Monday, 2 December 2013
Friday, 29 November 2013
We filled and emptied the tanks today. Jan also put on a load of washing prior to us moving to attend to the tanks. This further assisted in lowering the potable water tank and raising the bow. First we filled the diesel tanks to drop the stern even lower. The next task was the emptying of the toilet tank in the stern. Phil made the comment “You must have a big tank!” and he is right. We then reversed the 250 yards back onto our original mooring where we are once again connected to the energy umbilical cord (240v shoreline). I then filled the water tank. Back inside Waiouru Jan attended to the online banking and other administrative matters. Boring old life at the moment.
The reason for starting this blog was to keep a record of our cruising so we could provide evidence to CRT of our compliance with the terms of our boat licence (ie, continuous cruisers). Along the way it became a habit to write a daily post of our travels and we seem to have collected a few readers. The latter is something I hadn’t anticipated. Knowing you are there has probably kept me disciplined into producing a daily post
Now our second winter afloat has arrived. This time we have arranged a mooring for the next three months. Life is mundane and boring; it seems rather pointless to attempt to produce a daily blog about a cruise that isn’t happening. Consequentially for the next few months there will only be posts when something of interest has occurred.
Thanks for taking the time to read my daily ramblings and a special thank you to those readers who have left comments.
Normal service will resume at some future date!
Thursday, 28 November 2013
Jan has passed through Leicester via the canal but we have never moored and had a look around the city. Today this changed when we boarded the No140 bus from Rugby to Leicester. Both Jan and I used our national bus passes whilst the youngest son had to pay £6 for a return ticket. Quite right too… we pensioners need our travel to be subsidised!
I’d built up expectations by explaining we’d pass through lovely English countryside and see many quaint villages. How wrong could I be! The windows of the outward bound bus were filthy meaning we couldn’t see much. The return journey started in daylight but it very rapidly became dark meaning nothing was seen on the trip home. Perhaps next time?
On the map Leicester doesn’t appear to be very far from Rugby however it took 1hr 20 minutes. Must have been all those quaint villages!
The first task on arrival in Leicester was to establish where the returning bus would depart from. That done youngest son took us to lunch in a local chinese restaurant (A Taste of China). The meal was nothing to write about.
Leicester must also be going to celebrate Christmas
Jan had a browse around the Leicester Market whilst Daniel and I focussed on improving our photography. Well; actually he is already a good photographer. I’m the one who is cr@p when it comes to using the camera! My problem is I don’t see the scene. I found myself wandering around taking photos of things he was photographing saying to myself “Why didn’t I see that scene?”
Artificial flowers. Great idea… I’d only ever need to buy them once!
This stall holder told me it would cost £10 to take his picture so I took the photo whilst he had his mouth full and then scurried off.
Most of the stalls inside the covered market building were closed and the interior had a rundown feel about it. Jan was eyeing up the Tripe. That’s one meal I can see myself starting a fast over.
Leicester railway station must be nearby?
You’d almost think we were back at the Birmingham German Christmas Market.
Jan swerved to the right and we found ourselves in a traditional old English sweet shop. I noticed Jan’s nose and eyes were going ballistic as childhood memories returned.
I kept egging her on to buy something. However she showed tremendous willpower and didn’t purchase a single item. But I suspect she inhaled 1000 calories!
Daniel has now left to stay with a friend in Cumbria. I find walking in the Lake District very interesting and enjoyable. The only problem is the weather usually closes in when I get close to the top of each hill. My assumption is the situation would be even worse during winter.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Acting on a ‘spur of the moment’ decision we hired a car from Enterprise and the three of us spent the day at the German Christmas Market in Birmingham. It’s an annual thing which has been going for several years. I suspect we were fortunate to find a vacant space in the car park building having gone to the top floor to find the last few empty spaces. There were three of us because our youngest son had come over from Belgium to join us for his birthday.
We found it an interesting stroll around the stalls looking at the various gifts and edible products for sale.
