Thursday, 16 May 2013

Testing time ahead!

After our fruitless attempts to contact the UKBA regarding the “life in the UK” test we’ve made the decision to travel back down south so I can take the test.  Last night we booked an appointment in Hounslow, which is near Heathrow Airport.  The one piece of good news is the appointment is on a  weekend and we’ve been able to book a car from Enterprise at a special rate.  However there won’t be much left from £100 after paying for the car and fuel.  Time to hit the book again!

This morning Jan went off to Tesco in the rain whilst I continued configuring fiddling with the new Nook e-Reader.  As we’re starting with a ‘clean slate’ I’ve decided to take the opportunity to sort my books into categories.

  The piece of equipment in the following photo has been chained to a mooring ring just down the towpath from Waiouru.  I’m not sure what it does but it looks like a microphone at the top of the staff and we assume it’s recording the sound of moving boats as a means of counting boat traffic.  Does anyone have more accurate information?

Whilst we wait sandwiched between upper and lower water I decided to clean out the storage area under the spare bed and also check the bilge.  The bilge was last checked six months ago and we removed a significant quantity of water.  Most of this was as a result of the engineer failing to reconnect the water tank to the water pump after fitting the water tank gauge.  I was then given the ‘go-ahead’ to refill the water tank.  The water passed straight through the tank and into the bilge.  We had several hundred litres of water in the bilge before I realised there was a problem.  Fortunately we were able to use the pump out hose to remove the bulk of the water before using the wet-vac to suck up the dregs.

All the stored contents have been removed from under the bed and the area vacuumed.

Note the end portion of the compartment is the electrical cabinet containing the Victron Combi, consumer unit and Hurricane Control Box.  The holes in the partition are for ventilation into the electrical cabinet.  Air is force fed through the cabinet by two 6” 12v computer fans.

Access to the bilge is in the floor of the storage compartment adjacent to the toilet tank inlet.

Photo taken before the area was cleaned!

I was pleasantly surprised to discover very little water in the bilge.  It would have been even more pleasing if the area was dry, but that’s probably unrealistic.  This is the lowest part of the bilge so any water is likely to be found here.  The water pump is at the front of the cabin and the baseplate in that area is dry.  However this wasn’t the case during winter so it’s reasonable to assume any moisture is probably the result of condensation. 

It does look damp but with a 20mm baseplate it’s going to take quite a long time to rust all the way through!

After lunch nb Plum briefly moored ahead of us.  John and his wife have lived aboard for 13 years and run a solar power business from the boat.  Actually it’s a narrowboat and a small rectangular butty which is their workshop.

Solar Afloat

John had quite a long conversation with us and (naturally) it was mostly about solar power on narrowboats.  John made a couple of suggestions about enhancing the performance of our solar panels on Waiouru which we will consider.

When the rain stopped and the yellow dot in the sky appeared I decided it was time to exercise the legs.  The supermarket locator app on our Android smartphone showed an Aldi supermarket just over a mile away so finding it became the objective of the walk.  It wasn’t had to find the Aldi….. Actually it wasn’t lost!  Rather than return via the main roads I opted to search for footpaths.  This resulted in a small amount of back tracking but I was able to make my way back to Waiouru mostly using pedestrian footpaths through greenbelts or suburban back streets.

The bottom arrow points to the Tesco at Rugby.  The town centre is in the opposite direction to Aldi.

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