Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Of home brew engine bays and old boats

Amazing the people you meet on the canal. On our run down to Hanwell we stopped at Bulls Bridge Tescos and moored up behind NB Brecon where the owner was busy rewiring his batteries. I wandered over for a chat and was interested to see that he was wiring them up so that they had an equal length lead each from a hub connected to the alternator. Same on the earth side. As it had six domestic batteries it was quite a spiders web, but very neatly done. I have read recently that this is the best way to wire up a battery bank so all the batteries get charged and discharged equally.

Anyway, there was something even more interesting in his engine bay - two five gallon beer brewing tubs. Apparently the beer brews nicely in the warm environment close to the engine. Quite how he gets it to settle with the boat rocking about I don’t know. Here was a guy who had got he knack of living aboard and was good at looking after his kit. He said his Kabola engine had done 12,000 hours. I suppose it terms of a car that’s over 400,000 miles!

Further on down the canal we met a couple aboard NB Peggotty waiting by Norwood top lock. It turns out this was the first time that had ever used a lock as they had only bought the boat days before at High Line where we moor. We gave some help and instruction and I suppose they were a lot more knowledgeable by the time they had descended the 8 locks down to the Fox. Later in the pub, they said they were off to Newbury on the Kennet and Avon and hoped to get there the following day!!!! I reckon five days might be more the mark, especially when you’re not used to locks and swing bridges.

Today, two days later, they’re still moored here at Brentford where we now sit behind NB Dane, a superb of working boat that we also met on the Hanwell flight. A young family with two kids live on her.Apparently Dane was rescued as a sunken boat and needs a lot of work, but it’s a lovely old boat. Just look at that oak planking. Best of all it has a Bolinder engine. Pop pop pop, pause pop pop , it goes. Probably a swine to start but I just love the sound. I’d give my eye teeth for a Bolinder were it not for the fact that a dentist already took them some years go.

Tonight we’re off to O’Briens pub with Simon where we’ll attempt to infiltrate a local music session, him with his mandolin and me with my pipes. Should be fun.


VallyP said...

Hi Neil, I need to read this post properly so will come back to it, but as a narrow boater, I thought you might be interested in this blog http://bruce-the-boat.blogspot.com/

Bruce and Jan used to live on their narrowboat in the UK and then went from the sublime to the ridiculous (or is that the other way round) by buying a big old Belgian barge here in the Netherlands. They still have a great love for narrow boats though, and would I'm sure like to make contact with you.

Neil Corbett said...

Thanks Vally, I'll follow that up. Strange their boat should be called "Bruce the Boat" - there's one at our moorings called "Fred the Boat"


VallyP said...

Just read your post here. You do meet some interesting folks indeed. I should study this battery business more too as I'm about to invest in some for my barge. I'm intrigued to hear about the music session. Our Bruce also plays the pipes, and (in a very modest way) I play the mandolin! When we have the time, we all play together - my Koos on guitar and Bruce's Jan on the Bhodrun. How did the infiltration go?