Hooray and Up She Rises

"Southam" took a dip whilst tied at the Heritage Boatyard. That was Friday morning. Now, Sunday, she's up again thanks to Kim, Stephan and a few pumps. She's not taking on a huge amount of water but one of her pumps has stopped working. I think that's what caused the problem. I got there just a bit too late on Friday to prevent her going down.

A Day at the Boatyard

Today we sold the wheelchair lift that we didn't use on "Hazel". It came from the old "Still Waters", built by Cammell Lairds apprentices, which sank and was sold off. The new owners donated the lift, but it needed a lot of work. We got given a better (unused) one later. It's gone to Lincoln to be refurbished.

As we needed some muscle to shift the lift I invited people to come and help. Aaron, Tony and Kim came along and we spent the rest of the day tidying and sorting out the yard. Still plenty to do but sales of surplus tackle are gradually clearing space.

We stacked a pile of cabin building timber on top of one of the containers. This is Leylandii, surprisingly, though I don't much like the tree, it produces good, rot resistant timber. This lot came from a friend's garden in South Manchester. It was felled by the excellent tree surgeon Joe Hodgson and planked at a local fence manufacturer. There's a pile of smaller wood to collect for keeping us warm when we get a chance, and Joe has another bug tree to fell there, which may yield more useful timber.

Hazel on Dock

"Hazel" is on dock for a fortnight for a general overhaul. On the outside she's getting extra ice plates as some of the original ones ended up underwater. Seams are being repitched and the caulking hardened up on one seam, a bit of damaged shoeing repaired and a general tarring. Andrea came and helped on Monday. Inside Tony and Aaron are repainting and we've taken the floorboards out to be oiledAaron and Tony busy inside the boat.

A Day at Knowl St Heritage Boatyard

Yesterday I was working at Knowl St along with Dave, Kim  and Stewart. I was mostly tidying up after the gales. Dave was welding various items for "Hazel" and "Forget me Not". Kim was renovating "Southam"s big ex army range and Stewart was making replacement sections for "Forget me Not"s temporary deck. There was a bitter cold East wind but we enjoyed our work in spite of this.

Dave welding "Forget me Not"s exhaust pipe.

Stewart with the deck sections he's made.

"Southam"s range.

Where Has All the Water gone?

On wednesday the water at Knowl St was nearly over the copings, on Thursday it was down so that "Hazel" was sat on the bottom, thpogh I estimated that we'd be able to get her afloat with a struggle. Friday morning  the water was well down and the boat tipped at an unpleasant angle. Two men in yellow jackets came down the towpath so I asked them if they knew what was going on. They said it was because of the work at lock 8, regating. they were on their way to lock 7 to let more water out. It was going to be like this for a

fortnight. This is a problem as "Hazel" has an appointment with Santa at Armentierres Square next Saturday.

One of the men got on the 'phone to his gaffer. He re-assured me that as soon as they had been able to get the stop planks in on the bottom gates the level would be allowed to rise again.

Later in the day our shop got a call from a neighbour who was concerned about the angle that "Hazel" was lying at. I cycled up there again to find the water a lot lower and the boat at more of an angle. I put out a couple of extra restraining lines to the timberheads as I was beginning to have a niggling worry that if the water got much lower she could roll over as she seems to be sitting on the edge of a ledge. With this done I rode up to the work site to see what was going on. They had stop planks in but were struggling to get them to seal. The workmen assured me that the level would rise again over the next couple of days, however, they've taken a plank out of a weir that overflows into the river and they're not going to put this back in, so the level will remain about a foot down. I think we'll be able to get off at a foot down but I'm dubious about winding at Mottram Road as that winding hole is shallow at the best of times.

The pound above lock 8 is also partially drained, which probably explains the excess of water on wednesday.

Boating, Hedgeing and celebrating Samhain.

Winter's a comin in. The stoppage season has begun and, as "Hazel" has to be in Stalybridge at the end of November and lock 1W is shut for the whole month, she has to go now. It was Friday 28th October that we towed her up the 7 locks to the Heritage Boatyard where we're still not supposed to tie up.

I invited lots of people for the trip up the locks expecting most people not to show up. Nearly everyone did come so it was a bit hectic looking after so many newcomers on the locks, which is why I didn't get round to taking any pictures.

