Narrowboat Ezri – Leaving Littleborough – Part Two

Two weeks pass as Ezri and I sat Wharf above Bent house, and I called the Canal and River and told once again about not have water to carry on, I was asked to send my email again which I did but the only thing that happened was I got was a renewal form for Ezri’s licence which I brought over the phone, and was told as long as I moved Ezri next year I would get a full 12 months.

As I was making my plan to move Ezri I found out about Droylsden Marina, and Portland Basin on the Ashton canal which I mentioning them now as one of them I will come back to in the next post.

The rain came and filled in the missing water, over the past days so I made sure that there was water under Ezri for the journey and made sure that nothing floating in the canal, I would be even bring some water down the hill with me. You see once you leave Littleborough that part of the canal is all one level, until the two locks in the center of Rochdale,  then all down hill after that.

I knew from the last time I couldn’t stop at Little Clegg bridge No 54a or any were a long there as the bank as fallen in so the plan was with the help of my dad, brother and sister in law, (Katie who had never seen Ezri in real life) we could make it the other side of Rochdale, a matter of seven locks and one swing bridge.

Me and Ezri had done half of the trip before but everything after the sand broke would be new.

Saturday the 30 Apr was the perfect day, a little rain was comming but we would be done even before it started, We started off well Ezri in fact I think she was showing off she made the arch out the wharf in one move, and sat in the first lock waiting peacefully.

Two lock in and Ezri was amazing, the best she ever was, when got to the last of the Littleborough, Dad and Joel left, Me, Katie and Ezri to make the trip to the swing bridge, as they would be moving the car to just before there Smithy bridge railway station.

Ezri did all asked of her but is was very slow going as the bank had come down into the water a little and the rain had started up. I coundn’t even tie up and help the bridge So Dad and Joel had to deal with that, after the bridge they walked down next to us just to make sure of any other problems.

And so happy they did because just after this Ezri was beached.

 We had water all the way to Coppy Bridge No.57 until it all vanished and beached Me, Katie and Ezri in the middle of the canal going back didn’t help even trying to shake her didn’t she just sat there stuck, I threw Dad and Joel the ropes but even with help we’re were unable to pull in to the bank, so I rang the Canal and River Trust number then the emergency number I was told that they would refill the water level

So Ezri could be refloated but that would take 24 hours, We were in the middle of the canal so when the water came Ezri would just float off and become a danger not only that Katie cound’nt stay on Ezri as she work the following day  I asked them to send help so we could get the bank and make Ezri safe.

And they did a very helpful man came  but as I waited I was told by walks that someone had once again opened the paddles on the lock gates Moss Upper and Moss Lower No. 49/50 the two locks in the center of Rochdale.

Even with the help of the man from CRT we were able to get Ezri to side of the bank and Katie safely on dry land but Ezri became unstable and uninhabitable, as she was leaning to one side and any kind movement inside would pull her mooring pins out.
I had on other chose but to remove my all personal belongings and leave her, and wait for the water levels to return.

Leaving Ezri was hard I walk away from her before but I always know want I comming back but the area she was in… Calling it a war zone would be bringing it up a few levels.

So Me and Dad arranged to meet up on Sunday 1st May and the wonderful CRT man could help me on my journey but once we got there it very clear more water had been taken because over night once again the paddles had been vandalised letting more water out even the CRT man was shocked by the damage.

In a way I was lucky the only damage was some had pull out Ezri mooring pins and had moved from the side of the bank into middle of the canal stuck once again, but this time very bottom of the canal, still unstable and uninhabitable

We pulled her back to the side and walked away, and hoped that the water would have been resorted and I can leave this section of the Rochdale canal as it has be clear the people around the area don’t want any kind boating done.    

We didn’t leave it there because me and dad came back to Ezri later that evening and made sure her pins were still in place and we even when to check the lock gates. I made sure the paddles were down and the lock were shut, My told me later the ones he checked had been pad locked together.

Happy with what we had seen we went home.



