Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Erectile disfunction - it is boat related !

LOL, best blog post title yet, and no not an advert for blue tablets.

I visited Percy yesterday ( 18th July) for a check while the builders were still toiling away. One thing that has become apparent is the slow droop of Percy's back fenders.

They are still doing their main job, just - protecting the rudder. As you can see there is just a need for three with a compress with just two resulting in exposure of the tender rudder !

When I put them on they sat up, it seems the middle fender had worked over the bottom one resulting in the droop. When Joe who made them passed them to me he said give 'em a soak in creosote which I did and they have been protected since.

So I set to and removed them and gave them another brushing of creosote and left them to dry off in the sun as I did not want any to leech into the canal.

Spring forward a few days and another visit to put them back on and how much finer a display of fender erection could you wish for !!

The front fender was treated as well

... and the important weakness introduced to the chain should the fender ever get stuck going  up/down

The fenders will be off again in September for the blacking to take place .... not looking forward to that !

Monday, 29 July 2019

Running hot

When you read this it may be a lot cooler but on the 24th July I was hosting my ex boss  and friend Ian who has in the past taken day boats out but never the full monty - 60 foot and 17 tons of narrowboat.

We chose a nice day - a hot day for it and duly set off for a 7 hour cruise to wind at High Onn and back with a stop off in Gnosall for a pint.

It says much about our friendship  - we worked together for 20 plus years that we never stopped talking about just about everything ! Ian took the tiller from the start and with only one small moment of panic (he was not used to the push pull and speedwheel controls) steered us safely and professionally for the whole trip.

One thing I was acutely aware of was the engine temperature. I'm still bearing the mental scars of the trip to Shebdon when Percy overheated (new pump impeller was needed but not known about at the time) so when the gauge started to creep up to 70c I was watching with much concern. In the end all was well and Percy's Lister did not miss a beat. The canal must be about at its warmest this time of year and with 30+ C air temperatures it was a decent test.

A great day ended with wine and pizza by the boat and more reminiscing into the late evening.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

The devils beef tub

Sounds intriguing - it was  a place I recently visited on my bike (13th - 16th July) as part of a couple of days  exploring south east and south west Scotland.

Details of the Beef Tub here

Just a couple of days enjoying the delights of the roads and the bikes with a stay in Moffat on the borders.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Tappet time and a bridge hole cruise

It's been a few months now since Percy had  open heart surgery ( decoke and new head gasket) I thought it right to give the tappets a check in case there had been any slight movements etc.

Out came the simple tools and set to turning 3 litres of 2 cylinder engine over by hand to get the respective marks on the flywheel.

The wild flower garden was looking stunning and getting many insect visitors

Rocker covers off and feeler gauges out. A small adjustment on no1 cylinder inlet, marginally tight otherwise all ok. 

  Then it was a lovely cruise to work the engine and wind about forty minutes up the canal.

Of course first bridge hole 45 there was a boat equidistant from it. Now I know this bit of canal well as is to be expected, 45 and 46 are close meaning a short gap between bridges, the tow path side is shallow and cannot be moored against and there is vegetation on the offside - not a place to try and pass.  Technically in such circumstances the boat on the tow path side should hold as they can hop onto the tow path if needed, however not possible in this case but the oncoming boat did hold, so despite my waving them through we both hovered - it took a crew on the other boat to pop out of the forward doors to see properly my signal and they came through - all very friendly.

I prefer to cruise up to the winding hole just after bridge 48  - Park heath bridge. Once again just as I approached there was a boat on the other side - he politely held back so I could come through which was not ideal as it meant I overshot the winding hole - it is directly after bridge 48. No problem I took Percy into the bank and pulled back until the wind very kindly turned Percy 180 degrees !

The other end of the mooring is also looking very nice with the Buddleia giving a much needed pit stop for many butterflies. I even had a brief visit from a humming bird moth - quite special to see that.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Flat earth needed

One of the many benefits of being retired is time to do jobs that give satisfaction and also save money. Car maintenance and boat maintenance being two such jobs.

When Rachel had her car last serviced (to keep the warranty - next one will be DIY)  they advised front and back discs were very low as were the pads, price to change per axle was £225. A quick internet shopping search highlighted Bosh pads and discs would cost me around £80 each axel. No brainer. I did the front ones earlier in the year as they were the worst as to be expected. However when it came to doing the back ones my 'flat space' looked like this ....

Yes we have the builders in (sadly not a job I could DIY) So the simple and luxurious option was to load my tools into the car and head off to the boat and the lovely mooring where I can have the car next to the boat.

It was a quite lovely day to work on the car in absolute peace and quiet (we do also have that at the cottage) with the odd boat passing giving shouts of encouragement.

Another job done, well over £200 saved and another benefit of the Shebdon moorings.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

This time last year

I really do enjoy looking back at 'this time last year' on the blog. A special look back today (written on the 19th July)  as it has been a year since we left the four years of living and travelling to and from the south coast to take full time residence in our cottage in the Staffordshire moorlands.

Here was my one and only blog post from July 2018  - busy busy time for sure hence the small amount of posts - click here 

It is truly scary how quickly time flies - even when 7 days a week of it are your own time. Its been a great year, holidays a plenty plus finally getting the garage and porch started - I'll blog the pictures when it is complete for my record.

There is no doubt we both miss the south coast and West Ashling and Chichester in particular. What we do not miss is the endless hours and miles spent on the motorways between the two locations and the logistics of living in 2/3 places, if we count Percy many nights apart which was very hard.

A couple of pics to remind us when we look back again in a years time - hopefully.

Our first year in East Dean - first cottage on the left opposite the pub - would have liked to have stayed but it was a little to far from Rachels work and the internet was very slow for her MSC work at the time.

One of our favourite walks on the south downs above East dean

I don't miss cutting that grass - last time we visited out old neighbours the new tenant had it looking like a jungle !!

More beautiful walking 

Three years here in West Ashling, gorgeous outlook, lovely neighbour and a garage for my bikes

Last sunset walk - etched into my memory.

The final terrace beer before lights out on our time south. 

Friday, 19 July 2019

1,000 Christmas presents

For the last couple of years we have chosen to use Christmas as an opportunity to plan family gatherings in the summer in lieu of presents. We have holiday'd in North Yorkshire twice, Brittany and this year to celebrate my retirement we booked the Ski lodge my sons use in January in the Alps for a fully catered week. The location was Morzine just over the border from Switzerland, we actually flew to Geneva and walked thru the border in the airport to collect our hire cars in France !

Very hot, beautiful location, great hosts, good company, lots to do and a week with Teddy Wells our grandson who loves cars and playing games - he's just over 2

Pictures are better than words so here are a few of the 1,000  I/we took while over there.

The best type of present, memories and something to look forward to in the darker months of winter.

Roll on 2020 !!