An unassuming narrowboat perusing the
"Longest Friendliest Village in England".



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The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal

Posted by PentargonSpringer on May 19, 2017 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

It was originally intended that Pentargon would be at or near Liverpool for Pogue's birthday in mid May. As the day loomed and the boat was at a decision point, immediate entry to the Staff & Worcs was deemed prudent, if the voyage was to advance to Bristol before Jun was out.  In fact it was deemed prudent to get it to Wombourne before May was out. Trouble was just around the corner; it always is on a canal boat. At Penkridge, the engine began to falter with symptoms like fuel starvation. So Ron's boat was used to tow it to through the lock after Tixall wide to find out what was wrong and get it fixed.

It transpired that the cleaning of the port tank had been less than perfect and also water had entered the tank through the inspection plate over the winter. Elements of diesel bug were also present and the fuel filter had clogged up and collapsed. At Penkridge, the lift pump gauze was replaced and the filter, the tank was given a preliminary cleaning and a jury tank was rigged up. And then the rain which had been absent for weeks, nay months, all came at once. However, the engine was running and a decision was made to reast up and go to the land house, until after the monsoon season .. TBC ... 1458/19/05/17

an interesting detour to Macclesfield

Posted by PentargonSpringer on May 17, 2017 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Pentargon arrived at Fazely junction(which is the [top] end of the Coventry Canal) mid-April (date?) where Pogue was picked up by Ron and transported across country to Macclesfield to take a 26' tub south towards Birmingham. In the event three days solo took it down the Trent and Mersey from Macclesfield through Stone and Stoke on Trent to Gt. Haywood where the top of the Staff and Worcs. could take it via Pentridge to Athersley junction.

Pogue went down to Fazely on buses to bring Pentargon up to meet it. taking two days due to a throttle problem  via overnight stopovers at Rugely and Little Haywood by Shugborough Hall before going up very early in the morning to tie up at Great Haywood and take stock.

This section of the trip had been more than a little entertaining due to a throttle cable snapping way back at Atherstone and a temporary repair failing later on. The last part of the Coventry was done with a shock cord holding the throttle part open. 

50yo engineering means you do not just go to the nearest motor factor and order up a replacement. You make the replacement and for that you need "piano wire". But nobody knows what you are talking about. By sheer luck and while staying over at Fazeley junction I got "steel tube" 1.6mm diam but it's length (3m) meant it had to be put aside awhile til further ingenuity surfaced.

  to Pentridge ... more to follow ...

Birthday and half way mark co-incide at Penkridge

Posted by PentargonSpringer on May 17, 2017 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

and an engine cut out half way into Penkridge lock which necessitated a lie-over til sorted. It turned out to be water contamination of the port tank. The inspection plate had not been sealed before bolting ... more to follow ...

Polesworth lie-over

Posted by PentargonSpringer on April 25, 2017 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Tue 24th April 2017. Belhus library 10.09am. blog times are US east coast time (6hrs before BST)

Over the weekend at Polesworth the whole bilge got cleaned out and the stern gland checked as the boat may be here some time. The forecast for the week is pure cat with arctic air pulling snow, hail and showers down across England. The Midlands is likely to get it and Polesworth is in the Midlands. 

I got some old whit spanners in a second hand shop in Tamworth for doing up the stern gland flange nuts. I went to Tamworth station to get a month return and went "home" for the duration. Pentargon is nailed and the solars are pointing south. All electrics are switched off. So even it it pisses down the bilges are empty and ready for it. The cover is NOT up as winds are forecast to be high over the next few days.

It starts to get better towards the weekend and next week is forecast as warm. 

Fri 28th April 2017 Polesworth Library. 9.35am

Thursday I was up and away from the house on the trusty Strida at 6.25am to catch 370/6.35 for Romford 86/7.05 an 86 for Ilford, 25/8.05 to Bow Church and finally a 205 which planted me at Euston at 9.40 just in time to catch the Northampton, using an old ticket valid to Leighton Buzzard but brazing it out.

Change of platform put me onto the Crewe train through Rugby under cover of the return part of the Tamworth ticket which got me to that lovely town at 11oc. 

Overnight Friday it milled down but by 9oc the sun was shining the day was warming and it was off to the library to uopdate the blog

Atherstone lie-over

Posted by PentargonSpringer on April 19, 2017 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Atherstone has to be my favourite village so far in as much of middle England as I have covered. 

Tell me about it.

Real ale at The Angel,

real motor factors at Autoquip,

real breakfast at Café Resta,

real hardware store in Long Street, 

real trains and buses by the mooring

I haven't even STARTED

and I'm certainly not finished

...... to be continued ......

