Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Equalisation...(again) Saturday night BBQ and idiots

Let's start with a positive...

On Saturday afternoon, we had a 4 hour chug up to Calder Grove (where we used to live), turned and then moored for the night just above the top lock away from the pub.

It was a lovely summer evening and after a week on the wagon, the wine was much appreciated.
Those of you that have NOT completed your foot aversion therapy turn away now lol.

The towpath there is much less walked than on our mooring and Andy set to to smoke our tea BBQ.

As the light began to fade, the temperature fell a bit and (being 'Mr Organised' and having a fire pre-set to light) I chucked a match on and the boat was toasty in no time.

It's amazing HOW much quieter it is down there compared to our home mooring... no drunkards staggering down the path talking/shouting loudly come closing time - just us ;)

BEFORE our trip out however, you'll recall I'd planned on doing another Equalisation charge... a proper one this time, on the now SMALLER battery bank.

Having checked the electrolyte levels on the remaining batteries and then got them fully charged (well the charge current showing less than 1 amp across the 3) I fiddled properly with the settings on the inverter charger, filled up the genny with petrol and began the 4 hour cycle.

THIS time, rather than moving the boat away from our mooring (no one else seems to bother) we stayed put and began the task.

THIS time, you can see the charge voltage was MUCH higher and it was forcing another 12.96amps in across the batteries...I made sure to open the weed-hatch access point to improve the ventilation to the engine bay and at the end of the cycle all appeared well.

4 days on, I think it's fair to say that THIS time, it has improved things... the batteries are keeping a higher voltage overnight and for the last 2 days (what with the solar topping up) we've not ran the engine at all - using the webasto for a couple of hours for hot water... AND that's including doing a couple of loads of washing (using hot water to fill - more about that in another post).

It'll be winter soon enough and we'll have no choice other than using the engine for  couple of hours per day for hot water and battery charging... it's good to have the new generator though to keep the servicing costs down... for now though, it's good to be finally utilising the solar panels to their full potential.

TIME to explain the reference to idiots in the post title...although not wanting to end on a negative, all this "share the space" rubbish CRT keep coming up with - whilst naively idealistic well intentioned is wasted on many "users" ( them being the NONE-paying kind)... I'll elucidate:

Lets Start with fisher-people....  On route up to Calder Grove (Broad cut) we moored on the lock landing on the river and whilst Andy went to set the lock a young fisher-woman began setting up her stall... RIGHT at the front of the boat ...  

I mean - HOW thick can people be? - she got her chair out and tackle ready... in disbelief I called forward it might be an idea to WAIT until I'd moved the boat in to the lock before extending her rod... she wasn't going to... "it's OK - I can move it" she replied.  OK to be fair she DID but on suggesting she might be better off fishing a little down (or up) the river so as not to get in the way of boating traffic she hurled a load of (luckily foreign) abuse my direction - culminating in an English but of "I'll fish where I like" - charming...

I suppose I could have said nothing... live and let live and all that but generally I find that once you explain to someone the reason why something is not a good idea, they respond positively... just not in her case... although when I say HER case, on return, we needed to fill up with water and whilst the point itself IS clear, there was a boat moored to the right and fisher-MAN to the left  - effectively putting the point out of use as given OUR hoses would not reach the water point on the boat from where we could have fitted in, I doubt many other peoples would either.

I suggested to the chap that if he could move even 15 foot to the left (his right) that would open up the water point again... to which he replied there was plenty of room to fit a boat in the space... which of course there was but not without the risk of snapping his rod off in the mooring procedure and once in, it would not be usable anyway...

we chugged on to the slower water point down at the sanitary station...

The final idiot (well actually a family of them) were Eastern Europeans enjoying the  nice weather and getting r-soled picnicking at the side of Fall Ing lock...

As I entered the lock, the fellow in my photo was encouraging the child to climb down the ladder  in the lock... with ME manoeuvring 16 tonnes of boat just feet away...  The woman with a windlass shouted at him (about the same time as I did) to get the kid out of the lock as if the wind blew the boat he'd be crushed... and it'd be perceived as my fault.

