Sunday, 30 January 2011

Maintenance visit

Saturday 29th January, up and down. Left home at 8, so with the usual stop at Cherwell Valley got to GH shortly before midday. Temperature around 0ยบ, some ice on the water. Wind not strong. Sun came out in the afternoon.

Steve told us the boat had been serviced during the week. When I said we'd asked Engineering for a quote but hadn't actually told them to go ahead, he volunteered to come over and see. He was right – fuel filter was new and the oil was clean. Air filter had apparently been brushed but not replaced. Steve commented favourably on the general condition of the engine compartment, confirmed the identity of the gearbox as a PRM150, and pointed out various items. He then came inside and (a) with some effort removed the front of the audio unit to reveal the two mains sockets; (b) inspected the window seal that we think is leaking. Advised us to get a proper glazier who knows about narrowboats and caravans to check/service it, and later provided a phone number: Hills Glass, 01782 565675.

Flue terminal now in place, but no cover.  The TV turned on, but wasn't getting a usable signal, even though the signal amplifier and the roof aerial both had their lights on. Roof aerial looks as though a part may be broken. Audio unit managed to tune several FM stations, though with a fair bit of noise.

Checked the kitchen drainer unit and plate rack for size: OK
£8.50 still on the electricity meter, so that's about 75p – £1 used in a fortnight for keeping the batteries conditioned.
No obvious chains for the propane bottle, so couldn't fix them.
Cleared mats and unnecessary ropes from the roof.

Check the aerial on Cimarron to see how it compares with ours.
Sand the oak panel holding the audio unit so it slides in and out easily.
Check another Aqualine for propane bottle fixings.
Get Engineering to replace the Chinese hat on the flue.

Journey home – avoiding the toll road and taking the A38 down to Sutton Coldfield to join the M6 was only a mile longer, but much more convoluted, with poor signposting. Diesel at Sainsbury's in SC was 3p/litre cheaper even than the Shell garage in Lichfield. Didn't stop after SC, so got home around 8.30.

Thursday, 20 January 2011


Ellie reported from Derek - says the TV unit has a power switch to the left of the unit. Wasn't obvious on Saturday, so we'll have to check again. Failing that, ask the engineering boys to have a look.

Jobs to do:
Clear as much as possible from the roof to avoid having damp areas where water could affect the paint.
Make an inventory of equipment.
Chain up the gas bottles.
Check the cooker and hob.
Need to ask Jenny what the service they've quoted for entails.

Monday, 17 January 2011

On board at last

Left at 9.15 Saturday morning, got to Great Haywood around 1 after a mostly dry journey, and booked in at Common Farm Motel, just up the A51 from the village. At the marina we saw Steve for the jetty details and made arrangements for Sunday. Then – at last – on board!

Switched the domestic battery isolator to "not-isolated" and tried to start the central heating. Diesel unit appeared to fire up, but turned off after a short while. Checked under the engine cover, identified fuel lines, but there was no sign of a fuel switch turned off in the line to the Webasto. Switched the starter battery isolator to "not-isolated" and tried again. Diesel unit fired up and kept going. But there were no sounds indicating something working this time which had not been working before. So, more likely to be initial difficulties with the fuel after months of not being used. Radiators warmed up nicely.

Then lunch, bits and bobs, chilling, checking systems and measurements. Abortive attempt to get a heater and a kettle in Stafford. Evening meal at the Clifford Arms.

Sunday – breakfast in Stafford, then to the marina by 10.15. Steve and Dave helped to get the boat to the service jetty, in spite of the wind. Waste tank was empty. Filled up with diesel. Dipstick at start: 31cm; 50 litres to 41 cm; 137 litres to full at 57 cm. Then Dave took the boat down to the permanent mooring. About £4 left on the meter. Put in another £5. Diesel heater working fine.

First visit to the farm shop, but bought lunch from the Spar. Still couldn't get the TV and audio system working – no sign of power to them. Took down the curtains. Turned off the systems, isolated the batteries, left the Victron on "Charger only" – showing "Float". Left around 5 and got home around 9.30, after a meal at Didcot services.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Back in the water

Erin Mae is now in the water, on A jetty. Jenny said the mains lead is plugged in so the batteries will be charging. Presumably the marina itself will bill me for that. Flue terminal to be fitted today. Water filter not going on yet, to avoid problems with any further freezing. On Jenny's second call she reported John as saying that we could run both the engine and the diesel heater, though to note that they had not done so. Engine service would be £180 - which seems a bit steep in the light of the receipts I got for the service in 2009.

Weather at Great Haywood: wet. However, temperatures have been relatively mild and the weekend forecast is not looking as rainy as it has been.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Blacking completed

Jenny said today that the blacking of the hull has been completed, and that the replacement of the flue terminal is going ahead. However, it will be at least a week before Erin Mae will go into the water.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Hungerford hunkered down

Decided to go see the Kennet & Avon at Hungerford on Friday. A grey day and still quite a lot of ice. Walked a bit of the towpath and came across the first swing bridge we'd seen, where a track crosses the canal. Met a couple who’ve had their first boat for just a few weeks, enthusing about the friendliness of the people they’d encountered in that time. P.m. we cut across country to Pewsey wharf, with a lot more boats, but not much sign of life – everything is very locked down. N.b. Muriel was there, but not the Aqualine Madison whose blog we’d seen. Home via Amesbury and Old Sarum.