Friday, 31 December 2010

Going nowhere fast

Well here I am.  A narrowboat owner who cannot even get to this boat.

The ice is preventing moving the boat from the dry dock back to my mooring.  It feels crazy.

I could have got the keys to the dock but I dont reckon I could stay overnight nor light the stove nor hook up to the 240.

I had hoped to get to the boat to at least move it but the ice man remaineth.  Quite frustrating really.  These are life lessons you only learn when you own a boat.  Unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on your point of view) that we could not stay on the boat over the holiday period but I hope to make amends as soon as Willington defrosts and I can get her out of the dry dock.

There is nothing left save buy Rolts book and read it.

It would be different if I were live-aboard, but I have the good fortune to have options.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Site update

I have decided to re-write the Four Counties Ring page, included some much needed metadata and context.  Let me know if you like it - or not!  I intend to capture much more information in the future to provide a better reading experience and capture more of the funnier moments with the camera, as well as less funny.  My oldest daughter, Johanna took a dive in at Cropredy this year when we did a bit of the Oxford prior to buying Lola, I have to admit that the camera would never have captured any of the action as I was to busy:-

a) rescuing her
b) helping her to get out of view asap

As you will appreciate a fashion conscious 13 year old does not appreciate a public dunking anywhere!  So there will be limitations.

Seems the thaw is well on, well done to those who managed and lets hope that the pump outs work and elsan is functional.  I admire your strength and understand if many had an option they would have taken it!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Just some ramblings

Just a few boat related ramblings today.

Someone asked me about narrowboats being crushed by the ice.  My response was yes it can happen but likely to be as a result of very, very poor maintenance leaving the steel at 1 mil or so.

I might not paint the boat next year, mainly becasue of the effort involved when the boat aint really too bad despite the poor adhesion of the current gloss.  I will touch up and leave the big job till year after, thus securing some much needed cash for other purposes.  As the missus is starting a new business next year (with three other colleagues), i guess finances may be a tad tight for a while.

I will have the diesel heater fitted though and have the dinetter re-configured.  Then its crusing most weekends and holidays, starting 7th January - subject to weather of course.

I need to clean the chimney so its off to chandlers for a brush. 

I am going to fit some new deck boards with additional insulation, that should be fun as I am going to cut them myself, onsite.

I reckon its important to enjoy the boat now I - we, have spent so much on it.

I was going to buy a subscription to waterways world, just as well i did not - Christmas present.

I also hope more people will make use of it so am going to encourage friends to come aboard for a day.

Looking at others blogs, I am going to try to include more pictures of events/trips.  This is more difficult because I am usually in control.  This means the family will have to help more.

We do really need to get out on the boat more, this wii dance is a pain, men were not designed to dance around a living room with a wii controller in hand to a cartoon character dancer!

I also sometimes wonder if anyone else finds this blog interesting given the purpose of it was a not so private diary.  But not enough to be bothered!

Finally, my last thoughts are "I hope the engine behaves from now on" - it should seeing as it is not the old one.  I still intend to fit an additional skin tank just to be sure.

Ramblings over for today

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Its done, engine finished

Well,  sitting in the house looking at the canal forums posts and an email wings its way.

The engine is in, done and tested.  The new step box to the stern is also done.

i just need to go and get the keys/pay the money.  I am impressed with the attitude of Aqua in delivering this, together with the updates and photos, saving me from having to go up myself.

Anyway, on to the photos.


One engine fully installed

Yup that looks like movement

Canaline control panel

The hospital silencer, all bandaged up

And last but not least, the new cover for the engine with a nice access hatch, saving me from having to remove the whole box when I need to check the water/oil/belts. It really does look like a great job.  I now need to tidy the steps up to match the box!


All I need now is to have some thawing to give her a burst up the cut (oh, and the keys lol).  A working engine is important, but I do want to hear how well the silencer works too.

Next job is to adjust the fixed double/dinette.  Quote is in and I expect to plan this for June.  Just need to see what it will look like.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

An update on t'engine

No sooner had I created the last post did an email arrive about Lola.  She is still stuck in the dock, so thats not too bad given the weather.  The engine still needs more time and the engineer is struggling with the weather.  The steps which lead from the back cabin to the stern need rebuilding because the engine sits further into the boat than the last one and the starter alternator sticks out a bit so they are getting on with that today as they break up tomorrow for crimbo.  I reckon that the new deadline to bring her back to her mooring is when the ice melts and she can be given a run, not sure when that will be, possibly early January?  Anybody's guess really, could be before but unlikely in my opinion.

A few changes

I have been mucking about with the blog design, trying to improve visual side, not sure its a success, yet.  Comments welcome.

So, my first day of the crimbo hols and I have the girls to look after.  I thought to myself that if the Missus was at work, I could have a wee trip to the boat.  No chance, blizzard at Toyota Island, this is the junction on the A50 towards Willington.  Not much point really in any case, no call to say, all done, not likely either given it will need a run to test it and with the ice as it is, no chance of that.

I also had plans to stay on her for a night or two over the holidays, no chance of that either.

Seems I am limited to reading about others adventures in this winter wonderland or winter mess, which ever you prefer.

