Thursday, 15 October 2015


Safety compliant?

In brief an update of where we are. We are here in Market Harborough for the rest of the duration. I know what that means and all will become clear in this Blog or the next or the one after. It depends on how many interruptions I allow!! It can be a busy life when you put the ‘R’s back in Lock-n-Lol. That’s my excuse and I’m adhering to it.

How do they get away with it?

Braunston became a 5 day stopover. There were ample moorings given that boat traffic was busy but not congested. Our red car had spent its summer holidays parked up and undisturbed in a choice layby near the Grand Union Canal in Braunston. No Traffic Wardens in this neck of the woods. It was happy news that Chris reported back to me of red car firing up first turn of the key.

Back to boats, an important Autumn consideration is be aware of leaf fall and unless you are hiring a boat do not moor under deciduous trees unless you want to gather leaves for mulch. Wind, wildlife in trees and gravity can have an adverse decorative effect. Our first mooring in Braunston was under a pesky tree and I was happy to see the end of it when we made our move to moor above the first Braunston Lock. A lack of official, if any, signage indicating no mooring was our invitation to slot in our ring chains and tie up.
Nelson's Pound

Mr Know It All, with no authority and re’fained’ vehemence told me “The Boat that didn’t wait for you at this Lock will wait for you at the next Lock.”

“Thank you but we are going to moor in the pound above this Lock.” I said.

“You are not allowed to moor in Nelson’s Pound.” He postulated.

“There is no signage indicating this.” I retorted.

“You are NOT allowed to moor there.”

“Speak to my husband.” I finished.
Stop horsing around on the Bridge!

We moored up and I breathed easily with no falling leaves in sight. A few hours later the C&RT appointed Volunteer stopped to tell us.
“You are not allowed to moor in this pound.”

“Blimey,” I said “where is the signage?”

“It has been removed as they were the old British Waterways brand. We are waiting for the C&RT No Mooring signs.”

“Why didn’t they leave the former signs in position until the new ones were ready?” I finished. Der!!

We moved above the next Lock the following day for a couple of nights. Only 4 Locks left until we reached the Braunston Tunnel and a clear run to Norton Junction where we turn onto the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union.

And so on we moved. We only had one boat heading towards us in the Tunnel and then an easy cruise meaning we moored up in the early afternoon. Robbie Williams unexpectedly ran past DB  and knocked on our window. We think we will see more of him over time.

I went to rest and read a book when Chris called out to tell me

“Someone called Lisa wants to say Hello.”

The thread of Blog and here, unexpectedly, was Lisa from NB What A Lark. She and her husband, David, had just moored nearby.

The beginning of a new friendship methinks.

1 comment:

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.