enteron – the smallest sewage water treatment plant for yachts & boats

what is the enteron?

the enteron is a comletely biological sewage water treatment plants for boats

The Enteron is the smallest, certified fully biological Sewage Water Treatment Plant for Yachts and Pleasure Boats on the market today.

enteron sewage treatment plant by Mactra MarineSewage from the vessel’s toilet is pumped into the Enteron.  Bacteria is added once a month in the form of a small ‘teabag’ flushed down the toilet. The bacteria inside the tank simply eats the waste. The Enteron uses a macerator pump to break down the solids and the effluent is moved between the tank’s three chambers. Air is added to speed up the process. The Enteron is electronically controlled and will discharge 50 litres a day of bacteria free water into the watercourse via an ultra-violet filter. No chemicals are used in the process. The Enteron has Marpol & IMO world accredited certification from Germany where the unit is made.

Each Enteron comes with its own user friendly testing kit.  By drawing off a small sample from the inspection valve, this simple kit allows the user to carry out frequent checks to make sure that their discharge conforms to consent limits. The kit tests for Permanganate Values (PV), PH to test the acidity/alkalinity. A Turbidity Tube to test the clarity of the sample and a thermometer to monitor the sample tests.

It is possible to derive an indication of the biochemical Oxygen demand (BOD) and Total Organic Carbon (TOC) from the results of the Permanganate Value test.

living with an enteron

wide beam boat with enteron sewage treatmentThe Enteron 50 is aimed at a vessel with between 2 & 4 occupants and the treatment of their black water waste. It can be used to take grey water as well, but a larger version of the Enteron would be required to cope with the volume. Care has to be taken when adding grey water, as the chemicals used in cleaning processes can damage and kill the bacteria that make the Enteron so successful.

Padded toilet paper, and wet wipes are a no go for the Enteron. They can block the pumps and internal chambers. Standard toilet paper is quite acceptable and widely available Eco friendly cleaning products will present no problem to the Enteron.

Having friends to stay will result in greater use of the ‘facilities’. The Enteron has an overload facility which with greater use of the pumps, will allow a larger volume of waste to be treated for short periods.

The Enteron is a sealed chamber, the air vent has a carbon filter which mean the whole process is odourless. The pumps do make some noise when they cut in and out for short periods daily, whilst going to ‘sleep’ at night.  A weekly maintenance routine that can be carried out in minutes, will ensure that the operation of the Enteron will remain free from sludge build up. An annual change of internal filters can be carried out by the user or an authorised agent.

enteron on inland waterways

One of the most asked questions is “Does the Enteron have Environment Agency Approval?”

On asking the question to the Environment Agency, the response was:
The Environment Agency cannot endorse commercial products and it would be the manufacturer's responsibility to provide test results in support of any application.

Here is a link to the Thames general bylaws concerning the use of toilets.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/river-thames-navigation-licensing-and-general-byelaws-1993

Similarly the Broads authority have regulations prohibiting discharges from boat toilets.

however 

The Enteron has internationally recognised certification to show that it complies with legislation: http://www.mactramarine.co.uk/marine-equipment-enteron-5-certificates.htm

A simple spread sheet program or paper recording sheets are supplied with every Enteron. This allows the user to record the results of their weekly testing for inspection if required.

technical data

Enteron 50 12V or 24V  120W
Dimensions 1500mm x 600mm x 550mm high
Daily load sewage water [l/d] - 50
Recommended for persons on board - 2 to 4
Overload up to [l/d] – 100 (temporary use)
Empty weight [kg] - 50
Weight at maximum load [kg] - 260
The daily consumption of a standard system, designed for two people, is about 17Ah (12V)

Enteron 80 12V or 24V  120W
Dimensions 1500mm x 1000mm x 550mm high
Daily load sewage water [l/d] – 80 to 120
Recommended for persons on board - 6 Plus 2
Daily consumption very similar to the Enteron 50 above.

other frequently asked questions:

Is the Enteron Expensive and why?

It took years to get the expensive testing done to gain the certification that makes the Enteron so unique as the world’s smallest fully certified biological sewage treatment plant designed especially for boats.

can I afford to buy and fit an enteron on my boat?

The Enteron 50 costs £7525.00 Plus VAT if applicable. As a retro-fit on a low value vessel this may not be a viable option. On a new build or to retro-fit on a newer vessel, the Enteron is a very viable option. ( There may be an option to buy VAT Free, if the vessel is a ‘qualifying vessel’ as per HMRC  guidelines).

The installation of the Enteron is straight forward and can easily be achieved by an owner or boatyard.

how will an enteron change my life onboard?

The obvious first change will be no further need for the regular move to a marina with a pump out facility and no basing of cruises around this. For those living statically onboard their vessels, there is no need to plumb into the main sewage system. But more than this having an Enteron onboard reflects a state of mind, of self-sufficiency and a care for nature and the environment.

Jim  MacDonald
Mactra Marine Ltd.

"We believe that the products that we sell are the very best available on the market today. We have overseen hundreds of installations by boat builders, marine engineers and by owners themselves. Our equipment is fitted on vessels ranging in size from super yachts to ocean rowing boats. As sailors ourselves we use this marine equipment on our own boat - so we know exactly how each product works."
Jim & Ann MacDonald

 

aquonic watermaker turns canal water into fresh water

water water everywhere but not a drop to drink

aquonic watermaker by mactra marine turns canal water into fresh water

The Aquonic watermaker designed to turn river and canal water into drinking water is the latest in a number of unique products brought to inland waterway boaters in the UK by Mactra Marine Ltd.

Mactra Marine was started back in 2005 after Jim & Ann MacDonald returned from a one year 11,500 mile Atlantic Circuit with their two young daughters on their 33ft sailing boat.

On the Atlantic crossings water was a very precious commodity and the MacDonald family supplemented theirs with the purchase of a very small second hand electric desalinator. It was this that started the interest and on their return, Jim and Ann set up Mactra Marine to supply niche Blue water sailing equipment to Ocean sailors. The years rolled on and Mactra Marine became well known for their service to sailors and ocean rowers around the world. Lizzie, their oldest daughter joined the business in 2010 and today they continue to supply the well known Schenker and Katadyn desalinator ranges as the UK dealer.

The inland waterways had never really been considered as a market, as desalination uses high pressure to take the salt out of seawater. The equipment is expensive and whilst the reverse osmosis seawater membranes will purify river and canal water, its over specified for the job.

