Friday, December 28, 2007
We had 8 hire holidays before we ever got a boat and I can truthfully say that the hirers we meet up and down the cut are generally a friendly and competent lot. Of the few pain-in-the-backside boaters we have met in the last two years, they have virtually all been boat owners. So you're welcome to share a lock with Herbie any time.
I am so happy to be presented with this prestigious award. It is thoroughly deserved because of all the hard work that I have put in over the years.
But this is not just about me:
I would first of all like to thank my mother who brought me into this world, and taught me that nothing should be wasted – if you have twelve old cookers in the back yard then you can always make one good one from the parts.
I must also thank Mr Wheelwright, my woodwork teacher who taught me the important lesson that you should measure once and cut twice.
And then there is my daughter Vicky who toiled selflessly to find jobs for me in her house so that I could hone my handicraft skills.
And of course, there’s my wife Marylin who stuck by me through thick and thin and has accompanied me on many boat trips with only the slightest complaint.
There is also Peter John Alain del Strother who instilled in me my love of boats, mainly by capsizing his dinghy with me in it.
It is easy to have grand schemes, but not so easy to make every part of them work, so I must thank Martin Bryce for showing me the importance of atenttion to detail.
I must mention two people who sadly I never met, but who had a great influence on my career. The first is James Brindley without whose pioneering work on canals none of this would be possible. The second is Mr Tab Qwerty whose brilliant invention of the keyboard made nbherbie.blogspot.com what it is today.
(Sob Sob Sob)
And last, but by no means least, my heartfelt thanks to Neil and Kath for persisting with me when all was going wrong; and most of all for pretending to enjoy having me on board Herbie when this was obviously not the case.
(Sob Sob Sob Sob)
I love you all.
(Floods of tears, rapturous applause, exit stage left)
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The stats log tells me I've had 3600 visits to the blog since I accidentally reset the counter, plus about 700 before it was reset plus and an estimated 350 before I started counting. So that's about 4750 visits in 22 months. Wow! Mind you the stats counter also tells me that a goodly proportion of visitors arrive cruelly misdirected by Google, whether they be trainee dentists researching into root canal fillings, or children researching films about clever Volkswagens.
Others arrive via links on other waterways blogs, most notably from Andrew Denny's brilliant Granny Buttons blog which exists largely to alert us all to good waterways related stuff on the web, although you can also marvel at his great night photography skills and empathise with his anguish over occasional mishaps such as his disastrous diesel leak which soaked the internal floor of his boat with the stuff. Top blog.
I started off this blog just to let friends have a look at pics of the boat, but having met a few people who actually claim to be regular readers (some of them total strangers!) I feel motivated to keep going. You of course are free to come and go as you wish. All I can say is I'll try to find interesting stuff to write about rather than just "got up, moved on a bit, stopped, went to bed".
In the coming year I hope to be able to report on the great Herbie roof repaint, trips up the Thames and some of its tributaries, and blissful days in warm sunshine. More pictures too of course. I just got a new 1 Gb XD card for my digital camera so I'll have no excuses not to take pictures. In the early to mid 1980's when I was in charge of a large IT project we bought a load of state of the art microcomputers. We could buy extra memory for them at £1,000 for a megabyte. That would make my XD card cost a million quid!! Actually it cost £17 a couple of weeks ago.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
This years award goes to someone who:
- Is an avid reader of this blog
- Endured several days cruising in torrential rain and kept smiling
- Emptied our 200 gallon water tank by leaving a tap running
- Retrieved the broken off drain nut screw from our gas heater
- Cracked our old boat pole
- Made us a smart new steerers seat
- Drilled out the broken off screws from the water tank cover
- Enjoyed a few good pints with us at a few good pubs
- Generally made us laugh
- Supplied and sponsored (along with the long suffering Mrs Bunnage) our new Herbie team strip
- Provided his hosts with tea in bed in the morning
It is of course Mr Rick Bunnage (loud applause) . A smart certificate will be winging its way to Rick in the new year. Meanwhile here are a couple of photographs to complete his embarrassment.1. Steering us across the Ouse Aqueduct (May)
2. Demonstrating the new steerers seat (October)
3. Helping with the washing up! (is there no end to his talents?) (January)
I'm really glad I changed the engine anti freeze recently, but I'm always a bit nervous about the domestic water pipes even though I turned off the main cock and opened the taps before we left last time. Realistically though, the pipes (which are plastic and can expand a bit) are all inside the boat's insulation layer and are also at least a foot below the water line so I reckon the likelihood of them freezing is not high. Let's hope I don't have to eat my words in a future post!
A trip out in Herbie with friends is planned in a couple of weeks time. Sadly we won't be able to cruise down to the Fox at Hanwell (an ideal short overnight trip) because the locks are closed for repairs.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
1. The lockside shop at Denham Deep Lock on the GU. Hidden at the back of the lock cottage where you can not only get an ice cream, but also lovely home made jams and chutneys.
2. Tradline Fenders at Braunston. They sell every kind of rope, shackle, cleat, pulley etc etc you can think of. They'll splice eyes on ropes while you wait and dispense all kinds of advice. We got good service and a bargain set of centre ropes. I feare thoug that they are not fully eligible because we went there by car, not on Herbie.
3. The ironmongers (I've forgotten their name) in Fenny Stratford. Not only have they got everything you can think of in ther hardware line, but they are really helpful and jolly with it. "Mops, have I got mops? I've got more mops than you can shake a stick at. What do you want 12oz head or 8oz head? Shall I fit a handle on for you? . . . " Screws, nuts bolts, taps, dies, the lot, and all come singly, no having to buy pre-packs. If you want one 6mm stainless screw, you can have one - for a few pence.
4. Uxbridge Boat Services -chandlery - because you can moor outside and they seem to have three sorts of everything
5. Camden market - hundreds of shops really, but all individual, amazing stuff, and very friendly. You can moor up 50 yards away.
And the winner is . . . .roll of drums . . . .
The ironmongers. An old fashioned shop with good old fashioned service. Not many of 'em left!
When I can remember their name, I'll post it here.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Lots of home comforts like microwaves and dishwashers? - NO
Bare bones traditionality? - not really -our boat carries people, not coal.
Fancy paintwork? NO, not if overdone
Smart paintwork -YES _ like grey with black trim best of all.
Comfortable accommodation - YES
A nice sounding engine -YES
Character - YES YES
Good lines - low profile, nice shaped bow
So what have we seen that fits the bill?
Albion Mills - a 47ft(?) tug that moors at Cowroast. I think it has a Gardner engine (chug chug). Grey and black, lovely lines. Living space a bit confined I suppose
The Old Bovine, belonging to our friends Ray and Leon - looks traddy but isn't. Immaculate paintwork. Smart and cosy within.
Saul, a tug style boat built I think by WE Davies. We moored next to her in September. Black and grey, chug chug engine, lovely lines, spacious accommodation (if you don’t mind a double bed squeezed under the big (enough to be a patio) foredeck.
Farnworth - a Liverpool short boat I think. Wide beam. Gaily, but smartly painted. Moored at Rickmansworth. Has had a very 20th century conversion to a liveboard so wouldn't delight a taditionalist. If wanted to live aboard but not move much it would do me.
Sadly, we don't have photos of all of them. If we see them next year I'll rectify that.