Wednesday, 7 December 2016

How I like it

I do feel the cold..... when I have been out in the cold for a decent amount of time it feels like I am exhausted -   think my body works hard to maintain my core temp, I am sure this is the case for everyone but it just seems to hit me harder? 

Anyhow don't feel too bad for me, that common question/perception  -isn't it cold living on a boat, well my simple (no pumps) central heating system from the stove has the boat just under 25c inside against an external temperature of just 1c - ok the gauge is up near the ceiling but suffice to say I'm not cold nor is the rest of the boat apart from the engine room and rear cabin  - that doubles as my fridge. 


We had a bit of a move around after we got the sofa in so Leia no longer can sleep under the sofa but she how has the true dog position in front of the fire.


A have made a large pot of stew that'll do me for the next three nights - easy living just heat up a pan full a night, no prep and minimal washing up. Shame there is no such thing as smellivision as the boat has a lovely aroma as I prepare my vitamin C special !






Monday, 5 December 2016

Fradley and Percy give me a special welcome home

So I am back living aboard NB Percy. Some might say its not the best time to re-start a life afloat (I lived aboard in 2014/2015 but that started in July  - a very different approach was needed then.

Fradley and Percy looked at their best when I arrived this morning. The canal is frozen just past my neighbour Mandy's boat but as the forecast for the next few days is no more frost I guess this will recede.



Percy was covered completely in a duvet of Ice crystals, inside all was well as we had visited and Rachel had kindly give the inside a good clean through.





The sun was still very low in the sky and I doubt much was going into the batteries from the solar.


I had brought my super sized fire lighter - basically one of the 2 hour instant logs that cost about £1.80 from Sainburys.... I cut it in half and lit it surrounded it with coal and the boat was on its way to being my home again for the foreseeable future. 


Then it was the real test to see if Percy had survived the -7c from last week. Water on, taps closed, Morco refilled and waited for the pump to stop  - and it did. If the pump keeps pumping you have either left a tap open or a pipe has opened up somewhere on the boat. 

In 2010 we had this happen on our last boat NB Waterlily - I blogged about it here 

So I have gas/water/coal and hopefully on my return later today a warm boat. I brought he large stew pot back from the cottage and stocked up on veg and stewing meat so tonight a large pot of stew will be made that'll keep me going for the next couple of nights..... a simple joy !

Let the adventure begin (again).


Monday, 28 November 2016

The river in flood and things that cannot be thrown away

We had last week off to pack the house ready for storage (not the house its contents  !) I took the chance to walk Leia across the park to the river that was well in flood after the heavy rains of last Monday.

Darley park is the most beautiful park in Derby and starts at a world heritage site of Darley Abbey mills When we were just married I always aspired to live the other side of this river and we were lucky enough to buy a house just 5 minutes walk on the right side of the river (for me) We have lived in this house that we converted to a home for 21 plus years. it is now back to a house and ready for someone else to make into a home.

A few more pics from my park walks this last week or so.....



Part of our clear out was the loft and the garage.... 21 years of accumulated stuff.

One of our Callum looking angelic 


Another small snippet of Toms childhood and his application....."2 days work" !!


Whilst I was filling a 6 ton skip from the garage and any other place I could empty this little crew had a trip in a washing machine and went off to charity - or so I was told, I have a suspicion I might see one or more when we eventually unpack !!


Happy days and sad days but if we want adventures we need to press on with some change.... keep reading ;-)

PS - Absolute respect to those who empty their homes to make a life on a narrowboat. All I can say is Rachel is good friends with the Derby Park Farm charity shops who were nearly fighting over my gaming chair (sob) plus a lot of other stuff.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Don't get too carried away with the romance of boating

Whilst there is no doubt there is a romantic and peaceful bias when people consider boating and living aboard there are some realities.

I could not detail the precise number of times on canal forums people join and their early post is a open statement of a desire to get a boat and live aboard and what's it like. The standard answer is hire before buying and ideally hire in autumn/winter to get the real deal feel.

