Thursday, 30 December 2010

Bored Teenagers

On tuesday night, a small plastic boat was stolen from the marina. It was driven downstream, torched, and then set loose. Apparently, they'd tried to break into three other boats, before they found one they could start up. The owner has no insurance, and the police were round today, looking for fingerprints on the unpinched boats.

Earlier that night, there was a bunch of young men hanging around at the back of our boat. I heard them say, "There's somebody on this one". "Is there?". "Yeah". Not terribly unusual, as we're moored next to the pub jetty, and people come and go all the time. When they'd moved on, i thought no more about it. About half eleven, i heard a small boat going downstream. "that's late to be out and about", i thought. "it's bloody freezing out there".

Then there was the ominous sound of a heavy splosh.

*SPA-LOSSSSHHH*. "Oh no". At first I thought somebody was most probably drunk, and had fallen overboard. But it must have been the crims ditching heavy objects over the side. By the time I'd got my head out of the hatch to investigate, the stolen boat was down past the railway bridge. Nobody was in the river, so I went to bed.

The rumour on the grapevine, is that it was a group of 5 18-19 year olds.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Fan Blower

well found, mateThe ice rink had retreated enough for me to get supplies, and take Mister out for a nice long walk today. He jumped in the river, ran around like an idiot, and rolled about in everything that could be rolled in. He also found the chuckie ring we lost in the blizzard 5 days ago. Result.

When we got back, I popped Steve's hot air blower down into the engine bay for twenty minutes, and the engine started up surprisingly easily. Left it running for an hour, so it could try and pump some volts back into the batteries. With the engine powering the alternator, the monitor readings were 12.88v for the leisure bank, and 13.03v for the starter.

Will give it another go tomorrow.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Voltage <-> SOC

Voltage to State of Charge

Boxing Day

Hog of the DuvetMinus ten at night.
Minus six during the day.
Slippy ice everywhere.
Sumo unimpressed.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas Day

Bright and Sunny, but still minus two.

Xmas day at Bourne EndFlattened the starter battery trying to start the engine again. Guess I'll have to wait for Steve to come back with his heavy duty jump leads.

Sumo tugged me onto my arse in the ice. Then jumped all over me, because he thought it was hilarious. When we got back to the boat, we listened to some heavy metal, and he destroyed his christmas present, in under a minute.

Kill the Elf!I'm surprised at the number of people that are out and about, either walking their dogs, or just strolling around in family groups. Down in devon we didn't see another person all day. Just the smell of overcooked sprouts hanging in the air, to let you know that the rest of humanity was still alive. But here it's been quite busy.

Buddy, scoffing our chipshaha.... an off lead black lab, called "Barney", discovered the ovenchip cache in our eco-fridge, and scoffed the lot.

Stay warm, everyone.
Happy Xmas.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Eve

Temperature didn't rise above freezing all day. Tried to start the engine, but just ended up flattening the starter battery.

The residual snow is all hard packed and deep frozen, making it like a skating rink to walk on. Handy for keeping the oven chips frozen, but quite dangerous. Skidded myself down to the shops earlier, and bought some more supplies. Now we're battened down, with the stove on, and enjoying a peaceful evening..

Hope everybody else is, too.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010


The snow seems to be retreating from here. It's vanished from the boat, and on the village roads it's turned into a slippery brown sludge. There's been a couple of fairly light 'flurries' today, but nothing that looks like it will settle again.

Unlike the situation these poor people have been facing..

'Audrey Too'

From reading their blog, it appears they got iced in, while on the way back to their winter mooring. No stove!!! No water!! So, they were having to rely on an expensive diesel heating system, which they left on all day! (ouch). Lugging fuel and water around in a wheelbarrow, down a snowy towpath, doesn't sound like much fun. Hope they are tucked up somewhere warm for xmas. Hasn't been any updates for a while, so they've probably baled. And who could blame them?

Feeling extremely fortunate that our own winter situation only necessitates a journey of 50 paces to the waterpoint, fuel and gas. Don't know if I'd be able to cope in Narrowboat Audrey Too's predicament. I suspect Sheena would be on the first train out of there, and I'd be heating up snow for me and Sumo to drink.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Power Situation

Steve has wired up shorepower, so that it gets passed along to our internal 240v sockets. Our mastervolt is probably sat in a warehouse somewhere, on it's way back to Holland. The warranty wasn't very generous, so we didn't qualify for a new box as a direct replacement. Our old one has to be sent to the factory, repaired, and sent back.

Due to the below freezing temperatures, the batteries don't seem to be holding much of a charge. Trying to use as little 12v power as possible, to give the 5v trickle charger more of a chance. Still don't know if they've been permenantly damaged, or if it's the weather.

Most people here seem to think it was "the wooden boat" that caused the problem. But as we weren't here, we have no proof that was the case. We think it was quite likely. But, sadly, we cannot prove it.

Happy Solstice

We got snowed on. Like most of the country.

More than the light dusting we were expecting5 inches of snow on the roof, frozen ropes, ice on the inside of the windows, and night time temperatures down to minus 15. None of which has put me off boating.

Inside, we are fine. The stove is working well, and we have plenty of logs and coal to burn. Our plumbing is below water level, and remains unfrozen. The engine and radiators were anti-freezed during the summer. So, nothing to worry about there.

Thursday, 9 December 2010


We got snowed in, down in Devon. Should have been there for a few days, but it turned into two weeks. When we got back to the boat, it was dark, the hatch was frozen shut, the 12v lights didn't work, and we had no mains power to any of our sockets. The inverter was also lit up like a christmas tree, and not making a sound. Our battery bank was clearly flatter than flat. ~Oh dear~.

Pretty xmas lights
Lit the hurricane lamp, so we could see what we were doing, and then got the stove going. The gas was still working, so we had a much needed brew. Steve turned up, kindly sorted us out with a power lead, and lent us his heavy duty battery charger.

Three days on, and the batteries are still not fully charged. Everybody thinks it's the new arrival at the marina, on a wooden boat, who said he only has lights and his TWO 3kw heaters going!! Feelings are running pretty high, because he's been tripping out everybody's elses fuses while we were away, and causing general electrical mayhem for the other liveaboards.

Naughty NorsemanWe're hoping that the inverter hasn't had a massive spike through it, and caused any permanent damage. Also hoping that we haven't completely knackered the batteries by draining them down to 0%. Still waiting patiently for the batteries to top themselves up, so we can test out the inverter again. When we flick the switch, we can hear it trying to boot itself up, but it's still failing dismally. Fingers crossed.

I knew i should have turned the fridge off before we went away. But, I was a trusting pillock who thought everything would be alright. Lesson learned.