Narrowboat Ezri – Leaving Littleborough – Part One

Well I writing again and this time its huge post, So it going to be in three parts.

Before I start with moving tale, We have to go back a little and talk about the winter flood and being on winter moorings.

I had winter Mooring permit for Lock 47 which end 29th February but on 27th December the Canal and River Trust place a navigation closure notice for Sowerby Bridge to Summit dew to the wide spread flooding of the whole area and the centre of Littleborough which also stopped me returning to Ezri for three days.

The Canal and River Trust did an amazing job to put the canal back together but each time they did more problems were found, and in fact the restrictions are still in place from boxing day. Added to which they found a huge hole at Summit so had drain it before work could even start. So to save what little water was left they shut the whole section, from the Summit to just before lock 48 when mean shut they came with pad locks and everything.

Now here were things get a little messy, I am a continuous Cruiser which means I have 14 days in any one place, which meant when my winter permit ran out I would have to move and simple task. So I planed to move down into Rochdale and on the 13th March, I tried to move Ezri from Littleborough Higher Lock No. 47 to just after Little Clegg bridge No 54a about a one hour cruiser two locks and a small swing bridge.

I was able to move her thought Littleborough Lower Lock No. 48 without any problem but when I tried to moor up safely, just after the swing bridge I found it impossible to do so because of the low water levels exposing the rocks and the bricks at the side of the bank dew to the flooding.

Knowing the rules I did try and continue my journey onwards in Rochdale and beyond but I was prevented from doing so because the water in the middle canal became to shallow to navigate without damaging my boat.

So with my dads help we had to return to Littleborough. But not to Lock 47 as before but just before lock 48 just outside Littleborough just behind another narrowboat which been there for sometime I had to work the following day but on my return and found the water under Ezri and the other boat was very low in fact we were both leaning sideways.

I walked down the towpath find the whole length from Lock 48 to Rochdale was at this level, and because the water at the Summit Lock has been remove for repair. and a new navigation closure has been add from lock 36 to lock 45. I did the only thing I could and email CRT and tell them of my problem. I got a automated response but nothing more.

So I asked around about the low level of water and was informed by the amazing Rochdale Canal Volunteer Bob Furnell
(who help me work all the locks down from the summit on my first day)  that vandals had been opening the paddles on both lock gates Moss Upper and Moss Lower No 49/50 in the centre of Rochdale, using the same lock key anyone can buy over the internet and despite Mr Furnell best efforts he’s been unable to stop the vandals.

I waited until the water was back at safe level and move Ezri into the Wharf above Bent house lock so if the water is removed again Ezri will not get damaged and out of the way.

Two weeks when by and the water levels kept going down heading into Rochdale and the pad locks remained on the lock gates traping Narrow Boat Hannah between three locks

Then I got a letter from the CRT licensing telling me that I could only have six months because I had not been moving, so I sent the email again but this time to two other people, and again no response. So not wanting Ezri to be taken out of the water or another other kind action I bought a six-month licence.

And made a plan to move Ezri into Castleton, knowing there was no way I could stop just after the swing Bridge as I had tried to before.


Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough Chronicles -No Were To Go

Yesterday was moving day, and that’s what me and my Dad did we moved Ezri. Only not to were we planed and most defiantly not in the way I am meant too.

Let me tell you how things were meant to go Ezri leaves her winter mooring, heads down though two locks a small swing bridge and the before the small village of Millrow and stop for my 14 days, then move on. Plus I was going video the whole thing with use of cheap camera.


