Sunday, 28 April 2013

Ok so where am I ?

Out giving the Bike a run, can you spot the location. We have cruised past here a few times in the last couple if years ?

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Saturday, 27 April 2013


No not a night of passion on Percy more a description of what happens a few hundred times a minute when we are moving along the canals.

When I am aboard (not enough) I am drawn to a smallish space on Percy where the suck-squeeze-bang-blow happens. The fact it does this only a few hundred times a minute and in doing so makes some fantastic noises is a joy. 

Percy's engine is a Lister... or Listeroid as it was not built in Dursley but in India using the tooling and maybe some documentation used to make the same engine from about 1929. 

I am going to give the Lister an oil change before we go out in a couple of weeks so have been trawling the internet for process to do this. I am sure it is as straightforward as on the Beta1505 we had before on Waterlily that I serviced I just need to be certain I am not leaving any part devoid of oil... (does the pump need priming etc) 

One thing I am trying to find out about is the need for oil on the cylinder head to all the external moving parts. The joy of this engine is what normally goes on under covers and under deck boards is all external for which understanding what does what is easier.

Anyhow that was written a couple of days ago. Today I have been over to Percy and done an oil change and general lubrication of the engine. I had covered most of the moving bits but I have discovered the valve stems need oiling, achieved by filling the recess around them on the cylinder head. I concerned myself over checking if the simple cam driven oil pump was working, Tony had put in a sight glass linked to a valve above the pump, I had assumed this but was not 100% sure. So I took it apart and despite not the best type of spring to keep the ball bearing in its seat all seems to work, after I primed the pump by back filling with some new oil. These old (new) engines were very simple but effective. I suppose the only real difference to new engines is the fit and forget nature where everything is automatically lubricated, on my engine there is a man involved. Says it all really, technology replaced people, and we have ever more people on the planet, who are living longer.... what's to give ?

Anyhow as I have been doings man's work I have been having a mans drink or two.. beer, it seems to go so well with Percy !!

I digress, the old oil looked well ready for a change, not too thick and very black. So 6 and a half litres of amber oil was added after pumping the equivalent out via the very useful sump pump. I ran the engine to disperse the oil and check the pump and all seemed ok, so another piece of Percy is better understood, it really is the best way of learning about your boat, to do it yourself.

Now to plan the pending cruise !

Edited to note it was 30 hours on the clock when the oil was changed and a new air filter put on

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Them wood burners, not as romantic as people recon

.... well for one day of the year they are not. Today was sweeping the chimney day... well sweeping two chimneys day and stove cleaning. We have been lighting the stove in the evening and letting it go out overnight. Last night we did not put much coal on so it was cold this morning.

I have a Midland Chandlers flue brush and it made short work of the two pipes, the small stove in the back cabin is easy to give a good clean is the Squirrel in the lounge that is the pig. As it is a back boiler jobbie you cannot remove the baffle plate so it is a mr tickle impersonation to get what drops out of the chimney onto the plate. Suitably covered in soot I then removed the grate and riddle plate to get at those bits in the pan chamber the shovel can't reach.

Then it was genny out and Dyson on for a good spring clean... not to self get a plug made up to link into the hookup ...

Rachel was on with that while I was having a go at the mushrooms with Brasso, they came up not too bad. Then while Rachel was washing down the walls  I set to on the 50 foot + of 42mm copper heating pipe.... it came up a real treat but I used half a bottle of Brasso.

Then put some bits on the wall from Waterlily (Butlers mirror and cat pictures) and sorted out the Forecabin (again). A few trips to the car and the waste saw the day complete.

Back home now and just done the cleaning up .... the cons of being a part time boater.

One thing I was pleased with was my new wheelbarrow.... sad I know, but it was a bargain from B&Q...should have been £40 I got it for £18 as it has a cracked lip (it is an plastic orange version) I glued the lip yesterday and it does not stop it being a wheelbarrow. I just need to order a couple of wheels from Screwfix for the Shroppie in a couple of weeks. Those who boat will know why.

A productive weekend. Next weekend the engine will get a fettle .... not sure if I should go for the oil change, need to know what I am doing first as it is not the same as a modern engine which I did myself on Waterlily. Any vintage engine experts out there??

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Leia's launch pad plus other jobs in sunshine !

