Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A new pet !

He he ... not, really - I just knew that heading would get Paul panicking !!

Here is my new 'pet' - I found him on a bag I had just pulled out of the fridge - whether he had been in the fridge with the bag all night or whether he had just jumped on board I don't know, but I thought he was kinda cute !

The other day I declared it Christmas (again!) and have put the reindeer ears on the car !

It is getting colder so Sammy has been wearing his new bubble coat ...

Doesn't look too impressed does he?

I had to pop to the 'hole in the wall' yesterday so took a couple of pics of the Stone Xmas lights ... very pretty !

I was awoken in the night by the moon - so I decided to take some pics of it - but by the time I had decided to do so the clouds rolled in !  Still pretty impressive though ...

I had promised my friend Krista that I would do a meditation this morning at 7 am, so I took this pic to send to her as proof that I was up and about !!  (This is the last full moon meditation before 21 December ... but I won't go there !!!)  I had also told another friend I would meditate on world peace today, particularly Middle East - so a double whammy !  Bet Paul is glad he is not here !

This morning took the boys for their walk - Bombo had his head in one of those holes in the field near the marina again - he was having a right old time - and here is the evidence ...

The water levels are all back to normal in the marina, so that is all good!  This arvo I am off for a Bowen treatment - I think I have been doing too much crouching in the cratch !
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Water's up !

This morning when I opened my eyes I noticed that the cupboard door and the bedroom door were both hanging towards the port side - an unusual sight and made me instantly suspicious of what I would find when I got up !  When I walked through the boat I felt quite drunk - I was on a tilt !  Yikes !  I got my glad rags on and jumped out of the boat and quickly loosened the ropes (not an easy job as Paul had tied the boat up very tight - not wanting me to drift off while he is away!)

At about 10am Alex, the Marina Manager was doing his first lot of rounds for the day checking on everyone's boat and loosening ropes where needed - good man !

The boat next door is not usually this high !  The rubbing strip on our boat is now sitting about 4 inches or so above the pontoon - last night it was a few inches below it !

I took these photos this morning to show that this metal drainage thing at the front of the boat (not really sure what it is) was nearly under water ... 

The front of our boat sitting higher than normal ...
Bombo looking on - why is there such a big jump down the other side now ?!! 

Later in the day - completely submerged !

We started to tilt again this afternoon, so had to go out and re-adjust the ropes again.  I noticed Alex was doing his second rounds of the day too - keeps him busy this water level stuff !

This is a pic from the bridge in the Marina ... you can just see in the distance where the river has encroached on the land again - creating a nice big lake ... 

... bit hard to see but water all round !

Took the dogs for a few soggy walks today - Bombo found himself a swan feather and wasn't letting go of it for anything !

On my way over to the shop I took this shot ... thought it looked nice - plus shows where the water is in relation to the pontoons ... usually there is a good gap between the top of the pontoons and the water level !

On the way back to the boat, I noticed that I felt really small going past all the boats !  They are usually sitting nicely in the water and now it looks like they are about to jump out - they are kind of 'tall' now!

When it was getting dark I was struck by how calm the water looked and liked the reflections of the boats ...

Well, as I write this we seem to be sitting straight - we will see what tonight brings!  I was talking with a chap today and he said in July the water was up and over the pebbles on the moorings, so we have a way to go yet !!  I just did a weather check out of my window - wind is getting up again and looks like fog creeping in .....
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It ai'nt half hot, Elaine!

I have been in regular contact with my beloved Elaine through the wonders of Skype, and it appears that the weather over there has been a bit here is my weekend in sunny Sydney......

On Saturday I gave my mate, Matt, a hand in servicing / painting / repairing his cruiser, although I tend to think it was more of a supervisory role - as in, I didn't do a lot! 

The boat was on the slipway in Manly Cove ...

The main reason for the slipping was to repair the numerous holes that were punched in the hull when it came adrift in a recent storm. The insurance company knocked back the claim because it was classed as in an unusual event! Boat...Sea...Storm...pretty normal if you ask me. So whilst the boat was out of the water it will also be antifouled, the drive and engine serviced, plus the topsides touched up and polished. 

The slipway belongs to the Manly Cove Launch Club; it sits in a superb position in Manly cove. 

I took this pic from the slipway looking towards the beach, the block of flats on the right of the pic are the ones that I lived in when I first went to Australia in 1980.  

It was a really hot day, so a dip was needed every now and again to cool down - now that is something you cannot do when blacking your narrowboat!!

On Saturday night it was out for an Indian with some old friends.  I have become a whinging pom as I keep saying "How Much??" when looking at the prices in the menus!  When I get back to the UK I am going to post some of the menus of the restaurants we have been to in Stone.  I don't quite know when Australia become so expensive!   I know the exchange rate has a lot to do with it, but even taking that into account Australia is very expensive to this whinging pom!  

On Sunday morning I went for a ride in the motorbike, which was very nice but in the leather's just a bit too hot, not that I am whinging....

Sunday arvo I caught the bus down to Manly and met up with an old mate (Graham) who lives in Manly but used to live in my hometown of Luton.  We went down the Skiffies, drunk far too much and sorted out the world's problems.

So another weekend over, Manly really is such a fantastic place with magic weather and plenty to do etc., but by Christ I do miss Elaine the boys and the boat............... :-(
Oh and the shitty cold weather...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jack Frost cometh !

I'm really just posting these pics for Paul to see what he is missing!  I'm sure English people don't need to see any more pics of frost :)

Anyway - here was the Marina at 8'ish this morning ...
(yes, I was indeed up and about at the 'crack of dawn'!!!!)
If you look closely you will see Ray from NB Ferndale out walking Banjo ...

Our top box - not on the top at the moment - covered in frost ...

