Wednesday, 29 December 2010


Tuesday 21st December

We had a lovely night out at The Swan in Stafford, the food and room were excellent.

Today I drove down to Calcott Boats and parted with a lot of money to get the new Hurricane Heater that we need to keep us warm. The trip there and back wasn't too bad but they have a lot more snow around there than we do here and the back roads that they are on were very snowy indeed. All we have to do now is wait for the engineer to come and fit the thing.

Wednesday 29th December

Christmas has come and gone and we had a wonderful time at John's place in Stafford. As you can see from the picture, Daniel had a good time as well.

Because of the ice we couldn't take the boat as somewhere to sleep so John re-arranged the sleeping plans and we took the already booked hotel room which saved us from having to drive home every night. On Boxing Day I decided that we should at least visit the boat to see how it was coping with the record low temperatures. Of course the car wouldn't start! Damon came to the rescue and drove me out to Great Haywood. The temperature inside the boat was -4 so I took the chance of leaving the electric heater on its frost setting to see if the frozen pipes could be saved.

We arrived back on Monday to find that my plan had worked and the only damage was to the shower unit's temperature control. During that evening the electric feed tripped, so I reset it and checked to see if I could find the cause. Nothing showed up, but after a while it tripped again. I started shutting things down to try to find the cause but nothing worked and the trips continued at random intervals, sometimes a few hours long.

Tuesday I drove into town to get another shower mixer and fitted that during the afternoon. The nuisance trips continued despite all my efforts and over night we relied on the batteries. On Wednesday morning I started again to check out all the systems and wires to try to find the cause. While I had the boat disconnected from the power the main feed again tripped! What a relief, it wasn't us at all, but a fault in the feed system. The marina engineer was called and had it fixed in a few hours.

Meanwhile the engineer arrived to start work on our new heater. I had already started to remove the old unit so I left him to it while I got on with installing the wiring and controls in the living area.

The engine compartment is now ready for the heater and the fitter will be back tomorrow to continue the installation, maybe even finish it.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Addendum to Sunday

This morning our Eberspacher heating unit failed catastrophically. I think the fan motor has seized and the damned thing has let us down for the last time (that's the third fan motor in 5 years)!

We decided to go into town to buy an electric fan heater to tide us over until a new heater can be fitted. Got out to the car and..... it wouldn't start! Too cold, flat battery! There was a small get together at lunch in the marina office so we wandered over for a chat while we called John to see if he could help by giving us a lift into town to get a heater. Of course he headed our way as soon as he heard of our plight.

Heater purchased we got back to the boat and plugged it in. Heat, glorious heat. Well, for a while, after about half and hour our main trip came out so I thought maybe the heater was dragging too much power while other things were running so I turned it down while the slow cooker was on and turned it up again later. It tripped again after about half an hour of full power and this time wouldn't reset. The trip is well hidden down in the electric cupboard so I had to do a bit of digging. Once I got it out the cause was apparent. The trip had been installed by the boat builder and I had assumed it was 16 amps, but it wasn't it was only 10. No wonder it didn't like the load. I'll get a new one tomorrow.

Now we've decided that the Eberspacher is history! We will replace it with a Hurricane heater which is meant to be the dog's whatsits, it ought to be at the price, but if it's as good as advertised it will be worth it. I won't try fitting it myself but will get it done by the local yard, I hope.

I'm charging the car battery overnight and hope it will start in the morning.

More Winter Magic

Sunday 19th December

We managed to continue getting water up until Thursday night when it froze again.

John (my son's father in law) offered us a chance to go to an evening American supper with his rambler group where the speakers were Terry and Monica Darlington, the writers of the well known book Narrow Dog to Carcassonne. The evening was not very well attended because of the weather, but the talk was interesting and we enjoyed the whole evening until we had to drive home. It was snowing heavily enough to keep the car down in third gear most of the way because of the visibility.

The marina froze up again on Thursday night and looks like it will stay that way until at least after Christmas. I'll soon have a chance to try out our new scheme of water fetching, 7 drums at a time in the car instead of 2 at a time in a hand trolley. This should allow us to keep the washing machine going, saving us a fiver at a time in the marina laundry.

This morning the outside thermometer showed -10° C so the central heating is working very hard indeed!

Tomorrow is our 35th wedding anniversary and I've booked us into a hotel in town for the occasion so we're both looking forward to unlimited hot water for the night.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

On the Trent & Mersey at Great Haywood Junction

Sunday 11th December
I decided to go the Wheaton Aston again this week to get some more fuel, now is not the time to be running out of heat. While there the chap serving me gave a good tip to save some of the fuel which comes out from the bottom of our fuel tank in a very dirty state. If I were to leave it to settle and then if the weather is cold enough it will freeze the water in it and I should be able to tip off the pure diesel. Sounds like it's worth a try.
Friday the thaw finally set in and we were able to get water again, yippee! Just in time for this event we finally managed to source some 25ltr. drums to fetch water in ready for the next time we are frozen up. The marina pond is still frozen over and I think it will be some time before boats can move again.
This morning it is once again freezing but I don't think it will last and the water taps are still running, we intend to take water into out tank every day just in case it goes solid again.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sunday 5th December

We're still frozen in, and there hasn't been any water through the taps all week. With only two drums provided by the marina getting water is pain. We have managed to keep ourselves down to using just the two so only having to make one trip a day. The routine is to haul a trolley from the boat up to the marina office, fill the drums, (if they are not already in use by another boater and you have to wait) and then haul them back through the snow to fill your own tank. When finished return the drums to the office for the next user. Of course laundry on the boat is out and we must use the marina machine, for which there is inevitably a queue.

The sun is shining brightly at present and the forecast says this will continue through Monday although the temperature isn't due to rise above 0ยบ C.

Due to all the ice we have had to postpone our lift out of the water for blacking and a new propellor. When this will now go ahead is down to the fates. However we are at least warm and cosy as the Eberspacher heater is still going strong so we've got our fingers crossed on that score.

Christmas is fast approaching so we really must get our fingers out but I suppose we aren't the only ones not to be ready yet.