Friday, February 16, 2018

Clean, Gleam!

It was a bright sunny day today and a good day for getting Derwent6 gleaming again.
Al had a paperwork day so we have a bag of rubbish to get rid of.. It has been so quiet here and to be honest we are loving it!!

Busy here ain't it!!

Happy Valentine

We don't get each other cards and things for Valentine's Day, because every day feels like Valentine's Day, a good excuse for Del, but Al still likes to do little things and it started with breakfast.. Yep that is heart shaped toast!
We then made a few phone calls because we wanted to sort out some things on Derwent6, but more about that later..
It was a very cold night and the central heating had to come on for only the third time this year as we had ice on the inside of the portholes and the fire needed support! Mmm it was lovely when we did that, looking out the window to see we were iced in.
Soon the fire was roaring and the ice on the canal was melting as things warmed up a little outside.
Del then re-checked all the belts on the engine, as when the generator was used the other day we could hear one slipping, also the bilge was cleaned out and some greasing was done, as the covers were off..
We still have this drip from the oil seal but we will have to go to the safety of a marina to change that because Del has to remove the main pulley which became loose and it means the keyway will be inspected and all the re-torquing will have to be done again. Finger's crossed it comes off and goes on alright.
In the evening Al had cooked a lovely Valentine meal with loving wine!! Bless!

Pancake day and the Mile Roses

It was one of those feel like doing nothing days, but it's shrove Tuesday and you have to make the most of things..
We watched the Olympics in the Morning until just after lunch and then Al cooked a lovely chicken dinner followed by pancakes, of course. Al has progressed with her tossing skills and didn't drop any of the three she made!..
After we had full tummies we got ourselves ready and then walked into Brinklow as we knew it was folk night with the Wurzel Bush club, which funny enough is run by Eric from Brinlow Marina and Dave Sampson..
They has a guest appearance of a brilliant folk band called "The Mile Roses" which are a blend of folk and country and they all write their own stuff.. Try and catch them on tour if you can. We were drinking and foot stomping all night till late..
When we came out we just felt we had a great time. It was very cold when we left and it was showing minus three. The bonus was that the towpath was frozen and not muddy and we had left the fire ticking over so Derwent6 was warm and toasty when we got back.. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Brinklow and stuck, with a seal of approval

We have had a lovely week at Brownsover near Rugby. It has all the things you want in the winter months like the cinema, shopping, and food. It also has water, a rubbish disposal, and an elsan, and (apart from the muddy towpath!) the best thing is that it has been empty of boats here with the canal closure at Clifton..
Al has been shopping every day while Del has rested his groin and back. So no boat cleaning, no engine work, no DIY, and definitely no lifting.
It was a lovely sunny day and we had a sprinkle of snow, a good time to cruise.. It was up early and first the washing went on using up the water in the tank. Al did a last top up of filling the cupboards with food and then we pulled over to the water point. We filled the bow and emptied the stern and then set off.
It was pleasant cruising but there was a lot of wood floating in the canal were it had been a bit static with not much boat movement. You had to be careful that you didn't pick up something which would wedge in the prop. 
We got to Newbold where it seemed a bit busier, but still spaces.
We then got to Newbold tunnel and it seemed a bit haunted as it was so quiet.
We got out in the countryside and were surprised to see five, yes five guys cutting the hedges back and mowing the towpath, CaRT know how to spend their money they haven't got..

We then got to Brinklow and thought as the weather was good we would turn, bad move!
We had never turned here before on Derwent6, and stuck the front end into a bridge hole, but the canal went back on itself, and on turning in the stern got caught in the mud and we lost steering and got wedged across the canal..
First Al then Del tried to pole the front round but it was stuck on rocks and we couldn't get off.. Luckily a boat must have been behind us and a guy appeared with a smile on his face "wanna hand" he said..
Del threw him the centre rope "That'll cost ya" he said laughing. Poling and pulling we got free and thanked the guy who decided he wouldn't turn there!..
Relieved, we moored up and sorted ourselves out, yep we're still learning lol!
We set up telly and then met up with Terry on n.b. Aqualady, he helped us when the bottom pulley fell off the Beta 50 by letting us link into his generator.
As we are on the pulley issue, we have had a problem with the oil seal now which appears to be leaking in the sump pan.. I take it this got damaged by the pulley nut coming loose and rattling round in the seal. It's not leaking bad (one small drip a day), but will get worse over time. Its a shame Beta don't supply a new one in their modified pulley kit, knowing a new pulley will need a new seal. We had to take a chance at the time as we just needed the engine running at any cost.. In Beta's defence they have offered to send out a new seal as a good will gesture. We have now done 100 hours on the clamp, but the belts need checking as we get a screeching when the engine is cold, lets hope its not that pulley. Del hasn't been able to look because of his groin strain!..
Oh we still haven't got any answers on the questions we asked them, but they have offered our money back if we take off their modified clamp, for their design fault, and put it in a box, and send it back to them.. No this isn't a joke!!!
Anyway, Terry bless him, then offered to saw up our wood as Del was struggling with his groin strain. I think he also wanted to show off his latest chainsaw which cut it all up like butter, so we might be investing in a new chainsaw..
We settled in and then watched the Olympics all afternoon, smug that we had beat the rain we were expecting tomorrow..

