Grace @rigdenage

Shakedown and settling in

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First days

1 June - getting set up

The chaos gets worse before it gets better, as we move in our stuff which doesn't yet have anywhere to go. But that pink has to go sooner rather than later!

The boat is oddly 'tender', wobbly - not at all like narrowboats we've used before. Chris has felt quite queasy since arriving.

2 June - shakdown 'cruise'

From Brinklow to Tesco and back! Just about an hour, each way. Stopped for the night because there is a nice park there. Terry took advantage of being able to get access to the other side, to continue removing the old boat name. A little T-cut removed the slight fading and it was ready for the new name - whenever we could get it.

3 June - Nuneaton Br 27

Went up to Nuneaton to meet with friends. Discovered the inverter doesn't work, so had long discussions with Rose Boats on the way, to assess options. Takes an awfully long while to get through Nuneaton, quite late mooring up.

Because of inverter not working, breadmaker is now dead. Also, I can only use my PC while the engine is running (Travelpower) or when hooked up at the marina.

4 June - Back to Ansty

While by Springwood marina, discussed with them about a kitchen cupboard and other woodwork. Terry got some dri-deck. Playing with ballast to improve the trim. All sorts of stuff to think about! Must get some more photos - sorry!

Second visit

19 June - major hurdles

The stressy jobs are done now (famous last words?).

We arrived back on Grace with a car packed even more full than before - where does it all go? Much of it is DIY stuff which will go back home when we're done. There is a long list of things we want to do. We've also brought a couple chairs while we await a new settee.

Today, Terry has successfully :

Terry will be fitting a beech cutlery tray as a drawer above the fridge, so ventilators need to be added at the back of the breakfast bar to compensate. Shelves for the wardrobe, and for the kitchen, and all sorts of fun we've got planned!

We are hoping to get to Wheaton Aston in order to meet up with Terry's parents, and my challenge is to get the curtains made before then...

22 June - Rugeley to Acton Trussel

Phew! The days are so full, and yet time goes so slowly. "Who knows where the time goes". More jobs done on the boat. I actually got the curtains made and hung - although I want to change the silver rods for something wood-coloured. The terracotta looks right at home with the beech walls. We've also replaced the glass shower screen with a fabric shower curtain, and moved the mirrored bathroom cabinet to over the sink, putting a shelf where it was behind the toilet.

transitional arrangements    transitional kitchen close-up   Work in progress...

It's not all hard work. We met up with Bob on Nomad Dream on our way up the Coventry canal, and that night connected with Graham and Brenda on Jannock for a couple evenings of chat (19, 20 June). Last night (21 June) we stopped at The Taft to see Julie and Peter and moor at the end of their garden. A couple swans live there too, and this morning I got a picture of one splashing about. At lunchtime we passed Tixel Wide, and on such a glorious day we simply had to stop for lunch by the towpath.

socialising with graham & brenda   swan splashing about at Taft   stopping for lunch by Tixel Wide  Still lunching!

And of course there is the cruising. Managing to fit some in, between the DIY and socialising. Meeting up with Terry's parents tomorrow, but only going as far as Penkridge - 10 extra miles for them, 1.5 days less for us! This evening Terry is working hard on shelves for the wardrobe - says it's the loveliest place he's ever done woodwork! Chris has new pull-outs for the kitchen, too.

Terry at the helm   Chris taking a turn   Terry working on wardrobe shelves in a natural environment...

28 June - Acton Trussel to Hopwas

We enjoyed meeting up with Terry's parents in Penkridge on the 24th, which also seems to be the start of the hot weather. Heading north again from there, had an interesting encounter with 5 guys from "the church at junction 10". They had helped us out at a lock, and I said if they caught us up they could have a cup of tea. They were canoeing and it was getting chilly by the time they reached us beyond Acton Trussel, so the tea was welcome.

Terry got one of the pull-out units fitted, and we've decided we may not want the other after all. Gradually finding places for things. Have used the washing machine a couple times, taking advantage of the terrific weather.

