- Mac & Jacquie Court
- 70 now and our five wonderful years aboard our narrowboat Skyy seem along time ago. Jacquie, allowed me to build my replica three wheeler kit car, which was a great success. Now it's time to start on a bigger project and that is to make a good Triumph Stag even better, here goes.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Monday, 23 April 2012
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Thursday, 19 April 2012
Monday, 16 April 2012
bit of pampering in a spa at Leamington, what could go wrong there on a Friday the 13th.; well nothing, Jacquie had a lovely time, courtesy of her Son and his girlfriend, a birthday present. Jac returned so invigorated that she wanted to set sail immediately for the freedom of the cut and at midday on Saturday we left the marina, good timing the hire fleets had all returned to base and the first hirers were unlikely to leave for a couple of hours or so.
First stop was Midland Chandlers at Braunston, our meeting with Ann and Gerald of Hampshire Rose had reminded us that we wanted to get the same, extremely comfortable, folding chairs that we had seen them relaxing on last August, the good news was that there last two were on special offer and now we are just looking forward for warm weather so that we can try them out.
The sun was shining but the air cold and soon after leaving Braunston it threatened rain and we moored up in a very beautiful spot just short of Willoughby Wharf. Sunday morning was again bright, but still chilly and as our mooring was so lovely we stayed the day and I did some polishing.
Before it got dark we lifted the planters of the roof and deposited them in the front well under the cratch cover, just as well, as the overnight temperature dropped to minus 4.5 degrees. The morning was splendid and the cold wind of yesterday had dropped, SKYY was wound up early and Jac walked Duggie along the towpath whilst I cruised towards Hillmorton, its three locks and the entrance to the old workshops.
We dropped down the locks, stopped at the water point for all the usual services and then slid into the first available mooring. The afternoon sun was just warm enough to eat our lunch from the comfort of our new chairs on the rear deck, before we set about Duggie with the hair clippers, but I gave up when blood started to flow from his ear. I think it will be much kinder for him to continue to find professional groomers to look after his good looks.
Friday, 13 April 2012
Wigrams Turn Marina was very busy over Friday and Saturday with all of the hire boats leaving for the Easter holidays so we made the decision not to leave until Sunday. In the meantime we walked Duggie over the fields enjoying the pastoral scenes on the way, but we were also pleased to see that the water level at the Calcutt reservoirs looked healthy
On Sunday Jacquie drove to Braunston whilst I enjoyed the cruise there, despite the showers of rain. Jacquie and Duggie walked back up the canal to meet me and we moored opposite the Boat House Pub, it was relatively peaceful apart from a hire boat skipper thinking he was in a fairground dodgem, I gently suggested to him that if he kept a little forward throttle on he would have more control.
Seven am on Monday the alarm woke us and we immediately headed SKYY up to the entrance to Braunston Marina, the one with the wooden bridge over it, there I swung SKYY 180 degs. and reversed back to the lock, but even at that time I was third in the queue for the nine o’clock opening. Fortunately the lock was over flowing and as soon the first two boats had gone up, the pith helmeted lock keeper let us through on our own when he realised we were just going up the one lock. As we came backwards out of the lock Tim was reversing a boat from the dry dock and as soon as he was clear I motored in.
Whilst Tim pressured wash the hull, I set about repacking the stern gland, the tooth pick that I bought at a market stall, did exactly what I intended it to do and that was to remove the old packing, which can be seen at the top left of the picture. The new packing had to be compressed with the flat of a screwdriver and pressed into the gap around the prop shaft and then pushed home. By the time the third piece was in, there only just enough thread to get the locking nuts on, but I am sure once we have cruised a bit I will be able to tighten them up
My other jobs were to paint the starboard gunnel and to sand flat and paint the cream and red bands on the stern, all made so much easier whilst in dry dock. The flower tubs also got a repaint and the garden centre at Wilton Locks provided the petunias and trailing lobelia and although not in flower yet, hopefully they will be up to our usual floral standard
.A walk around Daventry reservoir was encouraging as there is now a reasonable amount of water in it, the level on the stones looked as if it was only about five foot below normal; compared to our last walk when there was just an expanse of mud below the stones
By the time we were ready to leave the dock on Thursday morning SKYY looked very smart. Tim’s blacking was shiny and the early morning sun glinted of the sparkling cream and red bands. Just after we left the lock we moored up and treated ourselves to a full Monty breakfast aboard Gongoozlers Rest, and then had an enjoyable reunion with Ann and Gerald from Hampshire Rose, who were moored nearby. Jacquie set off in the car for more shopping and I returned aboard SKYY to Wigrams. Jac parked the loaded car at the marina and walked back to bridge 108 and hopped aboard for last part of the journey before entering the marina, as usual I bounced of the rubber strakes at the entrance, just like the hire boats do, but fortunately no damage to the paint or blacking. The promised April shower arrived just as we tied up, but the journey had been in relatively warm sunshine all the way. Just a few more land based things to attend to before we start the adventure proper on Sunday.
Thursday, 5 April 2012
SUNDAY 1ST TO THURSDAY 5TH APRIL 2012
Winter is over at last; well it was until April arrived, but on Sunday we move to Braunston ready to go into dry dock, first thing on Monday, so it’s time to get blogging again and hopefully the Adventures of SKYY this year will be worth blogging about.
Last winter was spent quietly recuperating, following my bypass surgery of 2010. This winter was action packed; house sitting in Surrey for a month, visiting family and chums and revisiting carpentry skills and after fours year of abstinence, getting back on skis, I can still fall down spectacularly, but this time I could get up again. My trusty Moto Guzzi motor-bike also got several run-outs whilst we were in France.
One of our daily Duggie walks is up the hill to Napton village and just passed the church is a small farm full of sheep and their new born lambs and West Highland cattle and their cute calves. What a delight this time of the year is, but I must get used to carrying my camera again to capture those special moment.
Amongst all the usual preparations before setting off, painting the gunnels etc, I changed another four halogen bulbs to LED’s. They are improving all the time, the last one I fitted to a spotlight in the saloon made the radio fizz, but these latest ones have no effect on the radio and now the colour is almost indistinguishable from the halogen, maybe just a bit brighter, but certainly not the greenish hue that Jacquie so hated. Just another six to change and we will be completely LED’d.
Our plan to cross the Wash and spend the summer on the Fens has firmed, up having booked a pilot to take us over in mid June, our only concern is the drought, but hopefully some more rainy days like the last two will help, already the water level in the marina has risen by about three inches. We can’t wait to get cruising again.