Trip to Banbury

It was up early this morning and running the engine for a shower as we had a train to get at lunchtime. We left Rugby and changed at Coventry and then went to Banbury.
After a bit of a walk around and a bit of shopping we met up with Mark and Sian of n.b. Mochyn Du. We did a few pubs (nothing changed there) and then had a curry (nothing changed there either)
It was lovely to catch up with them both and we had a great time as always. We even supplied some of the entertainment with some singing and guitar playing at one stage..

Monday, February 12, 2018

Needed a glass and a rest

We woke up to a light covering of snow on the towpath and the fire was the first thing to attend too.  The first thing we noticed was a small crack in the glass had appeared over night. Blimey what else! We looked on line and found out that Morso was just round the corner from us, so a quick ring was in order. They were only a distribution centre but the lady we spoke to, Samantha, was very helpful. She said they don't supply parts but she would see what she could do to get us one. If you pop in this afternoon I will have one here.. Wow great service, hard to come by these days..
We had some lunch and then took the 15 minute walk to Swift Valley retail park and called her when we got to the gates..
They opened electronically and we met her in reception. Not only did she sell us the part but she took us through to their training room and showed us how to fit it and also showed us how to do the collar which is a summer job for us.. We left feeling that their customer service had exceeded all expectations..
From there we went over to the retail park and walked back along the old canal section which they had all cut back and cleaned out, we wonder what the idea here is..
We popped in Halfords and then went for a coffee at Cafe Nero..

After a nice chill out we went to Tesco's to pick up a few bits.. On the way back Del was getting a pain in his groin which we feel might be a slight strain from lifting some heavy wood the other day.. Rest was in order for the rest of the day.

Through the closure and full again

We got up early just in case Mark on the coal boat Calisto came through early..  Still with a no show in the morning we chopped up some more wood to top the locker back up for the next cold snap.. Other boater's had told us the coal boat was close to us and at 12.30pm Mark arrived.. Its always good to have a chat with Mark, he is like the Telegraph for the canals.
We were shocked to find out that bridge 75 which was closing the canal had now been cancelled. When checking this he was right, but the canal was still closing due to the work on bridge 66A. Rumour has it they are doing bridge 68 the Kent road bridge as well.

We gave the coal boat a 40 minutes head start so we didn't get in his way and set off full of diesel, wood and coal..
You can see the posts fitted where they will chain the canal on Monday 5th and the work is ready for the bridge structure to turn up..

We passed Clifton Marina which was busy with boats and you couldn't get in to use the services there.

We made our way up to Brownsover at Rugby and the good news was that the water point was empty..
With Derwent6's tank near to empty it was going to take along time to fill so while we were on it we decided to manually empty the waste tank. Al went off and got some shopping at the local Tesco's and as the water poured over the overflow she turned up, good timing!
So very smug with all our resources back we pulled over to find a mooring on the 14 days.. The towpath here is still bad and very muddy, but we have been used to that this year.
We were even luck enough to get telly here.  Del got rid of the rubbish and picked up another bag on the way to the waste bins, and then we settled in for the night..

An Anniversary Treat!

Today, 3rd February is the Anniversary of us meeting each other 39 years ago in Shoreham village hall in Kent.. When you look at what has happened in our lifes, things arn't bad!
It still feels like the first day we met all those years ago and put your ski's on because we are going to make the most of the downhill section..
So what have we been up to? Well we have only just got over our colds and also aches and pains, but we're still smiling. We have been doing all the normal things boater's do like walking to the shops, getting wood and chopping it up, moving to get water and emptying the waste tank.. We have been all on our own with Tooty the cat and have enjoyed every minute of it.. Yesterday we did get a reply from Beta with an answer to the two questions on the last post and it was professionally answered like this:

Thanks for your e mail
1 )
It is not necessary to fit a clamp coupling if used correctly , we only fit a locking plate as a precaution .
2 )
There has not been a recall , as there have been very few instances of this happening . Many  of the engines are now are over 20 years old
without anything extra been added
3 )
As agreed if you do have a problem with the coupling in the next year or 1000 hours we will have the coupling back and credit the invoice in full  
If you put the coupling in a box we will arrange collection
Kind regards

