Kidderminster lock
Ju & Steve at Friends wedding
Blackberry jam
Les Lobbs Diary
September 2012
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Gt Haywood
It was reet chilly yesterday morning, but it stayed dry nearly all day, enabling the welder to crack on. In the morning, after we had done some shopping, we visited Paul; as usual, we came away with a bag of pots, runner beans and eggs. As it was lunchtime, we had a pint and a roll at his local, The Swan, before heading back via Midland Chandlers, where we bought an expansion tank for the hot water system.
I was in the jungle and there was this monkey with a tin opener. I said, 'You don't need a tin opener to peel a banana.' He said, 'No, this is for the custard.'
Statistically, 6 out of 7 dwarves are not Happy.
Which duo had a hit with "River deep - Mountain high" in 1966




Let's see how good you are on Phobias
Let's see how good you are on Phobias
There was a knock on the door this morning.

I opened it to find a young man standing there who said:
"Hello sir, I'm a Jehovah's Witness ."
I said "Come in and sit down."
I offered him coffee and asked,
"What do you want to talk about?"
He said, "Buggered if I know, I've never got this far before."
Gt Haywood
Bottoms done!! Because of the extra weight, the boat will need the ballast sorting, and the gas lockers need to be raised above the new waterline, so any escaped gas can vent overboard. The gas lockers are being done tomorrow and then, after blacking and an inspection by the surveyor, it can go back in the water; we'll adjust the ballast when we get the water tank filled. It's been a grand day and we have been sitting out watching life in the marina and chatting to other moorers.
Young Paddy bought a donkey from a farmer for £100. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.
The next day he drove up and said, 'Sorry son, but I have some bad news. The donkey's died.'
Paddy replied, 'Well then just give me my money back.'
The farmer said, 'Can't do that. I've already spent it.'
Paddy said, 'OK, then, just bring me the dead donkey.'
The farmer asked, 'What are you going to do with him?'
Paddy said, 'I'm going to raffle him off.'
The farmer said, 'You can't raffle a dead donkey!'
Paddy said, 'Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead.'
A month later, the farmer met up with Paddy and asked, ' What happened with that dead donkey?'
Paddy said, 'I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at £2 each and made a profit of £898'
The farmer said, 'Didn't anyone complain?'
Paddy said, 'Just the guy who won. So I gave him his £2 back.' Paddy now works for the Royal Bank of Scotland .
The blacking has been done, again, and the surveyor is doing his inspection this afternoon so, all being well, we should be afloat tomorrow. Our first job then will be to fit the expansion tank to the hot water system and fill the water tank; this will let us see how the ballast needs changing, to allow for the extra weight of the new base plate. The lids for the gas lockers will need altering, because of the increased height above the waterline and there is a bit of painting to do around the welded areas.
The surveyor has finished and is pleased with the work done.
It's 2012 and it's the Olympics in London.

A Scotsman, an Englishman and an Irishman want to get in, but they haven't got tickets.

The Scotsman picks up a manhole cover, tucks it under his arm and walks to the gate.

" McTavish, Scotland," he says, "Discus." And in he walks.

The Englishman picks up a long scaffolding pole and slings it over his shoulder.

" Waddington-Smith, England, " he says, "Pole vault." And in he walks.

The Irishman looks around and picks up a roll of barbed wire and tucks it under his arm.

"O'Malley, Ireland." he says, "Fencing."
Gt Haywood
We're back in the water ..... yipeeeeeeeeee! When we got her back on our berth we, (mostly Dawn) set about oiking out some of the stern ballast - king heavy paving slabs, I think she called them. Before we fill the water tank and see how the front end is sitting, we are going to fit the expansion tank. Rather than adapt the gas locker lids, to allow for the rise, we have decided to use smaller gas bottles in future; this should be sufficient now that we no longer have the gas water heater and they are certainly easier to hump about. I've re-arranged the boat safety examination for next Friday morning so that should give us time to get it all ship shape again.
Gt Haywood
Expansion tank fitted and water system filled and tested - all OK. As we are going to be here for a few days, we have rigged temporary mooring lines, which lets us get a few coats of paint on the "T"s. This morning we sorted out the engine bay ready for the BSC and put down all the floor panels etc., which we removed while the welding work was being done. She is sitting nicely in the water now, with both diesel and water tanks full; we've left the ballast behind the workshop, so if we find her a bit high when the diesel tank is not so full we can pop some back in. Tonight we're sleeping afloat!!
Gt Haywood
Started on the 1000hr service this morning; we got the engine oil & filter, air filter and oil recovery filter done ... I'll have a go at the gearbox, fuel pump, tappets and belts tomorrow. Dawn is now washing the boat, which is fairly grotty after it's time outside the workshop and it's just started drizzling.
Julie & Steve at a friends wedding
Gt Haywood
Engine service finished - between the showers and Dawn has been painting the foredeck area, necessary after the gas locker welding. We've topped up on food and are ready to zoom off on Friday after the BSC examination .... unless it's raining. After looking at our old logs, it seems as though Oxford is about the right distance to aim for, and there are no wide locks, so it should be easier on the crews back.

