Tuesday 30 January 2018

Bath time.... (us and the boat )and pumpouts

It'd had been AGES since we gave the boat a good wash down... so long in fact, the summer bedding plants were in bloom.  It's one of those jobs that you dread... and once you get started, wish you hadn't  but when it's done feel relieved.

SO - early Saturday morning, we moved Ellis over to one of the water points and I set to with the telescopic brush connected to the water supply.  I won't bore you with the details, suffice to say that it really was filthy and took a lot more effort than anticipated.  Add to the wind factor NOT a pleasant job.  When one side was done, I turned in front of the Ferry and then proceeded to do the other side... It looks much better now and although I was soaking wet and cold, a job well done.

Whilst at the water point I thought we might as well do a pump out as the tank was about 3/4 full and the boat had been beginning to pitch a bit to one side and despite my best attempts at ballasting it  level, we'd began sleeping upside down!

ONCE Empty, I put the machine on Pause so that someone else might get a free pump out should they come along and discover it... I'll take a look next week and if it's STILL on pause, bring the boat down and remove another weeks worth.

THAT said, when I took some rubbish down to the bins on Saturday night, I met a chap with 2 25 litre containers coming out of the elsan point - working out he'd been doing a "manual pump out" himself, I suggested that he might want to bring his boat down - telling him I'd left the machine on pause and he'd get a free empty.  He explained his tank only holds 100 litres and he was currently moored in Woodlesford and had driven to our service block to empty them.  Rather him than me.

In other news, Andy has been going through the "box sets" of dvds we've been watching our way through:  American Horror Story (1-5)... The Walking dead (WAY too many)... True Blood...Game of Thongs....(well it may as well be called that) and a few others I forget.  He'd listed them all on Ebay and has just about recovered what they cost in the first place which is a result - AND on Sunday although initially we'd arranged to meet some friends for a drink in the pub, when they cancelled on us due to work obligations, we decided to have a night in a local hotel so as to enjoy a bath.

A quick look on booking.com threw up quite a few hotels in /around town ranging from 29 - 110 quid for the night (room only)...  with my discount, we settled on a room at the Best-Western Hotel St Pierre at Newmillerdam.  £44.10.   Bargain...  and 2 long awaited soaks in the bath later, we returned to the boat feeling clean and relaxed and still in credit from the DVD sales.  Result!

In other news, my new camera lens (for my phone) has arrived so at some point I'm going to have a go at fitting it...  

From the various "you tube" guides I've seen, it only takes a hot air gun, sharp Stanley knife and (for me no doubt) a quick trip to A & E to replace it... can't wait.

MEANWHILE - I need to tidy out the places the BSS man will want easy access to on Thursday morning - looks like my car is about to become a "shed" again.   Still, at least I'll be able to do an inventory of what I've got stashed where... I'm sure I''ll find ALL SORTS of useful  things I'd forgotten I had.

Until next time....

Thursday 25 January 2018

Leaky January & Senior moments...

I have to admit, I'm not a fan of this January...  most years it comes and goes but this year it seems to be lingering a bit too long.... PROBABLY because it keeps being windy and rainy.  Rain I can cope with - ideally coming straight down but the two together are a pain as the external side hatches HAVE to be closed or it comes in through the glazed inner sections.  The alternative would be to put a piece of perspex over the OUT side of the glazed sections but that would be a faff to attach without making more holes in the wooden framework - It did occur to use self adhesive magnets of some sort of another but I suspect the wind would rip off the perspex and it'd be floating off down the cut somewhere.  SO when it's windy and rainy together, it's just porthole light and I have to admit it' can get a bit gloomy indoors.

Of course it's a small price to pay for the freedom of living on a boat and being masters of our own destiny -

There's not much going on right now on the boat - I think we're ready for the non-private bss which is booked for next week... another £180 to "tick a box" for crt but there's no point in sulking about it... it HAS to be done to be legal yada yada.    MORE box ticking too wth the dwp as yesterday I had to attend a business planning and marketing workshop.... although that was actually far more enjoyable than I'd expected - helped mostly by having the best mentor you could ever want running the group.  It was good to chat with other people in the same boat (not a boaty boat if you follow) and learn how they plan to get their businesses up and running.

