Saturday 30 November 2019

Generic Fuel Filters, Ridiculous "Parts" and winter jobs...

Having done the last service of this year, I thought I had better order some more filters ready for next year - it's not always easy to get hold of them when they are needed floating around the network as not all boatyards/chandlers stock them.

Earlier in the year, I had the good fortune whilst at Aston Marina (Stone) to pick up a fuel filter for circa £12.  This being half the price of the one the boat came with.  THIS filter had been in use for 400 hours and on taking it off, everything seemed fine - the PREfilter, also being clean... I suspect I'm changing them too often but I'd rather do that than wait until the engine has a problem with diesel bug or whatever... knowing my luck, that would only present itself heading down stream on a river with a weir looming.

Anyway the point of this waffle is having 'googled' the filter, I managed to find this website that sells them and they work out at less than half the price of the "proper ones".

Suffice to say, I bought 4 so are set up for next year now.

They also sent me a free can of copper grease with a note on saying they're having a clear out of stock and thought it might be useful .  I like that kind of thing.

The weather has been pretty much wet and horrible of late so doing painty chores has been rather difficult - During the odd dry spell, I've nipped out side, slapped on a bit of paint and then brought it in to dry ... which is difficult in small space.  It does take rather a long time to get 3 coats of gloss on 2 side of something... and extra coats on the edges (previously epoxy resinned) 

The weather has prevented me from fitting the new bow seats which is frustrating as they are also in the way.  

Some good news is my friend has taken away all the cushions from the dinette (crew quarters) and is going to begin recovering them with the fabric I bought a few weeks ago - this means there's a bit more room in there now AND has made it easier for me to begin some painting... I've decided to experiment with white and grey  - the wood having begun to yellow a bit which isn't to my taste. White above the gunwales and grey on the side of the seating...  if it looks awful - well, it'll be too late lol.

BACK in the engine bay for a minute, following on from the recent service, I noticed a little drip from the bleed screw - those of you who have here since 2016 may remember I face planted into the engine hole and snapped it off when the boat was new had an accident and broke it off ... since then, using a little m5 aluminium bolt with a leather washer to replace it.  It's annoyed me every time I've had to bleed it when fitting a new filter as getting it tight enough not to let fuel through but without snapping it off, has seemed like a magical art.... Ergo, I've decided to replace it.  I spoke to the mariniser (Engines Plus) and in order to get the bit I need - THIS
 I have to buy the whole filter assembly... which has worked out at just under £50 !!! - although it does come complete with a filter.  It's a waste of money I know  lot of money for a bleeding, bleed screw, BUT at least it will make servicing a little bit easier AND I'll have a new filter housing in stock as a spare part for the future... Hmmf!!!

BACK at the bungalow, the ground has been way too wet to make a start on the rear garden but I did have a bit of luck with an old shelving unit the tenant had in the garage ready  to go to the tip... 

I've taken it apart and it's going to be used to make the new rear seats - having thrown the old padded ones out a few months ago ... them being sodden due to holes in the leatherette.

Luckily, I do not have any photos of me strapping bits of wood to my back to cycle through town with to get them back to the boat... suffice to say, it was a bit Laurel and Hardy!!!

Until next time...

Thursday 21 November 2019

Making new bow seats, the 3200 hour engine service and a trip to Salford Quays (sans boat)

I've got rubbish at updating again haven't I ? - I've just been busy... being busy.

Having had use of a car for a fortnight, I've been out and about doing chores that are easier with transport - namely buying coal diesel and "heavy" shopping items (laundry liquid, soft drinks and the like)...  I've forgotten HOW to park a car it seems. I can fit a 57 foot long boat into a space 57 foot and 1 inch long but parking a Peugeot 107 in a space with 2 foot spare front and back seems quite a struggle these days.  I DON'T miss driving at all... I DO miss the convenience but not the chore itself.

Anyway - ONE good thing about being mobile (road wise) again was being able to have a trip over to Salford Quays.  I'm planning the 2021 routes now for and I was thinking about taking a trip to Salford Quays... with that in mind, I went on a scoping exercise

(in the car)...

I can't work out where there is to moor though - It's probably best if I speak with other boaters who've been there.

Still, it was a pleasant day out - nice views and even a (free) visit to the Imperial War Museum.. which I have to admit was a bit disturbing... although it did fill a few gaps in my education I suppose.

On return, it was time to do the 3200 hour service  - which included both diesel filters this time... I still  HATE changing the gear box oil but it has to be done - WHY they don't fit a lift pump like on the engine sump is beyond me!

Anyway - it's done now and that will take me through until Mid March when I set off on next seasons cruising... I'm pleased to have clean oil and filters throughout for the winter... I may have a few short trips here and there but nothing more than a couple of days.

