Monday, 21 July 2014

Down South

Jan would like to thank everyone for their kind comments.  She is rapidly on the mend as a result of my physiotherapy regime which involves the continued completion of routine tasks.  The vitamin supplements (doughnuts) are also proving to be of value.  Jan should be back to full lock duties in a few days.  Meantime I’ve informed her to take her time and work the paddle mechanism slowly. 

Today has involved a three hour drive each way down to Staines upon Thames to see a very old and dear friend of the family.  On our behalf Hilda kindly accepts what little snail mail we have been unable to convert to email.  It’s been nine months since our last visit and a visit was long overdue.

 Jan & Hilda

We took Hilda to lunch inviting her to choose the location. She selected the White Swan Pub on the Thames in Staines upon Thames.

A nice pub with 100 metres of mooring in front.  Jan asked if boats could use them and was informed that was acceptable provided the pub was used for meals or drinks.  On the opposite bank is the local “Slug & Lettuce”.  It appears to also have moorings.

We’ve made tentative plans for Hilda to join us here for a day cruise when we take Waiouru south.

Whilst in Staines upon Thames we took the opportunity to visit the nearby Halfords store.  In a fortnight the engine in Waiouru will be due for a 250 hour service.  We already have a replacement oil filter so all that’s missing is the replacement oil.  I used Morris oil for the last service and have some left over.  The engine takes approximately 7 litres and a container holds 5 litres.  The end result is you need to buy two 5L containers and end up with 2-3L spare.  After reading the Beta manual it simply states to use a multi-grade SAE 15W/40 CF oil.  But it’s also a good idea not to “mix” new oils.  The plan was to buy three 5L containers of the required standard oil from Halfords.  This will give us 15L of oil which is enough for the next two services.  The gearbox oil also needs to be changed and I’ll us the remaining Morris oil for that task.  The good news was Halfords had the oil discounted by 20%.

The above photos were taken using the “problematic” Samsung S4 i9505 phone.  I tried to get a Vodafone signal in Staines upon Thames and managed to get one bar when I switched it to 2G.  Frankly I think Staines is a sufficient size for a better signal.

Jan decided to have a play with her new camera on the way home.  She did mention it was difficult taking photos when the car was going faster than ‘tick over’.  It’s been 10 months since I was last behind the wheel and cruising speed on the road is certainly different.  As we went through Birmingham Jan tried to get a photo of “Spaghetti Junction”.

It’s beyond the steering wheel and down.  Actually we could only identify the location by the adjacent large electrical distribution farm.

The car goes back to Enterprise tomorrow morning.  The following might be of interest to boaters who hire from Enterprise.  Usually we hire on a weekend to take advantage of their cheaper rate.  It also means you can return the car on a Monday morning as they aren’t open on Sunday.

If we booked a car for Sat and Sun (2 days) the daily rate was £24.31 or a total of £48.62.

However if we book for three days (Fri-Sun) the daily rate is £16.45 or a total of £49.35.

So we obtained an additional day for 73p.

The car we selected was one of their smallest and of course one of the cheapest.  We ended up being given a Vauxhall Corsa 1.2L  I’m not used to small engine cars.  If I was being uncharitable I’d say it couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding.  Or as Aussies say…. Only milk and juice come in two litres!    At 1.2L it felt like we had a sewing machine under the bonnet.  But then UK distances aren’t vast and space is at a premium.


Marilyn McDonald said...

I am delighted that Jan is recovering under your concerned care, Tom. Such a kind and empathetic husband must be an absolute boon for her. She is so lucky to have you, and I do hope she appreciates you appropriately. Maybe you could engage Hilda as your lock helpmeet - I am sure Jan would appreciate the consideration, and Hilda looks like she'd be up for it!
We do the 3 day hire thing with Enterprise - good value. And we don't take the extra insurance to reduce the excess as our travel insurance covers that. Have not driven one of their sewing machines yet, I must admit ...

Sue said...

Very pleased to see Jan is on the mend, wrists and hurting them doesn't go together for crew doing locks!

You weren't that far away today.. 'Bout time we met up with you two!

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Sue,

We suspect you and Vic are avoiding us. As we headed north you both fled south. No doubt when we go south next year you'll head north! :-)

Tom and Jan said...


There isn't a day that passes where I don't pinch myself just to remind myself how luck Jan is to have me! I will admit I sometimes struggle to contain my modesty and generosity.

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Tom, I've got Ed the engineer here finishing off the work (new thrust bearing, etc). I told him what you'd said re the engine set up and alternator size. He reminded me that our alternator was 150amp but 24 volts so equivalent to 300amps, in other words, very very big and very heavy. Cheers, Marilyn

Marilyn McDonald said...

Forgot to say, Jan, any time you tire of being so well cared for (such attention can be cloying at times, don't you find?), just let me know and I will take him off your hands for a while. I can keep him fully occupied with DIY jobs and a bit of a refresher course in being a good Kiwi husband. Although of course he does sound nigh on perfect, if the blog entries are to be believed ...

Tom and Jan said...

Ah.... You never mentioned you have a 24V electrical system on the boat. So your generating capacity is now 20% (60A) of what it used to be (300A @ 12V). You'll obviously now have to run the engine longer to recharge the batteries.

Tom and Jan said...

Marilyn, I am not "him", "he", "the fella" or "kiwi bloke". I'm simply nobody.
And remember nobody is perfect!

Jaqueline Biggs said...

LOL! Ah laughter is the best medicine. Jan take care of you and no doubt tom will stravage along somehow. Surely those donuts will keep him going. wish we were closer--I would gladly cook a meal for the two of you--wounded wing or not.

Jaqueline Biggs said...

I just read this to Les and he says with reference to the rental car, the insurance excess is £700 which you can reduce to £100 by paying £11.99 per day. Best to obtain your own excess insurance for £2 a day.

Tom and Jan said...


I know laughter is the best medicine but when I laughed years ago Jan threatened dire consequences. The threat of doughnuts is working. Jan cooked tonight!
Please tell Les we have independent annual insurance coverage for vehicle rental in UK & Europe.

Marilyn McDonald said...

Aha, Tom, nobody may be perfect, but you are somebody - proof is that you have a blog presence and a number of people read you. Or as my dad used to say, there's only two of us left who are perfect, and I have my doubts about you, mate!
I know, I know, I didn't say 24 volts. However what we find is that we used to spend almost as much time charging after cruising with the 60amp alternator as we did with the 24v big thing because we couldn't use it while on the move. The other thing is we have modified our power usage - a bit to compensate. All OK - we are kiwis after all, and are used to dealing with that kind of thing at the bach. Of course it's not an issue if we cruise for more than a couple of hours a day.
Looking forward to meeting the perfect (you used to be conceited but now you're perfect) Kiwi bloke! Cheers, Marilyn
PS Jaq, feed Jan, but not Tom - a man who can subsist on chocolate doughnuts needs no other food!

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Tom, Time for a refresher course in multiplication as well as in being a good Kiwi husband, I think ... A 60amp 24v alternator produces 40% of the power generated by a 150 amp 24 v alternator.
Cheers, M