I despair of some parents...  To give him SOME credit though, when he re-joined his group (just out of photo shot to the right) - he WASN'T mixing his drinks... he had a bottle of coke in one hand and vodka in the other... taking alternate swigs from each ... classy responsible parenting...

Until Next time...


Friday, 11 August 2017

450 Hour Service and 'limping Andy'

It was a good job we came back from Leeds on Monday as TUESDAY was a total washout... I dont recall the rain ever stopping... even through Tuesday night into Wednesday.  Andy has been hobbling about since crushing his leg on Saturday and although he DID go to work as usual on Tuesday morning, he ended up coming home after an hour - with an instruction to see the doc.

We ummed and arred about whether to go to A & E but figured if the GP said go, he'd be sent with a letter anyway so might not have to hang around waiting for an xray or whatever.  In the end, the visit to the doc resulted in him being signed off sick for a couple of weeks, with instructions to rest, keep it elevated and take painkillers.

It's gone a bit blacker since I took these photos and as such he's revelling in the misery bravely struggling on... shouting requests!  THING is, on a boat, when someone is sitting with a leg 'up' it's very difficult NOT to knock into it when climbing over to pas through the boat.  SOME of the whaling noises, you'd think I was removing a tooth with no anaesthetic.

ANYWAY - on route back home the other day, I noticed the engine hours were approaching 450 and that triggered a memory it was time to do an oil, oil filter, diesel filter and air filter change... I'd already bought the bits last time so it was just a case of finding them... WHICH as anyone who lives on a boat will tell you, is easier said than done - thing is you see, you "stash" things all over into any nook and cranny they will fit out of sight thinking you'll remember where you put said item when you need it.  TRUST Me - you DON'T!

Once I'd searched high and low cursing for an hour remembered where I'd put the parts, I took a photo for the service history book.... that sort of thing doesn't matter to me but it might to any future owner (I'm sure I've said this before)... and set to in the engine hole.

 What with my bad back and fragile hand, this sort of thing is unpleasant so if there are any dwarfs out there reading this who might be feeling helpful, please get in touch in about 200 hours.  ;-)

Having done this procedure a couple of times, I've worked out it's cleaner to put a plastic bag around the filters before undoing them - resulting in a lot less spillage and an easier clean up.

Having drained the water separator and leaving it to settle, I was pleased to note no sign of any water at all.... I'm a bit surprised as I was convinced there'd be SOME in there...

No matter.  I'd better order another set of filters now so I'm ready for next time... I've still got about 10 litres of the Morris golden film oil left from the big drum so that can wait until the next time.

Now the rain has finally let up (although for how long is anyone's guess) I decided it was time to tackle the rear lockers - we just left them in primer and a bit of rust was already showing through.

After a bit of wire-brushing and hoovering out, I decided to  paint them a nice bright colour so as to make it easier to see/find things when just lifting up the seats...

3 coats each of yellow Hammerite  (smooth) should do the trick!  I'll sort out a neat line when I paint the bow seats...eventually.

BEFORE then, assuming it's not pouring down all day today, I'm planning to do a "proper" equalistion charge (again)... I say "Proper" because having now READ the supplemental manual that came with the inverter charger,  I realised the first time I did it, I had it set to calcium RATHER than on a 4 hour de-sulphication charge ....DOH.  Wish me luck,

Until next time...

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Stuck on the River Calder in RED and a fish out of water...

On Friday we began our jaunt out to Leeds on the boat.  We knew that Woodnock lock  (the lock out on to the Calder at Fairies Hill) had broken the week before and CRT were only allowing assisted passage between 09.00-10.00 and 14.30 - 15.30hrs....  realistically, given the amount of chores we needed to do on Friday morning there wasn't the opportunity to catch the first penning through so once we'd filled the water tank, it was about 11 when we began a leisurely chug towards  the aforementioned lock.

The wind was up and whilst quite bright, it did make it a bit chilly.

Arriving at the lock landing in the wind we encountered a boat moored on it so we had to loiter for a while on the water-point in front... I dont like doing this but the wind was quite strong so it felt the safest option compared to bashing pins in further up the bank - given the boat was pointing the other way, we assumed the owner was just using the loo or making a brew.

