Archive | August, 2014

What’s the Worst that can Happen…?

31 Aug

Technically this (Google image)…boat1

But let’s hope it never does.

No, this week’s drama for BB was not in this league, thankfully, but it seemed pretty damn distressing at the time.

I don’t shower every day, partly water conservation and partly because I don’t think it’s necessary. But, before you think too hard about that, I do of course wash. Consequently, when I do hit the shower, it’s a most enjoyable experience. Those of you who think boats don’t come with such mod cons (the same ones no doubt that think boats are cold, damp, dank and draughty places) need to know that most actually do.

And mine is a very good one. Usually.

So when I was doing my best Herbal Essences impressions the other day, enjoying the piping hot water cascading over me as I lathered the shampoo into my hair, imagine my pissed-off-ness when the pump that takes the water out of the shower tray failed to work.

I should say at this point that said pump has given me grief before but not enough to replace it. It often gives me a heart-stopping moment when it doesn’t spring into action the first time I flick the switch but will then play ball when I repeat this. OK, sometimes it takes two or three attempts and a bit of coaxing or even a few harsh words before it gurgles into life and sucks away the water but it usually does at some point.

Not this time. No amount of sweet-talking/swearing and cursing/violence made the slightest difference. When the water in the shower tray reached the point that it was about to overflow onto the bathroom floor, I reluctantly turn off the taps, consider bailing and try desperately to remember what John did to fix it the last time this happened.

He’s had the pump to bits before – no way was I attempting this. And then it dawned on me. Wiring. I won’t go into details as I’m sure I’ve blogged about it before  but suffice it to say that I knew this was what I needed to check.

So, dripping and with frothy/soapy head (and by now a bit shivery too) I head for the bedroom where the fault was last time. The 12 volt wires run along the wall under the gunwale and, at a point where it is most difficult to see/get at, they are joined by way of a chocolate block.

I, fairly hands-on with most things, normally give electric a very wide berth – be it AC/DC or whatever persuasion. Unless it’s wiring a plug/replacing a fuse, this boatbird will give it the swerve and find a man who can. But, I’m hardly looking the part to pull right now. I need to rinse my hair and want to finish my lovely shower moment.

Conscious of the fact that I am soaking wet and vaguely aware this is a bad thing around electrickery, I dry my hands then assume an impossible position to get me in the right place to look, hoping that something looks obviously out-of-place and fixable.

And there’s no way a picture of this moment will appear anywhere other than in your head.

And what do you know? It did and it was – a wire had come adrift from the chocolate block and just needed re-connecting. Now where’s that tiny electrical screwdriver…?

Luckily, it was in the first place I looked and, with mental pictures of hair standing on end as deadly current flows through me, I re-assume my contortions and (without shock or drama) fix it. Simple.

The pump worked and I (feeling pretty pleased with myself) continued my ablutions and lived happily ever after.

So where was boatbloke when I thought I needed him?

Well, it’s that time of year…IMG_20140820_131447

And when he isn’t hurtling around a field in one of these…A combine harvesting this year's crop

And Pete isn’t thrashing or crashing or bashing…IMG_20140823_155229

In order to affix a new knife blade or similar, he’ll be hanging around waiting for the rain to stop and the wheat to dry out again before they can continue with the combining.

At least he’s making stuff while he’s otherwise unoccupied. A chimney right now for the little boat so we can resume the fixing up of and blogging about that little project.

Lets hope that’s soon.

 

 

 

New Life, Neighbours and News

11 Aug

BB has new neighbours. Just across the river.

Five black fluffy moorhen chicks…003

A delight to watch.

And as they grow older and bolder, they come a whole lot closer to my boat…014 015 016 018 019 020 022 023

Which is great.

They even venture onto my ‘lawn’ now…001 002 004 007 008 010

Tempted by scraps.

Mum even gets up the tree…004

Stealing food from the little birds…001 004 005

Who normally dine here.

I never knew that moorhens could climb trees. We live and learn.

Against all the odds, the moorhen five has survived intact, to date, I’m pleased to say.

We’ve done our bit by throwing bread on the water (or the lawn), which one or both parents make a dash for then feed to their young…001

Beak to beak.

Sometimes the fish beat them to it…002 003 004 006 007 008

But a delight to watch whatever. Well, it keeps me off the streets.

And there really is no place I’d rather be.