Inland Waterways and the Aquonic Watermaker

aquonic watermakerMactra Marine were approached by the German manufacturer of their certified watermaker the ‘Aquonic’ and were asked if they would be the UK distributor for it. The Aquonic was launched in the UK at the Crick boat show last year. Its process takes water from rivers and canals and feeds it through a seven stage filtering system. First the water is sucked through a mesh filter, taking out large particles and lumps of weed. It then goes through a 20 micron filter, and a 5 micron filter before going through low pressure reverse osmosis membranes. Finally the water passes through an ultra-violet filter to kill bacteria and a remineralising cartridge where valuable minerals that the process will have removed, are replaced. The filter elements are inexpensive to replace and the membranes themselves only need changing once a year. The Aquonic can produce up to 120 litres of fresh drinking water an hour using 170 Watts at 12V. 24V versions are available.

“It’s very clear to see what benefit users will get from an Aquonic” said Liz MacDonald of Mactra Marine. “The Aquonic takes away the need for the boater to go into marinas to get water, or need to queue up for water in the high season. It gives independence and self sufficiency for the boat owner.”

Aquonic WatermakerInstalling the Aquonic is straight forward and is well within the scope of a handy boat owner. The intake can be shared with another skinfitting, or if it is not going to be used when under way, a weighted hose hung over the side into the water will suffice. Most of the hose connections are ‘pushfit’. The produced water can be led directly to the vessel’s tank, or via an L port valve to a faucet in the galley to allow tasting or filling up of water bottles to chill in the fridge. The unit is controlled electronically with a remote switch, allowing it to be installed out of sight.

The Aquonic comes with everything needed for installation. It costs £3243.00 Plus VAT if applicable (There may be an option to buy VAT Free, if the vessel is a ‘qualifying vessel’ as per HMRC  guidelines).

Mactra Marine Equipment"We believe that the products that we sell are the very best available on the market today. We have overseen hundreds of installations by boat builders, marine engineers and by owners themselves. Our equipment is fitted on vessels ranging in size from super yachts to ocean rowing boats. As sailors ourselves we use this marine equipment on our own boat - so we know exactly how each product works."
Jim & Ann MacDonald

Call: 01934 517288 Visit: Website Write: email

painting tips for canal boats

painting tips for canal boats

expert advice from rylard paints

COLOUR CHOICE 

When choosing colours, ensure that comparisons are undertaken in daylight. It is always advisable to compare colours with a painted boat as it is difficult to appreciate the colour in large areas. Our printed colour charts have accurate colour rendition but the enamel will appear to be lighter when applied to large areas, especially when adjoining complementary colours.

Where possible, ensure that you have the same batch number for the finish coats.

CONDITIONS
rylard paints for canal boatsWeather conditions play an important part when painting outside. Avoid if possible painting in direct sunlight or when the boat is obviously warm to the touch. The ideal temperature for painting is between 12oC and 20oC. Higher temperatures could result in poor flow, rapid drying and loss of gloss. Windy conditions will lead to dirt pick-up and faster drying. Do not apply in damp conditions and aim at finishing painting by mid-afternoon, as overnight condensation may affect the finish.

Drying times will vary considerably depending on conditions, but at 20oC in still air, light touch-dry for both undercoats and topcoats will be 1 to 3 hours, and through-drying will be 12 to 24 hours. If possible, longer drying times should be allowed before overcoating as this will make rubbing down easier. Where low temperatures are experienced and there is little air movement, drying times can be as much as doubled, so take this into account when judging when to apply the next coat.

A dust-free environment is essential to obtain a really good gloss finish. The removal of dust prior to painting is essential, and dust and debris must be removed between the sanding of each coat and the application of the next.

Rylard Plus Enamel has a high pigment level and therefore thorough stirring is necessary. Best results are achieved with a wide flat-ended blade or a piece of clean, flat-ended wood. Screwdrivers are not efficient for stirring! It is advisable not to wear loose or woollen clothing when painting as this can contaminate the freshly painted surfaces.

PREPARATION OF SURFACE

Rylard paints bare metalBARE STEEL

Preparation: For best results, steel should be blast cleaned. This is not always possible, so alternatively mechanical cleaning by sanding and wire brushing can be undertaken to remove any rust.

Cleaning: The surface should then be thoroughly degreased using a water based or water dispersible degreaser, which must then be thoroughly washed off. Solvent cleaning is only efficient if clean wiping cloths are frequently replaced, otherwise the solvent just spreads the grease or oil around without removing it. Any remnants of grease or oil will affect paint adhesion and can cause slow drying and tackiness of the paint. Do not use diesel, paraffin or turps substitute for cleaning as they promote rust – white spirit is preferred.

Priming: The hull above the water line should then be coated with 2 coats of Rylard Zinc Phosphate Primer. If it is to be left outside for any length of time before applying finishing coats, 2 coats of Rylard Holding Coat are essential to prevent rust spotting.

narrowboats brightly paintedPREVIOUSLY PAINTED SURFACES
Rusted areas should be abraded down to clean steel and existing paint edges feathered to prevent ridging showing through. All clean metal areas should be patch-primed with 2 coats of Rylard Zinc Phosphate Primer.

Should rusting be extensive, consider having the boat blast cleaned and professionally repainted for long-term protection.

Where there have been feature lines, names, etc., ensure that these are completely removed to prevent shadowing-through.

If there is general unevenness and poor feathering, several coats of Rylard Primer/Filler should be used, abrading between coats to give an even surface. Rylard Primer/Filler can be used directly onto small patch areas.

Rub down the surface overall to an even matt finish using 320 grit wet and dry paper. If a colour change is to be undertaken, the relevant undercoat colour should be used.

PAINT APPLICATION

Rylard Paints side of narrowboatApply the paint using a good quality 2½” to 3” brush. Gloss rollers and pads can also be used. To ensure even application, apply by crossing brush strokes before laying-off. On boat sides, always lay-off with vertical strokes. With large areas such as cabin tops, best results can be obtained by two people applying to prevent loss of wet edge – one person applying, the other laying-off. When brushing, it is recommended that the brush is held at 45 degrees to minimise brush marking. Where masking tape is being used, it is recommended that this is removed before the paint has reached a light touch-dry state, as this will ensure a smoother edge.

Clean brushes regularly (about every 20 minutes), to prevent thick build-up of paint in the brush. Stir the paint regularly during application.

Except for the primer, rub down with 320 or 360 grit wet and dry paper between coats, to ensure a completely smooth, even finish. When using wet and dry paper, always use it wet, and occasionally apply domestic soap to the paper, as this will prevent blocking and aid abrading. (‘Blocking’ is build-up of paint debris on the paper, which may cause scratching of the paint film).

Rylard PaintsWipe over thoroughly after abrading, as dust and debris will affect the final appearance. The smoothness of the finish is ultimately dependent on the preparation, especially for Undercoats and Primer/Filler. Where coarse profile steel has been used, or where underlying imperfections in the surface exist, extra coats of Primer/Filler and Undercoats should be used.

