Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Useful Mother-in-law and poo holding tanks - NOT connected!

Before we undertake the 'fire-fitting' project this weekend, I've called in on route home tonight and fitted another 12v socket and 5v usb charger.... THIS time, in the rear cabin opposite the control panel.

This location was chosen so as to be able to keep phones plugged in and charging whilst chugging along and within reach.  It'll also be handy when using the dinette table as a computer work-station.

please try and ignore the clutter that seems to have made itself at home  be temporarily in my cubby hole!

It will also come in handy as a place to plug in a little flexible USB powered LED that Andy's mum gave us on our last visit to them...  they picked a couple up in IKEA and they're perfect for subtle background lighting OR for reading.

They draw beggar all power and when it's dark, offer a nice localised alternative to having main cabin lights on...  in fact, for the money (I think they were either 2 or 4 quid each) they're smashing little lights.  We've since been and bought a few more so that we can have a couple in the lounge at floor level.

IF I'd worked out how to turn the flash off on my phone it would have helped of course!

I've not had much time to do anything else on the boat but I did finally get around to ordering the toilet tank, pipe work, connectors and a charcoal filter...  These all arrived yesterday.

Well I say ALL - I forgot to order the tank fitting kit for some reason... when I phoned up today to 
complain  enquire where it was, I was told everything I ordered WAS sent...  and as it also transpired I'd NOT paid for it either, I had no where to go.  

The woman was very nice however and accepting I'm a moron, she very kindly agreed to send it out (for the 107quid) but NOT charge carriage as it appeared a genuine mistake - people can be so nice... of course had she known I'm a ginner, it may have been a different story!

Until next time...

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Porthole shutter prototype and waste bin.

Well so much for the "winter blast" - OK it was a little windy here and there but nothing like as cold as had been forecast all week... I feel cheated!

I wouldn't care, but I made sure the diesel tank was full, the batteries well charged and water tank full in anticipation of a mini ice-age.  Oh well.  At least being on the boat from Friday night until Sunday evening meant we made a bit of progress  here and there... we'd have made more had we not kept stopping work (I have to cut things outside now as it's been decreed no more cutting/sanding can be done inside) and chatting to passers by.... trouble is though, I'm not very good at remembering faces so it's always a surprise when someone continues a conversation started on another day  - I play along and hope I've not exaggerated my general fabulous-ness πŸ˜‡

You'll remember the plan had been to have a go at making a shutter to cover the portholes.   I'd measured the external dimension of the liners the other day and bought some 12mm mdf.  I thought about trying to source Ash or Poplar 45cm diameter circular disks but had a change of heart when I was given a quote from our timber supplier at work.

SO - instead, I ordered some iron on ash veneer (either Amazon or Ebay - I forget) and set to covering them.

I'm getting better at obtaining a decent finish now via a combination of applying a wooden block after application and then gentle sanding of edges... they bond together quite well and once it's varnished with the Morrels low sheen lacquer, it will look fine.

Fitting them was easy enough - I used cranked hinges again although I must admit, whilst they do the job, the ones I have are not as robust as they could be...  I think i need to find "tougher ones" or experiment with using 2 each side rather than one - they FIT to both the cabin side AND cover fine but "flex" in the hinge itself.  

This prototype is in the main bedroom so won't often be opened anyway and once I get another cabinet closer, I'll put the reverse on the side of the cabin to hold them open when required.  I have to admit it was a bit of a cockup   mistake fitting it though as  when closed it serves no purpose as without the angled barrel bolt at the top, they open up anyway...  In future models, I've decided rather than fitting a spacer behind the bolt, I'll drill a little hole into the perimeter of the shutter to keep them closed.  

ALSO - I've found a box of mini magnets which I will sink into the mdf BEHIND the laminate before screwing a small washer to the cabin side to keep them open... ALL in good time.

Another little job that's been done this weekend was fitting a mains power point to the end of the kitchen bulkhead - the wiring had been missed off the plan so I took a spur off the washer one under the counter - it means the Tassimo can sit on that side and plug in over the end when required.

