Thursday, January 31, 2019

Birthday Girl on board

Its Hannah's Birthday today!! So a big day was planned!
It was up early and she opened her cards with Tooty..
Al had done her a little Birthday cake and candle and she shut her eyes and made a wish"
Then the girls went out and dropped the car off at the station and got the train down to London..
It was then time to do a little shopping with some birthday money she had got.
They then went on for something to eat at Byron's one of Hannah's favourite places.
After getting stuffed they wandered over to the Theatre and we had brought tickets to see Mamma Mia the Abba Musical.
 They got seated and saw a fantastic show.
Afterwards they made their way back to Rugby as the weather had turned a bit with some rain and wind..

Down to Reading and the central heating serviced

We had a lazy morning as it was Hannah's leaving day today! She packed her bags and Del said his goodbyes.
Al was being given a lift to the station before Hannah hit the motorway as Al was going down to Reading. She met up with her friend Joy, staying the night, and Joy and Steve had cooked a lovely dinner.

Del wanted to get the radiators drained and refilled with antifreeze so they could take the dip in temperatures expected..  He also wanted to service the Eberspacher 10 heating boiler and make sure things were in good working order..
Al then went into Reading for brunch with Joy and met up with another friend Lorry.  They had a lovely time before Al got the train back. She arrived back at 4.30pm just before it got dark and just before Del had finished the boiler..
We had a lovely night in our very warm Derwent6, we are now ready for the snow!!.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Cinema treat!

After a morning of not doing much we decided to make up for it in the afternoon.. Hannah took us in the car to do a bit more shopping.
 We then went to the Cinema to see "The Mule" about a old guy who gets involved with drug running somehow.. It was a good watch....
From there we went on to Frankie and Benny's for a bite to eat as we had a voucher for 50% off main meals.. We are still not drinking and Del's arm is still not good.. he has movement in it, but it is so badly bruised..
We got back to Derwent6 in time for the football where we watched Man U beat Arsenal for Del's sins!!!!

Biting the bullet!

It was still cold and we decided to have a day in.. Al and Han watched a few films and Del spent the time organising the new battery system Derwent6 is going to have..
We have now sorted out the right price and made our minds up with what system we are going to have, and we are booked in for later in the year.
Derwent6 will be having four Lithium LiFePo4 12.8/100Ah Smart batteries wired for a 24 volts domestic system.
This is linked into a management system which manages the batteries so the charging is controlled when the batteries are full, and also low, but most importantly when the temperature drops below 5 degrees Celsius (which kills Lithium Batteries).
The batteries are going to be fitted in the same place as the lead acid batteries and it will all be able to be controlled (including each battery cell) by our phones, by Bluetooth.
We are also having two 24v 340 watt solar panels fitted on Del's shiny roof which are on tiltable brackets to get maximum watts to charge the Lithium's. This runs through a Smart MPPT  (Maximum Power Point Tracking) controller which is also all visible on Bluetooth.
Yes its not cheap, but we feel boating also has to be quality of life when you're living aboard.. With the summers getting warmer and Lithium being the way forward, we feel now is the right time.. These batteries have been known to last 15 years, if managed, so when they need changing the cost will hopefully have come down a hell of a lot and our system is in place.

Iced in with crew

So we had new crew, but we weren't going anywhere. One, the canal was frozen and two, we were back in the marina.. We were snug and warm with the fire ticking over night and then the heating kicking in as we surfaced..
We had snow and very cold conditions which made it a good move to get in the marina yesterday!
The girls decided wrap up and have a shopping day and came back in the afternoon with a horde of bags, "Oh a good day then" Del said..
We had dinner on Derwent6 and watched some tv till the early hours..

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Curly ropes and we're off (with the cat)

In the morning we looked out the porthole to be greeted by a heavy frost, but at least we had a cat..
Del then sorted out Derwent6 again and then noticed the ice was forming on the canal. We had no choice and had to go today so we pushed off, it was bitter!
We went under the new bridge, which now had some new ends on it, and luckily we passed another boat.
This cleared the way of the ice forming which was only a very thin layer, so thin even the ducks were breaking it up..

