Monday, 13 October 2008


I thought I will take sometime to introduce Godrick

He is a Jack Russell crossed with a Yorkshire Terrior, and the most stubborn dog going and not a natural on the boat

I will be arranging a trip to the Vet for some gender alterations at some point due to "manic behaviour". Hopefully he will become calmer.

To actually go on holiday he had a special collar, that emited phermones that a mother dog releases when feeding (if I remember correctly). This puts Godrick in a "happy place" Valuim for dogs.

When we take him out on the boat, he refuses to settle completely and spends most of the time running from side to side, panting and moaning. With the collar on for 7 days he will start to settle. The strange thing is he will only lie on rope. I have bought the lovely beds that he will happliy use at home, but on the boat, not a chance. If he is on deck only rope will do.

He is also completely hopless at using the plank to get on and off the boat. He just falls off everytime. This has now resorted in a complete refusal to using the boarding plank. It has resorted in the most hilarious situations you can visualise. Even with a line of doggie chocs 6 inches apart leading up the bank, upto the plank and into the boat will not intice. Just a look that says "do you think I am that stupid?"

Because he is also a small dog, life jackets, even the tiny ones do not fit, so he wears a harness attached to a neon 6 foot lead that is attached to the boat. If he falls off it is short enough that he goes no where near the prop.

In light of the above, he does tend to jump ship every time we get near a bank which does cause problems if we are not mooring, but just passing other boats.

The biggest mishap happen last year. This time we were actually mooring up and my husband was off the boat with the centre line, when a dutch barge came hammering by. Out boat was sucked away from the bank. Godrick decided that he wanted land, and land now so jumped. My husband could see what was going to happen and shouted. I only caught the last part which I thought was "get the dog", he maintains he said "unhitch the dog"

So I grabbed the neon lead to lift him on board, not realising at that point our boat was about 4 foot away from the bank, well last time I look we were only 8 inches away. The resulting action was a wide eyed puppy approx 3 months old, being dragged, with his bum skimming the water into the side of boat, legs splayed. It was a real Tom and Jerry moment.

It is no wonder this dog does not like water!!!! it seems that only bad things happen when he is on the boat.

Photos and other things

Work seems to get in the way of everything lately.

I sat down the other day and done some of my own invoicing and found that over the last 4 weeks I have invoiced out between 53 and 68 hours per week!!, but I still don't seem to any better off?

It's no wonder I am so tired, we have only manged to get out on the boat once. The other times I have gone down to her, I sat in a chair and fell asleep. Well I am over 40 you know.

I thought I would post of few pictures from the last few months. These are from the Bristol Regatta, and the day out

These are the new blue LED lights to go with the bunting:-

Here is my daughter proving that she is still my one and only baby. Ahh

And finally here is a picture of the mutt Godrick - I think it is a case of "get me out of here. I told you I don't do boats".

"OK perhaps I don't mind so much"

"By the way, where is dinner?"

Now looking all grown up steering

Guess who gets to do the locks now!!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Countdown!! - Not the program but Bid for Freedom

I have been having one of those really bad weeks. By trade I am a mobile book keeper / accountant / Quickbooks trainer / dogsbody etc, and this week I have been trying to sort out quite a few major problems for a client - Not fun !!!

So I have resorted to a bit of future planning, but thinking about 9 year ahead seems almost a lifetime away, so I thought, being handy with numbers, I would try other ways so here you are

I have 9 years and 10 months, or 118 months, or 511 weeks. I did not go down to days as that number was t0o large.

I quite like 118 months, the number's not too large. By then the mortgage will be paid, the daughter will be 21 and probably conquering the world and me and hubbie can then enter our second childhood, and leave responsible adulthood behind. Well everyone thinks we are mad to be doing this.

Now that seems better, I'll be a good girl and run along to work now

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Return of the Jedi (actually windblown, rust stained woman)

I have been poked into re starting my blog. I apologise greygal for the gap, but I spend so much time reading everyone elses, mine always seems a bit boring.

But we have been on "Holiday". Now for most the word holiday brings forth images of sun, drink, food etc. For us it means wind blown, wet, cold, wet, very cold, wet, very very cold, a bit of sun too fool us, then, ..... you guessed it WET.

Did we mind, did we complain, NO WE DID NOT. The fact that we had actually manged to leave the real world behind for a while and just potter around up the Kennet and Avon as far as Newbury and back again. To pretend that is was forever was more than enough

When asked where did you go on holiday, and we reply Devices, Hungerford, Newbury we get a sideways glance and (in my case from a few friends). Are you sure you are alright now?