2 hours later, a woman left the boat and drove away and the chap immediately continued with his journey...  I can't imagine what they were doing... (certainly not for THAT length of time ;-) )

As soon as there was room, I pulled us off the water point and back to the lock landing... when another boat appeared and once in proper view we realised it was our young (well our age) boaty friends  - TOTAL coincidence as although I'd dropped Tony a message a week before on Thunderboat to see if they fancied coming along, he'd not read it.  It transpired they HAD planned to go somewhere else but missed the early lock session and changed their plans to a weekend in Leeds instead... which was great news for us as, a side from being great company, we shared locks (and mutual paint removal ;-) in the wind ).

The Crt man turned up early and let us through straight away which was good - we' only planned to go as far as Lemonroyd but with the extra bit of time now available, ended up stopping for the night just above Woodlesford.  

Quite a chilly night so after a post cruise beer (or gin and wine in our case) and chin wag, we agreed a 'sailing time for Saturday morning' and retired to our respective boats to cook dinner... and light fires.

Saturday dawned bright (and still too breezy really) and Andy had a bit of an accident whilst watering the plants on the roof - the ground between the metal piling rail and bank gave way under him and he fell through, grazing and bruising his leg... AND throwing a jug of canal water through the side hatch in the process.  SYMPATHETIC as ever,  ONCE I'd mopped up the dirty water I ensured he was ok... me being one just to swear loudly and jump around when I hurt myself, you can gather how horrified I was when Vicky suggested putting ICE on it quickly...  ICE on our boat is generally reserved for Gin and Tonic.....  reluctantly, I counted out a generous 6 cubes and put them in a bag for him.

SUBSEQUENT cool packs consisted of "jubbly" ice lollies which could be re-used lol.

Once he'd hobbled on to the boat, we set off for a lovely cruise to Leeds.

The wind varied between gale force and tranquil... and we took turns working the locks to make it easier.  

Once again we came across  another idiot a forgetful boater who'd abandoned his grp cruiser on Knostrop lock landing...  
It's quite a short and steep landing and I was tempted to crush and sink it  luckily the wind didn't blow me off course TOO badly  last minute and I squeezed in at an angle without incident.

Tony and Vicky hovvered in the breeze (I think the proper term is "heldwater?") until the lock was drained and opened... at times, fighting to avoid being blown over into the shallows.

btw - Tony is the beardy one and Vicky is the one with nice hair and bumps in her sweater... JUST to avoid confusion in future posts as I'm sure we'll pall up with them again soon.

ONCE through Knostrop, we were once again on the wide river and the chug up to Leeds was enjoyable... although we WERE waiting for the plants to blow off the roof - incidentally, in future they are NOT staying on whilst we're chugging as they really bloody get in the way make seeing around corners more difficult than necessary,

As there weren't too many folk around, when we arrive into  Granary Wharf, I opted to reverse in - it didn't go too badly either ... well right until the last moment when a bit of wind sent me clonking snuggling up to the Braidbar boat to our starboard...  The Australians on board, couldn't have cared less and were very friendly.  THAT made us feel a bit guilty later when the poor chap had to go in the canal in his pants to look for his (luckily waterproof) phone he'd dropped in.

IT still worked though so (if we'd have thought to note which model it was) we could have recommended it.

Leeds was quite busy and we went for a wander around - bumping into my old work mate Gavin's daughter first and not long after he and his ex-wife called by for a coffee and catch up... they're into cycling and were having a jaunt out.

By the time they'd gone, Tony and Vicky (and their 18 year old son) had returned to their boat and as happens, the people on the other boats also appeared for a bit of a chin wag - and now it being "wine o'clock" a few glasses were partaken... Andy maintains for him at least, it was medicinal...I just enjoyed it!

When it got a bit chilly, given I'd kept the fire going, we crammed in  cosy'd up inside our boat for a few more drinks and an evening of conviviality... with no fear of a none boaty person blocking up the macerater toilet... always a worry when "normal" people are on-board lol.

