Thursday, 31 July 2014

Success and New Territory

First thing this morning I walked to Asda to buy Jan’s weekly magazines (new on a Wednesday), four carrots and two zucchini's.  On my return Jan hurt her sides laughing at my purchase of two cucumbers and last weeks magazines.  Well how was I to know?  At least I got the carrots right!

After a heart stopping five minutes, when it appeared the external 12V socket wasn’t working I realised the bright sunshine was preventing me from seeing the illuminated green LED on the plug.  We can finally plug the gps into the cockpit and eliminate the extension lead which needed to go back into the cabin. Having to run an extension lead into the back cabin made it very difficult to close the cabin doors in inclement weather.

A clear plastic bag over the gps prevents it from getting wet when raining.

A couple of photos for our cousins in the Big West Island of NZ.

The sign writer was even able to paint Australia so it can be read by those in the Antipodes. Smile

Today’s cruise was new territory for us.  There was quite some anticipation as we approached the Manchester Ship Canal (MSC).  This is where the Bridgewater Canal passes over the MSC in a swing aqueduct <Barton Swing Aqueduct>. The aqueduct is a cast iron trough, 100 metres long which swings 90 degrees from and artificial island in the middle of the MSC.  It was opened in 1893.  The aqueduct is hydraulically moved (water) and was originally driven by two steam engines which we subsequently replaced in 1939 by electrically driven pumps.

The aqueduct trough holds approximately 800 gallons of water and has gates at each end to prevent water loss when in motion.

The Manchester Ship Canal

The control tower operates both the aqueduct and adjacent road swing bridge.

The Bridgewater Canal was commissioned by the Duke of Bridgewater to transport coal from his mines at Worsley to Manchester.  It was opened in 1761 and was an immediate success dramatically reducing the cost of coal in Manchester.  It’s considered to be the first “true” canal in England and was the precursor to an age of English canal building.

I believe the above photo may show the location of the entrance canal to the Duke’s underground coal mines.  There is an arm to the right of the Tudor style house.  Incidentially, the house is for sale if you are interested!  Not much further on is another, more recent, interesting building.

Could we be getting near the ocean? Winking smile

Leaving Worsley we wandered further west through rural countryside before arriving at Leigh around noon. Along the way we appeared to pass a relic of the areas industrial past.

The town has quite a large shopping precinct with a new(ish) Tesco and Aldi close to the canal.  Bill, I managed to buy some of those paint brushes in Wilkinsons that you had recommended!

On the far side of Leigh was a rather large barge which reminded us we were on a wide canal.

With rain forecast for tomorrow our plan was to stop in a rural environment in the vicinity of Plank Lane.  Just prior to reaching the area we came upon a moored boat with a familiar name.

wb Millie Maize.  No sign of Lois & Tim

We’re now moored at Plank Lane and will carefully watch the weather before deciding to move off to Wigan tomorrow.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Italian Driver

We stopped at the water point just north of Lymm to top up the tank.  As previously mentioned on an earlier post there are very few facilities and Jan wanted to responsibility dispose of the rubbish.  So there we were waiting for the tank to fill and what does Jan see across the field.

So near and yet so far!

A local lady on the bank was really pleased to see us.  So much that she looked like she was about to loose her knickers.

On the outskirts of Sale we caught up with a really REALLY slow boater.  He had the Italian racing car driver approach to boating “What is behind me is not important!”.  We continued at less than tick-over with me constantly knocking Waiouru out of gear.  He even took his boat out of gear to read his map!  Eventually after several miles he glanced back and then nearly suffered from whiplash as he took a second glance to see our bow fender less than a boat length behind.  I suppose I could have sounded the horn,but we’re not working to a timetable.

Both of us noticed the old Linotype Works building on the approach to Sale.  Jan’s eye had been drawn the the architecture whilst I had noticed the date (1897).

We stopped and moored just beyond Broadheath Bridge where Geoff (nb Seyella) had left a comment mentioning there was a nearby B&Q.  There’s a reasonable size retail park here which also has an Aldi supermarket.  We shopped at Aldi before visiting B&Q for that 3.5mm HSS bit and then went to Halfords for another 5L of engine oil.

After lunch we headed down the long straight which passes through Sale. 

Towards the far end was an interesting looking pub.  We couldn’t help be amused by the “No Mooring” sign on the pub which was partially obscured by the floating pontoon moored in front of the pub being used as a outdoor dining area.

