Tuesday 29 August 2017

A bit of fuel use.... and a lesson in life

Nothing really noteworthy to those looking for a vicarious canal fix - they are coming I promise. However when I went out on my lonesome cruise a few weeks ago I topped the tank(s) up so I was ready for the trip out in September.

I managed to get 79 litres in to the top. On checking back I last filled up in February 2016 when the engine counter was on 347 conveniently (for my maths) the engine counter was at bang on 447. A sad 79 litres in 16 months and the engine run for just 100 hours. However I did live aboard for 7 months over the winter of 2016/17 as the house was left empty to sell. How cheap is that living !

As I wrote in February 2016 It is a sad reflection of the lack of cruising we did last year and we have done the same to date this year.  But retirement will present options and the boat has always been our 60 foot escape capsule from the treadmill. Talking of treadmills.....

.......one for James  a good work colleague who has found my blog just after I announced my retirement, he told me a story of a monkey and a nut. I am reading a great book at the moment - I am Pilgrim  and the same story is in there....

In order to catch spider monkeys, hunters in South America simply walk through the jungle and drop heavy containers on the ground. These containers have very a narrow top and a wider bottom. Inside the containers the hunters drop a special kind of nut which is particularly attractive to the monkeys. Sometime later, the spider monkeys come down from the tops of the trees, smell the nut, but the tops of the containers are so narrow they have a tight squeeze to get their hands inside. Once they grab the nut at the bottom, their fist is too large to remove if through the opening. And the container is too heavy for them to carry.
So instead of letting go of the nut, the monkeys just sit there until the hunters come back, pick them up, and throw them in a bag.
The spider monkeys are not prepared to let go of a small nut in order to gain their freedom.
See where this is going.... it does not take too much of a leap of imagination to transpose the nut for much of modern life.... we grab hold and are afraid to let go, but when we do we get freedom. 

Anyhow that's why I am retiring - just letting go of the nut !!!

So back to the boat and to servicing, a quick search of my blog tells me I fettled the engine  - including oil change in May 2015  - with the engine counter on 271 hours. So 26 months and 176 hours of use I think Percy's donk is due another oil change, I wrote a bit of that a while back and now have the oil ready for a pre-cruise service 

Percy's engine does not have a modern filter for oil, it relies on the oil not holding the minute particles that a modern oil does which are then filtered out via the oil filter under pressure. The Morrisons oil dumps the sludge in the bottom of the crankcase so at some point I need to open her up and check if I need to clean this area out. There is a decent sized door to gain access but it will require removing the water pump ..... a summer job  retirement job so a nice little winter project, frosty outside me working in the warm boat in my very handy engine room !

Anyhow there are some uses for the blog, recording the above has been a useful reminder of what will need doing (oil change) and what does not need doing (diesel fill up)

Thursday 3 August 2017

Youngsters on the cut

I was on the boat last week and when I arrived there were four boats opposite our moorings. I think this was/is a record.

One shared ownership boat, one broken down boat, one moving around the system boat, one fit out boat. Its amazing how you can tell or find out about such boats and their use. Some from sitting fishing just watching  - and listening as people don't always realised how sound carries when it is just one voice. Last time we were on the Fradley visitor moorings a very well to do couple came back from the Swan to then have a very loud argument - well she was having strong and industrial words to her fella about texts he had been receiving and sexual acts she though he was being given .... yes it was that clear and she was that loud.

The broken down boat had been brought the day before and now had developed a gear box fault, the fit out boat was from the little boat company above Common lock. Both crews were in their twenties so it was nice to see the next generation on the system, possibly as the cost of housing is so high this is their best option, not a bad one if they understand the limitations and  depreciation.

When leaving the next day the broken down boat was limping off to  'thousand pound Rays' place at Streethay. The lad was using  the stern rope to try and control the boat while waiting for keepers lock, I asked if he was receptive to a bit of advice and he was very keen so I suggested he take the stern rope off and put it as a temp centre line while cruising, as I left he was making the change. A small detail but he was happy to listen  - all the advice we can get is helpful he said, well done to him, he will hopefully soon be a better skipper than I especially if he spends all year cruising the system.