Sunday, 19 January 2020

On board in January and the cat poo’s in the bath !

Our cat Lilly is a large stupid ball of fluff. She is a rescue cat and bless her she I think was badly treated in her previous life. She is very scared of people and noises and ghosts around the cottage and the boat. When my very large Hi vis clad friend arrived at the cottage once she hit up the chimney !

When we went to America last year we arranged for the local chattery owner who luckily lives across the lane from us to call into the cottage and feed and check on Lily so as not to have to put her in ‘ cat prison’ for a couple of weeks. However Lily managed to get stuck in the cat little box and this freaked her out so much she decided to use the cottage as her toilet for the rest of the two weeks.... nice find Neville and a lovely lingering wee smell until I had to cut part of the carpet away.

So we are on the boat and we have brought her with us. But she is very scared of the outside even when it’s super quiet and not much else is about ( although there are more cats here than our other Fradley mooring) so this morning we were woken up with the tell tale sounds of her in her litter box, then we hear the sounds of paw against bath .... yep she had took a dump in the bath !

No point in telling off an already timid cat.... anyhow, that’s pet ownership for you.

We were due to go off for an overnight cruise today.... I spent some time yesterday fettling the engine which included trying to balance the injector feeds to the two cylinders. A fiddly process involving small adjustments to the threaded bar that links them from the speed wheel. I used my laser thermometer on the same part of each cylinder exhaust port to gauge the temperature of the cylinders against each other. They started quite a bit out, no doubt associated with the decode and gasket replacement last year. Now I have them to within 2c of each other but the engine really needs a proper run under load to get a better test.

I did the test and after a good run they are still 9c out so one is working harder than the other.... more tweaking needed.

Friday, 17 January 2020

My Christmas present in action

Yes I did ask for this specifically. I do a lot of walking and am quite ofter angered by litter in the hedgerow. It seems worse in the country lanes as there are some $hitbags who decide to just toss anything out of their car windows....

So on my 'Village walk' a nice 2 miler out of the little hamlet where I live through the local village and back up the lane that literally clings to the side of the valley.

On the test run this was my collection...

Yes I got a litter picker for Christmas. The bottles and cans went into the recyling everything else went into the bin.

I'll do the canal walk (in the valley... along the Caldon canal then back out via the woods ) I know there is a pile there waiting for me as I have past what is obviously a boater dump - aaargh !!

I also got the circular bag holder for black bags for bigger litter picks. On one of the walks at Shebdon there is a lot of lane side litter that I'll collect next time we are aboard.

I have an old bathroom cabinet and a car parcel shelf that someone fly tipped on the back lane that we recovered and the cabinet I'll reuse in my workshop for washing power for the old washing machine I use for rags and overalls and the parcel shelf will go to the tip on my next run. Gotta do you bit as the litterers are all around us seemingly....

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

That cage thing update

Bloody good.

It’s a Coalcage to give it its correct name. I lit it as described in a previous post and it’s been in since Friday Lunchtime.... it’s now Monday evening.


  • It uses less coal, its hopper type feeding above the riddle plate (where the updraft is) means the heat is controlled more by the bottom vent than by the amount of coal added.
  • As above the control is much more fine tuned as the burning of the coal is directly above the riddle plate/vent. As there is no coal burning uncontrolled on the sides it’s so much easier to get and maintain the right temperature.
  • Night time burning is excellent as the coal burns as it decends into the pit of the fire. No need to do anything different as the control alone allows you to regulate the fire right down to the point the fan stops but the fire is still in, we have never been more comfortable overnight on the boat in winter... just so able to fine tune 
  • The Glass is still clean after three days of constant use... again no doubt as there is no coal or wood burning right in front of the glass.
  • As above as there is nothing much forward of the riddle plate there is no ash drop out when the door is opened.
  • Loading the fire has to be done by the tongs, one lump as a time, not too onerous and you realise how much less coal you are using. Just have to be careful.
All in all a great device and to be recommended. It’ll be interesting to see how long it lasts 

Monday, 6 January 2020

For the record

I try and record when and where I filled up with Diesel. Today the coal boat came by so we flagged them down and took a new bottle of gas, three bags of Excel and 116 litres of diesel. The engine counter was on 669 hours.

Now 116 litres is a record for us ( stop sniggering you cc’ers). Edited as I found out we put in 146 litres here I had a quick trawl to see if I recorded when I last filled up and at what engine counter we were at, of course I can’t find it if I do later I’ll edit this post..... yep found it it was at Turners with the engine counter on 570 hours so 99 hours for 116 litres makes 1.17 litres of fuel per hour running. Small interesting detail but we just added 116 litres, last top up was 113 litres.... at least we are consistent.

