Friday, 30 May 2014

A bank holiday in the wet....

.... not that I mind the wet, it is a part of living in this beautiful country. I have been to many countries that have the same boring weather day after day, give me two or three season in a day, if nothing else it gives us brits a good opening line.

Anyhow, to keep my blog diary current we were on the bike in the wet over the Bank Holiday. It was the annual Honda Deauville meet. We have been to a few now, Ireland, Wales, Arundel and this year it was Somerset/Devon, and a bit of Cornwall.

That is myself and Rachel on the bike in front, heading over Dartmoor. The real joy of these meets is that the local organisers take us over their favourite roads (and cafe stops). We did just over 700 miles for the weekend. 

On the Saturday I opted out of the organised ride at the lunch time stop and was able to make progress back to the hotel in some very dramatic weather. The rain was so heavy it was triggering the vox on my autocom system.... Still there is something very perversely enjoyable about piloting a big fast motorbike in the rain on challenging roads. Good for the confidence also.

If you want to get the feel for being on the bike.... have a look at this video, I put my Gopro camera onto the wing mirror  pod and got a good bit of video.

I'll certainly enjoy watching this in the depths of winter !!

One thing I should say is the hotel we stopped in is worth a visit.

It is a training hotel for special needs adults, very inspiring to be in their company, and helping them get some real world learning.

Our room was on the front on the first floor with a great sea view.

Now the boat needs to attention, plus I should tell you about the paint job !!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Bucolic... melancholy....words to describe my feeling of canals

Now I am limited in my understanding of the use of words. But I was recently looking at a bloggers photos and I felt connected to the images and felt they described how I feel when on the canals. I tried to swap the pictures for words and the two words that came to me were those in the title...



Maybe the state of mind I'm in at the moment but I was so struck by the images and how I felt about them. I love the canals and they seems to reflect the mood and feelings I have for life.

So do you have a couple of words to describe your feeling of the canals?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Technology thinking and recommendations....

I am focussing my thinking on how I might live on the boat without missing some of the comforts of home.

See this post if this does not make sense....Click me 

In this day and age the internet is a must, certainly if you are reading this you will also be part of this age. We have tried a few things, the MIFI with a three card in it was by far the best so far but unless you know better not cheap (target £15 or less) way of getting unlimited data. As I am a streamer (!) I get through a lot of data. At home our internet is unlimited and we found out that we can both eat a lot of data so we eventually opted for the one plan from 3. Only slight frustration is this is not available for a MiFi device only within a phone.

No problem as buying a cheap phone (from my good friend John) and then tethering it  - or rather making it a personal hotspot in effect makes it a wifi router. So a nice little wifi hotspot all for me all you can eat data for £15 a month. For someone who uses the internet a lot this is perfect for the boat and no worries on running out or running up a large bill. The other benefit is it is 4g so when that is available I just have to upgrade the phone and get a new sim FOC for even faster downloads.

What to use for browsing .....

Bruce recently posted about his newish Ipad - see here

No doubt a top piece of kit and I am lucky to have a good one. Book reader, mail client, blogger, facebook, games machine, much more - superb. If you are thinking of getting one do not hesitate, you will not regret it. Plus for us to keep connected Skype or Facetime will be used on the Ipad.

For more detailed and precise work.....a portable computer (Macbook is my choice again here) is great. The latest will run windows either from boot up (using bootcamp supplied FOC by Mac - just need a windows disc to install) or using VMware or Parallels it will run both Mac and Windows in the same desktop..... I prefer the Mac operating system as it is much quicker to load and generally cleaner and less risky.

Both of the above give another singular advantage, the battery times are between 5-10 hours, so if you 'Need' to charge them at work you get no demands on your precious battery bank in the evening. No so bad this time of year for those like us with a solar panel or two but in the depths of winter....

Perhaps the best development has been TV in the last year or so.... Ok those who do not like TV stop here, some of us do and the catch up services for all channels are getting better all the time. Now once again if your employer has a blisteringly fast internet the fact Iplayer now lets you download programs to your IPad for watching later is great. We will keep our Sky subscription as other will be using the house so they get the Sky product and myself and Rachel can stream and download with Sky go.... OK not such a need this time of year but in those dark winter evenings, I can and have streamed the football no problem. If you have a movie subscription then even better, you can download movies to watch later.

