Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Storm Ciara, more jobs and a beginning the website rebuild.

Blooming heck it's been a rough few days - in fact, someone should tell the weather outside that "Caira" has gone cause the wind hasn't really abated for more than 20 mins in the last week almost now.  Wind (when moored) is generally not SO bad... when you can pull along side properly AND have faith enough in water levels remaining relatively stable so you can tie up tightly... alas, neither of those things apply where I'm moored at the moment.

To be fair - the marina DID offer me a pontoon mooring which might have been more stable - alas, it was right in the corner of the marina and I'd have been trapped in there - unable to nip in and out on little trips (like I have been doing), so I suppose it's my own fault.

Knowing it's my own doing was of little consolation at the weekend when storm "Caira" hit - to say it's been a 'bum clenching' few days really is an understatement.

You see, WIND a side (which as already mentioned bangs me into boats front and back) I'm also RIGHT next to the Stanley Ferry Aqueducts... both of them....and about 6 foot from the over flow that usually sends excess canal water down into the river.   AT the weekend, I learned that when the river Calder gets into flood conditions, it ALSO works in reverse!!!  ADD  to that fear of the flood gates at the other end of the cut being overwhelmed, as you can imagine has cause a few days without sleep... well  other than "nana-naps" in my chair when exhaustion got the better of me.

I took a coupe of video clips before it got dark, and TRIED for a couple in the dark... which (obviously) didn't work very well - I've uploaded them all anyway...

The one in the dark was taken about 4 hours before the river peaked... which was 3cm  ABOVE the previously recorded HIGH of Boxing day 2015...

Having watched the river rising all day, I took the decision to move 'Ellis' back up the cut to the other side of the swing bridge - my theory being that if it came in to the cut Properly, a) I'd be behind a swing bridge so wouldn't get washed away... b) I'd be around other residential boaters and able to help (and be helped) with/by them.  Obviously, at the other end of the cut was the worry about the flood gates being overwhelmed - or worse giving way all together...  with those thoughts in mind, I put walki-talkies out, wellies, waterproofs, laptop and my wallet ready at the door and spent the next few hours watching the Environment Agency data up stream.  Knowing the river had peaked 5 hours earlier at Ledgard it was waiting game to see how fast that water would get here and whether our gate would keep us safe until our peak came...I dozed on and off in my chair - complete with my clothes on just in case.  I have to admit, that whilst none of us could actually do a lot IF the worst did happen, we would at least all be in the "same boat" if you'll pardon the pun.

I've taken a screen dump of the measuring station data a mile upstream from here...  I'm sure they won't mind but if they do, well I'll remove it.

The river finally peaked here about 11.15 - with just 10cm of the flood gates remaining... WAY too close for comfort... but at least it did mean I got a bit of sleep - in betwixt logging in and checking data during the night.

On Monday morning, I moved back to my mooring and spent the day checking the river was still falling -  FURTHER upstream in the Calder Valley it's been a repeat of boxing day 2015 all over again...  Poor Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd being totally overwhelmed again... despite "flood deference" being 75 % complete...  25% is a BIG hole to fill with water.

Down stream from there, The Calder and Hebble Navigation (which is about 4 miles upstream of here) has seen a catastrophic breach at the Figure of Three locks - Selfishly, I'm SO relieved 'Ellis' wasn't planning on travelling that route this year - 

I've linked to a local chap on facebook's video.... I hope he won't mind.

At Broad Cut (a little farther down) the Scout boat has also ended up on the towpath outside the Navigation pub... they are appealing for help finding a free crane to get it back onto the water... ironcially by the look of the forecast, "storm Dennis" is on route so that may happen this weekend anyway!!!

It' fair to say that living on a Narrowboat for 99.9% of the time is lovely - it's just that 0.01% of the time (and it's usually in the dark when it peaks) it can be quite scary. Mother nature has her own ideas sometimes and we remain at her mercy.