Under normal circumstances thinning of the paint is not necessary, but where application is undertaken at low temperatures, or previously used paint has bodied in the can due to evaporation, small quantities of recommended thinners can be used.

SPRAY APPLICATION
Rylard primers, undercoats and topcoats can be applied by air assisted or standard airless spray. Thinning may be necessary dependent on the spray equipment used, please consult the relevant Product Data Sheet.

TRADITIONAL and POLYURETHANE VARNISHES

red narrow boat Rylard PaintsNEW WOOD
Bare new wood should be sanded using either sandpaper or wet & dry paper, finishing with a 180 grit paper prior to applying the varnish. Ensure that all sanding dust is removed by either brushing or vacuuming before applying any varnish coats. The use of a tack cloth to remove any residual dust may also be used.

It is essential that any new oily wood, such as teak, is degreased using white spirit or cellulose thinners in order to improve penetration and adhesion. However, it should be noted that Polyurethane Varnish is NOT recommended for use on oily woods such as teak. The first coat of varnish should be thinned – 1 part varnish to 1 part of white spirit – and thoroughly stirred. Brush this coat well into the pores of the wood to ensure full sealing. After drying, sand smooth to remove the timber ‘nibs’ using a 320 or 360 grit wet & dry paper.

EXISTING VARNISHED SURFACES
If the existing varnished surface is in poor condition and is showing flaking or other imperfections, it is recommended that it is removed back to bare wood (using either a proprietary paint stripper or sanding) and the timber treated as for New Wood. If the existing varnish is in sound condition, rub down with a 320 or 360 grit wet and dry paper and clean with white spirit.

To obtain a good depth of gloss on both new wood and existing varnished surfaces, a multiple-coat treatment is recommended, with a minimum of 3 coats, with light rubbing down between coats using either a 320 or 360 grit wet and dry paper. Note: Rylard eggshell varnishes are not suitable for exterior surfaces.

SLIP RESISTANT DECK PAINT KIT
non slip tread paint on narrowboat roofRylard Slip Resistant additive can be used with all Rylard topcoats.

Thorough mixing must be ensured to obtain an even dispersion of the fine aggregate.

Care must be taken to ensure brush marks are not apparent.

All Rylard topcoats are suitable for sand-blinding, but care must be taken to ensure the sand is thoroughly dry.

SUMMARY

QUANTITY GUIDELINE

  1. To obtain the cabin length deduct the length of the bow and the stern from the overall length of the boat
  2. Deck area should be approximate to window area and has been allowed for in the above calculations
  3. On bare steel 2 coats of Rylard Zinc Phosphate Primer should be used at a similar coverage rate to the topcoat
  4. All figures are approximate and given for guidance only

rylard paintsWith a proud history dating back to the 1880’s, Rylard Paints is a well-respected name in the supply of paints for canal boats, narrow boats, dutch barges and leisure craft. Through its Research and Development program Rylard continues to provide state-of-the-art products, manufactured in the UK to the highest Quality standards. We provide a range of coatings for canal boats, from blacking to topsides, anti-slip for decks and roofs, to brass lacquer to keep metal fitments glowing.

yorkshire bespoke tiller pins

yorkshire bespoke tiller pins

the story from the very beginning...

Pennine Cruisers, SkiptonThrough odd canal holidays, trips on the rivers and being fortunate enough to have friends on the canals as a child, I eventually caught up with our fantastic inland waterways and the lovely people that live, work and holiday on them. We found a fantastic company to hire from, Pennine Cruisers. A Skipton based company on that lovely Leeds and Liverpool canal. This company soon became the key to the start of Yorkshire Bespoke Tiller Pins. As the article goes on you will see why. All staff and owners, over many trips with them, soon became what me and my wife class as our Skipton family.

I had decided to make one of the staff there (and now good friend) Wayne a gift. At this stage I really didn’t know what. He had just finished off his boat that he had recently moved onto, having built it from a bare shell. Back home I was in my workshop wondering what I could make him. I knew it would be for his boat.

On rummaging around, I found an old piece of round brass stock, along with a solid piece of aluminium from my workshop stock. Straight away I knew I was going to make him a tiller pin. The two pieces of material had caught my eye, even though they were both very dull. I thought that if I could use the two pieces together, the result would be quite unique. I began looking at new ways on how to work and join the two pieces together. I also knew when they were machined, they had to give a flawless impression as though they were all from one piece. I eventually found a way to do this and set about making the blank into an attractive eye-catching shape. This just seemed to flow and sooner rather than later, the tiller pin was made. I was unsure if I was on the right track with it all, so for a bit of confirmation I sent a picture of it to ‘Our Zoe’ at Pennine Cruisers to ask her opinion. I was expecting some changes may be needed, but all I got from Zoe was ‘Wayne is going to love that!’ It was buffed, polished and ready for our trip up to Skipton for our next of now many boat trips.

We got up to Skipton for our week’s break, and as we were unloading, I presented Wayne with his gift. He was delighted and said, with a smile on his face, he had never seen anything like it. Job done; off we went for our week’s cruise. My wife Jayne stated as we were cruising out of Skipton towards Gargrave ‘I got the impression he was over the moon with that!’. I agreed.

Halfway through the week we had winded round and got back to Skipton as planned to spend the night around the town catching up with our Skipton ‘family’. Of course, this meant a night with Phil before heading towards Bingley in the morning to achieve a bit of east and west. As I went into various pubs on our evening out, it seemed like the whole town knew I had made Wayne's tiller pin. I was introduced as ‘that’s that fellow who made that tiller pin’, all with lovely comments and positive feedback. I was chuffed but didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t till Jayne and I were back in the Boat House that I realised people were being very serious and even suggesting I should continue to make them.

THE NEXT TRIP UP

By our next visit 6 weeks later, now October 2019, I had come up with 4 new designs all combining brass and aluminium. However, one of these was clearly turning heads: Tiller Pin Zoe (all my pins are named after the staff at Pennine Cruisers). Tiller pin Zoe was a little different, because I had incorporated a recess in the top to house an enamel Yorkshire rose.

 

I had taken a total of 16 tiller pins up - 8 given for the shop, and 8 to go on a craft boat which goes around the network (a good friend of Wayne’s). The positive feedback and interest were increasing, and all seemed to be going well. We soon arrived back at home; it was clear that I may be busy out of work hours.

THE BOMB SHELL AND THE PLUNGE!!

In the middle of November I had the unfortunate, very poorly timed news, that after 11½ years I was to be made redundant from my place of work. To be honest it was no shock: I was the last of four employees to go. The firm had hit problems and that was that chapter over.