Make of that what you will but if you have a crankshaft nut holding the pulleys on like this, with a roll pin stuffed into the nut and pulley, I would worry and get the plate fitted on the end if you can fit it. (some crankshafts were shorterned)
After all you wouldn't want the pulley coming off and smashing through the floor boards at 1200 rpm.
Anyway going back to our 39 years, we decided to have a day trip to Birmingham and did some shopping with a coffee and a cake.
In the afternoon we went to the cinema and saw The Greatest Showman. 
It was a good up beat film and we both enjoyed it.
We then made our way for something to eat at Mowgli's an Indian with a twist. We went to the original one in Liverpool and they have just opened one in Brum, it never let us down..
 We got back to Derwent6 at 8.00pm under a blue moon.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Its better than a good day at work

Today was a bit warmer and we let the fire go out because we wanted to clean the chimney. The wood we were burning was a bit damp and had clogged up some sections at the flue and at the fire end.. When the brush was inserted there was a clutter at the other end and Del just thought the plate had moved above the grate. It turned out that the blanking cover on the back had fallen out. This should have been held on by two bolts with a steel block holding it in but looked like it had just been bonded in, and only the soot was holding it in..
It was a bit of a struggle but Del made up a contraption to hold it in place to hopefully get us through the winter. We already have a crack round the collar and the cement bricks need replacing. This will all have to be done through the summer months..
On top of that we have at last got a reply from Beta, and it came with our invoice. One point made was that "We do say to check all external nut bolts"

The fact is that the Crankshaft nut is NOT an external nut and things have to be removed to get to it..
Our questions still wasn't answered!

1. Why have we had to pay for a modified kit which is clearly a design fault
2. Why haven't you warned all customers of the problem of the Crankshaft nut coming loose and at least added it to the Maintenance Schedule, or even highlighted it under a recall for them to get the clamp fitted..

Dream Girls and Engine check

So we have been in chill mode again. It has been so muddy on the towpath here that I don't think it has encouraged boats to stop. We have been here all on our own, and its lovely and peaceful.
Yesterday Al jumped on the train and met up with Hannah for her Christmas and Birthday present from us..
First it was bit of shopping along Oxford Street and a few drinks followed by some eats at TGI Friday's.
This was followed by the theatre to see "Dream Girls" at the Savoy.
They had a great time and ended up getting the late train back to Kent where Al stayed the night.
It was Hannah's Birthday the following day and the girls were up early for a good breakfast at Maccy D's before Al headed back to Derwent6.

Del on the other hand was playing with the engine again. The engine had reached fifty hours and as Al was away it was a good time to check it.. Del also decided to service the engine as well as he had it in bits again.. First the belts came off again and the two front pulleys removed to see the new clamp which has four allen bolts. There is a paint mark on the front of the engine crankshaft to see if anything has moved at a glance and also a measurement has been taken too. First the bolts which bolt the clamp to the pulley have to be checked and then the four allen bolts checked for tightness. All appeared to be ok and couldn't be moved..

It was then an oil and filter change and also the air filter. Then it was to take a bit out of the bottom of the diesel tank to check to see if there was any water and then the water trap filter would be drained.. Afterwards the fuel filter is changed and then its bleed the injectors to start the engine..
When warm a quick tighten of the engine mounts and other external bolts like belt adjustment, brackets and drive gear bolts.. Then it was lubricating all the cables and bearings on the driveshaft..

So lets hope that's it, we will be checking the clamp every hundred hours now for movement as we can't afford that keyway to get damaged again, that would be curtains..

Monday, January 29, 2018

Making the most of the day

We were up early this morning and Del got rid of the rubbish and also needed a bolt at the chandler's. Al walked up the post office to post a letter and then we set off.
After all the bad weather we had had, it was quite warm in the sunshine and very pleasant cruising.
We made our way back towards Hillmorton and as the clouds seem to gather in it got a lot colder in the picking up winds..
The locks weren't in our favour and Al had to fill them, but we soon caught up with a boat in front of us which turned out to be a familiar boat "No Problem" who had just fitted a new cover to the stern.
At the bottom of the locks we filled with water.
This tap is so slow but we felt we just needed to top up a little as we had done a lot of washing.. We went inside for a cup of tea and after an hour it still wasn't full, so we decided to not fill it right up as we wanted the time to do our things..
We moored up just along from there and Tooty was off on his favourite patch. Del got out the chainsaw and chopped up some wood from the roof as the locker was nearly empty and we were ready for the next cold snap..
In the evening we chilled with some music and a nice relaxing chat about what we are doing later in the year.. It could be a busy one!

Staying Snug!

So we sat tight for a few days as the weather hasn't been too clever.. We have been out and about and been in The Admiral Nelson twice, once on our own and then we met up with Andy and Hilary off n.b. Masibert.
We had a good old catch up and it was lovely to see them. The food was great in the Nelson as well, and sitting by the warm log burner made us get a bit too comfortable.
Al went to Church on the Sunday morning and it was snowing heavens hard when she came out.
We still haven't heard from Beta ref our questions, but we're sure they will sort it out..