Monday, 29 December 2008

We wish you merry tidings of comfort and mangers, three ships and auld jingle santa babies &c.

Merry Christmas to all!

It's a bit belated; we've been to a wedding- where Amy managed to upstage the bride in my eyes at least. We've been to see various assorted relations in my family, including our Most Avid Blog Readers (hello!) and also saw various sights in Yorkshire at the wedding, including the Standedge Tunnel (which is FAR quicker by train!) and the Rochdale Canal in the centre of Manchester, where we stopped on the way back by train.

All in all, a hectic few days- a more detailed update will hopefully follow shortly.

And, hopefully, the Duck will still be afloat on our return- I played around with bits of cork, tinfoil and wire to make an automatic switch for the bilge pump, before giving up, going to Ely and buying a proper Rule switch from the swindlery- sorry, Chandlery. The stern gland has been weeping a bit, and leaving the boat unattended for a few days could have ended up with a damp engine bilge if we'd not been around to pump it out, hence the switch.

I'm sitting in my brother's lovely room and typing this on a somewhat swish Macbook Pro. Apparently it's called Adam. He's pestering me to mention him, so there it was.

Happy New Year to all- though, hopefully, there will be one last post for 2008 to come.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Another Cambridge blogger...

nb Kestrel recently alerted us to the existence of another Cam narrowboat blogger: nb Nooksak

Alas, they are selling their boat, but its a great blog, not just about boating either! I wonder if there are any more undercover Cam bloggers? Certainly some of out neighbours read ours, as a shout out across the river from NB Zinfandel revealed recently. (They have a website, since they have been hiring out their boat, but alas, not a blog)

Fame (but not fortune)

Co-incidentally we are referenced in two waterways publications this month: Bones' column in Canal Boat, in which she mentions our bedroom, and Canals and Rivers where two of our photos from the blog (from when we blacked the Duck ourselves) have been used to illustrate an article on Budget Boating. How appropriate! 

There is also a possibility of an article for Waterways World, on breaking down... we'll keep you updated on that!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Generating Christmas Cheer

There are times when you have to acknowledge your debts, and we're massively indebted to Jim and Sarah. Not only did they live up to their advertised "Towage and Steerage", but they've now sold us a generator and charger for an extremely good price.

The laptop is currently being powered by 240v from the Honda EX650 generator and the batteries are being charged at the same time. Our lovely new toys were handed over last night, when the Moomins (Simon and Ann) gave us a lift up to Bill Fen to see the Warriors (Jim and Sarah). We had a very nice evening, with mulled wine and seasonal goodies on Warrior and several rounds of falling down water in Ramsey's pubs followed by fish and CHIPS on nb Melaluca.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Deck the Duck with Boughs of Holly

Well, it's that time of the year again.

I wanted to tape a single, solitary humbug to the bow fender, but was over-ruled by Ms. "Sparkly" Tillson and her desire to fill the Duck with paperchains, baubles, and the aroma of baking. I bought a tree at a local B&Q and carried it back to the boat- they're heavier than they look, are christmas trees!- and picked needles out of my jumper for a few days afterwards. Unfortunately, the tree's at a slight angle in the pot; but then, our walls aren't vertical either, so it doesn't really matter.

Amy and Emma went out to Ely and pillaged a Woolworth's for decorations, and came back laden with diesel (80p per litre!) and a bag full of colour-co-ordinating baubles, beads, and tinsel.

The duck on top of the tree finishes it off....

Amy also returned with battery powered LED lights. They looked clear in the box, but when turned on are actually a horrible green colour. They've been relegated to the cratch; the next stage is to buy some red ones, so we can have festive navigation fairy lights...

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Early morning on the Cam

Sunrise and a scull through a fogged up kitchen window this morning.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

My New Bike!

I only paid £25 in the end, as well. This should help to reduce journey times when out in the fens, and better still, its pink, so James won't steal it!

Shopping List

Now we have been paid, we need to prioritise our spendings.

The electrical system is the biggest problem at the moment, so ideally we'd replace the batteries, get a new charger and another alternator (so we can charge starter and leisure batteries simultaneously). A small petrol generator also comes high on the list. But first we'll probably get a SmartGauge, so we can keep a better eye on the batteries we have and hopefully make them last longer. We were thinking about a bigger inverter but we really don't need one, since we don't want to run anything with a particularly high wattage.

I think we both know what our Christmas presents from each other are going to be this year!