This and That

23 Sep

Last week’s full moon..002 (3)Bit special..

004 (4)But..

We didn’t make it to Bow Locks or Limehouse..LimehouseBasin_FromAbove[1]this weekend.

In fact we didn’t make it to anywhere past Ramney Marsh. Nor did the sun make it through the cloud, not until it was almost time for it to be setting anyway. Things conspired against us – as they do.

Things like John only having just one day to play, work needing him back early on Monday morning, so Sunday and Monday became Sunday.

Things like me tying to unblock the kitchen sink (a perennial problem due to a combination of a) fittings being too small for the job and b) plumbed in such a way that waste water is required to flow up hill – never going to happen is it) and flooding the cupboard underneath with horrid, smelly, gunky stuff. Yuk.

Things like my service batteries (not to be confused with the inverter bank) ceasing to charge. I only noticed this when the pump that empties the shower tray stopped working, highlighting the need for a monitoring system/volt meter for the service bank.  If  this is left undiagnosed and un-fixed, will result in total loss of power to lights, pumps and all things 12 volt. Therefore important that this be investigated which, as boaters can probably identify with, means that the boards covering the engine and battery compartment have to be lifted in order to provide access.

This in itself isn’t a problem but moving all the stuff stored on top of them is – Workmate, Aquavac, tools, spares, mooring pins, lump hammer, spare fenders, roof cushions, jumpleads, artist easel and paints, mops, brushes, long handled net, cuddly toy and all those things that will come in handy some day. The storage thing has improved lots but there is still work to do. It’s a case of deciding what simply has to be kept and then coming up with a cunning plan.

Sometimes the solution is obvious, sometimes it takes a little time and thought but, more often that not, it requires a master craftsman to construct the ingenious bit of kit that you come up with. And master craftsmen being beyond my means, it requires favours from friends which, in turn, means much patience has to be exercised as one cannot demand instant action from the unpaid help.

So, in the meantime, I end up chucking it all on my bed/back deck, while the necessary work is carried out, like many a boater I know. Welcome to our world.

Funnily enough, the shower pump not working doesn’t matter right now as the geyser..009 (my only source of hot water except the kettle) has packed up too.

The engineer was thrilled by the long walk along the towpath in the dark and will no doubt charge me double for all that unwanted exercise. He reckons it’s a sensor gone wrong, failing to detect the supply of gas (which there is) and so invokes the automatic safety cut out manoeuver, shuts down and deprives me of that nice hot shower.

I’m waiting for his call right now to confirm that said sensor is available, the cost and when he can come back to install it. The fact that he hasn’t rung today makes me think he’s not too keen to repeat the towpath trek…

Typical eh? The way that appliances and devices seem to break down in sympathy with each other.

We conducted experiments and tests that involved taking voltage readings of starter and service batteries while running, when not running and again after engine being shut down for a while. I won’t bore you with the actual figures, suffice to say that a new charging relay needs to be acquired and fitted. Shouldn’t be too expensive and wouldn’t be too onerous a job – except where the current, faulty one is located (awkward or what) means it will be a schlep of note. Hey ho, that’s boats for you.

Despite all this, we cruised down to Ramney Marsh – 4 miles, 4 locks and 4 hours there and back. Lovely. We had fun near to one of the locks, where a little girl had dropped something in the water. Still don’t know what it was – purple and made of foam. BB to the rescue. John deftly guided Hobo to the right spot and I fished it out using afore-mentioned net. You see, I knew it would come in handy. She was highly delighted and beamed a lovely smile as she said thank you.

All this excitement and no photos! Too busy fishing. Obviously.

So, we are about a boats length away from where we started. We did toy with the idea of mooring at Waltham Abbey for a change but, on going there, decided it was too busy and within sight (so no doubt sound) of the M25. It’s fine right here and, anyway a good spot to continue my maintenance job.

Today has seen me applying some green paint, at last, to the nasty looking primer splodges along her starboard side..004 It will need a bit of a sand and further coat/s and still won’t be perfect but looks better than the primer and much better than the rusty scabs.. 007It was always going to be a big ask for the paint to match, given that the original has been on for 7 years. It should dry darker but I still might need to overpaint the whole side. We shall see.

BB isn’t perfect so I can’t really demand this of Hobo.

Also had a go at my lovely red hatch. The one that didn’t winter at all well..003Whilst I did go the proper primer/undercoat route and use products recommended by the experts, it just started peeling off. Very tempting to pick at when hanging around in a lock.

I took the screwdriver to it to remove all the loose stuff – just like stripping wallpaper..008Looking better already. I’ll give it a good sanding tomorrow, re-prime and paint. It’s only the top surface, sides are fine, but the marine environment is a harsh one so maybe I will cover it when the bad weather kicks in.

John also has some oak in storage. He’s always said he’d like to use this for the hatch; after all, this one was made from old potato boxes and only ever meant to be a ‘try out’.

I was distracted by a couple of Chinooks..002They do sound good.

And closer..001There’s often interesting aerial activity over here.

I plan to do more river shopping tomorrow and have ordered more coal to be delivered on my man’s return from the city, Think I shall also top up the diesel tank as it should be filled up for the winter.

Will try for more pics.

Can’t help but think of the coming season. See how the nights are drawing in now?

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