Narrowaboat Ezri – Locked Out Exrta Exrta 

So on the same of the open lock at Marple I had to work at Manchester City Football, Now the Ashton Canal runs past there, and something I enjoy is to walk past two of the lock as I head into the ground.

Well imagine my surprise when walked past the lock to find that CRT were also replacing the only wooden lock gates on the Ashton, the lock was shut off so that no-one would end up inside it and work had stopped lunch.

The only different to the work set up this time was its on a smaller scale to Marple but the principal remained the same, drain and divert the water then lift out the old gates using a winch. ​

Then they will put the new ones after running the same paint trick as 200 year engineer did. Being that they had just stopped for dinner there was working boat tied up with the replacemet locks gates inside them.

Its amazing want happens on the canal at winter time. Even when people think everything is shut down.


NarrowBoat Ezri – Week Six/Seven Of Winter or The Review Log Part Two.

Strines Road/narrows its what I call a halfway ponit what I mean by that is, Strines is just outside both New Mills and Marple so just like being down at Romiley the only other people you see are mostly other boats and dog walkers, the center of both town is good 10/15 minute walk.

There are a lot tress around there so every morring it was cleaning leaves off Ezri. I had to go to work twice when I was there and when I came back she was almost burned in them. Unlike being at Romiley there was night light comming from a few homes, so just take care if you don’t have blackout blinds. But having said that there is nothing in the world that beats being on Ezri and the fire light playing on the roof at night.

All too soon it was moving day again, this small trip we were heading to New Mills / Carr Lane Swing Bridge I wrote about the journy in the blog post called ‘Moving Monday’  ( ) So I not going to cover old ground. But I will add that the train is a lot closer than being in Marple, and on the right side of the canal, which may cause few problems when the night comes and people want to sleep.

Walking around I found out that the area is bookended by three railway stations one at New Mills Newtown and the other New Mills Central and the last at Furness Vale so it not hard to get into Manchester for work. But its not all mad rushing hour life there are some nice walks over the hill and though the parks.

But just as I get into swing of things its time to move once more, now I had coming to two days free from work which I wanted to spend at Buxworth (Narrowboat Ezri- Bugsworth Blackout and NarrowBoat Ezri – Whaley Bridge and Bugsworth Basin along the way there were a few problems, But the nice surprise was the steam rally that went on when I was at bugsworth.

As for what I ended up doing for winter mooring in the end, Well CRT didn’t let me have one despite the fact that in total this year I’ve done 50 miles, from Littlebough – Romiley- Marple – Stains Road – Whaley Bridge – Bugsworth – Stains Road – New Mills/Carr Lane and that I am still only being given a 6 Months licence. 

I did the the best thing I could on the Peak there are three Marinas one at Marple, one at New Mills and the last Furness Vale being at Carr Lane rang the nice people at Furness Vale who let me buy a winter mooring from them, which also may be the answer to the CRT next year.

There is still a few things to do on Ezri before the end of the year so this only a mini review of how things are cruisin wise and in the next week or two I should have all the little things done and dusted.

NarrowBoat Ezri – Week Three Of Winter

Last week was all about gathering the materials, this week its time to put everything together, But before we can reconstruct the doors we have to deconstruct them and for this I asked for help from my Uncle Andrew ( a recently retired craftsmen specialising In ceramics and pottery) who has helped me out before with wood and other materials. And has the right tools for the right job.

So him and Dad set to work taking out the wood panel the broken end lifted out easy but when they tried to remove the top half of the panel the thin middle came out but the frame stayed suck in the place, so with a few little taps with a hammer they were able to out the remining wood.

Now it sounds as if I was just standing around watching all this but was my job to light the fire the and cook dinner, a few bits of paper and chucks of wood and Ezri was warm again there was a lot somke but that’s because the paper was little damp but that soon stopped, to get the heat for cooking I added a few lumps of coal. As Dad and Uncle Andrew maked up the wood panel for the vent, I put soup into my jug and four small pies on my tin plate watching them as they cooked slowly. (The soup was Carrot and coriander and the pork)

The next thing to do was to cut the silver insulation a simple job, just holding it up to the door making it sit in the steel, and cutting space for the vent hole which we guled to the wood with a thing called No More Nails, which did work. Dinner was the half way point and thanks to Ezri everyone had lovley soup and a pie .

Then it was time glue the wood on to the steel door using the same No More Nails, a cross bar made from the old wood and four clamps then waiting getting warm by the fire, and have a look around the mooring.

Now everything was set, door felt dry so we removed the clamps the wood didn’t fall out so we put the vent cover on and the door bolt, But then we ran into a little problem because when I drew the bolt down it hit the steel frame of the door so Uncle Andrew add wood to the back of the bolt so it fell over the frame but this time when drew the bolt the wood lefted out of the door just a little. It would appear that the glue at the bottom and installation didn’t take very well.