All that German food also looked rather interesting. Each of us had white or red bratwurst in a roll Then the other two had gluhwein ( mulled wine) whilst the driver was restricted to a hot chocolate.
I think this was taken after the wine!
Buying the food
They’re still drinking……….It didn’t take nearly as long to drink the hot chocolate! Jan decided to purchase her mug as a souvenir of our visit.
There were a number of very useful things for sale.
Chocolate coffee pots, also chocolate mallets and taps
Really useful on the boat. Chocolate hand tools!
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
The most unusual part of the walk was a short stretch down a
I’m still astonished that members of the public are allowed to walk through the middle of a working quarry. I’m even more astonished that the quarry owners allow it; or haven’t provided a designated safe pedestrian route around the perimeter of their premises.
Monday, 25 November 2013
More than nine months have past since we last lit the Lockgate Refleks diesel stove and whilst it’s not yet sufficiently cold to start it, we decided to test the stove before the onset of the cold weather This actually proved to be a good decision as the stove needed some minor maintenance before it started to run correctly.
We usually ignite the diesel with half a fire-lighter and that method worked today. However after 15 minutes the stove went out and couldn’t be lit as there was no fuel. It seemed obvious that we had burned the last of a small amount of fuel in the pipe before fuel starvation occurred. I checked the two isolation valves hadn’t accidentally been turned off since we last used the stove (they hadn’t). Then I pushed the small steel horizontal plunger in and out a few times to clear any potential blockage in the needle valve which feeds the stove. That had no effect! My next step was to thoroughly clean the base of the stove with steel wool and check if the diesel would then flow (it didn’t). Then I unscrewed and removed the protective steel end cap covering the small fuel filter and removed it. The filter was clean so whilst it was removed I opened the fuel valve to check that diesel was reaching the filter (it was). This left removal, stripping, cleaning and checking the fuel regulator. That’s a complex job and I’d rather find a simple solution. The hole through which the fuel enters the stove is microscopic and it would only take a tiny amount of water or other impurity to block the flow of the diesel. So I gave the side of the regulator and the pipe from the regulator to the stove several hits with the end of our metal torch. Nothing too hard but sufficient (in my mind) to vibrate loose any impurities. And looking into the stove the diesel had started to flow. Beating things often improves the situation! Worked with the children too!
Once the stove was hot I turned the regulator to maximum.
Too much yellow flame. There is insufficient oxygen to fully burn the diesel. We need to turn down the stove.
That’s better! We left the stove running for a few hours in an effort to remove all/any further impurities in the system and then threw in a cleaning tablet. This made the colour of the flames change to green and I assume it combines with any carbon residue in the stove before venting via the flue?
Sunday, 24 November 2013
Saturday, 23 November 2013
Jan awoke this morning to see both ground and boats covered in a light dusting of white frost. Jan had turned on the central heating three hours earlier (5.00am) meaning the temperature inside Waiouru was a cosy 21°C. Of interest to me was the fact that apart from around the portholes, the exterior of Waiouru was still covered in a light frost. The frost had gone from the other boats and some of them are unoccupied (ie, cold inside). Obviously the insulation in Waiouru is very effective.
Now that insulation has been mentioned I can report this morning the aerosol of spray foam arrived in the
The instructions state the surface where the foam is to be applied should be damp. This was done by
nicking borrowing Jan’s surface cleaner spray container and filling it with water after temporarily storing the cleaner in an old ice cream container. The intention was to use the paint scraper to push back any foam that dribbled out of the trough in the ceiling. That strategy didn’t work as the foam just sticks to the scraper.
The instructions for applying the foam state the aerosol must be held inverted when the trigger is squeezed. This proved to be rather difficult inside the confined locker space. But in the end I managed to get a reasonable application of foam. Of course it expands after the first application.
According to the instructions it takes approximately four hours for the foam to set, however I was able to cut back the foam after 60 minutes. This was done with a razor knife. The paper and masking tape was then removed before a final trimming of the foam.