I was now out of work with time on my hands and a new venture that was not yet established, still in its infancy, but with an interest growing. The product was there - just not known. I now started to use my redundancy to pay myself a basic wage to cover my bills. I soon started altering the workshop to accommodate much needed machinery tooling and workspace. This took around a month, and while my tidy lovely workshop of many years was in bits, I couldn’t work in it. However, it was eventually completed and workable – but without work.

coal miner tiller pinI started getting odd jobs - repairs, lathe work brazing and odd bits. Then people started sending me brass items that they wanted me to turn into tiller pins. Many were hollow and could not accommodate a good thread for the actual pin itself. So, I would machine a solid brass boss, then tig braze that to the hollow cast body. This was becoming a popular request, and other work started to flow in. Praise for my work was building and it was common for customers to say they were told that what I managed to do couldn’t be done. I suppose wrong advise from wrong person scenario.

One afternoon my oldest son and I were having a drink in the workshop after a day of help from him altering the workshop again. I got a very lovely comment (beer may have been kicking in) he said, ‘you are a very clever very multi skilled talented man, but you are not known enough, and word of mouth is going to be very slow’. He suggested that I speak to my daughter in law Sammie and ask for help in getting myself known, joking that I am useless with computers and social media. The next day I took my son’s advice and asked Sammie if she would be interested in helping me out. Sammie was over the moon I had asked her.

WOW!!!

The rate and pace to me was exhausting. Sammie was relentless. Left no stone unturned. Within three days Yorkshire bespoke tiller pins had a running Facebook account. Had a web site not only built, but up and running. Had a PayPal account set up etc. Groups were getting in touch from our posts asking us to join. I had picked up my first big order thanks to Finesse boats who were very helpful and encouraging. This led to me finding a Sheffield based enamel logo and badge place. Which led to a local material suppliers Avus Metals. The snowball effect was starting to happen. New customers from the website and from Facebook were steadily on the up. Comments and positive feedback were a massive incentive for me to carry on. What really hit home was just how willing the much bigger companies, boat builders, marinas online canal merchants were to get behind the little firms. It really felt like big brothers were keeping a look out.

LOOKING AHEAD

variety of tiller pinsIt is very early days. I have a range of tiller pin bodies now and there will be more designs in the future. All named after Pennine Cruisers staff. There are now many other material options available and body material combinations. I am passionate about brass ware and love to repair figures that are broken – it gives them a second chance with a fantastic view from the tiller for their retirement. I find it very warming to know I have turned a personal object into a lovely tiller pin for someone. I now incorporate and work with more enamel options in my own tiller pin range along with boat name plates. I’m also venturing into other things for my growing customers, the cards are still on the table, but I believe they will be something to consider on your boat.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME AND I INSIST NONE OF MY TILLER PIN RANGE WILL BE SOLD TO ANYONE FROM STOCK. EACH ONE IS HANDMADE FROM START TO FINISH PERSONALLY FOR THAT CUSTOMER!!

COVID 19

As for many this has just wiped out the order books. I have not been idle – I have spent time making special tools to assist me in my work. I took delivery of a lathe which is much larger than my original one. Now I am able to work the two in different rolls, which will be helpful.

This was in the pipeline when things were advancing forward. It has pretty much broken me financially, and I feel the timing couldn’t have been more wrong. To help keep things going I am currently working early morning starts in a supermarket, picking online orders. I am hoping to do this as well as my tiller pins. It is do-able. I believe hard work pays.

TAKE CARE ALL AND BE SAFE IN THESE TIMES.

yorkshire bespoke tiller pinsStephen Johnson is the owner and creator of Yorkshire Bespoke Tiller Pins. 'We are a new small family business, created in Skipton.  Our Handcrafted tiller pins are made to suit you, different designs are available. Reliable, friendly service. Please send us a message if you have any enquiries. We are willing to help with any further questions. Thank you.'

Tel: 07775 593 852  Write: Email  Visit Website  Follow on Facebook

canalpost & postal distancing

postal distancing

myth busting from canalpost

As the market leader in the provision of virtual addresses for canal and river boaters, we are constantly being asked how this dreadful global pandemic will affect the post and, of course, our management of your mail, so we have put together this factsheet based upon your questions.

what is covid 19?

Unlike bacteria, viruses are not 'alive' in the accepted, biological, sense. They are just extraordinarily tiny bundles of organic chemicals and DNA that cannot exist for any length of time outside of a host cell, and have just one purpose... to create copies of themselves. Ironically perhaps, it's our own bodies' immune reaction to this reproductive drive that can make us so ill.

Novel Coronavirus (Covid 19) is a new addition to the existing family of Corona viruses, which also include SARS, MERS, Avian Flu... and even the common cold. This group of viruses are so named because they are surrounded and protected by a corona, or 'crown', of fats. It may help to think of them as being 'greasy'. This protective coating, just like any other oily substance such as butter, lard or diesel fuel, is impervious to water... but add common household soap (which contains chemicals known as 'surfactants') and voilà! Dead naked virus.

where did covid 19 come from?

Please don't be taken in by the plethora of utterly ridiculous conspiracy theories that are feeding on the oxygen of social media. Covid 19 is NOT the result of a global biological attack by the Chinese, Russians or little green men from Mars... and it is absolutely NOT a consequence of 5G or the MMR vaccine! As with many emerging virus, Covid 19 is almost certainly the result of a 'spill over' event, in the same way as the recent Avian Influenza (H5N5) where the virus mutated, purely by chance, and was then able to cross-over into human hosts.

can the virus be caught from a letter or parcel?

In theory, yes. However, the best scientific evidence suggests that Covid 19 can only remain viable for around 24 hours on porous surfaces such as paper or cardboard, before its protective corona is absorbed and the virus 'dies'.

Remember that we always process mail the day AFTER it is delivered to your Mail Centre so, even if you are set to daily forwarding, your letters will have been isolated in the mailroom overnight... even before they are despatched and have spent a day or two in the post!

how else do we protect you?

Each of our mailrooms is located within the residence of the Mail Centre owner, which is one of the factors that makes canalpost virtual addresses unique. It also means that we are able to isolate our operations so much more effectively, keeping our customers and staff safe from contamination.

When your post arrives at any one of our mailrooms, it will have passed through several hands on its progress through the postal system. This is why, for everyone's safety, we have implemented strict protective protocols, including the physical isolation of each Mail Centre premises, scrupulous sanitising of all work surfaces and the wearing of PPE when handling mail.

By far our greatest ally, however, is the clock!

By the time incoming letters or parcels have been processed, stored, despatched... and have then navigated the post on their way to you, any viruses originally present on the contents will have lost their viability.

​take your own sensible precautions

Whilst the contents of your forwarded despatch may be safe when you receive them, the tamper-proof postal bag in which your mail is enclosed will have been handled by any number of people involved in its local delivery and, therefore, should be considered as a potential source of infection.

