Friday, 26 June 2015

Percy gets some attention at last !

I like to look back on what I was up to in previous years, and to do that I obviously need to blog about the non boaty stuff as well.

This last week was always going to be hard, physical work and so it has been. However I did get a 'free' week last week as our planned trip the Germany on the bike was canned due to health and personal issues - not appropriate for the blog.

I used the time to get some work done on Percy pre paint. I was worried the new windows would need some work on the inside trims, depending on the depth of the 'cill' I took a window out and offered up the pice of frame I had asked for from Wesley windows.

It was a great fit. I expect when the windows are fitted in there will be a small 1-2mm gap I can seal  -perfect.

The solar panel was removed, I then became instantly aware of the drain the lights in the engine room  and the cabins made on my battery bank. Solar is so good at topping up  - especially for the type of use we give the boat.

Next job was the gas locker.... most who own boats will have done this before so you know what a nasty job it is.... I did Waterlily before she was sold and that was a tight fit. Thankfully Percy has a decent size gas locker so I was to get right inside. When we had Percy surveyed the locker was highlighted, no structural issues just a job that needed doing. It always amazes me how much rust comes from steel, 1/10 ratio in thickness I think?

All swept first, then surface stuff lifted with a scraper then the whole locker was wire brushed.

I treated the rust with a good dose of Craftmaster rust treatment and left is 18 hours to turn the rust to a black hard surface.

Then is was a cost of red primer followed by a good cost of raddle red top coat. I have not got pictures as I did the top coat the Sunday before we travelled down to move house down south.

I then took a drill to the roof and drilled 16 holes.... seems counter intuitive to be taking a drill to the roof but before Percy gets painted I wanted to fit the brass plank and pole holders, much better looking than the wooden holders. All 16 drilled and tapped without drama.

I then did a very good swap of coffee(no gas to boil the kettle) and cake for my lawn mower with Mandy on Don't Panic. Good to have your own mugs ! The cake was even better than it looked, and it looked mighty fine.

While I had the drill and taps out I put on the diesel and water plaques that Tony refused to fit, he just taped printouts close to each for the boat safety arguing that if even if you got them the wrong way around you would not be able to start the engine or drink the water... no one would die I guess. I wanted them on as they look good !

Then it was a blast down south to move from one cottage to another than involved two deep cleans and a lot of packing, moving then unpacking.

The landlord of the pub we were moving away from took pity on me and offered me a free pint ..

After giving the old cottage a deep clean yesterday I took Leia for a walk to Bosam (about 3.5 miles I think) It was a lovely evening to sit and watch the tide come in.... just needed a decent sea rod....

Today has been a quieter day, waiting in while a few job were done on the new cottage. 

 Next blog should be back on the boat as I take it down to the Stourbridge canal for its long awaited paint job. Hopefully this will be a relaxing aspect of up to now been anything other than a holiday ! Just need to drive up to the boat, clean the bathroom/kitchen and water up, get provisions and maybe pop it to the top of the Fradley flight while my friend John drives down from Scotland to help me.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Of little interest...

.... but for my diary blog. Cancelled trip on the bike to Germany due to health issues (not mine) so we have other stuff now to do that has jumped up the priority list.

We went to London Town yesterday as it was Emma's birthday, she is the long suffering other half to our youngest son Callum. We ended up here and here.

Yep we took the Thames 'commuter' boat from Embankment to Greenwich.... nice and slow to start then they announce we are going top pick up speed and they sure do !

All very poor pics (the first was the Harrier in the Imperial war museum.) only did half of one floor as we got there late.

Today was a lazy day getting ready for the big pack and garden for the cottage move. Later this week we will be on Percy taking advantage of the extra time to pop out the windows ( hopefully) to router back the trim so the new windows fit after the paint job in July/August.

Paint colours have just about been agreed on and so has the sign writing. Just need to get Percy down to the painters in late June then get on with the house stuff while the boat is away.

Onwards and upwards as they say !

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Help me out here....would you believe boat heating ?

Ok.... in considering this post account for the fact I 'feel the cold' 

The sun is at last shining and the weather is slowly warming up so I am thinking about the winter aboard Percy... or heating in general. Somewhat influenced by a post by Chas & Ann off NB Moore 2 Life 

They comment "On with the radiators to kill the chill" I do this at home but we may not have a home in the future... or not the one we have now. But on Percy we cannot just "On with the radiators".... we have to have a fire to light and keep in.

So do we keep the simple, no power option of coal, back boiler, no pump but hard work and not an option to "On with the radiators to kill the chill" ?

Other options are 

Diesel stove and rads - well 32mm copper pipe, but have to have a power sucking noisy pump ....

