Sunday, 29 July 2012

Engine Commissioned


Another week gone and what a week,the weather has been superb,the summer is here at last.This week Lisa and I have been staying over in Congerstone,along side the Ashby Canal,so we’ve been out doing a bit more sightseeing as well as enjoying the lovely sunny weather,and walking along the towpath to Shackerstone and the Rising Sun,for the odd pint of Pedigree.Monday saw us at Trent Lock to visit Chyandour and see for ourselves the work that Mick and John had done over the past week.Believe me when I say that she is looking superb,we really are pleased with her progress.

We had a day out at Conkers on Tuesday,this is an attraction in the Midlands that was created on land left derelict after the closure of some of the areas coalmines.There’s loads of things to do here and miles of paths to explore in the woodlands,as well as  the lakes,and this is only part of a huge area that has been transformed.There are indoor experiences as well  as outdoor ones,it’s a great day out,and we’ll go back next time we’re in the area.Here’s a couple of pictures.


On the left is Lisa,we were doing a barefoot walk,which meant we had to walk along paths of different materials.Behind her is a trough of cold water and,boy was it cold,then onto the large cobbles before smaller ones and then the mud and various other textures.It was good,might get used to it so that,in the next lot of bad weather,instead of getting shoes etc. all muddy,we can walk along the towpath barefoot.Save on footwear too.The picture on the right is one of the views across the restored landscape,I can’t remember how many thousands of trees have been planted.

Our next bit of sightseeing took us to more of the sort of thing that I enjoy.This time it was Moira Furnace,a museum of a part of the industrial revolution,where it’s possible to see exhibits that date back to the beginning of the 19th Century.The furnace itself was built in 1806 and the Lime Kilns in the years after.Along side them both is,of course,a canal,the Ashby Canal,which, incidentally,doesn’t go to Ashby and never did.The canal served both the furnace and the lime kilns,bringing raw materials in and removing finished goods to take them to the heart of the canal system,which is Birmingham,and beyond.At the moment this part of the canal is no longer connected to the rest of the Ashby canal farther to the west,but it is hoped to restore the link and reconnect it to the network.

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The left picture has the furnace at the front,minus the chimney on top,The right picture is the ramp up which the raw materials were wheelbarrowed by young lads from the canal below the ramp into the building behind the furnace.The raw materials where then put into the furnace at the top of what remains today.The molten iron,or pig iron,was then discharged at the bottom.Sadly there’s nothing left of the buildings to the front of the furnace which was the foundry.We would like to thank Helen Shepherd,the Site Manager,for a wonderful tour and description of the site and to wish her good luck in the pursuit of funding for the future of the furnace.

Ok,back to Chyandour.As I said earlier,we went over on Monday to see her and to take a few more photo’s,and we were most impressed with the way she is coming on.We had a chat to John and Mick about what they had done,and would be doing in the week ahead.John advised us to check out the flooring that we would like for the galley and bathroom,as he is getting close to the point where he would like to fit it.This we did on Wednesday.We also looked at a few more tellies and mattresses,fortunately we still have time for these yet.On Friday,Kingfishers build blog was posted on line so we could see what John and Mick had been up to through the week.They have taken delivery of a very nice XR&D shell,the photo’s of which you can see on their build blog if you click Here.There were also a couple of pic’s of Chyandour so between them and us,here is how she looks now.

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Above,on the left we have the galley with the cooker installed,the worktop and sink are in place and you can see that Mick has started on the tiles.Also you can see the shelving that John has fitted to the side of the oven unit.We ourselves haven’t seen any of this yet,it’s a photo’ that I pinched of their website,so we are looking forward to Monday when we visit again.On the right is the gearbox,the driveshaft,the fuel lines,exhaust,control cables and the pipes to the skin tank for cooling.No radiator,so the engine is cooled by canal water flowing past the skin tank.The cables control the speed and the direction,just one forward and one reverse gear,the control lever being to hand near the tiller.All of this is in the very bottom of Chyandour,the bilge,which is bellow the waterline,though the baseplate,which you can see below the gearbox and driveshaft,is only a couple of feet under water.Now that all this has been connected up,and Mick has commissioned the engine,Chyandour is ready to go,mechanically,that is.

Well,that’s all for now,we’ve nothing planned for next week yet,but something will turn up I am sure.Take Care.

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Galley.