STILL no luck re-homing the cats despite trying every person I come into contact with.  It's looking like they'll be having a LONG stay in the cattery (at considerable expense) when we set sail in April poor things... can't think of what else to do with them as what with George still hating the boat and Sox wandering off any chance she gets, it just won't work with guests on board :-(

We've made it from Sunday to today without filling with water and that's included a few loads of washing and 2 daily showers... along with the usual cleaning, washing up and toilet flushing.  The tank has gone "boom" now so today, despite the wind, we'll have to go fill up. ...WRITING of filling up, I topped up the diesel yesterday and it took 60 litres to fill... engine hours since last top up were 45 but the Webasto has been running a couple of hours a day so from my best guess precise calculations reckon it's using about a litre an hour which is fine.  HOWEVER, during the crouching tiger hidden dragon manoeuvre required crouching procedure, I split my BESTEST most favourite shorts from r sole to breakfast time.  MOST undignified - especially as at the time I was chatting with a dog walker.  To spare her blushes I had to retreat in reverse.  ... I'm still mourning their loss as there's just no way I can repair them :-(

I mentioned in the post title "Senior moments" - that's understating it a bit to be honest as it's not been a moment...more like 4 days!  - I'll explain....  I've been feeling tired this week...mostly on a morning and rather than having an afternoon power nap (which I heartily recommend btw) I've almost been dropping off about 10 am... NOT good or like my usual "up with the lark self". ... I've found out why now - EVERY day when I get up, I take my pills and this morning when I took them actually LOOKED at my blood pressure blister pack that I've been popping out of all week, I noticed it WASN'T Losarton but piriton - you see, for whatever reason, the chemist that my prescriptions are sent to have changed brands and the new one is almost incidental to a blister of piriton.  ERGO, in the pill drawer with bleary eyes they look the same.    

NO harm done I think - (well I haven't exploded anyway) and at least today I hopefully won't be feeling drowsy as a result of antihistamines.   Silly bugger.

Right - off to do chores now ... the washer has just finished spinning so it's back to Chinese laundry time again...actually - I think as I'm going to the water point, I may put the tumble dryer on as a treat.
I know how to live.

Is it too early for a gin and tonic? ..... NEVER lol.

Until next time...

Sunday 21 January 2018

A Cp...a cold boat and public transport.

There's pretty much nothing we don't enjoy bout our liveabord lives...  I say PRETTY much because on occasions, the odd irritant raises it's head.

Laundry - or rather getting laundry dry on a rainy/snowy/freezing month gets quite burdensome.  I can fully understand why after a few years, some boaters get a bit less obsessional   laundry proud  - it's easy enough getting clothes cleaned, but getting them dry ... at least without the boat feeling like a Chinese laundry, is difficult.

YES we've got a tumble dryer, but to use it , we have to either start up the generator or leave the engine running for hours/go for a chug.  Going for a chug when it's dry is not a problem but to be honest, chugging in the rain/snow is a bit miserable.    The alternative is putting the drying rack in front of the fire, which whilst does get things dry in a few hours, is a pain.  WORSE so on a bed change a there just isn't the room... hey ho.  IT's not a BAD problem to have I suppose... ergo, I 'll stop moaning about it.

The OTHER irritant is being away from the boat for a long day when the temperature outside is below freezing.  Whilst we can keep the fire in overnight without issue, we're pushing our luck if we leave the boat at 8.30 am and get back about 10pm... as we did on Friday.

I'd banked it up as high as I dare and closed the bottom vent as much a I thought I could get away with (to keep it burning but not hot) and when we got back in... (a little worse for wear I admit), it was only 12 degrees in the saloon- and 8 in the bedroom - with the fire almost gone.

WHY had we been out all day? well some very close friends were getting CP'd in Leeds.  We'd planned to go on the boat the day before but the river had other ideas... Our plan b had been to move the boat in to the town centre and walk to the station... the river put paid to that option too.  SO it was taxi and train time.

