Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Once again I will start this blog with an apology for not updating the blog.
Narrowboat Oakfield has asked for an update of whether we are cruising yet...well we have now done our first proper cruise to the River Nene from the Middle Levels to give our boat a true test run.

Our first 2 months, what has seemed to be a constant wait for some problems, snagging and wet commisioning issues to be sorted, as well as battling with some very inclement weather, and with me spending countless hours with my head down in the engine bay doing gearbox oil changes. We now hope with fingers crossed & baited breath we are almost there.

One of our major problems has been coolant getting into the gearbox, and oil into the coolant from the gearbox oil cooler, we hope this is now sorted with a modified part from Beta. We would also like to thank Sam and Paul from Foxton Boat Services for their excellent service to get to the bottom of this problem over their several vists to our boat.

We have also been waiting for our hatch to be fitted.We requested one in our spec that would be easy to open and could be locked from the outside and this got overlooked during the build, We had a couple of weeks using a temporary wooden board substitute, whilst the hatch was taken away to be modified. This made the boat unsecure so we was limited to where we could go to, along with the gearbox spraying oil from the dipstick breather holes and oil resembling copydex glue.

The hatch now works brilliantly, and can be operated with one hand which was our original brief. I would strongly recommend anyone to consider a hatch that runs on bearings, as we had a larger hatch fitted to the shell they are quite a lump to move.

We now think we have calibrated all the gauges so hopefully can now monitor our levels, although the water gauge seems to be unaccurate by quite a margin, so we will have to look into that.

We have also had the boat lifted to get the gas locker vents welded at Foxes Boatyard, as we are an all electric boat these vents were not required, and we wanted this area as extra dry storage.

All credit to Foxes, boat was lifted at 8.00am and blanking plates welded and blacked and we were back in the water by 9.30am.

We are still awaiting the fitment of our auto start system for the generator, which was unavalable at launch.

We have a few vists from Fernwood as well as Procast to sort general snags and resealing of the portholes etc.

So Thanks to all concerned in getting to the bottom of these problems.

We have now received our BW Gold Licence and so we are now legal on the rivers and canals.

We will be returning to the Middle Level until all the closures on the Nene are completed and we can make our way up to the Grand Union.

All said and done we are loving our new life, and feel we can now start it....watch this space.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Top Up Time

Today we managed to go and get water and pumpout, so we can now shower without too much worry.

Had a visit today from a a guy from the middle level commision, he wanted to have a look at the inlet stream to the rear of the old pump house that is on the site at our mooring. He said that they had "lost a pump" the other night which was the reason for our severe rise of water level on Tuesday night. I think even he was surprised when I showed him how much the water had come up. It was good to know that this was a rarity rather than the norm which put our minds at rest.

Anyway getting set for a chillout weekend watching the 6 Nations Rugby but I am sure we will find plenty of chores to do as well. Just been having a look at the forecast and they reckon that it may get up to 7 degrees, so reckon I best dig out my shorts and get some BBQ Charcoal.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Neighbours become good friends!

Its started snowing, AGAIN! At least we have had some visitors to keep us happy. Hopefully, should get pictures of the rest of the abundant wildlife around here, if its like this now, what will it be like come spring!
This Kingfisher has been by a couple of times today, & seems to like swinging on the middle rope,he wont sit still for long enough for us to catch a photo though, but we will keep trying!
Dick's dad bought him a new axe today (thanks dad!) & he has been contentedly chopping away this afternoon. I think he has found his new place in life (Images pass through of my head of "Monty Python" & the "Lumberjack" song), but that's a story for another day.
Weather for Monday says it will be in double figures! That would be nice, think I have forgotten what that feels like, bet i'm not the only one! Bye for now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sleepless Night

Well I suppose it had to happen..after all the snow and the rain, along comes the thaw and some more rain. The result of this was we spent most of last night checking our mooring every 2 hours as the water rose very quickly. We were just a little worried that the levels may rise so much that the boat may go over our mooring poles and we may end up in the field.
We awoke this morning to find the level must have risen 3' to 3' 6" and our stern mooring was covered in about 3" of water.
This would not have bothered us that much, but we were expecting a vist from Paul of Foxton Boat Services to make a warranty repair to our engine, Paul needed to get on at the stern but luckily by the time he arrived the water had subsided enough so he could get aboard with dry feet.
Hopefully the replacement gearbox oil cooler will now solve our problems, but we will need to keep a check on the levels to see if it has cured the problem.
Our plan once this repair was made was to go to the waterpoint tomorrow and replenish water supplies and pumpout, but the high water has scuppered this as there is not enough headroom under the bridges so we will have to wait till the level drops.
Once again sorry no pictures but still having problems logging on to the blog, so just doing quick updates while we can get on.
Anyway levels seem to have dropped about 6" - 8" so hopefully we can have a restful night, and just listen to our resident owl, now that is what I call acceptable noise pollution!!!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Been A While