We have a few way of solving this problem and when we do the other side of the door will we are going use them, as for now Ezri is locked up tight (there are parts of the door I not showing) and we are well on our way to making her better.

NarrowBoat Ezri – Week Two Of Winter.

With winter well trully in full swing, and not having to move Ezri for the next three months, its time turn my hands to the little jobs that I have been meaning to do. The first most pressing job, Is the change the broken and shattered wooden panel inserts in Ezri’s front doors, Most narrowboat front doors have small windows in but Ezri doesn’t, she had two full metal  doors with two small vent at the bottom

This was a job that was meant to be done around this time last year, but we panited Ezri out and then a few other things went on.So having the wood replacement already measured and cut its a case of seeing how the first wood panel fits in the metal frame of the door. 

It tunrs out that its just a thin sheet of ply wood in touge and grove frame which explains the heat loss and why it shattered, when I hit the side of the bank on that frist day.

When we took off the vent there was a hole about the size of a CD which you can your fingers inside and see/feel that there is no insulation between the wood and the steel door, so yet more heat loss, yes I know a vent is to let air out but only though the vent holes not the door.

The job is a simple I hope pull out the ply wood and the frame add insulation to the door cut for the vent, put in the new wood in and add a new vent plate one which can be shut if needed, the vents I am added are a little bigger and only one will shut so there a air flow all the time, just in case.

The thing is findding the insulation, too thin and Ezri will still be cold, too thick and the wood will not fit, most narrowboats have somekind of insulation so it easy to find, I found something called Therma Wrap I think the way it work the thin the sheet of insulation the more it cost but on th bright side I have enough to do all the doors.

NarrowBoat Ezri -One Week Of Winter.

With the frist week of winter most over, but it finds me not on Ezri keeping warm and toasty by her fire, but cat sitting for my borther and sister in law. Its a srange thing being in house I can have hot water when even I want it, Switch on all the lights, computers, TV, Xbox you name it without fear running down a battery.there is even a gas fire

But yet want I find myself doing is sitting down reading and listening to podcasts and when its to dark to see I put the small lamp and when I cold put the fire on low, and feeding the cat when he needs. Almost mirroring he life aboad Ezri I even still using my boxes

I have had to work both at the start and the end of this week to, so I walked and gave me The opportunity to pass both the Rochdale and Ashton canal, even in the cold light of day the Rochdale is shockingly scary and downright dangerous, its hard to belive that anything could even flot in it, let alone navigate.

When we (me, dad and Ezri) came down from Littleborough that day/night we just kept going pushing and pushing on one lock after the next, not really knowing or caring just trying to get into Manchester. And want I saw on my way to work filled me once again with feeling of dread and foreboding.

Its like some has cut huge concrete ditch into the remains of industrial landscape and just let rot, there is hardly any water and what there is full of rubbish, yes it winter, yes do get get the odd bit of rubbish in all most every canal, but around there its somekind of past time. And that just the bit I passed on the way to work I would hate walk the rest of it.

As for the Ashton that a total different thing altogether there are only five street and park separating both canals yet here the canal is wide, free flowing many of the locks are freshly pained and in working order and want rubbish there is all in litter bins. There is even a new flower garden. But I guess that’s people rection to canals in space of a few minutes walk.

As for Ezri she’s safe in her winter mooring, in the end CRT didn’t let me have one so I called two of the marines on the Peak one of which had room, the trip there took all of ten minutes, so there she sit waiting for the winter work to start and her feel like home again.

NarrowBoat Ezri –  Wednesday Washday.

With winter well on is way its time to change out the clothes I have on Ezri, the day to day stuff all gets wash in the small shower-room sink or hung up and showered down all simple t-shirts or jeans and the like are dead simple. Or I wait until I am working and ask my Dad to wash them for me.

But my winter clothes are mostly heavy wool or very thick material,so it calls for little more planing, I also have a waterproof blue outside coat which need cleaning before the bad weather really set in, the sink is to small and the shower just doesn’t work, the water just runs off.

So this calls for a very low tech solution test, I own two huge see thougth boxes one of which is of my bedding (sheet, quilt and blanket) the other all my clothes.

Emptying the bedding box is the simplest solution and with three kettles of hot water I have myself a washing tub and away I’m cleaning my jacket, if this works I will have away of washing all my winter things.

But unlike your washing machine at home there is lot more work to be done, for one I don’t have any real detergents or washing machine liquid so I will use just plan old hand soap and scrubbing brush.