I had limped into Atherstone a week ago with a broken throttle cable. It had never been right! Not from the first day I got the boat, but in true mechanic's style had never been attended to. Even when it gave trouble a couple of years ago (trying to tell me to fix it, I did a gunter-job and sailed on. While in Atherstone, I met Mark Jordon who runs a sheet metel fabrication business from behind TNT. Mark made me special steel sheets to my pattern and measurements. These will be welded to the cruiser deck later, to increase the freeboard and allow the boat to comply with class D estuary waters.  Seeing as how I'm planning to go down the Bristol Channel to Portishead mid summer and seeing as the boat is a registered Small Ship (SSR 161019) I may as well make it a proper sea-going boat. 

Polesworth Library Sat 27 2017

to be continued 

What is a "macerator"

Posted by PentargonSpringer on April 19, 2017 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (0)

OED: 'macerate'  (especially with reference to food) "soften or become soft by soaking in a liquid".


8.15am Wed.19th Bridge 43a Coventry canal. A good night's sleep having been enjoyed and the sun shining in a blue sky, I've made coffee and had two boiled eggs with toast when next door's engine starts. It's a 60' floating corridor with a lovely couple on their second day's hiring. They tied up 'longside last night and we had chatted. They had rightly backed off from Lock5 before dusk and tied up the longboat beside mine and only 100m from the lock.

The bottom gates are prone to yawn when the lock is empty and the lock is prone to empty overnight so first boat up, MAY be able to gently drive into the ole using the boat to push back the gates. I'd suggested if they set out early they could probably make a clean sweep right to the top seeing as how the last boat last night had come down. All the locks should be in favour.

But, back to the morrow morn!  8.15am Wed.19th Bridge 43a Coventry canal. I hear next door's engine firing and reckon [wrongly] they are going to do a "first away" and greet them with the morning's felicitations. He sez "We have to start the engine to go to the toilet" I'm incredulous but he explains that the floating corridor needs lecky and his batteries are effectively flat. 

So he has to start the engine

to run the alternator

to make the lekky

to charge the batteries

to supply the power

to run the "macerator"

to use the toilet 

He had shared with me that some sort of heating system on board

only worked while the engine was running.

This was explained through a huge cloud of steam/smoke

emitting from an exhaust pipe. 

Pentargon has an "Airhead" composting toilet. When I want to shoot a log I just sit down on the seat and do it. As an aside, I now have a cuppa coffee each morning hand ground in Pentargon's pestle and mortar with cardamom seeds. Cardamom has excellent laxitive properties. The seeds for coffee, the pods for tea! 

Polesworth Sat.20Apr. 

Nuneaton to Atherstone in the wind

Posted by PentargonSpringer on April 19, 2017 at 4:35 AM Comments comments (0)

This is the day the throttle cable finally breaks and the last three miles are completed with the aid of an elastic band. Including the first five locks of the Atherstone flight. In a howling wind. 

I earned this experience.

I REALLY earned this experience.

The throttle control has never been 'smooth and right' on Pentargon.

It's the original from 1973 using a "piano wire " inner and is 2.5m long.

I rarely if ever use revs so it has not been slid along its full length. It slowly seized solid.

I can tell you this now using my "hind-sight" app. Pity I did not use foresight five years ago.

At Mancetter (where Boadicea had an unfortunate last stand against the Romans on one side of Watling Street) and fighting a foul northerly breeze. threading through moored boats, you really need a good throttle control the throttle! The lever suddenly came unbelievelably free. The wire had broken. So it was a dive for a convenient bank, tie up to discover what was wrong.

Being only two miles out from my preferred mooring plus a set of five locks, I jury rigged an elastic band to hold the throttle fixed at a highish setting and went forward, using the gearstick and tiller to get to the top lock about 4pm. Engine off then and roped the boat down the whole flight. taking over two hours and intertwining with opposite direction all the way.  

It eventually took about six hours spread over three days to completely dismantle the system and rebuild it. Still a gunter as I've yet to source 1.5mm piano wire to replace the original wire 

Polesworth Library Sat 22 ... to be continued

Hawksbury to Nuneaton

Posted by PentargonSpringer on April 19, 2017 at 4:35 AM Comments comments (0)

The Coventry canal is everything the Oxford isn't and the moment you hit the last lock (all 12" of it) the evidence is clear,

Buckby to Barby to Rugby

Posted by PentargonSpringer on April 8, 2017 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (1)

Arrived back on board at 2pm on Thurs and picked up a hitch-hiker to Norton Junction who was going up the Leics. so I waved goodbye and went into Braunston tunnel at 1600hrs and picked up another hiker down the Braunston flight. Passed Gongoozlers at 6.30pm and carried on eventually to tie up to a Barby tree. Away at first light, picking up water at the bottom of Hillmorton and on to the No.4 bus-stop at Brownslow. A couple of days spent usefully before the next massive jump to Hawksbury Junction

Soulbury to Buzzard via Fenny

Posted by PentargonSpringer on April 8, 2017 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Arrived at Fenny after dark and went through before light. MAD. MAD. MAD. stopover at Bradwell and then sling through Marsworth and on to LB.