A bit hard to see the Marina buildings this morning ... or the Christmas tree !

The swans came in for some brekky ... wonder if they feel cold ?

Even Jaffa (cat) ventured out this morning - to see what the white stuff was (the cats have never seen frost / ice / snow before) - but soon came back in licking his paws and got back in the bed!
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Friday, November 23, 2012

What a difference !

Today was a beautiful, sunny winter's day - what a difference a day makes !

My brother popped down from Macc this arvo - so he very kindly put some UK plugs on our aussie plugboards.  My brother is a biomedical engineer and electrician so didn't like us keep using our little adaptors for our aussie plugs!  Now we are all sorted in the electrical department !

As regards the leaking relief valve we had a look at it and Trev released a pipe that was holding quite a close grip on the back of the switch - so maybe, just maybe that was the cause of it.  It did stop dripping quite so much after that and also Trev gave it a bit of a blast out, so maybe that cleaned it out a bit !  Anyway, I think that is what happened - I wasn't the one with my head upside down in the engine 'room' (or getting wet!).  I will keep my eye on it this week anyway (and my ears out for random pump noises!).

Apart from those two chores that he did for me, we had some lunch, ate cakes, drank tea, had a lovely chat and took the doggies for a walk around the marina.  They especially like a bit of earth on one of the banks of the marina - there must be loads of critters up there because there are kind of open looking burrows everywhere - too small to be rabbits and not mole holes, so I don't know what !  Bombo was getting very involved with his head down one hole today - we thought he was either about to get his nose bitten or come out with a furry creature in his mouth !  I would like to have a 'night cam' to see what exactly is up there !

A lovely day - hope the weatherman is not right about the weather changing again over the weekend !

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The boat's a-rockin !!!

Well, what a very windy day it is today !  The boat has been 'swaying' all day - and the wind is whistlin' around it!  The boys and I are all cosy inside this afternoon ... as is evidenced here by Geoffrey and William ...

It is not often that I can get a nice picture of William but today I managed to... 

... until Geoffrey came and sat on top of him !

How unconscious can cats look !!!

Anyway, apart from sitting by the fire with my animals I actually have done stuff today !  This morning Elly (from NB Parisien Star) and I popped down into Stone to do some shopping.  Our first stop was to buy some rubber mats for the pontoon next to the boats - after my little 'stack' the other day, we don't want to take any risks.  Where Elly and Mick's boat is moored it is all wooden pontoons surrounded by water - so they are going to have to be especially careful !

Next stop for me was to go to Boots to get Paul's prescription!  Yes, the system worked - I requested his repeat prescription last week from the doctor's in Macclesfield, then I requested it to be sent straight to Boots in Macclesfield.  I then rang Boots in Macclesfield yesterday and requested that they send the script to Boots in Stone - which they did !  Boots in Stone even rang me to tell me it was there yesterday afternoon.  A 'good result' (as they used to say in The Bill!)
Elly and I then popped into Morrison's for some bits - we even found a new sea vegetable, neither of us (nor the lady at the checkout) had heard of ... Samphire.  Apparently is is a sea vegetable which grows near shorelines - it takes a little salty.  So, I got some to try - it is nice - I had it with a bit of Haddock for my lunch - another good result !

Elly hasn't blogged yet today and may, or may not, tell you in her blog about her conversation with the Stone Lions chaps, who were selling raffle tickets at the door of Morrison's!! Very funny:)

When we got back to the Marina I unloaded and positioned my new rubber mats - and then Mick very, very kindly came over and screwed them down for me !  Now I'm not goin' anywhere (and neither are the mats!).  It is a good job they are screwed down with all this wind today.  Anyway, here they are - not very pretty but pretty safe.  Thanks so much, Mick!

When Mick left I had to get into the engine 'room' to do a bit of investigating!  Just lately the water pump has been going off for a few seconds all on its own (ie, when no water is running) - doesn't do it that often just now and again I hear it.  I was skyping Paul last night when it did it, so I said I wondered if it was the bilge pump in the cratch and not the water pump at all? Paul concurred that I should probably have a look just to make sure there was no water down the 'hole' in the cratch - which I did (in the dark and the cold - how brave of me !) - then I promptly caught my finger in the doors when I was shutting them up - another ouch for the week !  Anyway, there was no water down there so I said I would check the engine room today ...

I opened up the back of the boat and the engine 'room' doors (which is no mean feat in the wind!) - and discovered that the bowl we had put under the water system relief valve was full to overflowing and there was a fair bit of water down there - so I had to get out the mop and bucket while precariously standing on bits of the engine 'scaffolding' that I hoped I should be standing on!  I got about quarter of a bucket of water out of the bottom ... think I might have to go through the procedure quite frequently 'til Paul gets back !  No idea if that has anything whatsoever to do with the water pump going off - but I am sure Paul will tell me soon !!

There - I have done stuff, see?  Tonight, I am going to Elly and Mick's for a good Aussie favourite - pumpkin soup - yum !  I think I will just step out of the boat, put out my arms and let the wind fly me over there !!!  It's raining heavily again now too - oh joy!!
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas is here !

I love Christmas and Christmas Trees and Tinsel and Baubles and all the lovely 'superficial' stuff at this time of year, so I was very happy to see that the Christmas Tree is a happening thing at Aston Marina .. yay - here we go !!!


It was heavy rain this afternoon but when it had stopped I decided I could take the dogs out for a walk.  Well, I must have gotten a bit too excited at the thought of getting out to see the Xmas tree because when I stepped out of the boat I had taken 3 steps up the pontoon and whhhhoooooska - I found myself splatted (thankfully!) on the pebbles of the boat mooring next door - bloody hurt !  Note to self - get a mat to put on that walkway next to the boat 'cos I reckon it is only gonna get worse !! 
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