Yelvertoft Christmas Gloom

Do you remember last Christmas? ( see   http://vivatek.co.uk/its-beginning-to-look-a-lot-like  ) . Illuminations everywhere? I know Len & Sue have moved on and the Anders are away but there’s just four boats with lights and that includes John & me . . .

pix

Still, we have our wee tree up with it’s blue lights, le Bear Polar is in the cratch and the usual if slightly camp, pink n purple lights are in their same place.

Minus Three Degrees in Yelvertoft

A good test of our insulation, heating system and the new windows as we get the first sub-zero temperatures of the winter.  Lots of “country-wise” signs of a hard winter coming – profusion of red berries etc. We’ve both got this rotten cough virus – yuk – phtuwie! Still, the weather does mean gorgeous sunny days:

ic1 ic2

ic3

All the pontoons have been salted!

ic4

Very still, very bright. A flock of wind turbines turn ever so gently.

On a sour note – the never-ending saga of the secondary glazing goes on . . . we discovered when removing the panes, that the steel strip, attached to the aluminium window frames, has started to rust! Well, they are steel and we did chop them up to fit. We could paint/varnish them but since the test window with it’s two lots of mag tape, seems to be working, we’ll order some of that and re-do the 6 windows with the type B mag tape.

All Cosy & Warm

Well, after an epic time to collect all the right bits and pieces for these secondary glazing panels – the job was finally completed on Friday 25th November. The original test panel looks a tad better as it has two strips of brown magnetic tape, whereas the rest have the white steel sticky strip attached to the metal frames and the brown mag strip on the perspex. So, the white does show thru in places but we can always paint them later.  The main thing is that we are warmer!!  Just as well as we both have stinking colds – not the old one but an evil, genetic mutant that mainly gives you a persistent cough! Everyone here is sufffering – so lots of people all tucked up in their boats – fires aglow & sipping LemSips galore.

Viv’s researching the idea of a camper van (RV) to takes us to Spain . . . just an idea . .  but the warmth does sound attractive. Next week’s forecast is for dry but very cold weather:

freezo

Birthday Trip to . . . Leicester!

Bit of a grey day. Had rain on and off for days. Grey all round. Steve’s now 59. (Another year before we get some income.) What can we do? Well, got to take a template to Ian at OneStopPlasticShop who’s going to cut our 7 panes of acrylic, for those secondary glazing windows on the boat. Got to walk the dog . . . got to get off this boat and go somewhere, anywhere! My niece is in Cancun, hmm, nice but Leicester it’ll have to be then! Chance to sort the acrylic out (and as it happened, Ian had go the panes already cut – so we could take em away that day – such a nice chap and so willing to help  – anyone considering secondary glazing should ring him first).

leics4

I know, I know, I firmly believe or at least I tell everyone, that for every Tree decorated before December, an Elf drowns a baby reindeer!  But it does jolly the place up.

First a walk at Watermead park and a swim for Toby. Chance to see the river Soar in flood – we came through this lock and section last year. Bit dodgy now – with the indicator clearly showing red.

leics3a

Birstall Lock and below – the weir.

leics8

The water was hardly trickling over this when we came thru – now a torrent.

leics4a

Then back for a shop & a Big Breakfast in Sainsbury’s (£5!)

leics7

Then into the city to shop & look around:

leics5

The City Council got some stick over this tree as it looked half-finished and the lights looked a bit just, well, chucked over. We thought it looked OK. They had a delightful band playing – not quite the Salvation Army but quite interesting.

leics9c

The theme of their animated display is the 12 days of Christmas . . .

leics6

leics9

Not as good as last year’s Wallace & Gromit but fun nonetheless

leics9b

We bimbled on to the Market and Steve’s little sweet shop . .

leics9a

Lots of goodies – all for a pound – 1 kg of root ginger, 2 huge mangoes, 2 kg bananas . . . we could have got so much more and all for ” ah pahnd!”

Off to the Wheatsheaf for beer & a snack tonight – Cheers!!

2ndary Glazing – bit of a trial

One of Steve’s many little projects on the never-ending list that seems to come with living on a narrowboat, is to fit secondary glazing. Some folk have proper double glazing and you do wonder why in the 21st century that boats don’t come already fitted or are even statutorily obliged to fit double glazing as in the case of modern housing . To retro fit the whole boat would cost £1,000’s so here goes . .

We bought a single piece of 3mm acrylic from a local firm – they took ages to deliver, charged a lot for delivery and didn’t cut the corners properly but hey, it’s just a test piece.  We then drove to Leicester, to have a day out, walk dog but mainly to visit the OneStopPlasticShop – which as it turns out was a brilliant move as Ian, the boss chap, was extremely helpful – he sold us some plastic edging and some clips to hold the glazing. He also said he could supply all the acrylic, cut to size plus edging for around £70 – for the whole boat!