Leia has had problems getting off the boat as the counter is painted and has no mat. Her back legs cannot get any purchase as she jumps off which has resulted in her getting a few wet back ends and a few brused ribs. So today I fitted some tiles, we tried a mat but that ended up in the cut as Leia launched herself. Quite simple and for the humans I fitted some antislip tread where you get on and off the boat.

I am sure you have all notices that big yellow thing in the sky.... well it was giving me around 7 amps today that soon replaced our overnight usage and got the Smartgauge back to 100%

So impressed was I that I swapped the gas fridge off gas to 12v and put the dab radio on charge as wel as the 3 dongle.  I like free stuff....

I took  the opportunity to knock down the sprouting willow that is alongside the boat and will put the solar panel in shade, after having done that I cut down some of the Silver Birch that was acquired when one of the trees was felled on the mooring here. Free fuel for the autumn.

A general mooring tidy up then took place and I ended the day fishing, a couple of Chub and a nice Roach. The Glen Grant has just been sampled and as the sun sets a bath, curry then maybe a late evening walk to end of a very enjoyable day.

One life, get out there and live it.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Right, I'm off to the boat !

Can't say much more than that really, boat beer sleep fishing relaxing  what's not to like ?


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

An oak butterfly table for sale anyone??

Ok so my hunt for an oak butterfly table is getting frustrating. We can't find a place to actually go see one let alone go buy one....

We are trying to buy a Heartlands one but I think they are either built to order or build in batches. We thought we were sorted but then the company SASO phoned yesterday and said the end of May.... we are out in early may with my mum and partner so really need something for then. We could cope with what we have but it is bigger than we want/ need.

Help.... on the off chance you know someone with one??


Friday, 5 April 2013

Boating in the wind - top tip

Quite a few bloggers have posted about their recent travels whilst the wind is blowing hard.

It is one bit of weather that I try and avoid in a moving boat. I recall on time at Athersotne top lock we had relatives on and I foolishly gave him the tiller on Waterlily to get between the lock in the first  pound. He got well and truly grounded on the offside by the wind. Lots of spectators watched me, over a considerable time, get us out. One thing we see a lot on our moorings is lots of revs which of course reduced the water beneath the boat making the position only worse.

This gent was struggling with the wind at Hunts lock on Tuesday....

It got worse before he quite calmly recovered the position.

The reason  for the post is to remind me to get some form of flag put onto the front of Percy. As you can see in the photo the flag is telling of the wind direction and a good reason not to present the broadside of the boat to the wind. 

Of course it is always better to have the driving end blown around rather then the pointy end (unless you have those bow thruster things)

Off to Midland Chandlers to take advantage of their 20% sale !!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Blimey that was refreshing

We are at Percy for a couple of days with both the dog Leia and the cat Lily. They are getting ever closer physically but not trusting of each other yet.

There are boats moving quite regularly now, it is amazing how this 'season' has just switched on. It might be that we did a fair bit of winter cruising this year and the lack of boats then has contrasted with the normality of the Fradley traffic. Not that I am complaining, I like our mooring here as we can watch the boats go by and they do sometimes provide entertainment at Hunts lock.

We also have the privilege ( although we pay for it) of a Fradley mooring. Fradley was solid yesterday (Easter Sunday) to the point boats were mooring between Hunts and Common lock. Interesting though that they were all moored above Common lock, not seen that before, they normally moor below Hunts opposite us.

We came back to 100% on the Smartgauge (thanks to the sun) so did not need to run the engine. However we were in the need of a moving boat so we waited until it was a Little quieter and took advantage of the lighter nights with a couple of hours cruising down to Alrewas ( full moorings) to wind. It was also a test for Lily of a moving boat. She was not too impressed but did tolerate the engine this time - last time she hid under the duvet !

It was fresh, especially the run to Alrewas with a bitter wind in our face. As the sun got lower it got colder but the back cabin stove do a great job of keeping us nice and warm. We both fit in the rear hatch so only Leia got cold.

You can just see NB the Cats whiskers below Bagnall lock

I winded the boat while Rachel went off to the Coop for supplies. By this time the boat traffic had stopped so I waited in the lock until she came back.

We ended up watering up from the water point put in for the Hunts lock boats. We prefer to do it last thing as it causes less confusion with boats going up Hunts as they assume you are waiting for the lock.

We only used 4% off the Smartgauge last night. I think the device is now getting better calibrated to the inputs and outputs.... as the manual says.

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