Monday 20 May 2019

So what was I doing to injure myself !

You'll have seen from the last blog post I was fitting something that necessitated the removal of the back cabin steps.

Its been a job on the list since we brought Percy, in fact something notified on the survey. Now in my defence it was never fitted when built and when we brought Percy she was just 20 years old. What was it ....

.... a bilge pump !! How silly not to have one, well I did have one as did tony but not automatic and not fixed.  Tony had a manual syphon pump to remove and water that collected in the quite small stainless catch tray under the stern gland. I upgraded to an electrical pump I just dangled in every now and again.

Percy it a little unusual in that rather than a stern greaser you wind down at the end of the day there is a 'greasomatic' cartridge that has a constant pressure so while cruising there is always a minuscule (based on the amount of grease used) amount of grease dispensed to the shaft essentially constantly keeping the drips away and all nice and lubricated. it seems so logical so me - a little more expensive but very efficient.

However it was on the survey and it is a pain in the bum to remove the steps and plug in the little pump and pump the water out every now and again, I checked many times and there was nothing to remove. Also the biggest concern was the insurance, if anything had ever gong wrong it might have been a loop hole used by the insurers.

So I  eventually got around to fitting one ..... in two sittings. The first was the drilling holes in the hull stage and the second getting power to it direct from the batteries. I fitted a tidy control panel to make it complete.

Pictures .....

I picked up a nice set of core drills from Homebase when they were destocking  - been used extensively on my lads Flat in London and now the boat.

 I had the pipe and pump many years ! Just needed the time ..

Stage two after my back had got a bit better was to return and run some cable direct from the batteries to the pump and controller. I used my electrical ' fishing kit'  - you can just see the blue flexible stick running under the back counter through the engine room bulk head . I used sheathed cable but also put it in flexible conduit all the way - overkill but it'll never rub or perish in the harsh environment of the engine room - well not so harsh !

A quick test of the manual side and automatic and it works perfectly, the pump does not have a float but uses electronics to detect water level so should be more reliable. All worked so now at the end of each days cruise and randomly I just hit the manual switch and when off the boat just leave it in auto mode.

Cost me a holiday on the bike to Holland though !!!!

Friday 17 May 2019

Small margins between lucky and serious injury - read on !

This must be one of the longest spells of blog inactivity for quite some while. Firstly apologies for the people who contacted me re the stuff for sale, I'll be in touch shortly.

So why the dramatic title... A couple of weeks ago I came so close to seriously injuring myself, I still ended up in A&E or ED (Emergency department - ergh) and I still have flashbacks to the incident such was the shock of it.

There will be some follow up posts about post incident activity and impacts but for now the executive summary....

I went to the boat on the 30th April to do some work which meant I needed to remove the steps  - see where this is going ! I was working well and climbed out of the back cabin to fetch my core drills. I always walk backwards down the steps as its safer and I hold onto the hatch rails while doing so. Yes I basically walked backwards off the counter and as I had tools in my hand could now hold my weight and basically fell 4 feet flat onto my back.

I literally had the moment of free falling knowing when I landed it was going to hurt. The picture below is my view as I lay on the floor in some state of shock, not sure if I'd broken my back. I lay there for a good five minutes just breathing and calming down literally scared to try and move in case I made it worse and considering if I was going to have to call 999 unsure if I'd been knocked out.

Excuse the mess, the picture on the left is what I fell into and the right the counter from which I just fell backwards from.

I was so lucky my head landed with a glancing blow from the tool box just behind the curtain, the tools on the floor are what I was carrying. Normally I am a much messier worker and if there had been anything in the area where I fell I could have broken my back for sure. If the tool box had been out I'd have broken my neck. Sounds dramatic but they were the margins by which I survived a the backwards fall.

I eventually moved and was relieved (and I'm not normally a dramatic person) I could move my legs and slowly get up. I knew I had hurt my back and I was an hours car drive from home so I locked the boat up and headed home before I started the inevitable seizing up as the body goes into protect and repair mode.

I was showing bad bruising and stiffness over the next few days, lots of mobility but any touching of the area was very painful. Now here is the rub... I was due on a motorcycle trip to Holland on the following Wednesday. I felt ok but still sore on the Tuesday so decided to get it checked out at the local walk in centre... bottom line there was initially I felt ok going in, just wanted to check there was no lasting damage, the three hour wait on hard chairs turned my problem from a check up to a visit to A&E as while sitting the pain became significant and a large lump literally appeared on my lower spine. Despite having an X-ray Leek walk in does not -Xray backs or necks (not noted on their web pages) and it closes at 12.30 on a Tuesday ( not noted on their web pages) So went in for a precautionary check up and left on my way to A&E in so much pain. Then it was the same process of waiting to be triaged, waiting to be seen by a doctor (nurse) X-ray and thankfully advised extensive bruising and some local damage but not broken. Still sore now but the lump is receding, the medical feedback was a secondary bleed to ( in my opinion) protect the area after being stuck still on a hard chair for three hours.

So If I'd had the floor up as was the next job I'd have landed on this .... and I have no doubt I'd have been a lot more damaged.

When I worked at the Uni many years ago a technician was decorating and fell from a small ladder and broke her back and spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair completely paralysed from the chest down.... small margins and I was very very lucky. So please be careful when doing the most mundane of things. If I was a cat I'd have used up one of my lives for sure !!