And a hour later I have scrubbing, soak and pulled out most of the water from my jacket and the water is now a grey brown which can slowly poured away, as its just safe cold water now. Ezri’s fire will go on soon both to dry out the box and my coat, if this works I will have find some soap power.

NarrowBoat Ezri – October Skies

Beneath the cover of October skies and all the leaves on the trees are falling, To the sound of the breezes that blow, My dad and me take Ezri on one last trip before my winnter mooring shut down begins. But I will come back to that later in the next blog.

Now lets talk about the trip itslef for the last 14 days Ezri had been facing down towards Marple, I have been using chains ever since Ezri came off the Rochdale frist on the Ashton and now here so it came as little bit of shock when I saw that Ezri’s back rope was almost cut all the way though.

You see the chains give some slack but pull tight when something goes past and something had with such force that it had caused the damage, Ezri wasn’t in danger or in the way of others, She was tied on the front and clipped in by her center, want got me down is that I was given the rope so it felt sad to take it off, but I will keep it

So there we were Ezri facing the worng way and a new back rope, in hindsight what I should have done was to turn Ezri around a few days before but I though the space was sufficient to turn around I was wrong, Dad took Ezri’s front rope and begain to pulled her around, me steering all the time 4 inches was all we needed but we just didn’t get it.

There really only one option and that was to head to Marple Junction and turn in the huge circle area, an extra half hour So off we set down to Marple Dad walking, me at the helm. But as I did not only did start noticing the drop in the water level but Ezri began to rattle again a sigh she was hitting bottom.

Dad had disappeared from view as I went around the bend heading to the last bridge before Marple when there was a boat comming the other way I slowed down and waited but he kept coming and wouldn’t move around Me forcing me to move to my left in fact I’m sure he sped up almost pushing me in to the shallow water but pushed Ezri hard down and we didn’t get shuck only a little shook up, But by now all really wanted to was tie up and start again the next day.

Want I did was get Dad to hold Ezri in place and take the weed hatch off I really have no idea but it made sense at the time to start looking for anything wrapped around the propeller. To do this I had to take off my coat and my hat as both were in the way. And plunge my hand into the freezing water and feel around to find nothing, I gave the propeller a few turns and put everything back.

Once again in hindsight I should have waited a few more minutes and put both my hat and coat back on but feeling a lot better I decided we should go now so in the space we turned Ezri around and headed off, only to find out that we now the head of a a convoy made up of two 60 foot boats each with more powerful engines.

We reached where he had been more the other boat only minutes behind and I Began to get cold and noticed the weather above me the sunny clouds 10 almost black and I was beginning to get a little worried half an hour later I decided to call it we were going to tie up and come back tomorrow but Dad in for me I would have been doing the trip on my own so, I pulled in a let the other two boats pass and put my coat and hat back on.

We set off again but almost got caught in the silt build-up around the edges of the banking which didn’t help at all but I power down through and as he continued to touch bottom. I don’t really know how we did it but we managed to catch up with the boats at the first bridge they had both made it through and then kept open for me Dad got off and walked to next.

Dad lifted the bridge and the other boat went though he got back on and took his place at the front we powered on Ezri still touching bottom as we went along so I was not so happy, we made it to the last bridge and one of boats had pulled over so Ezri and me were now in the middle of the convory.

We carried on the weather changed again this time back to the blue october sky it had been when started, the rain didn’t ever begin. Somewere along the way the last boat drop away then as we reached New Mills the second boat made a turn to right but the canal goes left. They were turing around I gave them space but still felt Ezri rush a little towrads them even turning left herself.

We said thank you for the help and headed on our way, half hour later it was our turn to stop, Everyone was feeling the trip, Dad for all the walking me as my hands were frozen and Ezri most of all beacuse I had pushed her a little hard. When everthing was calm we took stock of the trip, it had taken a longer than planed, Ezri was little bashed, tempers were a little high but she was in the right place for next week. I later found out the water level had dropped few inches because a lot of boat were heading down the locks over the last few days

NarrowBoat Ezri – Winter Is Comming.

Ezri and Me have left Whaley Bridge and Bugsworth Basin, we are now heading back towards Marple but stopping along the way, because at some point we have head back as I have found Ezri a winter mooring is not a CRT one. Its at one of the places along the Peak canal and just for three months.

I didn’t really want to but for two things CRT said I didn’t qualify for a winter it may have something to do with being on a six month licence after being unable to move out of Littleborough last year after the floods, I did try twice frist time getting only as far as Smithy Bridge low water and the second time endding up having to sit on the bottom of the canal for two days as the water was taken from me at Belfield. All I got told is I didn’t qualify so that’s that 

The second reason is that as I have been walking along the Peak I have seen chained up huge wood blocks and witnessed them being set into groves along the canal stopping the water flow. Now it maybe just be for emergencies or water testing I just don’t know but I can’t take that risk of being trapped again. 

