Sunday 29 January 2012

Pick of the week - Katy Mac

This week's pick is already sold but it was worth a look for us.  She's called nb Katy Mac and was sold through Great Haywood Boat Sales. Ticks all the boxes for us.

Name : Katy Mac
Length : 57ft Trad
Price : £44,950.00
Year : 2004
Plating Specification : Steel 10/6/5/4
Flat V-Hull Or Keeled : Flat
Built by : MMR Fabrications
Fitted out by : Northern Marine Services
Source Of Hot water : Calorifier/ Eberspacher
Central Heating : Eberspacher
Solid fuel stove : Yes
Water tank capacity " 120 gallons approx Stainless steel water tank
Engine make : Beta 43hp (only covered 2030 hours approx)
No of cylinders : 4
Keel, water, air cooled : Keel
Gear box make : PRM
Bow Thruster : Nobels Hydraulic
Diesel tank capacity : 45 gallons
Additional Notes : Twin alternators (40amp & 90amp)
12 Volt : Yes
240V landline : Yes
Inverter : 2.5kw
Generator : n/a
Batteries : 1 starter, 4 leisure
Type of toilet : Thetford cassette with a spare
Bath/Shower fitted : Shower
Vanity Basin : Yes
Additional systems : Walkthrough bathroom
Fixed Berths : Double cross bed
Extra berths : Dinette converts into a double
Cooker : Vanette GG7000 (eye level grill and oven)
Fridge : Yes 12v
Additional systems : Side hatch, washing machine
BSS : February 2012
Maintenance : Blacked 2011
Mooring Available : Yes
Additional Notes : Front cratch cover, 2 x swivel chairs, spray foam insulation, double
wardrobe, one owner from new.

Saturday 28 January 2012

Kangaroo tiller pins

I'm trying to get some kangaroo tiller pins made up.  I have a plastic figurine that I'm hoping they'll be able to use to make a mold.

Is there anybody interested in buying one too?  I will order more if there's any interest.

This is the figurine.

Friday 27 January 2012

Poem - Clancy of the Overflow

Another poem by Banjo Patterson.  Clancy is mentioned in the poem The Man From Snowy River.
 CLANCY OF THE OVERFLOW by Banjo Patterson

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just `on spec', addressed as follows, `Clancy, of The Overflow'.

And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected,
(And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar)
'Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it: `Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are.'

In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy
Gone a-droving `down the Cooper' where the Western drovers go;
As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,
For the drover's life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.
And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wond'rous glory of the everlasting stars.
I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy
Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall,
And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city
Through the open window floating, spreads its foulness over all
And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle
Of the tramways and the 'buses making hurry down the street,
And the language uninviting of the gutter children fighting,
Comes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless tramp of feet.
And the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste,
With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy,
For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.
And I somehow rather fancy that I'd like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book and the journal --
But I doubt he'd suit the office, Clancy, of `The Overflow'.

Thursday 26 January 2012

Should the bottom of a narrowboat be painted?

I have stumbled across a question that I didn't even know was an issue.  Should the bottom of a narrowboat be painted?  I've been doing some reading about this and it does seem there are (surprise, surprise) two opposing camps on the matter.

It seems many aren't painted.  It is believed that as the base plate of a narrowboat never sees the light of day, it won't rust.  There isn't sufficient oxygen in the water for rust to form - according to the "no need to paint the bottom" camp.  There are comments of people with 20+ year old boats with bottoms as good as new, so they claim. 

Then there is the other side of the story - those that are determined you should paint the bottom of the boat.

I do recall reading something a couple of years ago that said boats in marinas are more prone to pitting of the hull than those on inline moorings or cruising.

Would like to hear your thoughts.

Poem - The Man from Snowy River

I had a teacher in primary school (I can't for the life of me remember her name now) who liked poetry.  We spent time in class learning our favourites by heart. She must have been particularly interested in Australiana poems as they are the ones I remember best.  I should thank her because there's many I still remember.

