Sorry the images aren't all that good. As PDFs they'll look fine.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Sorry the images aren't all that good. As PDFs they'll look fine.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Today I got a letter saying that following a couple of break-ins to boats, they are ramping up security. Already we are well fenced in with electronically operated gates at either end of the moorings, but now they are looking at improved fencing, CCTV and and another gate between the yard and the moorings and they are introducing a visitor badge scheme. We're supposed to challenge any unknown characters who may be hanging about near the boats. It all sounds a bit draconian but those of us with precious property stored on site will have less to worry about I suppose.
Actually on Herbie we are lucky to have Saltysplash alongside and Lydia on Serendipity next door, who are often around and I'm sure keep an eye open for us. Thanks to Lydia we're also amply supplied with guard cats!
Monday, January 26, 2009
The objective is to visit our two sons, one in Huntingdon and one in Cambridge, by boat. While we're out that way we'd also like to explore the fen rivers that flow into the Great Ouse. That means the rivers, Lark, Little Ouse and Wissey. This map gives you an idea.
The Wissey in particular is supposed to be very attractive and is a favourite of Sue on No Problem. Here's a link to her last trip there
On the way there of course we'll have to journey up the Grand Union to near Northampton, then down the river Nene and across the middle levels. Lovely jubbly.
The whole trip should take a couple of months or more as we don't want to hurry and we'll have time off for good behaviour when we can leave the boat somewhere safe. We'll also get some jobs done as we'll get Herbie's hull blacked somewhere on the way.
No doubt we'll also play host to good friends on various parts of the journey and that'll only add to the enjoyment. I can hardly wait, but as I said, I mustn't get too excited, there are any number of things that could spoil the plan - especially prolonged rain, which c an make the Nen in particular impassable.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
You can play Tantrix solo like patience, or there is a good set of rules for two to four players. I won't describe it here but they have a good web site where you can see it and even play on-line. Apparently there is even a UK championship and this year they will hold the first world championship in Edinburgh. I don't think I'll enter, I've only just mastered the rules and it looks like you would have to be smart to beat a good player.
Come to think of it, we needn't stay on board to play Tantrix. It's a very compact game and we could easily play it in the pub. Now I've warmed to it even more!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Friday, January 09, 2009
Last night we persuaded (without much dificulty) Saltysplash and Laura to join us for a meal and a pint or three at the Swan &Bottle in Uxbridge. It was much warmer there and the canal had no ice at all. Urban environment I suppose. At our moorings here we are in the countryside.
We were hoping to be joined by Andrew from Granny Buttons who was driving back to his boat from Norfolk, but sadly he didn't arrive until just after we left. Sorry Andrew, - next time.
A lovely sunny day, but down here on the Slough arm the ice is really thick. I broke this piece off from near the stern of the boat this morning. Further away I think it might be thicker.
Inside the engine bay the temperature last night fell to about +4 degrees so that’s OK. I’m not sure what the outside temperature was. Halfie suggested that by measuring outside and inside temperatures we might be able to predict future risks if interior freezing from the weather forecast. Thinking about it, that wouldn’t really work because the variable factor is how long the cold temperatures have held for. In a prolonged freeze up, and unheated boat will gradually lose temperature, at a rate dependent on its insulation, until eventually it would be as cold inside as out. Of course temperatures rise and fall throughout the day, and sunshine on a boat can pump quite a bit of heat into the shell and through the windows.
According to the Met Office, it should fall to about -5 degrees here tomorrow (Saturday) night, then much milder weather should set in. I wonder how long the canal ice will take to melt next week.
I really need to work out a policy of when to come out and warm up the boat during prolonged deep freezes, or to go to the trouble of completely draining down all the vulnerable pipes and pumps - not easy.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
I realise now that draining down the Morco deals with its contents and the outlet, but not the inlet. The only way I can drain the inlet, which is four feet above the floor, will be to drain the cold supply at floor level, so tomorrow I'm going to rig up something which will do that. That should protect the water pump too.
However, all is not well. Our Morco gas water heater needs a bit of work, I couldn’t get it going yesterday and there is a split collar on the water inlet union. Not from ice, I might add, because it was drained down last time we left the boat. It’s a plastic collar and it look like it might have cracked from being over tightened in the past. Anyway I don’t like messing with gas devices so someone from the boatyard is due to come and fix it today. It ought to be serviced periodically anyway. Nothing major I’m sure.
More disturbingly, I couldn’t start the Eberspacher diesel heater which is our alternative source of hot water. Lots of smoke and banging! I suspect ice might be a problem here even though it has antifreeze in its circuit. I’ll wait until warmer weather to see if it starts ok when its not freezing. I’ll put the min max thermometer in the engine bay today to see how cold it gets in there.
So were boiling kettles to get hot water for washing and washing up. Not a problem in the short term. We could start the engine and get hot water that way I suppose, but it doesn’t seem worth the bother at the moment.
It’s nice to be here though. A welcome change from home and a different view out of the window. I wonder what is happening to all the fish that usually surround the boat. Asleep I suppose.
Monday, January 05, 2009
At 8.30 the kitchen fitters arrived at our next door neighbours' house and started knocking holes in the wall, then at 9 o'clock some council men arrived and proceeded to dig up the footpath outside our house with a pneumatic drill. Then the final straw came at 10 o'clock when the Broadmoor hospital siren, just a couple of miles from where we live, had its weekly test. So much for Richard's lie in.
I drove him over to Slough to get a train home then took the opportunity of nipping out to Herbie to check her over. The canal was iced over and there was a dusting of snow on the path as you can see in the photo, but inside the boat it was more than 10 degrees. Even under the floor where the water pump sits it was about 6 degrees, so I was reassured.
Mind you, that was early afternoon and the sun was shining. It will be interesteing to see howe far the temperature drops tonight which is forecast to be very cold. I left a min max thermometer by the water pump to record it.
If all goes according to plan we'll stay on the boat for a few nights starting Wednesday, so that should get her warmed up.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Picasa seems to be quite good, although I can't work out why my dated folders don't display in order. For instance it gives me 2008, 2007, 2003, 2005 in that order. Most odd.
However it does have some real benefits for me, the first being that I can create a blog entry starting with choosing photos from the thumbnail library, then it automatically starts up Blogger and puts the photos in and I just have to type the text around them, which is what I am doing now.
Picasa also has a good set of tools for improving the photos, quicker, easier and more versatile than Brilliant Photo. Plus one thing that has really opened my eyes. At a click of a button I can see the exposure, shutter speed and ISO data for each picture. Very revealing. The first thing it has shown me is that when I set the camera to Auto, it frequently adjusts the ISO setting. See these two pictures (neither very good) taken nine seconds apart, both on Auto. In the first one the camera has chosen an ISO of 64, and in the second an ISO of 400! I don't think I would have chosen the 400 had I been operating manually. On the other hand it did allow a shutter speed of 160th of a second which helped to overcome the fact that the boat was moving along at 3mph.
I think I'll spend a bit more time pondering settings on old pics good and bad and see what I can learn.