Fortunately, these postal bags are waterproof and impervious to all common sanitising gels, fluids and biocide wipes! For this reason we strongly suggest that you clean the bag on delivery, confident that its contents will not be damaged. :o)

As always, our 'belt and braces' safety advice is that; once you have opened your letters or parcel, dispose of the envelopes or outer packaging carefully, then wash your hands with soap and water!

are there likely to be interruptions to the post?

The Royal Mail and domestic courier firms alike are experiencing increased absenteeism due to illness and have, understandably, introduced restrictive working practices to protect their staff. As a result, some delay in postal transit is inevitable.

The Royal Mail are operating staggered shifts in their main Delivery Offices in order to maintain workplace distancing and have also reduced collections to once a day. Whilst this does not directly affect our Mail Centre operations, it is having a negative impact on the delivery time for 1st Class mail.

To further complicate this situation for boaters, if you collect your forwarded mail from a 'Poste Restante' you may find that some smaller sub-Post Offices (especially those located within retail stores) are either closed, have limited their opening hours... or offer a restricted service.

how long is this disruption likely to last?

I wish we had that crystal ball.

However, knowing how important mail is to you, especially during these uncertain times, we are planning for the long term. If it takes six weeks, six months or even longer for the situation to settle down, canalpost.uk will be here throughout... reacting to the constantly changing health landscape to keep you safely connected and in touch.

the ultimate postal distancing. . . have your mail scanned!

A little over half of our boating customers, and those living full time in motorhomes or caravans, now have their letters scanned so they can read them instantly on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone... and at 50p, it's even cheaper than a stamp

to forward them! As a result, canalpost mailrooms are digitising many hundreds of pages every morning, so if you are worried about privacy, there really is no need... we simply don't have time to read our customer's post! :o)

...and we are still here to help

Thanks to modern technology, our entire Head Office staff (Support, Accounts and Compliance) are now working from home through a VPN and virtual switchboard, so you can still contact canalpost , as normal, on 0333 789 0011 !

please stay safe. . . for yourself, and for the most vulnerable in society!

canalpost logoCanalpost is part of the Expost group of companies, offering virtual addresses in the South West, South Wales, the South East, Midlands, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with live telephone support available six days a week. Our customers rate Expost as 'Excellent', with 5 Stars in Trustpilot!

Call: 0333 789 0011 Write: Email Visit: Website

Read CanalPost's article 'Your Post Sorted' in this magazine

the wrong way round #by boat

the wrong way round #by boat

by Rob and Lesley Pearson

The Wrong Way Round #byboat is a journey of discovering the 2,000 miles of inland waterways. This of course led to Lesley & Rob taking Artistic licence to record their adventures, by drawings, maps and the written word.

Rob & Lesley Pearson have been travelling traders since 2014. Lesley is an Artist who has taken to creating drawings and maps of their journeys. Rob is a computer programmer.

Rob's claim to fame are his jottings about the beginnings of their journey on NB Hekla. They came into being initially as a short story about ‘The Long Way Round’ which was featured in Canal Boat Magazine. The success and feed back from this article prompted Rob to divulge more of the  journey, as the magazine article alone didn’t seem to give enough of the essence of that journey.

Rob's book came to life in 2015 as ‘The Wrong Way Round’ which is available on Amazon.

Lesley is a member of the Guild of Waterway Artists and of the Association of Animal Artists. She describes herself as a travelling artist: "the journey is the artwork and the art work is the journey".  For the last four years the Pearsons have been exploring the inland waterways, with Lesley making drawings & maps of things they have seen, and putting her art together with Rob's prose - so combining history and the things they encounter.

Lesley offers prints of her beautifully illustrated maps for sale, as well as prints of her waterways and countryside paintings. She also sells mugs with her paintings on and stunning cards for all occasions.

cards, prints & mugs by Lesley Pearson

lesley pearson, easel & painting

our journey

We have travelled almost all of the northern canals and river navigations in the UK. It has been a carry on from our genuine interest of ways to travel. It’s a way of seeing a country, people,  and  how people live and interact with each other. We try to embrace it as a way of life, which leads me on to ‘steampunk’, an alternative way to look at life and to what is important about how you embrace it.

steampunk

Our alter egos are Captain Pepsi and Miss Mavis Ming; which is why you will see us dressed in a peculiar way. Time travellers from the last century - with a tongue in cheek humour which we find amuses people we meet.

Rob Pearson

lesley pearson

NB Hekla PopUp Art

It is what it is.. we PopUp in unexpected places, much to the surprise of our followers. We enjoy festivals, markets and of course we open up in places we visit - be it a town, city or just out on the towpath. There is no rhyme or reason to it -  it’s what takes our fancy.

This year has been a bit strange as we were deciding to head South for the summer. However, as with most people, Corvid19 has put a halt to any plans we might have had. We just watch the tide and see where it will take us. We are currently on the Chesterfield Canal in Nottinghamshire, waiting for the news of the all clear. Then we will be off South, hopefully.

Lesley & Rob PearsonRob and Lesley are currently open for business on the Chesterfield Canal, and of course with their on-line shop.

Check out their webpage for more of what they  are and have been up to; follow NB Hekla PopUp Art on Facebook, and visit their on-line shop.

To buy a copy of The Wrong Way Round, visit Amazon.

a fresh water warning

a fresh water warning

by Elliott Berry

Elliott Berry MIIMSAs some of you may know I contracted Leptospirosis in May 2014 and although I didn’t really want to write this article and elicit sympathy from anyone and have avoided writing it for a few years, I felt that now was the time especially with the increase in vessels being converted into houseboats.

I was called to a vessel that was apparently sinking in the River Medway.

Upon arrival at the vessel it was clear that the vessel was in fact afloat still but had a large volume of water in the after cabins. My first response was to ascertain whether the water was  indeed from an external source i.e river water or from an internal source i.e. a fresh water leak.

As I had done many times previously I conducted simple taste test and quickly ascertained that it was in fact “fresh” water. I then examined the vessel’s water system and found that all piping was still well installed and properly connected and that the water tank was in good order with no sign of leaks, a mystery indeed.

I advised the owner to pump out the water and to keep the area under observation and to call  me if any further water were to appear. After six or seven days I had heard nothing.

During the next couple of days, I had been doing some work in the garden at home and started  to feel unwell but initially I put that down to having overdone it. Over the next few hours I started to feel weak and developed a serious headache, at this point I rang the doctor and made an appointment. Initially the doctor intimated that it may be meningitis but that as I had no rash or sensitivity to light was quickly dismissed. The advice was to go home, drink lots of water and take paracetamol and to return in a few days if the symptom persisted.

Unusually for me I followed the doctor’s orders but the weakness and headache became  progressively worse and I developed uncontrollable shivering and so a visit to the Accident and Emergency department ensued upon which it was decided that I had contracted hepatitis A and should go home, drink lots of water and take paracetamol.

