It’s been a while since I wrote much as not much of note seems to have happened on the boat. Off the boat I did make a trip home to Canada for a couple of weeks, which was amazing. With all the chaos in the world of airlines and airports, my trip was a dream. Just a couple of short delays, and with no checked bags, I actually arrived home earlier than planned!

Being away has taken on a new dimension so the visit was important, lovely, and too short. I still absolutely love my time on the canal, the gentle cruising and placid pace, but it’s much harder to be away.

But this blog is about narrowboating, so here’s some narrowboating news. As many have probably heard, the UK had a very unusual heat wave pass through. I had seen it coming (on the news, the weather forecasts, and the chicken bones) so I did some pre-oven sleuthing. I checked Google Earth and managed to find a spot not far away where the canal was completely overtopped by a couple of huge trees. I got there, tied up, and put up my sun shade umbrella. With lots of solar power I set up my large fan as well as a small rechargeable one. I was prepared.. (oh, and made lots of ice cubes for the G&Ts)

Altogether, I survived the heat adequately. I got some more painting done, touchups and hidden spots. There are always plenty of jobs to do on a boat of any sort, but a great heavy steel lump offers lots of extra rusty bits to grind, sand, and paint. Over and over and over. Sure glad it’s not salt water…

Almost immediately after the heat wave ended, it suddenly became a typical English summer. Which means rain. Daily. Not a lot, just enough to be a bit annoying. So the second brolly came into use! I find that if I’m cruising when the rain starts, it’s best to get out the umbrella and persevere. It usually stops pretty quickly. I have a large golfing one which works a treat (as they say). And it has seen considerable use in the last week or so…

The third brolly in this saga was less welcome. Cruising along a shallow and narrow waterway, frequented by many other boats, it’s not unusual to pick up weeds or other strange items on the propeller. Narrowboats have a small hatch (‘weed hatch”) just above the prop, for the express purpose of clearing any debris without having to pull the boat out of the water or go diving. In this case it was a bit more complicated. The wires of this particular umbrella were too tough to cut with the tools I had, and the nylon was very tightly wrapped and intertwined. I actually thought that I might not be able to remove it without help, or at least hiking to a distant town to buy bigger cutters and going into the water (yuck).

To make a long story short, after much pulling, tearing, swearing, and prying, I managed to free the propeller…

After all that, it’s been simple. I’ve retraced my route from previous years to arrive at my favourite canal destination, Llangollen, Wales. I love it here and can truly relax and enjoy…if only the sun would return.

7 Replies to “Brolly tales”

  1. Enjoyed reading your latest update. Seems like water jet propulsion for narrowboats would solve the problem of the prop collecting brollies and a vast array of other debris. But, I’ve never heard of any effort in that direction. Perhaps there are downsides to that approach that I’m not aware of. It would also help with steering since the nozzle could swivel. Keep on chugging…

    1. No doubt that would be an improvement for propulsion but the canal bottom is lined with clay to keep it watertight (shoveled in by hand 200+ years ago!). A jet would likely scour it too much. Also, the intake would be tough to filter, still need to pump the water somehow.

  2. Oh yay! You’re not far from us. I have a feeling you’ve passed us or the other way around recently but we’ve not recognised each other?? We’re currently moored at The Poachers, near Chirk, and very slowly making our way towards Llangollen. Hopefully we’ll connect soon …

    1. Oh no, we must have passed! I left poachers just after lunch today! I’m heading down…

  3. Thank goodness you had ice for your G and T – that would have been a disaster! On a serious note that brolly in your weed hatch was a nightmare, well done!

    1. Thank you, I really thought at some point that I’d spend the rest of my days with my hands down the we’d hatch!

      Yes, the ice is a treat!

Leave a Reply to Doug Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.