Saturday 29 December 2012

Selling Stuff on Ebay!

Having an account on Ebay for many years and receiving 100% positive feedback by being honest and always reasonable with buyers and sellers alike it has served me well. Particularly at the moment when I am in the process of selling anything I don't need before I move abroad.
Sadly a did recently come across an unscrupulous buyer who told lies and made no attempt to mediate when for reasons unknown to me he said something I sold wasn't working when in fact it was brand new and turned out to be working fine when he finally returned it for a full refund!
I thought I had better warn buyers of the retailer as they should not be trusted!!!
If you require details of this case I will be happy to furnish you with more details. The business spoils everything that is good about electronic selling and I intend to make it my business to spoil his party as well!

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Friday 14 September 2012

Weaver Trip - Day 7

Thursday 31st May 2012

Left our moorings under a threatening sky and shared the first two locks with another two boats that were rafted together. We then moored in Northwich as it began to rain very heavily. It was pouring with rain but this didn't dampen Elaine's spirit to visit Marks & Spencer! After a soaking, visiting the shops, we moved up to the sanitary station before pushing on. Because of the weather, we failed to really enjoy this historic little town but vowed to return again.
Northwich has a fantastic road swing bridge that was in fact the first electrically operated swing bridge in the UK.
We cruised on down through Saltersford and Dutton Locks to reach the end of, sensible, navigation at Weston Marsh Lock. This is the lock that links the River Weaver to the Manchester Ship Canal.
As we turned, a large wide beam boat 'lazy days' was just coming up in Weston Marsh Lock; assisted by British Waterways. It wasn't long before this boat was close behind us and it finally passed us as we pulled over at Devils Garden Moorings to wave him past.
We then both pushed on to the lock where we both moored for the evening as the lock was now closed. It proved to be a lovely mooring although we knew we had to move off early in the morning as these were the moorings for the lock.

Moored below Dutton Lock

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Weaver Trip - Day 6

Wednesday 30th May 2012
Woke to another glorious morning and I wandered down to the Anderton Lift Office to make arrangements for our passage. We were booked onto the 10.45am slot and had to be in the holding area for 10.15am. At 10.15 prompt we moored in the holding area outside the gift shop where we bought two brass plaques (Weaver Navigation and Anderton Lift) Buying them slightly sooner than we were entitled as we hadn't made the passage yet; but I guessed we couldn't really go back now!

Exiting the Anderton Lift onto the River Weaver! (picking up watermarks from the dribbles off the guillotine gate that became known as the Anderton Spots)
We had a very enjoyable cruise up the Weaver to Winford passing through two locks. Although the locks are very large there seemed to be a lot less surge than on a normal narrow lock! Plus; all the work was done by someone else!
We passed the "final British waterways recommended winding point" and moored outside the Red Lion Pub where I took on two pints of 'Dutch courage' (Black Sheep) before proceeding beyond the recommended extent of navigation to wind in the mouth of Winsford Bottom Flash!
We then headed back down the river to some lovely looking moorings above Vale Royal Locks (Northwich).
The sun had been beating down all day and I was now struggling from sun stroke. We enjoyed the serenity of the quiet river and its wildlife coupled with the novelty of mooring in wide water.
I was amazed at the lack of flow on the river and think there is probably more flow on the Llangollen!
An evening of Trivial Pursuits before going to bed!

Leaving the Anderton Lift and turning onto the Weaver

Vale Royal Moorings - very quiet!
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Weaver Trip - Day 5

Tuesday 29th May 2012

Woke at 6.45am on an overcast morning with all the potential to turn into a scorcher!
We moved off at 8.00am up to the water point for a top up. Cruising up to Middlewich I picked up a few voicemails and dealt with a few problems - free of charge to my employer!!!
At Middlewich just before Big Lock we assisted in the rescue of a drowning pigeon. It had fallen into the cut and according to a boatman on the towpath only had minutes to live before our intervention. It was rescued and the boatman returned to his boat carrying the weak bird for resuscitation; to the delight of his wife! As we cruised on, the bird was recovering and receiving the treatment more befitting to a rare breed!!
At Anderton we moored ready, and excited, for a morning decent down to the River Weaver.

