Sunday, 6 December 2015

I go on ... under turd !

Yep ... still into narrowboats as much as ever. The only comfort in not being able to fulfil this dream at this time, is that currency exchange rates are (from my perspective) at the worst they have been for many many years. Plus, the weather there is far from it's best with storms and flooding.

The boats and technology get more and more interesting. Though I have stopped doing currency conversions on things as the results are a tad depressing and it all seems so unaffordable right now.

Currently, my best chance is an income boost from winning and Art Union house. I regularly buy tickets and try to maintain odds of about 80,000:1 in the process. I think that's good odds considering 70-80% of ticket revenues go to charitable causes.

My two favourite Art Unions are :

There are other Art Unions ... but I regularly 'donate' to these two and only sporadically to others.

So ... if planets align ... I'll see you on the canals ... in both Oz and UK !!!

Monday, 21 July 2014

NB Rolling Wave

OK ... I've done the sums. I can sell my house, buy an acre or so to return to, buy a narrowboat for AU$80K and fund a comfortable 12 months cruising with AU$500/wk and have enough capital left over to build on the block when I return.

Sounds great eh !

In that, I give up my current position by the beach in outer metro Perth ... which is pretty choice and comfortable ... and post-GFC is once again appreciating at a good rate.

Plus ... there are two unresolved issues. I have a cat that is my entire family. I could leave her with friends or take her with me ... either way ... that would need to be sorted.

The other is that I have no-one (apart from Puss) to travel with. I have an ex that is interested but prefers France and Europe. Though, the last time I booked ... a different ex backed out at the last minute to pursue a relationship, thus forcing me to cancel everything, which left me about $2k out of pocket. As the saying goes, once burnt, twice shy.

 Now ... what am I getting to ???

Another boat review actually ... and now I know it's do-able, all be it unlikely, accompanied by an unresolved issue or two. The fact it is over my AU$80k budget is immaterial ... I can justify the extra in that nothing needs to be spent before setting off and at an asking price of GBP55,000 I can accommodate the additional outlay.

OK ... enough about me ... back to boats. I recently reviewed a boat named 'Bliss' which I notice has had a deposit taken. I didn't expect it to last.

This boat is at ABNB brokerage also.

It is a modern trad style with the boatman's cabin and walk-through engine room. Not my favourite configuration ... but "Rolling Wave" is only a tad above my conservative budget ... so "theoretically" it is do-able. Though it will sell reasonable quickly.

You can download the PDF brochure here.

Length: 57ft 0in

Build & Fitout: Canal Transport Services

Style: Trad with Boatmans Cabin

Year registered: 2003

Certification: BSS to 2015, RCD issued 2003

 Engine: Kelvin K2 diesel

Bow thruster: None

Plating: 10/6/5/4

Last out of water: March 2012

Water tank: 115gall (approx) polypropylene

The bow sports a nicely constructed cratch, well shaped and framed to retain it's form over time.

Nicely painted "livery" including roses and castles and a very traditional stern and deck.

Boatman's cabin with all the traditional adornments.

Very tidy and tasty engine room. I can live without one, but I could certainly live with this one.

A pump out loo and a full width bathroom, both of which are preferred by me.

Headroom: 6ft 4in, bmc 5ft 3in

Fit-out materials: Oak panels. Bmc traditionally scumbled & decorated by Dave Moore. Floors in carpet tiles except painted floorboards in bmc & Hexagrip in engine room

Insulation: Polystyrene

Berths: 4

Berth sizes: 6ft 6in x 4ft 2in permanent double crossbed in boatmans cabin, 6ft 10in x 3ft 9in double on L-shape dinette

Galley looking fore and aft - nicely appointed, light and workable. A great arrangement.

Dining area and second double bed when required.

Fridge: LEC 4cu ft 12V

Washer/dryer: None

WC: Sealand Vacuflush pump-out wc

Shower: over bath with laminated splashback

Cooker: Vanette built-in hob & oven - gas

Water heating: C/heating + engine + 230V immersion heater > calorifier

 Cabin heating: Alde gas c/heating > 3 rads, s/f stove, s/f range to bmc

 Mains 230V: Landline, Victron 2kW pure sine wave inverter/charger

 Other: Glazed cratch with zipped acrylic cover. Electric self pump-out kit.

Salon, looking aft ... and the heater.

