Monday, 29 November 2010

Baby it's cold outside

Monday 29th November

We drove down from Leeds on Wednesday and when we got home and started to unload the car I found I had stupidly dropped Damon's keys in our boot!! A quick phone call confirmed that he need them on Friday so we had to drive back on Thursday feeling a bit of an idiot (nothing new there then!). Friday morning dawned bright, very bright, as the sun shone on the covering of snow. We only had about 2 inches of the stuff, but as usual it caused its share of chaos. We decided to drive into Stafford for some necessary supplies and we got on OK but I came across one idiot trying to drive off our marina and have a great deal of trouble, skidding all over place and failing to get the car to go straight. As he came towards me I pulled over to give him room to pass and the source of his trouble was quickly apparent, he was driving with the hand brake on! I stopped him and pointed out his problem giving the poor guy a big red face.

Saturday night the temperature dropped to -7.5 on our outside thermometer and the central heating is burning through the fuel at a great rate of knots.

I went out Sunday morning and took some pics of our winter wonderland. About the only problems we are expecting to have are the usual ones of boats on canals at this time of year, frozen water taps so that we can't top up our fresh water tank and frozen water stopping us from moving when we want to. Hopefully we will be able to move within the marina to get to the slipway week after next, but more importantly we definitely don't want it frozen for when our new blacking has been done. We made that mistake 3 years ago and had to have the blacking re-done a few months later because of the damage done by the ice.

This morning I walked up into the village for a date with the local quack which at least got me some exercise. The main roads are still clear here but the marina road is a sheet of ice and great fun. Still no a water is flowing in the taps and the marina have got some drums available to carry water to your boat should people run out. Not looking forward to that.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Tuesday 23rd November

Despite the earlier optimism about the heating system the noise returned. I decided to leave the darnn thing alone and see what developed. Thankfully it hasn't got worse and in fact seems to be slightly quieter. I'm going to just let it go and if/when it fails we we will probably bite the bullet and go and get a Hurricane Heater. We've heard nothing but good about theses things as they seemed to be designed to run on lower quality fuel and are more efficient than the usual boat heating units.

Paul and Jacqui came up over the weekend and brought fuel with them as well. The boat is once again full but all the spare cans are empty so I'll have to go over to Wheaton Aston soon.

We can thoroughly recommend The Clifford Arms pub at Great Haywood. The four of us fed there on Saturday night and all enjoyed the food.

On Monday Cath and I drove up to Leeds to spend a few days with our Grandson, Daniel, and of course Damon and Liz. What a ball of energy he is, running them ragged at every opportunity.

Today was spent in town doing some Christmas shopping. Still much more to do though. We'll stay here until Wednesday before returning to the boat.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Tuesday 16th November

I think we fitted the “double glazing” just in time because the weather has been terrible recently. As with most of the country we have been battered by high winds and torrential rain. Rain is ok as long as you don't have to go out in it, but wind rocks the boat around. Lying in bed and feeling it move around under you isn't too bad, but these things aren't meant to be seaworthy just canal and river, so rocking around is not something we experience often. To cap it all the movement causes the tv to lose the signal sometimes; life can be a bitch!

Last Friday I finally got around to doing the annual service of our Eberspacher diesel central heating unit. The burner had started to get that rumbling, fluffing noise which is the usual sign that it needs cleaning so out came the spanners, gaskets and seals along with a cleaned out burner tube. All went well, and I re-installed it and fired up. No trouble, but that night the thing started making an awful racket. A high pitched scream which sounded like the air fan bearing. Oh no! thinks I, we've been here before, twice I've had to replace the air motor and it's damned expensive. On the assumption that it coincided with my service I had to have a look just to see if anything I had done may have caused it but I was convinced that the noise was a bearing and we steeled ourselves for the expense.

This morning I plucked up the go, drive and ambition to whip it out and have a look. First inspection of the fan motor didn't show up anything which I could put my finger on, so on the off chance that it was something else I dug deeper. When I got the burner tube out I found that it had a slight crack in it and it seems as if that may have been the source of the noise, the crack causing a resonation of the flame. I replaced the tube with the old one which I had now cleaned and so far (touch wood) it has been quiet.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Monday 08 November
We have been here a week now and things are settling down. Wow have we been lucky with the weather! I think it has rained more in the last week than in all the time we were out. At present it is hammering down outside and doesn't look set to stop. The barometer is firmly stuck at its lowest reading.
I have arranged for Lyra to be drydocked here at the marina on December 6th to have a new propellor fitted, the bottom rudder bearing tightened and the hull blacked. Our insurance company accepted the quote from the on site engineer after I managed to persuade them to drop their price to nearer the one we received from the dry dock in Stone as I didn't want to have to go all the way back there to have the work done, and also their price for blacking is cheaper.
I took a sample of fuel from the bottom of the tank the other day and frightened myself silly. We still seem to be getting water into the tank, and the state of the fuel was awful. I just hope that I can find the source of the trouble. One idea I have is that it is getting around the fuel filler fitting and I will seal that and keep my fingers crossed.
The list of small jobs we want to get done over this winter grows longer by the day. This morning I went into Stafford and raided B&Q for some floor tiles to replace the broken ones in the kitchen where heavy objects have landed. To try to prevent this happening in future I will be fitting a retaining rail to the shelf above the microwave oven to stop the slow cooker from slipping off if we ever get tipped over as far as we did the last time it crashed down destroying itself and another floor tile.
We have also bought a car to get us around while here. John very kindly ran us over to Stoke on Trent to view it and the owner offered to drive it to our marina next day while we sorted out insurance and road tax for it.
Yesterday we fitted the plastic film 'double glazing' over our windows, another sign of approaching winter. This was an idea I got from a friend on Saltford Marina, the stuff is dead cheap from Wicks and worked a treat last year, keeping the condensation out very well as well as holding the heat in much better than the bare windows were doing.
If the weather does cheer up I'll get some pictures to put on the blog.

Monday, 1 November 2010

That's it!!
For the time being we are no longer wanderers but have put down the anchor for a while. This won't stop us from going out and about in the local area if the weather looks fine but there are also winter stoppages to consider. There are already scheduled maintenance shutdowns on several locks in the local area which preclude us from going very far.
I will keep the blog going but, of course it won't be filled in frequently. I'll just have to see how things go.