Looking up into the foam filled inverted trough
The next step was to refit the oak trim. I needed the angle screwdriver bit to do this as some of the screws are in very confined locations.
View up into the locker with the oak trim fitted back over the cable duct now filled with foam.
The last task was to collect all the spray foam offcuts, masking paper and tape before a quick vacuum to leave the area clean.
Total cost was less than £10 which included the cost of the angle screwdriver attachment. Labour comes at no cost!
Friday, 22 November 2013
The plan to enhance the insulation in the bedroom locker has been deferred because the aerosol of spray foam still hasn’t been delivered. I guess it’s a result of the increased volume of pre-Christmas mail. I really don’t want to leave the masking tape stuck to the timber for many more days as it starts to get very difficult to remove. However at least it’s inside the locker rather than on display. Elly (nb Parisien Star) left a comment on the last post reminding me that the foam has a habit of deciding not to adhere to overhead surfaces. I remember this happening when I filled some of the gaps around the Houdini frames and I will need to think of an effective technique. The bamboo knitting needles Jan ordered haven’t arrived either and she is starting to get ‘twitchy!’
Today I went back through the first blog I attempted to write. I wrote about my four week backpacking trip through Eastern Europe and Turkey in 2006. The blog link is here <blog link>. It was written as a blog so I’d have a permanent record of the journey and yesterday I happened to glance at it only to find many of the photos were missing. My guess is I accidentally deleted the links to the photo album several years ago when attempting to reorganise my data in Picasa. Today I corrected the photo links but winced at the amateurish blog format. However the thing that really annoyed me was the posts are in reverse order. This is because Blogger places the most recently written post first. This doesn’t work on my holiday blog where I need the oldest post first. So I searched for a ‘work around’ only to discover Blogger doesn’t appear to be able to display posts in the reverse order. In the end I came up with a very simple solution. I changed the dates on the blog posts making the first post the ‘newest’ and the last post the ‘oldest’. Obviously the dates on the blog posts are now incorrect, but the story now ‘flows’!
This is my ‘workaround’
1. Load your Blogger Dashboard and click on the relevant blog name to select it
2. Click on Posts then All to list all your blog posts
3. Make a note of the post that you want to be first then go to the post you want to be second. Place your cursor over the post title and the options Edit | View | Share | Delete appear. Select Edit
4. The blog post will appear. Over in the right column there are Post Settings including the heading Published on
5. Click on Published on and a calendar will appear
6. Make sure Set date and time is selected and click on an earlier date. Make sure the date you select pre-dates any of the other posts you want to sequence after this post. Save the post by clicking the update button. Then go on to amend all the dates of the other posts you want to re-sequence.
Doing this enables you to get your posts into the order you want them to appear on the blog. But of course the actual dates as they appear on individual posts will be incorrect.
There has been more progress on the porthole bung cover project. Jan has now completed hand sewing the final bung cover for the saloon and also used the last of the material she bought from the stall in Coventry Market.
Thursday, 21 November 2013
Jan decided we should walk the towpath to Tesco and buy a few essentials. The weather didn’t look good and I suggested we might like to delay our departure. In the end we decided to go leaving in very light rain. Of course it got heavier, the wind speed increased, and then the hail put in an appearance. By the time we reached the supermarket Jan’s trousers were saturated. I was in better shape having cleverly walked behind her. You will realise that with our luck we exited the supermarket to a blue sky!
Back at Waiouru we stripped off our wet and muddy clothing and threw them into the washing machine. A hot coffee/chocolate warmed us up before we started attending to a few tasks. I wanted to update the firmware on the Nook eReader. After I downloaded the new version three times and failing to upgrade the firmware I was starting to get a little frustrated. Then after a Google search I discovered the UK Nook will not accept the firmware upgrade downloaded from the USA. After finding a UK website and downloading the firmware everything went well and the Nook is now working with the upgrade.