So I when through all the checks, to start Ezri’s engine which kicked frist time, but there was a small rattle which made swich off and run round Ezri trying to find were the sound was comming from, turns out the new door handle likes to shake a bit, then I rememded the camera a few bit of masking tape and it stuck to the chimney stack and working
I started Ezri up again and off we went, it all down hill so we have fill the lock up, So I tie Ezri to the post before the lock then help Dad with the gate, No matter how many times I tell him I can do it he always says go back to the boat.
Once the water was level I slowly got Ezri in I tied her to post on the right side and watched as my Dad unlocked the paddle to let the water flow out and Ezri down. We only use one gate so it nice and simple no banging about or being pulled towards the sill.
Ezri was so well behaved it was hard to belive she’d been stood still for 3 months. In no time were heading to the next lock, I started to think about the camera on the front it would record what ever Ezri would face so it would miss out the filling of the lock but would be very good POV so started to film everything else so I could edit the two thing together.
Everything went well Ezri when in then down as the way went and we left the lock just as we found it, Dad got and we headed to the swing bridge and nice half an hour trip, things went that well I started to think more about taking some photos
The swing bridge was simple I have forgot it wasn’t a CRT key one just a lock key thing, we gave the local people a good show, a few had never seen the bridge being used so that was a thing.
Now here is were the trouble started, the spot we found was just after a small fiberglass boat which I know so you would think it would a simple job just morr up behind.
Well I could get Ezri front in even her side but not her end so thinking I could just jump off and pull her in tried that didn’t work, because between the bank and Ezri back was huge stone which no matter how hard we tried would not move.

The plan then was to morr in front but once again we were stopped this times by lots of tree roots and the low water level, so we had three options the first to keep going and end up back at the sandbrook pub, because to get any further down would mean a walk back/bus trip back to the car for my dad. Two find somewhere before there and stop not were I wanted to be but safe or three turn Ezri around.
We picked option two for an hour we tried I even started pulling weeds out the towpath but the level kept get low and our tempers shorter.

In the end I almost grounded Ezri trying to turn her around it was another half hour of dodging Shallows and almost hitting rock did we make it to turning hole before Millrow and boy did I mess that up.
It was like standing on top of huge a coffee grinder pasting oil and water ever few seconds, I can’t really remember how in the end it happened but my and Dad took one control each and had Ezri almost on her side.

In the end I got off and pushed her around with a bit old fence poll I found, It was a bit odd having Dad take over Ezri, but we made back up, we did try again to morr up before and after the swing bridge but no dice.
So back to Littlebrough and a safe place, the problem is that at minute there is only just water to navigate through so all rocks and stuff are now touching the bottom of Ezri and scraping at her propeller. Not only that but that water gets more and more shallow as enter Rochdale and the two huge locks in the town center.

I was looking forward to posting the Ezri POV video well the bit that had gone right, but when I came to replay it I found all had was 3 seconds from the start and a corrupt file.
So the only footage is the lock two stuff and in a way glad because no one what to relive there failure, I have wrote to CRT to explain why Ezri is were she now is I just hope they understand


Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough Chronicles –

This is going to short blog post, Winter moorings have come to an end that means moving I wrote before about having to go down the network.
A task with some help, I hopefully will be able to do in the next 24 hours. And as its such a short trip I will try a film the whole thing.
There two locks and swing bridge, to do which I have done before on the way down. So Ezri knows the way, if anything goes to plan the video will be up a few hours after. And will post link to it here as well as blow by blow action report.


Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough Chronicles – After the Winter

I am going to break off from updating you about Ezri’s refit for this blog post, and talk about want happens next.
As my winter mooring will come to an end soon, I need to start to think about moving once again and continuing the adventure that is now my life aboard Ezri. My plan is to travel around the whole of north west England’s canal network and it time criss cross the whole country but that’s long term.
However for now I have work out how much of the Rochdale Canal I can still travel,
My first plan was to turn Ezri around a head back up the way I came and head back to Sowerby Bridge in west Yorkshire, then slowly retrace our journey on parts of the Calder and Hebble Navigation staying off the rivers. Because the first time around was one mad blur and it would give a chance for a proper look around.
But with flooding at the tail end of last year, the canal around there has been left in what can only be called post apocalyptic state with whole sections of banking missing, Narrowboats left high and dry and locks in need of repair, so much so the canal and River Trust have put out advisory travel notices.
As you may have work out this means heading that way may not be the best thing to do, I can however travel down the Rochdale Canal and then all the way into Manchester, some of which I did the first time around but only got as far as The Sandbrook Pub then turning Ezri around to the safe harbour of Littleborough.
So between the Pub and Manchester there are a lot unknowns, and even when I get there it looks like money will play its part first on mooring fees to the private company redeveloping the land around the canal and then again if I want to use the Bridgwater Canal on the other side of Manchester for more than a week.
I have worked out that I can turn Ezri around and head up the Ashton Canal and then the long way back to Sowerby which looks fun out in the countryside once again.
It dose leave me a lot to think about in the next few weeks but for now its back to the refit.


Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough Chronicles – The Refit- Carpets

You would think that with all the refit jobs I have given myself to do and the fact a few are taking longer that I thought, I would get my head down and work them one at a time one, but the more I look around Ezri was a paint, I can see how the little things can be improved, that’s how and why Ezri now has carpet. I had been thinking about some kind of floor covering but just the odd car mat or rug here and there to stop the mess from the towpaths being walked though.
But all the ones I saw would have to cut up to fit and in the case of the car mat there would only be black/grey colour scheme to pick from, So one quick trip to a carpet warehouse and I brought a carpet end roll which will not only cover the steps both front and back but also the space were I keep the tool and dragon box.


Setting a carpet in Ezri’s is just one huge jigsaw, nothing on her is a straight line even if they look and feel like it, so it very much a case of finding the best line you can and measuring from that point, then turning the carpet roll over and with a stick of chalk draw the lines needed.
To carry on the idea of light and space though Ezri, as I painted the rest of the walls my Dad did the three steps down which now kept in place with double sided tape. I am going to paint the wood trim a little darker blue that walls to tie the whole thing together.

Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough Chronicles – The Refit- Colouring The World

I have the whole left hand side of Ezri painted out, from behind her fire place down past the two windows. And with the smaller paint brush I was able to paint around, though and a little over the plate rack which I stuck so I would had to brake it to take it down. So after the paint was dry and because the paint was water base I was able wipe away the extra, but I will go over it again once all the painting is done.
Now we come to the inside of the cupboard even with the lights it was still to dark to use at night, so I gave that a coat of blue and being careful not paint the blackboard.
The painting takes time not because I am slow but because it hard to reach inside the cupboard, as I did this my dad fixed the bathroom cupboard so when I open its not going to fall apart, not only did he do that but I finally got him to take down the wood doors which has made Ezri look bigger, has given me a lot more room and space to put up more lights.


We come back to the bilge pump once again, it make it work all that needs to happen is we wire it up but the pump would just run and run, so just like the one in the shower a switch is needed only this time a waterproof one, not only that but the pump has to flat on Ezri’s hull to work in the right way, finding some thing to attach the pump to will take a little time and it has to done before the wiring takes place.
Now if I am going to paint Ezri’s cabin I may as well paint out the shower room, as Dad had been working in the room he said that if got another brush and bathroom paint he would paint out the shower room.


Like I said before painting takes time, I have found that most of the area needs a least two coats, not only that but with two people working in Ezri I have to be careful were I paint as my dad needs to be able to move around without getting full of blue, yet having said that he has painted himself a few times.
To change the subject at the back of my mind is want happens next I know at the end of the month I will have to move but as things are I don’t have the option to retrace Ezri journey back to Hebden so it looks as if forward it only way to go.

Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough Chronicles – The Refit- Pumps, Brushes and New Handles

In my tin ash bucket now sits the old broken bilge pump, which my dad removed after a little bit of banging and clanging as I painted the rest of Ezri’s left hand side wall.
Unlike the one in the shower room this pump didn’t work, at first that sounded like huge task water on the inside of a boat hull in the wrong place is taken very seriously, so after bailing out the bilge water and trying to make the one work without success there was nothing for it but to remove it and look for a new one.
The internet came in very handy in explaining what kind of pump I would need and how to install one, there are a lot fancy priced ones and it even turned out that I could use the kind of model I have in the shower room but those are three figure sums of money. I didn’t buy a cheep one because I want the pump to last a long time. What I did was go to Gael Force web page were I found one that would work and for a good price, which in less than 24 hours came all the way from Inverness Scotland.