That night my wife became increasingly concerned as I had developed a fever so a further visit to hospital was undertaken. Upon arrival, it was clear to the doctors that something was  seriously wrong and I was admitted immediately and placed on a saline drip.

The next few hours are a bit of a blur but a huge number of blood tests, CT scans and ultrasounds were carried out and initially nothing was diagnosed although the blood tests showed that my liver had extremely elevated readings.

I was given numerous antibiotics and liquid paracetamol over a 24 hour period but the 41 degree fever would not subside, to the point that it was clear that my life was at risk.

A series of different medications were administered to me and, after eight days in hospital, I  had recovered sufficiently to return home although at that point nothing had been officially  diagnosed and the only possible suggestion to fit the symptoms was leptospirosis despite not  showing up in blood tests.

After a further three weeks convalescing, I was able to return to work and some investigation into what may have caused the illness was undertaken.

As it turned out, the vessel in question had been converted to a houseboat some twenty years previously and the bilges were cleaned out but, instead of disposing of the contents properly, the liquid and debris were placed into one of her ballast tanks. The tank had subsequently corroded from the inside and had deposited its contents into the aft cabin ready for an unsuspecting surveyor to taste it. Obviously, the true contents of the water are unknown but I can assure you that I no longer undertake taste tests on water and advise that no one else does the same.

In order to prevent anyone suffering the same as I did, I thought it prudent to highlight the  dangers faced when working in or around water.

Introduction to Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by certain members of the genus leptospira.

LeptospirosisMost people who develop a leptospirosis infection only get mild symptoms but a bit more serious influenza- like symptoms are also quite common. In a minority of infected persons, leptospirosis develops into the dreaded Weill’s disease. Weill’s disease is a serious condition that can involve liver failure, kidney failure, meningitis and sepsis. Weill’s disease can be fatal.

Weill’s disease is caused by leptospira interrogans belonging to the serogroup Icterohaemorrhagiae or Pomona. A person who develops Weill’s disease will usually have gone through influenza like symptoms of leptospirosis for a week or so and seemingly be well on their way to recovery. After a short period of no symptoms or only mild symptoms, the person gets very ill with symptoms of poor liver function, poor kidney functions, meningitis and/or sepsis. The lethality for Weill’s disease is 5% – 10%.

Transmission

Urine and blood from a leptospirosis infected person or animal can contain a sufficient amount of bacteria to spread the disease. A common transmission route for humans is getting urine or blood from an infected animal on damaged skin. Even a tiny skin abrasion can be enough for the bacteria to get into the body. Leptospira bacteria can also enter the body through mucous membranes, e.g. those found in the eyes, nose, mouth and genitals.

dog retrieving stick from waterWhen infected blood or urine gets into water or soil, the bacteria can survive there for several months.

Many different animals can carry and transmit leptospirosis, including dogs, rodents, cattle, horses and pigs. An infected animal is often symptom free and can continue to excrete bacteria into the environment year after year.

The incubation time for leptospirosis in humans is usually one to two weeks but anywhere from 48 hours to more than a month has been reported.

​Symptoms

Examples of symptoms from the eyes
  • Eye inflammation can occur, with reddening of the eyes and increased sensitivity to light.
  • If leptospirosis bacteria causes liver inflammation with poor liver function as a result, one noticeable symptom can be the yellowing of the sclera. The sclera is the white part of the eye; the part that surrounds the iris. When the liver isn’t working properly, the sclera becomes yellow due to increased levels of bilirubin in the body. In some cases, the sclera can even look greenish. Always check your eyes before you put in your contact lenses if you wear colored lenses. If you do not you risk not seeing the symptoms of leptospirosis, liver damage and a long row of different diseases.
Examples of symptoms from the skin
  • Skin rash
  • If leptospirosis bacteria causes liver inflammation with poor liver function as a result, symptoms can include the yellowing of the skin due to increased levels of bilirubin. In such situations, itchy skin is also common. In severe cases, the skin can look greenish rather than yellowish.
Examples of symptoms from the digestive system
  • Stomach ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • If leptospirosis bacteria causes liver inflammation with poor liver function as a result, symptoms can include pale faeces and dark urine.
Examples of symptoms from the respiratory system
  • Coughing up blood (caused by lung bleeding)
Examples of other symptoms
  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle ache

Edema Treatment

Leptospira bacteria are sensitive to several different antibiotics, including well-known ones such as Penicillin and Doxycycline.

If the infection is diagnosed early and symptoms are mild, oral antibiotics are often sufficient. In more severe cases, intravenous treatment with antibiotics may be necessary. Each individual symptom can also require specific treatment. If kidney function is impaired, dialysis can be carried out.

When an MD has good reason to suspect leptospirosis in a patient, antibiotic treatment is typically started right away, without waiting for test results.

How quickly can an illness develop?

Human leptospirosis takes a while to incubate, and the normal range between exposure and illness is 3 to 14 days, although it can take up to 21 days. It’s considered extremely unlikely that the illness would show earlier than 24 hours after exposure, even if the patient was otherwise unwell. In rare cases the incubation time can be very long (several weeks) but we normally assume that if there is no illness after 30 days then infection is either not present, or was subclinical.

Illness that develops within 12 hours of the exposure event would not be leptospiral in origin. Often infections that involve contaminated water can show illness very rapidly, caused by the effects of other unrelated bacteria and viruses in the water (such as E.coli or cryptosporidium) or from some chemicals, and while these would not in themselves normally be life-threatening, they can mask the later symptoms of leptospirosis.

The incubation time depends on the strain of bacteria involved, as some strains reproduce faster in human blood than others, but the main factor is the size of the ‘inoculum’ – the dose of bacteria that entered the patient during their exposure. Although it’s perfectly possible to be infected from a single bacterium, in reality the illness develops because the rate that the bacteria are reproducing is faster than the patient’s immune system can control. Bacteria grow by splitting in half, so one becomes two, two become four, and so on. If the patient received a large number of bacteria from the initial contact then the numbers in their bloodstream will be larger, and increase faster – hence the illness develops sooner.

It’s very difficult to predict the incubation time in a patient, but in very general terms the concentration of bacteria in the inoculum will be important (water from a large clean river will have many times less bacteria per litre than urine direct from a rat) and the volume that enters the body (infection via small cuts to the skin usually involve very small volumes of liquid, but swallowing water after a fall into a lake will of course involve far more. The balance of course is that the situations where patients suffer a high-volume intake are usually those where the liquid has a low concentration (you are unlikely to fall into a tank of rat urine).

