Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Health is not a right it is a responsibility

Ok, some close to me will rightly challenge that single statement as there are exceptions where for no explainable reason loved ones are taken despite a healthy love for life and respect for their bodies.

One thing I have a focus on is my health as I get older it is very obvious to me we have a majority population that thinks they have a right to be healthy and that is what the NHS/medicine and surgery are for. Well in my humble opinion that is not correct, we have a responsibility to feed and exercise our bodies to give them the best chance for longevity.

Having ranted that I have had a crap Christmas, I started with a cold at the beginning of December that has tracked up and down my respiratory system trying its best to infect me. My body is fed and exercised well so it has not succumbed, until Christmas eve when I got Flu for Christmas.  Now some confuse a heavy cold with Flu, however Flu does really hit hard and puts you into bed with a temperature and associated aching of the limbs. If you suffer from Fibromyalgia this muscle ache is there at a low level much of the time and the Flu virus sparks it off like a muscle ache fireworks display - really really crap.

Last time I had Flu was Christmas also  - it coincided with my sister Trishs' wedding in which I was giving her away, and had to make a speech while feeling particularly crap. That must have been over 12 years ago so I guess I was due. However in past years I have paid for a flu jab, so that will be next years Christmas present to myself !

Anyhow, starting to feel a bit better now and I'm sure I will be fighting fit in time to go to work, (which for my record I was called in to on Boxing day after taking calls Christmas day)

I'll spend a couple of days compiling what for me will be a low level review of 2016, as I have done for other years. i think on reflection (unless I surprise myself) 2016 will go down as a 'working year'

Right, plugged my windows gaming machine into the network here at the cottage now to see if the broadband will support some gaming - after the massive update download Microsoft has no doubt been saving up for me (it).

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

One of the best days of the year - for SAD people

I am a SAD person  - Seasonal affective disorder.... not the best place to live in the winter -a canal boat. It is dark when I leave for work and dark when I arrive home during a decent chunk of the winter.

Well today marks the shortest day so tomorrow it will be a smidgin lighter in the morning and the same in the evening. OK it is barely noticeable but like old age and obesity it sneeks up on you and before you know it I'll be fishing again to 10pm in my T shirt !!

So I will toast nature and the universe tonight as they tip me back into the warm months I need and the light my body demands.

Roll on summer !!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

£120 lighter for an essential (for me) reassurance

For those waiting with bated breath to find out about the outcome of the Smartgauge E11 error.... as blogged about here  - the outcome was a reported Fubarred Smartgauge and/or Smartbank as advised by Merlin who now supply the units.

Options were to keep my maggot box switch that manually connected the leisure and starter while charging (never going to do this despite the ingenuity it looked crap and I'd forgotten to disconnect the starter from the leisure bank a couple of times and this could be my undoing by draining down the starter so I could not start the engine to charge the leisure bank)

So as the units were out of any warranty I paid up the £100 plus vat for a new Smartgauge and Smartbank -the relay being tested ok. Daft you cannot buy the Smartbank as individual items - you have to buy the full set including the relay !!

I have to assume I buggered it up when re wiring the battery bank here .... so an expensive lesson learnt. It has taken me to now to reinstall the supplied parts and I have been living back on board for about three weeks - relying on the MTTP controller that shows three states of charge for the batteries good, needs charging and 'o' dear ! I got down to needs charging but no idea what state of charge other than I needed to run the engine.

So I conclude I need the Smartgauge and the Smartbank to keep my batteries charged as they should be and to tell me when to charge. I am one of those that the canal forums refer to as a serial Smartgauge watcher.... but the the batteries are an essential for the boat and comfortable living.

Knowledge is power so they say...!!

The relay back in place replaces to maggot box and manual switch that I forgot to switch off the connection between the leisure bank and the starter..... risky 

My temp lashup ....

I celebrated by leaving the engine charging while emptying the cassette in the last light of a deserted Fradley junction. The smartgauge needs a few cycles of charge/discharge to establish the current state of charge of the battery bank, it is a fit and forget system, only I'll be checking the %'s as is my habit. 

Saturday, 10 December 2016

The madness of men

... ok I am sure there will be a few ladies out there doing what I (we) did the first Sunday in December.

My friends in the south organise a SBC  - Sunday Breakfast Club, a meet for a coffee, a ride around the south east somewhere finishing at an establishment that serves cooked breakfasts. Now when the sun is high and the fields and hedgerows are green this is a good idea. However when the sun is low and bright and the temperature is minus 4 c at 8am you have to question the sanity of those involved.

But hardy and roughty tufty biker I am I was donning my thermals at 7.30 am Sunday morning and heading out to Newlands Corner via Watery Lane.... but it was Ice Lane. When I did the 50 plus miles and met my fellow bikers I was advised on the Pan it was showing -4c I think if I'd known that I'd have turned round before hitting Icy Lane !

My BlueDeau is in the foreground

The view from Newlands Corner

 Yep - very icy, but riding in such conditions keeps your awareness sharp !

Warmth and sustenance 

It did not last long the body furnace was burning hard to keep me warm 

Might have to miss the January one as I think I'll be on the boat that weekend, but we'll see !

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

How I like it

I do feel the cold..... when I have been out in the cold for a decent amount of time it feels like I am exhausted -   think my body works hard to maintain my core temp, I am sure this is the case for everyone but it just seems to hit me harder? 

Anyhow don't feel too bad for me, that common question/perception  -isn't it cold living on a boat, well my simple (no pumps) central heating system from the stove has the boat just under 25c inside against an external temperature of just 1c - ok the gauge is up near the ceiling but suffice to say I'm not cold nor is the rest of the boat apart from the engine room and rear cabin  - that doubles as my fridge. 

We had a bit of a move around after we got the sofa in so Leia no longer can sleep under the sofa but she how has the true dog position in front of the fire.

A have made a large pot of stew that'll do me for the next three nights - easy living just heat up a pan full a night, no prep and minimal washing up. Shame there is no such thing as smellivision as the boat has a lovely aroma as I prepare my vitamin C special !

Monday, 5 December 2016

Fradley and Percy give me a special welcome home

So I am back living aboard NB Percy. Some might say its not the best time to re-start a life afloat (I lived aboard in 2014/2015 but that started in July  - a very different approach was needed then.

Fradley and Percy looked at their best when I arrived this morning. The canal is frozen just past my neighbour Mandy's boat but as the forecast for the next few days is no more frost I guess this will recede.

Percy was covered completely in a duvet of Ice crystals, inside all was well as we had visited and Rachel had kindly give the inside a good clean through.

The sun was still very low in the sky and I doubt much was going into the batteries from the solar.

I had brought my super sized fire lighter - basically one of the 2 hour instant logs that cost about £1.80 from Sainburys.... I cut it in half and lit it surrounded it with coal and the boat was on its way to being my home again for the foreseeable future. 

Then it was the real test to see if Percy had survived the -7c from last week. Water on, taps closed, Morco refilled and waited for the pump to stop  - and it did. If the pump keeps pumping you have either left a tap open or a pipe has opened up somewhere on the boat. 

In 2010 we had this happen on our last boat NB Waterlily - I blogged about it here 

So I have gas/water/coal and hopefully on my return later today a warm boat. I brought he large stew pot back from the cottage and stocked up on veg and stewing meat so tonight a large pot of stew will be made that'll keep me going for the next couple of nights..... a simple joy !

Let the adventure begin (again).