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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Saturday, 21 September 2013

Back to Base

We're back on our mooring at Wigrams today, just a very short cruise of about 400 metres. We tied up and got down to the business of unloading and thoroughly cleaning TQ. It took all day but she's gleaming.
Back on home moorings.
We've had a great holiday, and this time we actually completed the Leicester Ring (unlike last year). We'll be back for Christmas all being well, when Banbury looks a likely destination. Tomorrow we vacate and take the long sprint down to Zunny Zummerzet.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Almost back to base and a bucket of sloes.

We had an easy-ish day today, after breakfast we reversed TQ back to the water point in Braunston and filled the tank. Then we made our way along the Oxford Canal to Napton Junction and just dropping short of the junction by about 250 metres where there is a nice little recessed spot, just the right size for TQ. We spotted this little mooring on the way out nearly three weeks ago, it was the sloes that caught our eye, and this afternoon we picked about two kilograms.

Spring line set up on TQ
I fitted a spring line on TQ tonight and I'm glad I did. The canal was very busy this afternoon and into the evening. Some boaters throttle back as they pass, but do so far too late and then not down to a tick-over and they still create too much wash, others don't bother throttling back at all, and one young upstart thought he could go as fast a he liked, even boasting to his mates that he was doing eight miles an hour. I guess he had a GPS. Very few actually throttle back to a tick-over and in plenty enough time not to rock your boat. The spring line stops all boat movement even when some oike goes haring past at a million miles an hour. 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

A Maintenance Day.

Loads of work done today, I've changed the three drive belts, for coolant pump/starter alternator, domestic alternator and generator. All three belts were showing signs of fatigue, and now is the right time to change them. Also I changed the air filter, cleaned out the deck board and counter gutters and drains, checked the anti freeze in the engine and the Webasto heater, and I think I've pinned down our engine starting fault.

Three new belts fitted.

Here's where the fault lies, inside that black cover.
There's an 11 way connecting block inside that black cover, and the two halves are held together by a cable tie. I snipped the cable tie and the two halves came apart very easily and, no surprises, they were corroded. I worked them together many times to establish a better connection, gave it a squirt of WD-40 and wrapped a new cable tie around the assembly before putting the covers back. I can see what was happening, the corrosion was creating a resistance at the connection and there being not enough energy in the solenoid to fully engage the starter motor, therefore not switching the starter motor on. It all adds up now, That's why I was only getting about five volts on the solenoid when the ignition key was turned. This time there was zero volts on the solenoid but I had 12.7 volts on the back of the ignition switch, so the fault has to lie somewhere between the switch and the solenoid, and other than a cable breakage, this is the most likely spot.

On a completely different subject:-
Bad Moon Rising.
More tomorrow...

The Full Circle, 16 miles and 14 locks to Braunston

Today we completed the Leicester Ring with a few days in hand to get ourselves back to Wigrams Turn. The day started with a shower, (it had not rained all night) then slowly cleared up to quite a respectable day, although the wind got up in the afternoon.

It's raining again - I feel a song coming on!

The first obstacle of the day came at Watford Locks where there was a queue, so we booked ourselves in at 12:05 to go down the flight and then waited an hour and a half before it was our turn, so we had lunch while we waited.

We waited...

....And we waited.

Eventually we were in the locks...
It's my turn this time.
This one leaks badly but it didn't affect its operation, all the locks here at Watford operate very nicely.

A leaker.
Seen along the way.
We made it to Braunston and moored up on the visitor moorings, after locking up the flight with a very nice couple aboard NB Dunslavin. It's so much easier with another boat in double locks, you can control the vessels and you don't need to rope up.

We had Jacket potatoes and chilli-beans for tea and then we went to see what had been done at the accident site which occurred here just before Christmas last year. The brick walls had all been rebuilt and a new lamp post has been erected but you can still see the track marks in the grass where the lorry left the road. I hope the driver is well again by now. Then we went in the Boat House for a pint.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

What a rotten day, but tea made up for it.

Up at first light, the sky was red, a sign of things to come and we had to make sure we were first in line for the locks. They open at 08:00 but, of course, they were late, and then they started at the top letting four down first. I spoke to the lock keeper to book in TQ and asked about the pressure washing that was supposedly taking place and he knew nothing of it. TQ was booked in to be first up, but we had to wait for the four to come down. While waiting I was chatting to a very nice lady with an american accent, turns out she was from Israel, I would never have guessed that. She's with family friends on a Canal Club boat, and are heading toward Gayton. Through the locks and by Bridge 60 it started raining and slowly became heavier and heavier. We stopped for lunch, as by now the rain was incessant, and the Canal Club boat passed us undeterred by the weather. We thought we might catch them up later in the afternoon, but we kept going 'til 17:30 and we still hadn't seen them.
We're moored near Bridge 27, and it's still raining. Never mind, chilli-con-carne for tea, good and hearty.
Sorry there's no piccies today, the weather has been abysmal.

Monday, 16 September 2013

When the North wind doth blow...

