BLOG AND BLATHER
|Posted on December 14, 2018 at 5:45 AM|
KILBURN LIBRARY Friday14thDec2018
Graffiti on a Hackney Towpath.
"The Future is now, only later"
Today's future began in 2010, when my wife suggested I consider coming in off the tide ... to the inland waterways ... Yes Dear! ... She had heard stories of escapades in Le Manche (aka The Channel) and feared if it went on, I might someday be brought home to her in a body bag ... or not at all ... So, I prepared a list of desirable features as I saw them in a free-floating man-cave which might spend it's days in various ditches around England. The list was small, perfectly formed and significant in detail (link). Sailors tend to have fastidious temperaments. (story)
I'd been advised early on, if you search long enough for a suitable boat,
if due diligence is applied ... the boat will find you ...
Having searched for months, nothing I wanted came up,
even though my list was short and my needs simple.
Then, late in 2011, Pentargon found me.
Against all the "odds" Pentargon matched all bar one. (story£in£itself). Ownership transferred Thu27Jan2012. With scant days left in the month, Pentargon departed WHMarina Friday 28th January 2012 to park overnight nearby. On the Saturday, my dear wife, who happened to be traversersing Watling Street (A5) that morning enroute to Sheffield, came aboard for a little drive towards Braunston Tunnel. But a bitter east wind fore-shortened the voyage. We turned and shivered back to the mooring, she to drive off about her business and me to regroup (story in itself gps).
Later in the afternoon, second day of ownership, Pentargon began what became my future, a seven year voyage around England,
Covering four miles the second day, including a terrifying 2042yds blunder through Braunston Tunnel, to moor below Braunston Top in the dark, on the morrow's dawning, Pentargon descended Braunston to the centre of the canal universe. A Gongoozler's Rest occurred, while a fine breakfast was demolished and a cunning plan was hatched fornenst The Stop House ... to join the Oxford and proceed north a further seven miles to Hillmorton, within spitting distance of Grantham Bridge Boat Services. We moored up near Normandy, no not THAT Normandy, the other one.
That night, I mused on the enormity of what had been done with Pentargon in the first two days of my future.
Single handed, Pentargon had been taken out of a marina, moored overnight and slept in by candlelight and with no heat.(story in itself). On Saturday afternoon, after a little tiller practice, Braunston tunnel had been shot and Pentargon tied up in the gloom. On Sunday morning, the Braunston flight had been descended and, after breakfast, the Oxford with its funny bridges tackled, to moor that afternoon above Hillmorton locks. 48hrs after leaving the land and entering the cut, the skipper was freezing.
But I was ready to meet the nice people at Grantham Bridge Boat Services on Monday and be out with a new bottom by the end of the week.
That was before I became acquainted with canal time (story in itself). The dry-dock at Hillmorton was to feature majorly in my life for THE NEXT FOUR MONTHS. The time at Hillmorton was to contribute positively to the subsequent life and times of the Springer "Pentargon" on England's Inland Waterways over THE NEXT SEVEN YEARS. From Feb to May, 'canal time' became an inescapable reality and I learned to live with it as Pentargon put on weight: one metric tonne to be approximately precise, (story in itself) represented by a replacement bottom of 6mm steel plate under the hand of a master welder, one Paul Demmelsweek ...
|Posted on December 5, 2018 at 11:30 AM|
5thDec2018 at Pancras Library 1600-1700
16thDec1900 Home Computer
7th Jan2019 at Pancras Library 0815-0945 enroute to BL
I swore never to go into Central London again
But sometimes, needs must
It has been a busy two months ...
I needed to consider getting a new battery from Denka.
My Banner Energy Bull leisure has not been treated to the very best of attention over the past five years and probably should be replaced.
And more solar panels might be useful. Denka is at Watford. (Faraday Road since you ask!) I need to replenish a Calor Gas Bottle and top up my diesel cans. And I need to be closer to the land house. I need to spend some time in the British Library too, unfinished business. And I need quick access to computer terminals in various libraries, so I can get this site up to speed and cleaned up.
Visiting Miro at Bow
... and of course, I have some 'friends' who have been neglected and who teach me a lot, sometimes how NOT to do things.
Fuelled at Hackney Wick
I run a charcoal heater onboard. State of the art, bespoke, uses lumpwood charcoal and the only source for bulk buying is Hackney Wick
Back on the Magic Ring
I do love my magic ring. No-one else EVER parks there. They don't know how to tie up!
