Sunday, 10 November 2013

Pottering in the garden shed (and other matters)

Sorry, no photos today as we’ve been too busy.

Apart from one 30 minute shower the day has been mostly fine but cold.  Unfortunately the sun didn’t put in much of an appearance so the painting has been deferred yet another day.

Much of my available time was spent down in the garden shed where the bloody great green noisy beast resides.  Never mind, the words “Who’s afraid of the old old troll under the bridge?”  comes to mind.  The major issue I have is the damned awkward shape.  I’m no longer 25 and this “Indian Rubber Man” contortion doesn’t go down well with the old body.  Trying to bend down and reach beyond the feet plays hell with the quads and hams; especially as I’m not allowed to climb on it! 

The first task was to extract the water from the bilge.  It’s a very small bilge and I hadn’t anticipated how long it would take to thoroughly clean the area.  The initial attempt involved using a sponge and bucket.  Whilst this removed the water it also made me realise there was a considerable amount of debris which also had to be removed otherwise it might foul the bilge pump. So having removed all the water I then spent some time bending over with my head lower than my crotch using a scrubbing brush to loosen everything that needed to be extracted.  Some of this is flaking bilge paint, which is a slight worry.  Having loosened everything I tipped a bucket of water into the bilge and then extracted it for a second time using the sponge.  I’m reasonably happy with the end result but will probably need to have another go at the area in the next couple of days.  The bilge pump has never run so I want to fill the bilge and test If the automatic float switch on the bilge pump still works.

Another area of concern is the uxter plate and ‘swim’ on the starboard side.  The calorifier sits on top of the uxter plate and all the bilge paint around the calorifier and on the swim has blistered and is crumbling away.  I don’t know the reason this is occurring?  Perhaps there has been some type of leak during construction which has adversely affected the bilge paint?  The port side uxter plate isn’t affected.  It has the hospital silencer and Hurricane heater mounted on top.  More contorting was required to remove all this loose and crumbling paint.  It fell down onto the baseplate where I somehow managed to remove it using a dustpan and short handled broom.  My back was sending urgent messages that such activity wasn’t appreciated!

I wanted to ‘winterize the generator and as it still had a small amount of fuel in the tank we disconnected the shore power and used the generator to supply the boat with 240v power.  It ran for a couple of hours before running out of fuel.  I then winterized the generator and changed the engine oil.  Having a hot engine meant draining the oil was a relatively easy task.  Difference in colour between the used engine and generator oils is rather dramatic.  The engine oil tends to be almost black whilst the generator oil is a light muddy brown.  It’s the first time I’ve changed the generator oil and I was surprised at how little was removed (250ml).  In contrast it needed 500ml of fresh oil to reach the MAX mark.  Either I only filled it to the MIN mark when we received it or the generator has been burning some oil.  Hopefully it’s the former.

Meanwhile Jan has commenced the long process of “deep cleaning” the cabin interior.  It’s going to be a long task doing a small amount most days.  Later in the afternoon she attacked some of the geriatric carrots and parsnips.  After being exfoliated they were united with a few spices and liquidised before going into a plastic bag.  This was then placed into a small, square plastic container and placed into the freezer.  When the soup has frozen the plastic bag will be removed from the container and stacked as a ‘brick’ in the freezer until required.  Some of the bananas were starting to look like midnight so they joined dates and walnuts in a very moist fruit cake <burp>!  Half the old bread will become toast tomorrow morning and the remainder are destined for a bread & butter pudding.  The ducks are thin around here as not much food gets wasted!


Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

You're supposed to do all the winter jobs slowly, not all in one day, as you need to make them last until Easter, or you'll run out of things to blog about while you're not cruising.

Tom and Jan said...


I am doing them slowly! Any slower and I'd be going backwards... :-)

Halfie said...

Spilt antifreeze will cause paint to blister. If this is happening around the calorifier then I might suspect a bit of a leak. Do you have to top up the engine coolant from time to time? Another thought is that excess coolant might be sprayed onto that area from the pressure cap (where you top up) when the engine gets hot.

Just a couple of ideas for you to consider ...

Davidss said...

Regarding cleaning the bilge, and other inaccessible areas; have you considered a wet & dry vacuum cleaner?
Dry, perhaps with a scraper blade on the end of the hose, you could remove blistered paint, and other dry muck.
What doesn't get removed dry can be hosed / pressure washed into the bilge, where the Wet functionality comes into it's own.
There is perhaps the problem of disposing of contaminated water, but as (I think) you are overwintering at a Marina, that shouldn't be much of a problem.
You might like to converse with 'Insanity Bruce' about the pressure washer head that he has found effective.


Tom and Jan said...

Hi David,

I'm going to check with the marina to see if they have a wet/dry vacuum cleaner and if they are willing to let me use it. Obviously I don't want to buy one as we have nowhere to store it!

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Maybe its the Alaskan in me, but I love the chores that prepare one's den for winter; fall cleaning, stacking up the firewood, cleaning out the chimney, storing up bricks and bags of frozen foods for later, keeping a pot of soup simmering on the back burner. The best thing about living on a boat in winter? No driveway to shovel out when it snows! Stay warm both of you.