Yesterday I saw an interview with Tom Burlinson.  They were in the high country.  The interviewer, Grant Denyer, asked him a question about the movie "The Man From Snowy River" and it immediately reminded me of the poem by Banjo Patterson.  After the interview Grant Denyer said that the night before, around the campfire, Tom Burlinson had recited the poem from beginning to end.  Look how long this poem is!  "Clancy" has his own poem - I'll find that one and post it next time.
There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses -- he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.

All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up --
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle-girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony -- three parts thoroughbred at least --
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry -- just the sort that won't say die --
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

But still so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, `That horse will never do
For a long and tiring gallop -- lad, you'd better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you.'
So he waited sad and wistful -- only Clancy stood his friend --
`I think we ought to let him come,' he said;
`I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred.

`He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen.'

So he went -- they found the horses by the big mimosa clump --
They raced away towards the mountain's brow,
And the old man gave his orders, `Boys, go at them from the jump,
No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right.
Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills,
For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight,
If once they gain the shelter of those hills.'

So Clancy rode to wheel them -- he was racing on the wing
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his stock-horse past them, and he made the ranges ring
With the stockwhip, as he met them face to face.
Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded lash,
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,
And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a sharp and sudden dash,
And off into the mountain scrub they flew.

Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges deep and black
Resounded to the thunder of their tread,
And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back
From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their way,
Where mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely, `We may bid the mob good day,
NO man can hold them down the other side.'

When they reached the mountain's summit, even Clancy took a pull,
It well might make the boldest hold their breath,
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.

He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timber in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat --
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringy barks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.

He was right among the horses as they climbed the further hill,
And the watchers on the mountain standing mute,
Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely, he was right among them still,
As he raced across the clearing in pursuit.
Then they lost him for a moment, where two mountain gullies met
In the ranges, but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet,
With the man from Snowy River at their heels.

And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam.
He followed like a bloodhound on their track,
Till they halted cowed and beaten, then he turned their heads for home,
And alone and unassisted brought them back.
But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot,
He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;
But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,
For never yet was mountain horse a cur.

And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around the Overflow the reedbeds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The man from Snowy River is a household word to-day,
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Recipe - Mexican Meatballs

These make great finger food and as they are cooked in the oven on a tray it's easier to make larger quantities.  They were a hit at my sewing group when I took them once, and they're good served with couscous or salad.
I whizz the onion and parsley up in my little food processor to save chopping. 

From : Symply Too Good To Be True, Book 1

½ cup dried breadcrumbs
½ cup skim milk
500g lean beef mince
1 packet taco seasoning
1 small onion, diced
¼ cup tomato sauce
½ cup fresh chopped parsley
1 egg white
Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 190 degrees
Mix breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl, leave for 2 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Roll into 18 small meatballs.  Place them on a baking tray sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 30-40 minutes, turning once.   
Serve hot or cold with tomato salsa.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

The Fox and Kangaroo

The Fox and Kangaroo - does that sound like the name of an English pub in Australia?

Actually, it's nothing to do with pubs.  I was awake in the middle of the night and we had our bedroom blinds tilted to let in the breeze.  I got up and looked out to the street and thought I was seeing things.  In the light of the street lamp I saw a large grey kangaroo slowly heading along the street in front of our house.  It was amazing to see how it used it's tail for moving at such a slow pace.  Behind it was a fox!  It almost looked like the fox was sneaking up behind the roo but I don't think that was the case.  They were just heading down the road together in no particular hurry.  The fox passed the kangaroo just as they were obscured by the shrubs in our front yard. I'm sure I'll never see such a thing again.

The fox was probably doing it's rounds of the area - checking if any of us had forgotten to lock up our chickens.  It reminds me of a time we were visiting friends of Mick's in New Zealand.  At the end of the first day we stayed with them I offered to help Marie with the barbeque dinner and she waved me away saying it wall all under control.  So I offered to lock up her chickens for her.  She looked at me in surprise saying "What for?".  It turned out they didn't ever lock up their chickens.  They didn't need to!  In New Zealand they don't have a problem with foxes taking their chickens.