The next task was to mask out the interior of the locker over our bed. I’m going to apply more spray foam to improve the insulation and I know from our time at Aldermaston that the spray foam sticks to everything and is damned hard to remove. It took several hours to carefully mask the interior with tape and newspaper.
There is a 2½” x 1½” rectangular groove in the existing insulation at the corner between the cabin wall and the roof. It was left as a cable duct. The duct is insulated with spray foam but I assume it’s a weak point in the insulation hence the cold spot which has caused a small amount of condensation to form behind the trim.
Looking up into the back edge of the locker
My plan is to fill this duct using an hand held aerosol of spray foam. I’ll only get one chance to get this right as the foam will set in the extended nozzle of the can preventing me from reusing the can. I’ve done this before and my major concern is the foam won’t adhere to the duct but instead drop out. Time will tell if I can identify a good technique.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
I’m sitting here about to start typing when the girl in my life starts chuckling………?
Apparently she was looking at Quidco and saw it.
So, back to the fuel sender. The fuel gauge for the main fuel tank has become erratic and now reads full all the time. After a few emails with the manufacturer I’ve decided to send it to them for testing; and if necessary repair. Of course it’s the most inaccessible of all the tank sender units. To get at it the inspection plate below the Morse controller has to be removed.
The port and starboard sender units are mounted vertically on the rear bulkhead. The white hose in front goes to the deck shower outlet. The sender unit requiring removal is behind the hose.
It’s actually a simple task to remove the sender except access is so awkward. I need to disconnect the three electrical cable ends, the air line and then the four mounting screws. It was the latter that caused the most difficulty. Eventually it came out.
The sender unit works on air pressure. A small copper pipe connects to the brass inlet fitting at the right end. A hand pump is connected to the blind fitting sticking out the side of the unit and air pumped into the copper pipe. The other end of the copper pipe goes down into the fuel tank just short of the base. The principle is the weight of the diesel in the tank varies the air pressure in the copper pipe which is measured by the electronics in the small black box in the sender unit. The reader is then sent via the wiring to the digital gauge on the instrument panel.
I was having considerable difficulty pressurizing the system and I think I “blew” the sender unit by pumping too vigorously.
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Jan woke to a dark day (because dawn hadn’t arrived) whilst I continued to examine the inside of my eyelids. All the sheep were there….. I counted twice! The major activity planned for today was my second visit to the fang doctor. These days I tend to select my doctor on the size of their hands. I’ve discovered that as you get older the more someone wants to shove their digits into one of your orifices!
My new dentist is a very pleasant young lady with small hands. Her only failing is a very soft voice so this deaf old bugger has to keep asking her to “SPEAK UP”. She had informed me after her previous exploratory visit down my throat that I had decay under a rear filling which was very close to the nerve. The plan was to remove the old filling and decay without hitting the nerve. If the latter occurred it would be a “root canal” job. Obviously I told her I was done with canals for 2013! She then told me she was going to give me something which I thought was rather nice. My mistake, I was thinking of Christmas whilst she had a series of local anaesthetic injections in mind <ouch>. Her technique was quite interesting. The chair was tipped so far back my head was below the level of my toes. This made it rather difficult to climb out of the chair if the needle was observed. She stood over me and reached forward with her left hand clasping my open mouth whilst her right had was held behind her back holding the syringe. Then she told me the BIG LIE “You will feel a scratch!” The right hand came around from behind her back in a blur of movement and into my mouth. Once the needle had penetrated she shook her left hand (which was holding my jaw) and distributed the anaesthetic around the general area. There was a pregnant silence before I was asked if the anaesthetic had taken effect. “I’m not falling for that trick!” It’s happened to me before where the anaesthetic takes effect after departing the surgery. So I had the extra pleasure of a second series of injections. Thereafter the drilling and filling went swiftly and painlessly! I mumbled through booking my next appointment with the receptionist and then drooled over Jan’s coffee in the ASDA cafe.
We had walked into Rugby but decided to take the No140 bus back. This is the same bus that declined to accept our bus pass on our previous attempt. This time the electronic reader still failed to accept the card but the driver then physically examined both passes and manually printed us tickets. It appears my query to the bus company has worked.
