Friday, 16 September 2016

The longest day and come to Fradley

So the latter first....

Part of my long day yesterday was a 6am start to drive to work from the boat - 20 miles. What a difference a few days makes, during the school holidays Fradley was a hive of boating activity. Yesterday at first light and some mist.....

Also there are currently 5 moorings on our stretch that are up for auction, buy now or will be up soon. I don't mind if you do not come as our mooring prices are based on the going rate so as the rates are lowered to get moorers the lower our mooring rates in the future - do you believe that?

Early in and early away from work then collect the dog/cat then off to the Seven Bridge to collect the stove I brought on Ebay....

Percy came with a 'Brake van stove' and I have been seeking one out ever since the old one rusted through .... I took this photo of one in situ when we walked the Cromford canal recently - it is in a brake van at the bottom of High Peak junction where the boats and wagons used to tranship cargo....

From the Seven Bridge (well a small village just below it ) I drove another two and a half hours to the cottage on the south coast. The trip took me through some epic thunder and rain storms with fork lightening and torrential rain and flooded roads. So, 270 miles for the day, but at least I have a back stove. Just need to get the stove pipe sorted then I can go winter cruising in warmth !!

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

What am I .....?

I have more and more specific tools on my boat now. 

It is a hydraulic crimper. As you will have seen from one of my other posts I want to get my battery bank install tidier and more efficient for winter. Being off grid means you really need to have an efficient and reliable power install. Mine is tidy but not efficient so it will be adjusted to give all the three leisure batteries the best connections and the best layout to ensure no extra resistance is added that depletes the charge and overworks certain batteries. 

Just after I got Percy I swapped out the old split charge diode system and put in a Smartbank system. I spend a few quid on getting cables made up and they were best guesses for length. This tool will allow me to make up my own cables to the minimum length using the existing cables plus some crimps I have ordered from ebay.

I am going to install the starter batter in its own battery box allowing me to have all three leisure batteries in a line in one place to aid the connectivity. 

I'll report back with photos when done !

Friday, 9 September 2016

Beauty at both ends of the day

The days aboard are precious at the moment, mostly because I know what is coming  - I hate the long dark nights as I am sure do most but when living aboard you really understand the changes in the seasons.

I am still able to sit out in the evening and the mild September start allowed a beautiful evening star watching

You can see my company for the evening.

TV was the stars in the sky....I selected one at random and used an app on my iPad to tell me it is Alpha Ursae Majoris - Dubhe.....The star's traditional name, Dubhe, comes from the Arabic phrase "zahr ad-dubb al-akbar", meaning "the back of the Greater Bear". It is known as the First Star of the Northern Dipper or the Celestial Pivot in Chinese. Dubhe is the official star of the State of Utah.

Now the really mind blowing fact....

The light I am seeing tonight started out 124 years ago....

1892 and what was happening in 1892 when this light was emitted......
Monarch – Victoria
Prime Minister – Robert Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury (Conservative (until 11 August), William Ewart Gladstone (Liberal) (starting 15 August)

Events 14 January – Death of Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, second in line to the throne. Next in line is his younger brother Prince George (later George V).

February – Scottish Universities Commissioners publish an ordinance authorising Scottish universities to provide for the education and graduation of women for the first time.

6–8 March – "Exclusive Agreement": Rulers of the Trucial States (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al-Quwain) sign an agreement by which they become de facto British protectorates.

15 March – Liverpool Football Club founded by John Houlding, the owner of Anfield, who decided to form his own team after previous tenants Everton left Anfield in an argument over rent.

19 May – British troops defeat Ijebu infantry at the battle of Yemoja river, in modern-day Nigeria, using a maxim gun.

22 May – British conquest of Ijebu-Ode marks major extension of colonial power into Nigerian interior.

24 May – Prince George of Wales (later George V) becomes Duke of York.

25 July – The Community of the Resurrection, an Anglican religious community for men, is founded by Charles Gore and Walter Frere, initially in Oxford.

27 June – Small Holdings Act empowers County councils to provide smallholdings for sale or rent on easy terms.

4–18 July – General election: Unionist government loses its majority, but remains in office.