Like I said before painting on Ezri is a little difficult that just throwing a dust sheet over stuff and slopping the paint on the walls, it take a little planing yes I start by covering Ezri but then even before I start the paint I put the unopened tin into a bucket so if Ezri moves about the paint will stay in one place and not spread all over her wood floor, you also have to be careful when the brush touches the walls you have away from yourself so if you slip you don’t end up putting your hands, head or feet in paint. The paint I am using is a water based so most mistake can be wiped out with means of bathroom wipe. With all of the things I have left up, there now little areas that my big brush can’t fit into so I had to get smaller brush to paint above the rails and into the corners but yet it looks like I will need an even smaller brush for the plate-rack and as you can see the form window frames almost match colour, also I put new handle on the blackboard which works very well


Now I have made to sound as if I have left my dad with all the hard work but with Ezri being the size she is there is very little room for two people to work in the same space let alone on the same job but when start on the doors we be taking one each

Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough Chronicles – The Refit – Halfway There

Two jobs done and three to go. Ok its more like two jobs fully complete and one half way started, lets take a look the completed jobs first.
Even having the right tools doesn’t always make job a simple one, the light to see is needed to like I said before all the job was it putting in a switch so the shower pump is controlled.
Sitting on the floor in the semi dark of the small room is hard to see the two black wires and put them into the brass links of the switch, and when the wires are just that little bit big to fit the hole it can get a little frustrating.
Yet even with a second light source the job was made even with the shadows being cast in the wrong place making it harder to see not only for me to but my dad to, but in the end we did make the switch work and pump pump.
The second completed job is the blackboard after painting the cupboard door a second time the next task was to prime it which meant drawing with chalk on the dry paint, I could only find cheep chalk which meant it broke also as soon as I drew something, but the board works so no more forgetting moving days.
So we get to the not so completed job the painting, after picking two colours which will make Ezri brighter inside it was time start.
Now there two ways to do this take everything that not fixed down (curtain rails, wood box and the bed) on Ezri out cover want remains and then paint, or just cover everything and move paint tin around Ezri carefully and slowly changing size of the brush needed.
And as my dad worked on the switch I started to use the second method and so far its worked, starting at the back of the fire place and around the window, I started there so if I need to light the fire later I can do. I still don’t know if I am going to paint Ezri’s roof yet.
The other job are the doors which I want can wait a little bit of the nicer weather.


Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough Chronicles- The Refit- Watching Paint Dry.

Now it may not sound the most exciting thing to do, but watching paint dry was really one of the jobs I had to do on Ezri this week.
But I getting a little a head of myself so let me take you back to this time last week, my Uncle Andrew came to help remeasure the wood for the doors and help with a few other solutions, the best one being around the small port hole widows using blue Styrofoam to stop the heat loss.
Things would take a few days to get together, but there were a few jobs I could get on with in mean time, the first being the shower room pump switch, working out which colour paints work best, painting the chalkboard door and a little bit of engine maintenance.
Taking the easiest job first, the maintenance which meant pouring antifreeze/coolant into the engine and then running it for a few minutes, I have done this a few times only those times with pure water so I quick read of engine manual was done to make sure I got the right mix.
The next job was the shower pump, being be low the water line the used water in the just sits at the bottom of the tray, so you have pump it out, now I have a working pump and two ends of wire put the two the ends together to pump works, and that fine but of two things, the pump will be always on and second water and electricity. So a switch is needed, I have the switch I was already to but it in but I don’t the right tools just yet so that will have to wait.
Now we come to the fun colour, I have wrote before about my plan for this so it was time for action I used something called Dulux Visualizer which lets you paint which lifting a finger or spending any money over a few hours choose fours colours which looked as if they would work, Even then I didn’t really think they would work so went and brought four test pots and paint for the blackboard.
Now with everything together in place all that was left to do was it put the blue foam into the window gap and paint, two of the colours I picked have worked and the blackboard needs one more coat so all in all a very good few days.