Saturday, 2 September 2023

A nice milestone

 I posted this a while back ...Click me

Well today I checked the web page for our solar setup and was pleased to see we had produced our first MWh .. 1,000 kilo watts of electricity savings us just under 300 quid and the planet saving about 998kg of CO2 

Long may it continue to generate free ( after about 6 years on my calcs) electricity. 

Sunday, 27 August 2023

France and Ireland the figure of 8 tour

I've had three Honda NC750x's. I am also a member of a forum that is focussed on such bikes and motorbikes in general - they are a good bunch of people. I'm also a member of the Honda Deauville forum - same vibe, I've got life long friends all over the country from being a part of that group for well over 14 years now.

So a motorcycle tour that picked up two meetings of the above groups was conceived in the dark winter months of 2022 with a get together in Brittany with the NC riders and southern Ireland for the Deauville riders. The fact there were lady riders and pillions in both groups encouraged Rachel to come along.... a decent tour for her having not done too many pillion miles in the last couple of years. 

So we booked the accommodation and four ferries and sat back and waited for May. As in life time seemed to pass slowly but on reflection it arrived so quickly we were off to catch the overnight ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff running late as always and the M6 was clear one minute then closed the next !! We made it with a couple of stop for leg stretches within the boarding time. Not done ferries for a few years but the guys on the Brittany ferry were very good at tying the Honda down and we headed for food and rest. 

France is a lovely place to ride a motorbike. Nice food nice people nice roads nice everything really. We met up with a fella from Scotland who was joining the party and I lead him down stopping for a coffee as you do on the way. It was a great few days - Saturday to Thursday, new friends made, lovely rides nice accommodation. We even had a three course three apartment meal one night where on the ground floor we had aperitifs, top floor main meal and we hosted coffee and dessert in our mid floor apartment  - a great night. We rode with French motorcycle groups, we had a day off the bike and walked the Nantes Breast Canal to a ruined abbey, got baguettes from a vending machine and ate and drank well. 

All too soon we were saying our goodbyes on the Wednesday night as we had to head off at 6am for a ferry from  St Malo to Portsmouth. Another sublime ride in the early cool French morning to the ferry port, a lovely smooth crossing where we got some sleep in our cabin - we pushed the boat out and had a cabin on all four ferry crossings. On arrival in Portsmouth we rode into the evening to a hotel and a friend meet up just outside Bristol via Cranborne chase another great ride. 

Next morning we set off for Fishguard, again choosing a route via the Brecon Beacons, more gorgeous riding and again just made the ferry. The Irish ferry was the least appealing and oldest vessels we travelled on but it was a short crossing and before we knew it we were heading to our base of Clonmel via Rosslare. 

Great catching up, Guinness drank, Irish stew eaten and the odd Jameson's imbibed. Great riding and catching up with old a new friends alike. 

Far too soon we were heading via Wateford to Dublin for the last ferry of the trip to Holyhead and home. Getting into Wales early evening it was a nice ride across north Wales  - wed' have preferred the A5 but did the A55 for speed and before we knew it we were home a few thousand miles later, memories absorbed friends made and met and just happy to be able to undertake such a trip. Rachel did very well for saying she'd not done many bike miles in recent years..... where next ? 

Friday, 25 August 2023

Because family is so important

We had a lovely day with our little family all together at our cottage in Mid May. Family is so important as is making memories  - another sadder post will follow on that point. 

The two grandkids like nothing better than getting the two boxes of selected toys we kept back from Tom and Callums extensive collection from the loft to sort thru and play with. It always amazes me that Tom our oldest remembers every detail of the toys and his childhood while Callum has little specific recollection un the same way Tom does.

One thing for sure is growing up for kids is so different from my childhood and even for Tom and Callums.

Lovely memory Rachel shines when the sons daughters and grandkids are round.

Tuesday, 22 August 2023

A few catch up posts for my memories - Solar and shocks

For those here for boating these may not be of interest really they are all for my reflections as I like to see what I was doing when and where ....

10th May we were getting our house battery installed as well as a car charger - no car yet. I had installed a off grid system with Pylontech batteries and Growatt inverter that worked as I planned it but there were issues around G99 or more critically for the install I did G99 notification to the DNO  - distribution network operator. 

In the end not being happy with the questionable performance of the Growatt inverter and the legality of the install  plus the limitations of the power it was providing  I took it all out sold it on and had a professional company come in and hook up my solar to a decent inverter and battery. 

It has exceeded my expectations to the point we had a second battery installed the other week and I added a bit more solar to get the morning sun. It's very much how most boater get and store their power albeit on a larger scale. The grand plan is to get rid of the oil and have electric heating .... but we have to run this system for a while and have our share in co-operative wind farm come on stream before we take that step. 

I was also fitting a new shock absorber in preparation for a interesting motorcycle trip. The stock shock that comes with my Honda 750 bike is limited - ok for solo riders but 2 up with luggage it needs better.

