Tuesday, 26 August 2014

6 weeks in - initial thoughts

So we have been aboard for 6 weeks now. What are my thoughts....

Well it is more tiring than I thought. That may be to do with the 40 mile a day commute I now do plus for a period of time each week we are LAT's ( Live Apart Together) meaning we are both shopping, cooking and cleaning in the respective abodes. Callum our youngest pointed this out to us early on and we are now understanding the extra demands on us individually.

It is a beautiful location. Fradley has its own character, quiet in the main during the week (except sunny Wednesdays when my fellow bikers descend on the Swan) then mad busy at the moment at the weekends with boaters and gongoozlers descending in quantity, then the evenings quieten down.

We have only had one boat moor below Hunts, I think this is a sign of the reduction in boat movement? This gives such peace and quiet.

Friendly - my fellow boaters have been nothing but welcoming, even those who's dogs have had altercations with Leia. She has been the negative so far. She has become very territorial of the boat and maybe our mooring. As we are close to the gate most have to walk past us so putting the dogs into conflict. No serious harm and the fellow boaters have been good, they keep their dogs on their leads when passing and I have to watch out for Leia. Hopefully she will get used to it and clam down a bit.

The fishing...... Now it is me living on my own canal, it's great and I have fished far too much, but my excuse is in a few months it will be less attractive so the inside jobs will get done.

I have done some outside works, just finishing off my decking to sit out on hopefully in the Indian summer we are to have. It has been a nice project and despite the insect population trying to harm me it has gone well and I am pleased with the results.

Electricity..... Now I have a confession to you tax payers. I have a charging regime that sees me take odd bits to work to recharge. I will make a payment for this to clear my conscience. However using the freezer compartment in the work kitchen fridge I take a couple of bottles of water home each night and replenish the old, it literally removes the need for the fridge to run. I turn the fridge off overnight as it is so well insulated it stays cold.

The batteries are holding up well, these were 110's replacing some old 90's with the Smartgauge helping the charge and the 135w solar panel I have only run the engine 5 times in the last six weeks and two times was to motor over to water up !! I am very pleased with how the electricity is doing. I have no illusions it will stay as is.... The dark mornings , did I mention I get up at 6am, now are coming as the evenings are drawing in but I have lamps and know at some point I will be running the engine each night for a top up, and maybe replace my cheepy batteries for some 135's and I have a plan to go to 3 leisure's. I do eye the wind generators two of my fellow moorers have .......

I have only filled up with water twice in 6 weeks, I will do it again before I go southbound for the bank holiday (stil have 1/4 of a tank so I did not bother...) but even so once every two weeks is good. I do have a shower on the boat but have mixed it with showering at work.... That way someone else cleans my bathroom ( he'll get a good drink at Christmas)

The loo, apart from my documented flood has also performed well, a cassette a week I would guess, increases when Rachel is on board for obvious reasons, I like an au natural pee so that helps !!

The temp on the boat is dropping  - 11c on the car temp a few mornings ago.  My hardy neighbour Mandy advises she holds on till October with the fire, I fear I will be a September fire starter!

The internet is good, my Samsung Galaxy 2 I got from my good friend John is excellent when tethered on the 3 one plan ( all you can eat data package) I also download programs from the catch up services and sky at work on the super fast broadband to watch ( when I am not fishing or deck building).

Skype is also excellent to keep in touch with Rachel. We have eaten meals together while skyping, it was so natural Rachel got up one time and was just about to ask if  I wanted a coffee...!

I did buy a new television. I could not enjoy the LG's 18 inch screen and wanted a HD freeview tv mainly for the football. Samsung have a great range and I opened for a nice 22inch smart TV with freeview HD. I can plug in a pen drive with a movie on it and watch it or surf the internet. Best so far has been using my Netflix account on the TV it streams faultlessly and I am using that maybe more than the free view channels.

So better than I expected. The trips down south are like a mini holiday, Rachel said the same. I am sure it will get harder in the winter, living and travelling but we'll see.