Well we did launch...sorry for not updating blog but having a real nightmare logging on to the blog.
Well the boat arrived and the launch went well if you want a few more pics of the launch follow the link on the previous comment's blog (thanks Dan & Kelly)
We didn't get to many pictures ourselves as yours truly had packed the memory card for the camera...Well there was a lot going on that day!

As you can see by the time the boat was on the water light was fading fast, so only time for basic checks and tie up for the night. We decided to give Fernwood a bit of space to do the commissioning and not move our stuff on till the weekend.
We moved the boat up on to our mooring on Saturday.
Ken came with us on our trip up to our mooring on our maiden cruise (which takes about an hour) and the boat handled and performed well.
We then spent the Sunday moving our stuff onto the boat. Well we thought we had paired our belongings down to a minimum but its not till you move onto a boat you realise how much stuff you have, but we got there in the end and now we are just through the learning phase of remembering where we put everything (and keeping up where Netty has since moved things to from the last time I looked).
Well what a baptism of fire our first few weeks has been..Snow, Ice, Torrential Rain but do you know what, we are loving it. If anyone says we have gone for the relaxing easy option I am not sure we would agree, but the lifestyle is great, it is so quiet on our mooring, this is where we will stay till end of March (not that we have much choice but stay at the moment).
Obviously, we have been having a few snagging problems which we are working through with the builder at the moment. Hopefully, they will all get resolved before our off.
We are working a little blind at the moment as we have no diesel or water gauges, and not being used to the boat are a little unsure of how we are doing in these areas. The main problem is that we cannot calibrate the fuel tanks till they are full. We can dip the main tank but the water and heating tanks have flexible fillers so this isn't possible.
The stove "The Hotpod" is performing well and keeping us well toasty, in fact we have just reached 23 degrees (but we are starting to learn how to control it). The stove is a welcome feature when you have been outside chopping logs etc. and the ever warm kettle soons boils when we put it on the top of the stove.
Wildlife is abundant here, we have seen partridges, a marsh harrier, kingfishers, wrens, robins, swans, coots and moorhens and have been told that last year they had a flock of ring necked parakeets here, as well as our resident barn owl being quite vocal on some nights.

We have slept really well on the boat (tip to anyone get a memory foam mattress) but last night was a little disturbed due to the high winds, we awoke this morning to find the river had risen approx 2' so we are now stepping down to the mooring rather than up.
Hoping to go and replenish water and pumpout on Friday.
Anyway hoping not to leave it so long till the next blog.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Launch Day

Very quick blog before we shoot over to Fernwood, Well it has finally arrived, today is the day that we launch. We are a bit worried about the weather, especially the wind but hopefully all will go well.
Pictures to follow.....

Friday, January 16, 2009


First off apologies no pictures, but when we went over to the builders we couldn't get onboard as they were varnishing the floors, so we could only peek through portholes and the side hatch on tip toes. The plus side of our visit was that we now have a launch date of the 22nd January. This is hard to believe, as they still have a lot to do, but Fernwood reckon they will get there.

The boat is looking fantastic, even in her very dusty state. The main flurry of activity being in the engine room, with the fitment of engine and the generator, and what seems like a lot of electrics, but I am sure we will soon learn what all the switches etc do. This area is going to be pretty cramped with all the items contained in there, but to be honest, has worked out better than we imagined.

We have:-
Batteries (x8) 6 domestic 1 engine start and 1 generator start
Hydraulic Tank for the Bow Thruster
Seperate Diesel tank for the heating/generator
Eiberspacher boiler
Several switch panels and tank gauges.
All in about 7' of space! which is pretty impresive. I think it shouldn't be too bad for access for servicing, but ask me in a few months I may have changed my mind.

Today has been about sorting out van hire and insurance etc.
We still can't believe that D day is approaching, and are going through pretty much the whole range of emotions, but just cant wait to get afloat. It has been a long process, but to be honest, we don't think we would have changed that, as it has given us time to think long and hard about fixtures, fittings, layout etc.

Fingers crossed for the weather now!! and we will let you know how it goes.