Here are a couple of Eschers drawings to puzzle over

Use the letters from the word below, to fill in the blank squares, making complete words both down and across.
If you are having a bad day, remember it could be worse
Gt Haywood
This morning we fixed a pole, which will take the rotary drier, to the taffrail; this will, hopefully, reduce the condensation we get when drying washing in the fore deck area. All the foredeck is back together now that the paint is dry, and we're raring to go.
All Ok with the Boat Safety, until he checked the low level ventilators in the doors - some clever bugger had fitted the vents to both sides of the doors without cutting any holes in the doors!! We soon cut out some holes with a 2" hole saw, and all was well. It was 13.00 when we eventually set off, only to find 3 boats queuing at the first lock. The boat handles a bit heavy, but with all tanks full, I suppose it's only to be expected. We have tied up in Rugeley and tomorrow, if it's fine, we'll head for Fradley junction and the Coventry canal ... it's good to be travelling again.
It was gorgeous weather yesterday and we had a good run to Fradley junction, where we turned right onto the Coventry canal. We decided to stop at lunchtime and sit out to enjoy the sunshine. The stern gland was letting a fair drop of water through, possibly because of being out of the water for so long, so I tightened it up and it seems OK now. After a 07.00 start today, it was 09.30 before we met another boat; the stretch through Hopwas woods was alive with kingfishers, let's hope more of them survive this winter than last. There were only the 2 locks, at Gladcote, so our head of handicrafts spent some time below, knitting a cardy for a friends baby. The leaves are starting to show on the water already .. proper autumnal and it's not "sitting out" weather.
Below B 28 (Nr Atherstone)
Split day today; started at 07.00 did the 11 lock Atherstone flight and stopped for 'erself to tour the town at 10.30. Haircuts were on offer, so had to have one, and there was wool going cheap, so we had some of that also; I wasn't left out as there was enough money left for a fish & chip lunch. We started off again at 16.00 and did a few miles to take us out into the country for the night. The last few times that we have stopped, Dawn has put out for sale a few of the "Granny blankets" that she has made; I can't get her to carve clothes pegs yet, but "lucky heather" might be a better project.
Newbold on Avon (Rugby) N.Oxford canal
Another 07.00 start and the weather was good; as we neared Marston junction it clouded over and the temperature took a dive, so out came the coat. At Hawkesbury junction, where we joined the North Oxford canal, we fitted the chimney and lit the stove - that did the trick, the sun came out again! There are loads of blackberries on the opposite bank to the towpath, so I pulled the boat into the bushes and Dawn used here "quick pick" method (bowl underneath and cut off the whole bunch with secateurs) to collect a bowl full. Within an hour, she popped her head out to tell me that she had made 2 ½ jars of jam, between the knitting and crocheting. After 13.00 we pulled in and called it a day; the banks are sloping stones under the water, which makes mooring difficult, but I think this is as good as we are going to get. There are the 3 locks, at Hillmorton, and 11 miles to Braunston, so weather permitting, we should manage that tomorrow.
Above B125 (after Napton)
South Oxford Canal
We got onto the S. Oxford canal yesterday, after a good mornings cruising and stopped just after Wigrams turn. The only poor bit was the Hillmorton flight of 3 twin locks, the paddles were horrible and there were 3 BW volunteers there who couldn't even be bothered to speak. In contrast, this morning we did the Napton flight of 9 locks, set in beautiful countryside, well maintained and a joy to use. It made my day when a water vole came charging out of the hedge and threw himself into the water and then swam across the cut no more than 3ft behind us. There are plenty of boats on the move, a lot of them hirers, so it makes things more interesting. Dawn had the washer on while we were travelling and when we stopped, we tried out our new whirly clothes dryer - had to keep Dawns bras to the middle, or it went round too fast! A BW inspector stopped for a chat and a cuppa and said Sept was becoming a popular month for hirers, possibly because of the cheaper rates.
We're getting more like gypsies every day -- we'll be eating hedgehogs next!!