I don't like the train... or rather, I don't like hanging around freezing old stations with people "plugged in" to alternate worlds.  There's very little interaction with other people on trains...  people crammed into a small space, pretending the person 3 inches away from them doesn't exist - exacerbated by the earphones/small screens every seems to carry... ANYWAY - of course on Friday (the day of the ceremony, the town was covered in black ice and even the taxi ride to the station was scary.

Every one who knows me, knows how time obsessed I am whenever I have to be somewhere for a set time... AS such, we ended up in Leeds 2 hours earlier than required.  WHICH gave us a little time for a pre-nuptial G & T.

A While back, I installed the Witherspoon's App on my phone -  and I can now confirm it works a treat...  you can sit at a table... ORDER and PAY on your phone and they're delivered to the table.
In less time than I'd have been able to walk to the bar - RESULT.

The only downside as far as I can see, is that AS OF YET, there's no Weatherpersons WEE app! 

After a couple of drinks we went in search of the registry office and met up with our party.  A very civilised affair, complete with Cellist, Saxophonist and a beautiful reading before exchange of vows and signing of the register.  

Once proceedings were complete, we adjourned to their home for an intimate luncheon and plenty of champagne.  I think 20 guests in all - just the right number ... all invited as recognition of their love and support of the happy couple.

It was a thoroughly lovely day - and the wedding cake was equally as good

I'm sorry my photos are a bit blurry - I appear to have scratched the lens on my phone.  I've managed to find one from Sony in Germany so when it arrives, that will be a delicate procedure I'm NOT looking forward to.

We were amongst the last few to leave the party (train to catch) and by the time we'd gotten back to Wakefield it was about 10pm...  Typically, Andy wanted to have "one more" so we popped into the Ferry before heading back to the boat.  They quickly asked us if we intended eating (as the kitchen was either closed or about to close) but we just had a quick one before the  slippery stagger  Walk back to the boat.

The cat's were NOT amused with the temperature inside so I put the heating on AND re-lit the fire.  IF our heating had better controls (as in ones that we could set to turn OFF as well as on) we'd have been able t0o have it come on for a couple of hours before we got back... but, it'really does eat battery power so we had to take pot luck.

Suffice to say, SATURDAY was a delicate day!

oh btw, we got another booking this week  - from New Zealand.  They've paid the deposit but I'm not sure if my emails are getting through as it's been a few days and I've not heard back.  Perhaps we're going into their spam folder..... PLAN b will be to post a booking form off!

Until next time..

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Non-slip surfaces, Tilly the duck and Dry January sprung a leak!

With the weather a little better (briefly) at the weekend, I decided it was time to make both sets of steps 'non-slip'... it's not like they were particulary slippery before hand but with the non-private bss looming I figured it'd be better to be safe than sorry.

The back ones are SO heavy (even when empty) that it had to be a bit of a team effort to lug them outside. Once safely on the picnic bench, I rigged up the genny to charge the  batteries and then used the other plug for sanding... 

I didn't go to town with the sander - just enough to give the lacquer a key.  Once done, it was just a case of sprinkling non-slip granules over the wet lacquer and (once it'd dried a bit) going over a couple more times with fresh varnish.  It seems to have stuck well enough and what with the non-slip tape I've applied to the front of the steps,  your feet should stay EXACTLY where you put them!

Same for the front steps - ugly looking but given we have to tolerate the fire-exit signs everywhere, we'll learn to live with it soon enough.

Whilst I was in "outside mode" we had a run to Wickes to get a scaffold board for the gang-plank... that's been another of those jobs I just didn't get around to...  SO,  armed with a 4 meter board, and some new disks, began sanding that too

Once it was (roughly) sanded, I got it into a coat of grey primer.... WHEN the weather improves again, I'll slap a few undercoats on it before applying MORE non-slip granules and then painting the final coat of dark grey on to seal it.