This week has been a quiet one for us with hardly any sightseeing at all,we’ve just had a relaxing time for a change.The caravan in Mansfield,where we are now,is just what we hoped for,it’s comfortable and quiet,and we can relax on our own.If you are ever looking for a nice caravan site around this area,whether for a night,a weekend,or longer then we would highly recommend Tall Trees Touring Park .It’s a lovely site,quiet,friendly and the facilities are excellent,being well maintained and spotlessly clean. In some ways being here in the caravan will be similar to the life we will have when our boat hits the water so it’s a handy experience.We went over to the Ashby canal last week to meet up with some friends,Janice and Dai,who live on Jandai, and who inspired us to “go for it” ourselves.They were moored at Shackerstone and after a good gossip we adjourned to the nearby Rising Sun for a little refreshment.Now,anyone who gets onto the Ashby canal,for whatever reason,whether you’re on a boat,visiting the Battlefield line or Bosworth battlefield site,or just in the area,give the Rising Sun at Shackerstone a visit.The food and the beer are excellent and the staff are friendly,helpful and cheerful.

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     The amenities block at Tall Trees,new,but still kept spotlessly clean.

This week we went over to see Chyandour at Trent Lock to look over the progress that Mick and John are making,and we got our usual surprise at the way things are coming along.I did put a photo’ on my Facebook page of the inside of Chyandour ‘cos you can see a visible difference from only a week ago.The bathroom is now near to completion and the galley is coming together nicely.We talked to John and Mick about our requirements for cupboards and shelving in the galley and the lounge,we would like as much storage as possible,plus somewhere for ornaments and books well,just to make it as homely as we can.Fortunately,they are both very positive in what can be achieved.

We’ve spent more time looking at bits and pieces we’re going to need for our life afloat,having now chosen the tiles and the soft furnishings.We were in Tamworth and looked in at Elite Furnishings,who are experienced in furniture and curtains for narrowboats.Lisa saw some material she liked,so after mulling things over at the weekend we decided to go ahead.This side of things is definitely a girlie thing so Lisa made the decisions,I must admit to liking her choice though.The tiles we got from Topps tiles,they will look good in the galley and around the hearth where the solid fuel stove will be.Things like a television and a mattress are our next requirements,though we do have a while yet before we will need them.We would like an LCD tv because they use less power,and I see now you can get tv’s with wifi.Haven’t found one in 19 inch yet but we’ll keep looking.We may be able to go up to a 22 inch,John is playing around with the available space to see what he can come up with.The mattress has to be 4 feet by 6 feet 3 inch and which is a bit of a comedown from the Super King we had in Scotland.We have found that prices vary from a bit over £100 to over a grand,I think the lower end will win.

This week also saw us paying a brief visit to Mansfield itself,and it’s very pleasant.Just a walk around the shopping centre and the town that’s all but we will definitely go back after we’ve done a bit of research.There’s a huge viaduct running though the town that I found interesting,and there is a market,unfortunately we got there in the afternoon and most of it had closed.  

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Lisa took this picture in Mansfield in between the thunderstorms that we experienced on Wednesday.I understand that the Jetstream,that has been responsible for the weather that we have enjoyed for the last few months,has moved.We should now begin to get the sort of weather we are used too at this time of year,i.e. sunshine and showers.Don’t put away the wellies yet folks.

Ok,now for a bit about Chyandour.As I said earlier,we paid a visit on Monday to see her and to go over a few things with John and Mick and of course to take some pictures.Today is Friday and as usual John and Mick have posted some pictures on their blog of the progress to date,so again,I will pinch one or two of theirs,and add them together with some of ours,so you can see how thing are getting along.

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Above,you can see,before and after pictures of the bathroom,the left hand one I took on Monday and the right hand one was taken today.You can see what I mean when I say the transformation can be quite amazing.John has fitted the shelving and the cupboard door to the left of the shower.We now have somewhere to hide the toilet cassettes and for Lisa to put some towels.

Now a couple of the galley,the ones from Kingfishers Blog are superb.

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On the left is one from Monday,the units were in and the pipework for the Hob and Oven had been done,but not the Worktop or the Sink.Now look at the right hand picture,what a difference in a few days,Mick has really been busy.The Worktops are done,the Hob and Sink have been fitted,and so has the Oven.The Oven is off the picture,so if you want too see the Galley from another angle please click on Here and scroll down a bit on the Build Blog to see the other photographs of Chyandour from Kingfishers.For those of you who didn’t see the photo’ I posted on Facebook,then here it is again,compare it to the ones on Kingfishers Blog.


