Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Monday, 30 May 2011

Lock Marathon

Kiveton Park to Manton
It's amazing what having a couple of extra crew does!
The weather was cloudy with some showers, it wasn't an early start, about 9.45am. So we set off, with good teamwork, working padlocks, paddles, lockgates and setting the locks ahead. We only passed 3 boats all day, 2 of those were locking up together.
Canal cottages at Turnerwood

We had a break at Turnerwood where there was a little kiosk selling delicious ice creams.
Mr Swan warning us to keep away from Mrs Swan and her nest.

Then back into our routine and down to Worksop where we stopped at the Lock keeper pub, making a quick dash to Sainsbury's for milk, then Hot Dogs for lunch, rather late, about 4pm.
One of the sets of treble locks
Instruction boards to make sure there are no mistakes
We moved off again and moored at Manton about 6.30pm.
Looking back up the locks
Time for a rest
We've wound a lot of these today
We had only covered about 8 miles but had worked 34 locks. So a marathon 42 lock miles in about 7 hours.  Well done girls.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Shireoaks, Oxford, Sidcup, Horam

Lots of miles clocked up on our trip to Oxford to pick up J from Uni with all his belongings, his first year is over already. Then on to Sidcup to visit Ian's parents in the nursing home, before going back to Horam where we stayed in Karen's parents home.
Thursday morning I visited Reception Class at the school where I worked, it was great to see everyone there and catch up with their news.
Friday we made the return trip with L and J for the half-term holiday.
Willing crew on the locks from Shireoaks to the top of the canal at Norwood Tunnel, Kiveton Park.
We got to the top early afternoon, but Ian wasn't satisfied with having to wind (turn) the boat so far from the bricked up tunnel. So we backed the boat up to the end, in reverse with Ian using the pole to steer.
This is the way to do it.
That's as far as we can go.
The bricked up entrance
This little fella we met on the way, a bit camera shy.
Mandarin Duck


We have had a busy week since my last post, covering a few hundred car miles and quite a few lock miles.
On Monday afternoon we reached Shireoaks Marina after repeated warnings not to stop in Worksop. Here we were advised by one of the long-term moorers that we could safely and legitimately? leave Tacet on the reserved moorings where the usual occupant was away. We were going to return to Sussex for a few days. So that is what we did. We had a hire car arranged for Wednesday morning.
So on Tuesday we walked the 2 miles back into Worksop, the weather was lovely and warm with a bit of a breeze still. We had a look round and lunch in a cafe, good traditional home cooked food. Then we were ready for the walk back.
Once back there was time for a little more painting, polishing, and packing to go away.
Jumble helping to clean out the cupboard.
Think I'll stay here.
Shireoaks Marina has been cut out of part of the old coal mine site. The colliery was working here 'til 1990, the spoil heap is now planted up with trees providing good dog walking areas with concrete pillars to show where mineshafts are. 

The village has row of mine-workers cottages and the church has a miner's lamp hanging over the pulpit.
There is a station here too.
Looking back along track to Worksop
A nice little village.
Ian and Karen

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Tidal Trent Again

Internet connection has been slow for a few days so unable to up load pictures. Ready to catch up now.
Thursday evening we moored again in Saxilby. Where we found a Chinese take-away, which made a welcome change.
The painting is now finished so Tacet is looking good. Not been through any locks yet though.
Friday morning we were heading for Torksey Lock and the Trent for 11am, high tide, to make our way down to the Chesterfield Canal. So it was leaving the long straight Fossdyke and Witham Navigation with its deep channels and flat landscapes onto the busy, rushing river once again.
Anchor at the ready, just in case.
We made the journey in the company of nb Phyllis May II, owned by the Darlingtons. Terry wrote Narrow dog to Carcassonne about their adventure taking their first boat Phyllis May over the channel to France and down to the Mediterranean. Good read if you've not read it yet.
The river is wide with few bridges crossing it. This one is at Gainsborough.
Another wide straight section. Although it was windy, the boat was stable, until we passed another boat going in the opposite direction, then it dipped up and down over their wash. Ooer I don't like that.
Along the way we met lots of Sand Martins swooping over the water for flies and water and then flying back to their nest holes in the bank. They must have young in there.
It was a great relief to get back on to the calm, still, gentle waters of the canal again. So much more relaxing.
This is what we like.
Now a fisherman's tale of The One That Got Away.
Just as we were looking for a place to moor for the night, we spotted this cormorant with an eel.  He was having a job keeping hold of it, 
The eel was giving a good attempt at getting away,
After diving down in the water, the cormorant got a better grip,
Then as we passed he dropped the eel, then flew off. No supper for the cormorant and free to live another day for the eel. Who do you feel sorry/pleased for?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


After 24 hours I turned my wild flower and sugar mixture into syrup. Here's the result. 
I didn't have any bottles I could sterilise on the boat so I've put into jam jars.
And for pudding tonight we had plums lightly poached in Wild Flower Syrup. Yummy.