A diesel stove ... (how instant is the heat from the Reflecks) and separate boiler to provide   "On with the radiators to kill the chill" 

Keep the wood burner but cap off the back boiler and add a separate boiler to heat me pipes  !

My leaning is the latter but what boiler to install...(I need a low power using boiler)

If nothing else it keeps my mind off other things .... your thoughts & experiences would really be appreciated ? 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

What you get for your money...!

I got my canal mag this morning. A nice review of  I guess one of the last Hudson's to be built, which is sad. The price  - Circa £150,000, wow that is a lot for a boat and whilst a Hudson it was still a lot of money for the space it provided.

We have a casual eye on the property market as those who know us well will understand why. Down south where I spend some of my time the property prices are just eye watering - in a bad way as you get so little for your money. There does seem to be a lot of money down there as property comes onto market and sells quickly.

£270,000 for this one bedroom property in Chichester

£260,000 gets you this 4 bedder with land and views to die for in Dumfries and Galloway

Property prices seems to be ever lower in Scotland right now but peaking in the south.... or you could just buy a boat from 20k to 150k and have whatever view and location you want - so longs as you are ok living in a large pencil case !!

Mad !

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Oil change and engine fettle

From 100mph to 4mph ... well you know what I mean. Off the bike over to the boat yesterday for lawn mowing (I hate lawn mowing such a pain but I like looking at mown lawns - got the house one to do tonight and maybe two more to do this weekend - more on that later......)

This is Percy's "Donk" with its rocker cover off allowing me access to lube the rocker arms, drop some oil in to lube the valve stems and add a little to the pushrod cups. I have hand pumped about 8.5 litres of oil out and the same had gone back in. No filter as such on the lister as the technology relies on the oil just dumping the waste in the sump rather than holding it and having it 'strained out' in the filter. All very basic which I like as I understand most of it.

I have just ordered oil and filter for the motorbike so that is a job to be done before Germany, I am sure it will not be as easy as an oil change on Percy.

For the record the engine hours was at ...271 

The last time it was done it was at 30 hours in April 2013. For many reasons we did not use Percy  (cruising) much last year and when I was aboard for the 10 months I did not run the engine much at all being very frugal with power and using solar to top up. 

So with a clean up and wipe down, plus fitting the 12v socket in the engine room so I can use the little inverter for TV rather than using the power using inverter all the time - job done. I need to go back and see if I can do work needed on the inner window cladding for the new windows that will be part of the paint job in the July August time.... 

Finally one for the night time cruiser to be aware of....

How and why I'll leave to you (yes that is a lock bollard)  ?

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Gailey looking empty but not by canal

This time last year it was Somerset  - my blog post a bank holiday in the wet this year the annual Honda Deauville meet is Shropshire, Staffordshire & Derbyshire doing two routes over two days.

We are not in the hotel only being 40 minutes by bike. On route to the hotel for the meet I pass the toll cottage/tower so I stopped and took this pic for my blog. Empty, which is not as it was last time we came through, I recall we watered up while in the queue for the lock !!

About 30 mins from home to Gailey in the bike, when we take Percy down to the Stourbridge we will pass Gailey but it will be 2-3 days to get there, boating really is the opposite of biking !

As to the run yesterday, not too many photos. I was at the back of the ride to be dropped off for problems .... first one being the bike leader and event organisers bike breaking down 3 mies into the 160 mile ride and having to be recovered home ! Poor Kieran

Then it was a stop for a bike and pillion who was having a hypoglycaemic episode, got them back to the group after administering an emergency banana. Followed by a comfort break by one of the group which ended up me taking them on a tour of Shropshire as my Sat nav decided it knew better-  -it did not. 260 miles for yesterday by the time I got back to the hotel then flew back past Gailey and home for a BBQ at Sharon, my Sister in Laws  new house.

We passed Turners garage and went under the aquaduct at Stretton.... the four counties by bike.... I am sure I have done similar before

Today is Derbyshire and I am joining later waiting on Rachel so off to Buxton. One year I'll do the Crick show !!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

RIP the Three 'One Plan' - Greedy Three

Greedy greedy Three.

They have written to me telling me my 'One Plan' with unlimited tethered data is being withdrawn, but good news, they can offer a contract at double the cost and only 4gb of data.....

Not a difficult decision then.

Nice fella, tried all ways to sell me something, offered me nothing by way of apology or reflection of customer loyalty. So I told him I would not be using Three again in the foreseeable future and recommending to all I know to steer clear.


Ironically I was very close to cancelling my EE 4G contract but at £20 for 15gb it is the best mobile contract out there and pleasingly I get 4g on my mooring from EE but only HSPDA  (3g+) from Three.