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cribBlog is meant to complement the handwritten account of Cribbit's travels which we keep on board and rather euphemistically call 'the ship's log'. This will have a briefer narrative but will include more photographs than make their way into the paper log.

 cribBLog 2014

 The first Cheesists meeting of the New Year

9 January 2014

Determined to get out on Cribbit a bit more this year and have several plans afoot so this can happen. Pleased to get out so early in the year, of course this is combined with the first Cheesists meeting of the year and a trip to Dulwich Picture Gallery to see the Whistler and the Thames exhibition, written up at the time in theBlog. All in all a good start to the year.

Decided to stay on my moorings, could this have had something to do with the fact that I was well boxed in by the boat that should have been where Cribbit is moored? Not safe to turn the water back on yet but all nice and warm inside once the fire gets going.

Well boxed in

The end of the Hovis factory at Greenford



 To Cowley Lock

13 April 2014

This was by way of a shakedown cruise for Cribbit after the winter and to test one or two small 'improvements'. Also, Jason had asked if he could borrow cribbit 'one weekend' for 'a purpose' and I wanted to be certain that nothing would go wrong for this special 'purpose'.

On her mooring but ready to go

Now back on the outside

Spring has sprung and so have the ducks

Rubber Ducks

Saw a pair of mandarin ducks near West Drayton

Approaching Cowley Lock....sold out of Calor gas

Cowley Lock and a volunteer lock keeper thwarted...we stayed below


On the way back, moored for supplies at Bridge 200. Excellent offie here, bought methi for aloo methi

 Jason's romantic proposal to Cristina

May 2014

With much [male, ie totally transparent] secrecy Jason and I arranged for him to take Cribbit for a weekend away with Cristina. The idea being that they would have a pleasant and romantic time and that Jason would seize the moment to propose.

We planned a Cheesists meeting for Thursday so that we could have a proper hand-over the next day as both had booked time off from work.

No space on the Greenford visitor moorings so moored behind the Hovis factory which is a nice quiet spot now without it

The pair joined me next day

Cristina soon introduced to the tiller

All seems to be going well so far

Jason gets the beer

A reference pic of my permanent mooring place so that Jason can get Cribbit back in the right place when they return

I abandon ship and off they sail

Cristina getting to learn the ropes

Some 'ropes' more scary than others

Was this really such a good idea Jason?

Approaching Cowley lock

Jason pretty pleased with their first lock together

Moored up for the night with the fire going

Settle in for a warm evening in front of the fire


Looks like she just might have said 'yes'


Next day, a 'little' engine overheating problem

Takes us back to the days of the barge horse

Not a very energetic barge horse as it only got them as far as Bridge 200 and Hayes and Harlington station and a quick escape home.

 Fixing the engine and making a decision

14 May 2014

Jason left Cribbit by bridge 200 and I set off for Stoupa, so no way for me to even find out what could be wrong before I got back. Once I did had a quick look round and all seemed OK although there was no coolant in the system. Decided that I would check the weed hatch first as a few polythene bags round the prop soon causes the engine to overheat. Sure enough the prop was well fouled. Started filling the cooling system, and it did seem to be taking a lot of water, then the automatic bilge pump started up and I decided that the water might well be going in but seemed to be coming back out again just as fast. Quick check of all the core plugs, all ok, so where? Checked the hoses and realised that the main return from the skin tank had sheared off completely. Measured it up and set off to Uxbridge marine for a new length.

The old hose, the new one and the prop fouling bags

Fitting the new hose was a simple job and soon completed. Filling the cooling system not so quick as it seemed to be taking a prodigious amount of water, so much so that I thought that perhaps there was another leak, but how to tell? I had opened the skin tank stop cock to allow air to escape so what could be simpler than a bit of fairy liquid over its end to see if it would blow bubbles?

Skin tank bleed cock IS there somewhere

and here it is with a very satisfactory bubble...the system WAS filling up!