It's got a little bit of a warp in it but it'll do  We've managed without for long enough - that said, if we HAD a plank on our last trip to Huddersfield, we would have been able to stay "town side" of the lift brigdge rather than in the badlands.

Another job that was LONG overdue was the drilling of the tiller arm /swan neck thingy for the tiller pin.  Andy's mum had sent us a lovely Duck tiller pin ages ago.

I didn't bother measuring and have to admit it's pretty spot on considering it was done by a ginner  my post carpel tunnel status.

We'll still need to get a little padlock on it for those times when we forget to take it in overnight when visiting rough places we're away from our known mooring areas.

Not long after I'd cleaned up the swarf  I got a text message from Sally and her pals who were on their way back from Flamingo Land and calling into  Ferry for a quick drink.  Well, it would have been rude not to join them so we took the boat down (we needed to get water the next morning anyway) and met up with the Xmas day crew again. 

What can I say? - I gave in and had some wine... ANDY stayed on the wagon.  and when I say "some" I mean, quite a few wines...  after which, we invited them back to the boat for a nightcap - Josh and Emily hadn't been on the boat before and we hoped they'd fall in love with the cats and re-home them.  Alas it was not to be...  Sox did her best to charm them but George let the side down.

This morning, I've been to see my new business Mentor and I'm booked on a workshop which should be interesting.  She's JUST the right person for the job - VERY upbeat, positive and genuinely helpful.  

IN THE MEANTIME, I'm going to look at business plans and enter up my figures in to some kind of cash flow thingy...  I REALLY do need to speak with an accountant about VAT - if we register voluntarily (we'll be below the mandatory threshold) we should be able to claim quite a bit back and live off it for the first year whilst the business gets established but I need to know whether we can de-register in year 2  AND what the implications are.  The Hmrc website may as well be written in Swahili!

Until next time...

Saturday 13 January 2018

Diesel Leak and pointless expenditure

Where did the last 7 days go? - I'm sure it was only yesterday I sat down and wrote a posting.  THAT'S what Dry January does to you... I don't recommend it.

Actually - come to think of it, it's been a busy week.

We had good friend come to stay with us for a few days which gave us chance to practice being in boat with company 24/7.   Being a non-boater, she was initially a little concerned about water usage, toilet operation and electricity supply.  I THINK  it went well and she even brought with her the perfect boaty gift... kindling and fire-lighters!

She also brought with her this:

It's not the first time we've had a bottle on the boat (Sally brought some with her during their visit ... it must be a girlie thing) but it WAS the first time it's been used in anger!

Anyway - I'm pleased to report that it REALLY does work... so if you are of a delicate disposition, and embarrassed about the pong your daily ( or whatever frequency)  visit makes - buy some.  NOT in Morrisons though *other supermarkets are available* as it's much cheaper on Ebay!

Whilst she was here, we still had to do the usual chores of filling with water, charging batteries, taking the rubbish etc but we just nattered away as we did them which was nice.

MEANWHILE, the workmen have started work on the swing bridge.  It's a typical modern day method of having way more people than are actually doing anything, standing around whilst a couple work... not to mention  WAY over the top sign-age, fencing and Hi-Vis...  hey ho.

I missed the old bridge being lifted off which was a shame - it's now been cut up into more manageable sized chunks - presumably to be trucked away shortly.  Without exception, everyone I've talked with about this thinks it's a total waste of  money... that could be better spend on other areas such as leaking locks or dredging... hmmf.

                                                                        . . . . . . . . . . 

So then,  the Diesel leak.  I suppose that's a bit of a dramatic description  but when I looked in the engine hole and saw a a pink bilge, it fair set my heart going. 

In reality, it was probably only a couple of litres of the red stuff but it looked much worse initially.  If I'd stopped and thought about it, I'd have realised something was wrong as the engine had been 'searching' for a couple of days AND had been a bit tardy on start up - I'd put it down to the change of oil.

Once I'd utilized 3 or 4 nappies to soak it up and then a bit of washing up liquid to reduce the slipperiness I set to to try and find the source.  At first because I could see a circle of diesel on top of the fuel filter, I presumed I'd just not tightened  it up enough - on trying it felt tight enough but I gave it a bit of a turn to be on the safe side...