Precautions against infection

To minimise the chances of infection, the only truly effective way is to avoid contact with contaminated water and animals, thus avoiding exposure to the bacterium. If you are in a high risk area, you should always attempt to minimise contact, as there are many hundreds of other organisms that can lurk in the water apart from Leptospira. Unless you are required to enter the water, you should stay away from it. Animals themselves present a risk while infected, as their body fluids can contain the bacteria.

Water

The vast majority of human cases are from contaminated water, and of those the majority are  occupational cases from areas of the world where agriculture and rodents mix – rice-farming, cane-growing and so forth. Recreational exposure is next, with cases amongst swimmers being the obvious top grouping. Lowest of the risk groups is occupational exposure in the developed world – water and sewer engineers, construction, pest control and so on.

Clearly there are problems in preventing exposure in the highest risk activities (rice-farming and such) and in those areas the only option is to be aware of symptoms and seek early treatment. At this time there is no universally-agreed human vaccine, and the preventative use of antibiotics can only be considered for short periods.

Swimming is the greatest risk, and several cases are reported each year from swimming in  contaminated water (both in the developed world and in activities such as adventure racing). There is no practical way to prevent exposure as some water will always enter the mouth. For one-off activities such as expeditions there is an argument for using a preventative antibiotic (doxycycline) which can offer increased resistance to illness for a few weeks. It should never be used long-term.

Anglers and bankside/sewer workers should wear splashproof clothing and expecially gloves. Anglers are at higher risk as it is reasonably common to cause minor cuts with hooks, knives and the like, and this greatly increases the ease by which the bacteria can enter the body. Fish caught from suspect areas should of course never be eaten. Whilst cooking does in theory kill any bacteria within a fish, very often the level of cooking is insufficient to guarantee safety.

Recreational exposure (swimming, skiing, sailing, caving, etc) is clearly done at the person’s own risk and they must weigh up their own balance of risk vs. desire. The same preventative measures apply – minimise the risk of water entering the body by any and all means, consider antibiotics if the risks are very high, and be aware of the symptoms and seek treatment immediately. There are no ‘quick fixes’ to prevent infection. Some swimmers wash their mouths with antibacterial rinse, though this has not been proved to offer any significant benefit other than keeping their teeth clean.

Scuba divers, who are particularly at risk, should opt for drysuits and try as much as possible to avoid swallowing any water when purging or changing regs. Commercial divers are required by their employment regulations and insurance to comply with strict rules when working in contaminated water, these include the use of hard-hat systems, wash-down stations and regular medical testing.

Remember that this advice applies to FRESH water – the risks in saltwater are virtually zero.

Elliott Berry is the owner of Marsurv, Independent Marine Surveyors and Consultants, and is himself an independent Marine Surveyor/Naval Architect & Consultant.

This article was first produced for and published by The Report in June 2017

Call: 0844 567 7709 / 07500 881731; Visit website or write

overwater marina celebrates 10th anniversary

overwater marina celebrates 10th anniversary

Overwater Marina

This year one of the networks best known new-build marinas celebrates its 10th birthday.

Overwater, on the Shropshire Union, near the vibrant canalside village of Audlem reaches its milestone in the spring and to celebrate its first decade the owners, Janet & Angus Maughan are planning a big giveaway of gifts to moorers.

The marina has come a long way since 2009 when it began life as a diversification project for the Maughan family farm. Richard, Angus’s father had farmed the land for over 50 years and was keen to see his son and daughter-in-law diversify into such a picturesque project. The Overwater name itself was chosen as the farm in the late 1800’s was originally called ‘Over the Water’. When Richard came to the farm in 1960, he set up a pedigree dairy herd under the name Overwater.

Overwater Marina with irises

Overwater Marina in tune with environs

Overwater was carefully designed to embrace its natural surroundings, with every mooring having a view over its lakeland design. The construction by Land and Water Services was carefully managed to allow the marina to concentrate on conservation and wildlife, and this,  coupled with its location in the middle of the rural Cheshire countryside result in it being a haven of peace and tranquillity.

The marina has become one of the most award winning in the country with a string of small business, corporate responsibility and Marina of the Year accolades to its name. Manager David Johnson believes “one of the reasons behind our success is the team that has been put in place to run the marina. Each and every member of staff complements the feeling of a family run business, one that puts the customer at the heart of everything”.

Over time the marina has matured and developed to embrace many aspects of the leisure industry. The addition of a workshop has meant that moorers can have their boats maintained without the need to travel. Also available are a small number of Caravan and Motorhome Club pitches and a small caravan touring park with fully serviced hard standing pitches. In addition, there are now only 2 pitches remaining on a small and bespoke development of holiday lodges which are available to buy with a 100-year site licence.

One popular attraction also remains Café at Bridge 80 which serves home cooked food, hot and cold drinks and delicious homemade scones and cakes 7 days a week.

Overwater Marine, the Café

Always keen to support the local community and its adopted charity, the RNLI, the marina provides a base for the Audlem Lass Boat Service, a volunteer run water taxi which ferries passengers from the marina to the bottom of the Audlem flight and back every weekend and bank holiday between Easter and the end of October. For the less able bodied the marina is home to Overwater Wheelyboat Services, which provides wheelchair friendly transport on road and via the Overwater Wheelyboat.

Audlem Lass @ OVerwater Marina

Wheelybus at Overwater Marina

On the 12/13th September this year will also see the 10th anniversary of the popular RNLI festival which encompasses all things fun about being near the water, including a raft race, dog show and marquee craft market.

RNLI raft race at Overwater Marina

RNLI raft race at Overwater Marina 2019

Janet Maughan, one of Overwater’s owners says “family is at the heart of our business and our local community is very special to us. These are the gifts which we have which we can share with our customers. We’ve had a fabulous first 10 years developing Overwater and now look forward to many years to come.”

Overwater Marina LogoOverwater Marina is an award winning marina set in the Cheshire countryside at Audlem and offers moorings on the Shropshire Union Canal.

Tel: 01270 812 677 Write: info@overwatermarina.co.uk Visit: https://www.overwatermarina.co.uk

can you live on the cut and still own a car?

can you live on the cut and still own a car?

it may become more difficult in the future

If you have a motor vehicle, you are probably already aware that the DVLA have recently reinterpreted' their long-standing criteria that define the nature of an address to which a driving licence or V5C may be registered and are now insisting that this must be the actual, residential, address of the driver or keeper!

dvlaWhen pressed, a manager in their Casework Unit did concede that registration may be permitted at the address of a relative, friend, Doctor or 'similar?'... but only in undefined 'exceptional circumstances'.

Even if and when such circumstances are accepted (a wholly subjective process and therefore unpredictable) you may then need to provide documentary proof to support any claim of a familial or professional connection.

What is very clear, however, is that the DVLA are now explicitly prohibiting the registration of a driving licence or V5C (the vehicle 'log book') to any address that has been commercially provided.