Oh, by the way, the rest of the day has been spent painting and dodging showers. Photos tomorrow.

Painting and Pottering

What have we been up to today.....  (edit..yesterday actually as internet went down before I could post this)
Well here's the clue, it's been a work day today.  See we do have to work sometimes!
Over the past week whenever we have been at a suitable pontoon where we can access the side of the boat, we (that is Ian) has been angle grinding, rubbing down, rust proofing and priming the sides of the boat below the gunwhales (where you walk along the side, for you landlubbers). This is how they looked this morning after a quick wash down.
A bit more sanding, jolly useful tool that electric orbital sander, does a good job. Jumble loaned his bedding as the deck is a bit rough on the knees.
Ready for the 1st layer of undercoat, rather a bright blue, but we're not finished yet.
Nearly at the end, well 1st coat, 1st side. Then we turned the boat and did the 2nd side, turned again and put 2nd coat on 1st side. Tomorrow we shall finish undercoating and start the top coat, hopefully the lovely midnight blue will match. The weather was just right, not too sunny, no rain, and not too windy. Hopefully it will stay the same tomorrow.
Jumble overseeing the work.
Then feeling inspired by Belle's blog I went foraging and came back with
elderflower, hawthorn blossom and roses from the hedgerows along the Water Rail Way beside the River Witham.
Layered the flowers with sugar. To be left 'til tomorrow.

Whilst washing up after dinner I saw a Barn Owl flying low over the opposite bank, quite early not even 8 o'clock, saw him again a bit later on. Could hear a cuckoo calling too. Lovely.
This evening we watched The Golden Age of Canals on iplayer, we're so glad those early restoration pioneers kept these lovely waterways from disappearing. What a great country we live in.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Boston and New York

Yes we have, we have been to Boston and New York!  Lincolnshire that is not Massachusetts.
Boston Stump, the Parish Church clearly visible for miles before you reach Boston, as the countryside is so flat.
The view from the tower is incredible, although it was windy up there I managed to get some photos without holding on too tightly.
This one looking up the river we could see Tacet moored there. Red arrow marks spot.
The Great Sluice, the lock that takes you down onto the tidal river, you have to get your timing right, 'cos this is what is on the other side.
But of course, someone was keen to go down to the new Black Sluice lock beyond, not me....
Caught unawares as I looked at the docks on the way to Black Sluice.
It was going to be tricky to tie up at this pontoon!
So we made do with walking down to see the lock with its quadrant gates.
Whilst on the drains we got as close as we could to New York, though not much to see from the navigation. But we've been to Boston and New York on our boat!
Ian and Karen

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Boater's Bread

Weather today has been very windy along the River Witham back into Lincoln.  Seemed a good idea to find things to do inside.  Brass needed polishing desperately so I got on with that. Very good, all shiny and clean. Then what..... I know, let's make some bread. There's flour we got from the windmill last week.  
Ta Daah
Now what, ah, the cake tin is almost empty, a carrot cake, that will go down well......
Ta Daah again
Now, we're nearly back, just done in time for Bardney Lock and then Stamp End, only got to find a mooring, not many visitor moorings in Lincoln.
Will put up pictures of Boston asap.

Down the Drains

We have been exploring some of the Witham Navigable Drains, off the River Witham between Lincoln and Boston.  These are man-made waterways dug to drain the fields of Lincolnshire making very rich fertile lands growing many food crops. The drains served two purposes, drainage for the fields and means of transport crops from the fields to the towns.
The bridges are low!  We only ventured onto the drains where the bridges were not marked as under 6'. 
Just made it!  Ian was there steering somehow.
Another one coming, this looks more like a tunnel.
It was longer than the boat, I guided the front making sure we didn't hit the cabin sides and Ian watched the back from his crouched position at the tiller. No bumps or scrapes. Phweh! But we have to turn round and go back again.
No, we didn't try that one.
Getting a bit narrow in places.
At the end of the Sleaford Navigation, Cobblers lock, not in use yet. So we turned in the winding hole....
......with difficulty, poles each end needed to push the boat round.  See the pile of reeds we had been pushing along.
Progress was very slow along here, but South Kyme village was pretty on the way through.