Around the corner was an animal rescue centre with a sign stating “Animals by Appointment Only”.  Both of us imagined a ringing phone and when answered the voice at the far end exclaiming woof woof!  Smile

We turned left at Stretford Waters Meeting.and cruised down to the ringed moorings outside the Trafford Centre.  The area didn’t look residential and we thought it might be a reasonably quiet location.  About an hour later an adult male and three children (ages 10-7) walked down the towpath.  The children kicked stones against the side of the boat and then jumped on the gunwale.  I went outside to find out what was going on and the adult (looked to be the father) just smiled at us as they wandered off.  It was obvious from our expressions that we weren’t pleased.  Then the children did the same thing on the way back.  I shouted in my best parade ground voice “Get off the boat!” Probably not the best move because the phrase was then repeated by the children before another stone hit the boat.  Now angry I grabbed the camera and went outside to take their photo.  The adult immediately pulled the hoodie over his head and turned his back to me.  We could probably trace the children if required, but I suspect that at their age it will be the last we see of them.  If they were older it might be a different story.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Expletive Deleted

On Saturday’s post I mentioned the installation of the external 12V power socket on the cabin rear bulkhead.  It’s primary use is to provide power for the Mio pda gps which has the Waterway Routes canal maps on it.

Modesty prevents me from stating how good the final installation looked.  The problem started on Sunday when I plugged the Mio into the socket AND IT DIDN’T WORK!!! There was no power to the Mio cable.  I checked the cable terminals at the node and there was power. That’s when I made my first mistake erred in my judgement.  I assumed one of the spade terminals inside the socket had disconnected when I glued it to the bulkhead.  The adhesive is seriously strong once it has gone off and without thinking through the entire problem I managed to cut and tear the socket off the bulkhead only to find the connections were OK. <grrrrrrr>  After cleaning all the adhesive off the bulkhead and the socket I re-glued it.  This morning the Mio wouldn’t work in the socket <double grrrrr>. Further checking with the multimeter revealed the cable had continuity so the cable was eliminated as the fault.  Sticking the multimeter probe into the socket revealed it had 12V at the socket.  As the socket is low on the bulkhead and facing downwards I couldn’t see into the socket and so it was cut off the bulkhead for a second time <triple grrrrrrr>.  After looking inside the socket it was apparent this new socket is different to the others on Waiouru.  The positive terminal is recessed.  Instead of inserting the Mio power plug I used the mobile phone 12V plug and the socket worked. After examining the Mio 12V plug the problem became apparent.

The Mio plug has a black plastic “collar” (left arrow) which is preventing the plug being fully inserted into the socket.  As a consequence the positive terminal on the plug (right arrow) isn’t making contact with the positive terminal inside the socket.  The current socket is therefore as useful as hip pockets on a singlet!

After some consideration I decided to exchange the 12V socket with one of the 12V sockets inside the boat.  The phone socket was selected because it had already been tested in the cockpit socket and worked.  The two sockets were exchanged, but not without difficulty!  Then I had the onerous job of removing all the construction adhesive from the cabin bulkhead before masking the area for the third time.

If it doesn’t work this time there is going to be one seriously annoyed boater!

Thank you to my blog readers who left a comment advising I had walked over the River Mersey and not the Weaver.  I still can’t believe the Mersey is that small!

This morning we stopped at Thorne Marine to buy a replacement gas bottle (well actually the gas inside the bottle) and ask if they would take our used oil from the engine service completed yesterday <they wouldn’t>.  I managed to also buy a small tin of Universal Gloss varnish.  Not much timber in the boat is coated in gloss so I’ve been looking for a small tin.  Finally we wanted to use their water tap to top up the tank.  there was a £1 charge for the water.  Facilities on the Bridgewater Canal are “few and far between”.

On a happier note we have arrived at Lymm (pronounced Limb, not Lime). 

I remembered Lymm from our 2005 Cheshire Ring canal holiday.  There was the sundial and stocks with a supermarket behind.  Jan wanted to know if it was a Tesco, Cooperative, Sainsbury’s or Waitrose.  I just thought I was clever remembering the supermarket existed.  OK, it’s a small Sainsbury’s.

We moored today just short of our 2005 spot and wandered into the village.

I remembered the picturesque canal side cottage beside the bridge from our last visit.

It’s the narrow alley between the cottage and the bridge that sticks in my mind.  One assumes the cottages were their first and the owners didn’t have sufficient influence to prevent the canal builders constructing the bridge immediately in front of their homes.

Would you like your front window view to be of a bridge abutment?

Jan was able to buy a wrist support in the village pharmacy which should result in an almost immediate increase in the volume of baking coming from the galley.  Whilst she discussed wrist braces with the chemist I took a few photos of the village square.