All in all ... for a trad with engine room ... a good layout and priced to sell. It was built in 2003 and appears to have been maintained. It was nicely put together to begin with ... so this will become someone's pride and joy ... and quite soon I would think.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Lock videos

I know this post will come in handy the next time someone asks how locks work.

It doesn't happen often as most people simply feign interest when I talk narrowboats.

Anyhoots ... here is a video of a boat descending through a lock.

The next video shows a boat ascending a flight of locks. Unfortunately, you don't get as good a view of the process when ascending, unless it filmed from above (I'll try an edit in a better one later).

And this video is just to remind aussies about the weather during the less celsius-friendly months. Still looks good though  : )

Friday, 23 May 2014

Got a spare AU$105K ??

I know I am not the most frequent or enthusiastic blogger, though I'm always doing something "narrowboat" at any point in time.

I've been on the  brokerage website and seen a few blog-worthy things. I found "Bliss" at AU105k ... though it would be reasonable to settle around AU$98k-ish in current market (or from GBP 57,500 down to GBP 53,500) assuming no issues from survey.

Often I review small boats.

However this is about a 2008 58' 3" boat by Liverpool Boats fitted out by New Boat Co. and named "Bliss".

I'm quite sure (without looking it up) Liverpool boats and New Boat Co. are the pair that build and fit the Carefree Cruising share boats ... which I like a lot and will review in the fullness of time.

[Correction : The Northwich Boat Co. fitout the CC share boats]

I'm not a fan of the interior colours or the exterior colours, but they can be changed or tweaked quite easily.

I am a fan of reverse layouts and this particular boat has some of my favourite design features.

If the term "open plan" can be applied to narrowboat design ... then this boat is as open plan as any you may find.


Style: Cruiser stern

Year registered: 2008

Certification: BSS to 2017

Engine: Isuzu 35 diesel

Bow thruster: Vetus 12V 55kgf 4hp

Plating: 10/6/5/4

Last out of water: March 2013

Water tank: 118 gallons stainless steel

Headroom: 6ft 6in

Fit-out materials: Headlining (ceiling), cabin and hull sides lined in oak panels, Bulkheads (partitions) in oak panels. Floor fitted with beige carpet in bedroom and saloon, wood effect vinyl in shower room and galley.

Insulation: Spray foam

Berths: 2+2

Berth sizes: 6ft 3in x 4ft 0in permanent double; 6ft 3in x 3ft 10in double on raised Pullman dinette

Fridge: Shoreline 4cu ft 12V

Washer/dryer: None

WC: Sani Marin macerator flush pump-out wc to remote tank

Shower: in tiled quadrant cubicle with curved doors

Cooker: Spinflo hob, oven & separate grill; 800W microwave

Water heating: Central heating & engine to calorifier

Cabin heating: Eberspacher diesel central heating to rads

Mains 230V: Landline, Sterling 1.8kW modified sine wave inverter

Other: Reverse layout. Removable fitted pram cover and secondary double glazing fitted to most windows.

Location: River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire


1.  The TV faces up and down the length of the boat and not side to side. This means from the back steps, through the galley and the dinette and from the salon of course, the TV is viewable. Counting the steps as a seat ... 7 seats and any standing position in the galley can view the TV.

Also, by housing the media centre in the same location as the TV (which is logical) ... and while cruising ... it is a straight path from the tiller to the media centre for using a remote control.

2.  The dinette has a reversing back support. This means by pivoting the back support of the salon-side dinette seat ... the seat turns from the dinette toward the salon.

3.  The galley is at the base of the steps ... ideal for putting the kettle on or making a snack while cruising. The galley layout also creates two areas where two people can prep food without getting in each other's way (too much). It's difficult to stay out of anyone's way on a narrowboat.

4.  It has a pump out loo. Any regular reader knows that I only ever want to deal with waste once ... and having as little involvement in that "once" as possible. 

5.  Pretty much everything is what and where I would choose. Two minor changes though. Perhaps one large rectangular sink (& lid) in the galley rather than the two round sinks.

And ... maybe, a full-width bathroom rather than the bathroom with passage. Like so ...

And the forward cabin would appear so ...

I would happily take "Bliss" as is.

From tip to stern and for my purpose, it would be a very nice liveaboard and make me smile muchly.

