Friday, May 31, 2019

Avoided the rain, but another long day to Beale

We checked the forecast on Wednesday and it was rain later in the day. By the time we were ready to go it was already raining so the plan to move went out of the window.. We thought we would get the shopping instead, and first stopped by in Costa for a coffee and a panini so we weren't hungry when food shopping..
We had to go to Waitrose which is always a bit more expensive for us, but it did make a change. It did help us keep the cost down!
Loaded with ruck sacks and carrier bags we made the short trip back to Derwent6, and Al filled up the cupboards. So that was the highlight of the day because it definitely wasn't the European cup final as it was just rubbish!

On the Thursday we were up at the crack of dawn and on our way downstream on the Thames to see how far we could get before we had had enough..
  We left Abingdon and hit the open waters and then two miles further up the river turns into a channel.
We got to Culham Lock and found out why we hadn't seen any other boats..
This lock is very difficult when the electric gates and paddles are turned off.. The turning of the wheels took ages for us to get through, but it was still good fun.. We then circled Didcot Power station.
And passed under Appleford Railway bridge.
Some of the houses along this section are amazing.

We got to Days Lock and we have got to say a lot of the moorings are empty.
A good clear out has been done by the Environmental agency, CaRT could take a leaf out of their book..
We had a bit of a stretch now where we had no locks for an hour or so. Al soon had the washing machine on and came back out with some bacon butties, that's why Del married her!!!! lol
We like this part and eating Bacon butties as well was a dream..
We got to Benson Lock and then passed through Wallingford.
Here we met the rowers and top quality rowers they were as well with there GB shirts on. They were coming past us so fast it made us look like we were moored up, a really good sight to see..
They were also being cheered by us and all the other competitors..
 We carried on to Goring lock and again there were loads of moorings but we wanted to get a little further to make things easier tomorrow.. We ended up at Beale Park as the boat festival had been cancelled this year, and by the looks of it indefinitely. We had it all to ourselves and Tooty was in his element.. We managed to get a telly signal which used to be difficult here so we were sorted for the evening..

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Felt a Long Day

We left Kidlington at 10.30am, we wanted it to be earlier but Derwent6 was covered in leaves from the wind and rain we had last night..
Del sorted the boat out and Al walked to the first lock and we were soon on our way to Dukes Cut where we took a turn onto the Thames..

We were soon on the river and turned to Kings Lock which was on self service.
It took us a few minutes to get used to these locks again, but we soon sussed it out. We were joined by another boat and a couple of canoes.
This meant we couldn't buy our Thames licence and would have to get it at the next lock which was Godstow Lock. Here we had a lock keeper and we could get our licence at last..
We got it for a few weeks so we could enjoy the Thames as we love it so much.
The Thames is just a great river with so many contrasts, you still have to navigate it, and the wildlife is amazing..

We passed through Oxford.
And then onto Iffley Lock.
 We have done this quite a few times now, but in fact the last time was five years ago and it feels different again.

It gets so open and then closes in like you could be on the canal. The views are lovely as well!!
We pushed on towards the town of Abingdon and here they have good services.. We first had a pump out for £11.00 and then topped up with water.
With two boats in the distance we got ready to go through the lock ahead of them.. This paid off as we just had a fantastic spot on the visitors moorings.
Tooty was happy, and jumped off into some woodland we had nearby. He likes trees as he knows he can climb if he gets in trouble.
We then walked into town and had a drink and some eats out on our taste card which saved us £24.00.. When we got back we were fit for nothing!!

Cruise to Kidlington

We were up early as we wanted to get on the water point before all the hire boats had returned on this Bank Holiday weekend. We let them all get out of the way before we started the engine for the first time for days.. This worked to a degree but with Derwent6's tank it took an hour to fill and the boats came flooding back.

Once full, it was lovely to be cruising again, we miss it so much when we don't.. Al put some washing on and again we didn't need to put the travel power generator on.. This is such a big bonus when cruising as we don't have to pause the cycle on the washing machine when passing moored boats, because the revs have to be over 1200rpm with the travel power..
We got to Dashwood lock.
And then got to Northbrook Lock.
We soon got to Pigeon Lock and it looked lovely with all the trees in flower..
The canal then narrows with reeds and it makes it fun if you meet anyone..

After getting through the busy Enslow Bridge, you get to the Cherwell river section at Baker's Lock. This is a very twisty turns section which is very pretty due to the clear water of the river.. We then entered Thrupp and moored at the services, where we then found out that our CaRT pump out card didn't work in this machine. We made a phone call to the harbour master, but he was having his lunch! We weren't desperate and decided to wait for a pump out on the Thames. We were then joined by Maffi (n.b Milly M),  and it was lovely to meet Susan.. We had a brief catch up and they helped us on our way by lifting up the lift bridge for us.
We should see them later in the year when we have a bit more time..
We carried on to Kidlington and moored up for the night.
Tooty was out in a flash as he had been in for eleven days due to us being so close to the railway and also the rabbits were fighting back..
On the move tomorrow if the weather looks alright!