Soon had the engine running again and by then had had enough time to cogitate on my next move. Well as we are half a day away from Northolt, we may as well continue on North and get the reconditioned engine I have been promising her for years. So turned her round and headed back towards Cowley lock. The next day got me comfortably to Copper Mill lock where I was hoping to see the bats as in former years. Thwarted in this but that is the next episode.

Heading North

Moored above Copper Mill lock in the heart of bat country

 Tw and Tanya move on from Copper Mill

27 May 2014

After I had moored up at Copper Mill, I did my usual system check and noticed that the 'alternator was a bit wobbly' so knew that this would be the first job to do next time I wanted to move on. As it happened, it was tw who was to move her on next so this became HIS job!

What better initiation to the joys of boating could there be for Tanya?

We'll just have a little look

'Would you like a pair of rubber gloves?'

'No thanks I'm already too dirty'

The alternator bracket on the water pump has sheared off

Fabricated a new bracket and soon had it in place

But then the usual hunt the matching nut and bolt competition commences. Cj has a box of nuts and bolts inherited from his father which is labelled: 'nuts and bolts that don't fit anything, even each other' so it is on Cribbit

Job done!

Tw and Tα head off

I'm on a boat with a beer in my hand

Lunch on the move, Sj would approve

But there's work to do






A worthy entry for Little Old Man Weekly


Tα quickly slips into the indolent ways of boating life as modelled by Tw

 Out comes the angle grinder

11 June 2014

Moved Cribbit on from Red Lion Lock [69], through Hemel Hemstead and moored above Fishery Lock [63]. Not many pics as single handing.

A bit of boating and then a couple of days of angle grinding and anti-rust coating. Engine and angle grinder getting a bit hot, the engine because the plastic header tank failed with high pressure steam spurting from a large crack in its side. Soon stopped this with a good application of duck tape.

Weather warm, so warm in fact that it was impossible to put bare flesh on the roof. Used the roof washing water to keep my knees wet but no such easy solution for the rustproofer so had to balance on the hand rails.

Moved on from the environs of the railway bridge, specially selected by tw

Single handing and came upon THIS bridge

Decided that its designer was not a boater AND that his head would look good on a pike on the bridge

Squeeze yourself round the side then fall over the concrete wall, thankfully I am not a barge horse

Another Roma, years ago we met a bloke with a Roma tee shirt. 'Oh we have just seen another boat called Roma we said', 'Yes BUT WE WERE CALLED ROMA before him' came the reply. Now here is another.

Fishery Lock [63], near to the
The Fishery Inn

Noored above Fishery Lock, its shallow here but well away from other boats

The gang plank comes out for the first time in years


Out comes the angle grinder, keeping anti-social noise and dust to ourselves

 Tw and Tx move us on to Bulbourne

14 June 2014

to follow

 Fitting cooling system modifications

17 June 2014

The demise of the cooling system header tank finally pushed me into a long overdue overhaul of the cooling system which has been promised for some time. Out came the 'organ pipes' a desperate measure to increase the cooling area embarked on when I was at Solihull and hand crafted for me by the refrigeration department. These were made redundant after I had a new skin tank grafted onto the outside of the boat that contained baffles to stir up the cooling water. A very necessary modification needed for lengthy Thames passages at high engine revs.

I got a replacement header tank from the
breakers yard in Oakley [£4] and then a trip into Apsley to the very good motor spares place on the High Street where I was able to buy heater hoses to hook it all up.

Decided that I would mount this item above deck. Quite some debate about whether this was a good idea or not. Against was the possibility that it would be used as a step but the big plus was that I could keep an eye on it. Then I wondered why cars aren't fitted with little windows so their tanks can be observed too. Decided that I already knew the answer to this. Another plus was that it gave me a handy place to mount the engine cut out lever as well. [Of course if you want to stop the engine because steam if coming out of the tank, this might not be the best place for this...ahhh well]

The 'organ pipes' they used to be in the engine room

The pipes replaced by a simple tee connection and the new header tank

New header tank and engine cut-out mounting

Moored at Bulbourne

Some large carp playing round the boat.

