Friday, 30 May 2014


We are moored up at Kilby Bridge on the outskirts of Leicester arriving at the 14 Day Max Stay moorings 7 days ago and, yesterday, moved to the 48 Hour Max Stay mooring (£25 daily fine if you are dobbed in overstaying). The advantage of the 48 hour mooring is we have bollards to swing our ropes around and the bank we disembark to is paved, and not a muddy sludge. DB is groaning with every movement, yeah the ropes must be hurting on the bollards! Tomorrow is the designated moving along day getting closer to the Foxton Locks. 
Spot the Car

We have spent the days, here, wishing and hoping the weather will brighten up. We did get Della out for her twice daily walks but the forecast was almost correct with rain and more rain, and Chris took the opportunity to use his free Bus Pass to pick up our car from Mercia Marina so we can get some unnecessary weight and ‘stuff’ off DB. I know the Band Saw was taking up space and it is still necessary,at times, although we can live without it for the cruising months. It has moved to storage in our car. Now the other Thetford toilet can occupy the space in the energy utilities room.

Our fire was put to bed, albeit briefly, a couple of weeks ago. It is now reinstated and using our ‘wheels’ we could track down some wood and coal. Charcoal was easier to find than coal, but we were looking for solid fuel and not even thinking BBQ. The contents of 2x 20kg sacks of coal are on-board, now, and will serve as ballast in the Bow storage and will slowly be used while we need to keep the Morso Squirrel lit in the evening. Funny how our fellow ‘Boatee talk’ has moved on from ablutions to type of heating. Shock is expressed when I say we don’t have radiators.

Jo Boater “How will you stay warm?”

  “We light the ‘ Morso Squirrel’ fire, DB heats up fast. I’m sure the spray foam insulation and the open plan layout of DB assists her heating.”

Jo Boater “Oh no, you need radiators. We have a Diesel fuelled fire. Have you got an Eco fan?”


Moving back to car-ease. The Sat Nav took us around Leceister to get fire fuel, and Chris and I agreed to look at home entertainment. A rainy day bank holiday weekend outing took us to a HUGE shopping park that was over filled with people-in-cars looking for parking spaces. Human kindness, behind the wheel, was underwhelming. A car horn honked at us, the length of the blast indicated an unhappy person. It was almost as loud as DB’s horn.  Enough words of terra firma except to say we bought a TV with an inbuilt DVD player, a sound tube to receive 'Blue-toothed' music, and the unexpected purchase of an indoor tv aerial. “Oh yes” we were told “it will work in a steel boat.” Okay we bought it but we knew, of course not, that we’d only watch tv if we really wanted to watch a program. The next day our future with tv was sorted, the aerial was plugged in and ‘NO SIGNAL’ appeared on the screen. Were we bothered?  I like being with the minority of people who don’t have TV on demand. The DVD screen is on a wall mounted holder that we can pull out for armchair or ‘Couch potato’ viewing.
Blue & Dolcie on the wall. Morso Squirrel pumping up the heat. DVD in stored mode

Something to do on a rainy day was the laundry. Of course I had to do it – too much laundry makes Sarah a dull girl. I thought of waiting for a sunny day but it seems to be a random opportunity as the weather forecasts give the micro climate percentage possibilities of rain and you could expect sun with a couple of showers. I decided to do the Eco wash on my machine while DB’s engine was running, to heat the water for showering. The battery power would be drained if I had relied on Solar energy to keep the batteries charged to run the washing machine (N.B.  I always use cold water  for laundry). I do not have a clothes drier. This was a good experiment to see how long it would take for the laundry to dry with the Morso Squirrel heat. Yes and by nightfall the washing was dry and all was neatly folded. There, that was a bottled blonde rave.

Now on to DB credentials.....