That’s it again for this week folks,I will update again next week after we go to see Chyandour on Monday and hopefully we will get a bit of sightseeing done during the rest of the week.Bye for now.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012



Here we are,up in Mansfield,our home now till the end of August.Our last week in Dorset was pretty much uneventful,just a bit of pottering around that’s all.The highlight was a visit to Bucklers Hard,a maritime museum and 18th Century shipbuilding village.Some of the ships at Nelsons victory at Trafalgar were built here.We also went to see a few friends and family to say our farewells and offer them an invitation to visit when we finally get afloat.All of them were enthusiastic about meeting up again,so that is something else for us to look forward to.A great big thankyou to everyone we met in the last week,we hope we get to see all of you again in the not too distant future.

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Here’s a couple of pictures taken at Bucklers Hard,on the left we have the view down through the centre of the village to the slipways and on the right is a brief description of the way that Oak trees were utilised to create the many different shaped pieces required to build a wooden sailing ship.Did you know,young Oak trees were tied so that they grew in such a way that they would provide pieces for a boat that wouldn’t be started till a century or more later.Now that is forward planning.

As everyone must be aware the weather has been awful,not just in Dorset,but nearly everywhere,familiar places have had a terrible time.We spent a week on the Rochdale canal a couple of years ago,and though it was hard going at times,we had a great time.We visited  Hebden Bridge and Todmorden and it’s sad to see how bad things have been there during the recent wet weather.Three times they’ve had flooding so far,I know we needed some rain,after a couple of years of relatively dry weather,but enough is enough,please,give us a summer!!It’s hard to believe I guess,but only a couple of months ago,this year looked like being a bad one for water shortages,now look at it.

Anyway,we are settled into a caravan now,just outside Mansfield,about twenty miles from Kingfishers at Trent Lock,not so close that I would be there every day.We’ve finally emptied the car boot,it’s been full since we left Scotland on the 1st of June.Having no fixed abode has meant us lugging things around with us wherever we have gone.A lot of the things we hope to have on board Chyandour we have put into storage in Long Eaton at a great place that I would recommend to anyone.Check out  if you are looking for storage around this area.They have four sites apparently.We are paying a little over a £1 a day for secure,clean storage with great facilities and very pleasant people to deal with.We’ve had our first little disappointment this week as well,in all the research into living afloat that we have done,we hadn’t been aware of the fact that you are only entitled to a free bus pass if you pay Council Tax.It is obvious if you think about it,and we agree that it is fair,but we’re just surprised it didn’t come up in our research.Oh well,just have to pay our own way,still be cheaper than running a car,and I understand Tesco’s etc.deliver if you give them a postcode.

We went over to see Chyandour on Monday to see how she is getting along and I still can’t emphasise enough how photographs just do not do justice to how well John and Mick are fitting her out.We had a good chat with them both and made a minor adjustment here and there to our requirements.We thought we were aware of the limitations of what can be achieved on a narrow boat when fitting it out,but there are still things we’ve overlooked.Thankfully John and Mick have the experience and can put us right as well as trying to achieve what they can for us.It’s easy to forget things like gunwales and tumblehome,water tank capacity and battery capacity.Living on a boat can be like living on the land but a) it needs a lot more space than we have on our 57ft x 6ft 10in narrow boat,and b) it takes a lot more money than we have.

I took some more pictures when we were there at the boatyard on Monday,most of them to remind me of where this bit is,and that bit has been put,so that in the future,I can find things,assuming that is,that I can find the pictures.Mick took a few pictures on Friday so I have nicked a couple of his again to try and give some idea of the progress so far.Please understand that these photographs have been taken while John & Mick have been working on Chyandour so they do look as though they are on a building site,which,in fact they are.

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Ok,on the left we have Lisa just coming out of the bathroom as I took a photo’ of the corridor down the boat towards the stern and on the right is the panel that Mick has cut out to allow access to the central heating.The black pipes are the heating pipes from the engine to the calorifier which will give us nice hot water when we run the engine.The calorifier is a hot water tank heated by both the engine and the central heating,it’s insulated so the water stays hot.The white pipes are for hot and cold water for radiators and the washing machine.

