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

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

What does that hold.....

.... is a question we have been asked a few times when out cruising. They are referring to our forecabin. It is indeed a cabin as it has two small berths and could with some woodworking be made into a big double. However like any space that does not get frequent use it turns into a dumping /storage place.

I was advised by a self confessed ex working boater at Colwich lock last year the boat was not authentic as it did not have a stove in the forecabin - now I don't pretend my boat is anything other than a nice place to be and a nice thing to move around the canals on. He advised when he was a child he lived in the forecabin with his many other brothers and they had a little pot belly stove to keep the place warm. Obviously no BSS in those days, but I do not doubt his tale as I have seen similar with a stove chimney.

Back a couple of days before I progress the forecabin story and we took the opportunity to give Rachel's mum a trip out on the boat. She has not been too great recently and the fresh air and a memory or two were the ideal tonic.

The Sunday I decided the boat was overdue a clean so set to but could not find the cleaning 'stuff'. I decided it must be in the aforementioned 'storage' space so I set to finding it......

Yep.... that lot came out - it looked like a jumble sale !! A good clean inside and after some judicious sorting, scrapping and tidying I got it all back in and now I can find stuff. What I did not find was my cleaning stuff ! At least I have a tidy and useable forecabin now. (and a dirty boat !)

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Certain types

Sitting outside of the boat this morning watching the behaviour of the boaters approaching Hunts lock gave a good insight to their ' normal' behaviour traits..... So there is a volunteer lockie in his hi vis now the sensible approach or what I would call sensible is to slow down and time my arrival to his opening the bottom gates for me. However there were a fair few who motored up at not tick over only to moor up after a good deal of reverse thrust  only then to push off into the now open lock. on of my favourite anocrnyms.... But if we were all the same I guess life would be less interesting.

Friday, 22 July 2016

All alone ...... more ways than one but this is the boat at 7am this morning. You will need to click the image to see the desertion !

A little catch up  - blacking is now done for another 3 years courtesy of Phoenix marine at Kings Bromley. We dropped Percy off there the other weekend after getting to the boat 6pm ish then took a beautiful late evening cruise past Woodend lock and moored in splendid isolation on one of the long wooded stretches that make this part of the canal one of the best about.

I'll add a photo here from Rachel's phone later of Percy waiting to have her bottom sorted.

Then is was normal work and travel stuff with Callum and Emma coming to the cottage to help cut the hedges and build a window frame so I could add a cat flap.... its a long story !

After a hard weekend we took a lovely sea walk around Bosham.

Then it was a drive back up the A3/M25/M1 to drop all the tools off at the house, then on to Fradely. It does make me chuckle to see people just standing holding ropes, like large dogs at locks, 'tis what the bollards are for? Click the image and zoom in.... I did not wish to offend !

Anyhow I dropped off the car and walk a couple of miles up the canal to pay for (£10/foot) the job then off back, but the warm day and the desire to just rest took over and once again I moored up for the evening - this time with two other boats at respectful distances who were also enjoying the shade of the woods.

Excuse the selfie.... very tired and hot !

I needed to be at work the next day so it was an early start - 6am up and untying the ropes just after 6.15 am. 

It was magical until I looked behind me and saw another boat  following !! They were on a mission to get back to Braunston as they had a poorly dog on board and a fubarr'd water pump. The benefit was they helped me through Woodend and Shadehouse. By the time I got to Fradley locks there were boats moving. I emptied my cassettes, I did not need water as I had filled up at Kings Bromley. 

The sun was streaming in the boat by the time I moored up on my neighbours mooring as I wanted the strim the grass on the pillings  and cut it elsewhere. 

It was hot and I am ashamed to say the only cold drink I had was a can of John Smiths that went down in one at 9.15 am -a new record !! At least the fridge is doing its job now.

So lawns cut boat moved back then back home to cut the grass there before going off to work finally getting home again to the house at 9pm.

