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Sunday, 6 January 2013

New Year blog

Happy new year to All.

I threatened I might get into blog again whilst at base and decided there were a few things to get off my chest so here we are.

It has been an incredible day today, sunshine most of the time with little wind and unseasonably mild......and a few weeks before Xmas several daily papers assured us we were to have an incredibly severe winter!!! Anyway I celebrated by getting one side of Lily polished & intend to do the other one tomorrow, the idea being to protect the paintwork from the sun & winter elements. Sadly of course we have suffered from the effects of the rain of the majority of 2012. We were lucky to get back along the T&M before it slid into the Weaver, unlike friend Masie we met in Chester, Sale and Northwich last year. She made it back via the Peak Forest which was hard work for a single hander but she went back to Salthouse Dock to use the Yellow Submarine boat that is moored there as a floating apartment where they had a family Xmas and raved about it.

Going on about slips just by Lily in Debdale soil has slipped down an embankment and into the canal, closing it to navigation. CRT engineers are to inspect it closely on Monday & Tuesday to come up with proposals to restore navigation. Because it is part of a SSSI they will have to agree what they do with Natural England. It seems that some time ago BW moved some reeds from the off side to the towpath side to enhance it and currently CRT are saying that changes in boat wash caused by this might have disturbed to toe of the embankment. Whatever it was, the embankment had stood for around 20 years since Debdale placed the spoil arising from the excavation of the marina extension. I attach two photos which show that it is hardly a catastrophic collapse, but the stuff that has slipped looks to be a terribly wet slurry that would drip through your fingers if you tried to hold some. I fear it will need a great deal of excavating and the field above the embankment was very “sloshy” as I walked over it.

We are returning to Liverpool for next summer to act as floating hotel for grand-daughter Hannah in June as she will be taking part in a cheer-leading competition in the Liverpool arena, just by Albert Dock. I think we will have to make out outward journey via the Peak Forest as the repair to the T&M might not be completed, but as we didn’t travel it last year it will be new water to enjoy, though it will be a lot harder work. After that we don’t know what to do, though as we will be hosting our youngest grand-daughters it might be a good idea to get south as they live near Chichester.Still it will give us something to ponder.

I mentioned in my last blog that our domestic alternator had gone wrong. It was sent away to the supplier who much to my amazement said it was beyond economic repair!! I found it hard to believe but ended up being relieved of £480 for a new one. It isn’t fitted yet as I am (still) waiting for Debdale to fit a new mounting. The old one is nearly right but the bore of the mounting is a metric diameter whilst those on the alternator are imperial size, it being an American made unit. We are anxious to get it refitted soon so we can go off for a bit of a cruise over the winter to check it is OK for our big cruise.

We were not done with power problems. Wh­­­ilst going over to fill with diesel I found that the engine could not be turned off and the ignition warning light was “on” and no charge was registered. I called RCR about this as I feared the rewound alternator they fitted last summer could have failed. Sam Matts from Foxton Boat Services was sent out which was a good job as Debdale have had poor experiences of RCR’s but they rate Sam & are prepared to let him work in the marina. We did not stay around whilst he sorted it, but gave him a cuppa & a mince pie (Carol’s are incredible!!). He found that the problem lay within the connector block on the umbilical cord from the engine to control panel. This is not the first time we have had this so I reckon the person that made the connections must have been having an off day. All sorted now, but another reason to want to go for a cruise.

The other week we went to Foxton to go into a lock. Very interesting, especially the flow splitter in wrought iron that splits the inrushing water from the paddle and stops, or at least reduces, the wearing away of the brickwork. That in the lower levels of the chamber was mostly original brickwork as was the wrought iron piece!

This next Thursday I am giving a talk to our local IWA branch about our trips into Liverpool. I’ve never done this before with “slides”, though of course it will be all digital and I am supposed to do it in PowerPoint, except I’ve only made one presentation like this before and also it is going to be presented off an Apple & it doesn’t like my Windows based show.....its a job for Monday when I go over to Mountsorrel to recreate it on Beryl’s computer on Wasp. Fortunately the Soar has now come out of flood, though I’m not sure that the derailment near to Pillings Lock below Barrow has yet been resolved, this too caused by excessive water flow. This link should take you to the report in the Leicester Mercury.

Finally for now, I completed in November fitting double glazing to the saloon windows, having sorted it out for the port holes last year. I’ve bought 4mm thick polycarbonate sheet & cut it to shape (or nearly so!) with my jig saw & then finished the shaping with a “Surform” file. I placed window insulation foam around the inside edges of these sheets so this would rest on the metal frame. I then put the sheets in place and ran around the join between pane and frame with decorators’ caulk......which of course works on Lily as she has white window surrounds and the caulk is white. In spring I run around the edge of the panels with a palette knife, removing the caulk which never sets really hard, and ease the panels out....or at least that is the plan, but it worked on the portholes. In the meantime NO CONDENSATION!!! Cost £50 for each main window plus a few pounds for the foam and caulk.

I'll be back, perhaps, let's hope all the closures get completed in time for the cruising year!