This is what Wikipedia states about Lymm Cross

Lymm Cross is in the village of Lymm, Cheshire, England. It is designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building.[1]

The cross dates from the early to the middle 17th century and it was restored in 1897. It is constructed of sandstone and stands on an artificially stepped natural outcrop of red sandstone. Its shaft stands in a square pavilion of red sandstone with square corner pillars. It has a stone roof with a pedimented gable to each face and ball finials. Above the cross is an extension which carries a stone ball and an ornate weather vane. On the east, south and west gables are bronze sundials of 1897 carrying the inscriptions "We are a Shadow", "Save Time" and "Think of the Last"

There is a set of “stocks” on the south side of the Cross

I wonder if using stocks in today’s society might have a positive effect in reducing petty crime?

Monday, 28 July 2014

Another couple of failures

Today’s plan was to walk from Moore to the B&Q in Warrington where I planned to buy a 3.5mm steel drill bit so I could install the rear door catches on Waiouru.

It was only a 16km round trip and I must be getting old because the middle of the ball of my right foot was starting to ache by the time I reached the B&Q store. 

The route required me to cross four railway lines.  Two were electrified and two not.  I also crossed the Manchester Ship Canal and the River Weaver.

When I reached the Manchester Ship Canal my eyes were drawn to the brick tower at the far end of the bridge.

Then I noticed the curved joint in the roadway.

That’s when I realized it was a swing bridge and the tower probably contained the mechanism to move the bridge.

Or maybe it did many years ago.  My assumption is it’s now electrified although the following website describes it as hydraulically operated.  But something must drive the hydraulics?

Part of the route took me along the Trans Pennine Trail.

I’m not completely daft and I had checked that B&Q had the drill bits in stock.  But when I reached the store I discovered someone had beaten me to the last of the 3.5mm drill bits.  The walk was interesting but the reason for doing it was unfulfilled.

Back at Waiouru (complete with sore foot) I decided to throw caution to the wind and attempt to thread at 3.2mm hole instead of the planned 3.5mm.  Blog reader David had left a comment on yesterday’s post suggesting a 3.2mm hole could be threaded.  I know it can be done but I was reluctant to attempt threading a 3.2mm hole as I only have one M4 Tap and they are harder to find than 3.5mm drill bits.

My method was to temporarily located the catches with duct tape ensuring they wouldn’t foul anything on the stern deck.  I also decided to locate them just above deck level.  That way it’s unlikely a trouser pocket will catch on the latch when boarding or alighting.  Once I was happy with the location I applied a strip of masking tape where the catches would go and then marked the location of the screw holes on the tape.  Then I used a hammer and punch to give the drill bit a starting point.  The pilot hole was 2mm and then expanded to 3.2mm.  When I first attempted to thread the holes with the Tap and battery drill the tap would jam.  To overcome this I carefully applied a small amount of vaseline jelly to the threads of the Tap.  Working very slowly I managed to thread all eight holes.  The male and female halves of the two catches were then secured to the stern bulkhead with M4 stainless steel screws.  I don’t want the threaded holes to rust so I then removed each screw in turn and dipped it in construction adhesive before screwing it back into the hole.  The construction adhesive should reduce the possibility of rust occurring.

The male and female catches fitted

I’m quite pleased with the catches.  The weight of the door means they lock together and pull apart easily, but the catch does hold the door when it’s open.

Another tip I picked up from the guys at the boatyard was to hang a used tube of adhesive vertically with a bead of adhesive sticking out the end.

Next time you want to use the adhesive you should only have to pull the bead off the end of the nozzle for the adhesive to flow.

There was just enough time left in the afternoon to go down into the garden shed and do a 250 hour service on the noisy green thing!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

A meeting, two successes and a failure

Last night we were fortunate to receive a visit from Kiwi’s David & Makuini Wright.  They are professional entertainers and although UK based for more than 30 years, have worked all over the world.    Makuini sings and David plays a few  instruments.  Makuini (the name means White Queen in Maori) mentioned she has now spent more of her life in the UK than NZ.  They have a website <link here> and will be performing at this year’s Cropredy Fringe Music Festival on 2 August.

A comment from blog reader Don regarding the camera plug reinforced my belief that the pin which needed to be extracted from the plug was held in place by ‘barbs’.  He suggested a thin tube be slid over the pin compressing the barbs.  That got me thinking and I rummaged around in the various spare parts containers to see if I had anything suitable.  The problem with narrowboats is a lack of space.  Usually I’d keep everything “just in case”!  However there is a tendency these days to throw things away.  Fortunately I hadn’t thrown away the small plastic bag containing the spare pins and the bag was also the brass tube for extracting the pins from the plug housing.  Thanks for the reminder Don!