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Weaver Trip - Day 4

Monday 28th May 2012

A very early alarm at 6.30am! A quick bowl of cereal for breakfast so we could move off up to Harecastle Tunnel portal as early as possible. We were keen to cruise as far as we could each day on this first part of the trip, up to Middlewich, as this we were cruising over well cruised ground and the new waters of the Weaver were waiting for us.
Arriving at the Tunnel at 7.30am we were the third boat in the queue; though unusually they were allowing boats from the north through the tunnel first! It was 8.30am before we entered (plenty of time for photographs and Facebook updates etc.).

Waiting in the early morning queue at Harecastle Tunnel.

We timed our passage to perfection taking exactly 40 mins to pass through!
We have an auxiliary plug in tunnel light that we have never used until today and it was a real benefit (plugged in at the back of the boat) lighting up far more of the tunnel!

The auxiliary tunnel light in action!

The weather was red hot with very little breeze and although we tree hard not to grumble about it, it was challenging travelling down heartbreak hill! (25 locks and 10 miles).
The Broughton Arms provided an unscheduled mooring for lunch with a great couple of pints and the best gammon steak I have eaten in ages!
We finally arrived in Wheelock at 4.30pm where we moored for the evening.

The Broughton Arms - Great Lunchtime Stop!

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Weaver Trip - Day 3

Sunday 27th May 2012

A very early start moving off at 7.00am. A plan that paid-off! Allowed us to travel during the cooler part of the day, avoided all the queues at locks and got pick of the moorings at Westport Lake in Stoke.

A mooring in the shade at Westport Lake, Stoke.

We watched the Monaco Grand Prix; which was the usual procession with all the gilts and glamour of a film festival!
In the late afternoon Elaine and I had a walk around Westport Lake, before dinner on the boat.

It was another great day weather-wise and looking forward to the forecast good weather tomorrow. (It was bound to be sunny anyway; as it's Monday! Aren't all Mondays glorious or does it just seem like that when you are stuck in an office at work!)

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Weaver Trip - Day 2

Saturday 26th May 2012

We were up early as we needed to drive our car to Tattenhall (near Chester) and pick up a taxi back to Great Haywood so the car would be at the right marina at the end of our cruise.
At Tattenhall we arrived just after the office opened and quite quickly picked our summer mooring! The marina is still very much under occupied and everyone has at least one spare space next to them. It's a little sad that the marina is so sparsely occupied but it makes mooring up in strong wind all the easier without neighbouring boats!
Our Taxi (Aries Taxis from Tarporley) arrived promptly as usual (we last used their services in the Summer of 2011). Not only are they reliable but they drive Volvos; and sadly I'm a fan of the Swedish mark!
Don (the driver/owner) and I were in deep conversation sharing Volvo tales and generally discussing the merits of driving Volvos. Don thought I was conscious of where he was driving and I thought Don (being the driver) knew where he was going. It was Wolverhampton before we both realised this was not the route back to Great Haywood! However, the trip around the outskirts of Stafford to get us back on track was quite enjoyable. We were back at the Marina before lunch and still in good time to enjoy the Monaco Grand Prix Qualifiers and have some lunch before pulling out of the marina at 2.15pm.
Had a very enjoyable cruise up through Stone until we encountered three youths at the top of the Meaford Flight at dusk. They were spending their evening dismantling the canal bridge parapet and throwing large chunks of brickwork into the canal. We challenged them and notably, and rather annoyingly, I failed to snare them (they were quicker on their bikes than I was on foot), the mobile signal was poor and it was getting dark!
By the time we finally arrived at Barlaston to moor for the evening it was twilight.

A queue at Weston Lock (can't grumble the weather was fantastic)!

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Weaver Trip - Day 1

Friday 25th May 2012
Travelled down to Great Haywood in very busy traffic and passed a record number of accidents (thankfully all on the opposite carriageway!). Offloaded, what seemed like, a wagon full of provisions out of the car and piled onto the boat. It made me reflect on why we don't have a motor home and instead on how accommodating the boat can be in terms of Tare Weight in comparison to that of a motorhome (our contents on the boat must now out way the weight of ballast)!
I had a brief wander around the marina taking a few photos as tomorrow we would be starting our journey to move the bat up to Tattenhall near Chester; for the summer.