Well today was one of those not so romantic boat chores. Akin to the vet with arm up the back end of an unfortunate cow is the task of chimney sweeping our front stove. Unlike conventional sweeping, on a boat this is done top to stove so all the claggy muck drops down. Now on a standard  Morso there is a baffle plate to stop the flames going up the chimney and no doubt setting it on fire... This plate comes out to allow all the crap from the chimney to drop into the grate. Easy !

Now on my back boiler Morso the plate is the back boiler so it does not come out. Two options

  1. Remove the chimney from the stove and dig the bad stuff out - time consuming and seals have to be remade 
  2. My option is the vet type option - get your hand in over the plate.
No 2 sounds simple but it is messy and contorted. Now I know why 12 year olds were sent up chimneys - supple. However I did not have one to hand so had to DIY...

The happy looking stove ...


Ready to get stuck in.....


The glove had limited protection....but my Mr Tickle moment was underway


That is all the ash that I scooped off the top of the back boiler plate  - a fair bit


The rest of the fire got a decent clean... fire bricks out and the back of the ash pan was cleared out also.

Finally the door was off and the glass given a decent clean.



So that nasty job out of the way Rachel followed through the boat with the Dyson running off the genny.

Hopefully I'll give a fuller update on all this shortly ... but for now the fire is set fair to keep me warm all over what might just be a cold winter this year.

... and don't let me dent your passion for all thinks boating, when we sadly left as we needed to go and sort Rachel's mum out the sun was just setting and Fradley was at its best....





Wednesday, 23 November 2016

It's a good job Narrowboats do not have lofts.....

... because f they did ours would be full of 'stuff'. Much of which is sentimental paraphernalia collected when you live in the same place for 21 plus years!

I normally like a photo or two to ease the burden of my poor prose.... but dear reader the state of the house  especially the third floor bit is a site to behold  - or not, so just my words for today.

It's tea time  - of the drink variety, (remember I am a midlander who does breakfast dinner and tea) then its an evening shift in the garage. You have got to love a skip, all like me who find the art of clearing up, tidying up and especially throwing away surplus (look away to environmentalist - the skips are sorted and all my tat will be recycled - so I am told and why I have to pay so much for a large tin on my drive) The garage has been my man cave for 20 plus years and I am actually looking forward to giving it a good sort.

Maybe some pictures and broader explanations later but for now  - off to the bat man cave we go !

Monday, 14 November 2016

A question for the electrically competent people out there .....

I have read on a few forums recently about damage done by not having  galvanic protection. 

I know they are an essential piece of kit for those boats that sit with shore power in marinas. How about the boats that are moored on line, but with people running inverters and in a few cases on board gennys?

Do we need to worry about galvanic processes or is it just when connected to a hook up (which none of our boats are?)


TIA

Saturday, 5 November 2016

It's only taken a year......

A year ago we were hosting a visit from Rachel's good friend Charlotte as she was over from the USA visiting her mum on the occasion of her mum's 80th birthday.


While Charlotte was over she went shopping at one of Rachel's favourite 'retail' stores - St Wilfreds charity shop. Now remember this is Chichester, quite a well to do area so the furniture is very good quality. So they noted and brought a nice little double sofa, ideal for the cottage but with a view to getting it to the boat at some time - if it would fit.

It lived at the cottage down south for a good while but was brought up to Derby in the summer as another slightly bigger sofa was once again sourced from Wilfreds' place.

Now we have to empty the house - more on that later hopefully so today was the test ..... two cars, one with a sofa and the other with garden furniture set off in convoy to Fradley, here is the little sofa on its way to the boat ....



 Here is our set up  - or was our set up  expertly modelled by Leia and Lilly


.... and this is how we have left it today - minus Leia. 

It was a perfect fit onto the boat with about an inch to spare top to bottom via the front doors. We have switched the table over to the other side so the two large cooper heating pipes are uncovered now (they need a polish) so when I am back on the boat the heating will be performing to its best. You can see the pipes run slightly up all the way to the bathroom via the kitchen and bedroom. Proper thermosyphoning, meaning efficient, no pumps no noise.


Froze our bits off taking over a chiminea plus a love seat for the decking. You (we) forget the distances needed to walk to and from the car for anything that gets brought to the boat.

All in all a good day, house a bit emptier and the perfect fit for the little sofa on the boat.