Friday, 14 September 2012

So I've found some pictures that can break up my little story about changing the gearbox oil.  Here's just one from a while ago, showing how the saloon looks with a few books in it:

Sorry it's a bit skew.  In brief here's what happened;  I bought a pump to empty the oil ( a friend spend hours cleaning up when he used the drain plug!) and all went well.  I even found the manual to be wrong by a factor of two in how much oil was in it!  Then we went for a nice trip up river, went shopping and bought a nice ready meal courtesy of Tesco.  For some reason (maybe the smell) I went into the engine room and was horrified to find most of my oil had been sprayed around the engine.  I had left the filler cap off the gearbox, meaning to check it last thing.  It took Nik & I hours to clean up my mess, and she really pitched in.  Horrid job, smelly, sticky, goes on everything.  Not a mistake I'll make again.  So, Pride does come before a Fall!

Another day recently we took ourselves back up to Mapledurham for a night by the riverbank, with Burdock, and it looked like this next morning:

He was so cold next morning when we brought him in (he sleeps on the aft deck) that his teeth were chattering!  It was the first night we've managed to sleep in our own bed in the front, without him worrying.  We left all the doors between wide open so we could hear him, and he us, so maybe that worked.  Here he is deciding whether to mount our new Burdock Ramp:

Most of that day he spent on the bank, which was nice for him, but a shame as he had been fully groomed and shampood for the trip and lying on the cow's field (you could tell) made him smell like one!  Here he is in the field, far left:

Oh and we have in the T&K Marina a family of black swans who come for food, and receive lots from all;

Sadly the little white signets are now just one, but much larger and unlikely to fall prey to any predator (e.g. pike, carrion).  They also have one from last year's brood in tow. 
Regarding the boat, we have most everything perfect now and working.  I'll leave other stories until I have some relevant accompanying pictures.
On the house, all new flooring is down, some last minute painting will happen tomorrow (our decorator comes at 8am) and I'm mid-way through putting a panel on the bath.  We've also had two agents call to start advertising the house;  it may take some time!  Tad is on the verge of moving out, and is tomorrow testing the internet at a house he plans to move to.
That's all for now!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Currently the catch-phrase is "Where is it?  Oh I know, it's on the b*** ###" meaning whichever is the most inaccessible, the boat, the house or the campervan.  This figures as one of my best excuses for this (again) tardy update to our blog, because my two digital cameras are "on the boat";  in fact the other reason is that I couldn't find the relevant card reader due to the rush to evacuate my desk and all in the kitchen prior to decoration.  I found that last night, when I wasn't looking for it, but those pix will have to wait until I bring back the memory cards.  So enough excuses, here's another nice picture of Burdock on Archangel that links to the last entry:

He's been on and inside Archangel now and has adapted well to sleeping on the back deck;  we started this when we went to the Dutch Barge Association's annual rally at Mapledurham from Thursday to Monday mid-August.  We slept in the wheelhouse to be within nose-to-nose distance!  After 3 nights like that we've recently managed to sleep in our usual bedroom (other end of the boat) while he is 'contained' on the stern deck.  So what have we been doing, well, two whole day lessons with lovely Roy May of Bisham Sailing School.  That didn't quite stop me scratching the paintwork, but so far (!) we've not had any serious accidents, that is, no dents or bits of the superstructure coming off.  This is not true of several new boats near to us in the marina! 

Anyway, one of the things in Marius's photoshop designs was inclusion of our 30 hour grandfather clock in the saloon.  Yes, I know pendulums need a steady base, but it's only 30 hour.  So we tried it out:

No we've not lost the movement and face, that's at the clock menders.  And yes it is 1/4 inch too tall, hence the old guy pretending not to be there.  Well, it didn't work, as you can see, both colour (old solid oak vs. modern solid & veneer), and size.  It either blocks the entrance into the side cabin, or the corridoor.  That's a shame, but it was always a flight of fancy.  Besides, it just means we need to buy a clock that does fit!  Time for a photo, rather intriguing, of a young friend of ours & our children, proving that we have more than one emergency exit/entrance:

So now to some pix of Mapledurham, and some other nice boats:

The boats at the rally were all moored 3 or 4 abreast;  here we see Le Coq, the boat of our tutor Roy used usually for training, and Dorchester which is a '"timeshare";  this didn't stop the current share-owners from entering the Barge Handling Demo', and doing well too!  Here is a picture during that:

The boat furthest away is in the demo', a lovely one with a big wheel right at the back, and yes this is taken from & overlooking Archangel, with boats 3 & 4 moored alongside.  There were about 33 barges there in total, so we learnt a lot, which was rather the idea, and not just an excuse of eating and drinking!
I'll finish with just one picture of Archangel taken underway, kindly taken and sent to us by friends on our sister boat Reverie (who are already in Calais, beaten us to it!) :
That's Nicola at the wheelhouse door with the car klaxon we use to hail friends!  The mast is down, as that was before we discovered we can do all the bridges with it up (just!).  More pix when I retrieve my cameras, later.