Tuesday, February 23, 2016

An inspiration!

I often wonder when I might decide that life on the canals is too much for an old guy. Don't get me wrong. I'm not feeling old, believe me. I'm 65 this year, and not feeling older than 27. Ok, 32. I'm fit and healthy. But I still wonder how I'll feel about this boaty life in, say, ten years time.

I'm encouraged, then, by Michael on NB Clancy J, who celebrates his 75th birthday this week. Michael's had a very active life, by the sounds of it, much of it spent on the water, and most of that at sea, I think. OK, so he doesn't cruise now, but I think that's by choice rather than enforced by age or incapacity. How many 75 year-olds are out there on the cut? I wonder. Well, I intend to be one of them one day.

Many happy returns, Michael!

My thoughts have turned to the singing group we left behind when we left the marina at the beginning of December. Neil told me yesterday that they hadn't met since then. Shame. I'll have to ask around, and see if there's still any interest. But then, Grace and I could be off on a cruise as soon as the weather looks good for it, so we can't give it any real commitment. And if they can't manage without us...

And, speaking of the weather...
It's good to see that rain's disappeared from the immediate picture, and the winds have abated somewhat as well. It's still chilly, especially at night. It amused us when we came back last Tuesday that, the fridge door having been open all the time we were away, the motor didn't kick in as soon as we switched it on. The boat was that cold!

I've had problems from time to time with the cowl on the top of our Bubble stove chimney. It's one of those which rotates to put its "back" to the wind, thus stopping it from blowing down the chimney.
(photos - www.smokiejoes.co.uk)
They're often seen looking like a chicken or duck.
The problem with ours is that sometimes it sticks, and doesn't put its back to the wind at all. Resulting in very unpleasant diesel fumes blowing back into the boat. Looking around the marina, I found that most people have the ordinary "Coolie Hat" type.
So we drove out to see  what was available from the three chandlers in Braunston. We came away with one which "ties" to the chimney, which we thought would be a good idea, considering the strength of the winds it will have to cope with.
However, this proved to be too big for out flue, so we'll have to change it for the simpler model. And hope it doesn't blow away!

Rather more successful was my fixing of the problem we've had over the past week with our water pump. Or rather, with the accumulator it works with.
Water passes into this 5-litre tank from the pump before going off to the taps, shower and so on. It is (supposed to be) pressurised, and the pressure falls and rises as the water enters and leaves it. When the pressure falls below a preset level, the pump responds by switching on and pumping water into it. It switches off again when the pressure reaches the preset maximum.

When I tested our accumulator, the pressure was almost zero, and this has caused the pump to run too often, and for too long. It was put right simply by using my car tyre pump. Would that all boaty jobs could be that simple and cheap. Over the Christmas period, NB Blue Moon had to have a new calorifier fitted. The prices was in four figures!

Oh, and I used the extending mirror for the first time on this job, to read a label on the far side of the accumulator (which is situated in a restricted space under the well-deck). Brilliant! I couldn't have done without it. Every boat should have one!


  1. Hey, hey, hey Roger! I see you follow the No Problem blog so must be able to see what Sir does.. He is 78 this year and still I have to tie him down with string sometimes!

    He needed a bag of coal off the roof the other day (25kg).. "Hang on Vic, I'll do that (67 yrs)".. Nope, lifted, carried and dumped into the cratch with a smile!

    Age is timeless, age is what age you think you are.. Vic thinks he is 25!

    Enjoy for years to come!

  2. Hi, Sue. Thanks for the comment. I don't recall having seen photos of Vic on your blog, so his age didn't occur to me. I hope I'm as capable a boater as he is when I'm 78. But now I see even his perceived age is less than mine!! :-) I love your blog. Keep it up. I'm still wondering how the heck you manage to do so many miles each year!

  3. I'd like to think I'll still be on my barge when I'm in my seventies, but I think I'd rather have it on a canal than on our tidal reach of river, albeit in a harbour off the river. I'm struggling now with the challenges extreme tides present as regards my mooring. It's all a bit too unpredictable for someone of my neurotic tendancies 😄

    1. :-) Sounds like it's time to come to the UK, and settle for a rather more relaxed canal life! I've just finished reading "Watery Ways" (loved it), and was struck by the feeling of size I got - of the boats, and of the water. I enjoy our rivers, but the canals offer a rather calmer life for my retirement, especially in these days of extreme weather!