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We'd been enjoying the journey and socialising so much, we'd almost forgotten the purpose of the trip- which was for Andy to participate in the Sainsbury's contingent of the Pride march... 500 staff in all, forming part of the parade that was to start at 14.00hrs.

With that in mind, ahem we had a hearty breakfast in a local Weatherspoons - and I was actually embarrassed to have a pint with it... although as Andy did point out, it was Bud LIGHT so it didn't really count!

NOT a flattering pic but it's the only one I took so it'll have to do lol

The organisation for the rest of the day left a bit to be desired...  HAD I been doing it, we'd have all know where to be at what time etc...  instead, it was a bit "we need to get a t-shirt from Louise... then register somewhere... then meet up with the others - somewhere.... then meet up somewhere afterwards""  During this, I got a text message from Ross (the boaters who visited the other day) to say he was back in Leeds after bell ringing and had a couple of hours to kill if we could meet up... SO he came along to the boat and we then set off - STILL with no proper plan and a desire later on to meet up with some more friends.

I'm really not comfortable in large groups of people and whilst I accept many (clearly thousands) feel the need to blow whistles and shout about how marvellous diversity is, I'm more inclined to quietly appreciate how much the (civilised world) has moved on in the last 50 years to accept, tolerate and embrace the many different groups in society.  Andy and his colleague STILL had to find the others and get into position etc, so Ross and I peeled off to find  a quiet pub where they weren't charging 18 quid for 3 pints and a coke!

Once we'd had our beer, I escorted Ross back to the station to catch his train and I began trying to work out how to meet up with Andy and the gang once the march was finished...  We HAD agreed a venue but various roads were closed off (to pedestrians too) and everyone was funnelled to wherever the profiteers sponsors expected people to spend their money.  

SECURITY was a bit rubbish to be frank... LOTS of "searches" going on but NOT for anything other than people with their own alcohol... This was proven by the fact in my shorts pocket  (as is always) I was carrying a sharp stanley knife... to either cut ropes in an emergency or remove things wrapped around the prop.  This was totally ignored, whilst people had cans of beer or whatever confiscated.  

This did leave a sour thought in my mind - and judging by a group of "anti-pride" protesters I saw, I wasn't alone with this sentiment - They were protesting NOT against the diversity but AGAINST the money making/exploitation/profiteering of the whole event  which was so blatant.

On the plus side, a part from a few people shoving, pushing (and unwelcome stroking) in queues to buy a drink, it was all good humoured and everyone (well everyone who was really drunk) appeared to be having a good time... I was a fish out water and din't seem to feel the same vibe as everyone else.  I just felt old, fat and invisible and miserable like I should have had more to drink.

LUCKILY  our friend Richard called to see where  I was (he was marching with the labour party but I dont hold that against him)and as luck would have it, he and another couple of friends were about 20 yards away in a pub having a quiet pint... I had to fight my way "through" a group of idiots wearing doggy masks with collars and leads on - lets call them animal training enthusiasts, to get into the pub... luckily no one bit me and before long Carl, Gerry, Richard and I were in the beer garden enjoying a brief respite from the chaos.

It didn't last long as Andy called to say where they were and once we finished our drinks, we headed off to meet up.  Long story short, after yet MORE pointless (and ineffective searches) we found him and all headed back to the boat for a glass of wine - and in Carl and Gerry's case, their first look at the boat we'd spent 7 years saving up for and talking about   It was smashing to catch up with them as it'd been a few years since we last saw them at one of Richards post "Leeds 10K run" parties.  

Once they headed off, we had a quick bite to eat and walked Louise back to the station to catch her train home and we went back out into the awful party fun for a while.   About 9 - half past ish, I sent Vicky a message to see what they were up to and whether we could meet up - they'd just had a meal out and we agreed on a pub near the Wharf - no sooner did we get through the doors did the heavens open and an unbelievable storm began. ... I dread to think of the amount of glitter that would have been washing off the revellers bodies and into the streets!

A couple of pints later and time was called in preparation for an 8.00am sailing to ensure we could get back to the broken lock whilst it was operational.

Once back on our respective boats, the rain got even heavier - to the point of coming down the chimney (and with the fire NOT being on) building up on the throat plate and making a bit of a puddle by morning.