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The picture on the left is of the shower pump,that’s the black thing at the bottom,and the pipework for the shower.Because the shower tray is below the waterline we have to have a pump to empty the water out as we shower.All this will be enclosed so that we can get at it if necessary but not look at it each time we enter the bathroom.Lisa wants shelving here for the towels and the bottom half will be where we store the spare toilet cassettes.The photo on the right is the fresh water pump and the water tank.We have to carry our own water with us in the tank which we fill at the canalside taps on our travels.A full tank should last us for a few days and there are plenty of taps around the system.The pump is what gets the water from the tank to the taps and it works automatically when a tap is turned on,this too will be hidden but accessible.

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Above on the left is the cassette for the toilet.This we have to take out when full and empty it at one of the places around the system.This will be covered by a door which will allow us access as and when.We have two spares plus this cassette so we should be ok for up to two weeks.On the right is living proof that it all works and there are no leaks.

As you can imagine we are getting more and more excited as the time goes on and these photo’s really do look beautiful to us,and keep us going till our next visit to the boat yard in a weeks time.In the meantime we will be meeting up with some “boaty” friends on the Ashby canal as well as looking at cookers ,taps,tiles and other bits that we are going to need for Chyandour.Take care all.Bye for now.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Bathroom


Well,as the title says,the bathroom on Chyandour is almost finished.John has been away on holiday and Mick has been very busy,with the very able assistance of his number two son,and fitted all the main components.Me and Lisa,unfortunately,haven’t seen the result of their endeavours,so I’ve pinched some photo’s from Kingfishers Build Blog.Anyone wanting to see all the photographs is more than welcome to visit their website by clicking the link above.

Since our last blog we have been doing a bit more of the tourist thing.This time around the coast of Kent and East Sussex.Lisa found a holiday park doing four night breaks for a very good price,so,off we went to Kent to see the delights there.To break up the journey from Ferndown we decided to stop off at the town of Battle,in East Sussex,a great little town which was the site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066.It was also famous for the quality of its gunpowder.Don’t know how true it is,but I’ve been told it was the source of the gunpowder that Guy Fawkes was using in his failed attempt on King James 1st in 1605

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Battle Abbey on the left and the beach just a couple of miles up the coast from Dymchurch on the right.I think the season hasn’t started yet ‘cos it was largely deserted even though the weather was excellent.

Our base for the four nights was near Dymchurch and this proved to be an ideal starting point for our travels.The first attraction we visited was the Romney,Hythe & Dymchurch railway and,after getting a couple of Rover tickets,we enjoyed a great day out.The RH&DR was opened in July 1927 and the trains that were first used then are still running today.The one on the left below is Northern Chief seen here leaving Dymchurch for Hythe and the one on the right is Hercules seen here at Dungeness.Hercules pulled the first train on the opening day in 1927.Both engines were built by Davey Paxman of Colchester.

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There is a canal in this part of the country but sadly it isn’t connected to the main network and I don’t think it would be navigable to narrowboats anyway,being only a metre and a half in places when it was built. It is called the Royal Military Canal,it was built in 1809 by navvies with picks,shovels and wheelbarrows,as a defensive barrier to halt any invading French.Did you know that the word Navvy is short for Navigator?that was the name of the labourers who built the canals throughout the U.K.and then the railways and roads.The canal is 28 miles long but we only walked a bit of it.The next couple of days we spent visiting Canterbury,Folkestone and Rye.I’m not going to bore you with any more photo’s of our travels.Let’s just say that we had a great time and all the places we went to were well worth the visit.

Now we will get back to Chyandour and her progress report.Mick and his son have been working hard,and below are some of the photographs of their achievements to date.

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The one to the left is what you would see through the door into the bathroom.There is the loo on the bottom left of the picture,this is a cassette toilet,which every few days we have to empty at one of the many sites available on the canals.We have spare cassettes and anyone who has used a Motor Home will be familiar with them.No flush and forget here.There is the vanity unit and sink beyond the loo.Nothing fancy,it has to be functional and easy to maintain,they are our only requirements.The picture on the right as the shower,this also makes best use of the space available and is a standard size.

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There you can see the loo properly,and yes the seat does rotate,you can sit at an angle to make the best use of the space.The photo’ on the right is one of the window trims,there are five of these and four round ones for the portholes.They are to be the finishing touches to the windows on the inside of Chyandour.

OK that’s all for this blog,we have one more week down here in Dorset then we move up to the Midlands to be closer to Chyandour and the action,can’t wait.Hopefully there will be another update next week so bye for now.