Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Too much heat in the bedroom, none in the bathroom!

In our bedroom we have a Morso Squirrel with a back boiler, this gravity fed one radiator, right next to the bed. If it turned cold and we lit the Squirrel, within 30-40 minutes we'd be roasting. But in the bathroom there was no heating, could we move the radiator into the bathroom and would it still work OK? Here is the light patch where we removed the radiator.
So we had to remove the bulkhead, wardrobe, flue and move the Morso. It was the first time that I had worked with 28mm compression fittings.

I dropped the radiator under the side hatch and behind the captain's chest
The floor under this section was chipboard, which had got very wet at some stage. Underneath they have used chippings as ballast!
I was wary cutting it out, just as well, just missed the water pipe.

The tiles under the Morso were cracked and laid on chipboard with no support under it!

Aaron, one of neighbours is a tiler, he kindly cut one of the two porcelain tiles that the Morso will now sit on, I replaced the chipboard with marine ply and added more wooden supports  under the stove. Glenda decided that she doesn't want the wardrobe and instead we will convert an old drawer unit into a narrow Welsh dresser. I bought some vintage mahogany yacht doors from a mate in Cardiff, these will replace the banana shaped plywood ones that we have at the moment.                                      

On a mercy mission to a broken down narrowboat

Our neighbour Ted took his boat to rescue a stranded boat (he had insurance that covered him a aboat mover) The boat had been stranded on a red flag

We tried to wind nb Red & gold below this lock but there wasn't enough room, the stranded boat was above the lock. We went down past Rushden Diamonds and struggled to wind at the bywash, due to a combination of fast flow and wind.

Breasted up and on our way back to Blackthorn Lake marina

I finally sorted Christina's greenhouse out for Glenda

I fitted the last of the new hardwood windows and cleared all the rubbish out, then modified the shelves to make then removable.

A happy Glenda pottering in her greenhouse

Egg butty anyone?

Here we go again, she's back! and is now sitting on eleven eggs. But, at least she's on Christina's bow which means we can take Freyja out.

There may be trouble ahead...The ducklings are hatching.

One of her ducklings hatched, probably climbed on mummy's back and fell out, couldn't get back, was cheeping and being chased by coots etc. I got the landing net out and, after many failed attempts, successfully netted it and popped it back into the nest.

Then the other ducklings started to hatch and leave the nest, two were left behind and needed a helping hand as Glenda shouted at me! LOL!

So finally off she goes with five ducklings, the next day there were three left, the day after, only one, and then none. Nature is cruel!
Once she'd left, I moved the trug onto the butty's bow in case she came back. Glenda tidied it up and replaced the lost compost.

That blooming duck keeps outsmarting us!

I added some plastic netting to the herb tray
She went and laid an egg in our rose trug!
Caught in the act!
She started to help herself to the frayed rope on this old fender, not very suitable nesting material
I picked some dried grasses for her ;o)
I started to move the trug towards the bow, each morning when she got off
Moving her along and raising her up to bow height
Her new home on the far side of the bow, allowing us to use the pontoon without disturbing her. Now best part of a month to wait...

New to boating?

Congratulations! So you've just bought your first boat ;o)
It's a bit like having your first child, no matter how much you read, or how much advise you get, it can be quite a scary baptism of fire when you suddenly find yourselves alone with this floating and almost living and breathing beast.
How does everything work? Should I do this? Can I do that?
Every boat is different, but there are common things to watch out for, and to do to keep you and your new investment/home safe and floating.
If you are going to steer your new aquisition to a new mooring here are a few things to check :-

How much diesel is in your tank and is it free from water and diesel bug? If your tank doesn't have a gauge it may be possible to make a simple dipstick, marked in quarters down from the full line. Try to keep your tank topped up, as this cuts down on condensation in the tank (but don't overfill as it can then leak out of the breather into the canal/river.
It's a good idea to fit a pre-filter like a Fuelguard to remove water and diesel bug.
When we stop for diesel we always try to get the best ratio of heating (cheaper tax) and propulsion (dearer tax)

Check your oil and coolant and have some of each in case you need to top up en route.