Monday, May 27, 2019

An Away Day!

Al stayed down in Whitstable in Kent on the Saturday while Del just pottered about on Derwent6. She had a great time spending time with Zoe on her Birthday and seeing friend Suzi and even little Liberty (Zoe's granddaughter) joined in..
After the afternoon at the pub on the beach, they carried on celebrating with a BBQ back at Zoe's. Meanwhile Del went up the pub in Lower Heyford, as they had a open mic night going on but it turned out to be a bit of a let down, but the drink helped as he met up with a fellow boater for a drinking session.

Al came back on Sunday just after the Monaco Grand Prix and a good catch up was in order.. We also planned about moving from here as we had been here eleven days (and still hadn't had to run the engine). Its funny how you just get the urge to move and feel great when you do. We have nothing on now till next weekend so time to push on..

Clean up operation, and Whitstable

Del was up early because of the morning dew on Derwent6.
This had loosened off the grass cuttings and helped in getting the stains off the paintwork.. On a close inspection of other boats around us they also were covered in grass.

Even all the local resident dog walkers were upset with how the canal looked.
It was a slow process to get it all off, but it has come off with a bit of touching up.. It just shows, Derwent6's paintwork is ten and a half years old and it takes just one idiot one minute to bugger it up.

We obviously wasn't the only ones complaining and it soon become news on the canal system. We are waiting for a response from CaRT.

Al left Del at midday to go to Kent and meet up with Zoe, her old school friend down in Whitstable.
She arrived late in the afternoon and Suzi, another school friend, arrived early evening, and drinks were waiting as it was Zoe's birthday.
They went to the Neptune Pub on the beach just in time to see the sunset.

Cheap day out, but covered in grass

We have chilled for a couple of days and have still not had to run the engine due to the fact we have run on solar..  We did go up to the Bell pub for a spot of lunch on Wednesday and sorted out some admin stuff we had to do.
On Thursday we got the train into Oxford again and after a coffee did some more shopping.
When shopped out we treated ourselves to a couple of cocktails in happy hour and we got them for three pound each.
We then walked down to the Odeon cinema and saw the film "Rocketman" as we had some cinema vouchers which we got as presents last Christmas.
 We really enjoyed it, and Taron Egerton acted the part brilliantly.
Afterwards we went to Bella Pasta as we had some gift vouchers and also used our taste card..  On Al's birthday she got an email for two free prosecco's at Bella Pasta so they went down well.. We needed another coffee by the end of all this and then got the train back to Derwent6..

We were in for a bit of shock when we got back because contractors had cut the grass on the towpath and covered Derwent6 in grass. Del was fuming, and tried to get it off, but it needed water as it was baked on with the sunshine.

There were also some stone chips in the paintwork.
 A long job for tomorrow and an email to CaRT will be required.. Where are peoples manners!!

Battery testing..

We have been on these 14 day moorings for a week now, and can you believe it, we haven't had to run the engine..
Ok the weather has been good and the solar panels have helped, but its the time it takes to charge the Lithium batteries which makes the difference. Just four hours of sunshine and they sky rocket back to 100%.
So we have started to use more electrical items to get them to drop a little, as they work best between 60% and 80%.
Al now uses the Dyson hoover more where she used to brush up. We now uses the bread maker more where we used to have to go and buy bread, and using the slow cooker more. All these things are used when we're not moving, in fact we are not even running the engine at all..

Our big test today was that we would run the washing machine as it was a nice sunny day.. This pulls over 2000 watts and we wanted to see if we could use it without the Travel power generator or running the engine..
Al put it on and it didn't pull much at all as it filled with water and the drum turned, in fact it took about 200 watts.. The big thing was when the heater element heated up the water which took in a whopping 2100 watts, so it was a good job we changed the inverter to a 3000 watt. You could watch the solar panels putting in 400 watts and the cooling fan on the inverter burst into life.. Its great being able to see all this happening on the control panel..
And also on our phones.
Once the water was heated up the watts dropped back to 200 and the spin cycle didn't use much at all.

This again has made a big change to our life. Before we were only washing when cruising, using the travel power, and pausing the washing machine when going past moored boats.. When we were static we used to have the run the engine at 1400rpm to avoid wear and tear on the engine.
Now, we can run the washing machine when we like, cruising or static. It is still good practice to use it when the engine is running because the domestic alternator and solar will support the batteries.. but it won't need to be paused. In addition there will be no engine revving away in the engine room when static. Amazing!

Del wants to try the immersion heater next on the calorifier to see if we can get hot water, not on shoreline..  This means we won't have to run the engine or the central heating just for hot water, another saving on diesel and wear and tear..

So to sum things up we are making a massive saving after a very big expense. We are not saying that we will get all our money back, but we are sure we will get a big chunk of it back. The most important thing is the quality of life, and all this helps the environment because we don't use as much diesel as we used to.