Now ... to spend a year or so cruising ... I just need to work out what's involved and how much taking Puss to and fro the UK would cost ... sell the house ... sell the business ... put my belongings in storage ... find a partner to do this with ... buy a block of land to return to ... have the boat surveyed ... buy the boat ... have the exterior painted ... and possibly a few other things that haven't come to mind as I write this   : )

So ... reality is this boat is never going to be mine ... damn like it though.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Beetle About

I like a  small narrowboat with a layout that works.

They make cute and economical boats for two, or provide the ability to get around on your own.

The latest I have seen for £29,950 drive away is the Aintree Beetle.

LOA :   25ft
Width:    6ft 10"
Draft:    2ft 2"
Height Above Water :   5ft 8"
Headroom :    6ft 4"

To maintain the price point, there are few options, but really there are few required as it is nicely equipped at base level.

With few compromises, it would function well as a long term cruiser for two, or a weekender for 4, however, falling short as a two person liveaboard, though one might manage it. You would just need to keep your belongings to a minimum as storage would be an issue.

Any reader of this blog would know I am not a fan of cassette loos. Space limitations require it on the Beetle.

However, at the sacrifice of the forward under bench storage on the starboard side or adding a little more length, I wonder if an economically sized pump-out or composting loo could be fitted. Hard to say from where I write this ... but it would bring this small boat closer to ideal for me, looking more and more like a long term single.

Unfortunately I'd need permission to post pics ... but this link will take you to the brochure which includes the layout, however, it looks something like this ...

Going by the analogy "that it is not how big it is, it's how you use it", many people love their small boats for their compact utility and economy. The Beetle looks like it will provide that too. I believe 7 Beetles have been sold since their unveiling at Crick this year.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Note to Self ...

When and if (shudder) I get to tour the canals ... particularly anywhere near a day trip from Merseyside ... I must take time to visit ..

Built by the William Lever of Sunlight Soap fame, he built a gallery housing his collected art works. It is named the Lady Lever Art Gallery in testament to his wife.

His collection started around 1880, ultimately consisting of something like 20,000 pieces which were free to his workers to visit and view.

I believe it is still free to visit the gallery which contains some very tasty art work.

One can view paintings, furniture, tapestries, wedgewood and chinese pottery,  classic antiquities, sculptures and more.

When I say "yummo", I'm not just thinking of the tea and scones they serve. And this link provides transport information and directions to get you (me) there.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

DIY GUITAR KIT from LHG Custom Guitars (Australia)

UPDATE: These DIY Guitar Kits are now available from the good people at

Three or four months ago I had never heard of a DIY Guitar Kit.

The LHG logo
I was approached by LHG Custom Guitars (Australia) in August to provide some marketing and internet services to enable them to sell DIY Guitar Kits throughout Australia.

I am a moderately capable guitar player, but I have never built a guitar or even though about building a guitar because I didn't think I had the skills required to undertake such a project.

Well ... I was wrong.

The first kit I built - a very easy Strat-Style guitar
While providing my services, I encountered the merchandise and was most intrigued and very impressed.

I had also been set the task of generating the documentation that is provided with the kits. The instructions are comprehensive and illustrated. And it wasn't far into this task when I realised ... I can do this ! ! !

My other kit - Ibanez RG Style. The neck has a cool Mother of Pearl inlay in the shape of a Dragon.
I bought two kits and have 2 more on order ... which provides me with plenty of man cave projects for 2013.

Basically there are 3 steps.

1.  First job is to finish it. By that I mean painting, lacquering and polishing the body and neck.

2. Assembly ( not as hard as you think).

3. Set up, which requires stringing the guitar, setting the action and intonation.

Step 3 was the step I was unsure of. I was ok with stringing, but the other two parts (Action and Intonation) were new to me.

I was provided with a couple of 12 minute video tutorials ... and lo and behold ... I can now set up an electric guitar like a Luthier.

On order - Due Jan 2013
Such a fun way to learn. I didn't take pics of the first build because I was busy documenting ... but I will from now on and post them on my blog.

Building your own guitar is ssoooo cool !

LHG's kits start at $99.00 and range up to around the $200.00 mark, which I think is incredibly cheap, considering that on completion, you end up with a great quality guitar.

Also due in Jan - to appease my AC/DC Wannabe-ness

There are heaps more models ... and you can order yours here.

Anyway ... much to do ... more later !