A wonderful stop at Tixel Wide again (one of our favourite places on the system) on Thursday. We decided to go on to Weston, where we used to live in the 70s, and go on to Stone Friday. Special treat, Staffordshire oatcakes! Also got lettering cut for the registration number and our names. <must get a photo for this>

A snapshot of a bit of Julie's garden at The TaftWe headed for Rugeley to stop for Sat night with our friends Peter and Julie at The Taft. Did a load of washing there, courtesy of their boaters' facilities, and dried the sheets (which are a handful on the boat). Encountered the Keens on Jannock again, as they passed on their way north, before being called to the table for barbecued fillet steak. :-) Terry has scrounged some bits of railway line for ballast... but they are so heavy that using them may be more of a challenge than expected!

We joined Julie and Peter at their church for the Eight O'clock service, which was refreshing, and then headed off again. Need to get back to Brinklow Marine Services who are building us another cupboard on Wednesday. Then to the marina to receive a new sofa and get ready for the gathering on Saturday.

1 July - Hopwas to Brinklow

Coming back to BrinklowBack at base today, nice to be 'home' actually. Wide and open, lovely views, electricity & water on tap. It has been rather hot, and the breeze here is welcome.

Atherstone (Monday) was relatively quick, met a number of working boats heading the other way and benefited from the extra crew. Had a nice visit with Bob & Rachel on Nomad Dream, yesterday (Tuesday) - towpath lunch under a shady tree! Then up to Stretton Wharf in preparation for work today (Wednesday). Never realised just how far that arm of the canal goes! Brinklow Boat Services is a real find for all sorts of good work on boats, and there are other useful companies on the same site.

   - We had new shelves built for the kitchen, to match existing - great job!
   - Got a 'cavitation plate' fitted at the stern
   - Had a T-stud welded onto the centre of the roof - great practical value, low cost
   - Got 'Grace' cut from vinyl at a bargain price

New shelves to match existing kitchen cupboard - or they will do when the wood has aged a bit!   A cavitation plate reduces the amount of air around the prop, increasing its effectiveness   The new vinyl 'signwriting' for Grace

Low lights:
   - Too hot
   - Just heard the sofa we ordered can't be delivered Friday after all, we may cancel
   - The vinyl 'Grace' looks a little amateur (close up), but so cheap it's fine as 'proof of concept'
   - The 2nd side should go on better than the first, now we've been told the technique!

2 July - Brinklow and Rugby

How things can change overnight! We were pottering about the boat at the marina, doing this and that, and while filling the water tank discovered water trickling across the floor. Not good and not standard. Terry scrambled to clear up and dry out what he could. A helpful boat builder discussed things with him, and weighed up the options. Looks like the inlet pipe needs fixing, and was never right since new. Might explain the wobbly motion.

On the way to Tesco this afternoon, we stopped at Lime Farm Marina to fill up on diesel, and while there they cut an inspection point into the floor and wet-vac'd 25 gallons out of the under-floor space! No wonder Chris has been queasy and the trim not right.

Meanwhile, Chris was dashing about with errands, chief of which was picking up the remainder of our signwriting. We applied it this evening, so we now have 'Grace' on both sides.

A long hot day, and much to do to prepare for friends on Saturday - need to get Grace looking smart! So need to get to bed tonight.

4 July - open boat

Still no mains electric, so can't log on while out of base and stationary.

Sorry, forgot the camera! But had a great day with our friends. 12 came, and our mooring at Brownsover meant plenty of room to sit out in the sunshine and have lunch, which was buffet style on the breakfast bar.

David and Heather had to leave early, but the rest of us trundled down to Hillmorton, stopped for icecreams, and trundled back. Very strange feel to the boat, with 12 aboard! Mad Doctor Bob was seen to climb up a bridge along the outside, but when we grounded on an obstruction in the canal, he was ideal crew for poling us off.

So a great day was had by all, and ready to pack up and go home tomorrow. Meanwhile Terry made the inspection hole bigger, and mopped up more water from the cabin bilge, and continues to fret about a hull full of water.


Grace pages established 2009, updated 2013