Time to get the sledge out I suppose

Saturday, 18 December 2010

engine update

I have taken a couple of piccies of the installed engine.  Did not take more cos it was in the not quite frozen, dry dock.  I was very pleased it was in the dock as this might help against the boat freezing up.  The fitting for the hospital silencer is prepared and the silencer awaits fitting.  I am hoping that we notice a considerable improvement in reduced engine noise.  I will take a video when in place and running, you can then judge the value for yourself.



I also spoke to Justin (the man is always working) who was about and I indicated the need for a few more jobs in the new year.  Talking about the dinette situation, Justin suggested some very neat ideas used on his hire boats so I think we will take him up on these, subject to a quote of course.

He also mentioned that Aqua are building a floating dock soon, this is very interesting as the cost of work needs to include the rate for docking (where docking is needed).  Hopefully, this will provide some better margins for Aqua and possibly better cost options for me!

I reckon that the engine should be done before christmas, not an issue given the marina is all iced up so there is no going back to the mooring just yet anyway.

Thats it for now.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Prop is in

The prop went in and stern gear was ok, phew!


Some piccies of the job below. Justin and co had to do a bit of ice breaking to get the boat in the dock, bit of a pain by all accounts. They had two of their boats stuck in it and used them to break the ice to get Lola in, she wasn't gonna do it on her own with no power. So, more work done today. Might not be long before I get her back. I have learnt so much doing nowt, its truly amazing!

Prop looks shiny








The Ice

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Brief Update

Popped up to the boat Saturday am, just checking on progress and missing the boat lol.

The guys have been busy preparing the wiring and removing the old battery selector in favour of a more modern automated solution, am guessing some solenoid oriented wiring acting as a relay, maybe not.

The new control panel is being prepared for with a little moving around of indicators, removing ones no longer needed as the volts/temp will be part of the new deluxe control panel.

Checked out the old exhaust, knackered it truly was.

The boat was cold but what did I expect!.

I hope there is space for it to go in the dry dock next week so they can inspect the stern gear, I also hope its a bolted gear and not welded.  I suppose if it is welded they remove the old one and create the necessary for a bolt held stern gear.  Ideally I hope that the gear is fine or good enough to keep going with, if not c'est la vie.

I cannot remember the initial service period for the new engine but I am going to go to the boat as soon as work is complete, whatever the weather.  We will take her for a test run to check how the new power unit works, I am most keen that the prop is the correct size for her, I have also just found the cost of axiom props, boo haa, way too expensive for me.

Also being looking at the bio solutions instead of elsan blue and am gonna give em a go for a while.  I like the idea of the content dissolving rather than just sitting there, dunno why, just do.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

More work on the engine n stuff

Ah well,  the engine is fine, shame that the exhaust is not.  New exhaust needed, woe is me.  Decided on a hospital silencer, it may keep me quiet as I walk along the physcho ward!

The new engine might still be fine but it aint gonna turn the prop cos the shaft is too short! new shaft now needed, more woe is me.

There was some wear in the shaft too so I hope the stern gear is not kaput also.

Work is ongoing but what a time to be without power of any kind, I pray the leaks are easy ones.

The marina is still frozen so I guess it aint moving into the dry dock till next week at the earliest.

At least this is all being noticed and dealt with now.  Thanks to Aqua for their due care and diligence.

Wonder if Ishould change the name again to Money Box, its all in there now!

Hey ho, later all.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

A quick check

Popped up to the boat today.  Looks cold and lonely.

No obvious leaks, pump seems ok.  Hot water seems a problem but the calorifier is probably iced up as it has not been on and no connection to shoreline at the workshop, not that this matters much as their is no 240 immersion, all engine driven. 

I forgot about the shower hose, well frozen!

New engine is sitting ok but no time to really look at it.

Can only hope the weather improves enough to enable full fitting so I can fire her up next weekend, if the freeze has gone that is.

Might even get to stay over next Friday if no freeze and we can run her to the winding hole and back again, interested to see if I need to consider a new prop.  If I do it is likley to be an axiom, highly rated by all accounts.

Marina looked well frozen, and it did not seem much had moved on the last week, if anything.

Path and road around the marina still pretty well frozen but work appeared in hand to salt more.

I was tempted to get the morso going but not really any point, I would need to stay overnight as it thawed and its work tomorrow.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Engine Cometh!

Superb news!

In this filthy weather Aqua Narrowboats have actually got the new engine onto the boat.

The following pictures represents the work done so far, but I must first pass to Justin and his team my sincere thanks for getting this far in this aweful weather, true dedication and commitment.

The engine bay cleared, cleaned and painted

Note the side bilges, these were full of water, the cabin bilge had suffered too because the sides leaked into it after over-flowing, Justin and his team cleaned them out.

And this is what they worked in!

Carefully removed from the transporting rig
Nice and shiny too (for now!).


The access is pretty good so in she goes.


A little more
Last wiggle into place.


And there she is.  Looks like the feet are well positioned - fortunate or what.

They are now starting to connect it up.  So, a new engine for a newly named Boat  "NB Lola".

More later