Saturday, December 14, 2013

To the meres and back, and a bit of celeb spotting…

We had visitors on Thursday morning, Val and Johnny came over from their home near Wrexham, bringing cakes and mail. She’s made me a Christmas cake, bless her.
I sometimes buy one; Mags dislikes fruit cake so I can’t expect her to make one just for me. And my culinary skills don’t extend to rich fruit cake… nor decorative icing!

Val’s cake
Looks great, eh. Mince pies, jam tarts and some experimental iced buns completed the bounty. Yummy!

We’ve spent quite a bit of time on the Ellesmere Arm in the last couple of weeks, so we decided to beetle off back to the woods between Colemere and Blakemere, to spend another day with Bill, Ginny and Gunner, NB Wilvir.

Sunrise at EllesmereSAM_7489

We filled with diesel on the way, backing into and blocking the entrance to Blackwater Meadow Marina to get near the pump. A bit pricey at 99p per litre, but at least we could self-declare our split between domestic and propulsion.

SAM_7490Blackwater Meadow Marina

Since November 2008 we’ve had to declare how much fuel is for domestic use, and how much is for actually propelling the boat. The former has a reduced rate of duty, in this case that makes the pence per litre 99p. Full duty is payable on propulsion diesel, pushing the price up to £1.47. So it makes sense to declare as much for domestic use as is reasonable.
In our case, it’s usually 80%/20%. After all, I have to run the engine, even when stationary, to charge the batteries for light, water, TV and to charge phones, laptop etc. All domestic, and I reckon it takes 2½ hours to give us enough power for 24 hours.

Some marinas don’t allow self-declaration, fixing the price based on an arbitrary 60/40, in favour of the higher rate. We try to avoid those….
I keep a spreadsheet which calculates our usage proportions.

We joined NB Wilvir and spent the day there yesterday getting wood cut up, dog walking and enjoying the company.

Between the meresSAM_7493

This morning both boats moved off, back towards Ellesmere. The Wilvirs are meeting family tomorrow so stopped just beyond the tunnel (whoops, don’t read this Ginny, it’s a surprise!), while we carried on back onto the arm.

Near Blakemere we cruised past a boat we’ve seen several times recently, NB Justice. This is Steve Haywood’s boat, author of three boating books and columnist in Canal Boat Magazine. He was out getting some coal, so we pulled in for a chat. What a pleasant bloke. We’ll maybe meet up again after Christmas.

Steve Haywood and MagsSAM_7496
I’ve now got  a signed copy of “One Man and a Narrowboat”. I’ve got the other two on the shelf as well, but I thought it would be too cheeky to ask him to sign all three…

We got down to the end of the basin to turn around and struggled with the rising wind pushing the bow the wrong way. So I got off and hauled it round by hand. One of those rare instances when a bow thruster would have been useful. It’s been wet and windy since, so we’ve stayed here for tonight.

We’ll push on a ways tomorrow, how far depends on the weather. But we’ll be heading directly for Llangollen now.

Locks 0, miles 3½ (there and back again)

1 comment:

Alf said...

Self declaration is just that ! If a fuel dealer refuses to accept your declaration you should report them to HMRC, they will investigate your complaint as it has been found that some dealers are defrauding the revenue by declaring a lesser amount than collected from the customers, I always check before taking on fuel, if 60/40 is the answer I move to another supplier.