...Then we shall have snow. Well we had hail today, but the Daily Mail forecasts heavy snow for next month. I'll believe it when I see it. Having said that, Falmouth in Cornwall had about four inches of the white stuff last week.
We're on the 24 hour moorings in the lower basin right outside the Foxton Locks Inn. We visited the museum and it was nice to see the history and why it all went to wrack and ruin. Of course a visit had to be made to Bridge 61, where we had a pint and a baguette, had to be done. Tonight we're going in the Foxton Locks, I'll keep you posted...
Today's pics.

This passed through the flight today, nice...

Tomorrow we have to book early to get the first available slot, the locks open at 08:00 but C&RT are pressure washing some of the lock gates (my thoughts exactly) so passage may not be available until lunchtime, but if we're first in the queue...

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Shortest days' travel

We didn't move far today, only about three miles, from around Bridge 74 to Bridge 68, and moored up in the reeds where there is only room for one boat. It's a favourite spot for us having moored here on two previous occasions. A strange thing happened in Saddington Tunnel, the outside temperature was about 6 degrees and just inside the tunnel it warmed up by several degrees and the windows suddenly steamed up on the outside.
A Maintenance day today, I've cleaned the extractor fan, it was in a bit of a state, as you can see by the picture below.

Other jobs done today are; repaired two fender hangers, the material was sold to me as marine ply but despite being well painted they have delaminated in the wet, so I've glued them back together with epoxy resin.
And I refilled the stern tube greaser.

A feature in the immediate vicinity
A mile post from the Grand Junction Canal Company.

TQ in one of our favourite mooring spots.
We've been here most of today, almost completely hidden in the reeds, and no room for another boat to moor on your stern.

The weather didn't really do its worst as forecast, its hardly rained at all until late when there was a squally shower, but the winds have been strong all day.

Sunday lunch at tea time, roast chicken, roast potatoes, and garden peas, topped off with a glass of Merlot - delicious.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Some maintenance and a lot further than we intended.

We're about two and a half days ahead of schedule so we decided to have a lazy morning. After a Full English Breakfast, I got down and dirty in the engine shed and changed the gear control cable. It's been on there for at least two years so rather than letting it go 'til it snapped, I'd rather have it renewed. It's one of those faults which could present itself as a very nasty situation, so I feel better now it's done.
There it is, pretty in red.
We left our mooring quite very late at 13:00 and made passage to Bumble Bee Lock and as luck would have it, it was empty, so once the gates were opened we were straight in, filled and out. We did this for the next six locks after which things changed and we had to empty them first.
Phew! Hard work.

At Cranes Lock a former Canaltime boat was coming down, turned in the winding hole and we waited for them to join us for the remaining locks in the flight. What a difference two boats in a lock make, almost twice as fast, and pleasant company as well. It was one of those days where the weather really good and I just didn't want it to end.
Talking of weather, tomorrows forecast is not so good, heavy rain and gale force winds but the early morning looks like the best time to travel, so we'll try and wend our way to Foxton.
More tomorrow.

Friday, 13 September 2013

We slipped our Birstall moorings at 08:20 and headed for Kilby Bridge, a distance of 13 miles and 16 locks. The day started a bit cloudy and very soon became partially sunny and warm. Once we'd navigated through the detritus of Leicester, (though not all of it is bad), and entered the countryside again the River Soar is much more beautiful, becoming narrow and overgrown in places and somewhere where no one knows you're there. The locks, in places are a bit of a chore, wide, cumbersome and hard work, while other are quite acceptable, even one or two in Leicester. The lock we'd waited for most of all was Kings Lock, the point at which the Soar transforms into the Grand Union Canal. We're pleased to be off the river as the forecast is for heavy rain tonight and the threat of flooding and the inevitable rise in water levels meaning a possible repeat of last years' escapade where we were holed up at Kegworth Deep Lock for four days and having to turn around and come back the way we came instead of completing the ring.

There's litter everywhere when entering Leicester from the North
The river has been cleaned up quite a lot since we were here last year, the weirs are almost completely clear of litter - much better. On the main stretch through the City Centre CaRT were weed cutting using a boom which had to be removed to let us through.

CaRT boom operator. Thanks for letting us through without delay.
Nice pump house, having been cleaned, it looks new. 
Some nice bridges too.

Freeman's Meadow Lock. This was a raging torrent last year.

Kings Lock Tea Room, right beside the lock 
There was an aroma of sausages and onions emitting from here. roll on tea time.
At Ervin's Lock the sky was beginning to turn grey and it wasn't long before the first spots of rain were felt. By the time we arrived at Double Rail Lock the rain was steady and waterproofs were donned. Through Kilby Lock and it was time to take on water at the BW facilities. It takes for ever to fill when its raining. Job done and it's time to find a mooring. Through Bridges 87 and 86 and we found a perfect spot, no one in sight and away from a main road.
See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Kegworth New Lock to Birstall 19 miles & 10 locks

We left Kegworth New (Deep) Lock at 08:00hrs and hoped to be at Birstall sometime today. Actually we arrived at 16:00hrs having traveled non-stop. It was a good journey, though some of the locks are hard work, but it's better when you find out by experience which paddles to open first depending on which side of the lock TQ is positioned. At Barrow on Soar there was a wide beam coming down the lock and we had to wait a little while for it to exit before we could get in. We've seen these from a distance and in passing but never really appreciated how big they actually are.
Barrow upon Soar hosts some very expensive waterside properties, and also these pretty cabins:-

There are some lovely week-end retreats here.