And without a winter mooring I would have had to keep moving in whatever the weather and after last year that would have been hard.

On a more lighter note Ezri feels somehow more alive as the nights grow in, when we were at bugsworth everyone had there fires going the air was full of heat and light somke, it was magic. I didn’t even use the gas cooker it somehow felt wrong so cooked on my little boatman stove, sitting there slowing cooking my food watching the fire listening to podcasts.

I hope for more nights likes these.

Narrowboat Ezri – One last run before Winter or Water a Journey

So Ezri now sits only a few 100 yards away from her winter mooring, safe and sound.
It took days me and my dad getting her here but that was the plan. Locks you see are used to drop you down and pick you hills and getting to the winter mooring meant 12 locks in all, four going up and eight going down, all which need much TLC to make them work.
And after the winter weather has played merry hell the task gets harder, and the last time we did try and move Ezri the locks didn’t even open.
This time wrapped up against the cold weather and begin.
The first four locks take us back over the Yorkshire and Lancashire boarder which sounds simple and on the warm mid summer I did last time was, the time is taken up by the letting the water out so Ezri can sail inside.
Then fulling up the lock so Ezri is level and can move to the next, but I also have to keep my eye on the water level Ezri sails in so she doesn’t ground herself on the canal bed or hit something in the water.
Having do this before, I am four or five steps ahead for my dad, which as you can imagine can cause some problems.
After I tie Ezri up there are only so many things that need doing, after letting the water out, So my mind moves on the next lock, forgetting I have my dad there who in ten minutes time will need to have the red rope thrown up so he can tie off.
Plus being at the bottom of the lock makes me feel a little helpless, he’s up there letting in all that water on his own what if something goes wrong, I can’t help him until one of two things happen I can reach the ladders and climb or Ezri is level so I can step off.
So together we open the gate and I get back on, and I drive Ezri on the next lock, I do try and get closes so Dad can get back but sometimes its hard to pull Ezri back to the bank.

Thankfully after the locks going up it was a lot simpler going down, I tied up Ezri walk over the lock make sure the lock was full then open the paddle and push open the lock gate closes to Ezri, (with the paddle open your not pushing against the water)
Slowly float Ezri in tie up and once again feel helpless as Dad lets all the water out, but going down I know that there are points were I can step off before he gets in real trouble, now only that going down the ladder into the lock is I think safer that going up.
The weather meant that all the locks were full so no waiting around for them to fill, in fact once or twice we flooded the towpath but when Ezri moved on to the next lock the water came with us, so no lasting damage was done.
But just like the last time I was three steps ahead, it did help a bit when we came to short lock, (that is a lock with a short push point) We worked the lock rocking it until it open and I climbed down back on to Ezri running her roof.
The only other problem we had was huge tree which got suck in the top of the lock gate, at first I though it was blocking the whole right gate but after opening it dad was able to push it out of the way. Having the water under Ezri meant she when like dream, she stopped when I asked her to, she came back into the bank when I pulled her ropes. All in all things worked out well Ezri is safe for the winter now, and rest can take care of itself



Narrowboat Ezri- Tails From the Towpath – Winter Is Here

With fire blazing away, Ezri is so warm I am in shorts and t-shirts but outside is force 2 gale as the winter takes hold which two weeks ago wasn’t a problem. But its moving time again so a plan is needed, I can move back to the quay I was in which down over the Lancashire and Yorkshire border a trip I have done twice now, a matter of 12 locks and one over night stop, in fact its the same thing I did on the way down. But the rains coming so I have to be quick.

To late the rain came, and not only that there flood warnings for the whole of the North West of England so it looks like plan B turn Ezri around and head back to were I had the horse adventure, which is only four locks and that will give me two weeks, so running from point A to B for the winter mouths is do able right.

Now wrong I was the small window of good weather lasted all of three hours, which would have worked if the second lock gate had opened, It just wouldn’t open no matter how hard we tried
Me and me and dad got so wet though that it took three hours to get dry, and the rain came down so bad we’re half blinded by it I can’t be doing that every two weeks.

So its now plan C I have a winter mooring for a little over £200 it starts on the 1st of December and ends the last day February I know there the place and its safe. Its a lot better than moving every two weeks I know there are few people out there saying to should have been plan A.
But when I first looked into the cost of the winter mooring I was quick and didn’t do the maths right, and came out with a huge four figure sum which was a little off putting, having looked at the numbers again I think its the only real solution.

I will get the hang of the whole new lifestyle soon…