Oz's travels.

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Ahh...one day having a shuffty around everyone's nightmare.... ebay.... you always find something you have to buy... anyway I typed in narrowboat. Scrolling down the pages I came across...…...

I called Phil an asked him can if we go an have a look cuz the boat was in Tyseley Birmingham not to far away from us. Phil made a call to the seller and arranged a viewing for the following Saturday. We went along an was shown over the boat. Andy (the chap who was selling it) had took 6 months rebuilding her. I fell in love with her as soon as I saw her an I could see that Phil was going over her carefully but his eyes told me he was in love aswell. Another couple arrived a bit later to take a look. Phil was talking to Andy's wife but still studying the boat very carefully. I listened to the other couple who asked questions that Phil didn't, they sounded keen.... I was worried they would say yes straightaway. The couple then asked Andy if there was a cafe nearby so they could go an think about it over a cuppa tea. They went an I had a serious word with Phil about what I heard an can we buy the boat. Phil agreed an we shook Andy's hand. But fair do's to Andy, a hand shake is not a binding deal... MONEY IN THE HAND BINDS THE DEAL! During the next week I broke into my piggy bank an Phil called in to his bank to withdraw his money an we clinched the deal the following Saturday. 

Monday morning Phil contacted the Canal & River Trust to register the boat, at this point she was called the Carol-Ann, now for sometime we have wanted to own a boat an to call her HMS Troutbridge after the fictional boat from our favourite classic BBC Radio comedy 'The Navy Lark'. Phil asked the question if we can change the name, "No problem" the young lady said "what to?" Phil told her, she checked the spelling an it was done. A couple of weekends later Phil an I took Dave (Phil's Brother) to see her an with a bottle of Champagne an we officially renamed her. 

You can see in the photo I was so proud to be stood on the front of my own boat..... 

A few weeks later an she is a float.

When I showed off this photo on my Twitter page, Phil's best mate/brother Richard replied ' Didn't realize Phil was an Aston Villa fan!', he's not by the way! Us not being a football follower we didn't make a connection with the colour. We have plans to respray Troutbridge battleship grey in the future. 

The deck. 

lets go in an see the cabin.

This photo was used on the ebay page... the water boiler. instant hot water when you turn on the tap. but.... 

…. when Andy showed us how it worked it suddenly dumped all the water out the bottom. Andy smiled an said "no problem I have a brand new one in its box." Andy soon fitted an it works a treat, cheers mate.

Its has a shower, Phil tried it out an with the new hot water boiler he said it was brilliant.

A midship multi fuel stove for central heating... middle of the boat... central heating..... ok lets carry on.

The bed is in the pointed end, Andy has a mattress made to fit. 

The engine is a 2 cylinder air cooled Lister ST2.

The maiden voyage. 

 Friday 19th of April 2019 plan is to sail HMS Troutbridge from Tyseley to Oldbury. Now we would need to leave the car in Oldbury cuz there is no one to drive it back, so not been on it yet we thought we take a on ride the tram into Birmingham. Its a fair walk from Joseph Holloway's yard to the station, up hill all the way. Phil was puffing like a traction engine pulling a full load. We made it to the station.... just!

I let Phil recover while I had a look at this steam engine drive axle, I would mind this in the back garden, I'd make it into a bench.

The Trams run every 6 minutes... approx., one came in on its way to Wolverhampton.

Ours soon came along.

They don't hang about!

I relaxed, while Phil had to stand due to it was full. If you look below me you can see what Phil was carrying aswell as me.

We got off outside Snowhill station an I spotted a mosaics of a steam train scene, that would also be nice in the back garden.

Lets get our tickets to Tyseley.

Its all automated nowadays. 

I let Phil sit down this time.

I wanted Phil to rest due to it was about a miles walk from the station to Andy's yard. When we got there we didn't mess about, soon as we was on the boat Andy gave us a sort trip along the canal to show Phil how to operate it. You can see in the picture how far we travelled. 

We moored up here for the night, Andy said his goodbyes an we set about relaxing for our journey tomorrow.

I don't know how people can just throw rubbish down, I bet if someone dropped litter in their garden they would go hopping mad. 

Phil was relaxing nicely when I thought about food..... I sent him off up the road to the Chinese, it was only half a miles walk this time that way....

