to do this after:-

Down the hatch!
There wasn't much, but it was enough to make steering difficult.

Our mooring for the night is in Wellingborough on The Embankment. It's OK but the flourmill is a bit noisy.
Tonights mooring