Sunday, 29 March 2020

Surfacing under personal sad times

It's been difficult to generate the drive to blog over the last ten days. On the 16th March I was at hospital having a MRI scan which was an interesting experience. Maybe more about that later (not a great time to be having such investigations but small detail in the greater suffering of many at thus time) On the same day we lost Rachels mum Christine who had fought a ten year long battle. Rachel and family had done a fantastic job of keeping Christine in her own home where she died in peace with Rachel and myself as well as one of Rachel's sister and Christine's brother with her.

In light of the following weeks escalation of the measures to control the spread of the virus her passing was a blessing not only to Christine but the family. Organising a funeral in these times has been a challenge but Rachel has done an unbelievable amount of work to give her mum a send off within the new restrictions she wanted. This week will be hard but cathartic all the same.

I'm a self isolator in the main by desire so the measures have not had a great impact on me but I can understand the pressures it has/will put on families and individuals who are the opposite of me. What took me by surprise was the anxiety levels that I experienced in the first few days of the change of life we are all now practicing. I'm normally a level controlled person but my mind went into overdrive and I had a few unpleasant days. This flared up other health issues that further compounded my state of physical and mental health. I type this to share with others it's ok to experience change. I found controlled breathing a great help as well as compartmentalising the negative thoughts as they came into my mind. I used a shoe box approach.... anything that I start to think about that is overtly negative and something I cannot influence I open a shoe box in my mind and drop the thought into it - it works very well for me.

One other thing that works for me is keeping my mind and body busy. We had a discussion over should we go to the boat to isolate ( we needed to ensure we kept well prior to the funeral for obvious reasons) as it turned out we were asked by C&RT to not go to the boat as we were leisure boater, so we were happy to follow this advice. Indeed we had already decided the cottage was far the better location as we had all the services on tap as well as many many jobs to crack on with . It's a shame we are missing Percy and there is work to do there but nothing like that needs doing here and I have a lovely garage and workshop to spend endless hours on jobs for the house.

The walking around here is also very isolated so that makes our daily hour of exercise easy and enjoyable. We are running our food down as we are trying to stay away from people until the funeral, then I'll join the queues and be happy to do so.

There is a lot I could type but in the main we are doing what the country needs people to do, social distancing, keeping calm and carrying on. It'll pass and things will resume to not quite normal and nor should they. I'll blog again about my thoughts on this ....

For now I'm thinking and sending positive thoughts to all those in hospital and those who have lost loved ones, the brave and committed essential workers across all aspects of this phase of life. Bless them all  - too many trades and professions to list but we all know who they are.

Stay safe, stay positive and keep healthy.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Getting out of my tangle

A lazy evening listening to the constant rain on the roof of Percy led to an early night as I knew my Tuesday task was a days worth of electicary sorting out.

When I put my two AGM batteries in with the Victron BMV712 and combined it with the Smartbank split charge relay it all got rather difficult to make a tidy install of it in the very limited battery storage space on board Percy.

I made the best of it and was happy with it as it was all under cover. ( I was never really happy with the location of the relay) Being under cover is great until you need to replace one of the batteries - the starter in my case. So with that need as the driver for change I put into action a plan I had been musing over  - going vertical with my wiring.

Yesterday was the mounting board as per my last post. Today I set to taking apart my masterpiece but all was ok as I had a plan !

Look away all readers with an OCD leaning ....

It's OK I had a plan....

Believe it or not the above is not a million miles from what I achieved below.

Quite surprising really that all this makes for a more efficient charging regime and adds some extra functionality (Smartbank and Smartgauge

When we got Percy 8 years ago now the charging system was much simpler and was no doubt installed based on the boat doing many cruising hours each day to support the small overnight usage (no TV gas fridge etc) I think I still have the Sterling split charge diode unit that was robbing close to a full volt from the charging.

I have the measurement now for the cover that will complete the 'improvement' and make what I hope will be a workable solution to the mess that was driven my limited space. I also have a little extra to add that will hopefully restore a little more of Percy's provenance.  

Still a bit more to do. When I put in the new solar controller I put the fuse at the wrong end of the cable run from the batteries to the controller. It should have been at the battery end ( Thanks to Brian from NB Harnser for that advice) When I tried to move the location I did not have enough cable so I need to revisit that install.

All in all a good days work  - now I need to make the cover in the workshop at home .... 

Monday, 9 March 2020

Self isolation

I’m onboard and self isolating with a whisky disinfectant. It’s hammering down outside but the fire’s sorted and I have food so I’ll survive.

Ok it’s only for 36 hours and to hopefully improve the electrical layout around the batteries. If all goes ok I’ll have a tidier system and a new starter installed by this time tomorrow.

I’ve been disciplined and only done what I can to the point of leaving me a functioning boat electrical wise. The new mounting board is on the bulkhead ready for the bits to be screwed to to hopefully make the battery box area a lot less cluttered.

More pictures will follow

 The magnets saved all the cleaning up of the drill swarf  for the four holes drilled and tapped for the M6 bolts that secure the ply board that’ll take the respective busbars and cables. 

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

A major blow to the Caldon canal

Thanks to Pip and Mick for the correction re the aqueduct (not) I need to be more attentive when I read stuff on the internet !

I read on Facebook and confirmed by a check on the Canal and rivers trust web site that there is a potential long term closure of the Caldon canal at Bridge 37. Bridge 37 is more than just a bridge it’s the aqueduct that carries the Leek arm of the Caldon canal over the Caldon canal just after  Hazlehurst junction.

Where the Leek  arm branches off the canal locks down to then go under the Leek arm using 37. If what I read on FB is correct the bridge foundations have failed and it is deemed unsafe so the canal and towpath are closed for the foreseeable until a plan is hatched to repair or maybe even replace the bridge. Ironically the Leek arm is still open.... so the unsafe bridge is still being used  to carry boats and water?

It’s a real shame and will be a blow to the pubs after the junction as well as removing one of the sights I enjoys seeing - moving boats on my walks in the valley along the canal.

Follow the stoppage here C&RT stoppage page

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Just a little bit more patience needed

...then spring will be with us.

Yesterday I donned my walking boots for a much needed visit to my valley. The constant rain has made such forays rare as being a valley you need to walk down and up to get to the bottom where the river, railway and canal are and the paths are slippy and muddy.

I went for the shallower gradient walk down through Hazles wood  with the intention of walking along the canal from the lock to the footpath that takes me back under the railway and over the river Churnet and back up to the lane near the falconry centre. When I got to the lock ready to to head down the valley towards Froghall there was a dog walker going that way which was unusual but understandable as they like me were taking benefit of the better weather.

No problem as I have other beautiful walks so I headed up the valley towards the Black Lion and the RSPB lakes.

Blue sky and a high sun ....

Double click on this image and you'll see the black line that shows the route I took counter clockwise 

I need to get to the electrics sooner rather than later......