Right..... in the morning we was joined by Dave who came in on the train from Henley. We set sail at 8.30am. Here we found troubles with the boat. The throttle was a bit on the temperamental side, if you let it drop to much the engine cut out. an reverse was a bit of a no hoper.. A... it wasn't that powerful, normally you can use it to slow down and stop... nope.. it failed! B, once you got it in reverse the lever stuck!. So Phil had to be on guard all the time. We had 28 locks to tackle and to start off there was a empty basin between the first two locks that took about 3/4 of an hour to fill, after that we steadily battled our way through Birmingham. Phil planned to take photos, but not able to take his hand off the tiller an throttle he couldn't. Dave took on the job of setting the locks so he was very busy. In the centre of Birmingham there are 13 locks in a row to go up, luckily for us as we approached the first lock a boat came out of it, great that has set all the locks in low water for us to enter.  We soon got to the top. The canal attracts a lot of tourist, I laughed as cameras pointed toward Phil an he was trying to look professional as he stalled the boat an ran in to the side of the lock entrance. He turned to me, looked annoyed for a couple of seconds then burst out laughing. We relaxed for a while on the long stretch trough Smethwick but the engine was not sounding right. So we stopped briefly to check it over. We set off again, soon we approached the last 3 locks. There was a load of rubbish in the water an as we left the last lock Phil felt a vibration in the rudder. Well we could of stopped again but we was so close to Oldbury we headed on. Anyway we made it safely. So.. we set sail 8.30am an moored up at 6.15pm that's a … errr.. 9hrs 45min journey of a distance of 7 1/2 mile approx. A wash an a brush up, then a trip to the pub 'The Pie Factory' in Tipton for a pie an a pint... with chips and very big onion rings, then off to bed to recover.  

                             Well done team, a challenging day but fun.   

The following weekend Phil an I was curious about the tiller wobble on the last stretch of our journey. Time to remove the weed hatch.

Looking in I can see something.....

Go on then Phil shove yer hand in....

So he did... brave chap.

He started to drag out some plastic.

Quite a bit was tightly rapped around the propeller. A good job done, but I told Phil it will be a regular check before we go out on our travels.

With the problems we had on our maiden trip, Phil an I discussed on priority jobs done to the boat. The first one was to sort the engine out. A friend of Phil's, Paul Clayton aka Wheel, owns a narrowboat with the same engine, well he had his rebuilt. Wheel gave us the number of the chap... John Long. Phil contacted him an booked ours in. So the next job was to get it lifted out ready. Luckily Holloway's own a JCB telehandler. Early one Saturday morning I got to work disconnecting and undoing all that was needed.....  

Making sure power was turned off.....

I disconnected the starter motor an alternator.  

The engine mounts were on the tight side but I'm quite a powerful gopher.

All undone so lets call in the lifting crew, they are Matt Holloway an Jack Holloway.

We had to lift the rear of the engine first due to the pully shaft sticks through the bulkhead. 

With a bit of wiggling it finally came out. 

Then strapped to a pallet ready for transportation to Johns unit.

Thank you kindly to Matt and Jack, a brilliant job done. A few days latter Jack discussed with me his plan to insert the engine. Instead of from the side we will lift it from the back of the boat, so it will be easier to tilt the engine, so the shaft will go through the hole on the bulkhead. Great idea mate.

Right now the engine is out we can get to work tidying the engine bay. 

The bulk head is lined with marine plywood, I think it better go due to is rotten, well if it is the original wood put in when the boat was built, it would be Hmmm 39 years old.  

These are the control leaver bars, they had rods attached for the throttle and gear selection. They have wood base that are rotten aswell so they need to be replaced. 

The control leavers went straight up through the deck, you can see that needs a blob of weld or two.

That's better, we can brush back the rust an treat it too a coat of Rust-oleum paint. 

We have planned to move the controls to the port side closer to the tiller, so next job was the removal of the old control box and to block up the hole where the control rods went through.

Handy Phil Job is regularly go in to scrap yards, locating bits of steel an buying them quite cheaply, I nipped out one day an found this bang on piece of steel. 

A couple of cuts an it fit perfectly. 

Then Phil..... YES PHIL.... got at it with his welder an after quite a few welding rods it was securely in place.

A blob of red oxide to cover all discrepancies an I think he's done a great job, well done mate.

With the weather being so changeable we discussed about buying a cover for the stern, I Googled Narrowboat covers, I scrolled down, when I came across Roberts Bespoke Canvas. The photos in his gallery looked great, plus their not too far from Oldbury. Phil gave them a call, paid a deposit and soon Pete Roberts came out and measured up Troutbridge. Phil asked if the colour could be Battleship grey, 

                                          "No problem" said Pete. 

Well a few weeks later Pete came an fitted it. It has made a big difference to Troutbridge. We are very pleased with it...… thank you Pete, great job there mate.

In the photo are the numbers to contact Pete an here is a link to his website...… 
                                                                      http://www.robertsbespokecanvas.co.uk/