I hope to blog about our trip and the Bristol Regatta over the next few weeks, but there is slight problem.

Although I took the computer, printed out many Log pages to diligently fill in, Camera plus little printer to print out the many photos I was going to take, I actually wrote Sod All!!! I hang my head in shame. It is still all in my head.

Some headings to tease you with:

Teaching the Dog to Swim (falling off plank)

Teaching the Dog to walk the sides of the boat (dog falling in)

Dog refusing to leave or board boat unless carried due to phobia of water because of several dunkings.

Training sessions with many novice crews (including the ones who thought we would operate all of the Cain Flight for them)

Determined sitting out on an evening wrapped in blankets, jumpers and coats because I had promised myself I would etc

I think you get the idea - You may wish I never started!!

I have to actually get some of the events passed Deputy Editor (husband) and Deputy Deputy Editor (Daughter).

Anyway, must dash, daughter just returned from School and I have to get the canteen working and the taxi out of drive!!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Work, Work, Work

The boat had another weekend of lavish love poured upon her. Well that's what I kept saying to make it all seem worthwhile.

We are now bearing the scars to prove it. Bruises, strains and pains. Although my husband started below par and finished even lower !!!

All cables are now nearly encased, on more set underneath the built in cupboard.

Fuel Stove re blacked - boy that is a messy job and one I always seem to end up with.

Dog kennel - he does not like beds, he likes a cave to go into so I have to cover his collapsable traveling kennel as it has mesh sides ( I think I am joining Caxton and Dogsontour here for the best dog hotel on the water)

Lockable fuel cap protype finished

The list goes on - and it never seems to shrink!! The more we do, the more we add.

I must also start taking photos - Before and after's you can then see the difference.

A nice thought though - I have started the shopping for the great getaway in August. I do like it when the cupboards start to fill with tins (in date ones as opposed to what I forgot to remove last year)

I can then pretend for awhile that this is forever, and not when retirement finally comes

Monday, 7 July 2008

Great Weekend!!!

You would have thought from the title that we actually managed to get out on the boat, but no (sigh) just worked. But it was very productive.

We are going away to Bristol Regatta first weekend in August. If anyone is around, please come and say hi, then our holidays for the next 3 weekends (bliss). So getting things ready.

You would have thought that the cupboards on the boat had been vented, but no. We (royal we, husband really done the job) Fitted 11 vents in all. Hopefully this will stop the cupboards welding shut, or refusing to open.

Made two Cushions for the top of the two storage cum dining chairs. Actually 2 Argos wooden laundry boxes, with new bottoms and castors. We can now sit in comfort when we eat - daughter was OK she had a proper stool.

The booster aerial arrived for the Vodaphone USB modem - While we are away have to complete some work for a few clients which entails emails etc. Set this up and tested it. The signal has improved so hopefully it will not take as long.

For the purist amongst you stop reading, the next bit will rub you the wrong way. I know in the past the working boats only had a very small stove, and I really admire the way they brought up families, but I am unable to cope at the moment, and can not afford to install and rearrange the kitchen to cope with a new oven.

I only have a very small Vanette stove on the boat. 2 rings, dolls house grill, and a microwave size oven. So cooking can be a challenge!!. After trying to get a microwave to work with a non pure sine wave inverter and getting no where, I have finally managed to compile extra equipment that will work, but this took an awful lot of testing, but I now have the use of:-

a) Bread Machine - I do love the smell of bread, but trying to cook in the above cooker means the oven becomes the bread tin. (Had two at home - Why? - no answer!!)

b) A Toaster for said bread (Bargain £3.49 at Argos)

c) A Sandwich Toaster - Cann't do cheese on toast with the dolls house grill - grill pan finds it difficult to hold even 1 piece of bread (Again bargain at Argos £4.89)

d) Steamer - I can now cook veg, potatoes and use a kettle all at the same time. (Again sat at home unused)

This may seem a bit OTT, but at home I have the use of 7 rings, 2 ovens, and a large grill. And boy do I use them all.

Another plus this weekend - set up Sat TV in 4 minutes!! - Daughter very happy.

Oh well back to work now, will try and get back down to the boat during the week.

Sometimes it feels a bit like a military campaign trying to get everything in the right place at the right time. But the end result will be more than worth it.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008


I must try to blog more often. I have been reading some of the others on the net, and getting my canal fix that way. Petroc, and Dogsontour and Warrior all make good reading. Keep up the good work!

