Thursday, October 31, 2019

Long day back to Cosgrove

We had another long day planned for today and we were surprised there wasn't another frost.. We waited for the sun to burn off the mist and then made our way up to the Soulbury Three Locks..
 Just as we entered the top lock the volunteer lock keepers turned up. This is their last week and it is still half term week with the schools off. They were straight on the case and getting the other locks ready for us, which made light work of us going down.
We then went round to Stoke Hammond Lock and it suddenly turned very cold in our faces, but the sun was shining on our backs..
We then set off through the avenue of trees, which were a sea of colour with their raining leaves covering Derwent6..
Then we had a swan display where two of them were fighting.

And then another male joined in and made it three.
Then another female flew in to rescue the other female.
All this happened while we were cruising.  We reached Fenny Stratford lock with is swingbridge in the middle of it.

We then spotted some wood, and there appears to be loads of it at Milton Keynes. We quickly stopped and loaded up the roof with more fuel to fire, boaters gold!
It was a tad cold but very pretty as we carried on past Newlands, which should be called Newbridge..
This time it was busy at Campbell park with boats even breasted up.
It had been very quiet cruising, but as we got to Wolverton things just got very busy and we passed five boats in succession..
We passed the most famous wall on the GU.

Then on to the Iron trunk aqueduct.
We then looked for a mooring at Cosgrove and on doing so got something wrapped round the prop.. It turned out to be a piece of cord, a boating fender, and a pair of ladies knickers!! Nice!
We ended up mooring on the winter moorings which start at the weekend. The weather looks ok for the next two days, then its rain for the following four days, what shall we do?

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Very busy three miles!

We woke up to a heavy frost which made things very pretty outside with the chimney just letting out some gentle smoke.
After our weekend of sport (Rugby, Football, and Grand Prix) and chopping wood, we really needed a change of scenery today.
This was the first time the Lithium batteries had been below 6 degrees, and when checking they were saying "Charging disabled" and an alarm had come on by the boat management system (BMS)

Lithium batteries don't like being charged in cold temperatures, so this can be a problem through the winter months.. So when you look at the Colour controller (CCGX) the solar panels had been turned off and alternator charging was also off..   So we have to get round this problem by warming up the engine room, either by the engine, the central heating boiler, or running a heater of some form till they are warm enough. On each battery there is a temperature sensor and it has to be above 5 degrees. We have set this to 6 degrees just to be safe. Watch this space to see how we get on during the coming months.
Anyway, by the time we did set off the sun had broken through the fog and the batteries were ok to be charged, so it was all systems go for us.. We stopped at Grove Lock marina and picked up a couple of bags of coal for keeping the fire in overnight.
We then dropped down the lock and headed towards Leighton Buzzard.
Our second stop was on the water point and Del filled Derwent6 and got rid of the rubbish, while Al walked into town and posted a parcel and also brought some new boots.

While she was away another boat turned up so Del moved on to the Tesco's moorings and waited there, and Al turned up with a lovely surprise of a Costa coffee and a nice bun.
The Aldi is closed here until December as it is being refurbished so we had to use Tesco's and stock up all the cupboard space.. We eventually got on our way and then met a queue at the lock with the hire boats going out for this week with the kids off school for half term..
We went down the lock with a guy moving a boat for someone, so we let him go as he was on a bit of a mission.. We trickled along for the next couple of miles past the Globe Inn pub.
We then reached our mooring and was surprised how busy it was round there.

Its a nice feeling sorting out Derwent6 knowing you going into a warm and snuggy boat as the fire had been going all day..
It had been a very funny day, as we hadn't gone very far, but we seemed to have done a lot.
Now with all the cupboards full of food it was time to tuck in!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Battery update and AES enabled

We have relaxed here at Grove for a bit as the weather hasn't been too good. We had a good day when we moored up and managed to do some washing, but then the weather turned and we had very little solar..
We have been running a bit low on food, but we are using everything up and we have the pub here at Grove Lock (albeit that this pub is a bit expensive). We have made some bread using the bread maker on the batteries and it coped fine..
So we have found so far that with no solar we have had to run the engine every couple of days and then the batteries drop down to about 50% and then charge back up to around 85%.
We have now changed the inverter settings, putting on low power AES (auto energy saving) mode, which is an energy saving setting which takes out one of the waves and drops the voltage to 110v when nothing is turned on.. This saves the battery life overnight and only turns on to 230v when something like the fridge comes on..  This can be adjusted and we are still playing with it. This saved 5% on the SOC (state of charge) overnight..
Anyone with a Victron Inverter will have this setting, and for boats its a big saving on your battery discharge.. You can adjust it by plugging into it by VE Config and then ticking the box AES enabled..
When we have to run the engine the graph looks like this.
Del has also found out that the solar panel brackets will tilt stern to bow, which is handy when we are facing East or West.. If its not windy then just one stay can be used, but if it is windy then two stays are a must.. This is another advantage against the brackets that just tilt side to side..