With a little jiggling and by carefully placing my tongue in my left cheek the pin was extracted.

After examining the pin it was obvious the wire hadn’t been properly soldered.  I started the engine and turned on the inverter before using the soldering iron to re-make the connection.  The plug was then re-assembled and the monitor connected to the camera system.  Success…. Both bow cameras are again working properly.

The next job was to make a start on the 12V power socket in the cockpit.  I used the socket to make an outline on a piece of cardboard.  This was then cut to make a template.  I then used the template to mark the proposed location of the socket on the bulkhead below and beside the engine instrument panel.  The next step was to mask the outline of the drawn template with tape.  A 10mm hole was drilled through the steel bulkhead to provide cable access between the plug and the stern node.  The instrument panel had to be removed to assist in the fitting of the cable.

A thin bead of construction adhesive was applied to the join between the socket and the bulkhead before securing the socket against the bulkhead with duct tape.  Once the adhesive has set I will apply a second application of adhesive to make a stronger bond.  The Empirbus stern node is on the other side of bulkhead and it was a simple task to connect the wires to a vacant terminal before using the laptop to reconfigure the software thereby activating the plug.

The failure has been with the new rear door clips.  The locations were all marked out and I started to drill the holes, firstly with a 3.2mm HSS bit and then with a 3.5mm HSS bit.  The problem was the 3.5mm bit was too blunt.  I then attempted to use the secondary (and very cheap) bit.  It promptly snapped. Without a 3.5mm hole I can’t use the 4mm Tap to make the thread for the machine screws.  I’m going to have to find a local Screwfix, B&Q or Homebase <grrrrrr>.

Moored in Moore

A short walk after dinner last night enabled me to get a few photos of two of the three tunnels we cruised through today.

I was able to look into the entrance of Barnton Tunnel (523m) and could immediately see it wasn’t straight.  My assumption is these were some of the first canal tunnels to be constructed and it was a steep learning curve.

I walked the towpath over the top to the other end and couldn’t help notice that the alignment of the tunnel seemed to be down in a wide ditch.  I wonder of the canal builders first tried to excavate a cutting and perhaps hit a layer of hard rock resulting in the need for the tunnel?

There’s only a short distance between Barnton and Saltersford Tunnels (388m).  However the area is rather picturesque.  It would have made a nice mooring for Waiouru except they were all occupied.

I could hear the sound of a boat engine in Saltersford Tunnel so I waited to get a photo of it exiting.

The I followed it back to Barnton Tunnel catching it entering the tunnel.

Their passage must have been slow because I was able to take a final photo of the boat exiting the tunnel.

No, these are not fortifications Smile  They are two of the tunnel air vents.

It was rather warm today, however the interior of Waiouru was so cool (that damned insulation) that Jan’s bread dough wouldn’t rise.  Eventually she bought it out and placed it on the rear sliding hatch. <Yummmm  Hot fresh bread for lunch>

The Trent and Mersey Canal proved to be very shallow in a couple of places.  On one occasion Waiouru developed a serious list and were weren’t even near the bank.

There was a quick stop at Midland Chandlers, Preston Brook for me to pop inside to see if I could find a solution for the rear cockpit doors.  They have been a problem ever since I oiled the hinges.  The doors now swing freely and bash me on the bum rear when steering.  Even worse; on a couple of occasions my modesty has been more than outraged when a cheek has been seriously pinched!  I don’t want to fit cup hooks because they swing and scratch the paintwork.  It looks like I might have found a solution in the Swindlers.

Spring loaded chrome clips.  I had to purchase some short stainless steel machine screws to fix them to the steel.  Another job!

We stopped for the day around 1.00pm mooring on the northern edge of Moore.  The batteries were showing 100% and Jan’s bread smelt too good to continue.

In the afternoon I started on the repairs to the bow camera wiring by replacing both defective cables.  The problem was it only resolved the problem with the fault on one of the cameras.  The rest of the afternoon was spent pulling the wiring apart tracing the break.  I should have used my head and given more thought to the problem before ripping everything apart.  The problem is the Empirbus system has made me lazy.  It’s so easy to fault find with the canbus system.  Just plug in the laptop.  But the cameras are hard wired!

In the end I found the break in the wire for the second camera right back at the monitor plug.

I’m not making excuses but I didn’t wire the monitor plug.  I probably should have and the fault might not have occurred.  The fine video wire for the second camera had come apart from the pin.

I need to somehow extract the very small brass pin from inside the plastic plug.  Using one of Jan’s sewing needles hasn’t worked.  In the end I went to Plan B….. Have a beer!  If that doesn’t work….. Have a second beer! After beer three I won’t care whether the cameras work!