14 July – Official inauguration of the Liverpool water supply from Lake Vyrnwy. The Vyrnwy dam is the first high masonry gravity dam in Britain.

11 August – Robert Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury loses a vote of no confidence in his government.

18 August РWilliam Ewart Gladstone becomes Prime Minister at the head of a Liberal government with Irish Nationalist Party support. The Queen vetoes the appointment of the radical Henry Labouch̬re to his Cabinet.

26 August – An underground explosion at Parc Slip Colliery, Aberkenfig, Glamorgan, kills 110.

2 September – Everton play their first game at their new Goodison Park stadium following their exit from Anfield earlier this year. Their first game at the stadium ends in a 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest.

3 September – Three years after the formation of the Football League, a Second Division is created. Its 12 members are Small Heath of Birmingham, Sheffield United, Darwen of Lancashire, Grimsby Town, Ardwick of Manchester, Burton Swifts of Staffordshire, Northwich Victoria of Cheshire, Bootle of Liverpool, Lincoln City, Crewe Alexandra, Burslem Port Vale of Staffordshire and Walsall Town Swifts.

December – Following a merger of Newcastle East Football Club and Newcastle West Football Club earlier in the year, a new name is given to the club: Newcastle United Football Club.

7 December – Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co, a leading case in English contract law.

21 December – Brandon Thomas' farce Charley's Aunt begins a record-breaking London run at the Royalty Theatre (following a pre-London opening at Bury St Edmunds on 29 February)


Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes collection The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (book publication 14 October).

George and Weedon Grossmith's comic fiction Diary of a Nobody (book publication).

Rudyard Kipling's poetry collection Barrack-Room Ballads.

Michael Field's poetry collection Sight and Song.Births

3 January – J. R. R. Tolkien, professor and author of The Lord of the Rings (died 1973)

9 March – Vita Sackville-West, poet, novelist and gardener (died 1962)

13 April – Arthur Harris, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command during World War 2 (died 1984)

3 MayGeorge Paget Thomson, physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (died 1975)

11 May – Margaret Rutherford, actress (died 1972)

13 June – Basil Rathbone, actor (died 1967)

8 July – Richard Aldington, poet (died 1962)

11 August – Hugh MacDiarmid, poet (died 1978)

14 August – Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, composer, music critic, pianist and writer (died 1988)

6 September – Edward Victor Appleton, physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (died 1965)

5 November – J. B. S. Haldane, geneticist (died 1964)

6 December – Osbert Sitwell, writer (died 1969)

21 December – Rebecca West, writer (died 1983)

January – Doncaster, racehorse (died 1892)

14 January – Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, second in line to the throne of the United Kingdom (born 1864)

21 January – John Couch Adams, astronomer (born 1819)

31 January – Charles Spurgeon, preacher (born 1834)

19 April – T. Pelham Dale, Church of England priest prosecuted for Anglo-Catholic ritualist practices in the 1870s (born 1821)

18 July – Thomas Cook, tourist pioneer (born 1808)

06 October - Alfred, Lord Tennyson, author, poet (born 1809)

11 December – William Milligan, theologian (born 1821)

Who needs TV and don't we all feel a little more insignificant !!!

Mornings are also very quiet and tranquil. I walk Leia to Common lock and back. This morning there was an early boater - the same boat who went past late last night in the darkness. An Aqua boat returning to Mercia for tomorrow morning (Sat) no doubt.

I need to sort out a coal delivery I have a week s worth and it will last this time of year, I have not lit the stove yet but when this lovely warm spell ends Autumn will come tumbling through.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

My batteries and the Smartbank error code E11

Working through a little electrical challenge at the moment aboard Percy. I have been returning to the boat and the Smartgauge has been flashing E11 up on its display.

The Percy battery install - there is a third leisure battery remote for the other two.....

I did spend some time drawing put the cable runs so will try and put it into a proper drawing for me (you) to understand.

From the manual ....