The prickly Pyracanthas in the front garden needed some severe pruning and we had a pile more from last year to deal with and it's Samhain, the pagan festival to celebrate the departure of the Sun. What better excuse for a good fire.

We worked hard on the Saturday, Tony, Aaron and me, cutting back the flesh ripping bushes and dragging the resulting brash down on to the slip, then loading it on to "Forget me Not".

Sunday afternoon we worked "Forget me Not" down the locks again to tie abreast of "Lilith" at Portland Basin.

At 4 PM on Monday 31st, me, Aaron and Tony took the boat up to a spot on the Peak Forest where there's a big area of Himalayan Balsam. We worked hard in the gathering darkness to get the brash unloaded and built into a bonfire. Pyracanthus is vicious stuff. I got some special thick gloves for handling it but it stabbed right through them.

With the bonfire built I went off to fetch Em and people started to turn up. I donned my wizard's hat  and returned to the scene to ignite the fire with my magic shaft.

Charlotte took these pictures. It was a really enjoyable evening with cake and nice people.

I had intended to take the boat back that night but it got late and I got tired so I decided to stay on board and move the boat in the morning.
This is "Forget me Not"s back cabin in the early morning.

Once more with flash!

A new tree will be planted on the site of the fire, a sort of phoenix tree, growing from the ashes.

Building the wood shelter 25th November 2009

2009-11-25 @ 20:41:45 by ashtonboatman

Building the wood shelter.

Today was my day at the Heritage Boatyard in Stalybridge. It was raining on and off but I enjoyed working on the wood shelter. It's nice to be getting the useful timber into some kind of order, so that we can find it when we want it, and out of the rain, so that it lasts until we need it.

Ken Lee was there dismantling the big pallets that we're building the shelter from. Laurence Sullivan repaired the lights on the market trailer.

There's been a hold up on sorting the slipway area out. We were digging out clay and delivering it to The Mount where they were building a demonstration straw bale building. The clay was needed to plaster over the bales. It was nearly finished when some nasty person set fire to it. I'm waiting to hear from Deramore who is the main man there to see what they're going to do next and whether they will need more clay.

Digging at the Heritage Boatyard 18th October 2009

2009-10-18 @ 18:21:38 by ashtonboatman

Digging at the Heritage Boatyard

A good day today. It was a working party at Knowl St. Ike and Stan were re-organising boat ironwork etc, Gordon, returned after a long sojourn in Bacup, was building the wood store. Bex was busy denailing timber for Gordon to use. A new volunteer, Anthony, was working with me on digging out clay. About half a mile away there's a project to build straw houses which have to be sealed with clay. We have lots of clay that we don't want, so we're digging it out and taking it to them.

Sadly the straw houses were destroyed by vandals but here's some more projects by the same architect, Deramore Hutchcroft.


First of October 2011

First of October

October 1st, and already its hitting records for October temperatures. In the blazing sun plenty of volunteers turned up to work on Hazel. The work is still mostly stripping down. A frame has been built to support the conversion whilst the boat is removed from beneath it. After me and Stuart, Tom Kitching http://www.tomkitching.co.uk/ was the first to arrive and we had a good tidy up of the slip as it had become cluttered with old sideplanks. Ryan Hinds and Pete Nicholson http://www.assuredfinefurniture.co.uk/ arrived at about the same time. Me, Tom and Pete went off in the van towing the trailer to the Ashton Packet Boat Co http://www.penninewaterways.co.uk/ashton/ac8a.htm to deliver a generator and collect a table saw.

Another van trip followed as there was a huge display cabinet in the back which the previous days driver had been unable to deliver. Me and Ryan had a pleasant ride out into the countryside over the Monks Road

enjoying spectacular views and lively conversation.

When we got back there was even less of Hazel left. I started taking information off the old sternpost ready to make a new one. Pete's wife, Frances, arrived and the worked together stripping down more sideplanking and recording bevels from the plank edges. Ryan sat and suffered in the sweltering October heat as he doesn't thrive in hot weather. By the end of the day, the conversion was free and Stuart had started removing the top strake and lining plank and ripping out iron knees.