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Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Easy Wins, Monsoon February, an early engine service and Fast Freeze foolery.

 Hey up.

NOW that dry January is over,  a week into February I declared it to be known as 'Monsoon February.'  Having proven to myself I don't NEED a drink, I've pretty much let myself have one whenever I've fancied one of late - it's not helped with the weight control - ergo I've put on a couple of pounds of that stone I'd lost ... Still, it's not the end of the world and I've been continuing my daily walking routine.  I'd much rather be boating - even skippering helps keep the weight off but until we leave here in late March, I'll just have to rely on the walking.

I do admit to have been avoiding this place again - no particular reason other than just pottering along doing little jobs here and there.  It's very difficult to keep motivated at the moment - perhaps a little less so now we've had (as in the nation) a carrot dangled our way by Boris.  

I don't know if you're aware, but here in England (can't even say UK anymore thanks to Sturgeon and that Welsh chap) we're still in an open ended lockdown - which began 4/5th Jan and was suggested to be at least until 15th Feb... that slipped to an announcement being made on 22nd February about the "route out" of it. 

Long and short of it is, (and think playground here) IF we all behave like we are being told/ordered/guided - (pick your own synaptic) we MIGHT be let out to play - a bit at a time with a few key dates being suggested.... and that's the bit - they are SUGGESTIONS that can be changed to suit what ever the agenda of the day is at the time.   I'll just roll with it and take each day as it comes.  I have to say though, that this continued hysteria is grating now - more so with over 17million already been vaccinated.... I mean, if the whole point of crippling the economy was to "save the NHS" from being overloaded by covid patients, once the higher risks have been jabbed,  WHO are we protecting it from being overloaded by?   

If I were cynical, I might be inclined to think that a lot of people who have tasted "POWER" for the first real time in their lives have rather gotten to like it!

I'll say no more about it for now - point is, since I began typing this, we're probably closer to 18million folks protected by one of other of the vaccines which can ONLY BE GOOD news.  

SO then - 'Ellis's' winter works program has been continuing in fits and starts.  The exterior really does need some warm dry days so I can deal with touching up the paintwork here and there - AND the blacking needs tidying up down to the water line... much of last years NEW stuff, having been knocked off on the Llangollen I presume.

The grass at the back has been replaced with a ribbed rubber mat which I'd ordered from Ebay on a 'click and collect' basis to a pick up point a mile away... suffice to say, 5 m x1.2m rubber matting is VERY heavy!!!

There was enough on the roll to cut a spare for the  counter, replace the grass in the well deck too and also make a few 'mats' to go under coal bags on the roof.  All in all, a good value easy win.  

I've sika-flexed it to the weed hatch cover so it doesn't blow away but lifts up on the hinges for access... a lesson learned there losing a previous matting during high wind in Granary Wharf Leeds.

. . . . . . . . . . . 

Since I was last here, Winter briefly made herself known and one morning (sods law some ginger idiot  the Capt. had let the fire die down too much overnight) it was  down to Minus 6.2 outside and only 15.3 indoors!

It looks nice I'll grant you but the problem with being frozen in is - when the winds blow and the boat moves around a bit on it's ropes, you end up slamming into the ice around it which is both noisy and disconcerting during the night.  I DID have a brain wave on the 2nd day of the freeze to run the engine in gear (reverse) for half an hour whilst tied thinking being that the friction of the prop on the water would generate HEAT, pushing warm water under the boat to the front and thus melting a decent area around the hull - it worked too.  The result being a more comfortable night's sleep... until it froze back over again and the cycle needed repeating the next day.

JOB wise,  I've had a squeaking floor board outside the crew loo... you don't notice it until you reverse in during a middle of the night wee ... but it's very difficult to avoid and like most noises in the night, seemed really loud.

The solution was to take up the oak floor, cut a hole in the subfloor and then brace it... simple but effective and squeak is now totally cured.  WHAT took 5 seconds to type however, in true Ginger style, took most of an afternoon!

I did take a video clip of before and after but can't for the life of me find it now - trust me, it's sorted though.

Another easy win was the remote inverter switch - I'd bought one when I got the inverter eons ago... it had been 'filed' away somewhere...  well, whilst servicing the engine, I found it (whilst looking for an oil filter)...  Alas, having fitted it, I discovered that 4 years stored in an (un airtight) box in the engine hole isn't conducive to working operation of delicate electronics .

The "on" switch element works fine but the "power save" side didn't... so I took it apart, sanded down the connections and briefly brought it back to life... I say briefly as within a couple of days it had stopped working again... SO a replacement has been ordered from Photonic Universe (now only 14 quid - twas 29 when I bought the first one)

The reason for fitting it now was because (if you cast your mind back to the new fridge freezer installation) when we are away from shoreline, the inverter needs turning off on a night before bed and back on first thing... mainly because 'something' in the fridge wouldn't let it go onto power save mode... ahem, well... I might have found what that was.  You see, INSIDE the fridge is a button ... on or off...  I presumed it was power on off ... well,  For some or other reason the other day, I opened the fridge from the 'wrong side' and noticed a label ... THIS label .

In layman's terms - the ginger idiot installer had had (good English) the thing on FAST FREEZE since it was fitted.  NO WONDER the inverter couldn't go on to power save mode!


ANYWAY - Having disconnected from the mains power, turned off the fast freeze and "waited" - sure enough the power save mode kicked in and the inverter went from drawing 5 or so amps down to 2.  Ergo, the batteries MIGHT last another year after all.  Time till tell on that one as it's an expense I can really do without right now.

So, when the replacement switch arrives, I'll remove the old one, wire it in and then have the convenience of not having to open my tool cupboard to control the inverter.  Simple things bring so much pleasure sometimes.

I mentioned a few paragraphs back  I'd done an early engine  service - 125 hours early to be exact but not without good reason... you see, last time an oil change had been due I'd not been able to get hold of the right stuff so 'made do' with an api sf grade instead of the cc it SHOULD have.  The result being a bit of white smoke on start up ... NOT the end of the world, but this engine needs to be in tip top order given all I ask of i so having now picked up a few containers of the proper stuff , it seemed a good idea to do a pre-season service.  

I'm very pleased with the compatible diesel filters I've sourced instead of the engines plus ones...  they are  26 quid a pop whereas when buying a few, I think they are now coming in circa 12 quid each.  Result!  I've also FINALLY found an oil filter too to use in place of the deadong ones...  not such a saving (circa 5 quid cheaper) and on handling them, I noticed they are WAY lighter... so much so, I actually put them on the scales... the "proper one" being 15 oz and the compatible one only 11 - on that basis, I think I'll stick to the "proper ones"...for the sake of a fiver, I'd rather know the engine was getting  the clean oil it deservves.

Until next time...

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