I must say, being on Shoreline is SO nice... to use the immersion heater to top up the hot water tank AND being able to set the websato to come on early morning so I don't have to worry whether the fire has stayed in over night or not...  it's a bit of a luxury but after the year I've had, I feel I deserve a bit of R & R.

First on my imaginary list of jobs was replacing the seats in the bow - They've done ok but were long over due replacement if I'm honest...

Despite their rotten appearance, they were a bit of a bugger to take apart...

I used the old ones as templates and cut new ones out of the phonelic board back at the  workshop summerhouse.

THIS time however, rather than putting all my faith in a bit of gloss paint for the edges, I've bought some epoxy resin to seal the edges...  3 coats of this on all the edges, should ensure they don't warp.

I've also cut some mdf to fit the vertical sections and done the same thing with the resin to seal the edges... Gloss paint will then go on top as a belt and braces job. 

The down side being at the moment it's quite cold out so things have to be brought inside to Cure/dry.

WHICH is a bit of a pain.

Still, it's only temporary.

In non boaty news, I've also made a start on tidying up the garden back at the bungalow - I've got the best tenant in the world but she's not very enthusiastic about gardening... suffice to say, the garden has gotten a bit wild over the last couple of years... AS I'm time rich (but VERY cash poor ) for the winter, I've offered to spend a few weeks sorting it out...  I started with the drive this week which (along with the front borders ) has filled 3 garden refuse sacks... it's a bit of a pain the garden bins don't get emptied over the winter but Terry next door has offered to take me to the tip a few times as and when required...  I'm very lucky to have good neighbors. 

I'm going to have to work my way up to the "back garden"... which is practically jungle now lol.. THAT however, will have to wait until my back calms down a bit... a week of stooping has done it no good whatsoever - it's not even "re-setting" over night at the moment...  hmmf.

I HAD been walking back and forth the 4.3 miles (each way) from the boat to the house... however, today I've sorted out a puncture on my bike (given to me by a friend the other year) so now at least it's a quicker (if slightly more dangerous journey) to and fro.

RATHER than going the short route through town, I may begin using the canal and riverside route if I'm pedaling at peak hours...  although it's a lot muddier route and has potential for MORE punctures... perhaps I just need to be a bit braver and maybe sneak on pavements like the rest of the pesky cyclists  seem to some bikers do.

Until next time...

Sunday 10 November 2019

Leeds back to Stanley Ferry, a bath and a cuddle from friends...

Ignoring that last "photo" posting,   Having ended the guest cruising season and then getting blocked in Leeds by the River Aire doing her thing, I decided it was as good a time as any to collapse in a heap take advantage of some emotional and practical support that has been frequently offered by friends.

You see, the thing about being a 'Ginger Super Hero'  (me), is that I'm not very good at  accepting I'm just as frail emotionally and have physical limitations (despite what my stupid self sufficient brain tries to tell me) as everyone else is  accepting help when it's offered...   Since I've been doing this on my own - I've been very fortunate to have the support of good, kind and high value friends... by value I don't mean wealth in the fiscal side of things, I mean truly valuable people...folk with morality, virtue, big open hearts and also the ability to see through my attempt at a brave face sometimes.

 Month after month I'd been declining assistance... with my usual, "thanks but I'm quite capable of doing everything on my own" response - which, having now proven was the case (for the most part), I decided now to accept the offer of a soak in a bath (with a large G & T), supper prepared for me and a much needed emotional cuddle....  It did feel odd being away from the boat for so long (and by that I mean longer than the usual trip to the shops/wander around a new town) but it was lovely to have an evening of being looked after.

Feeling rejuvenated somewhat, I decided to begin my list of winter maintenance jobs... BY begin, I mean WRITING the list...

There are lots of things that I need to do but (being a bit of a forward planner) I thought I'd start with things I'm going to need help with first... my thinking being that if you are going to ask someone to help, you should give them as much notice as possible and not put any time pressures on them.  With that in mind, I sent my friend a message to see if she might be prepared to make a 2nd set of cushion covers for the dinette seating... you may remember, I had a brave (but rubbish) attempt myself a few years ago on the first set - which she unpicked, and then did "properly" ... at the time giving us a giggle when she'd asked "Why didn't you stop at one?" lol...  my attempt truly was rubbish....  Anyway - the fabric I'd bought at the time, whilst the colour was right, wasn't very hard wearing...  SO  this time, I've had a wander around Leeds Indoor Market and found some lovely "tougher" burgundy (I'm avoiding the use of the word purple) stuff that I hope will be just the ticket.  I've no idea WHAT it actually is, but it feels a bit like "bus-seat" stuff.  Fingers crossed it's not awful to work with.  I bought 2 metres more than I thought I needed  - to take into account 'ginger measuring variations' 😛
Before bed I took a quick walk to river lock only to find it still flashing red... un deterred, I set my alarm for silly oclock in the hope I'd be able to get on my way the next morning.