We reached Brownsover at Rugby and pulled over on the water point to get rid of our rubbish and top up the tank before everything freezes. You can see Al holding the frozen rope.
Al then took the short walk down to the shops and got some food shopping.
With the tank full and rubbish done we set off hitting more ice on the way. We made our way to Newbold and the sun was burning some of the ice but Derwent6 was still having to cut a hole through it..

We got to Newbold tunnel and it was getting worse the other side.
Past the boatyard where we saw Terry on n.b Aqualady who was blacking his boat.
We then turned into Brinklow marina because we were meeting Hannah at some point in the afternoon..
We managed to turn and reverse onto our given pontoon. As we sorted ourselves out you could tell it was going to sleet as was forecast.. It is nice to be back on shoreline as these batteries just aren't what they used to be and we have only had them a couple of years..
Hannah arrived at 5.00pm and she settled in with us. In the evening we decided to grab a bite to eat on Derwent6 and then went to see a band in the Merchants Inn pub in town.. We all had a great night and it is so good to see her!! 
It was bloody freezing, so I bet we are iced in in the morning!


The plan was to set off this morning so Del put on the lamp and prepared Derwent6 for launch, BUT NO CAT!
Tooty had decided that he didn't want to move today and had gone into the woods and was nowhere to be seen. Shaking his treats didn't work and even offering his food bowl.. it got to lunchtime and we still planned to leave but after 8 hours he wasn't coming back today. There had been a lot of dog walkers and also golfers which spook him a bit with the clattering of their clubs.
Del brought the lamp back in and buttoned Derwent6 up for the night, we weren't going nowhere! It got to twelve hours, so we both went out the stern deck of Derwent6, with layers of clothing in the freezing conditions and also armed with torches and treats!
Del just shone the torch light along the gunwale and in the cratch and these cats eyes appeared wondering what all the fuss was about..  Al had worked herself up a bit and was so relieved to see him back! So a day wasted, but we had our cat back. Lets hope it now doesn't freeze the canal tonight.. :-)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Del on the other hand

So we have stayed put and it has been quite adventurous.. Al has been down to Kent visiting friends, seeing Sarah for her Birthday and also Lisa who had a birthday in December. Al stayed over night with Sarah as it was a surprise visit, and then was kindly driven over to Lisa's by David.. She had a fantastic time with both and it was so lovely to catch up and see them.
Del on the other hand had a bit of a drama. He was preparing to turn Derwent6 round, and on taking the chimney off slipped on the gunwale and was left dangling by his arms from the roof rail. His went in up to his knees and his feet got soaked as he struggled back to the stern deck. The problem was his arm again, which was on the mend, but when it was straightened hanging from the roof a loud click was heard and he was back in pain.. He felt sick as he tried to change his clothes.. After 15 minutes he set off and turned, but didn't feel that good. It took him ages but he managed to do it with his other arm.. So again no polishing for him!
On the Wednesday when Al was back we both went into Birmingham to see what was going on with the January sales. Al managed to buy a few tops and we got a few bargains.. Del, on the other hand, went out to get some more walking boots in the sales, and while in Birmingham (with his dodgy arm) turned his ankle over on a low kerb hurting his arm even more, and ended up laying on the wet paving slabs. He got up worse for wear because his ankle had swollen up.. So when he tried to get on his boots he wanted to try, he was in so much pain we had to give up.
We then went to Ask for something to eat and to recover from our morning.. Del ended up having to get a cab back to the boat as more walking was out of the question..
The following day was going to be a take it easy day.. Del's arm was still swollen, but it wasn't stopping him doing things.. So we were minding our own business when there was an almighty BANG! and when we looked out the bow we had a boat on our button.. They had just gone straight into us.. Del was limping out with his dodgy ankle and arm fuming and noticed we had been hit so hard it had snapped the chain on the bow and we were drifting across the canal..
The ropes were all frozen and it was difficult to pull Derwent6 back to the bank. The woman on the tiller of the other boat said "I couldn't see where I was going with the sun",  " Well bloody well stop then " Del replied.. When we saw the boat it was "ENDEAVOUR" the time share boat and the husband and wife had had a row with each other over who was going to steer.. Del had to keep his mouth shut otherwise he was going to lose it.. They supplied us with another rusty old chain to secure us back up and then it was inspect the damage time..
A few things had been knocked over, but Derwent6 had passed the test we think.. We won't know until we fill the water tank again if there is any damage there but in general things all looked ok..
Later in the day when things had calmed down, the couple came round with a bottle of wine and all their details in case we find anything in the future, and offered to pay for anything damaged.. They managed to get by us safely the following morning!
 What's done is done! Del on the other hand, is not happy at the moment!!!!