That said, we can try and mitigate some of the potential for damage... such as scaffold poles (down the side of boats to keep them in the channel) in areas prone to flooding... ME ? - well after this winter is over, I'm going to re-locate to safer (hopefully) waters before next winter...  until then, it's a case of keepin an eye on weather forecasts and being aware of topology.
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Rewind a few days to before the storm hit - I took 'Ellis' back into the town centre to be nearer the bungalow so as to continue working on the garden.  

I've been relatively disciplined - working mornings on the garden and then afternoons on boat chores.   Mooring on Wakefield Waterfront, behind the flood gates, felt OK but when the winds began to increase last week, the down drafts from the buildings nearby were so strong - they blew flames OUT of the vents at the bottom of the fire.   I'm not sure if this will work but I tweeted a short clip of it happening.

The sun had been shining quite a bit so I took advantage of the opportunity to do a bit of touching up at the bow - the planter and Anchor between them have done quite a bit of damage to the paint (read I'm not very careful sometimes) - 

So whilst out and about, I bought some foam pipe lagging stuff and made the anchor a little less hostile towards paint work - I've cable tied some strips to the main offenders ... I'm pretty sure they're not buoyant enough to stop it sinking.  I've now managed to get a couple of coats on the worse bits and the bow is looking much tidier... well , apart from the paint some ginger idiot I dripped on the new bow seats...  I ALSO did a bit of touching up at the stern - alas, I left it too late in the day so when it cooled down, the paint hadn't skinned enough to keep it shiny... there's probably a technical painty term for it... in 'ginger parlance' - I buggered up!

I've also been doing more painting inside - having decided I like the dinette walls painted white, I've done the same in the Galley and Saloon (kitchen and lounge) .

As well was painting, I've also began making another couple of (slightly sturdier) fly screens for the side hatches.  
I've not decided yet whether to leave them 'wood' coloured, or paint them grey... I suppose time will determine that one as looking at the calendar, February is galloping through now.

IN addition to practical boaty thingys, I've also finally bitten the bullet and began rebuilding the website - if you've looked at it on a mobile/tablet you'll notice the columns don't work very well ... it's a limitation of the "old" builder tool I do it on from GoDaddy.  tbh, I've quite gotten to grips with the old one and even like the simple style/format I've used since day 1.  ALAS,progress  indicates I must conform move with the times and as such, upgrade to the template based website building tool.  

THIS Means a complete rebuild and design from scratch - which (according to GoDaddy) will only take "your web team" a short while to do... AHEM... well as I AM my "web team", it is already taking me ages .... AND more frustratingly, I can't mimic the colours/layout I currently have due to being forced into using 'section templates' with predetermined font sizing and positioning etc.  I'm finding it very frustrating.  

THERE Is one bit of good news - the current site (along with  Google enforced SSL certificate) was costing about 300 quid a year in hosting fees etc.  The new one  has come in at circa 270 for 2 years... IF you ignore ALL the time it takes to a) work out how to use it and b) do it all again!... FACTOR that in and it's costing a fortune!

ANYWAY - I've got 2 months to get it all up and running before the current one needs paying for again... that should give me enough time to get it done and then copied over to the domain.


Until next time...


Pip and Mick said...

Glad to hear you survived the storm. Hopefully Dennis will pass by without to many bum clenching moments.
Is there any word locally about Figure of Three Locks? That was going to be our Plan A for the summer, but we're thinking of B and C just incase it takes a while to sort out.
Stay safe
Pip NB Oleanna

Quaysider said...

no news on the towpath drums but looking at it, (and knowing how crt work (or rather don't work) ) I'd not expect to be travelling the calder and hebble this season.

Mike Todd said...

A few years back we spent a rather disturbed night in the lock at the top end of the cut when the floodwater came within inches of overtopping. The amount of debruz deposited on the two aqueducts was amazing. We survived!

Quaysider said...

I have to admit Mike, with "Dennis" on his way... I'm a bit scared again... I've moved away from the aqueducts but if it pours over the top gates (as is predicted given the rain forecast) we may well all be out in our waders tonight... luckily, I have a new pair - roll on Tuesday when it's all over. NEXT year, I'm going to over winter somewhere less vulnerable!