On the opposite side, it seemed a good idea to fit another usb (12 to 5v) socket and volt meter... so I can keep one eye on the batteries whilst watching TV - YES I know there is already one behind my chair but the older I get, the less I like straining my neck!

I'm in trouble though - cutting holes in using my multi-tool created a lot of dust...  well, it was a) raining outside and b) I could hardly take the bulkheads out anyway could I?

The final achievement of the weekend, was the installation of a kitchen bin under the sink - Andy found this one somewhere on the interweb and it's quite a reasonable size - with 2 containers... 1 of which will be used for recycling stuff and the other for stuff we can't chuck on the fire... (once we get around to fitting the blooming thing)

The little lights I've stuck to the cupboard doors are only ikea movement sensitive leds but they do the job of putting light just where you need it.

We can't go to the boat tomorrow but hopefully during the week I'll get the nerve up to begin building the hearth/fire-surround...  The webasto works very well but it really does hammer the batteries - despite purporting not to.   

WORK however is rather hectic as we're now trying to get this ride completed by the end of the month - it's meaning working weekends and longer days (unpaid) and I'm afraid that leaves me too exhausted to do much during the week...  I was asked to do a blog posting on the fairground restoration side of life - at some point I'll  post a photo stream of this rides progress but for now, here's how it's looking:

Until next time...

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A weekend off, 2 sets of visitors and a Ginger moment...

We'll start in reverse order...

Having hired a fair few boats, one of the things that has annoyed us about them has been the lack of a proper mirror.  NOT that we want gaze at ourselves but we DO like to be able to check our teeth (our own btw) for bits of green stuff and maybe run a comb through our hair once in a while...

With this in mind, I set to and measured the space above the basin in the bathroom and the corresponding area above the toilet.  It then occurred it might be an idea to have another mirror the opposite side of the bathroom bulkhead in the main bedroom.

There's a company in Wakefield called "Glass and Mirror Technology" -  I've used them before when I've needed mirrors making for fairground rides.  I emailed them my dimensions and asked them to make the 3 mirrors.

We're quite pleased with them and at a little under £100, they weren't silly money either.  THAT said, "gingerism" did strike and rather than getting 2 with the right angle to the left and 1 with it to the right...  idiot here ordered it the other way around - which now means I've got a sloping mirror with no where to put it.  I MIGHT put it upside down as it were, underneath the bedroom one to make an (almost) full length one OR try and find a boater with a wall it can go on and give it away... we'll see.

Given how busy we've been at work of late, the plan was to have a weekend off doing chores on the boat as we had a couple of visits planned .  The first to come along and see the boat again, were Andy's sister and nephews.  They've not seen it since delivery day.

The weather was nice so after a quick lunch in the pub, we went off for a chug with them.  It was a bit snug at the helm with the 5 of us crushed snuggled in.

With them operating the electric lock, it gave Andy a chance to be at the tiller  too.

This was Saturday ...

We'd planned to fill with water on the way back but everyone else in the area seemed to have had the same idea as all the taps were occupied.  

We left it and I got up early on Sunday morning to be first to the water point - not for any competitive reason... just to ensure when our second visitor came along, it'd already been done.

Helen arrived as planned  - she'd not seen the boat before and appeared genuinely impressed at the progress we've made on it.  She also very kindly gave us the money to buy the macerater toilet

It's a Jabsco - obviously not operational yet as we've still to get the money together for the tank and fittings... there's no rush though as we can use the Thetford in the back cabin until we get it sorted.

We cruised down towards Fairies Hill again and all went well on the way down... a bit chilly but we were wrapped up warm and Andy kept us plied with copious cups of hot tea.

WHO said Ginners can't wear orange?  

On the return journey however  - (after another beautifully executed turn) things began to go to pot lol.  STARTING with a loss of concentration on the lock landing at Foxholes - I  was holding the boat (or rather trying to) with the centreline and nattering away...  of course Andy had began pressing the buttons and the lock was emptying...  I didn't really notice the rope slipping through my hand until it was at the very end  -  and of course the boat by then, was diagonally across the canal !