Solar and Lithium Update

We have been taking to the Victron engineers, regarding us having the solar panels and maybe changing over to Lithium batteries. The first bit of bad news is that it turns out we will need a new inverter as the chip inside our Phoenix Multiplus 24/2000 won't take the latest firmware updates to work with the Lithium system..
Lets make it quite clear Derwent6 is having a new system, not just batteries. We have a 24 volt system and this won't be cheap!
So we got a quote back, and this was with one 24 volt 200Ah battery which would save on wiring, fuses and also other components..

This 24 volt battery is a lot bigger than the 12 volt batteries and we could only fit one in the place we want to fit them. So after a phone conversation we have asked for a quote on 4 x 12 volt 100Ah batteries. This will still give us the same power, but if something goes wrong in the future we hopefully only have to replace one battery at a lower cost (the price for both the 24v and 4 x 12v were almost the same..).
With this system we should be able to run our washing machine and tumble drier just on the batteries.. Watch this space!!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Topped up to the brim

We woke up to the wind howling through the porthole windows and thinking it might be too windy to move today.. When we checked the wind was actually behind us and the temperatures were good for January so we decided to go for it..  We kept our fingers crossed through the trees in case a tree branch came down on us, but going with the wind made things a bit easier.
It turned out to be a pleasant cruise as it was still so quiet..
We spotted some friends on the way towards Newbold tunnel.

 We soon reached the aqueducts before Rugby and managed to get moored right by the bridge so we could get the shopping trolley right up to Derwent6.

 With Derwent6 full of food and drink it was time to pull over to the water point and fill the water tank and also empty the waste tank..
With that done we had the nice feeling of 'we are ready to take on the world' for a couple of weeks.. It was good to see n.b. No Problem out of the shed after the fallen tree had damaged the roof.. From a distance it looked like they had done a good job..
We carried on under the new 66A Houlton road bridge and moored on our favourite winter mooring place at Clifton..
Tooty was of in a flash as he knew the area so well..
Al had brought a cooked chicken in Tesco's and a good old Sunday roast was the order of the day for us.. This finished us off and we crashed and burned after that..

Monday, January 14, 2019

Litter pickers depart

It was a bit of a lay in after our late night with Maffi. We sorted ourselves out and then noticed Maffi litter picking outside and loading the rubbish on the roof of his boat with Mollie looking on..
I think what people have to remember is some boats make the canal a mess, however some boats pick it all up and keep it tidy. After all we All have to look at it!!
We said our goodbyes and then went our separate ways.
We passed through Ansty which appeared to be empty.
It has been so quiet around here!
We pushed on to the swingbridge at Rose's narrowboats and spotted some wood in the sidings.
We moored up at All Oaks which had a couple of boats on it..
Tooty was off in this familier spot.
Del walked up and got the wood he spotted and that will be a job for tomorrow. It was going to be one of those quiet nights in tonight..