Apparently Saturday had been a lovely and sunny day... ffs... YESTERDAY however, it was overcast and decidedly chilly - NOTE to YOURSELF... in future, please feel free to check when we're going so you can pick another day ;-0)
No matter, we had fleeces, waterproofs and wellies with us anyway. The trouble with dull, cold days is that your mood isn't in the place it should be... to be frank, we were a bit fractious with each other as a result... well either that or the result of a broken nights sleep AFTER a day spent dismantling old and erecting new fences between us and next door.
ANYWAY - it was a pleasure walking around the "proper" paved walkways... in previous years after rain, getting into a tent was a bit like running the gauntlet - having to try and leap over flooded bits or trample over the straw that had been put in place to minimise the mud. I'm pleased to report this is no longer the case and even if it HAD been soaking, access would have been much, much cleaner and easier. The same goes for the marquee I mentioned the other day - that now has a linked together plastic floor of some kind which makes it a much easier and more importantly, drier surface to walk around on. Well done chaps.
After a good mooch around to see what stalls were where, we gravitated to a stall held buy http://www.firetool.co.uk/index.html# - I took the chaps card and have since I'm afraid to say, lost it! ... I think his name was Peter.
He was 'selling' for want of a better word, a better (imho) kind of fire extinguisher than the current ones available today.
It's about 25cm long... weighs about 0.5 Kg and can be used to put out just about any kind of fire - WITHOUT making a mess. Now ok - if something is on fire in a boat, ( or anywhere else for that matter) making a mess is usually not high of your list of priorities.... now you say that, but when you've actually used a dry powder extinguisher - and I ashamedly hold my hand up to having done so in a drunken stupor in my younger days, they DO make one hell of a mess.
The JE 50 seems to me, to be something you might grab and use more easily... call it a first resort if you like. I know this sounds like sales patter... perhaps it is, but I was impressed with the chap's honesty and candour. WHY? - well to start with, he made it quite clear that as of yet, this device hasn't been approved by the BSS... because that only covers gas filled devices - which the JE 50 isn't... ergo, it cannot be approved by the BSS until they update it. There's a quick video of in use here.
They are not cheap - currently selling at just short of £45 for the little ones but they don't need annual maintenance and although their "box life" is listed at 5 years, in "real life" will be good for a while longer - perhaps being replaced after 8 years - just in case.
IF you are interested in the chemistry - the photo below might help explain how it works.
SO - having bought one just one of these, we still needed to buy the ones that WILL pass the BSS.
As luck would have it, a while further on we came across the "Extinguish Fire Solutions Ltd" stand.
We had a lovely chat with them about what was required for the BSS - they had a copy of it to hand which I thought rather helpful and proved they'd done their preparation (it was a boat show after all).
This is the bit we need to be aware of:
The minimum combined rating of 21A/144B for a boat of longer than 36ft and number of extinguishers being 3... oh and a Fire blanket.
The most economic method of doing this being 2 times 1 kg 5A/34B ones and 1 times2kg 13A/70B ones if you follow - giving a total of 23A (whatever that is) and 138B - which I'm a bit miffed about today... having checked the BSS online, it DOES show the B rating of 144 but we've only got 138... DOES that last "missing" 6 cause a problem? - I shall phone the company tomorrow to check.
Meanwhile, please welcome the latest 4 additions to our family - the cats refused to get out of shot again I'm afraid. The "show price" for this lot (and a little first aid kit) was £70 dead. These days, I tend to automatically ASK for a discount... when I tun up somewhere buying bits for work covered in muck and oil, sometimes, it's automatic anyway... Andy was embarrassed but just by asking - nicely and with good humour/banter, we walked away paying £55 instead. A good result.
btw - just for comparison purposes, the 2kg and the JE 50 have the same fire-putting-out ability.
As you can see - assuming the BSS DOES update to accept them, they will go down very well with the boating fraternity as they take ups a lot less space and are much lighter too. Before then, we'll just have to have the big ones and wait and see.
Something NOT on our list to buy were these:
a sponge on a rope (sorry-Bungee) cord that straps to your wrist so it can't blow away or fall in the canal. Only a fiver each and whilst Andy thinks I'm mad, I'm sure they're a good idea. The blue one is more absorbent - for soaking up water from places it shouldn't be... perhaps a flood somewhere. Anyway, good look to the chap who was touting them... I shall look forward to using mine to wash the boat!
We had planned to buy some mooring lines but there were just too many to chose from and too many people in the way so we abandoned that idea.
Heading into the main marquee, we stopped to have a chat with the people from http://www.photonicuniverse.com . They had one of their 150w "slim" (ish) panels on display and it was good to see them in the flesh. Between us, we got in to a bit of a debate about 24v systems verses 12 - his argument being you can use a cheaper mppt unit. Whilst I both understand AND agree with him in principle, ours is going to be a 12v one - to make best use of the "parts" we've already accumulated in the attic. ssshhh... It's a need to know thing!
We didn't get to look around any boats properly - them mostly being "appointment only" - which I DO understand but DON'T like... The only ones that were really friendly, were the chaps from Aintree with their little one. They welcomed us to come aboard and take a good look around - despite knowing we'd already got a boat ordered from elsewhere. Well done you chaps.
Sad though it is, we had to leave about lunchtime and headed back home in time to get the old fences to the tip. Don't we lead glamorous lives?
Until next time...