E 11 SmartBank has attempted to operate the split charge relay but SmartGauge is measuring different voltages on the 2 batteries. This would indicate either a faulty relay or faulty relay wiring. In either case, split charging is probably not taking place.

E11 can be disabled is to prevent nuisance error reports in poor installations where the cabling between the 2 battery banks is insufficiently sized.

Two issues... the error and on reflection the way I have the leisure batteries connected.

The former (E11) could be being generated as I have a remote 3rd leisure battery, connected to the other two via the same thickness of cable - but longer at just a metre.... I am wondering if this extra connection is not allowing the reliable combined voltage for the three leisure batteries. I guess the simple check it to take this third battery out of the set and see if it removes the E11 error, on reflection I think it was about the time I added this battery that I got this error.

I spend a good time on Saturday (while it was raining) reminding myself on how the install is all wired together as I may need to disassemble the wiring to check the relay. The problem with sorting 12v out is you are dealing with live feeds and have to be sure you do not short out the leads while moving them and there is a lot of metal close by !!

Looking at the wiring I think I can improve on it..... subtle but it may help and I can check the relay out at the same time.

More thinking time required  - but as the fishing is now getting less in the evenings I should redirect my efforts to have the best charging and electrical storage possible for the winter.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Resources and reality

Small post today after returning to the house from the boat. Circumstances meant we passed the use of the house to a little family more in need than us for a few days.

It meant Rachel came up with the dog and cat late Thursday and I was fully aboard all week. We are obviously not in boat conserve mode as we dropped the batteries to 54% (a light got left on all day and the solar did a decent job of protecting the batteries while keeping the fridge going) a cassette got filled in 36 hours and we burnt through 25gb of data in the same 36 hours.

Now back in the house lamps are on, washing machine doing its cycles, oven (electric full on  - both ovens ) radio entertaining us and the internet just being taken for granted at 70mbs unlimited.

Boat living takes a certain discipline..... and it soon gets forgotten !

Sunday, 28 August 2016

A quote ....before my blog update

Life goes on, a steady regime of work travel and relaxing is par for the course at the moment. Lots of interest in the house so I'm glad the estate agents are doing the viewings.

I picked up my copy of Narrowboat by Tom Rolt the other day, it was on the little bookshelf we had made by Adele for Percy. I do not normally read books twice - I have listened to a couple of audio books on my drive to and from the south coast a few times, mainly Stephen Fry's books as I find his voice good company on the long drives. Anyhow in reading Toms book again I am reminded of the passion and joy he exudes of the ways of the english countryside. He was no doubt a romantic for the old ways and there is nothing wrong with this. It is in my opinion an age thing when we start to feel the pace of change and yearn for how it used to be. If you don't feel it now it'll come to you for sure.

One paragraph describes the juxtaposition of life afloat compared to the land based life of possession and marketing we live by today.

In describing the back cabin on the working boats, he writes;

A wide bench along the opposite wall to the stove is the only sitting accommodation, and does duty at night as a side-bed for the children. A second and wider cross bed, with cupboards above it and a folding centre portion , lies athwart the for end of the cabin. It is usually screened by a pair of lace curtains. This is the boatman's marriage bed; here, in this little space, he was born and will one day die. No simpler existence can be imagined. The boatman's life is stripped of all the complex comforts with which we have surrounded ourselves  at the price of contentment. He works and lives hard, but he has not heard of hire purchase agreements, while the collectors of lights and telephone accounts, rates and taxes know him not. 

I loved reading this simple paragraph. It says so much of how far we have moved away from need to want, and are we better for it?

Anyhow to fully expose the contradiction of my post ..... and to update my diary as I have only one post in August .....

I use pictures taken to remind myself of where I have been and what I have been doing. I'll spare you the pictures of car parks, vandalised signs  and exploits of contractors to curl the estate managers toes. Instead August saw me a year closer to my pension and a travel log of many means. 

The fishing on the mooring has been very enjoyable. Bread being my bait for Roach, Bream and Chubb. The sun sets opposite my mooring so it is a very calm and peaceful end to the day and at high summer saw me fishing to past 10 o'clock at night.