EVERYONE is an expert in such situations and various other boaters felt the need to interfere   offer advice.  Let's just say I was gracious in receipt of such common sense suggestions and regained enough control (eventually) to get into the now opened lock - complete with a few more scratches :-)   It's a good job it's not painted yet.  

Whilst it was a relief to be hidden from view inside the lock, things didn't go smoothly there either - Andy then got the key stuck in the control panel!  I went inside to look for some WD40, leaving Helen in charge of the boat...LONG story short, it transpired that the gates had opened up slightly and he needed to press the "close gates" button to release the key - you live and learn.

When we got back to Stanley we called into the pub for lunch before heading baack to the boat for coffee.  

The "weekend off" doing chores was nearly achieved but I couldn't resist pulling out the fridge to cut some holes into the floor to allow cold air from the bilge to be drawn up and over the compressor - hopefully to reduce the power consumption.

It isn't pretty but it might help... I suppose we'll see.

This week at some point, I want to try and make a porthole shutter (as a prototype) and fit ash panels to the end of the kitchen units.  ALL subject to having enough energy after work.  OTHERWISE, it'll be a weekend job,  By the looks of things - well, if you believe the weather forecast, we're in for some very cold weather so rather than try and "manage" the boat from home, we've decided to spend the weekend on-board and do it that way.  It'll be interesting getting up and going out to work at silly-o-clock in below freezing conditions from the boat.

Until next time...

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Dry January and Red Diesel...

Here we are then - day 5 of  sobriety...  it's over-rated.  A good thing to do of course - give the liver a rest for a month or so...  LAST year, Andy managed it until about August ...  I gave in around mid February. THIS year however, as I'm still taking the Duloxetine (which really doesn't seem to go well with alcohol anyway) I intend to do better - time will tell !

Boaters DO seem to drink a lot - not all  of us I'm sure but a lot of us.  Perhaps it's as a result of many of them not having to drive a car... although being in charge of a boat whilst being "incapable through alcohol" isn't really allowed and from what I've been reading on our insurance  policy, a definite no-no.

THAT said, there are many people who "skipper" much better with a drink inside them - I certainly know from our hiring days my "parking" -  sorry, 'MOORING' goes better when I'm not so up-tight but I'm practising sober these days and it's getting slightly better.  

Speaking (well writing)  of practise - On New Years Day we had a little run down to empty the cassette and take some rubbish to the bin store and as it was such a lovely calm day, I managed to talk Andy into having a go a turning (winding) the boat.  He was a little reluctant and had me on standby to take over should disaster appear, but I have to say it was faultless, controlled and perfectly executed... if only all MY turns were like that!

Progress this week has been slow again - mainly because work is SO all consuming... I've still been calling in at the boat on route home every night, but mostly to top the batteries up as the fridge/freezer is now on full time and even when not there, I'm running the heating a few hours twice a day to prevent the pipes freezing up.  It seems to be doing the trick (famous last words) and at least keeps the boat usable rather than having to winterize it.

The result of this however being that we've been getting through a fair bit of diesel AND power...

The local boat yard sells it at 92p a litre with 100% declaration.  Being used to the price of road diesel, at first that didn't seem too bad.  HOWEVER, as invariably happens when talking to other boaters, it transpired that a few miles up the road (by car) is a garage selling red diesel at only 64.9p a litre... QUITE a saving - especially when you're buying 100+ litres at a time.

So with this thought in mind, I detoured on my route home from work and went to fill 3 jerry cans.

BEING MR organised, I'd already thought about how to get it out of the can and into the fuel tank ... I thought I'd been clever ordering this from Ebay:

Alas, I hadn't looked at the photo - just reading the flow rate etc...  and of course when I opened the box, discovered it would have to be in the bottom of a bucket in order to be used.  NOT what I had in mind...