The washing is all dried and put away; the head of housekeeping is well pleased with the dryer. We left the top pound at Claydon locks and started the descent towards Oxford; the top pound was down a little, so it meant slower speeds or I was fighting the tiller. There has been plenty of water since Claydon and some pleasant countryside; this canal is very rural with most villages a few miles away from the cut. There are a few lift bridges like the pic on the left, but most are fixed in the open position so iot's just a matter of squeezing through the gap. It was 12.00 when we tied up above Cropredy lock and, as the Red Lion was just over the bridge, we treated ourselves to lunch there. I had a steak & ale suet pudding, while Dawn had a lasagne, both very good meals, if not exactly low calorie.
It was 10.00 Saturday when we arrived in Banbury; we were fortunate to get a good mooring, just before the main shopping area. While Dawn was bargain hunting, I got talking, as I do, to a chap who was walking along the towpath, he said he had been doing a book signing. When Dawn got back, I got a rollicking for not asking who he was; turns out he was Dick Francis' son. Friends that we met in France, and haven't seen for several years, visited us on the boat and invited us to have Sunday lunch with them; they only live a few miles away...... Just got back from Steve and Donna's , we've had a brilliant lunch and really enjoyed catching up with their news. Tomorrow we'll continue towards Oxford, if we can find a gap between the showers.
A Pharmacist walked into his shop to find a man leaning against the wall.
"What's wrong with him?" he asked his assistant.
"He came in for cough syrup, but I couldn't find any so I gave him an entire bottle of laxatives."
"You idiot" said the Chemist, "You can't treat a cough with laxatives."
"Of course you can" the assistant replied, "Look at him........he daren't cough now!!"
There was just a slight drizzle, or mizzle as Dawn calls it, this morning, so we decided to continue towards Oxford. As we progressed the rain got heavier and by the time we had tied up here the phrase "drowned rats" would have described us nicely. The locks on this section are unusual; there is normally one gate at the top and two at the bottom, here both ends have single gates. This saves the person operating the lock having to leap across a 3' gap or walk round the lock, to get back to the towpath side. We have just made a pot of beef stew, which is bubbling away on the diesel heater and masking the smell of wet clothes drying.
Which town in England has the most namesakes worldwide, with 55 of that name dotted around the globe?
The stew did well; we had it with veg the first night, under a suet crust the next and there is still a meal of it in the freezer. We managed to keep dry yesterday, after a later start than normal and today we moored up about an hour before the thunder and rain started. There is only one lock and 3 miles to Oxford, where we will turn and start back up t'north. While we were emptying and filling at Thrupp, the diesel/coal barge "Dusty" was tied up near us, so we topped up with enough diesel to get us home and keep us warm - the heater is on most of the day now. Dawn has just finished knitting a cardy, boots and bonnet for Julies neighbour, who is expecting around Xmas time, and she has also crocheted a cot blanket. I've been having probs getting my dongle charged (no, it's not my age!) so this might be late uploading.
We've got another new word from Dawn, "spizzle", it's a cross between spitting and drizzle.
Banbury was full of boats when we arrived here just after lunch, so we are moored just outside the main shopping area; they are having a boat festival here next weekend. I think we are staying here tomorrow so that our head of acquisitions can scour the charity shops for goodies. After spending ages in phone calls to Tmobile's helpline, which is manned by plebs (good word isn't it!), I have given up and bought a new dongle with 3 months credit.
We both had a walk into town this morning; I was given a paper and left on a bench in the shopping centre, while the logistics vehicle was taken round the market and shops by the head of housekeeping. When she came back the tyres were hot and the bearings were smoking - we should have got a four wheeler. There was a cafe with outside tables in the sun, so I was treated to a coffee and carrot cake for staying where I was left and not talking to strangers. So much for sitting in the "fresh" air - all you could smell was fag smoke.
It's this time of year that 'Arry Achnid and his mates try to stow away on the boat for the winter, so we have to eject quite a few. I've made the most of the good weather and got an undercoat on the section of roof that I've been doing this trip.

Claydon top lock
We've left a trail of bubbles from Banbury to here - Dawn has had the washer going. The whirly dryer is doing it's thing; there's not much sun, but it's certainly blowing well This is the top pound, so it's downhill towards Napton tomorrow. At Banbury the bottom gates changed back to doubles, this means more running around for Dawn, unless I can pull one gate shut as I drive in.