Tuesday, 31 January 2012


We have the engineer's report for our Inverter.

And it definitely states that it was a too high input voltage (in excess of 255v) that caused the Varistor (pictured) to blow. In fairness to Aquafax and Mastervolt, everybody that we've dealt with has been friendly, polite, and courteous. Our main beef is with the ruggedness of their kit.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Odd Jobs

After a very chilly start to the day, we had some nice warm afternoon sunshine, which made it the perfect time to tackle a few outstanding jobs before the sub-zero weather sets in. Tidied Up. Emptied out the stern gland drip tray. Refilled the greaser. Hoovered the deck drainage channels. Swept the Chimney. And split some logs..

Changed the fanbelt, because there were quite a few of the teeth missing, which might increase the risk of it slipping and overheating the alternator. Which we definitely do not need.

Then rustled myself up a Jalfrezi..



Blake's underwater primer?

Hmmm... I'm glad this isn't our boat.

"What's that?", I asked. "I've never seen anyone do that before". Tony says "It will add another 10 years of life to the hull", and Peter says "It's better than Red Oxide".

But there is still rust underneath it!

It's another two years until we need to black our bottom again. But when we do, we're definitely using Vactan.

At this time of year, you struggle a bit to get it to harden. But when it does, it converts the rust. Gone. And that's what increases the hull life, surely?

Paco Systems (the people who make Vactan) are also based in Newton Abbot. So we're very happy to be able to support a Devon business. Just ordered ourselves another 5 litres for next season.

In fairness to the Marina, Richie did a lovely job on the blacking. It all looks very smooth. Freezing cold day, too. Respect to him.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Inverter Saga

It's back..
Plumbed in, and functional again.
But they mugged us for £400.

Given our experiences, we would not recommend Mastervolt products to anyone. Their upper pain threshold is only 265V, and if they pop, you face a 2 month wait, and a stupid repair bill.

Though we asked for one, no written engineer's report was forthcoming, so we are having to chase them for it. We need the written report, so that we can definitely prove it was "high voltage" (us plugging into shorepower) that caused the problem. And then, we can try to get our money back from the Marina owners. We're hoping that this can be achieved amicably, without causing any ill-will, or recourse to the law courts.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Nothing is Real

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see. It's getting hard to be someone, but it all works out.
It doesn't matter much to me.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Big Crane

Crane out day for the big boys and steel boats today, so it was musical merry-go-round at the Marina. I had to moor on the offside bank, outside the Bounty pub (the most dog friendly place I know). Unfortunately, it wasn't open. Went for a nice walk over the marshes and up the hill with Sumo. No flow on the river, and not much wind, so singlehanding it from one side to the other was a doddle.

This was the moment some new owners discovered that their recent purchase had no steerage at all from their fly bridge, and they were getting swept downstream a bit too rapidly for their liking. Thankfully, their boat's interior steering position was still functional, and they were able to bring themselves alongside safely.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Ratty, Moley & Toad

Griff Rhys Jones is visiting Bourne End marina tomorrow. He's going out in the tug with Peter to do some filming for a new TV program about "The Wind in the Willows".

Update: He turned up on sunday, with a production and camera crew of 7 people. They all took off downriver in the tug, where Griff pretended to row about for a bit, and do some pieces to camera. Peter says they filmed for a couple of hours, which will boil down into a 4 minute nugget of TV. Not sure on the program name. But from what I gather, it's BBC 'faces' talking about their favourite things. Griff Rhys Jones' was "The Wind in the Willows", and John Snow's is "War Artists". No decent quality pictures, sorry. I was doing the washing up when they took off, and it was a grey, overcast day, with appalling light.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Chilly Nips

Phwooarrrr... It was a chilly -2, with ice on the inside of the windows when I woke up this morning. Sheena would have loved that. Lit the quickest fire I've ever started, and downed some hot coffee while the engine warmed up. Pleased to report that it started first time, without having to spank the batteries.
Reversed out into midstream, where it was lovely and warm, full of sunshine, and not unlike a spring day. Chugged up to Cookham lock, with the river like a millpond. The lock keeper was there, so going through the lock itself, was stress free. I entered it so slowly, he had time to dissapear into his little hut, and put the kettle on. But at least I didn't ram anything or end up wedged across the lock, making a fool of myself.

Once out of the lock cut, the river was a little more ripply, but it had hardly any flow on it at all. So, I enjoyed a very pleasant journey back upstream to Bourne End. Didn't see anything else moving all day, even though Marlow lock is apparently still open.

Sunday, 15 January 2012


Took beast for a stroll around the woods. It didn't drop below freezing last night, but it was still warmer off the boat, than on it this morning. When we got to the top of the hill, it was warm with plenty of sunshine. Great views across Berkshire from up there too.

Back onboard now, with a nice fire going. My favourite time of the day, because all the walkers have gone home, and the geese have shut up for the night. The only sound is Sumo snoring. It is a great pleasure to hear 100 percent absolutely nothing, in this often noisy world. Part of the reason why I enjoy this particular stretch of the river very much, is that it is so quiet and peaceful (off season). Such riches can't be bought. Just seen one other narrowboat all day. Apart from that, nothing moving at all.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Cliveden Woods

Hello everyone. First post of the new year, because there hasn't been much to report. Life in the marina goes on as normal, and we are still awaiting our inverter back from Holland, so we've been unable to go very far.

Today, however, with Sheena down in Devon, I fancied a change of scenery. Diddled about umm-ing and aah-ing, for an hour or two, then decided to go for it...

Topped up on fresh supplies, and singlehanded myself down to Cliveden, so that I could enjoy some middle of nowhere peace and quiet. Not that Bourne End is ever "super busy", but it's nice to get away from it all, and out into the countryside, sometimes. Sumo also gets good quality sniffs down here.

Temperature dropped to -6 yesterday. Inside we were nice and warm, but when it was time to shut the hatch for the night, it wouldn't budge. Frozen solid. Had to use the heat gun on it, to be able to slide it closed.

Going down through Cookham lock solo went OK. The lock keeper was there to push the control buttons, handily. He was surprised to hear that we have central heating onboard. He'd always imagined that narrowboaters have to huddle pitifully around their stoves.

So, that's us for the night.