Great Haywood Marina( just before sunset).

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Thursday 24 May 2012

A Cleaning Weekend

Saturday 19th May 2012 to Sunday 20th May 2912.

An early start from home on Saturday in order to get to Great Haywood in good time for a good cleaning and preparation session before our first proper cruise of the year next weekend.
It didn't start well as we discovered our local shops had been burnt down and were still on fire as we left. Later discovering the whole parade of shops were affected.

The devastating scene of our local shops on fire!

The journey did improve as we overtook a friend of ours who was travelling to Stoke with a stock cart that I hadn't seen before and it was a nice surprise to see it on the motorway even if it was only a fleeting glance!

The weekend was busy and successful; cleaning, hoovering, and servicing the engine before topping up the diesel and water tank ready for a quick launch next weekend.

I even changed the drivebelt on the power pack although I did cut my thumb!

We travelled back home Sunday afternoon.

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Robert and Suzanne's Weekend

Saturday 5th May 2012 to Monday 7th May 2012.

Robert and Suzanne joined us this weekend. We all travelled down to Great Haywood and then cruised down to Acton Trussell where they would stay in the Moat House for a couple of days.
This weekend was a weekend for us to celebrate our wedding anniversary by returning to the scene of the crime. We all ate in the bar and Rob and Suz enjoyed typical Moat House hospitality before we all, after breakfast, cruised up to Penkridge.
It was a pretty quiet cruise apart from a 10 minute spell! When we were passing fishermen, at the same time as we passed an incoming boat, all made more dramatic by my crew who were stoking the fire to create what was a black acrid cloud in the face of the oncoming crew making visibility and breathing impossible for both of the steerers! I could only apologise to all affected by my crews timing. At one point I actually thought they may have been burning carpets in the saloon!
At Penkridge we winded (a tricky operation; as a fibreglass cruiser had moored at the winding point and I needed to get quite close to crushing the damned thing in order to turn in the length now available).
On the return to Acton Trussell we discovered that Marks and Spencer's angel cake is dryer than expected and even the swans were choking on it!

A swan choking on the Angel Cake!

After another great meal at the Moat House (this time in the restaurant) we returned to the boat while Rob and Suz enjoyed the hotel facilities.
After breakfast on the Bank Holiday Monday we cruised back to Great Haywood to sadly pack ready for the trip home.

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Weekend Cruise up to Sandon

Friday 13th April 2012 to Sunday 15th April 2012

An early dash from work on the Friday allowed us to get to the boat in good time to be able to pull out of the marina and moor at Weston just before dark. A quiet trip as there were very few boats out.

On Saturday morning I was forced to deploy one of my "dog shit" signs in the hope that it embarrasses dog owners to be more responsible! We departed and were able to lock up through Sandon Lock and Elaine stayed at the Lock while I travelled the 100yards up to the winding hole and was able to return to the lock to drop down on the same water that had lifted us up! (often we need to queue in both directions for this lock).

My crusade to tidy up the towpath!

We moored just north of the Salt Bridge and walked into Salt to have a very relaxed and, as usual, fantastic meal at The Hollybush (the oldest pub in Stafforshire!)

The Hollybush at Salt

On returning to the boat a fender seller had moored up next to us and I took the opportunity to buy a set of six rope fenders for £25. A bargain! A few replacement fenders never go amiss! The chap was heading towards Stone to be blacked, and I guess financing his maintenance works as he travelled.

We moved on back to Weston for the evening to put some distance between us and the adjacent railway line.

At Weston, while I pottered around the boat I discovered the batteries needed topping up (it seems checking them regularly didn't result in a top-up ever being required - that is until you don't check them and they are then instantly embarrassingly low!!!!). The top-up would need to be sorted as soon as we get back to the marina and obtain the necessary distiller water.

