This Month's Totals and Average
15.24 miles 0 locks 6.29 hrs 2.42 lmph

  February 2015

26th-28th February ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

The forecast rain arrived overnight into Thursday, and the temperature had held up overnight. More general routine chores, awaiting the call from the builder. They eventually called late afternoon, confirming someone would (at least) deliver doors and locker covers. If it were Adam he may do more work, but it may be Wayne.

Lovely day Friday, although clouded over by dinnertime. Up early to get shopping done before builder arrived. Still waiting for builder at 14:00. Wayne eventually arrived with the parts 15:00. Completely wasted day.

Another nice day Saturday. Completed the prep work ready for departure. Fhi arrived mid-afternoon and we spent the remainder of the day and evening chatting, including viewing the photos from her visit to Italy last year. Plan to move in the morning.

Wednesday 25th February ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Bright start to the day; sunny periods with high cloud. Wind had dropped. Continued the spring-clean; interior wood surfaces all cleaned and polished. Took Paws for a shopping trip - a short run to the junction to get kindling, then back to the marina for coal and topped up fuel ready for next week. Tucked up again late afternoon, just as the cloud increasing and slight spots of rain. Fhi (our daughter) rang to discuss weather forecast and we agreed she would be coming to visit Sat-Wed next week.

0.86 miles 0 locks 0.59 hrs 1.46 lmph

19th-24th February ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Well, the forecast was correct. The rain came in overnight Wednesday and continued most of the day Thursday. Mostly heavy, occasionally light with brighter sky. Rang builders to remind them they were three weeks late completing the repair work; said they'd ring back shortly.

Friday returned to mostly sunny, although clouding by late afternoon. Took a trip by bike to Midland Chandlers  at Mercia Marina for a few items. Contacted River Canal Rescue  to arrange for my free health-check on the engine. Generally pottered about hoping for a call from builders saying they were coming Saturday. Nothing heard!

Saturday dawned bright and sunny. Deteriorated during afternoon to heavy showers of hail the size of green peas, then cleared again by dinner time. Spent most of the day trying to source small glass shelves, then started some of the spring-cleaning before visitors start to arrive (defrost and clean fridge, strip and clean sink outlet pipe).

A bright sunny Sunday morning turned rapidly to cold, wet and windy. Continued the spring-cleaning (defrost and clean freezer, strip and clean cooker). Call received from RCR with appointment for Paws' health check.

Forecast was for showers; had very few. Mostly sunny, but quite windy. Shopping first. Had front steps lifted out to check for buried stores (Pat getting a list ready for return), so ran cable for new mood-lights. Started giving the Karndean flooring a refresh (in sections; today was back cabin, shower-room and half saloon). Call from builder confirming work would be complete by end of week, but not setting a day.

Tuesday came with sunshine and showers. Still very windy. Floor refresh completed (main bedroom, galley and remainder of saloon). Shower doors removed and tracks cleaned. Loo cassettes getting "steep" in cleaner solution this time round.

Wednesday 18th February ~ Hopwas to Fazeley via Huddlesford (Short Break)

Thrush singing its heart out at 05:30. Woke to another beautiful sunny day. Got away after breakfast and continued northwest. Decided to wind at Huddlesford junction.

Returned towards base, and stopped for lunch at the old military firing range. Just a short stop, then continued back through Hopwas, stopping again at the "chimney man" for advice on a shorter flue-pipe. Once finished there, headed back to base, getting in late afternoon. Cloud increasing and wind slowly rising by this time - shades of the forecast for tomorrow (rain and wind), but that's me tucked up again at the marina.

11.12 miles 0 locks 4.41 hrs 2.52 lmph

Tuesday 17th February ~ Fazeley to Hopwas (Short Break)

Day dawned with clear blue sky and sun beaming down. Decided to take a short trip out. Unfortunately, initially found I didn't have sufficient of certain stores to last a couple of days away so had to go shopping. Then daughter phoned, and she is reluctant to get off the phone again. Then another job was needed before departure, but eventually got away mid-afternoon.

Headed out to the junction and turned left, with the plan to see if the "chimney man" (Little Chimney Company , canal trader making stainless steel chimneys for boats) was moored in his usual spot. Passed Bonehill winding hole (where I had hoped to turn) with no sign of him. Decided to go as far as the next winding hole before returning. Found him on the eastern outskirts of Hopwas (I'll catch him tomorrow) so went to the "school" visitor moorings and moored up for the night. Still a beautiful evening with only the occasional fluffy white cloud - a great day to be out again.

3.26 miles 0 locks 1.29 hrs 2.53 lmph

15th-16th February ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

The sun looked like it was trying to get out from behind its blanket. Noted the first crocuses poking their heads from the grass, and more birdsong - maybe spring is on the way. Generally pottered about Sunday.