Check the bilge is reasonably dry, if it's wet and there are traces of oil or diesel in the water, you should either suck it out with a pump or wet & dry vacuum cleaner, or put an oil sock in the bilge for a while to soak up the pollutants before you pump the bilge out.

Also check what sort of fuses you are using and buy a few spares.
Try to carry spare engine fan/pump belts or at least make a note of the part numbers on them, it's a bugger to try to get the number off a shredded belt.

Most inboard engines drive through a water-lubricated stern gland, there will be a grease-filled brass greaser near your engine. Each time you stop you'll need to turn the greaser clockwise until it feels stiffer. Once the screw in tap gets close to the body of the pump you will need to re-fill it. To do this unscrew the complete greaser body from the base, then unscrew the cap, leaving the plunger where it is. The grease comes in a small can with a plastic disk with a hole in it centre, place the plunger end over this hole and push down firmly, the grease will start to push the plunger up the tube without getting any air pockets. When it gets close to the top, screw the threaded cap down until you can screw it back onto the body. (be careful as the thread is a fine one which can be crossed quite easily) Then screw the body back into it's base.

Check your ropes, bow and stern and make sure your centre line(s) is/are not quite long enough to reach the propeller. Having two centre lines is useful, one for each side. Run them back alongside the handrails and coil them within easy reach of your steering position so that they are readily to hand when you want to get off.
A boat pole is useful if you run aground or hit the bank, and a boat hook are very useful for grabbing ropes and for removing debris from lock for instance.
Make sure you have mooring spikes, mooring clips to fit the armco found on some canals, a lump hammer and something bright to put over the mooring pins to stop people falling over them. You will also need a plank in case you can't get right into the bankside.
Does your boat have short and long chimneys? Use the long ones when moored and the shorter ones when cruising, if you don't need the fires lit take them down, if you do leave them up, make sure they are attached with a thin chain or similar or you'll lose them on the first low branch. 
A bicycle type lock or lock and chain can be useful for urban moorings where boats can be set adrift.
You will need the correct keys and windlasses for your route, these vary on different waterways so check before you sail.
On commercial or tidal waterways you may need a VHF radio and the ability to use it, you will need an anchor, navigation lights and a life jacket and the phone numbers for any lock-keepers en route. You must give priority to commercial traffic.
In tunnels, if possible, tip your headlight up to point at the roof, open your curtains and turn on your interior lights, this will help illuminate the tunnel sides. If you have a life jacket wear it. Mind your head on the lower tunnels! Tunnels can be quite cold and wet, even in summer.

Make sure you have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted!
The carbon monoxide alarm should, ideally,  be fitted at around waist height, not on the ceiling (carbon monoxide is a heavy gas)
What sort of toilet does your boat have? If it's a pump-out, does it have a water flush? If it does, then it will fill quicker and your water tanks will need filling more often (this can be more difficult on some rivers) Or is it a cassette type, if it is, do you have a spare cassette? Well worth getting as a back-up. You may have a composting toilet, these are a great environmental alternative which seperate the pee from the poo, the pee can be easily emptied and the poo is normally mixed with sawdust or cat litter and disposed of as compost or in a green bag and put in a normal bin, they don't need emptying so often, men have to sit to pee, so that it goes in the correct receptacle.
Your boat will probably have seperate leisure and starter batteries, controlled by a four position switch, one position for starting (use this only when starting), another for leisure (use this position when you are moored and not on shore power),  (both) for charging both banks (only use this after you have started the engine) then change it back to leisure only. The final position is off. 
N.B. If you leave the switch on 'both' and you flatten your batteries it will also flatten your starter battery. 
Never turn it to 'off' when the engine is running as this can knacker your alternator!
To be continued....