'Is it REALLY safe to swim here?' asked Roger

Got some undercoat on the roof and ran the engine for an hour or so so felt fairly confident about the engine for my next set of visitors who were to take cribbit on her next stage. This fell to Ann and David who moved her on to Cheddington though not before experiencing a small fuckle or two. Well the cooling system seems to have worked quite well but that a core plug failed but was expertly bodged by David with silicon gasket goo. They also found the only thunder storm in the region, not experienced by us 30 miles away.

David's repair, the shiny blue glob seals the core plug

Moored at Cheddington

Now I thought that replacing the core plug would be quite easy, after all I had several in waiting on board, alas these were all the wrong size so deciided another trip to Apsley was in order. The shop had lots too but these were all the wrong size as well. The motor world has gone metric since that engine was made. Eventually found one, almost the last in a large box of the things. Well it was right for one axis of the original but a bit big for the other. Sure enough, when I got it back it didn't fit either, even with a bit of persuading. No matter lots of that gasket stuff left, for now, and we were soon up and running even though I didn't dare pressurise the system.

Before heading to Apsley, I came across a fisherperson delving into the canal with a fish net. Asked him what he was about and he explained that the previous day he had dropped his tackle in the cut and that he was hoping to recover some of it with the net. Got out the fishing magnet and showed him how to use it. On his first attempt he recovered two red handled objects which pleased him greatly. That's my bait threader and my knot picker he exclaimed, that has saved me at least £5! Anyway, I was in a hurry so said to him to just leave the magnet in the bows of the boat when he had finished with it and off I went to Apsley motor spares . When I got back found my magnet as arranged but also a nice [if slightly muddy] armco hook. Magnet fishing can be so rewarding!

Spent the rest of the day moving down to Grove Lock and its pub.

The leaving of Cheddington, view with fisherpeople

Soon came upon this wooden boat

This reminded me of Cribbit's first cruise when I was accosted by a worthy who said 'I have a picture of your boat in my new book' under the title 'Some projects take a little time'

Swing bridge, a real trial for the single hander

A crow black field

Moored at The Grove

In the morning I walked back for the car

I like these double bridges, were they for planned expansion that never came?

Later Margaret and Terry joined me for a day of boating

Bottom of the Silbury three locks. Then we finished off the day mooring at Bletchley

 Clearing Milton Keynes

13 July 2014

The last move before Sj joins us for the final push North to Calcutt boats and the engine work. Spent a couple of days clearing Milton Keynes and we are now moored at Thrupp. Water Explorer's canal planner now tells me that we are 23 locks and 32 miles [55 lock.miles and approximately 18 hours] away from Calcutt Marina. Few pics as the ones I have are boring and mostly feature the back end of Cribbit moored against a green bank.

The downside of Milton Keynes is the dearth of locks, this makes for fast boating but slow walking back for the car. Striding along the tow path one evening with this intent, my hat was suddenly snatched from my head. Somewhat surprised by this as there was no wind and I don't walk that fast. The reason soon became apparent as there was my hat swinging gently on a branch speared through by a sharp twig.

Flying saucer

18 September 2014
Cribbit on the move again

Cribbit is back on the water again after a modicum of improvement. Having said that, she looks even more disreputable than ever so the next few weeks will be spent getting on a new coat of paint and moving her back to London down the Oxford canal and River Thames.

Refurbished engine back in place

With a new exhaust manifold cooler fitted


The far green box

Water pump fitted with a smaller diameter pulley

Remote air filter, this one won't jump off into the bilges

New flexible exhaust pipe and silencer

Engine room rewired and new domestic battery installed

Battery isolators

New oil pressure and temperature gauges