My mum is getting the dubious  benefit of seeing me most days as I drop Leia off with her. This was only done while it was so hot but it has kept going as it helps us all, dog gets company, mum gets a reason to walk on the park I get to check on my mum and we are all much the better for it. Plus at the moment I am getting my laundry done ;-)

So all in all, a good move so far, plenty of things around the corner and some already met head on (someone drove into the back of Rachel's nearly new and much liked Toyota Auris. Was a challenge but overcome.)

It works so far due to the planning and the relative locations .....

Monday, 25 August 2014

A West Wittering Bank holiday with family...

Whilst not staying off the canals certainly staying put on the canal during the so called busy period. The Bank holiday weekend coincided with my turn to go south, this time receiving our first visitors - if we do not count Callum.

Rachels sister Sharon came down with husband Andy. Walking was the name of the game and Saturday we took a lovely walk into the woods above the village, Sunday saw us off to the sea side, a nice walk from Itchenor to West Wittering.

There were some kids on this on the way out... just one big kid on the way back !!

so much heavy rain today.... so put my fire starting skills to the test, no doubt a fire makes you feel so much better.

A nice weekend..... when its over the planning about boat painting and windows really begins !

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Lucky Buggers....

....well not so lucky, maybe a bit cheeky, but they got themselves a cracking boat.

I was working away on my decking and noted a nice big blue boat approaching, knowing John and Louise were bringing their new boat back from Mercia I was on the lookout.

We agreed to give them 30 mins to moor up and I paid them a visit. I got a very warm welcome from John, Louise and Jasper. It is a real treasure to be so able to feel immediate friendship all from the power of canals and blogs.

They certainly have a great very very hi spec Aqualine boat. I was a tad envious of all the space and comfort. It is a really great long term cruising boat.

The final shot.... two very happy people. I think they have big plans for next years cruising, I will enjoy reading of their adventures !!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

I hate Horseflys

Suffering today, the local Horsefly community objected last night when I took a spade to my mooring to put in some slabs and a new storage bunker. By the time I realised they were having a go it was too late and I had ben bitten 12 times.... So it was a shower and them lathered with Anthisan to try and hold the swelling and itching.

So this morning I was awake at 5.30 aching from the digging and itching from my encounter with the little buggers. The new protocol will be insect repellant now every time I am working outdoors. They got me 3 times last week when fishing and I thought I was ok in long jeans last night and still got one bite on my leg.

I look like a drug addict at the moment.....

Having read up on the bites it is clear the best approach is to hold the itching as the scratching can introduce infection. Keeping an eye for tell tale signs of infection... where is my nurse when I need her ?

Live and learn as they say - at least my bunker is up and now relieving the pressure on the fore-cabin so I can actually get in and find stuff = vacuum cleaner !!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Madness and I am part of it

Chris Rea wrote about it, he called it the road to hell. I have listened to it many times but now it is a part of my life as it was my route down to the cottage we have in West Sussex. It is the M25

7.50 pm Thursday  there must have been a 10 mile clockwise queue, thankfully I was going anticlockwise.

Anyhow this is a boating blog so I thought I needed to make the contrast.....

6.15am..... for the last few weeks

There is no greater contrast, and I am lucky I can dip between the two.... with the majority on the boat I'm pleased to say.

I have a list of things to do.... and buy. The TV is now a smart 22 inch tv - gone is the 18 inch LG - anyone want a cheap little used TV ? Two captains chairs and a stool will be onboard after the paint job.

Outside.... decking that is next weekends job hopefully if I can get my lads helping me on my birthday ! Then it will be a small slabbed patio area, two outside areas to use are essential. Then some savage pruning and I will have my wildlife viewing platform.

First outside job is a better store for a few bits, that will free up a wood store and coal store close to the boat to get the necessary to keep me warm over the coming winter.

I'll feel better about living aboard when I have these areas done.... then a patio heater may just appear??