Anyway the biggest thing we have been upto lately a) a power audit (boring!!!), and b)trying to install Satellite TV (reason for power audit). Well when you have a 12 year old, and a husband who can not cope without some form of TV fix at regular intervals, it makes for a more peaceful life.

After reading, in other peoples blog, the joy of setting up I was not looking forward to this. And I am sad to say, it lived up to expectations and some. Even though we had all of the recommended kit - Kerstan mini dish, sat finder, compass. Thought I was going on an expedition!

4 hours on Saturday - No TV
3.25 hours on Sunday - Finally a signal

I do hope that it does get better, at this rate we will stopping at mid day, just to get a signal by bedtime!!!

If anyone has any hints - please please please let me know.

Also another bit of monumental news - I have finally took the plunge and bought a bike. Not the matching one to husband (Harley D), but a Trek Navigator you pedal yourself.

The Plan - Lose weight, get fit, save money

Reality - Unable to walk due to jelly legs, heart attack, and generally total collapse.

Oh well, It has only been two days, so I think I will give a few more - years maybe!!

Friday, 9 May 2008

A long time

I have just realised how long it is since I put anything up on the site.

Well reason being we have actually been using the boat!! - Shock horror, but yes not just working on her.

They have only been short little trips and a few overnight stays - for diesel, water and those kind of things, but it makes the difference.

I have also installed a small window to fit in the side hatch when the doors are open. It means I can now sit there and work if necessary without the worry someone will grab my computer etc. A shame really, but a reflection of the times we live in.

It is now only 3 months until our summer break. A whole 18 days and nights a freedom!!! I can't wait.

I am making do by reading the blogs and "Sally Annes Summer" which I was lucky to have for my birthday last Monday. It is a great read and makes be long for our summer.

Anyway, back to work for now.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Another Gauge!!

This time the volt meter thingy has decided to die.

Will we ever just arrive and set sail, or is this just a dream.

Will someone let me know?

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Boating !!

Just a quick post - we actually made it out this weekend - Fantastic!!

It was only up the river for an hour, then chores, (pump out, water and diesel) but it reminds me of our overall plan.

Due to circumstances we have to be land lock for the next few years, but boy, retirement cann't come soon enough, and we can then go back to the canals of our holidays.

Dreams - what would we do without them. I love reading Gypsy Rover, Khayamanzi and the like, and hope to meet them one day when we too will be live aboards.

Oh well, back to grind stone for now.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008


I have managed to finish the cover for the side hatch late Sunday evening.

Here is a photo of the finished job. My new sewing machine just about managed to do the job, with about 7 broken needles!!!, and a flat refusal to do any more.

Not to bad, just a smallish wrinkle on the diagonal

Thanks to Bones suggestion, re the hatch (hope the hand is getting better, and Maffi head is repairing - unrelated happenings). Going to investigate that option

Saturday, 9 February 2008


We have had a problem with a leaky side hatch since we purchased Serendipity a couple of years ago. We have had several tries to remedy this, and have finally come to the conculsion that this is going to need a major re-design. So for the time being, I would have to make a hatch cover out of the material I had left over from making the stern cover last year.

I vowed after making the cover and some windbreaks last year I would never do this job again. It even killed my sewing machine, but being skint needs must.

This we started to day, it was supposed to be a one day job!!! I wish.

First we were supposed to get up and out by 10.00am, we both get up at the crack of dawn during the week, so like to have a lie in on Saturday's, but today we managed to sleep in until 10.40am, so a late start.

To compound this, my husband need to get stainless steel screws, and that is the other side of town, so due to lateness of time, he would go on Baby (This is his Harvey Davidson motorcycle, who is better looked after than me and his daughter).

Disaster!!!! THE KEYS WERE LOST.

This entailed 1.5 hour search, with everything and everybody being blamed, they were finally found in the fleece he wore last weekend!!!

Needless to say I didn't get to the boat until after 1.30pm. A very late start!!!

Well, it is now 8:50pm, the light failed on us at about 6:10pm with a job only half done, we tried to continue but sometimes you have to know when you are beaten.

We will have to try and continue tomorrow. It is going to be a bit difficult as I am a Lay Minister at my local church, and I am preaching tomorrow night, and I always spend Sunday afternoon panicking about the sermon.

Oh well, when the cover is finished I hope it will look OK. I will post some photos for you all to judge

Downside of all of this - we didn't get to do any boating either.

We also discovered that the starter battery is probably knackered, it was very reluctant to get started this afternoon. It could be down to all of the electrical work and testing that went on over the last week. Alot of being turned on, but no engine running. We will just have to monitor for now.

