Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Dog-eye view

We happily moored up on the Rowington Ridge for a couple of weeks.

Blue Sky!

The prime mooring was ours and we had no need to rush away. The best location for a peaceful rural stop where there is space for the Band saw to be put to use without getting in the way of the Towpath users. Captain Chris put on his ‘Carpenter’s’ Cap and fabricated two boxed bench seats for the stern deck which makes a better social and functional area for us. 

Comfortable under Canopy covered stern at The Navigation Pub, Lapworth

Now it gives us even more appreciation of the space and is inviting to use. Yesterday I even sat down and played my uke followed by my guitar! No excuse, now, to get in some practise!!

Tiling complete

There is a never-ending unwritten list, in my head, of finishing works to do on board DB. For me it mainly involves sanding, filling and painting etc., I am 2 small strips of wallpaper away from finishing my first ever attempt at wallpapering. I think the effect looks good and I know it will be better next time. The Bathroom doors are in situ and I need the thumbs up to get on with the painting. When the almost completed stage is reached it is easy to turn a ‘blind’ eye to finishing off. I know in the background there is my concern that when the DB works are finished the ‘urge’ to ‘do another’ will rear its head. The story of our life together, so I’ll just take my time.
Rowington Ridge

Rowington Ridge

I have invested in a modern wrist worn pedometer known as MiFit that syncs with an App on my Mobile phone. I am trusting that it will accurately measure the number of kilometres (kms) that I walk each day by counting my steps. It also measures sleep hours and I am particularly interested in my nightly deep sleep hours. I have bought a MiFit for Chris as well and we seem to walk a similar number of steps each day. Now our thoughts are moving to counting how much ground Della covers! That would be interesting.

Wheat Field walk

Since I started wearing my MiFit band, a week ago, I have walked more than 40kms! Someone asked me if I felt under pressure to walk now that I was wearing the 'band'. I think it motivates me to walk to achieve my 8000 steps per day goal and it is interesting to get objective 'feedback' at the push of a button. It interests me to know how many kms I walk and I will not feel guilty when I need a new pair of 'Trainers' (I remember the days when they were called 'Sand-shoes' then 'Gym-shoes'!)

Rowington Ridge, terra firma with our mooring....yay

The blue sky of summer has petered out and I think there is truth in the British weather lore proverb if it rains on St Swithins day (15 July) then it will rain for 40 days. It did drizzle briefly in the morning of 15th July, this year, and it has rained just about every day since then. Lucky we live on an Ark!

There is no rush to move on. We are fortunate to have a capacious water tank and even 16 days after topping up DB, DB was not thirsty. However, we decided to move from the Rowington Ridge, fill up with water at Tom O’ the Wood, keeping the Canopies up all the way passing under 4 bridges to The Navigation Pub in Lapworth.

We gave in to the chill of summer-not, the other day, and lit the fire on July 26th. And we were not the only ones!


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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.