Thursday, 8 September 2011

Sarah Caplin

Ever heard of Sarah Caplin? She was recently fired for being a bully.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


Wow, almost a year since I posted an update.... "slacking" is an understatement.

Fear not though, girlonthewater is still girl on the water, albeit slightly less so these days.

After a year and a half mooring in Sheffield basin / Tinsley marina, I decided that the Sheffield and South Yorkshire navigation is perhaps not for me in the long term. It's certainly different, but so is artichoke - and I don't really care for that more than once in a blue moon either!

The Sheffield and South Yorkshire navigation certainly has character, if abandoned shopping trolleys, carling cans and crisp packets are your idea of picturesque scenery. I'm glad that I came to Sheffield, but itchy feet have got the better of me, and Muddy Waters is now off on adventures in search of pastures new (or perhaps old, time will tell!).

The waterways up here have opened my eyes to how the canals were used by industry in days gone by. An old abandoned steelworks on the river near Rotherham became a favourite unofficial mooring for a short while, ideal for scenic lunchtime stop-offs before facing the wrath of Rotherham itself. In 1.5 years, I have also seen the other side of the waterways up here - locks excluded from the public with prison style fencing, presumably to keep the local dirt-biking towpath youth (of which I encountered several) from vandalising the locks; teenagers with nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon than throw stones from bridges at passing narrowboats; youngsters whose weekday evenings include untying boats in the name of "fun". Perhaps I'm being overly negative, looking back fondly at the pretty narrow canals of the Midlands, but I think it's time to give them another try. It's not that I dislike the waterways up here, but I think I've had my fill of them for now at least.

To end on a more positive note, we've spent the last few very enjoyable weekends on the boat making our way back to the Trent and plan to explore a lot of unknown territory by narrowboat this summer. The boy and I are still very happily together, and adventure awaits.

More soon!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Pram hoods?

OK, random post for all the boaters out there...

Since moving oop North, I have made an observation. There are LOADS more narrowboats up here with pram hoods (y'know, the ugly canvas things that conventiently cover the stern + steerer when it rains) than there are in the midlands.

Now, I realise that pram hoods have their obvious benefits in the great old British weather, but is there a reason that they are so much more common up here? It feels like I am almost the only one without one! Is it that they don't fit under the bridges on the pretty Midlands narrow canals or something? I can't imagine that it's SO much more grim up North....

Answers on a postcard!

Boaty - quick update

Sooooo, general consensus is that my engine is dead. Very dead. Likely busted piston rings / piston rings need regrinding / stuff that needs the attention of someone way more mechanically minded than I.

As my engine (Isuzu 3kc1) was last built in 1991, part prices are getting unreasonable, and it's on the small side for my boat anyway, I have decided to bite the bullet and plump for a brand new, modern engine (and the associated credit card debt in the short term).

New engine is a Betamarine 38hp, with upgraded panel which will alert me when stuff (i.e. temperatures) goes wrong, before it blows up (hopefully).

Muddy Waters is currently in the boat yard at Thorne, in the process of having a new skin tank fitted to accomodate said new engine. More power needs more cooling, which requires an additional skin tank. They are also going to clean all my engine bay up and give it a lick of primer. I am then going to paint it, to preserve the steel down there for years to come.

Now that I have dealt with the fact that I have to shell out for a new engine, I am actually quite excited about the whole affair. Since the repaint, my engine bay really has let the side down in terms of presentability - the rest of the boat looks pretty decent; the engine bay certainly doesn't.

I plan to go up to Thorne at the weekend and take some photos of the work in progress. Can't wait for the work to be completed and the new engine installed now though. 2 weeks' cruising in North Yorkshire this summer certainly has it's appeal, and a brand new engine with a 3 year warranty will be reassuring to say the least. It's hard to believe that it has now been 6 months since I had a working engine...says a lot for my friend who very generously gave me a tow, and for my new mooring with mains electric :)

My old engine is destined for a lifeboat restoration project, by a man who knows far more than I about all things mechanical. Assuming that he will let me, I hope to keep tracks of it in it's new life.

I know I've been slack lately, but will post more soon....promise.


Monday, 27 April 2009

Kilimanjaro / Tanzania

Friends of mine run a safari company in Tanzania, specialising in Kilimanjaro and Meru Treks, including Kilimanjaro by all routes: Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Rongai, Shira, Umbwe.

Climb Kilimanjaro

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Life, the universe and stuff

First off, apologies for not posting in ages. Again. Since moving to Sheffield, I seem to have less time free to update my blog...

I have now moved my boat out of Victoria Quays aka Sheffield Basin - a shame, but a blessing at the same time. The moorings in the basin are great, but unfortunately the evenings becoming lighter seem to encourage the local mischief, and the few weeks before I left saw an increase in car crime, boats being untied, possessions thrown in the water etc. The local constabulary reassured us that PCSOs were patrolling the area, but I no longer felt safe there so it was time to leave.

My new mooring has security gates, and a friendly feel about it. It's a tram-ride away from the city centre, but the other boaters seem a nice bunch and the boat club there serves good beer! Always a plus ;) The local ducks have taken to laying eggs in my neighbour's plant pots too...I like free food....

Boaty herself is still unwell, engine is officially declared dead with unknown compression problems. Parts for the existing pre-1991 engine are scarce, and having them shipped over from Isuzu in Japan isn't cheap, so I have decided to cut my losses and ordered a brand new Betamarine 38hp engine, due to be fitted in May. This will give me more power for the rivers etc, and comes with a reassuring warranty which should provide at least a few years of hassle-free cruising.

The new job and boyfriend are all going very well, and aside from the engine issues I am very happy. If all goes to plan, we will be exploring the North-Yorkshire canals by boat this summer.

Fingers crossed,

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

A string of bad luck

My life for the last few days (weeks, now?) seems to have been a string of bad luck, punctuated by more bad luck as soon as I thought things couldn't get much worse.

The drama with my boat engine is still ongoing - my brother has had the head on the engine reconditioned, replaced the head gasket, given it a full service (oil, filters, the works) but it STILL won't start. I haven't given up just yet, but the bill is getting ridiculous now. Still got a few ideas to try, but it's really frustrating now. I have been offered a tow to my new mooring by a couple of local friendly boaters, but that's little consolation at the moment.

One of the joins in a freshwater pipe on the boat burst in the cold too, but The Boy once again came to my rescue and fixed that one.

As if all the boat-related drama wasn't enough to contend with, the alternator on my car died on Friday resulting in all my electrics dying and a breakdown on the M62. Of course, this happened at the worst possible moment - in the middle of a hail storm, at the peak of the M62 whilst it was blowing a gale. The result? Standing behind the safety barrier for an hour, shivering uncontrollably and soaked to the skin waiting for Green Flag recovery whilst they played "Rescue Me" as their hold music down the phone at me on constant repeat. Argh! Full credit to the traffic safety officers (aka rent-a-cops) though - they turned up and let me sit in their car to get warm for a bit until they had to go to an emergency. They left me waiting in the storm for the recovery folks, but gave me space blankets to keep warm at least.

Add to that lot stress with buses to/from work being cancelled as a result of the snow this week, and you have one unhappy girl-not-on-the-water-right-now!

I keep saying it, but things really can only get better now. If bad luck comes in threes, I must have had at least 2 sets by now.