Oh hum, perhaps we will get boating one day.

Thursday, 7 February 2008


The gauges have been replaced for temperature and oil pressure. We can now go somewhere with out worry.

I first rang RCR to help sort the problem, and they put me in contact with engineer within the hour.

He was great, so if you are ever down the bottom of the Kennet and Avon towards Bristol and have a problem with engine or electrics contact Motion Marine - 07789 175 042. Even though it was difficult to sort out, apparently two gauges blowing together is very unusual. He kept at it.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Heating at last

We have now managed to install the new burner unit on the boat and have heating, which is great in this weather.

Also the new seals for the dump through have been fitted. This was not such a bad job as we initial thought.

Now we are trying to solve some of the leaks we have. The main one comes from the side Hatch, and probably the best way to cure this with out major welding and new doors is to fit a Hatch cover to keep out most of the weather. As I still have some material left over from making the stern cover, cushions and wind break I will make if out of that

Serendipity has a very small bow area, which my husband made seats for out of old snooker tables, but it is not large enough to have a cratch fitted, so I am going to make a cover for the area in a thick tent window material, so we have lots of light into the boat and can still have the bow doors open when it is raining.

Serendipity layout is I believe called a reverse layout, bedroom at the bow, followed by bathroom in a room of its own, saloon area, then kitchen. We have kept it fairly open plan at the kitchen saloon end with free standing furniture, ikea futon for daughter, and ikea fold up tables. We have also adapt argos laundry boxes (wooden) into storage containers that double as seats for dinning. Allyn also designed a small slot in table that fits at the top of the steps leading to the side hatch that makes a great food prep, laptop, or what ever you want it to be area.

I will try to get some photos to post later.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008


Just thought I let you see my husband in the floods with our boat last weekend

Testing Times

Thought I would just introduce myself and family. I'm Angie, my husband is Allyn. We have a daughter Erin, and dog called Godrick (I'll explain later)

We have a 51ft Springer narrowboat called Serendipity that was built in 1992. We have had her for nearly 2 years, and are justing getting to understand all her mannerisms. We have spent most of the time bringing her up together, but the trouble with that is, when we renew one part, it seems to put a strain on another part. The latest things to fail are engine gauges, central heating boiler and pump out toilet seals. Once these have been sorted, it only leaves the engine to replace. !!!!!. I am praying this will NOT happen.

Although we are experienced narrowboaters, it has always been on holiday boats, so maintance was down to other people. So this has definitley been a learning curve.

We had her craned into Bristol March 2006, and thats when the fun started.

Our maiden voyage ended in us breaking down with a radiator hose coming loose and filling the bilges with water. This was a suprise on 2 fronts. One it came loose, two we were told that it was cooled via dirty water (from the canal)

Then when this was resolved, the engine kept stopping, but when left for a while it would start again. This was a problem we had for quite a time with no one being able to explain the cause (several engineers were left scratching heads over this). This was finally resolved in August 2006 by Devices when it was discovered that we had insufficent filtration of the fuel. By this time we have got very good at learning to drop anchor if we stopped in a difficult area. We still have a problem with the engine racing, but until engineers can finally agree on solution we are still dealing with that one.

We had to replace the over pressure valve on the hot water tank because it kept leaking and was stuck open, when we done this it still leaked, so we looked to the water pump and found it was running at too high a pressure, this was sorted. Great, but the pressure valve now did not leak, this gave us another problem. Our first holiday on her, end up with us replaceing the hot water tank due to the calorfier splitting in Bath. It could not take the correct pressure in it any more. Another bilge full of water.

We had to replaced the back of the fire after getting a cabin full of smoke. This was due to being used, and was the final straw for the cement holding the back plate in place.

Shower pump finally packed in on Holiday last year, due to rust from incorrect pipe fitted many years ago. - New Pump.

Get the picture!!!!!

There have been many other situations we have found ourselves in over the past 2 years that are too embrassing to reveal at the moment. A taster for you - trying to pull away from a packed pub in Bradford on Avon while stern rope still tied to the mooring ring!!!!. Audience was very pleased with that one. When I feel braver I will reveal more.

I also managed to dent the brand new railing (crusier stern) that my husband spent several weekends cutting sanding and varnishing. Big trouble for me on this one.

Gosh reading back over this I wonder why we are doing this, it must be love.

You will recognise if you see us as we are the boat with a dragon sat on the bow. I had enough of people saying it was a long boat, so I went with the Viking tradition.

Oh well, I will say goodbye for now, and will report back later regarding fitting new seals, boiler bit etc