Sunday morning was a reasonably early start back to the marina and a trip to Halfords at Stafford was in order to procure the battery top-up! We couldn't decide how much was needed so we bought both a 5ltr bottle and a 1ltr bottle! Within 40 minutes Of arriving back at the marina we discovered we needed even more!!! In total the batteries took 7ltrs of distiller water!!!!

Dropping down in Weston Lock on the way back to Great Haywood

It was late by the time we left the marina, with our fingers crossed hoping there was no lasting damage to the batteries, finally arriving home at 10pm.
It had been a great weekend!
It would be while before we return to the boat as Elaine's daughter, Danielle, was in the process of moving to Perth, Western Australia and she would need our help preparing for the move!

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Weekend trip to Acton Trussell

Saturday 31st March to Sunday 1st April 2012

Travelled down to Great Haywood early Saturday morning and wasted no time pulling out of the marina and travelling down to Acton Trussell stopping enroute opposite Stafford Boat Club for lunch before arriving to moor opposite the Moat House at 4.00pm.
We had a wonderful meal in the bar washed down by a more than ample helping of red wine and Sandon Ale!
Staggering back to the boat in the dark under an umbrella (Elaine is always prepared for rain!).

The Moat House

Sunday was spent cruising back to Great Haywood passing nb.Chelsea at Baswich (one of Anthony M's early Crick Boat Show winners!)

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Another Wet Weekend

Saturday 3rd March to Monday 5th March 2012

Although we had planned for a long weekend on the boating having booked both Monday and Tuesday off work the weather was less than conducive for cruising.
Instead we travelled down late on the Saturday and as the weather was still poor on the Sunday we instead opted to use the car to do some shopping and visit some local hostelries.
At lunchtime Sunday, after a long morning peering through rain spattered portholes in the marina, we drove by car into Stafford to buy a necklace for Elaine. Not a cheap trip but I gained some valuable brownie points from Elaine on an otherwise miserable weekend.
The time 'cabined' up was not completely wasted as I carried out some of the improvements and recommendations that the boat surveyor had suggested. (eg. providing additional clips to the gas supply pipework under the cooker).
On Sunday evening we drove along to Sandon to have a meal at the Dog & Doublet. To be honest the pub service and food quality was disappointing on this visit but after many fantastic experiences we are putting this down to just a bad day! I'll make a point of commenting in the blog when we next visit.


After! With additional support and an additional bracket.


After! With pattress and fixings to the gas tap and some additional brackets!

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Monday 13 February 2012

Boat Safety Scheme Examination

Saturday 4th February
I had prearranged for a boat safety examiner to inspect the boat today. That was before I knew the heavy snow was forecast! However, I had prepared for the examination by acquiring replacement fire extinguishers and was hoping the boat (being only 4 years old) would pass without a hitch and weather forecasts always seem pessimistic. The last thing I wanted to do was postpone his visit as we were getting closer to the license expiry date and needed a comfortable buffer to rectify any defects.
As Elaine and I left Teesside under cover of darkness the race to the boat, to get the extinguishers changed, get a clean bill of heath from the examiner and get back before the snow fell.
It was -5 degrees when we arrived at Great Haywood but by lunchtime we were all ready for the 2.00pm appointment although the snow had already begun to fall on a frozen marina!

A very cold boat at 10.00am! (-5degrees outside).

Not even the ducks had ventured out onto the ice!
The examiner Derek Luker arrived dead on 2.00pm from Stafford (obviously not a fair weather surveyor!) and immediately got stuck in to carrying out his inspection. Derek was an 'old school' examiner; but very fair and identified areas where I could improve things and he took a very pragmatic approach! A few extra gas pipe clips and some additional cable supports would need to be dealt with ASAP but he provided the pass certificate after a very thorough 2hrs examination. I have since got the necessary bits and pieces and will fix them on my next return to the boat.

A boat examiner to be recommended! (Though sadly might be retiring soon).
I would gladly recommend Derek's services to other boaters in the area although he is sadly considering retirement in April so you might need to act fast!
By the time we left the marina, the snow was 2" deep and still snowing heavily. The journey home was less than straight forward, taking 5hrs instead of the usual 2.5hrs as we didn't encounter black tarmac until we were passing Thirsk!
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Location:Great Haywood