This policy is, in our opinion, counterproductive, and negates their own stated reasons for its implementation; I quote verbatim from the DVLA's response to a letter we sent to them on the 7th October;

"The registered keeper of a vehicle needs to provide an address at which they can be easily contactable by post or in person as it helps the DVLA, the police and other enforcement agencies to contact the keeper in the event of a law infringement."

...but this is precisely why canalpost exists!

As anyone who has lived without a fixed postal address will attest, it is an act of the purest optimism to expect a brother-in-law, ex-girlfriend, work colleague or elderly parents to receive your mail... then remember to take it to the Post Office and apply the correct postage.

And what happens when a well-meaning friend or relative forgets to send you that £90 speeding fine you received two years ago and which has now risen to over £1,000? Not a far-fetched scenario, invented to illustrate the point, but is exactly what happened to Linda Hollington, the editor of CanalsOnline Magazine, just before Christmas!

Lest this article begins to sound like DVLA bashing, it really isn't.

We all share a world in which identity theft, fraud and terrorism are a constant, ever growing, threat... and we understand very well that the motive behind this policy change is to mitigate these risks.

Our aim...

...is to persuade the DVLA to rescind the current blanket ban and, instead, implement a mechanism by which providers could be 'approved' to supply this crucial and much needed service.

We suggest that a set of compliance standards be applied, identical to those normally reserved for Trust and Company Service Providers, on the basis that; if they meet HMRC's exacting requirements for an organisation able to set up Companies, open bank accounts and transact international finance, then they should also satisfy the DVLA.

The operating Company for canalpost already meets, and exceeds, these standards.

Our dedicated ID & Compliance team verifies the identity of every new account holder via Lexis Nexis (an HMRC approved KYC/AML provider), which includes the identification of Politically Exposed Persons.

Furthermore, although not a required process, we also carry out negative media screening on every business registration.

Staff are trained in Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing, and every member of management has been certified as a 'fit and proper person' by HMRC's AML Supervision team. To further strengthen this oversight, Propost ™, our proprietary mail management software, incorporates a range of unique Risk Assessment Algorithms that constantly monitor accounts for unusual or suspicious patterns of use.

Finally, because we handle personal data, we are also registered as Data Controllers with the ICO and comply fully with the myriad rules and restrictions placed upon us by GDPR.

Achieving this level of compliance has been costly, but we have always believed that our first responsibility is to protect the privacy and security of our customers. Unfortunately, there are less diligent providers in the marketplace, the net result of which being the introduction of this restrictive address policy.

the campaign

The aim of our lobbying campaign is twofold; to draw the DVLA's attention to the unfairness of applying this regulation to those who, either by choice or in response to financial imperatives, live a 'No Fixed Abode' lifestyle.

Secondly; to convince the DVLA policy makers at the Department of Transport that a virtual address and mail forwarding service supplied by a professional, properly certified and approved provider, is more secure, and meets their stated criteria far better, than allowing the informal use of Great Aunt Dorothy's address in Caister on Sea!

We now have a Member of Parliament willing to lobby actively on our behalf. A previous Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Hon. Stephen Crabb MP has the experience and contacts within Government that makes him an ideal advocate for the changes that we are suggesting.

To support our lobbying efforts, we have also set-up a digital petition which, once it reaches 10,000 'signatures' will require a formal response from Government. If we are then able to amass 100,000 signatures, there is a very good chance that the issue will be debated in the House.

 PETITION HERE ONLINE SOON - WATCH THIS SPACE

... it takes less than two minutes, then please share this link with friends and let your collective voices be heard in Westminster!

some final thoughts

Please remember that this issue extends well beyond boaters, affecting an estimated 1.2 million in the UK who live a 'No Fixed Abode' lifestyle, and includes the growing number of people living fulltime in motorhomes, or static caravans.

​Although the primary subject of this article is the DVLA, our overriding concern is that it may just be the thin end of an insidious wedge. Consider the implications if similarly restrictive policies are adopted by (or forced upon) banks, credit card companies, telecoms providers, insurance brokers, the DWP, NHS or HMRC... even online retailers?

At least the price of narrow boats will fall! :o/

Sue Meades & Colin Shearer – Cheese Aboard inc Mugs Afloat

Sue & Colin - Cheese Aboard inc Mugs Afloat

Sue Meades & Colin Shearer are entering their 4th year as Roving Canal Traders on their narrowboat

That’s D’riculous.

mugs afloatWe have travelled the Leeds & Liverpool canal, the Shropshire Union, The Staffs & Worcs, The River Severn, The Trent & Mersey, the River Soar, the Grand Union, the Ashby Canal, the Coventry canal & some of the Oxford Canal during the time we have been traders.

We started off selling personalised mugs & mugs printed with our own bespoke designs along with up cycled jewellery.  Gradually we added some wooden goods as Colin started to learn how to do Pyrography.

It soon transpired that Colin's love of Celtic designs was going to be a good seller for us at festivals & markets.

mugs & chopping boardsThis developed into the range of beautiful chopping boards that we currently sell alongside our mugs. We have made many personalised mugs for customers at events & also boaters especially other traders who seem to want mugs with their own logo on.   

After only a few months of trading we joined the RCTA (Roving Canal Traders Association) as they seemed to be a helpful organisation, little did I know that 3 years later I would be a committee member & responsible for organising floating market events for other traders in the Association! Who are currently organising approximately 16 events for their members over the 2020 season.   

We love trading at festivals & floating markets, the atmosphere is wonderful & the camaraderie of the trading community is amazing.  This has been a fabulous journey as I have met many very talented traders, attended & organised lots of events.  

For the past 3 winters we have worked as self employed operators for www.calendarclub.co.uk to boost our income when it is too cold & wet to trade from the boat, they welcome traders as operators & have units all over the country if you need extra winter income.  

We were trying to think of a way of streamlining our stock & the items we sell at the end of last season when we heard that the Cheese Boat that covered the Shropshire area had retired from canal trading. 

With a lot of deliberation, we decided this was a perfect addition to our existing wares. 

Coffee mugs, wine racks, cheese/pizza boards what a perfect combination to add actual cheese to! Hence the birth of Cheese Aboard our new trading name. For the near future we will be Cheese Aboard inc. Mugs Afloat 

We have sourced a fabulous chiller, found a supplier that suits our trading ideas, achieved our 5 star food rating & made the long overdue rain canopy so we are set for the 2020 trading season to start. 

You can find us on Facebook where you will find our trading schedule for the season. 

Sue Meades & Colin Shearer

Sue Meades & Colin Shearer

Sue Meades and Colin Shearer have been Roving Canal Traders for the last three years, and have become very well known on the cut on their narrowboat D'riculous. Sue also volunteers with the RCTA.

You can like and follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mugsafloat or https://www.facebook.com/cheeseaboard1/