Monday, 29 October 2012

29th October 2012
Winter is now galloping towards us. With the turning of the clocks to their winter setting, the nights start so much earlier.
Yesterday I went for what started out as a short walk into town to try and source a couple of 3/4" ball valves for the modification to our central heating. first call was Wilkinsons, I didn't really hold out much hope of them stocking it, but they were on the way so I thought I'd give it a go. No luck, so onwards to Homebase, where I did expect to find them. No go there either, but the chap told me that there was a Screwfix in town, about 5 minutes by car. I am, of course on foot, but that doesn't sound too bad, so off I went.
Sure enough, there was the huge Asda which he told me was a landmark to look out for. Now, where's that Screwfix? No sign, so out comes the trusty smartphone, and, sure enough I'm in the area, and it's down this new road leading to an industrial estate. Another few minutes walking, and there it is. But, this must be the only Screwfix in the world that doesn't open on a Sunday!
So, the long walk back begins, but it's now winter clocks, so the light is fading, bit of a shock that. Not a problem, just unexpected, and annoying to find them closed.
Work on the boat progressed well yesterday, the soundproofing is now finished and the difference in sound levels is as good as we hoped. We can't wait to get her out on the water to try it under cruising conditions. All that remains now are the central heating mods.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Friday 26th October 2012 (2nd. post today)
At last there's movement on the mods we wanted. The new silencer is now installed and working, it does make a difference, but we won't be able to fully evaluate it until we cruise. A start has been made on the sound insulation and Shane tells me that all the work should be completed tomorrow.
One problem has reared its ugly head. The engine start battery is struggling, I don't know if it's because it's getting old and past it (aren't we all) or it isn't being charged when we're on shore power. I'll have to check that out tomorrow. 
The weather started to turn cold today, there might even be a frost tonight.
Thursday 25th October 2012
Nothing happened yesterday on the modifications. I did get down into the engine room and did a bit of tidying up and pumping out. The latter is necessitated by the engine bay drains which constantly block up allowing rainwater to cascade into the compartment. I finally got around to using the special oil soak up pads which I bought a long time ago. They seem to work very well, leaving behind the water which is easy to then pump/suck up away.
After that we got around to installing the winter double glazing. This seems to be a standard fix on canal boats these days. For those who are unfamiliar with it, canal boats in general have windows with metal surrounds which create gallons of water through condensation when it gets cold outside. Several DIY chains sell a shrink film which you stick to the wooden surround to make a simple double glazing. It works very well.
Maybe the boatyard will start work today. We're off into town for a bit of provisioning

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Wednesday 24th October 2012
Not a great day. When we got up this morning there was hope that work could start on the mods to the boat.
However the yard appeared to be deserted apart from the two other boaters who live here on site.
Before setting off for a walk into town we checked to make sure we wouldn't be locked out when we returned. Assurances were given that we could get in, so off we went. We decided to take a different route to town which took us over the footbridge across the weir. It's a great view, and well worth doing. While on the bridge we met another of our temporary neighbours who assured us again that access shouldn't be a problem, but if all went pear shaped there was a way in at the back, but it was a bit difficult.
When we got back, sure enough, the gates were locked and we couldn't raise anyone to open up.
I walked around to the previously mentioned back "door" to find that I could climb the fence, albeit with difficulty, but on the other side there was a large mound of very soft earth which looked as if I needed wellies to negotiate. Luckily I managed to get the attention of one of the neighbours at this point so he went around and opened for us.
Later in the afternoon I started to fit the new kitchen tap I'd bought from ebay. A bit of a disaster on that front. The darn thing doesn't fit, and I think it's because of the manufacturing tolerances. I have fitted two other taps on this sink over the years and they all have the same style of clamp into a single hole, as does this one, but the radius,(diameter?) of the fittings (clamps and hoses together) is very slightly greater than the hole in the sink, so it won't fit. Back to the old one for the time being.
Maybe tomorrow the yard will get on with our work.
PS We now have a gate key!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Tuesday 23rd October 2012
Lyra is once again floating in her proper environment. Yesterday afternoon the dock was flooded and we're now moored up awaiting the other work which we wanted done here. Namely, re-routing the central heating pipes so that the flow is through the header/expansion tank, fitting a high efficiency silencer, and adding some sound deadening in the engine compartment.
We've been told that this work should start tomorrow, but I'm not holding my breath.
Now that we are properly tied up to the side Cath has returned from a week of living with Damon and Liz. It's great to have company again. We went for a wander up into Castleford town centre this morning to raid the market for a bit of food and I'm looking forward to Cajun chicken for dinner tonight.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Tuesday 16th October 2012
Here it is Tuesday and Lyra is still moored up outside the drydock waiting for her turn. Starting to get concerned about how long Cath will have to spend at Damon and Liz's because of the difficulty of access while actually in the dock.