Friday, October 25, 2019

All Brightening Up

There was a heavy mist outside of the porthole this morning which is always a good sign that the weather could change for the better. It was cold but nothing would stop us cruising with a few layers on..
It was very autumnal as we set of in the gloom like in Pirates of the Caribbean, but things soon started to clear just as we went through the swingbridge and onto the first lock at Ivinghoe.
This time the pound was full and there were even boats moored in it, "good luck with that" we thought as we passed them. We met a lovely Alsatian dog here who followed us and kept picking up a stick and dropping it to throw.
She was so sweet and held us up a bit as we played catch.. She must have came off of one of the boats in the pound..
We spotted the gliding club towing gliders up and that is another good sign as it meant the weather was going to brighten up..
We said our goodbyes for another year to Ivinghoe Beacon here in the background.
We then passed through the next lock as it felt a bit brighter and warmer.
And it was clear why this lock would be having a stoppage during the winter works..
Sure enough the weather did brighten up and we had clear blue skies.
We got to Slapton lock and decided to top up with water. We had to wait for a boat to finish filling but it was only small and we pulled back to fill the tank.
It was just wonderful cruising in bright sunshine all the way up to Church lock. Al decided to get some more washing on as there was a chance it might dry in the now pleasant sunshine.
  We then looked for a mooring and was surprised to see they had cut down all the reeds up to Grove lock which had opened up some more moorings here..
With the washing done, the washing line was put out, solar panels up and telly sorted out.. It turned out to be a very warm afternoon.. So we are low on wood and don't have any kindling so tomorrow might be a wood chopping day..

Fair weather boaters

As anyone following this blog will know, we are fair weather boaters, and we just don't see the point of travelling in the rain, if we don't have to. Let's be honest October has been a very wet month.
We were caught out getting here at Pitstone and it just take a bit of the fun out of cruising.
So we stayed put for the weekend as we wanted to watch the Rugby and other stuff including Al's Strictly.
We haven't been able to do much as it stopped us getting outside, but to be honest is has just been nice to do nothing but lard in front of the telly watching sport! We have laid off the drink for a bit as well and both lost a bit of weight, because we needed to..
It has just got cold enough that we now have to light the fire, and to get to the fire we put the central heating on for an hour, and Derwent6 is always warm and snug.. We planned to move off Monday but the weather still looked iffy. So here for another day with good signals and views..
Today was the day we lost Alf, (Al's dad) five years ago, it is amazing how much it leaves a big hole in your life. RIP to all our loved one's..

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sun before eleven!

It was a lovely cold start to the morning, so we lit the fire, set off at 9.00am, and turned outside Cowroast marina.
We had to turn here because the weeds were so bad on the winding hole we feared stuff getting round the propeller. We then crept past all the boats and headed into the wooded section past Tring station again.
It was very pretty as the sunshine shone through the trees and gave it all a mystic look.

We reached the water point and a widebeam was on it attached to the water point.. This is how the conversation went.
WB "Do you want water mate"
D6  "Yes mate, but it's a fast tap so we will wait thanks"
WB "Oh I've filled, but I want to jet wash the boat off"
D6 " Oh right we will get our water first then please"

We filled with water and made our way up to the lock..
A boat was coming out as we turned up with the volunteers at the ready.
 With the locks in our favour we progressed down the flight with ease, with sunshine at the top.

And clouds at the bottom.
We passed the Aylesbury Arm and it was just starting to spit with rain but we just wanted to get through the last two locks on the flight.
By this time it was pouring down and we were getting a tad wet. Luckily our mooring was available and we sorted ourselves out and wrapped up by the fire.
The nights are drawing in now and its dark by 6.30pm and after our dinner and Al's Strictly "It takes two" we turned off the telly and listened to the radio. It's a very therapeutic thing to do on a autumnal evening.