Tony and I must have had the same thought about 0730 and quite by chance were both heading to look at the river lever for the first part of the journey.

As you can see, it had just been in the RED but had fallen and was now back in amber...  with that in mind (and the fact we'd only be on it for about an hour) AND going downstream, we agreed to set off ... Vicky and Ollie (Olly?) working the lock meant we edged out into the flow ahead of them and set off quite speedily downstream on low revs. It was nice to see Ollie during the day as up until now, we thought he was nocturnal lol.

It got a little hairy on the right turn above the weir that's mid construction, as a crane  was hauling a digger above us and although there was a sign instructing us to beep our horn and wait to be told to proceed with caution - the river flow had other ideas so we made a dash for it to the safety of the lock landing.

Despite this, it was a lovely morning and we felt very lucky to be enjoying our day compared to all the business of folks heading off to work looking (in the main) very miserable.

We carried on with our journey and by about noon we'd passed through Lemonyroyd Lock and were back on the River Aire again...  still in the amber but still falling so we continued towards Castleford... WHERE it joins the river Calder...  what we didn't know, was that the Calder was in the red but as we turned upstream on to it,  THAT soon became apparent.... it was like driving a car with a flat tyre until we upped the revs - in our case not being helped by the fact we had the tumble drier going. Luckily, (actually not luckily as we planned it FOR this purpose) our engine is a bit bigger than most and heading upstream at 4mph we were able to maintain 1500 rpm - meaning there were still 1300 in reserve for emergency use.  

Keeping a look out or lumps of wood/trees or whatever we approached the lock landing at Woodnook a little after 1300 hrs - to find 2 boats already tied up on the landing.  We double breasted and wandered up to see what was what.

The river had been on red but was now falling - to all our relief's but it was good to be amongst folk in the same boat (no pun) and once up on the lock, it transpired there were loads of CRT people and divers on site trying to "once and for all" mend the lock.

Chatting with a CRT chap (the same one who'd let us down EARLY on Friday) he said he' been called out at 4am to close all the flood locks.. on his section of the Calder as the alarms had been triggered.... We'd assumed that as they're automated locks, they would shut themselves but apparently not.  WHEN asked about an estimated completion time he didn't know but was confident we'd not all spend the night on the river.  WORSE case, we could turn around, go back to Castleford and take shelter there over night.  Andy would have to get the train to work today and I'd bring the boat back up when instructed.

Whilst up at the lock, I noticed at the back of the 4 boats waiting upstream a boat that moors near us but on the  other side of the canal.  NOT usually having a chance to say hello to them, I wandered up to introduce myself properly - alas I was stopped in my tracks by this marvellous couple...EVERY boat should have one of these
They'd been up in Wakey for a weekend birthday bash and in his own words if he didn't finish the barrel it would just go to waste... he suggested I go get a couple of glasses and return for a free pint of blonde.  It would have been rude to refuse ... so I did and got Ollie to hold them, with the threat of getting him into trouble with his mum!

What was even more fortuitous, was that whilst standing chatting with the afore mentioned generous boater, I'd been sipping one of them which he then topped up before my return to Ellis.... I never did make it to say hello to our neighbours lol.

It was actually quite a nice way to spend a few hours, chatting with the other boaters up ahead and little before 1600hrs, we noticed boats in the lock and it was all systems go.

Another boat had turned up at the back of us, which we'd held on to whilst the lock emptied and all 5 boats shared the lock - the gin palace GRP sea going cruiser, opting to go at the back.  A very convivial gathering and as we waved goodbye to Tony, Vicky and Ollie at Foxholes, the remaining boats took in turns to operate the last few locks until we were all safely moored up at the Stanley ferry, with only 1 boat (the one with the sliding roof) heading on for a few more hours as they were aiming  for Huddersfield by the end of today.

All in all, a very friendly and entertaining, weekend with new and old friends.

TODAY of course it's pouring down... I HAD planned to do some painting in the rear lockers and front  benches  - Tony and Vicky were to do the same (painting that is) on their boat.

