Tuesday, 26 July 2016

It's heavy man

This weekend we took the boat for our first serious spin out. Boy is she heavy compared to our Princess Lucy and it is a matter of guessing where the front is. Still, we have to get to know her funny little ways and come to terms with a longer, faster and heftier boat. We can't enjoy the extra space on the inside without having to move it about on the outside. Alas she isn't a Tardis.

We had actually already been to the local pub on the boat, but that was a very short run, and this was a whole three nights away with a smattering of locks (four), a very bendy and busy canal, and a good chance to test our skills (or lack of) and to test the boat's systems properly.

On the first night we tied up in Fazeley and after deliberating about going for a curry and leaving Mr Jones in charge, we eventually settled on  the fish and chip takeaway option. We gave full marks to the Fazeley chippy. If you do go there don't be frightened by the long queues on the pavement as the army of staff shift the people through at a cracking rate. And don't be put off by the gongoozler's shouting across the canal from their balconies in the flats opposite the tow path. They are only curious as to whether you chose peas or curry sauce.

Chertsey heading in the direction of the South Pole
On night two we got to Alvecote to meet up with Jim, Sarah and Rocky our ex rescue greyhound. In the picture above, he is trying out our new rug. It was just wonderful to see what a special bond he has formed with Jim. They are quite inseparable but we still got a proper licking (from Rocky that is.) Although it's two years since he lived with us, he still seems to remember how to make himself at home. We had dinner in the Samuel Barton to begin a slightly premature birthday celebration for young Sarah. Last year we were together in Bugsworth Basin and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. On the Sunday morning they set off on Chertsey to the Basingstoke Canal. The Basingstoke Canal is a ridiculous distance away and would take us until Christmas. But Sarah and Jim (and Rocky) got 9 1/2 hours under their belts (and collar) on the very first day.

On the same day, we set off slowly back towards King's Orchard, mooring overnight along side the cool, refreshing and tranquil Hopwas Wood to get a few little boat jobs done.

We used to moor on the Peak Forest Canal and we were always slightly amused by the 'Danger Giant Hogweed' signs at New Mills, but as nasty as the Hogweed can be, the large red signs informing us that Hopwas wood was a military firing range added a different angle to the word 'Danger.'

We were fairly pleased with our first outing. We didn't hit anything despite not being able to see the bow, the batteries performed well, the calorifier surprised us - still delivering piping hot water at midnight and after a evening shower! The black water tank filled at an acceptable rate, and the fresh water tank lasted 4 days.

Back in King's Orchard Marina, Jonesy was knackered and seemed more settled. So after a nice walk, a play session of fetch, and wolfing down his dinner, we put the radio on and crept out to Lichfield for a cheeky curry.

A bewildered Jonesy waking up
When we came back a bit later, we peeked in the bedroom porthole and Jonesy was sparked out on our bed (which he knows he his not supposed to do). He was so deeply asleep when we woke him that we decided to forgive him. Fortunately, our new bed survived as he had confined his furriness exactly to Captain's rather fragrant two day old tee shirt.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Toilet Matters

Those of a nervous disposition should look away now.

OK, So this is about the lovely shiny macerator loo our boat has (Tecma it is).

First, and as mentioned in our last post, our surveyor pointed out that the pipes leading to and from the holding tank were old(ish) and letting out a bit of a pong.

Having trawled the forums (including the yachting one ... them yachting people know a thing or two) the consensus was that white plastic pipes are not so good and the more expensive butyl rubber ones are the ones to have. So £175 later and with a slightly conscripted neighbour, we set about changing them. Most yachting people suggested double jubilee clips, so given the nature of the fluid involved, I did as I was told. It was all done in around 3 hours, which considering the route of the pipes, was pretty good going.

Note the Tecma wiring colours: blue for the water solenoid
and brown for the macerator. What else would you choose?
The second toilet matter was the flush. Nothing wrong with the flush: very efficient in fact. The only problem was that it chucked about a gallon of water down (even for a wee wee). There is a way of tweaking the amount of water taken in, but that proved unsuccessful.

So armed with two 40 amp 12 volt car relays (ebay) and a two way rocker switch (RS Components)  I connected an extra switch which could manually control how much water went in, and how long the macerator was on.

I'm still not sure the holding tank is going to last as long as our old dump through, but it should be close.

Now that is a weight off my mind, and I promise the next post will be about roses, lavender, baking bread and grinding coffee.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Pending Princess Lucy No. 2

Our blogging has been thin on the ground lately, and our excuse is that we have been mad busy buying a new boat, selling the old one, moving marinas, and all the other nonsense that goes with moving what was a monstrous amount of paraphernalia from the old boat to the new one.

I lost count of the number of car loads we moved, and this time last week we had keys, and heads full of codes, to three marinas. How this came about is a long story and rather like General Relativity, it is something I did understand, but probably best if I don't try and explain it to anyone else.

The news is that Princess Lucy, our trusty and slightly rusty 45' boat, faithfully restored over for the last four years, sold quickly so we must have got something right. We have been busy moving in to our new purchase that is both longer and newer and with a much more working class name: The Miller's Daughter. Perhaps this aligns better with our working class roots - maybe it's a class thing?

Scrum at wine bar
Although first mate is already uncomfortable with the name that has little or no personal significance for us. Apparently, it was named after a pub that the original owners had in Louth. Maybe next year or the year after, somewhere in the five year plan, it might get renamed Princess Lucy 2.

We are delighted with the new boat, but sad to see the old one go. We said bye bye to Princess Lucy last week as we moved the final car load. The sideways rain ensured our departure was hurried, and removed any opportunity of over emotional farewells.

We have now moved away from Mercia with its 600 and something berths to the much more tranquil King's Orchard. We found that we prefer rustling broad beans from the adjacent fields to the swish wine bars of Mercia - perhaps it's a class thing?

Hopefully regular updates will now resume. We are working towards our summer Birmingham/ Wolverhampton trip. That will be if the Captain has worked significantly further down his job list.

The list comprises dozens of fairly straightforward jobs, In fact the only nasty one is changing the plastic toilet piping which is permeating horrible odours. The surveyor kindly told us of this, pointing to the pipes passing through the back of the wardrobe.
         'you may find yourself standing alone in the bar,' he joked.
         'I won't be there,' I replied, 'I'll be in the broad bean field.'
          He looked puzzled.

Captain seems to find it amusing to call the pipes Sanitary Hose - but maybe that is a class thing.