But it places me at a very strategic point in East London from which all points are easily accessed,
by bus, tube, overground, mainline, dlr
Bow Back Rivers Revisited
Now being touted by C&RT as a convenient London "ring", I have yet to meet ANYONE in London who actually uses it. I have gone round it a cou[ple of times. I was on the inaugeral run, piloting a huge 68'x12'6" fatbeam same size as Red Watch at Canalability, on which I got my stripes in 2010. Pentargon has now done in thrice, as in thrice round she flew in 2018
Gian, Reub and Johan Limehouse to Vicky Park
Had some Eurpoean students staying over at the land house to polish up their Englishness and become familiar with English as she are spoke. A day out on Pentargon from Limehouse to Vicky Park gave them an unforgettable experience late in 2018
Onwards to Rosemary Branch
Nov28th Helen LilyV saw me passing hers going through Haggerston enroute for Rosemary Branch. The destination is British Library but not too quickly. A couple of miles is more than enough to keep the leisures topped up and it is more [productive than just running the engine while moored.
Piloting Neil and Trevor Limehouse to Vicky Park
Tues.4th Dec, my friend Trevor texted at 13.50GMT to say the boat he was piloting had passed the Belfast. It entered Limehouse about 3pm and moored for the night with mine just out of sight around the corner. The following day, I came on board to erm help them up Commercial Road lock for breakfast at Franks. Fortified. we did Salmon Road, Johnsons, Mile End, Old Ford Vicky and pulled in at the corner of Vicky as dusk fell.
Visiting Market Harborough and Foxton Staircase by Car
Sat 1stDec. Diane and I were invited to overnight with our prospective new in-laws near Leicester, up the M11 to the A14 and detoured to find Market Harborough Basin and then the Foxton Stairs where Diane spied a goldcrest as we parked! Onwards then to Tayla's parents and a very pleasant evening with Paul and Sharyn and Ásgeir and Tayla and Arlo.
An Overnight in the Leicester suburbs
2nd Dec. We slept well overnight and got a fine breakfast on Sunday before letting the SatNav take us home ...
Visiting Brenda's Attic
Sat.8th Driven down from Essex for a party 'that evening' at John Morris' which turned out to be at 1oc. We dived into Guildford as we were and went onwards to Brenda's later for the evening and overnighted. I'd been down to stay with Brenda earlier in the month to dig all the boat gear out of her attic, sort it, repack it and have it ready to put in our car on the Sunday. We had lunch and scarpered about 3pm to get home in daylight, unloading the boxes into the garage before darkness fell.
You h'ain't 'eard the 'arf of it
Mon10Dec. The European chaps were so enamoured of the last 'voyage' they asked for an encore which happened on Mon10Dec. They had fun finding the boat and actually came on board 1oc. We cast off immediately for Sturt's which was in view and in favour, then City, in favour. Through Islington tunnel my new distance glasses were useless and had to be discarded. We scraped through and onwards through KingsX, up Pancras Lock in company and all three Camdens where we let the company away. On through Regents Park and Maida Vale tunnel to clear skies and a ticking clock as we entered Paddington basin looking for opportunities which were thin on the ground.
Piloting R+J Rosemary Paddington
... always fun jockeying for space in the basin. On arrival, it was stuffed. With darkness imminent, pentargon was tied up for a short while down the basin, (beyond the cleats and tied to another boats bobbin at one end with the mudweight holding the stern in). Luckily, during a temporary respite in the wind, I located a tiny space between two sets of boats and a RING to tie to. Mark (ShaunSoto) and I had some interesting chats before he decided to move on and I grabbed the quay-side. For a Christmas lie-over.
Settling in at Paddington.
Chris and John on Fender Boat appeared the following day, and tied up around me to their own rings for a day or two. I was coming and going all the time but sleeping on board most nights. They got a quayside berth alonside Sat15th and were attended on Sunday by Red on his fuel barge. Paul in the Butty-in-the-Corner introduced and was interested in the Hampshire Heater. Mikael arrived outside outside me on Sunday, while I was servicing the boat to leave it liveable. There had been a massive downpour the previous day and the bilges had to be pumped out, along with stored deck-water which was siphoned down to the bilges. Initial work at preparing the stern gland for future work and running the engine first to the starter battery, then to the leisures, got both well-hyped. Discovered the downpour had leaked onto the mattress via the front hatch but had to clean out and fire up the Hampshire as the chaps had not turned up. When troubles come, they come not single spies but in battalions
Guests overnighting at Paddo
Johannes in contact with Diane 8pm to say he can't FIND the boat. This was hilarious. I had forgotten I'd left the boys OFF way down the basin and although I had shown them the ring I would moor to, they had been gone before the boat was moved. They were told the boat was tied to the side and OUTSIDE the tube entrance. Eventually they found it. Why were they on board anyway? Well, after ours they had moved to airbnb at Leytonstone to be near the city and their time was up two days before their bus would leave Victoria for Europe. Smart lads! They asked whether they could overnight on Pentargon for a couple of nights. And of course they could. They did not get the hang of the Hampshire but luckily, the weather was mild and they survived.
|Posted on November 16, 2018 at 11:05 AM|
Nov16/[email protected] Library
I heard on Monday12th afternoon that Acton's Lock would be closed from 7am the following morning for an indefinite period.