Been on the boat for a few nights  - mainly to fish - I do need to give it a good clean inside and out... but that can wait, while the weather is so nice and the evenings so balmy fishing takes precedent.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Free (cold) beer for the following ......

My SOS for advice on my poor performing fridge was detailed here ....

Brian, Tom and John all provided comments and gave assurance my thinking was correct. It only took me a year to deliver the solution, some nice tick 8mm2 cable direct from the busbar to a fused switch next to the fridge.

I was hoping to use the old thin cable to pull through the new thick cable. This was not a success as I think Tony had correctly secured the cable bundles within the coving. So a delay was endured while I secured the correct cable 'fishing' device, basically a thin flexible drain type rod much thinner to be used to push/pull the thicker cable through. 

This was undertaken last night with a decent degree of success getting the thick cable from the kitchen to the busbar in the engine room. After having made the connections beer was added to the fridge and the switch flicked......

..... a nice instant compressor tune sparked up and continued until after about 2 hours it cut out when the fridge got to temp. Over night the fridge stayed cold and did not play the fan song that we got before when the compressor would not start and we got the fan instead. A result and the fridge and other pump and lights use took 15% from the battery bank as advised by my Smartgauge. 

So I will have a cold storage space .... until the temp turns the back cabin into a much larger fridge and the natural swap over coincides with the arrival of autumn and winter. 

Its good to get the advice from fellow boaters so as and when we meet if I have cold  beer you are due one.... of course I am talking larger, ales and red wine will be served at room temperature !

Onwards and upwards... now a back cabin stove for those winter cruise days  - perfect !

Friday, 1 July 2016

Lots to record on me blog, not least boating again and a mooring update !

Ok, as said many times before this is my diary that I share with friends. I need to keep it up to date so when I am in my old(er) age I can look back and say - I did a bit when I was able !

We had a mad run up to our holiday in Europe on the bike - see here 

By the time we left on the tunnel train we had;-

  • Shopped for a sofa for the boat in a charity shop in Chichester.... still to be moved and the older Ikea Poang chairs brought back to the cottage 
  • Hosted Rachel's nephew Richard and his partner Amy as they were down for a sailing race  -we had a great pre race night in the sailing club.
  • Driven over to Greenwich to help our youngest son and his partner Emma move fully into their flat 
  • Drove back to work to complete the preparation for the house to go on the market
  • Finished all my work obligations prior to the holiday... late finish again !
  • Then drove back to Chichester to pick Rachel up and make sure she did not wake up on her own on her birthday
  • Left Rachel's car in Chichester and drove back to Derby the next day (That's over a thousand miles in 6 days)
  • Then met the Estate agents and signed all the forms - took the pictures and agreed to have the house on the market !
  • Sadly Rachel's dad Charles passed away three years ago on Rachel's birthday so the girls had arranged for a memorial bench to be installed at Crich tramway museum where Charles being an engineer loved to go. So we met Sharon and her son Aiden to check the install was ok  - it looked stunning and a perfect location.
  • Then started to prep the bike and luggage for the trip to Europe
  • Then had a great night out to celebrate Mike (Rachel's Brother) and Katie's marriage (they got married in Hong Kong last year. (.... and yes Katie I do remember we are visiting Hong Kong in 2018 so we need you as our guide to your country)
  • Got back home at just after midnight to pack and got to bed at 1am
  • Up at 6am to walk the dog and get her ready for her holiday with Rachel's sister Sharon - (thanks again Sharon)
  • Then the holiday began with a ride to the tunnel.....
And its not been foot off the gas since being back as I am now back on the boat - Hurray !!
A couple of photos....

Our new found local - the Fox and Hounds at Funtingdon - I walked to it twice on Saturday last time I was down , 6 miles all in but the beer food and company were worth it.

Callum and Emmas local in Greenwich on the Thames and over 5 quid a pint !! But still a vibrant place to be.