The yard tell me that we should be floated in this afternoon, so I wait in hopes.
Meanwhile I'm continuing the varnishing, and doing all the other mundane things like running the washing machine, and spending too much time browsing on the computer. I really should get down and service the central heating, and the travel power belt needs tightening as it's started to squeal, but it's started to rain again so that's a good excuse to sit here and do not a lot, lazy toad!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Sunday 14th October 2012
Luckily the forecasters were right and the weather stayed dry on Friday.
Saturday morning and the gates were still closed. I took a wander up to have a look at the river, it was a pussycat again so we hoped to see the gates open by about 10.00 o'clock.
Half ten and still no sign C&RT guys to open up so I gave them call to see if there were plans to get the way clear. I was told that they were on the way, so it was just a case of waiting.
About 11.15 the gates swung wide and we were on our way. As I already hinted, we had hoped to get a flyer today, but it wasn't to be, so I decided to go for it and run a lot faster than I normally would. Moving down stream we at least had the advantage of current, but it wasn't running very fast. At Knostrop flood gates the river goes off to the left and the rest of the trip as far as Lemonroyd Lock is on canal.
We made really good time with only 2 of the 6 locks in our favour and approached Castleford lock in just under 2 1/2 hours!. The hurry was because Cath was due back in Leeds to child sit our grandson, Daniel. Result!
I'm now alone in Lyra, pottering around doing some of jobs that winters were made for. First of all though was an engine and gearbox oil change. That done it was back to sanding and varnishing. While that drys I'll take a walk up to the boatyard and check out our arrival plans.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Friday 12th October 2012
It certainly rained a bit last night! Yesterday when I checked the river level/flow it was a pussycat, and while we knew it would rain overnight we didn't reckon on it having a dramatic impact on the level. Big mistake. When we looked out this morning I was very surprised to find the dock gates locked and the level very high.
I later went and had a look at the river and it's going over the weir at quite a rate.
I phoned Supreme Marine, where we have a booking for late Sunday, early Monday dry docking and they were quite laid back about it. They know the state of the river, and the boat which must leave to allow room for us can't come out until Monday afternoon anyway, so we should still be ok.
If the gates do open tomorrow we will set off then, but Sunday is a non starter because Cath is child sitting Daniel all day so it could be Monday before we get going.
Looking forward to lovely hot chilli con tonight.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Thursday 11th October 2012
After a week of having the gates to the dock closed they were open again for last weekend. 
On Saturday morning I wandered over to the gates for a look and found several boaters hanging around them waiting for C&RT to open them up. Apparently someone had turned up and unlocked, but then had gone away without opening them saying they had things to do but would be back later to open up. Finally they returned and the way to freedom was clear. There was then a mad flurry of movements as boats came and went. There were two boats moored up to the high wall outside the dock waiting to come in, and nearly all of the boats trapped inside made a run for it as soon as the gates opened.
We had an interesting day on Wednesday. With the weather still staying dry we decided to take a train ride to Harrogate for a look around. It's a pretty place, and we'll go again as it takes more than a day's mooch around to do it justice.
It's been fairly dry all week, and the river level is still dropping. The forecast for tonight says rain, but then clear again tomorrow. We've decided to start our trip to Castleford then, just to ensure nothing prevents us for making it to our appointment with the boatyard on Monday.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Friday 5th October 2012
The weather around here has been very changeable this week. The rain has once again caused the gates to Clarence Dock to be shut so we're all trapped. Mike and Sally were due to take Bendigo to Castleford for work to be done, but unless the river abates quite a bit I don't think they'll make it.
Earlier this week Damon took me up to Arnold Laver, a timber merchant who stocks faced MDF where I bought a sheet of 19mm ash faced board and had it cut to size so that I can get on and replace some of the external door panels which have deteriorated over the years. I would have prefered ply, but it wasn't available.
Though the week I've been painting and varnishing. Painting the table which resides in our well deck, I made this table a few years ago and varnished it and now it's looking a bit tatty so I decided to sand it down and paint it. The first effort was a total failure! I hate painting, and I didn't sand it down enough and leaving some varnish on caused the paint not to take properly. After another really good session of sanding I tried again and this time with some success. The colour we chose was a light blue and it looks fine now.
I've started to varnish the new door panels, but won't be installing them yet, there's a lot more varnish to apply and I won't cut the old panels out until after Lyra has been dry docked to have her bottom done.
Speaking of which, if this weather doesn't improve soon we may not be able to get to Castleford to have the work done. Not looking forward to that possibility at all.