SO  I got out a bit of tubing and tried to siphon it.  This worked ok (ish) but the bore of the pipe I had meant it rather slow - I know from previous experience trying to pour from jerry can tends to mean a good glug of fuel ends up in the canal... NOT something I really want to be doing so I persevered.

It wasn't until I was nearing the end of the 3rd can when Mark from a few boats behind offered to lend me a funnel when I remembered I ALSO bought a funnel for said task!  DOH!!!

In other shopping news, we bought a sound bar to give the TV a boost - the built in speakers being rather tinny.    This was the thing I bought - noting it had a usb connection to power it (and the TV has one too so jobs a good un)

All was not well when we tried it out however - at first, the sound was fine but after a few moments use, it begins to buzz.

It wasn't until I caught my foot on the dangling cable - thus pulling out the usb connection I discovered it's got a built in power pack (so it stayed working) and the sound was perfect... it appears that once it's up to charge, it buzzes so the solution is to use it from the battery pack until it needs charging.  WHY it couldn't say that on the box is beyond me.

Until next time...

Monday, 2 January 2017

New years eve Adventure on the river...

Well we finally dipped our toe  bow into the river... don't know what all the fuss was about - it was no trouble at all.

OK  - that's not quite true... the river itself was not a problem but "Fall Ing" lock was a barsteward with a horrendous wind attacking me as we ascended.

I'll go back to the beginning...

Our mooring is on the Aire & Calder Navigation at Stanley ferry - which means if we head out on the boat in one direction we can do a couple of locks and boring straight bits before heading out onto the river... THIS is what we've been doing occasionally since we finally got the boat.  On New Years eve I decided to try and talk Andy into "manning up" and us going the other way ... to the Ruddy Duck pub in Wakefield for lunch.

To most boaters, this is an easy hours/maybe 1 and a bit chug.  To us however, it was an adventure - necessitating the connection of the anchor AND the donning life Life-jackets.

It might seem bonkers, but although we've hired boats for a few years, as of yet (well then) we'd never been on a river.  We've kept putting it off - using excuses that there's far too much to do on board to justify excursions.  The wind was a building a bit when we'd finished filling up with water and we NEARLY used it as an excuse not to go. A bit of arm behind the back  gentle persuasion later and we were off.

Having discussed it before hand, once we got out of sight of our boating neighbours, we slowed a bit and both put on the self inflating life jackets I bought a few months back - they're a bit uncomfortable but as I'd checked the water temperature earlier (2.5 degrees) we agreed in the event of one of us going overboard, we'd need them.

We agreed on a "horn blast" code which on the river meant something's gone wrong with the engine so sling the anchor in or in  a lock, something's going wrong drop all paddles immediately.

With that in our heads off we chugged, taking a few photos just in case it was to be our last journey lol.

Talk about paranoid ...  I expected to feel a big tug towards the weir on the boat so we shot out of the safety of the canal at decent speed - when no pull was evident, we slowed down and began to enjoy the chug upstream.  It was nice to be able to put a bit of power on and it was pleasing to be able to maintain a good cruising speed against the flow with plenty of power in reserve.  

It's a little hard to see from the cracked screen on my sony, but it fluctuated between 4 and 5mph at 1300 rpm upstream with the wind against us.

By now we were enjoying the change of view - although that said, it's NOT the prettiest of run outs...  We did see a couple of herons fishing though. 

As we approached the lock to leave the river, it dawned on us that we HAVE been in this lock before... only last time it was down a load of scaffolding when CRT had an open day last February. 

Andy was busying taking photos when he realised that unlike the locks the other way, this direction required the use of a windlass so had to come back and collect one.  

Usually when we're going up in wide locks, Andy opens the paddles on say the left hand side and the water bouncing off the other side then holds the boat hard against the left with no need for a rope.

In this lock however, THAT didn't work - instead I was all over the place. In future I'll throw a  centre line over a bollard and keep it tight in instead.

It was nice to approach  our home town from the canal and we turned just before the next river section (luckily NOT to an audience of folk on balconies)

and we soon tied up outside the pub where we had lunch and a couple of glasses of wine.