As for the kangaroo - they have been around the street a bit lately.  Mick has seen one a few times in the morning near the house up the street.  The front yard has several piles of roo poo since Mick removed the front fence up there.  We have areas of crown land around this house and both behind and across the road from the house up the street.  We've seen kangaroos on numerous occasions in our street but not in the middle of the bitumen road. 

Monday 23 January 2012

Pick of the week - Dreamweaver

Some weeks we find a boat that would be suitable for our purposes and some weeks we find a boat that we'd really love to buy!  We have no idea whether when the time comes, the boats for sale at the time will include an exciting one or just something we can live with.

This boat is for sale with Great Haywood and it's a name I quite like : nb Dreamweaver.  I think it's a name that suits us after being "narrowboat dreamers" for so long.
I really like this one.

Name : Dreamweaver
Length : 58.5ft
Stern : Semi Trad
Price : £57,500.00
Year : 2004

Plating Specification : Steel 10/6/4
Flat V-Hull Or Keeled : Flat
Built by : Alexander
Fitted out by : River View
Cabin sides : Oak ply
Flooring : Solid oak
Insulation : Spray foam
Source Of Hot water : Calorifier/ Immersion heater
Central Heating : Mikuni
Solid fuel stove : Bubble diesel stove
Water tank capacity : 120 gallons approx (stainless steel tank)
Engine make : ISUZU
No of cylinders : 4
Keel, water, air cooled : Keel
Gear box make : Hurth
Bow Thruster : Yes
Diesel tank capacity : 65 gallons & 28 gallons for the stove
Additional Notes : Twin alternator
12 Volt : Yes
240V landline : Yes
Inverter : 2.5kw & charger
Generator : n/a
Batteries : 1 starter, 6 leisure & 2 for the bow thruster
Additional Systems : Battery management system
Type of toilet : Pump out & porta potti
Bath/Shower fitted : Shower
Vanity Basin : Yes
Fixed Berths : Double (extends to 5ft)
Extra berths : L shaped dinette converts into a double
Cooker : Yes
Fridge : Yes
Gas, 12 Volt or 240 volt : 240v
Additional systems : Washing machine, microwave, side hatch
Maintenance : Engine serviced every 250 hours, blacked every year from new
Additional Notes : Front and rear cratch cover, galvanic isolator


Sunday 22 January 2012

Exchange rate

With the exchange rate between the Aussie dollar and the British pound hitting a 27 year high we're hoping it holds out until we can get going!  The exchange rate is hovering around the 67p mark - that is one Australian dollar will buy 67 pence.  The other day it reached 68p before easing back again.

I remember thinking how lucky Ray and Diane were to be able to take advantage of the good exchange rate in mid 2010 and go and buy their boat before they were actually ready to start their life aboard.  Now Paul and Elaine are doing the same.  In mid 2010 the exchange rate was 55p and that seemed absolutely fantastic compared to the 40p we got on our trip in 2007 but here we are now with it at 67p.

I read an article that suggested the dollar would continue to strengthen against the pound.  It would be one positive thing about not having been able to sell our house so far!

Saturday 21 January 2012

Lorikeets in the garden

We get a lot of bird life in our garden - mainly to compete for our fruit crops.  The other day we were amazed to see at least 50 or more birds in the pear tree.  They were a bird we hadn't seen in our garden before so I raced inside to look in our bird book for what type they were.  The book's already packed away but a quick search on the internet and we discovered they were "Musk Lorikeets" .  Those birds all but destroyed the entire crop of pears.

This morning was a much more familiar sight.  Two pairs of Rainbow Lorikeets were making a meal of the leftovers.  We often see Rainbow Lorikeets in our garden.

Here's the Wiki photo of a Musk Lorikeet.