Friday, 26 September 2014

Small Boat Syndrome

Thats me on the left and Kinver on the right. Then along comes the boat arrowed and he moors right in the middle of the space. What is it with people who own small boats. If we want privacy we can always stay home. This is Thrupp, part of the trial ‘new’ mooring rules. To make the most of the new rules (or even the old ones) we must share rings/bollards. This is wasteful and thoughtless.


Another Alex Gem

Before sorting out my roof Alex set to fixing my gas locker. It was about this time last year that my gas locker hinge sheared. It did this because I only ever open the gas locker once every six months to change a gas bottle. Alex tells me that If I keep my centrelines in the gas locker then I will open it more often therefore noticing the problem before it gets to ‘shear’ point.

The original hinge formed by the two vertical straps and the ‘bar’ shape in the middle sitting on some ‘D’ section .


Alex fabricated some new hinges utilising the old ones and making a bit of a feature out of it.DSCF1681 Need some work done? Alex is your man!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


Ok so there I was at the weekend sorting out my living room after the onslaught of Alex repairing the roof. (Well done Alex). Everything in the living room was carted out onto the towpath. I had bought, a while ago, some waste bins to use as storage and duplicate as foot stools. In one of these I keep my notebooks, in the other some art materials. I thought this was very (1) Last year I got some proper foot stools but still l kept the others. This, as you can imagine, took up a lot of space. What I needed to do was combine the two  but still keep the functionality of the storage. photo (9)Simple task, easy execute!photo (8) Fecking genius!

Has no one seen this girl?


My roof

If you have tar on your roof take the hat off, this should cure it. I know some will say what about the rain to which I would say what about it? During the winter my fire is continuously lit. Any water going down the chimney will evaporate before it causes a problems. When the fire is not lit it can be covered.

For a long time now my boat has been suffering from a surfeit of tar, both on the roof and inside the ceiling and dripping on to my stove.  Last year I bought a new collar and arranged for a friend to fit it, but ran out of time during the summer. This year  I was determined to get the roof fixed. I was thinking to remove the old collar reseal the flue and fit the new collar. We all know things are never as simple as that,

This is the old collar, rusted to death a mere shadow of its former self.  DSCF1658 DSCF1659








What you may notice is, the top of the flue is inside the bottom of the collar in the right hand picture.

DSCF1660Here, where the flue comes out of the roof ,there should be at least 3 maybe 4 inches of flue above the roof level. How long it has been sheared off is anyone’s guess, but I am thinking nearly eight years. Why do I say this? Well I have always had this problem.

Alex to the rescue! Alex is a bit of a genius. Steel is his forte. He trained as a shipwright. He can visualise a job and decide what needs doing. If you want to decide what you want and and Alex thinks it wont work Alex will not take the job. He will however tell you why not.

After removing the collar Alex wire brushed the roof to remove the rust. DSCF1661 Midland Chandlers wanted £656 for a replacement kit from the stove top to the china man’s hat. We were not having that. I already had the collar. DSCF1663 I had to buy the stove top fitting. This doesn’t come ready to fit. The ‘nuts’ which are just a piece of 1/2 inch bar drilled and tapped were an extra £2.40 each and the fitting screws were £1 each. Total price £46+DSCF1668 The chimney was sourced at £26.40 from an independent engineering company in Carterton near Brize Norton. DSCF1666 Mort Bones had a reducer. That’s the connection between the stove top collar and the flue. It took a day to get the bits together but Alex was able to complete the job in two days.

The roof had rusted badly and around the flue hole the 4mm thick roof was thinner than 2mm . To correct this a 500x500x4 mil plate was ordered was ordered at a cost of £70. I knew this was needed.DSCF1662 The panel was fitted to the roof using an awful lot of screws and a copious quantity of sealer after first having the collar mounting bolt heads welded on the undersideDSCF1670 

The stove top collar was fitted and sealed to the stove (after Alex routed out the channel with a broken drill bit)DSCF1671followed by the  the reducer,

DSCF1672followed by the flue.

DSCF1673With the whole installation finished a paint can was utilised to block off the flue to check inside for leaks.

DSCF1719I was left to finish off the sealing and making it smooth for the undercoat.  DSCF1723Only the top coat to go now. I am going to paint a black band right across the roof in case the tar comes back, but I doubt it will.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Bargee Travellers, pull the other one!

I don’t suppose there are more than about 20 or thirty real Bargees on the 'waterways at this time. So I am at a loss to understand why there is a need for a National Bargee Traveller's Association? Have the ‘officers’ of this association purposefully used words like ‘Bargee’ & ‘Traveller’ in an attempt to take advantage of the Law as it applies to genuine travellers.

Currently the National Bargee Travellers Association (London) are against the new CRT London Moorings plan, no surprises there then.

They believe that the recent announcement by Canal & River Trust stating that it is reducing the time boats can stay on London moorings will not be of benefit. (Oh really!)

CRT do the oddest things on the waterways, though not necessarily for benefit of boaters, but this cant be helped because office Wallas cant be expected to understand the needs of us boaters however much they try to.

CRT are claiming that these changes are 'to ensure that some popular locations can be shared more fairly by a wide range of boaters'. Personally I think this is bollox. I don’t think CRT have a clue what the problem is and much less know how to deal with it. Last year before the changes to the five locations on a trial basis mooring at Thrupp was monitored by the Warden and people were asked to move on after one week. They can now stay 16 days using the new rules.

The NBTA are saying there needs to be more rings. (More rings will bring more fake CCers. There are more than enough ring for genuine CCers. What they are in fact trying to say is, There are not enough rings in London for us to break the rules as we would like to. We need more rings.

The mooring situation in London is simple. There are more than enough visitors moorings in London. What CRT have to address is keeping non-visitors off the moorings.

I am sorry but if you work in London and hop from one set of rings to the next then you are not a Continuous Cruiser you are a Continuous Avoider. And if you are part of the various groups that contact each other on facebook or by phone to let others know you are about to move then you are most definitely a fake.

If the members of the NBTA can read then they will know the rules applied to CCers. If those members chose to flaunt the rules then they have to deal with the consequences. It is not for CRT to bend over backwards to accommodate them, that is not their job.

More rings along London’s waterways will need planning permission to allow people to live there, which is what the fakes really want, but as I travel around the country I see many marinas with empty moorings. Yes I know its not on their doorstep but why should boaters be exempt from normal society, I know many people who travel from as far away as Spalding in Lincolnshire to  get to work in London.

I cant help but think that the NBTA  is a self seeking group who don't give a shit about the waterways only themselves, whose credentials are suspect.

Maybe there should be more rings in London and maybe they should be reserved for the London Continuous Avoiders, but then the visitor moorings should be for genuine visitors only.

Now come on boys you have been rumbled play the game by the rules.