Saturday, 23 February 2013

Badger Sett to the rescue

Travelled from Chester to Ellesmere Port this week and it took us five days to travel the eight miles. At this rate I reckon it'll take us about ten to fifteen years to see the whole network!

Been building up our stock of wood for the stove on the way as we'd gone through a bit whilst moored at Chester for five days and then nipped into Ellesmere Ports Asda Super Store to fill up the fridge and cupboards.

We're planning to visit the National Waterways Museum whilst we're here and that brings me nicely to the 'to the rescue' part of the blog. We'd just set off after getting back from Asda and the widebeam barge that the museum uses to give people short trips up the canal had got some wood caught in its propeller and wasn't going anywhere fast.

Never fear, Badger Sett is here I shouted whilst donning my cape and pulling my red Y-Fronts on top of my jeans, well okay, a bit far fetched I know, well outside of the bedroom that is :-) . Anyway, to cut what's turned into a bit of a long story now into a shorter one, we gave them a tow back home and were thanked with a free visit to the museum and free mooring for the duration of our stay. The former is a bit of a bonus, but as we're only staying here for the rest of today and Sunday we've decided to just stay on the freebie moorings at the top of the lock anyway,

So there endith our good deed for the day and with Man U going fifteen points clear at the top of the table I'm hoping that we'll also win the lottery tonight to top it off, well not all of it of course, a simple six figure sum will suffice.

And so in signing off,

Day126 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 202 miles and 80 locks further on from when we started

Monday, 11 February 2013

In for a penny . . . .

In for a pound . . . . (to finish off the phrase)

Just looked up its meaning to make sure I’d got it right and on good old t’internet it says that ‘you might as well go the whole way and take all the risks, not just some’ and well that’s just about where we are at. Current status is:

House – Sold

Cars – Sold

Belongings (other than what’s with us on the boat) – Sold

Job – Left

Add now that our time has ended at the marina where our boat has been moored since we brought it last year and it means we’re now ‘out on the cut’ and are true ‘continuous cruisers’. The loose plan at the moment is to spend the next 12-18 months up in the northern waterways, but who knows, might just decide to turn left instead of right one day and why, because we can. Got ourselves a map of the inland waterways of England and Wales and plan to highlight them off as we go. You can see the extent of our journeys in 2012 (pink highlighting top left), albeit predominantly holidays, so there’s still plenty more for us to do.

Here’s a picky of our boat in a double lock on our way to Chester and our solar panels, with one of the benefits being that we’re now forced to keep the roof looking a bit more tidy than it was as it had started to accumulate all sorts. Also got a roof box for the dog food, lucky enough we hadn’t brought it before getting the solar panels fitted though as I was going to get a larger one and it would have ended up being too big.

Got me some ‘boys toys’ as well. First one is my gun for getting our tea, so rabbits and pigeons beware, as well as ducks and geese in the open season. Asked Nick if she wanted to shoot them or gut them, but so far her position is neither with a capital ‘N’. But, her law that our boys have always had to live by (proper boy boy’s that is not doggy boy boy’s) is that they always had to try anything once and if they didn’t like it then fine, so this is the hand I’ll be playing and I’m sure human boys will be supportive of me as a way of getting mum back for the last twenty odd years. J
What we didn’t sell, but weren’t necessarily needed have come on the boat with us and I’ve been having a whale of I time selling stuff on Ebay, only wish I’d found it before now. Currently going though everything else in the cupboards and trying to put stuff up for sale before Nick knows that I’m trying to sell it. Best offer on Nick so far was two camels and a box of dates, but decided that my life just wouldn’t be the same without her, I mean, who’d look after me, but I didn’t say that and I’ll tell her that someone hacked the blog and I’m being framed if anyone rats on me. And another good reason for keeping hold of the old bird, is who'd bake me my fresh bread :-)

Buying on Ebay also makes life easier and cheaper. We’d priced up for an anchor, chain and rope at a chandlers and got it £60 cheaper on Ebay, with the anchor and chain turning up the morning after I’d brought it and the rope a few days later. And in addition to saving £60, I also got an extra 10m of rope out of it as well.

Now that we don’t have a car, shopping needs to be a bit more planned. Normally go with rucksacks, but can be a bit of a bugger for heavy stuff like water and milk although needs must and all that. Being based at the marina for our final few weeks though and with only a small Co-op in walking distance we thought we’d try this Tesco Online delivery lark. Took us about two hours to do the shop, but subsequent ones will be easier now, although it wasn’t actually too bad a website to navigate around. What surprised us was the cost of delivery (£4.50) , I mean, you’d probably spend that on petrol and parking (bit irrelevant now that we don’t have a car ourselves) and we also brought 8 x 5ltr bottles of water that would have been about 40 kilos and a bit heavy on the backs. There were some cheaper and more expensive delivery slots, but only plus/minus a quid or so. Got our first delivery delivered direct to the marina, but apparently they’ll also deliver to bridge numbers along the canal so we’ll give that a try next time. Nicky was a bit sceptical about it, but has been well converted to it as the fresh product of the shop was a really good quality and with good shelf life dates.

My second boy’s toy’s was a chain saw and what a difference it makes. Up until now I've had to go out every day and get wood for the stove that’s on 24/7. Found a nice spot about ten minutes walk from the marina that’s got loads of fallen/cut branches, but it still took me a good hour and a half to go, cut, fill and drag back two bags that keeps us going until the next day. The benefit being that we’re currently lasting on less than a bag of coal a week (at zero or sub-zero temperatures) and as the wood is free (other than a bit of manual labour) I worked out that our heating costs are about 6.5p per hour. Add to that the saving on gas as the kettle is left on the stove and permanently close to boiling and doing some of our cooking on it as well that all helps the pennies. Even did ourselves a Jersey Bean Crock for tea the other night that had been on the stove for about thirty hours, verdict – the pups nuts. Bit like the film ‘Blazing Saddles’ around the camp fire after that, if you’ve seen the film you’ll know what I mean, but if not, try this link . . . . .  Hey, even if you know the film try the link anyway.
 The before shots . . .



And the after shot . . . that happens to be right next to our boat.

But where to put it all?

Well that’s us now, out on the waterways, no home base and definitely of ‘no fixed abode’. Now the journey really starts and hopefully my blog will be an eventful and interesting portrayal of life as ‘Continuous Cruisers’ and something we’ll be able to look back over in time.
Final photo for this post is of us on our final morning at the marina taking on fuel, gas and coal.
And so in signing off,

Day 114 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 182 miles and 76 locks further on from when we started.