Engine:  Mitsubishi diesel marinised by Vetus.
              -1x Alternator 110 Amp hours  - 4x 110 watts leisure batteries
              -1x Alternator 85 Amp hours     -2 Bow thrusters
                                                                       -1 Starter battery
Vetus 3 KW Inverter
2x  250 watt Solar Panels  
Calorifier    -55 litres with 1kw electric immersion. The Calorifier works like Central Heating in that the water circulates around the engine. So when the engine is running the hot water capacity is 55 litres.

BYE 'Boat on Wheels' 


  1. Hi Sarah n Chris
    Thank you both so much for the lovely time you both spent with us. We would love to meet up again soon when your in the area. As we said, we're very close to Kilby Bridge so let us know when your due back in the area and we'll meet up for a chat and a drink.

  2. Read and digested. Will the blog title change? YV will be good if you get an aerial to use for weather reports!!


A brief history

This is a blog set up by Chris and Sarah so family and friends can catch up with their travels on the British waterways in the summer of 2011. In 2010, I went to England with the idea of getting a narrow boat built. I had specific requirements so I thought that a new build may be the way to go. I e mailed to numerous boat builders, a great percentage of whom ignored me. The problem of having a family name of Laycock is that hotmail and a few others think that I am a porn star. At an early age you learn not to put C Laycock on your school books. But I guess that my nephew Paul did worse. Anyway I spent a very pleasant few weeks driving around the beautiful English countryside visiting boatyards, marinas, boat builders and just a few pubs. I had narrowed it down to two builders and in the last week I was in Devizes Wiltshire when I came across "Avalon Mist" 54 feet of throbbing neglected narrow boat. The past owner had lost interest, hadn’t maintained her and to add insult to injury had been made redundant. After a very short negotiation I was able to buy her for a pretty fair price. On the day the sale took place I had to beg her to take her trainers and a few rather suspect items of clothing, in other words she left everything. Lock stock and barrel.

Soon after the purchase I flew to California to meet Sarah and have a short holiday. Once back in NZ I started to try and organize works. The first thing that I learnt was that the marina does not allow any contractor on site, only their chosen ones, the excuse given is a concern about insurance, the suspicion is, graft, pay back, baksheesh, call it what you like. It is possible to take the boat off the marina to have the work done, but not really practical.

The first job to be tackled was to “winterize” the boat, i.e. drain off all the water, check the anti freeze in the engine and central heating and fit an automatic bilge pump.

No real problem there except communication, the mechanic just didn’t answer e mails. Difficult to do business like that.

The nice marina lady had a quiet word with him, and things did improve, thanks Debs you have been a star through out . He later confided in me the reason for this was that he was dyslexic, apparently a malady [he] claims affects a lot of mechanics.[It turns out that he is a great mechanic and a nice guy to boot].

That goes pretty high on my list of lame excuses, the top one being a really nice Irish guy Pat, who I had employed as a carpenter years ago when I lived in London. He was always a bit late for work, when I finally collared him about it; he said he could never decide what to wear to work.

Nice one Pat.

I digress, the boat was winterized, which was just as well as it was a cold one and the whole marina froze over.

Next job was to have her taken out of the water, have the hull stripped back to bare metal and have a bit of over plating done. There were a couple of areas where there was pitting, and I though if she’s out of the water, may as well do the job right, so a small amount of over plating and then the hull was blacked, and the engine bay partially de-rusted and then back in the water.

Seems like a good job was done, I had the marine surveyor who had done the original survey, check out all the major works and give me written reports and photos, so all good except once again communications.

I then came across a great guy, the partner of the woman who runs the marina and a carpenter/narrow boat fitter outer .He replaced the stern deck and did a great job, also did a great job on de-greasing, de-rusting and painting the engine compartment. A job I should have done myself, but I just didn’t fancy it, not only that be was great with communications and chasing other people up

So that takes us up to present.

There needs to be a bit of electrical work, not much. The outside is badly in need of paint, Sarah and I can do that and a bit of a tidy up inside, and then she will be a really nice boat.