Of course you can get a internet only Sky subscription, no dish or decoder needed, just steaming and cheaper I understand.  Look here....

Not a Rupert convert.... then you should look to Netflix click here.... Maybe the best of value for lots of decent tv, only downside at the moment it is a streaming only service but it is optimised for mobile streaming and I have watched stuff on the boat no problem using my all you can eat data tethered phone.

The latest bit of tech I have acquired is a Chromecast dongle.

This allows you to cast Netflix or Iplayer from your tablet, Iphone or android phone to your TV. So you could download a BBC program onto your phone or tablet then watch it on your tv. You can stream from Netflix or Iplayerr and watch it on your TV. £30 you need a HDMI socket on your TV and if you have a USB socket on the TV you can power the little dongle that way so only one thing plugged in. Good if you have a bigger TV than laptop screen or you want to share the viewing?

There is of course Apple TV.... its a pay service and I have not tried it on the 3g service yet but that is another source, either streaming to your laptop/Ipad or if you have an Apple TV box £99 direct to your TV via HDMI. We have found it better to buy films this way than via SKY.

I am sure there will be limitations, and I hope to do more reading/fishing walking while aboard so less TV or internetting, but the fact I can is good.

So if you have got to here you are a techie like me. Well done and I hope you have found something useful?

Now my next challenge is to decide to spend £200 on a washing machine  for me on the boat.... Any thoughts or recommendations. I am rounding on this one.... Click me  

It is an Indesit-eco-iwsc61251 It is quite slim and has a range of settings the best being a 20 minute wash using 70% less power and water. It'll live in the forecabin plumbed in and run off the genny. We have never used a tumble dryer and as I have a nice warm engine room, that should sort out drying my smalls !!

So any recommendation....for tech that suits living on a boat?

Monday, 5 May 2014

Now we all like to get a Kingfisher shot when in America why not the Humming bird shot.

These little beauties arrive when the snow goes and the sun comes, They come up from Texas (where we came from) or Mexico. 

We can sit in our friends front sofa and watch them come and go to the sweet water feeder. They seem to use it as a pit stop.

Truly a wondrous sight. Info here 

The data on my camera says these shots were 1/125 they can flap their wings at up to 200 flaps per second - hence the blur.

As in all my images you can click them for a bigger picture. 

This chap also likes the bird feeder.... only he sits under it collecting what the birds flick down to him

Oh, and the canal fix was the Delaware canal we walked a little of the towpath today. It is not is use and seemingly floods when the mighty Delaware river comes over into it.

Maybe like us the Teenage mutant ninja turtles craze has had its orphans ? I did see a turtle on the Trent and Mersey once just near Streethay, thankfully not as big as these.

Some pictures rather than too many words - USA trip

A garage  sale

Me with Rachels aunty Alison - a fantastic host

Downtown Kansas

Take your pick.. yes the portions were LARGE

Yes I did see some trains and yes they are BIG 

A line of little run arounds 

Rachel with Mia. Lily and Heather

Heading towards Texas !!

A Cardinal I think 

Plenty of Woodpeckers

Fastest pitch we saw over 100 mph

Two home runs in the 9 innings both by the same guy

Englishman abroad

Somemone needed to be in frame for this pic to show the scale !!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Reflections from afar

I get confused when travelling, not the time, currency or culturally confused, just confused about how much I enjoy travelling. I think I most probably have captured it in the last words of that sentence, it's the travelling I do not like. The meeting old friends again, seeing they are good and catching up is very enjoyable, meeting new relatives and expereincing a snapshot of their lives is also so enjoyable.

However I do miss home, I have been keeping up with my blog roll and vicariously enjoying the travels of my fellow bloggers.

When I did some tentative research into my family history it became obvious on one side of my family they did not move much from Derby, they just kept on marrying having families and dying all in Derby.... So I think I have that no travel gene. In fact distance in some way scares me as I like to be in touch with the people I care about and being oceans away does not help.

However I am having a great time in America. I asked to see daily America not the tourist America and today my good host Dave has taken me to the the family and do some shopping. Tomorrow we are at a local ball game (baseball) that should be fun and maybe some root beer!! Rachel is in New York having a girls weekend taking in a show and maybe doing some shopping, she and Charlotte deserve such a treat.

Might have a snooze.... This holiday stuff is hard work !!