Next post our France and Ireland trip ...

Friday, 21 July 2023

Time to enjoy

We left Percy on loose ropes knowing with the help of fellow boaters fast ( quit a few) and slow they would rock Percy into her new home.

We've been twice since once for a further attack on the mooring  - bush cutting and further grass trimming to realise the concrete on the mooring . First visit was a day job and we've just come back from a couple of nights aboard.

The latter stay was a bit unplanned as Rachel is off work atm so we went to rest and recuperate which we did. I'd forgotten just how nice these moorings are of a summer evening or a early summer morning fishing. I was due an  evening fishing session but there was a match that went on to 8pm. Now I'm a fisherman but I still find the pole inches from the bow very intrusive - especially when the angler makes no attempt to speak. 

James one of the farmer family who own the moorings came by and took away all the 'Green' we had collected. We put a request out to the local village facebook group for a second hand Keter shed ( we did not want to buy new) and got a result of a nearly new one someone was moving out of the village. So that will be cited in the next week or so so I can once again empty the forcabin as well as build a solar frame for the 400w panel I have to charge up the Ecoflow Delta 2. A few pallets to make a compost heap and we will be about sorted. I might just re-lay the slabs to make a nice seating area. 

When I did fish in the morning it was quite magical total peace just the noises of the countryside and it was a joy and privilege to experience the early morning dawn and waking of the area. 

We had family priorities to attend to so we came home  - more on that maybe in a future blog.

Monday, 10 July 2023

More mooring maneuvers put Percy through it

Why o why can't we be happy with what we have  - or had. Ever since Percy's enforced jail term in Great HS2 marina we have been heading back to Shedbon, in our minds. As detailed previously we took a giant leap to the mooring's just past the Anchor pub - known locally as Bob's moorings. 

We were promised one which did not become vacant - the fella who should have moved gave reasons not to...we were offered another that we didn't fit on  - we camped on a friends mooring and then was offered one that we could not get a guarantee we'd not be moved again from - and we paid 65 feet for it and we are 60 foot ! We asked to be assured the mooring didn't have dogs next to it - our neighbour - a lovely fella but he did have four dogs ! 

So it wasn't the easy move we expected and planned for. 

A couple of weeks ago I woke to read of a 60 foot mooring at the moorings we were happy with and left for blacking from in late 2021 to which we could not return to due to a breakdown and stoppages. I was on the waiting list so contacted the farmer and was told yes it was ours if we wanted it..... what followed was a couple of weeks of to'ing and fro'ing all while dealing with some difficult personal stuff at home.

Yesterday we headed to Percy with a view to moving  - a veritable bridge hop under bridge 44 back to Shebdon Farm moorings...... However the mooring had been unused but paid for (!) for the last 30 months so was well overgrown  and very silty - very silty !

Yesterday afternoon we set to removing all the vegetation - no small task and I ended up with  a nasty sap burn from a Hemlock plant that Rachel identified but I forgot about in my gung ho approach to getting the job done. We did what was needed just before a great thunderstorm arrived and washed the rest of the day out.

Today we looked at the weather forecast and set off to wind in Grub street only for the weather forecast to be very wrong so we got quite a soaking before we approached the silt. And boy was it silty.... up and down rev backwards and forwards, two other boater and Rachel on ropes, boat hooks digging at the silt to lift it. It took well over an hour to get anything like close enough but we were all wet and knackered so we left it to the speeding boaters (thankfully) to move Percy about over the next few weeks to dig her in. 

So we left tired but pleased with our planning communication and efforts. Shame we had to leave but Rachel is working tomorrow so I'll go back and have a take two on the veg on the mooring.

It's lovely. Dropped down so a bit private, protected from the wind, water close by, car by the boat good fishing and a view of the Wrekin. 

We will take Percy out a few times to the two winding holes and dig her in and blow out the silt over the next few months. 

Someone said all good things should have some difficulty in attaining - we certainly get that  ! 

Friday, 16 June 2023

The Shroppie is a lovely canal

Our final day and another lazy start as it was Rachel's Birthday. We set no alarms and slept until just before 9am... letting your body wake you is a singular pleasure of retirement for sure !! 

No boats until about 9.30 then a convoy of 6 went into the cutting  - I'd not want to meet that convoy !

We set off back to the mooring in ever hotter temperatures arriving back after a lovely cruise about lunchtime. We pottered and read and relaxed until it was time to pack up and drive home.

One issue is C&RT's contractors random towpath vegetation management. Sometimes strimmed sometimes left but non of the canal edging cut making getting on and off a boat dangerous as you cannot see where you are stepping ?

Only 15 hours of engine running - the Ecoflow did a great job  - see Here for that info. We did 10 locks but walked another 36 ! 

We need to get the new mooring more sorted and some boat jobs but we can do that during the really busy summer holidays when we can sit and watch the boats go by !