The last time we saw the pub from THIS angle was back in the summer when we met up with Doug and James on "Chance"

We had planned to spend the night in town but decided against it given the potential for New Years Eve revellers...  suffice to say though, after the wine, the return journey was MUCH less stressful - we still wore our life-jackets though... just in case.

That's it for jollies for a while now though as we really need to get back to progressing the boat.  I DID however fit the fair-leads for the twin centre lines to go through ...  snapping a couple of drill bits in the process, shearing a couple of "self drilling-self tapping" hex head screws too - I ALSO dropped 2 adjustable spanners into the canal in the process.  TIME to get that magnet ordered and go fishing for my tool kit!

Until next time...

Friday, 30 December 2016

New Rear Steps and a few easy jobs...

Having struggled on using those steps I made a few months ago (before I had chance to take measurements) I decided to construct another set.

We'd been climbing over the wood on the boat floor for weeks now and having had the "Christmas tidy up" it made sense to  make the steps rather than take the wood home and plonk it on the garage floor with the rest of the stuff that has been in the way.  

I'd originally planned on making a set of those ones with cut outs on alternate sides - that idea was quickly dismissed as we've discovered I'm goofy (in water-skiing terms)... that is I lead from the opposite foot to most people .... WHICH would mean a high chance of me repeatedly going arse over tit stumbling and having an accident.

SO - "normal" steps have been made

I've given them a few coats with the low sheen Morrells again - it's not slippery and maintains the appearance of unvarnished wood which we like.

It's a bit of a pain doing things that require cutting wood now though - Andy has decreed I make any cuts outside... which means getting muddy on the tow-path or end up dropping things in the canal if I try and do it on the rear counter...  *note to self - GET a SEA SEARCHER MAGNET ASAP*... there are loads of tools currently languishing in the canal by the side of the boat !

I've also gotten around to a couple of those little jobs that get over-looked once you get used to them... for example, the tv in the main bedroom was wonky and needed the bracket removing to get access to the nut on the rear to tighten it up.  Whilst doing that, I decided to put up a blackout blind (longer term we're going to have wooden venetians blinds but I couldn't be faffed with cutting them just yet) - the blackout roller blind did need cutting down but it's quick job compared to the other one.

Over Christmas, we've had the pan set balanced on top of the microwave so after work today, I made a shelf and cupboard to "hide stuff away" in the spare space.

We've also brought the stove on board and have been trying it out in different positions in the lounge - at the moment, the favourite is port... it had been planned to be on the centre line but doing that does make passage through the boat a little difficult - not impossible but it increases the potential for falling against the flu and burning your hand.

The heating is all well and good but during this latest cold spell, we've had to have it on most of the time and diesel use a side, it DOES quite hammer the batteries.  Yesterday they started at 100% (well according to the smart-gauge) and what with the fridge/freezer, the TV, lights and heating on, by morning we were down to 79% - I've used the engine to bring it back up to 90% followed by the genny and the charger set to 35amp to get it back to 100% again by the time I left tonight - as we're not going to be on-board until tomorrow, there'll only be the fridge and heating (which is set to come on at 5am) so we'll see how they fair tonight .

Once the fire is properly installed, the demand on the batteries will be much lower  - hopefully!

Another easy win is the shower gel dispenser - I've fixed it on with 3m sticky pads AND clear silicone... quite a lot of the latter actually and I'm confident it won't shift.

I've stamped my feet at work and I am NOT working tomorrow as requested - instead, I hope we'll have a chug up to town... perhaps having lunch at the Ruddy Duck - we've STILL not been on the river yet and it's time we just got on and did it ... the weather hasn't been bad so the levels/flow are ok.... the longer we leave it the harder it will be... we just need to man up and do it - after all, the anchor is attached and we have self-inflating life jackets.  

I'll report back

MEANWHILE - Happy New year to all... Thanks for reading and taking the time to make comments - we really appreciate it.

until next YEARπŸ˜‰...