Loo views

Loo views

Thursday 28 January 2016

A Quandary

I missed my last scheduled trip to pump out and diesel up due to ice. I then hurt my back hauling my poo across the lock, having done a manual pump out and have been nursing it since 17th ( my back, not my poo). I was intending to go this weekend but the forecast is now reporting very windy conditions in this area, up to 50mph on Monday. It is not safe to single hand my boat in those conditions.
I am due to go up to Kings Bromley Wharf for blacking on 14th February and am trying to work out whether my diesel will last that long, but its an awfully close call. I'm not sure how low you can go diesel wise before you start sucking crap through your engine.
The other solution is to collect a barrel of diesel from Bromley and empty out a barrel of poo. That would then tide me over. The only problem with that is my back. It's just starting to recover and I don't want to damage it again.
I love being a lone boater, but just occasionally I do miss having help!

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Water worries

My run of bad luck continues. My water pump continues its slow decline. So, rather than risking pushing it into its grave by having a shower, I checked with the marina manager that it was OK to have a shower there after cleaning. 'No problem,' she said.
So I got my uniform on and drove to the post office to find that my new water pump had arrived (despite last night's email from Amazon saying they wouldn't be delivering it because I had entered the wrong address!)
Then, on my way to work I received a call to say that, due to a problem at the marina, the facilities block has been closed so I can't clean them, or have a shower until the problem is resolved. Back home and phoned the same people who came out last time I had a leak. Yes, they were happy to come and fit the pump, but not till Thursday afternoon.
Rather than staying smelly, I decided to try out the newly refurbished showers at Fradley Junction. They were certainly clean but that is the only good thing I can say about the CRT showers. It has been designed as a wet room, so no shower tray, just a plughole in the floor. The new flooring has been cunningly designed so that, instead of the water flowing towards the hole, it circumvents it entirely and flows first towards the toilet and then meanders towards the door. By the time I was ready to get dry, there wasn't an inch of unwatered floor to stand on. The shower itself has a tiny head and low water pressure so it is rather like being widdled on and the temperature choice seems to be scalding or freezing. I spent as long trying to mop up the water after my shower than I did actually showering!
I walked back to the boat with my wet hair begin to freeze to the back of my neck only to find that my fire had gone out and the temperature on the boat had dropped to 5 degrees.
So much for the romance of boating!

Sunday 17 January 2016

Glad I didn't go!

This is what happened overnight so I'm rather glad I didn't go off to pump out and diesel up. I wouldn't have got into the marina anyway as it is iced over. Instead I have borrowed a cunning bit of kit and will be lightening my poo load shortly! It does mean carrying the barrel over the lock and then barrowing it up to the elsen point, which is not going to be great for my back, poor and aching as it is after spending days crouched in my engine bay. But needs must as the ice devil drives!

Meanwhile Bonny and I had a glorious walk in Narnia this morning and like a numpty I didn't think to take my camera! Ah well, suffice to say we both loved it and Bonny spent so much time rolling in the snow, she looked like a snow dog and I kept having to clear her face so she could see. So funny!

Saturday 16 January 2016

The ice cometh

I was due for my monthly cruise up to Kings Bromley Marina to pump out and diesel up this weekend. However, the ice has already started to form in the locks and on the wooded stretch between Shadehouse and Woodend and so I have to resort to plan b.
I keep an old portapotti for emergencies although the cassette is cracked. My friends have a spare though, so we shall be comparing bottoms later (to see if their bottom fits my top!) Another friend on the mooring has a manual pump out device, so if it looks like we will be iced in for a while, I can pump out into a barrel and then take the barrel to the elsen disposal station. Diesel wise I'm OK for a month or so, although I don't like my tank getting too low due to the increased risk of condensation and diesel bug.
Sorry for the focus on poo and fuel today, but these are prime considerations for a boater in winter!
Meanwhile I love the fact that it has finally stopped raining and the sun has made a reappearance. I love being able to walk Bonny and not having to bathe her every time we step out if the boat. I love the peaceful feeling the ice brings when all sensible creatures slow down, take it easy and perhaps even hibernate. I love the clear freshness of the air and the still feeling on the canal. So, as long as I have water, heating and a place to poo, bring it on!

Friday 15 January 2016


I have had my boat for seven years and for seven years I have told anyone who asked that I have a Beta 43 engine. I discovered today that I do not! I went back to the boatyard to exchange my non fitting fuel filter and got into discussion with the knowledgeable engineer. I was telling him about my various issues with obtaining the right filters. He pointed out that although my engine is a Beta and has 43 horsepower, that doesn't make it a Beta 43! It is actually a Beta 1903 which is the engine Beta built before they produced the Beta 43! So all this time I have been asking for filters for the wrong engine! Who knew! I hang my head in shame.

Thursday 14 January 2016

I did it without a man!

I had another go at servicing the engine today. This time I ran the engine for 20 minutes or so before taking my friend Graham's leather strap affair to the filter. I had thought of pouring hot water over the filter, with the idea that if the metal expanded it might be easier to shift. Graham pointed out that running the engine till the oil heated up would produce the same result. It worked! I thought the strap was just slipping at first, but no, the filter turned. Oh the relief!
Unfortunately that meant doing the oil change in freezing temperatures, with an arctic wind blowing! But I did it and oh I feel flushed with success! I can also feel every single muscle in my body and I'm sure I have developed frostbite on my nose and fingers. Now all I have to do is get the right sized fuel filter from the boatyard and work out how to get the old gear box oil out so I can put fresh stuff in. Any tips gratefully received.
And all done without a man in sight. I am woman, hear me roar!!

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Frustration city!

I gathered all the makings for a service on my boat engine today. After being at work for the morning, I dressed down in my muckiest clothes and set to it after lunch. Before I moved aboard 'Don't Panic' I could hardly change a lightbulb but when I discovered how much I could save servicing my own engine, I very quickly learnt how!
Having said that there hasn't been one service in 7 years where there hasn't been a problem.
Today the only thing I managed was to change the air filter! Firstly I couldn't shift my oil filter at all, not even using a strap. So there was no point in doing the oil change, and the one time I needed a strong man to help, there were none to be had. So I thought I'd leave that and change the fuel filter. This time I remembered to turn the diesel off! Got my filter off without difficulty, but when I came to fit the new one, it turned out that the size of filter written on the box did not correspond with the filter inside, so it didn't fit. Grrrr! So then I had to put the old one back on and given it had hardly any diesel left in it, it was a bugger trying to get the engine to start. I managed to tighten my fan belt a little and top up the coolant but the major part of the service hasn't been accomplished.
Tomorrow, after work, I will search for a strong man and return the naff fuel filter to the boatyard. I am not a happy bunny!