I put a nappy under the filter on the floor and then ran the engine for an hour or so to check for further leaks.

The ring of diesel had appeared again.  THEN it occurred to me... DO you remember when I broke the bleed nipple thingy when I fell in the engine hole AGES ago?  

Well on  VERY close inspection *read I put my glasses on*, I could see a tiny drip on the replacement bolt...  a quarter turn later with a 10mm spanner and  that was that.

The engine is now firing up within 1 second again, NO more 'searching' and the bilge diesel free once more - NOTE to self... next time, tighten it a bit more.

2nd note to self:   do NOT put a nappy soaked in diesel on the stove... oh it burns lovely and for ages but a) the cut fills with black smoke and b) the boat smells of diesel for hours.  Oh well - you live and learn.

Until next time...

Sunday 7 January 2018

850 Hour Service...obvious signs and banana pancakes.

I can't believe how quickly the engine hours mount up - The service schedule for the Canaline 42 engine is oil and oil filter ever 200 hours... fuel and air filters every 400 hours... coolant change at 500 hours PLUS the usual greasing, checking of belts/hoses etc.

Personally, I think 200 hours is a bit too frequent - certainly for an engine that DOESN'T spend a lot of time idling... US preferring to chug around to charge batteries and heat water etc.

STILL, whilst it's under warranty (still 18 months ish left) we're sticking to the book - hence I keep taking these boring necessary  photos of hours and new filters etc.... it'd be better if I'd cleaned the lens a bit though  as it's hard to see the hours without squinting...

Anyway - this time it was fuel, oil and air filters... and a different oil.  I HAD been using the Morris golden film as it was the only one I could find to meet the spec API CC - turns out, if I'd read the manual a bit more closely, I'd have noticed we could use API CC/CD - ergo, some stuff more easily obtainable.

So it's done for another 200 hours - although I HAVE got the next 2 sets of filters and 1 change of oil already in my shed engine hole... WHICH incidentally isn't big enough to reach things comfortably  - since doing the service, my back and knees are killing me from being haunched in uncomfortable positions.  

Having cleared up my mess and taken the waste oil to the tip (well I say that - in all honesty it's in the boot of Andy's car ready to go next time someone is passing)  I decided to experiment in the kitchen with a couple of bananas that would otherwise have been destined for the bin

The most simple of ingredients:  2 bananas, 2 eggs and a drop of oil (the Strawberries and yoghurt were an after thought)...  

Just mash the bananas, whisk in the eggs and spoon into a frying pan.  Turn once VERY carefully as they are quite fragile and voilà - Coeliac friendly pancakes....no - neither of us are gluten free but it occurred to me the other day we might get a coeliac on the boat and have to work out what to feed them on.* ponders whether or not I need to find something else or just repeat daily*... 😀

Rallied by my successful light lunch, I then began vandalising to put up the pointless sign-age required for the non-private BSS.

IF you are so stupid, you cant remember there is a final exit point at either end of the boat this should help you...


Until next time...

Thursday 4 January 2018

Prepping for "non-private BSS" & new water filter...

Day 4 in the "Dry" boat...

Excuse the typing if it's a bit all over the place - the wind is YET again blowing a hoolie and because we can't tie up too tightly  (due to that ledge and  the fact the flood gates are shut - which will mean the water level can fluctuate up or down about 18 inches) the boat is wallowing about like a pig.

Eleanor was bad enough the other night as it was, as it gets dark tonight I think we're in for another rough one.

Oh well - a glass of wine will sort that out... hmmf...  Dry January sucks!

ANYWAY - Having got the approval in principle for the business operating license, before it's 'ticked off' we need to send the good folk at crt copies of our Helmsmen's thingys, commercial insurance and Non-private BSS cert number.  There's nothing major that needs doing for the latter as when we did it to those standards already and were it not for the recent changes, it'd have been mainly a box ticking exercise itself...  however, various things came into effect from April 2017 which basically mean MORE signs stating the obvious - such as, where the doors are... or the fact that in the case of a fire you can exit the boat via the side hatches...  AND of course - such obvious things, require sign-age.  Hmmf...  oh well... rules is rules.