Heavy rain overnight and into Monday morning - winter still not ready to give up yet!

Saturday 14th February ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

CRT have been running Open Events for the public/customers to see the work they do (and hopefully get donations for their charitable fund). A lot of these days have been during work on lock gates, when the locks have been emptied. I went along to Hatton flight (Lock 34)  to have a look. As during my visit to Bedford Street staircase , a large number of volunteers were on hand as guides, and there was a tent with environmental information (including one of their specialists). Chief Executive Richard Parry was again on site. Met up with Mark from the fund-raising team again (met him back in October at Fradley Junction), this time with Fatima (Pearl had not been well but was hoping to be there on Sunday). Another interesting and enjoyable day.

A bit damp today, but far better than the snow of two weeks ago.

11th-13th February ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Dull and overcast Wednesday, cool but not cold. Continuing my investigations into integrating "landline" and mobiles, I rang another company (Ligo) about their product. Very useful discussion - their product should be good for those who already have a spare handset as it is just a bluetooth hub for handling calls. The upshot for me was that a different Panasonic product (not mentioned by either Panasonic's shop or helpline!) may be best. Walked up to John Lewis at Ventura for a chat as a possible supplier. Sounded good, but none in stock.

Dull again Thursday, but still dry. Took a trip by motorbike to Solihull to John Lewis as they had a handset in stock. Then did a bit of "household" shopping.

Friday brought rain. Wind also rising. Spent the day setting up the new telephone line and integrating with my mobile (I'll add Pat's when she comes back down). Also spent time reprogramming the satTV so that the channels were in a more logical order.

8th-10th February ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Thaw continued through Sunday but not enough yet to move. Beautiful sunny day.

Finally thawed completely over Sunday night so moved "Paws" over to the services berth and took fuel, gas, coal, and did the loo. Returned to our berth stocked up against another cold period if it comes.

When we got our new mi-fi unit, I found it could handle voice as well, through a socket for a "household" handset. When looking for handsets, I came across a system manufactured by Panasonic, called "Link-to-Cell", which integrated a landline with mobile handsets. After much trawling of the internet, my head was spinning, so took a trip to Stoke, to one of Panasonic's outlet shops, to make further enquiries, but didn't get any joy.

Tuesday rang the Panasonic customer support line to make same enquiries. Appears various models of this product have been on sale in the USA for over 7 years, but are not imported into the UK (we are second-rate citizens again). Oh well, if they won't supply, I'll have to look to their competitors!

4th-8th February ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

A bit of a thaw on the ice in the marina Wednesday, although still cold. Rain on Thursday, with the thaw continuing. Walked down to the post office to collect mail, but drizzle continued through to dinner-time.

Froze again overnight into Friday, but started thawing again during the day. Already a full week late by Friday evening, and still no word from the builders as to when they are coming to finish the work. Seems our discussion at the beginning of January hasn't solved anything.

Went for walk on Saturday to Glascote, then through Tamworth and back. Boats had obviously been past and broken ice, some chunks sitting exposed were over 2cm thick. Marina still iced, although only to about 3mm.

Pat busy at home this week, as a volunteer at the Fife Festival of Music . (Existing to support and develop music-making in the community, the Festival comprises two weeks of musical competition for schools and adults, covering classical to folk and jazz, instrumental and vocal, and culminating in a concert on the last night of selected best performances. Adjudicators are professionals in their own musical fields, with stewards, announcers and clerks provided by volunteers. Further periods involving workshops occur later in the year.)

2nd-3rd February ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Getting much colder. Marina icing up. Mostly sunny, with occasional flurries of snow but nothing to speak of (yet). Generally pottered about, keeping warm.

Found a problem with the whole of my web presence. I have always prided myself on correct, approved programming. I always check my web pages for compliance with W3C protocols. I found that certain of my pages did not display correctly under Internet Explorer. On investigation, I found that IE does not appear to recognise certain of the (fully approved) CSS properties. I spent a full day adjusting all my CSS files to work round this. Hopefully, those of you who still use IE will now be able to view my sites as I had intended them.

Sunday 1st February ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

After a very windy night, day dawned with sunshine and scattered cloud. Decided to go to the CRT Open Event at Stoke-on-Trent. The middle lock of the Bedford Street staircase  on the Caldon Canal has been getting new gates, and there has been brickwork and repointing done on the upper lock walls. While the locks have been emptied, CRT have run an Open Event for the public to go down into the bottom of the lock. A large number of volunteers were on hand as guides. Chief Executive Richard Parry was also on site. It was cold, and a flurry of snow came across just as I was leaving, but it was an interesting day and worth the trip.

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