Jan was walking down the marina footpath to Waiouru when she noticed a couple standing by the stern. It was the couple we had given our surplus captains swivel recliner chair to. We didn’t have room for it, and if they hadn’t accepted it, the chair would have gone in the rubbish skip. They had very kindly brought us a couple of bottles of fermented grape juice! I mumbled and drooled my thanks! Jan then had lunch whilst I watched and smelt! Madam Fang had already warned me not to eat or drink anything until the anaesthetic wore off otherwise I might munch on my tongue or cheek!
I’ve been thinking about the condensation in Waiouru. I’d already ordered the bit & pieces to solve the condensation in the bedroom cupboard. We also want to do something about the Houdini hatches. We recognise the only way to eliminate the condensation is to either somehow vent it to the exterior or capture it with a dehumidifier. So stopping any condensation forming on the inside of the three Houdini hatches will only prevent the condensation dripping from the hatches. The condensation will still be inside Waiouru and will form elsewhere. I’ve seen other boaters fit an exterior cover to their Houdini hatches. I want to avoid this as it seems an expensive option and probably won’t eliminate all the condensation forming on the inside of the Houdini frame. The strategy I have adopted is to cut some 50mm dense rubber foam into 500x500mm squares using the bread knife <when Jan wasn’t watching>.
I checked the price of foam online but in the end we found it was actually cheaper to purchase the squares from Dunelm Mill.
Before the foam goes over the Houdini frame it looks like this
The internal dimensions of the frame are 490x490mm so the 500x500mm foam square fits snuggly. We then pull the blackout screen across concealing the foam.
The foam doesn’t form a 100% effective heat barrier. If we continue to get condensation on the frame I might try wrapping the foam swab in some aluminium cooking foil to improve the insulation barrier.
Monday, 18 November 2013
Recently I blogged about preventing the rear cabin doors from striking the paintwork on the exterior paintwork. I also mentioned needing to find a way to secure the exterior cabin doors shut when we are outside on the stern. The doors can be secured from the inside using a tower bolt located at the base of one door. However it is very difficult to reach the tower bolt when outside. We want to be able to secure the doors closed when outside during inclement weather. I think I’ve identified a solution. We will use a cupboard door hook. So on Saturday we purchased a stainless steel cupboard hook and today I fitted it.
The first step was to identify a suitable location somewhere near the top of the doors making it easy to reach. The port (left) door closes after the starboard and has a steel weather strip on the centre edge. Therefore securing the port door will actually secure both doors. The strongest geometric shape is a triangle so I needed to create a triangular shape between the door, cabin bulkhead and the hook. I temporarily located and adjusted the position of the hoop using duct tape.
Once I was satisfied with the position the screw holes were predrilled and the hook fixed in place making sure the hook will actually lift out of the ‘eye’.
The triangular shape has been achieved.
The hook has actually worked out rather well. It’s strong and the doors are secured without them rattling. Just as I was feeling pleased with myself Jan called me to the bedroom cabin to point out there was some condensation inside the bow end of the locker above the bedhead. You have to accept there will be some condensation inside the boat. It primarily originates from us and the cooking. But it’s not acceptable to have any condensation inside a compartment. We must have a cold spot in the insulation. We used to photograph the outside of the buildings with infra-red film down in Antarctica to identify where heat was leaking out and then fix it. I’d like to take an infra-red photo of the exterior of Waiouru and do the same. However what I’ve done is to remove the ceiling trim from inside the locker. The void behind the trim is insulated with spray foam but I can fill the void with foam. I’ve purchased a 750ml aerosol of spray foam insulation from eBay and will do it in 3-4 days time. Meanwhile the trim has been left off to allow the condensation to evaporate. Jan has also placed the small dehumidifier in the locker to assist. I’m actually surprised with the appearance of the condensation as it didn’t manifest itself last winter.
