Thursday 25 April 2019

Stuff for sale /free

I am trying to sort out the workshop as I have too much stuff.... if anything is of interest let me know. All plus postage if they can be posted  .... can be collected from north east or north west Staffordshire. I'll be ebaying them all soon so may not be available down the line. As its space I'm after if you want anything the sooner it goes the better (I can hold it for a little while if needed).   

Generator, spares or repair, Clark style 2kw - £25

Battery box free to good home - £0

Brompton lights and dynamo's may be of some use - £10

Garden shedder, not much call for it on a canal boat but for home or a mooring..? - £25

Cycle rack ( seatpost style) plus bag with drop out panniers .... needs a bit of tidying - £15

Smart gauge boxed, little used - £50

Water filter system, age unknown but never used - £25

A couple of autocom lead holders, unused still in the package - £3 each

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Working hard going nowhere

Easter 2019, what a treat. Wall to wall sunshine and Friday to Monday on Percy for us.

We did use it as a base as we had caring responsibilities on the Saturday that saw us back in Derby then back to the cottage for tools for me then back to Derby then to Swarkstone then finally back to Shedbdon! The   Swarkstone visit was to the sailing club and a 50th party to attend that saw us get back to Percy close to 1am. It was a tad cold but a couple of hastily filled hot water bottles and we were soon cosy in our middle of the boat bed.

The trip back to the cottage on Saturday was for tools to enable me to lay the slabsI had taken to recycle form my lads house. in true miser spirit i collected my trusty handed down sieve to sieve the soil to get a sandy mix to help lay the slabs for zero cost.

At Fradley I paid out quite a few quid for decking that took some work to get level and then paint -  then got hardly used, mainly due to the fact it was a thoroughfare and Leia never was comfortable as other dogs often came part not on leads. It was in hindsight my fault as i should have put the decking on the canal frontage as my neighbours did, giving a bit more privacy but still it was quite a busy (relatively speaking ) mooring.

When we inherited Richard's mooring at Shebdon he left it much as he had used it, very tidy. well planted and screened. Mandy my neighbour at Fradley who put us onto the mooring vacancy at Shebdon had Richard's wood store that left a patio sized gap.....

So Sunday in full sun we set to laying the recycled slabs to make a tidy and protected patio. No one walks by so the pets are very relaxed. It did not take long to clear the space, sieve the soil to remove most of the stones and generate some fine sandy soil.

Before we knew it we were taking drinks on our next outdoor space. We just need to get some more willow weave fencing for the back and side and it'll be a perfect sun trap.

We are two slabs short which I'll collect this weekend and hopefully (weather permitting) lay next week.

We did watch telly over the stay and the fridge was on all the time, ipads and phones were recharged and never needed to run the genny or engine - the power of the sun on the little solar panel covered us for the few days we were aboard, plus the new AGM batteries took it all in their stride.

Sunday 21 April 2019

It’s a little known fact

....that boats travelling the four counties go faster clockwise. Well that is my observation from spending some quality time aboard Percy this Bank holiday. Of course there is a good reason for this, simply boaters approching us from the north hit the beginning of quite a few moored boats so are happy to drop never to tick over....however  by the time they reach us going north they have passed quite a few moored boats so have impatiently increased speed. Not a problem and to be honest I am an advocate for not slowing passed moored boats, I should say I do of course but I can imagine the working boaters did no such thing.

Anyhow that’s thought for the day before I start slabbing the little patio area we have here at Shebdon..... pics to follow.

Tuesday 16 April 2019

Twirling on the canal

.... some call it winding, some turning, today I call is a twirl as the weather was so nice !

Part of my justifications for moving my mooring was the prevalence of winding holes close to my mooring. Not too close of course as its nice to have a little bimble and twirl to essentially keep the water pump from 'welding' the impeller to the brass body as was I suspect the case in my overheating.

Where I moor there is a winding hole about 50 yards to the north.

So far I've not winded here as it has boats in it - I understand winding it with the permission of the owners of the canopy company.

On Thursday 11th  I went a bit further up and winded 40 minutes away (2 miles) just past Knighton woods. Nothing on the canal until just after I winded then another boat came along. I am a get off the back and pull it round type of fella if needed, apologies for the purists but it seems the most efficient way ? We stopped at Knighton woods on the rings and took a walk in the woods- lots of evidence of Pheasant rearing in there with the blue feeding containers?

The last time we were pointing north we took Percy to Tyrley and winded before the locks. This is just over 6 miles and takes us a good two and a half to three hours as there are quite a few moored boats ! We have walked into Market Drayton before from here which is a nice walk.

Now back at out home mooring pointing south to wind we go to the Grub street cutting winding hole just past the boats moored where the old Rolls Royce is - you'll know it if ever travelling through. This is another 45 minute there and 45 minute back option - just right for a little pootle. The winding hole is well protected so usually a no nonsense twirl.