On our return, the plastic was OK but very hard to fit to the window – it needed to be in complete contact all the way round. So scrap the edging idea and try plan B – magnetic tape. Now starts a 4 week merry-go-round. We ordered the two types of tape (a and b) but one firm, who took over 10 days to deliver, delivered the wrong tape – we now had two lots of tape A. Another 10 days and the type B turned up and we had a go at fitting it. Not a snug fit but we need a week to see how it stands up & then it’s place the order with Ian for a more precisely cut pieces of acrylic.  Meanwhile, here’s a short video . .

Dunchurch Pools Marina

The popularity of narrowboating continues, with second-hand prices stable or rising in some cases. As does the growth of new marinas. The North Kilworth marina opens in the Spring and another one, near Braunston, called Dunchurch Pools is due to open next May. We went along for look.

dp1

The plans are quite staggering – with a long driveway, through landscaped parklands (which will be open to the public).  The designers (whose previous plans include the Eden Project) have tried to plan the marina from the bottom up, with deep pools to help with water quality and shelves around the edges to promote water plants. Joe Oliver, seen below, is a very enthusiastic and welcoming project manager and has been with this scheme from the beginning – some 9 years!

dp2

The colourful plan shows the connection to the North Oxford canal, a few miles from Braunston. Entrance is at the bottom of the map – with a circular basin, this will eventually have pontoons for boat with the end aim of 200 spaces in total. Most will be on standard pontoons but a few on “Super berths” – these have a dedicated pontoon, patio area and reserved car space.

dp3

With raised banks and a central island, moorers will be presented with a more natural and rural view, rather than 100’s of other moorers. Below is an artist’s impression – nice. It doesn’t show any security fencing – the marina is on the towpath side and the pretty iron bridge will be a right of way.

dp4

The view below shows the central island (with JCB) plus the footings for all the pontoons (to be made in Scots pine with anti-slip sections built in). There will be the usual water & electricity plus a (hopefully) marina wide wireless network.

dp5

Joe here is explaining the wide entrance pontoons – barrow friendly!

dp6

There’s to be an amenity block with under-floor heating (water source heat pump) with special home from home rooms, i.e. a whole room to yourself with wc, basin and shower.  Below are the super berths for 70 foot boats.

dp7

Quite a fascinating project with most of the structures at the “already paid for” stage which is promising. There were large discounts on offer (15%!) for early takers with a choice of berth – for more info see Dunchurch Pools Marina

Sunday Walkies by the Nene

Hangovers receded, weather forecast promising – off we go for one of our days out.  This time, two birds with one stone – the Smith’s Farm Shop at Chapel Brampton then on to walk the Boggle along the river Nene (pronounced Nen around here) near Earls Barton.

nn1

Yes, he’s “in”. First 5 minutes!

nn2

We’re thinking of chugging this way next Summer and so it’s good to have a look first – it does seem very tranquil – even if a tad muddy underfoot:

nn3

They have strange guillotine locks here . . .

nn4

nn5

With metal beams. Plus a Env. Agency licence will be required.

nn6

There was a pony attack here! I just think they thought we had food.

nn7

Very liable to flooding – all round here – lots of sluices and weirs . . .

nn8

On our way home we saw this “ice bow” weather phenomenon . . . caused by high altitude ice . . . brrr! Home to the boat to our coal fire.

nn9

see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumhorizontal_arc

Alex & Nicole’s Wedding

It’s taken them a while but our nephew Alex and his fiancee, Nicole finally tied the knot on Friday 11th November at Nottingham Cathedral.wed4

It was a marvellous day with Nicole looking stunning (Alex too of course). Friends and family had travelled far (USA, BVI, Bermuda, Barry, Belgium and even us from Yelvertoft!) to witness this great occasion.wed5

We then drove to Hambleton Hall for the reception:

http://www.hambletonhall.com/

 

A fantastic country hall booked exclusively for our use. There was champagne on arrival with a harpist playing in the hall, a very nice thought. Lots of photos – more champagne – a five course meal with wine, speeches, more champagne and then dancing to the wee hours.

The food was excellent - here is the gallantine of guinea fowl
The food was excellent – here is the galantine of guinea fowl

wed2

The magnificent cake – made by Nicole’s mother!

wed6

The first dance! A lovely couple, indeed.  Off to Rome and then the Amalfi coast  – we all thank them for a great celebration and wish them every happiness.

Winter Pix

Out walking the dog to Cracks Hill – some arty pix . . .

leaf2

leaf1

leaf3

There was an awful lot of blossom in May (see blog posts passim) and now we see the fruits – never seen so much! Does this spell a cold winter? Vamos a ver.

Winter Draws On

The first frosts of the winter . . .

cold3

cold7

There’s always someone or rather, someone’s dog who enjoys it . .

cold6

The marina was very quiet and very still first thing this morning

cold5

The sun glinting off the turbine and frosted cars

cold4

All the boats had their fires going – our neighbours: Poppy Eyebright and new arrival, Sleepy Otter:

cold1

cold2

Rain’s forecast for tonight or be that snow?