AS it happened, by 6.30am, the water level was just into the Amber so I decided to give it an hour to see whether it was going down or up and then set off downstream... worse case being, once I got to Knostrop I could always take cover again.

The sun came out and stopping briefly at the service point on the river (the pump out machine had been left on pause so I managed to empty the black water tank for free)  I began a lovely (if cold) trip down the river.

As is now often the case when I'm single handing, I put on a life-jacket...  clambering up and down slimy ladders and slippy lock landings feels a lot more dangerous when there is no one around to "help" in the event of a slip.  IT's a pain as the "big one" rubs on the back of my neck all day but I figured being unconscious in the water the RIGHT Way up with a bit of a blister is more use than being comfortable but dead!

By the time I'd gotten down through Knostrop, Fishponds, Woodlesford and on to Lemonroyd on my own, another boat appeared out of the the marina there and shared the big lock with me - it being very handy NOT having to climb up and down the ladder there.... although when exciting the lock (which had been on flashing amber when we went in) I noticed the water was BACK in the red again...  too late - SO , pressing on down stream, mindful the turn might be interesting at Castleford,  the journey seemed to fly by - helped by the flow of  the Aire.  

AS predicted, when I arrived at the meeting of the rivers  it did feel like a bit of a handbrake turn to get onto the Calder... followed by "Scooby Do" legs/propeller to make progress upstream.  NO matter, Ellis's engine is up to it and within about 30 mins, I found myself approaching Woodnook lock (my exit off the river)  - only to note the Calder was by now about 3 inches into the red.    

I'd not made bad timing though  and when I eventually tied up on the visitor moorings at Stanley Ferry, it had taken me just 5 hours and 15 mins... not bad for a solo journey...  the "record" thus far being 4 hours 30 with crew...

I must admit though, I was relieved to be "home"... 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

FOR the winter, I have 2 options mooring wise: IN the back corned of the Marina (so as not to block it off for the rest of the shorter boats) OR on the Diesel point (practically on the Stanley Ferry Aqueduct.  You see, they've stopped selling diesel now (although there isn't a sign up to that effect) ...  both have their merits / drawbacks .  My initial thinking is that I'll "try" the diesel point because it's on the mainline (so I can come and go easily on the boat if I do any short trips/2 night specials to Leeds Xmas Markets or whatever).

With this in mind, I spotted "the space they'd allocated for me" and figured I'd reverse  back and see how it felt.  Hmm - it turned out the "space" was 1 foot shorter than Ellis is long - and (not wanting to bugger around /brass off boats tied up there), I admitted defeat and came back to the visitor moorings to await the marina office opening on Tuesday.

I took a walk around to the back corner of the marina and here is the other space I could be in... 

It would be handier for coal,diesel, shopping etc but It would be a bugger to get inand out of... especially with a bit of wind (which Stanley Ferry always seems to have)..

ANYWAY - Next day, the moorings chap moved a boat out of the way and I'm now "fitted in" to someone elses space as it happenes... I'm "space sitting" whilst a boat currently out of the water is worked on... probably for 2 months - at which point I can either go into the corner or further to the right on the aqueduct. 
It's ok for now - getting on and off is bloody dangerous in the dark  a bit of a scramble, but I'm plugged into the shoreline (only a 10amp feed so I have to be careful not to use the toaster and kettle at the same time)  but I can use the immersion heater to get hot water without running the engine or webasto so I'm happy enough.

ONE down side though is the water pressure on the tap on the old toll house is a bit higher than I'm used to... ergo, some ginger idiot over filled the tank (again) which necessitated removal of the inspection hatch under the rear steps in order to mop out the cabin bilge from the tank vent.  

I'm SO pleased I fitted that cabin bilge alarm ...  I never got around to fitting the bilge pump to go with it, but tbh, as it's set so low, the pump wouldn't be able to get the water out anyway unless it was MUCH deeper... I'm happy to know a tiny bit is in there and deal with it there and then before waiting for it to get too deep.

NOTE TO SELF - keep an eye on the tank when filling to stop it happening for the (umpteenth) time again.

BACK on dry land, deliveries have begun in the form of new phenolic board to re-make the bow seats - the current "painted ply" not having survived too well.  I've got some epoxy resin coming too so i can seal the edges - MEANWHILE, I'm using the summer house as a work shop and will bring things to the boat when they are ready to be fitted rather than falling over them for the next few months.

Until next time...

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Ellis on her Winter Mooring...(not a proper posting)

This isn't a proper blog posting...the short version is I want to post a photo on a boating forum that doesn't host photos and my google photo drive doesn't always let people see them - ergo, if I post it here I can then link back to it.

I'll be back!

