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.

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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Last Post of 2013.

It's incredible how the weather plays such a major part in navigating the inland waterways. Today started off damp but not raining, but as soon as I poked my head out of the door it started. It became heavier as we negotiated the locks at Cropredy, then all of a sudden it emptied down accompanied with hail. Too late for us, we couldn't do anything to shelter from it, we just had to keep going. Once through Claydon Top Lock we moored up on the public visitor moorings and had a hot drink and a snack before continuing our journey along the summit level. By now the rain had eased and there were beginnings of some brightness, even blue sky on the horizon, but it wasn't until late in the day that the Sun decided to peep out from behind the cloud only for a brief moment.
Nice canal side property in Cropredy.
Loads of berries left on the bushes, I wonder if it's going to be a hard Winter

A feeder into the summit level.

I like this design, it looks good, is functional and something that wouldn't be amiss in the gardens of a stately home.

Does anyone know what these are for?

It's the end of the year, and as in every year so much has happened. I'm not going to look back over the last twelve months, you can watch that on BBC, ITVand Sky News 'til your heart's content, so it leaves me now to thank everyone for reading my drivel and to wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Monday, 30 December 2013

I'm sure the weather knows we're on holiday.

The wind gradually increased in speed over night and it stayed mainly dry until early morning and now it's strong winds and light but persistent rain. As a result of that and the five day forecast we've abandoned the idea of going to Banbury and we'll wind TQ at the winding hole in Cropredy instead. (Sorry Brian and Diana).
The engine wouldn't start this morning, I think some water must have got in somewhere overnight. The Beta control panel was dead, and I suspected the 11 way connector which supplies power to it. Turns out I was right, the two halves don't fit too tightly together and some of the connections don't make very well. That coupled with some corrosion which never helps. I bent some of the connectors to help them make better contact, sprayed it all with a generous dose of WD-40, and reassembled it. This time the panel lit up and the starter clicked when tried it. I kept on trying it and after a few attempts the engine turned over and burst into life.

We waited until the rain had stopped and made our way through Claydon Locks, Locks 22, 23,24 and 25 winded and back through Cropredy Lock 25.
We picked a mooring spot in Cropredy on the way down and winded as a fore mentioned and took on water at the point there and wended our way to just North of the new Cropredy Marina, just short of Broadmoor Lock 24.

Here's some pictures of today:-
Through our front window this morning.

A sign yet to be changed.


You make up your own caption.
Don't try this at home...


I bet this dogwood looks stunning in the Winter sunshine.
Named after Reg? No, surely not. 

Well, we've been beaten by the weather again, and have had to cut short our plans. Now, we're aboard TQ again commencing May 11th 2014 for a week. So make a note in your diary, " This week the weather will be a pail O'shate"

Sunday, 29 December 2013

What's that noise?

"That's a bit weird, I've not heard that before." It got louder and louder and then tailed off as a canoe paddled by in the ice. ICE? Oh! no, Yes, the cut was iced up, only thin ice thankfully, but it's enough to scare you into believing it could be thicker further on. The Sun was out in full glory but the air wasn't warm enough to do much melting. We had to make way, and so we ventured out into the now slushy stuff and it wasn't long before a boat came the other way making a nice track through it for us. It only lasted a couple of miles and then returned to water and that was the last we saw of it all day and the boat we saw ice breaking for us was the only one on the move.

We moored up just East of Br. 143 ready for Claydon Locks tomorrow, and two boats have now passed us, but it looks like the weather is going to play its part first thing.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

We have moved...

...out of the marina and turned left, yes left. That's the second time we've done that, the last time was down to the winding hole just before the locks and back some two years ago. This time we've pushed the boat out (sorry) and navigated all the way to just beyond Marston Doles. The locks, although old and in need of repair, are not too heavy, and nearly all of them were in our favour. It seems a bit odd to be going up locks on the way down to the Thames, but there is the River Cherwell in between which supplies this part of the Oxford Canal. The weather has been very kind with bright sunshine and light winds, but I think it might decline slightly tomorrow. Not to worry, we'll still press on to Banbury.

We didn't meet another boat on the way here, now that we're moored up three have passed all heading in the same direction, one of them is a hire boat (Kates) from Warwick. Looks like Banbury is going to be chocker.

Out in the sticks near Priors Hardwick

I tired, I had a hard day.
I thought we were going to be on our own tonight, but just as I'm typing this another boat has moored in front of us. I don't know what it is about us that makes us a people magnet. When we go away in our caravan we can (and have) pitched in an empty field and straight away, someone will pitch next to us. Not only that, but someone else will pitch the other side - guaranteed - and that has happened on too many occasions.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Another Maintenance Day

Weather again...

Didn't we ever have have a storm last night, and as a result we didn't get much sleep. There wasn't as much rain, as was expected, but the wind was very fierce, rocking and bumping TQ against the jetty. It's been quite windy all day, not as bad as last night, though there were a couple of light showers.

A trip in the car...

I drove to Daventry to get a drill bit, I forgot to bring some with me, though I'm sure I put them in the box. A visit to Homebase sorted it, and I was back on TQ by lunch time.

The Maintenance...

It's important to know how many hours the engine has done so that you know when to service it and the hour meter in our tacho doesn't work, they're the LCD type and we've found them very unreliable. They seem to be susceptible to extreme temperatures and damp conditions. I've purchased a mechanical type and mounted it in the cabin away from sunshine and damp.