Suffice to say, I've got a whole lot of bleeding obvious and a waste of money approved sign-age on order from Amazon which I just can't wait to stick up all around the boat.

Another thing that we need more of (apparently) is non-slip surfaces outside - THIS one I'm OK with -having gone arse over tit  nearly slipped in a couple of times when faffing about with the gas locker lid.

The weather is not helping this though as pouring rain and howling winds are not conducive to applying non-slip tape OR painting the non-slip surface additive on.

I'm primed for a break in the weather though, so watch this space.

MEANWHILE - remember the lovely new water filter 'Santa' brought for Andy on Xmas day?  - well  I've swapped it over now.  Given they were push fit and the pipes had already been in use, I cut off about 20mm each side before pushing them in - done and dusted in a matter of minutes and with barely any water spilled.

No instructions about "running" the water for a while like there used to be but I filled the washing up bowl anyway...  the drinking water is now back to tasting fresh again.  Not even a taint of chlorine which is good given the fact I soak the hose pipe in Milton every other week.

Right - I had better go outside and tighten up the 'swively things' on the solar panels so they don't bang around (again) all night.

Until next time...

Monday 1 January 2018

Dry January begins...

Happy New Year ...  down hill from here me thinks lol.

SO - here we are then 2018...  and commencement of "dry January"...  it's long overdue again though... we've been a bit carried away for the last few months, so complete rest will do our livers the world of good.

We did go out with a  bang last night though - the planned evening in front of the TV, turned into a New Years Eve party up the cut on a big boat with boating friends...  Of course, having planned on staying in, we didn't have much in the way of gifts to take with us so I knocked up a quick apple and plum flan which went down well enough.  We know we had fun and I did take some photos but for some reason (quite possibly related to gin) they're all a bit fuzzy....

I do recall thinking "must take some coal" with us... but rather than just a lump, took a whole bucket - which we'll need to get back at some point... along whit the flan dish and Andy's jacket.  Anyway...we came home around half 3 and as you might imagine, today we are sitting around watching rubbish TV and feeling rather sorry for ourselves.

It's not ALL been about eating and drinking though - the other day, I finally got around to sanding down the front doors and giving them a couple of coats of varnish...  They've not been right since day one but I think I left it too long as I just couldn't get the stains out of the wood (from the nails)...  oh well... they are better than they were.  At some point in the future, I might just paint them grey anyway.

Usually, I get carried away when I start a job and forget things like dust-sheets - NOT THIS TIME though... I very sensibly masked up the door aperture before I began.

No sooner had I finished varnishing the front door frames, it began to snow.  The first almost proper covering this year... it came down rather quickly and within an hour was causing havoc.

I had to nip into town to pick some post up and do a bit of shopping and when I came back, encountered a poor chap "stuck" on the slope down to the access road in his car - he was unable to move either forwards or backwards... worse still, whenever he tried to apply the handbrake and take his foot off the brake, his car was sliding towards the canal... poor chap was trapped in the car.

My initial attempts at pushing hum up the hill by hand proved useless so I ferreted in the boot of my old Honda and located a tow rope - still in it's packaging.  Having hooked it to his towing ring (once I'd screwed the thing in through the bumper - incidentally, it's a reverse thread.... took me ages to work that out) I tied the other end to my towing hook and pulled him out of danger.  I must admit, to being quite surprised my old banger managed it - even though it should  be 4 wheel drive, somewhere along the line I think the vcu must have seized and rather than replacing it, a previous owner had removed the prop-shaft.

Once safely parked up, we all continued the remainder of our journeys on foot - The chap (and his wife) carrying my shopping down to the boat.  

I must admit, once the adrenaline dissipated, it was time for a gin and tonic and first use of the Free Glass courtesy of Bombay Sapphire...

I think it's time for a lay down now.

Until next time...