Until next time...

Friday 1 November 2019

Skipton on to Leeds and the end of the season...

We left Skipton on a bright (but very cold) Saturday morning - chugging on all the way to Bingley in readiness to head down the locks on Sunday morning.

That journey is getting a bit tedious now... well for me at least with all the blooming swing bridges (23 in all I think - 2 of which are generally left open)... It's WAY too many but on this occasion my crew was far more capable and just got on with them -  We'd made good progress and arrived in Bingley Technically in time to head down the flight before they closed for the day... that said, that would probably have meant the lockies working longer than they'd perhaps want to, so we tied up and I went over to book us in for the first passage on Sunday morning.

I must say, Bingley are the best lock flight crew I've come across thus far - no fuss or hassle just nice, helpful blokes... none of the annoyance /aggravation caused by one of the chaps that runs the next manned staircases at Newley/Forge - there's a proper foool there that no matter WHEN you arrive, ALWAYS tries to delay you for one pointless reason or another... usually so he can have a long slow cup of tea, or just talk rubbish at you...  

I've gone off on a tangent - which is too early in this post... especially as the idiot mentioned above was encountered a couple of days later.

SO Bingley...  

We shared the locking down with a really nice hirer family ...  I'd had a chuckle the night before as obviously they were not used to "fires" and when I went to the service block, they'd had flames leaping out of the chimney... by the time I'd done my ablutions, all the doors/windows were open  and they'd clearly been sweltering lol.

They were just going down the 5 and turning at the bottom as they had to have the boat back for 9 the following morning - having made a mistake of going past the last winding hole at the top and not being able to face the long reverse back to it lol.  

We hung back and let them wind in peace - and to be fair, the chap on the tiller made a pretty good job of it... better than my most recent attempt at the Rendezvous lol.  

Stopping briefly at the bottom of the 3, we had breakfast and then continued on to Saltaire... the colours are lovely now and a side from leaves on the prop now and again, it was a pleasant chug.

Once tied up, we all went off for a wander and for the first time I actually went into Salts Mill Museum.  I must say, whilst full of things to spend money on, it's really rather nice.... managing NOT to spend any money, I then retreated to the Boathouse bar and had a glass of wine whilst watching the world go by...  I DO like places that allow dogs in - although I'm not too sure about them being on the furniture.

The guests were due to leave in Saltaire but as they were going to get a train to Leeds, they offered to help me get down to Apperley Bridge (and through a few more swing bridges) instead...  I enthusiastically accepted this so we pressed on the next day and in fact got as far as Rodley... which meant I only had 3 bridge to do on my own

A blooming cold day ahead when I took this selfie and I've made a note to self to get some of those handwarmers to slip inside my gloves - WHICH are electrically heated already but still not enough.

AS mentioned earlier - the only annoyance on my journey from Rodley down into Leeds were the 2  triple stair case locks... that are "Controlled" by the most annoying and unhelpful lockie you will ever come across - without exception, every time I pass through them he tries to hold me up... it's not just me, it's every boater I've talked to...  WHY CRT have him back each year (he's a seasonal) is beyond me.  When I pulled up at the top, there was already a boat waiting to go down so I thought "great"... no excuse to keep us waiting - I was wrong... when I went to the "welfare hut" (where he hides to drink tea or whatever) he did the usual "you're not in a rush as you" routine... and went on to say the chap at the top was 'waiting for his crew to come on a train form Manchester...  and he'd be here about 11.30... it was just after 10...  On this occasion I put my foot down and said that I didn't want to sit and waste all that time as I wanted to get down into Leeds before it got dark...  reluctantly he condescended to work me (and the other boat who in fact was happy to go down and wait for his crew at the bottom) down....  

Once through, both flights, I carried on my way into Leeds, filling up with water in Oddy locks on the way down (having done the  final guest laundry  loads for this year on route)...

btw- the "tap" isn't in the book but IS there but you have to be in the top lock (or have a really long hose) to use it...

Having arrived into Granary Wharf about 3.30, I spent a night in there before taking a walk down the river to Clarence Dock to see if there was a space to plug in down there...  the river had a bit of water in but it was in the Amber so once I'd returned, I made a quick dash down there ...  The exit from Granary (Leeds Lock) on to the river is a bit awkward  when there is a bit of flow... MORE so when single handing but on this occasion, I bumped into a group of Geordie lads who were having a (drunken) day out on the train and they crewed for me - passing both windlass AND Handcuff key back to me so I didn't need to tie up on the water taxi point..... here I am - plugged into Shoreline and have been tumble-drying everything in sight lol.

The weather has take a turn for the worse again so rather than get back on the river and be washed down stream, I'm going to sit in here for a couple of days and launder everything that will fit through the washer and dryer... I'm becoming obsessed lol

Util next time...