I bet they never come up for sale.

TQ at Birstall
For some reason we had a craving for chicken today, so Lin went shopping and brought back chicken and chips. It was delicious.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

All the way up the Swanny leading to a Pub with No Beer!

What a lark, we left Shardlow at around 09:00 and proceeded slowly toward the Flood Lock. The gates were open at both ends, so it's straight through without stopping, which is a bit strange. Derwent Mouth Lock took us down onto the River Trent which suddenly opens up to a wide expanse We decided to get a pump-out and diesel at Shardlow Marina which is some considerable distance up a backwater. We found the unsigned entrance and searched with caution to find the services area. (Again no signs). We found it and moored up, and then I went to find someone to serve us. Eventually I found the chandlery/office and enquired of my want. "The pump-out is £9.00" said the lady behind the counter. (Too good to be true) "Do you have cans for the diesel?" she asked. "Cans?, no, why would I need cans?" I asked. "We're not allowed to serve fuel for propulsion purposes" she said, "so we can't dispense fuel directly into a boats' fuel tank." Oh! well, I paid my £9.00 for the pump-out and she provided me with a key for the machine and I were to help myself. OK, happy with that until I found that the hose wouldn't reach. I considered winding (turning around) but that wasn't going to help either. I went back into the chandlery/office to retrieve my £9.00 and someone came out with me to see if they could help and agreed that there was no way the hose would reach, so It was back to the chandlery/office where I was given my money back. So it was all the way back to the mainline Trent after wasting an hour and a half and two miles worth of diesel. At Sawley Marina we were able to pump out and get dieseled, but I had to do both myself and both were far more expensive than at Shardlow. On to Sawley Locks where I thought there would be someone to operate them for us. No such luck, muggins had to do it for himself - in the rain. So, on past the entrance to the Erewash Canal, the continuation of the River Trent, and turn right on to the River Soar. This is where we change Pearsons Guides to The Oxford and Grand Union edition. Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station presents itself as a major feature at the Junction of the Trent and Soar, it is a massive structure.
Lin waiting for Derwent Mouth Lock to fill.
There's been very little rain this year compared to last, and water levels are low at the moment. I think even if we get a lot of rain now it shouldn't affect levels a great deal because the ground will soak it up before it enters the rivers.

That's about 250mm below the bottom of the green.

This is a pipe bridge carrying some liquid or gas or the Trent.
The M1 can be seen in the background

Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station.

A rather swish Boat Club House
On the Trent we need to find the entrance to the River Soar...
...It's over there on the right just off the picture.

A familiar place...
Kegworth New Lock.
Last year we were stranded here for four days waiting for the water level to go down. Yep, you've guessed it, it's raining.

Quite benign now

Water level is about 50mm below the green.
See ya tomorrow, all being well.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

A Bit of a Shock

From Bridge 22 we proceeded to Stenson Lock where we had a bit of a shock. Not only were the locks wide from here on, but this one was deep. 12ft 4ins., that's a long way down.

Looking back at Stenson Lock. No sense of depth until you get inside.

Beware! Car int' Cut

The road is perilously close, though it's just a country lane.

Swarkestone Lock

Shallow at 10ft 11ins.

Wave - No, it's behind you!

Aston Lock?
We're in Shardlow tonight, with a choice of four pubs within easy reach, and guess what, we're staying in.

UPDATE:- We changed our minds, we patronised the New Inn and had a very pleasant meal in there for a tenner.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Fradley to Willington, 16 miles & 10 locks, and The Great Unveiling.

Having been through Junction Lock last night, the first locks of today were Keepers Lock and Hunts Lock, just a hundred metres or so from where we moored. I was raining first thing so we waited for it to stop before making a move. Lin wanted to visit the Gift Shop which didn't open until 10:00, so we were away shortly after. It had, by enlarge, stopped raining by then.
The next village is Alrewas, a pretty little place with thatched rooves, immaculate gardens, and skipfulls of money, and it boasts four pubs for you to choose from. At Alrewas Lock the River Trent joins the canal and leaves again just a few hundred metres further on. Very benign at the moment, the depth marker is showing about 50mm below the bottom of the green section. Wychnor Lock is next marking the end of the river section and the beginning of the A38. What a racket, and this then follows the canal very closely for two miles and then it's not far away through Branston, Burton on Trent, Stretton and nearly into Willington. We thought we'd moor up somewhere near Bridge 24A but there were no pilings and the edges were rough, shallow and lined with big stones just under the surface so we were forced to go on to Bridge 22 where there are good pilings, the water is deep, the A38 is miles away, but the railway is close by instead. Oh! well, it's the best of all the evils.

Unusually narrow bridge without tow path

Approaching Burton on Trent, Branston Lock
Ahh! Beer and Pickles - Wonderful
And now for The Great Unveiling...

Here we go...

A bit more...

Ta Daah!
Click on any picture and you should see a full size version.
That's all for now folks, see ya tomorrow.