For when we are feeling a little braver it's a wind at Norbury, Depending on the time of year and day of the week harder as loads of boats moored there in the winter but no audience, in the summer less boats more traffic and lots of watchers....we have so far avoided it. It's about three and a half miles and an hour and a half. 

The day out and day back cruise I did the other week is to High Onn wharf and is just over eight miles and about three and a half hours. A lovely cruise for a full day or as I did a cheeky overnight  

Finally in the local area the Wheaton Aston winding hole gets you out for a good engine stretch....twenty two and a half miles about 9 hours  - lovely countryside again, very rural up to Wheaton Aston and you can get the cheapest fuel on the system here. 

So as you can see lots of little trip with options for twirling. The real bonus is a few of the winding holes are remote and sheltered so makes for stress free winding.

As I am now pointing south I feel a High Onn trip to ease the new head gasket into full use.... !!

Saturday 13 April 2019

The first cut is the deepest

Cheesy.... but a note to self that I was over at the boat last week to give the grass its first cut of the season. A gratuitous shot or two of the work done and the loan bike I rode over there on. Still great to get vehicles so close to the boat, especially as I heard recently that boaters cars had been broken into at Fradley.

I was able to use the Bosch mower with my now trusty Honda genny. They paired up well together to get the job done. The profile of the mooring also helps make this a much easier job than before this means i can dispose of the petrol mower I had  (still have) for the Fradley mooring. 

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Exorcising the demons

I am a reflective sort of person. Luckily I have time to be so, that helps. It can also hinder ones progress in life if not controlled.. let me explain.

I moved Percy in the autumn of 2018 from Fradley to Shebdon as we were moving from our C&RT mooring we had held for over 10 years to a new adventure on the Shroppie. Due to me being retired (bliss) and Rachel still working it was a single handed cruise over 4 longish days.

I blogged about it and called it my heaven and hell cruise... well worth a read. I don't really have to as it is engrained in my head.... but click me for the full story and lovely pictures. 

Now this cruise literally lifted and dented my love and enthusiasm  for Percy and the canals in one four day period. We loved Fradley but wanted a change, it was on reflection absolutely the right thing to do and I thank my neighbour for the heads up on the mooring, the vacancy and help in moving around when we got there....

The denting was more deeply engrained than I think I expected. The head gasket on Percy has always weeped a little and this is more a feature of the listeroid version than the original CS2  - the original CS2 was lower powered but has two extra head studs that helps even the 'squish' on the head gasket. My version is bored out so does not have the extra studs as they would be too close to the cylinder walls  - I guess. Anyway I digress, as my cruise progressed the temp gauge rose higher and higher. I was on a self imposed timescale so limped on resulting in the engine overheating just less than a mile short of my destination. I had limped Percy to this point with slow speed and frequent stops. Many many times I'd leave my tiller post to dash into the engine room and check pipes and pumps to see it I could identify the problem. It was very frustrating and an anxious time as I was on my own and trying to strike the balance between progress/timescales and possible engine damage.

I read around the Listeroid pages on the internet and confirmed my initial thoughts that the  old cast iron lumps were very robust however there was an issue and it significantly impaired my joy of the cruise.

Ultimately I limped home and over a period over several weeks diagnosed an impeller problem and also has the head gasket replaced alongside a couple of slightly worn valve guides and tested and cleaned the injectors - boy do I know a lot about my engine now !!

So I needed to prove to myself Percy was set fair for another 20 years or so of ownership (hopefully) and what has happened was clear and the joy of the canals needed to be re-injected into my system with a solo cruise over some of the path I had my 'Hell on'.

Last week I took Percy out and reversed just a bit of the route where I had my most anxious moments. The last day saw me cruise from just north of Wheaton Aston back to Shebdon, this mini two day cruise took me nearly as far as Wheaton Aston and back.

On the way out past bridge 44

My nemesis corner coming up. It's where I had to moor out into the canal (Shroppie shelf) for a couple of hours to let the engine cool down

 The iconic double arch Shroppie bridge. On the way back on the hell cruise I can't even remember going under it so was my fixation on the engine !

Past the beautiful properties in Gnosall and into the Cowley tunnel. 

My window view of the mooring past Cowley  - I marked in in my Nicklesons as a future mooring spot - perfect. 

Next day it was off to the winding hole for the return joyous trip 

 Some dismiss the Shroppie for its long straights and many moored boats - I like both

 The weather was glorious a proper warm spring day.

A real quintessential farm and buildings adjacent to the canal 

Norbury looking ready for 'the season' 

This one was not put off by me buy I did pass on proper tick-over 

So all in all a perfect antidote to the stress and anxiety of the last cruise this way. 

As was to be expected Percy's engine performed flawlessly as did the new batteries and the rewiring I undertook over the winter. Fridge on, telly on - I even charged my Macbook (albeit with the engine on going back).

Still a few jobs to do but in the main happy and can't wait to get out more !!