Friday, 14 December 2012

Mercy dash to Marina

Two days of temperatures below zero and with a forecast low of around minus five, we thought it wise to get down to Pillings Lock to get some heating in Lucy Belle.

Pillings Lock Marina

We arrived after the first day of frost and everything was OK. Nothing was frozen. So we ran the diesel heater and got the radiators and water nice and hot and plugged in a (shore powered) oil filled radiator. The idea being that this would tick over nicely to see us through the next day; a day which we knew was to be colder.

This was a fair trek ... a trek after a day's work, and all the way across country from the Peak District. Whilst this is not really what we wanted to be doing it just had to be done.Rush hour and freezing temperatures slow the onward journey but we try to keep our spirits up as a completely static M1 calls for a sat nav diversion. We got to Pillings Lock on the weirdly names Flesh Hovel Lane at 7pm. I should say that the latest plan is to give Leigh the spare keys to the boat and show him the basics as he is only 20 minutes away and could have helped. 

The high point of the trip was the Pillings Lock Marina restaurant. We dived in there at eight o'clock leaving Lucy Belle getting nice and warm. The restaurant is amazing. The staff are friendly and the service is first class; the food is VERY VERY good. In fact, for me, food doesn't get much better. The reviews on Tripadvisor echo this. They also mention the beautiful setting, and even on a cold December night this was true. A thinish layer of ice, some ambitious Christmas decorations on the boats, all mixed in with a multitude of smoky chimneys, created a unique picture.

So, the next plan is to make the radiators earn their money, and drag them into the current century with some 'automation.' The plan ... I like plans ... is to fit a programmable thermostat, to (a) see off frosts and (b) allow us to wake up to a cosy boat on those chilly days. Now I know the purists would rather I woke up with frozen boots on, full of black frost-bitten toes, but I'm sorry, I need comfort.

Narrowboat Central Heating Automation

There followed an email exchange with a nice man at 'Horstmann' who advised that their battery powered thermostats would not be capable of switching the start up current on the diesel heater. 
Jemma the dog by the Christmas tree
So I came up with the above design utilising a Maplins 12v 40A automotive relay.

So, that is where we are, with the above wiring job is planned for the end of Decenber. And on the subject of 'where we are', Jemma, whose blog this is, spent the evening land locked, in front of a land stove, looking after the land house. This was Jemma's view of the evening. Aunty Rachel took her out for wee wees and she had a sniff around the tree for chocolate money but no joy. 

She did miss out though on the deep fried haloumi and chips!

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