I am running out of charcoal and I am above the lock right now and maybe 400m from Cat&Mutton Bridge. My charcoal supplier is below the lock ... as in below Acton's lock and below Old Ford Vicky. Add in Duckett's three locks while you're at it and include that infamous centre pound in the future plans.
It's after 3pm; it will get dark in about 90minutes; the fire is not yet light nor even set and the last of the charcoal needs grading.That is a fruity pursuit dealt with elsewhere. Grapes, apricots, lemons, oranges and pomelos is part of the charcoal burner ritual... but first ... !
In spite of lateness of the hour, I must away from Regents Row, where with Diane's help, I decluttered and removed a carload of stuff last Sunday11th ... and had been parked up for almost a week since abandoning the bush mooring at Broadway.
left turn into Ducketts and park overnight above the top lock at Parnell Road
|Posted on November 3, 2018 at 6:55 AM|
BUTTERFLY BUSH AND A MAPLE. Friday 2nd November
London is mad.
Down at Ducketts top lock about 3pm on Friday, basking in the sun and looking forward to a few days respite, a passing boater told me the Old Ford lock which was closing for ten days was the one at Vicky Pk. NOT the one at E20. I decided to cast off forthwith and follow them, knowing full well they would probably have to turn the lock. As soon as let go, the prop collected a plastic bag, a dive down the weedhatch had it off in minutes, and I preened my forward planning for the foresight of setting up the weedhatch for instant access. Steaming up to the lock as my friends were entering, I rammed in beside them and up we went. It was now dark and they were pulling over for the night. But I had nowhere to park so I motoered on Getting to the end of the line and the rings, I found a butterfly bush growing out of a crack in the concrete.
Yes! I tied to it so I could "lockwheel" forward to find something more substantial for over-nighting. The bush would hold it for the mo. but a passing boat would drag my 10tonne off in a second. Shanking to Broadway market under cover of darkness, somewhere, anywhere, to tie up was a prime objective. With boats moored everywhere, mostly doubled and even tripled, there was no where any where or was there?
A single ring at the beginning of a massive line of boats would provide a solution of sorts. I went back to untie from the butterfly bush and move forward to the ring. The only option was to get the bow in and use the front painter to make purchase, while I sorted out something better. This time I at least had security up front. How to pull the stern in? Initially my trusty mudweight was utilised and then a convenient maple was heavily trimmed with the on-board loppers to provide a more secure stern hold ... That's tonight looked after. AND. it allowed me to get to an 8oc booking at Pancras Library using the 394 and 214 buses!
Upon return there was a tupperware pot tied to mine. But a reasonable discussion with the liveaboard ensued and he was willing to move along so I couls escape as soon as I found a forward mooring. I pottered upstream and wonder of wonders found 13meters free after Acton. So I scarpered at once, shared the lock with a Bug and raced up to my chosen spot. Still there and shoe horned in to the side behind Jeremy and Claire and in front of Callum's Dawncraft.
Sun. Pancras library 1155 ...
to be continued or amended as more facts come to light or more imagination enlightens ...
|Posted on October 31, 2018 at 4:20 AM|
Keep those dogies moving ... make new villages ... charge them batteries ...
Returning from my Irish visit to the boat under the bridge at Bow Locks on Thursday25th, it made sense to get outa there ... Everything was fine on board,
Moving would be an excuse to charge the batteries, there was no reason to be there any longer, cold weather was forecast, and old time was due to hit at the weekend. The Magic Ring is a suntrap and the solars get some action afternoons. It is easy to get home from and I had had a doctor's appointment on 29th. Miro had whispered that Old Ford was to close Nov5. for "ten days" ... uh huh I need to be topside to get to Sarah's knees-up at Haggerston on 10th so after just a few days in a well-favoured mooring I shoved off (on Mon.29th). While Od Ford was filling, I shanked upstream to identify possible tie ups in the dark.
Nothing much doing: the bank was solid from the lock to Ducketts turn. By the time I had cleared Old Ford, dusk was heavily falling and it was only 4.30pm. Approaching Ducketts, a boat was exiting to go up the Lea, indicating a distinct possibility that he had come down the locks and they would all be in favour ... which they were. In the dark though, the powerful searchlights now favoured by London cyclists were a constant source of bother. Approaching locks was a blind flying exercise, but all the bottom gates were open, as in both sides. The guy coming down must have an enormous ego. His boat seemed to be less than wide but it was tupperware and summa dem is 7'6" narrow.
So I got topside of the top lock and was able to grab two rings just beyond the yellow top mushrooms and in no time was securely purchased and able to tend to fire lighting. It is not cold but "practice ahead of need" has been my many-time saviour, so some under cover of darkness grading on the bankside was in order. And then a fire of sorts, rooting out long forgotten meths. and blowtorch and tongs and flint and steel and