The Thames was in full flow - can't wait to get Percy reacquainted 

Charles bench at Crich tramway museum

This is the view from the bench platform  - stunning 

The trip up and back on the tram gives some more stunning views and we were lucky to get a beautiful day 

Rachel reflecting .....

Part of the wedding celebrations saw a Chinese tea ceremony where the Bride and Groom serve tea to the Grooms family in order of seniority - we went second. This is Sharon and Andy Rachel's eldest sister and husband  We were asked for advice for the married couple...Never go to sleep on an argument  !

It was a lovely meal and occasion, Rachel with her nephew Luke 

Back to the boat it was rewiring the fridge with 8mm2 cable. I need a 'fishing' kit to pull the thicker cable through. Next weeks job ! I need cold beer aboard !!

Spot the fishing rod.... 9.30 pm on the day after the longest day - perfect

Part of the role I have at work I need to work all hours that enables me time to wind the boat and have a great breakfast if not a little expensive at the Fradley cafe. Percy is now pointing the right way for her blacking trip next weekend 

Last weekend we relaxed with a walk by the Cromford canal.... At high peak jinction they have a couple of BR brake vans  - this is the stove we had in the back cabin of Percy and I am still looking for a replacement

 This is my 10pm Bream. I have been fishing with bread and using a mashed up slice for ground bait. Slowly the fish are getting greedier and this whopper came out almost last cast. The fishing is so perfect when all is quiet and the sun is setting and the fish are feeding....

My 6.30 am view from the back cabin. Don't panic is on her travels, Harnser is sold and Deco dream - the next boat you can see is moving off at the end of the month. 

Finally I did renew my moorings for another year. It is enchanting down at Hunts lock, everyone is very friendly and helpful and if I do sell the house this will be my home again as I did in 2014/15, could be a lot lot worse !!

Saturday, 25 June 2016

The longest day....

A real double header of a title for us.... Travel and Boat updates

There was a film called the longest day about the Normandy Landings. Our bike ride into Europe this year was to 'do' the Normandy beaches as well as paying respects to our first world war dead at Ypres in Belgium.

We passed through Deauville the French city that the Honda Deauville takes it name from. It was ownership of this bike (I still have one) that has generated such good friendships across the country.

We also called in at Pegasus bridge..... a real strategic point for the invasion.

Our base for the main part of the holiday was Arromanches - Gold beach where the UK forces landed on D Day

Our room was in the building centre left above the red canopy.

I still cannot get my head around how lucky I have been to enjoy the peace in Europe so so many brave people fought for. Now we seem to have exposed discord in Europe again, not for me but for my children and grandchildren. So many young voted to remain and now they will inherit the challenges of a remote England and a broken Union.

We spend two days in Ypres and had some good food and paid our respects to the fallen at the Menin Gate. The last post is sounded every evening at 8pm.

From Left to right.... John BMW GS100, Steve BMW RT1200 Bob CBF1000 Nev ST1300 

We did the Ypres museum and added the tower tour. There are some fine views from the top of the tower but the icing on the cake was a lass tuning the bells than playing a fine tune which was deafening but very entertaining.

Worth turning the volume up on this one .....

As the house is now on the market I am back on the boat some/most of the time now. I arrived back after a week of very heavy rain I understand and just in time to get the longest day - except it was the day after due to a leap year.

Fishing into the night and with just the accompaniment of the twilight bird song is a simple but luxurious pleasure.

We have Percy booked in for blacking at Kings Bromly early July so I wanted to turn the boat ready for the trip up there in a couple of weeks. So Thursday morning I worked a late shift allowing me to take Percy to the Alrewas winding hole ....

I can't tell you how tempted I was to cruise past and carry on !!

I started wiring in the fridge with the new 8mm wire but I will need to borrow the 'fishing' kit from the electricians at work to get the thicker wire through from the kitchen to the fuses in the engine room.

So back with a cold, no doubt due to 200 miles in the rain, but an excuse the watch us beat the Aussies  3/0 in the rugby and hopefully an England and Wales progressing in the euros.