Another new neighbour…IMG_20140709_113437

Peter, a thoroughly nice chap, is doing up an old Broads cruiser, which he aims to sell on when finished. He’ll be looking for a narrowboat next. Good man.

Some of the old neighbours are getting a little naughty – escaping and giving me the fright of my life the other morning as I stepped off the boat. Not what I was expecting to see…001 003

Mooching right by my jetty.

John saved the day though, chasing them away…002 004

Otherwise I’d have had to phone work with, possibly, the most implausible excuse for lateness/absence ever.

Notice how the camera shake disappears as the Highlands do likewise.

Now this sighting had me puzzled for a while…013

Is it a bird…?001

Is it a plane…?002

No, I think it’s…012

The John…!011

He’s been hacking back the willows and feeding the goats…009

Who love it…008

As do the horses…007

And now of course they love the John.

He got the call the other day when the goats escaped. All he had to do was wave some willow and walk in the direction they needed to go and they followed him, right back home. Pied Piper or what…?

You need to know – or I need to tell you – that I do get out sometimes. Maybe not enough though.

John and I accompanied a friend into the big city last week to look up the house where his grandfather had lived.

We frittered a whole £11 each on a day’s travel pass, which gave us unlimited travel to, from and around the city for the day. I thought that was excellent, given that from here to Stansted (a stone’s throw) on the train is £12!!

Anyway, we found the street in Islington…GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

But, sadly, the house is no more. Swallowed up by the City of London University but we think the house would have been about here…GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

A most enjoyable day though, culminating in a visit to a pub…GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

By the canal wouldn’t you know…002

Regents Canal, to be precise, one on which John and BB have cruised Hobo a couple of times now. Nice.

Just can’t stay away from the water – or the pub for that matter.

Here’s one of John and friend – also a John so we call him Shirley…001

Only because that’s his surname you understand. My two handsome escorts for the day.

As I’ve been writing the weather has been busy…004001_stitch

Storm’s a’brewing.

And as you know, I’m easily distracted – especially if it involves moody skies, thunder and lightning, rain, high winds, blue skies and sunshine. Well, today we’ve had the lot, about in that order.

Speaking of distractions…

014

This is right outside my window, the one right in front of my chair. I didn’t think they’d ever get this brave but sometimes it’s good to be wrong.

I’m still waiting for the woodpeckers to arrive here. They’re about, I’ve seen them on the wing, but so far they haven’t stopped by here. Perhaps they like a different sort of food – wood maybe. Will have to experiment.

So who spotted this in the background of one of the earlier shots…?011

Clever John has made a sawhorse, which he is putting to good use making lots of Morso Squirrel sized nuggets ready for colder times. I’m busy stacking this to dry out. Word is this can take a couple of years but I doubt it’ll hang around that long. Besides, these are small logs – weeny ones – so won’t take as long. Well that’s my story.

Lucky for me, I had some prepared earlier. Yes, I had to light the little stove last night – just a little fire to take off the chill. Maybe it was yesterday’s storms but it seems to be degrees cooler – today too – please don’t tell me it’s autumn already.

Anyway, it did the trick and warmed up Hobo nicely. Just the job.

I hope to be able to write more of the little boat soon. It’s coming along, bit by bit, and John is devising and making some pretty neat storage solutions. But there’s never enough time is there?

We are also part way through re-working Hobo’s engine room – a job we’ve talked about so often. The woodwork (cupboards etc) has always been a bit wonky and just removing a couple of screws saw the whole lot collapse. But that’s a good thing. We can set about implementing our long awaited plans for smarter storage – start afresh with a better idea.

The stern gland greaser and bilge pump switch are both inaccessible so will be moved and the 12 volt wiring and fusebox need work – lots of work – by way of a damn good tidy. Good housekeeping really.

I’ve been threatening forever to clean and paint all those black holes one finds in engine rooms with white/silver in order to light up the space and make it more usable. It will also make it easier to find those things one inevitably drops in said awkward places.

Now  the floorboards are up and the whole room has been emptied of clutter (a task in itself) I have no excuse and tomorrow and Wednesday are my days off so looks like I could be busy.

I’ll try and get some before and after shots, which might make a little more sense of what I’m on about here and, you never know, you might find some of it useful.

I’m thinking…100_1161

Again. I do hate to feel cold.