Sunday, 17 November 2013
furious more than slightly annoyed! We took advantage of the rental car and did a large shop at Tesco late yesterday. It was dark before we had made the numerous trips between the car and Waiouru to get all the purchases aboard. This morning Jan decided to do another large shop at Tesco and use the £5 discount voucher she has had for a fortnight. It states “£5 off your next shop if you spend £40 or more”. So we walked all the aisles and filled a large trolley. However she received a shock when the lady at the checkout counter advised her the voucher wasn’t valid until tomorrow! According to the teller a number of people have been similarly caught! Needless to say Jan wasn’t impressed. She has spent over £260 at Tesco buying both food and clothing in the last couple of days and was looking forward to the discount.
My assessment is this is a Tesco marketing ploy. The policy of delaying the activation by two weeks probably means many shoppers will have forgotten they had the voucher or won’t be able to find it. But they will still remember Tesco in a positive light for receiving one. After purchasing so much I’ve no doubt our email account will now be bombarded with Tesco marketing junk!
The next stop was Braunston. I wanted to go to the chandlery at the bottom lock and buy a stainless steel cupboard hook. The reason for this will hopefully be more apparent tomorrow. We then went back up the hill to the butcher and bought another dozen of his delicious sausages.
It seemed a waste to have hired the car and not use it. My suggestion was to go for a drive and look at some countryside not too far from Rugby but away from any canals. In the end we decided to head towards the Welsh border. I programmed the gps to take us to Ross on Wye on the basis that it was somewhere west and sounded interesting.
Felicity (the gps) has been trained to take us via the quickest route. That usually means boring motorways. Today was no different except 30 minutes into the journey we were diverted because of a closure on the M42. Suddenly there was a large volume of traffic on the lesser roads. Things were getting congested. The problem with Felicity is she will only show you a small portion of the planned route and you don’t really know where you are! We must by a cheap road atlas to see the “big picture”. Particularly as we don’t know the UK all that well. Somewhere along the way I missed a turn and we found ourselves going down a very narrow country lane following half the tractors based in the Welsh borders!
Time was ticking by and stomachs changed from growl to roar! Why can’t you find a pub when you need one?
We played “ the let’s pretend were not hungry” game and then one will appear. And so it happened! Lunch at the Red Lion. Probably one of dozens of Red Lion pubs in the UK.
The meal was slightly expensive but tasted very nice. Jan even got to pat Max the pub dog who sat beside her and watched every mouthful! This time I had the Sunday roast beef In a bun whilst Jan had the roast pork In a bun both with roast potatoes and gravy.
On arriving at Ross on Wye I did my usual thing and headed for the high ground to get an overview of the land.
My guess it this is the River Wye. It was a misty scene but the
walkers ramblers were out and the crew of a rowing skiff were practicing on the river. At the top of the hill was what appeared to be the remains of a medieval tower and town or castle walls.
It was very interesting… until I read the plaque which informed me they were mock! Only built in 1833 as part of a local road realignment! Well I can say we’ve been to Ross on Wye, but I can’t think of a reason to go back!
Rather than risk Felicity taking us back through all the diverted traffic I inserted in intermediate destination into our return route. “Joneses Luck!” The M5 also had a congestion problem. All three lanes of traffic going in our direction came to a complete stop.
The minutes passed and all the locals appeared to passively accept the situation. Guess they must be used to these occurrences! I was think of popping over to Paul and Elaine in their motorhome and asking if they could put the kettle on, however Jan said they would probably be asleep in the bed!
Eventually a traffic control vehicle and police car passed us on the shoulder. Two minutes later all the traffic started to move. We passed the traffic control vehicle moored in front of what appeared to be a disabled foreign vehicle (Volvo). No sign of the Volvo being in a accident and no other vehicles appeared to be involved in the stoppage. How could one vehicle completely stop three lanes of traffic? The only reason I could think of was the police had temporary stopped all the traffic in front of us to apprehend the occupants of the Volvo! But if this was the case it took them thirty minutes!