So, I marked out the position and chain drilled a series of holes to form a circle slightly smaller than the diameter of the meter body. Then I joined up all the holes using a junior hacksaw blade and the center fell out. Next I filed out the hole until the gauge fitted loosely. The wood oak faced MDF is about 20mm thick and I had to cut the retaining clamp so it would fit in the thicker material.

Fitted but not connected yet.

A closer look.
Tomorrow I'll wire it up, time and energy permitting.

Making a move...

Hopefully tomorrow, we're going to make a dash for it, and head on down to Banbury. 

Thursday, 26 December 2013

A Beautiful Day.

Steamy Windows.

Every morning the windows are thick with condensation and a quick flip round with the Karcher pressure washer Window Vac cleans it all up. The problem is the frames get laden and they drip onto the wooden surround and then onto the floor or bed, so it's essential to clean it up every day. Today is not too bad as the Suns heat has helped to keep the condensation at bay.

Back to Base

We're back in the marina now, as the weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow is heavy rain and high winds - more of the same, then. At least here we can hook up to the mains electricity and there's water very close by.

Battery trouble

Checking the domestic pack on the control panel volt meter prior to switching on the Webasto showed a reading of less than 11 volts. The engine was switched off after 20:30 hrs last night and the TV only had an hour and a half after that. The fridge ran all night as usual and nothing else was on. I suspect there may be trouble ahead! I'll do some further checks and see if I can suss out what's going on.

Poo Stop

I fitted the Lee San Micro Vent today, so hopefully there'll be no more embarrassing odours emitting  from the poo tank especially in the Summer.

With charcoal filter installed.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone...

Enjoy your day.

We woke early this morning, I don't know why, and then we went back to sleep again, not waking until 07:50. With ablutions done we exchanged presents and just before 10:00 hrs I did the daily engine checks and then we Skyped Spain to speak to Lin's parents. I've been getting itchy feet over the last few days and I'm pleased to be on the move again, albeit almost into Braunston and back to just East of Bridge 101. Lin cooked the most wonderful Christmas Lunch, turkey, roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots and, of course, brussels sprouts, washed down with a glass of Merlot.

It's 15:45 hrs now, the Sun has gone down behind the cloud on the horizon and dusk is approaching. Toy Story is on the TV and Lin is in her element.

Lucy doing what she does best (after a belly full of turkey).
We're really pleased with Lucy, she's taken to narrow boating better than expected. 
Bridge 101 in the background.
Tomorrow, weather permitting, we head to Banbury.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Change of plan.

Lying in bed this morning, I suddenly released it was getting light outside and it must be getting late (for me). Lin, (bless her), was deep in the land of nod. So I got out of bed and straight into the shower, made all the engine checks, filled the water tank and prepared for the off. Then we Lin changed our her minds and decided to stay in the marina yet another day. It's a Wonderful Life is on the telly as I write, need I say more?

Marina View - That windsock was horizontal yesterday and the pole was bending
It turned out to be a quite a pleasant day.

Stormy weather...

What a night, TQ was lashed with the heaviest rain I've seen for a long while and it wasn't just a passing heavy shower, it went on for quite a time. Assisted by some very strong winds rocking the boat, it was almost frightening. This morning we have blue skies and hazy sunshine, the winds are light, even cruise-able, but there are some dark clouds on the horizon and I think it's all going to change before long.

Monday, 23 December 2013

The weather forecast was right...

It started off wet and windy, ended even wetter and windier, and tomorrow doesn't look much better. We stayed put today being lashed by the wind and rain all day, but we're cosy, warm and dry inside TQ. Lucy had quite a good night, not waking us all night, even using her litter tray quietly and leaving it very tidy. We've taken the opportunity to chill out today after yesterdays escapade, hopefully we can go cruising tomorrow. Banbury beckons, but we're not sure yet, I think it's going to be all about the weather. Sorry there's no piccies today, 'twas the rain...

Sunday, 22 December 2013

What a journey that was!

We set off at 06:00hrs and everything was fine to start with, the satnav was behaving itself 'til we got through North Petherton then it locked up. Lin reset it and it seemed to be working correctly. We know the way to Wigrams, we just take it for reassurance and if there is a road block for any reason it'll help on the detour. The M5 was quite busy with loads of lorries (it's Christmas, don't you know?) even that time of the morning, and by this time it had started raining. When we were nearing Junction 11a, our turn-off, our special guest started with "Are we nearly there yet?", on and on for the next few miles. The rain became heavy, there were floods in places and I nearly missed a turn-off despite the satnav telling me "In 0.1 miles, turn left", "In 100 yards, turn left", "TURN LEFT". The visibility was dire, I knew the turn-off was there somewhere, I just couldn't see it. Suddenly I could see it and copious quantities of braking just managed to slow us down enough to negotiate it. Then there was a moan from our special guest as if telling me off for going too fast. Of course she was right, dare I argue?

On arrival at Wigrams we unloaded our special guest and placed her aboard TQ and the first thing she did was find a place to hide - behind the Bubble Stove. And there she stayed until it became chilly in the evening and we really wanted (needed) to light it. We had to gently hoike her out which turned out to be easier than expected, then she was walking around all slinky-like, looking for another hidey-hole.

There was no rush to get away today, the plan was to stay here in the marina for the night and move out tomorrow morning, weather permitting.

Lucy spends most of her time doing this.

Getting ready for the off and a special guest comes with us.

The car is already packed to the gills leaving a small space for a special person who is coming with us this time. More of that later, but right now it's 04:45hrs and we're hoping to beat the traffic for the most part of our journey to Wigrams.