. I do recall where I was and that would be Turners when I brought Percy up from Fradley, so that would be late October 2018. I recall somewhere else I worked out we used about a litre and a half an hour so that gives some indication of the running of the engine.

To use that diesel we’ve really only been up and down the Shropshire, as far as Tyrley locks North and Church Eaton to the south. Done both a few times now. We of course did the blacking cruise up to Stourbridge Bonded warehouse which really was the single biggest trip of 2019.

Yesterday we were planning holidays and we firmed up the four counties ring and the Llangollen up and back, so hopefully we’ll be using a bit more diesel this year and out cruising.

One thing to note since we altered the charging regime we of course are not using the donk on Percy to charge the batteries when stationary so less engine hours and less diesel use there.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Why I don’t roll down hills .....

.... it’s because of dog shit. What am I on’s really a simple metaphor of the restrictions  I constantly fight in my life. Rolling down a hill is just such a great thing to do, all kids do it. They do it because there is no fear of ‘what might happen ( roll in dog shit)’ they just do it because it’s fun.

So 2020 has to be the year of rolling down hills and maybe there will be dog shit but maybe it’s better to risk the dog  đŸ’© rather than miss out on the hill rolling.

Now why on earth am I posting this drivel.... I follow a vlogger called Casey Neistat, a YouTube 11.5 million subscriber superstar. He’s not up himself so much and that is why I think he has such a following. But he just hit ( IMHO) the pinnacle of insightful vlogs...

Click here and watch it should if nothing else give you some pause for though.

That’s it, I’m off to find a hill - sod the đŸ’©

Friday, 3 January 2020

A superb idea

The simplest ideas are sometimes the best. I was watching some canal vlogs when I happened across this one ... Well Deck Diaries

It's such a simple idea but quite clever ...

We have three coal burning appliances, one on the boat and a multi-fuel stove and open fire at the cottage. It’s a simple stainless steel cage to hold a stack of coal that just gets topped up as the coal burns down and new coal is ignited by the coal it sits on as you top it up.

I gave it a test run on the large stove at the cottage ....

Of course it also helps set the fire by allowing a tower of kindling with coal above. It looks a little lost in the behemoth burner that heats the whole cottage, but it works.

I was worried it would not fit the Squirrel on Percy due to the back/top boiler. So as we are on the boat this weekend it got transported from one stove to another  and I can report....

Job done, sitting here the boat is lovely and warm 

They are so good I’ll be getting another one for the cottage. I'll try it in the open fire and see how it works in there. One benefit I’ve noted is that as the coal is held in the cage as it burns down you don’t get the ash build up near the door and subsequent drop out. 

Thursday, 2 January 2020

2020 and a deserted Fradley Junction

Well it's 2020 a new blogging year, let's see where this decade takes us. 

On New Years eve we spent a lovely evening together, playing games drinking eating and talking - the telly never got turned on !

It was a relief for all you workers to go backto work and continuing paying your taxes and leaving me to enjoy the peace and quiet. That extended to a spirited ride on my motorbike (Honda NC750x - not the Pan today) over to Fradley Junction. For those who are late to this blog that is where we moored our last three boats for eleven years and where I lived on board Percy for a couple of years. 

As an aside for my motorcycling friends I have signed up to a GPS motorcycling app called Scenic . It is quite good, using my phone and a quad lock fitting and case it's a very cheap full featured (and more) motorcycle GPS unit. It even allows you to set a destination then it'll route you via more twisty roads if you ask it. It also will generate a round route based on your input on N,S,E,W and total distance you want to ride. It can import routes planned on Google maps as well as Garmin Basecamp - very useful.

Anyhow It took me on a nice run  to Fadley Junction, I've not been back since I left on Percy in October 2018. 

It was deserted boat wise ....

The cafe was full but few walking. I got  takeaway coffee and had a reminisce as I walked down the Hunts lock moorings.

I quickly reminded myself of the distance I walked from the car park to boat each day  - not so now at Shebdon as the car park (and water) is next to the boat and much cheaper !

There were quite a few gaps including where we used to moor. Our old mooring looked very desolate 

 Sad to see so many who I used to know have moved on, but some of the old guard are still making it their home which is good.

I did not walk all the way to the new marina, I'll do that another day now I have a nice bike route sorted. Here is the gratuitous shot of the 750 ... a nice little bike for mucky road days like today.

I got back to a card from our postie. She is good, knowing the best place to leave parcels so I don't have to go into town to collect them. She left me this... more to report hopefully over the weekend.