INSTEAD, I've spent 2 hours typing this (sorry) and had 3 cups of coffee.  I'll head out to get some Hammerite shortly in the optimistic anticipation of a dry day for painting tomorrow.

Until next time..

btw - No gingers were harmed in the writing of this blog 😎

Friday, 4 August 2017

The Green- eyed monster...


It's been a busy week here - what with going back and forth to the bungalow to meet folk coming to collect things we've sold for peanuts, a couple of boaty visitors and trying to make progress on the boat.

The weather however has not been very conducive to any outdoor tasks... or rather things I HAVE to do outside as doing them inside would p*** Andy off make a mess.  I have begun (began?) the seats for the bow - just using plywood that  will be painted to match the boat... or rather will be painted to match the boat if we ever get another day that isn't sunshine and showers... alternating every 20 mins!!!

Eventually these will be painted and fitted in the bow... (weather permitting)

Andy has been away visiting family this week so I've been left cat sitting and dog walking...  there's not much left in the bungalow now...(still the piano) and we've made the difficult decision to re home both the cats together... George didn't settle on the boat at all and is visibly distressed whenever the engine is running... we're asking around (as is everyone we know) and will hopefully find a good home for them soon...


SO - the green-eyed monster ....  it was only a brief visit thank goodness (of the monster that is) because as I get older, I'm learning to appreciate what good things we HAVE got rather than not...ON Monday, I was sat, (sitting?) on the back of the boat in a brief dry spell reading my book.  As often happens I noticed a boat's bow coming into my peripheral vision and it wasn't until it was past I realised  I recognised the boat as "Alchemy" with Mike and Christine on-board... I've followed their build blog since the beginning...   A good colour sheme I'm sure you'll agree ;-)

She is a beautiful boat - with a very good quality hull and craftsman fit out... they very kindly gave me the guided tour and it looks even nicer in the flesh than on the blog... You can tell THEIRS was done by people who know what they are doing NOT a ginger idiot an enthusiastic fire-engine blonde amateur.... never the less, they were very kind about my efforts but I'm sure once back on-board their own boat, they'll appreciate it even more.

When they left I came back inside Ellis and sat staring at the TV cabinet... wishing for a while it had been built by their builders... for a while I was narked at myself for not making a better job - whilst I fully intend to have another go that will have to wait until after my other hand is done and better. 

I got a bit cross with myself for feeling jealous of their boat but after a visit from Brynn at the side hatch, talked myself around again to appreciating how lucky we already are.  We may be cash poor but for the first time in (my life certainly) I'm TIME RICH... and many people may never get that luxury.

. . . . . . . 

In a brief spell of dry weather, I managed to get a bit of primer and undercoat on the wood for the bow seats.... THEN it rained again and left a lovely blotchy effect... which rather than sand down, I've decided to leave and call it "none slip".  

On Tuesday another visitor arrived (in the rain)... It was Ross and his Finnish other half ... who's name I can't spell.  They've been on a whilst stop tour on their boat and we've chatted on the Thunderboat forums. 
A strange photo I'm sure you'll agree but she was showing me HIS mobile phone case - yes... a sock... it stops it from getting scratched... it seemed especially funny at the time as we'd had a couple of bottles of falling down juice.

It's Friday now (I really must get back to posting more often) and when Andy returns from his morning chores, were going to set off to Leeds on the boat for the weekend.  It's the Pride march on Sunday and he got roped in (as his shops' token puff) to be present with Sainsbury's who have sponsored the event by the sounds of it...  It's not really my cup of tea but going on the boat will mean we can both have a couple of drinks and perhaps I'll get into the spirit of things... it does at least give us the opportunity to catch up with some friends we don't get to see very often so another silver lining.

Until next time...

Monday, 31 July 2017

Library tactics...

Can you believe it's now 4 weeks since my first hand was done? - no, neither can I.

Its actually healed much better than I expected it to... ok so there is a really tender bit at the start of the wound and I can't exert much force/lean on it, but other than that, it's quite usable now.  I'm sure I'm still exempt from a few "dark blue" jobs a while longer though.