The bike did not suffer too much. I have a route I like to ride that takes my into the Staffordshire Moorlands from Derbyshire. A one point I am so high I can see the Wrekin and the Welsh hills in the far distance. It is up close to Cauldon Edge. I wonder if we'll end up living back in Wales?

For my birthday I purchased a new cycle... I have a collection now, all for specific uses of course. I wanted (not needed) a bike that has decent front suspension and a more upright riding position due to problems I am having with my joints .... age does not come alone.

For  my birthday we were invited to London to stop with my youngest son Callum and his partner Emma. Their two bed flat in Greenwich is a great base for visiting the capital. We took a walk into Greenwich and ate at the market before a walk for a drink onto Blackheath (where the plague victims were buried)  through Greenwich park back to the flat for food.

On the Monday we took ourselves back to the park and then onto the Greenwich museums where we signed up for a year so we can visit again. It enabled us to go to the exhibitions, the observatory and the Cutty Sark. It has had a very interesting life.

That evening we were treated to a show in London - 1984, a very dark but well presented and well acted experience 

Back on the boat the fish just kept getting bigger....a nice Chubb, hand in picture to show the scale !

I had a couple of days leave to use up so I called a friend to see if he wanted to play out on the bikes.... Bob, Allan and Brian all needed little encouragement, all retirees  - lucky buggers. They are Yorkshire based so I met them at Thirsk market place and Bob took up through some stunning Yorkshire countryside  up to the Transporter bridge in  Middlesborough. it was a 330 mile day and the temp on the M1 on the return journey was 30c at 6pm !! 

Two Yamaha FJR 1300's a Pan European 1300 (mine) and a CBF1000  - Bobs, serious bikes !

Back to the boat and work etc.... I'd not like to leave you thinking is was always beautiful sunsets, although as we get towards Autumn they get more spectacular as do the sun rises on the other side of the mooring.

The joy of heavy rain is being out in it dry under the fishing umbrella and having the place to myself as the walkers and runners that use the tow path don't appear !

This little Perch made me smile, as soon as I held him he puffed up all his very impressive defenses against being swallowed, so I dropped him back into the canal to grow up into a monster for me to catch in a few years time (hopefully)

Off for a 6 mile walk around the coast now, planned again via memory map .... pictures to follow in a September blog no doubt.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Mr fix it ....

Not a lot going on at the moment, seems very quiet compared to the manic spring and early summer of getting the house sorted the boat sorted and the holidays sorted.... a getting things sorted sort of busy.

The Brexit voters have delivered a very nervous and static housing market - not the best time to put your property up for sale but we don't need to sell. If we don't I'll have a option for winter living as well as the boat. If we did sell I was going to swap out the solid fuel stove for a diesel one but that does not seem so urgent now.

Despite buggering up my hand (waiting a hospital referral for that) I have still been fiddling with stuff. Last week I sorted the petrol strimmer, just some replacement fuel hoses as the originals had gone brittle. Then the electric cooker at the cottage was stripped as the oven stopped working. A selector switch was diagnosed as the fault so off to the pub for food and a part ordered from Espares to be fitted next visit.

Then it was the Honda Deauville that I needed to do a coolant change on.... the internet is wonderful for such guidance - especially the Deauville forum. I then took it for a good run Sunday and decided I needed to nip up the head bearings so that was Sunday PM's job. Rachel painted the new window frame Callum and I made so we could get a cat flap in.

We treated ourselves to a nice 5 mile walk up on the South Downs  - walking late afternoon we had it much to ourselves which as an antisocial type appeals !

Then it was the early morning run back to work - a gentle 200 mile commute before getting back to the boat for some sublime fishing.

My neighbours are back from two very different cruises, one taking 4 months the other 10 days - both did big distances but in very different time spans.

The fridge is working fine... the day sun is keeping it going FOC via the solar panel and I have not had to run the engine at all  - the boat is frugal on its power demands. In the winter when the sin is low and does not give much of a charge the back cabin is cold enough to be the fridge so that works well.

So house stuff and boat stuff to do plus work not much to blog about so only when I want to record something will I reappear with some words.

Take care