Anyway,  you'll remember a long time ago (before we got the boat I think)   Andy's dad had given us a whole load of canal books for us to  work our way through... or course, we've not had the time to do it yet, but now the house is rented out, they had to come out of the attic and on to the boat.  TROUBLE is of course, WHERE to put them?  None of them would really fit in the tv cabinet so having discussed it, we decided to put up a shelf for a 'mini library'... the best place to do this turned out to be above the "spare" (crew) toilet in the cupboard between the kitchen and dinette...

It's good to have them on-board... now at least we might look through them and learn something... If nothing else, they'll be interesting to visitors.

Since fitting the shelf and putting the books on it, we began to lean a bit to starboard...  it appeared that we''d altered the balance  of the boat by putting them up high.  SO we set to and began trying to level the boat out a bit by moving things around.  

Pretty much to no avail I'm afraid and we were getting rather exasperated - moving tthe (now defunct) battery around on the port side to try and balance things out better. just didn't seem to work.  We decided it was a combination of the books, and the battery which had been taken out that was upsetting the boat's kilter.  SO we took a few books out and moved cans around the kitchen cupboards before standing on the bank and "looking;" ...  STILL the boat listed a bit to starboard so i put the old battery back in the engine hole - taping up the connectors first in case something got dropped on to it.

STILL we had a list.

It wasn't until the weekend when I was putting the bed away that it dawned on me - the toilet tank isn't central and had been  about a month since it was emptied...  taking a look under the bed at the 'slurry level' all became clear the tank was indeed more than half full and must have reached tipping point - it not being on the centreline...  a quick visit to another boater to buy a pump out card (we still have 2 full ones on the boat somewhere but can we hell as like find them) and before long the 'dark blue' job had been done and all was well with the trim again.... I say well, it was now listing to port a bit but that was easily remedied.

In other news, it appears the digital diesel tank gauge has gone on the blink.  I'd not put any diesel in since we got back from Skipton in Early June  and  it was still showing full so I thought I'd top it up anyway - knowing we'd had a couple of trips out and done a fair bit of  battery charging.  It took 100 litres to get it back to the usual "full".  It occurred to me, that since I had all the batteries disconnected the other week, it might need recalibrating again... so with Andy's help, climbed back into the hole with my little screwdriver whilst he stared at the calibration dot on the gauge... IT wouldn't disappear ergo, it's fooked.  Technically it's still less than a year old but given we don't know how long it sat on the shelf at the boat yard, I can't face the hassle of trying to get them to replace it... SO at some point, we'll suck it up (a Canadian phrase I believe) and buy a replacement ourselves... no rush though, it's easy enough to open the tank and take a look - easier still, to keep an eye on engine hours and work it out that way.  

Writing of engine hours, we're just over 400 hundred now ... since the battery trouble, I'm following old Mick's daily regime of running the engine for an hour each morning (8am) to get hot water and do the bulk charge using the alternator and then leaving the solar to finish the job.  It seems to be working well and the batteries are full by lunchtime even in this sunshine/showery weather.  After lunch, I'm turning the fridge right up to high to use the "waste" power and then before the sun goes down, turning it back down low - the theory being that it's being uber cold all day so doesn't use as much to 'tick over' through the night... I don't know if it's making a real difference or not but it's nice to be making an effort.  I've got the replacement batteries lined up from a place in Glasgow - 4 x 135ah (1000cca) ones branded as Superbatt.  A boater told me they are made by the same manufacturer as "Exide" ... but are 30 quid each cheaper.  

I did look at gtp, Trojans and even lithium - however, we just don't have the money free at the moment so will have to cut our coat according to our cloth once more.

The NEXT job on my list it to get around to making some wooded (boat coloured) seats in the bow... having tried a couple of folding chairs out the the other day when we took the neighbours to the pub, it was decided that a bench each side might be better... AND if I box it in with a removable panel, it will give a bit of hidden/tidy storage space - which will mean we can move some coal and wood forward from the rear lockers to make space for some sun loungers we got the other day.

They were on offer (supposedly) in the Trespass store at £24.99 each  - down from £89.99

For 25 quid each though, they're actually very comfortable and VERY easy to fall asleep in - I know this!!!

Until next time.