Sunday, November 15, 2009

Leaving the squirrels in peace…..

Time for a move again today. I’m afraid this is what the next few weeks will consist of; a few hours cruise, a few days stopped. At least until the way south and east is open again. Big Lock at Middlewich is due to re-open after gate repairs on the 18th December, and then we’ll be heading down to Great Haywood. The plan is to get a berth in the new marina for a week or so, hire a car and do the Christmas visiting from there. Well, that’s the plan, anyway.

When we moored at the edge of Marbury Wood there were a couple of guys fishing, with a tent up on the towpath. They stayed until Friday, suffering the wind and rain that was thrown at us, before upping sticks and toddling off.
I checked to see if they’d left their rubbish behind, it’s more common than you’d think. You might expect that if these guys had carried their cans of Asda Extra Strong Lager and sweetcorn for the fish to the fishing spot, they’d be able to carry the empties back. Not always the case.
On this occasion there was only the errant margarine box and a few odd bits of newspaper. Until I looked closer….

22 Double A batteries, no less! I wonder what they used them for?
Anyway, they’re now in the rubbish at Anderton Services. Not ideal I know, but a better solution than letting them corrode in the undergrowth.

Meg and I have had some enjoyable walks around the area, there’s lots of paths around the Marbury Country Park, The Anderton Nature Reserve, and down on the river. I bet the squirrels will be glad to see the back of us! She's not actually caught one, but she's given them plenty of exercise.

Today was the first properly good day for a while, with patchy blue skies and a warm sun when it showed it's face. So we decided to move on, past Northwich, to the flashes, areas where the canal has flowed into subsidence following salt brine extraction.

We were just preparing to go when Mags said “There’s a small boat going past”. I looked up, expecting to see a small cruiser or truncated narrow boat cruising by, to see this..

Tug Ben Appleton
She was out on her maiden voyage, and, apart from a dodgy starboard rudder, behaved well.

Tug and proud crew.

We went back to Anderton, to the services, before turning around and heading south.

BW services at Anderton, Uplands Marina on the left, Anderton Marina on the right.

NB Sancerre has just pulled out of Uplands. You can imagine how busy this place can be on a summer Bank Holiday weekend!

Wincham Wharf was busy with boats for sale on the water and on the bank. We came to look at a couple of possibles here on our boat search, but finished up down the road at Rudheath.

Wincham Wharf. Wanna buy a boat, mister?
Orchard Marina is where we bought Seyella. I see they’ve put new signs up….

But the sign saying “Pump-out out of order” is still there. And the sign advertising diesel, coal and logs for sale now says diesel, coal and logs for sale. Hmm, no change there then.

One disappointment was the coalman, who moored just along from the marina, has ceased trading. Have to find an alternative supply now.

Just 15 minutes further on we pulled over on the edge of the larger of the 2 flashes. The smaller one, called Billinge Green Flash from the nearby farm, was the proposed site of a new marina. I say was, permission has been declined twice.

Billinge Green Flash
The wreck marking the shallows hasn’t improved with age….

We’ll be staying here a few days, I guess.

I’ve had problems with my laptop recently. Toshibas are apparently know for overheating as they get older, one of the solutions is to raise the unit off the table to give better airflow to the fans. I made a frame up to do this last year, but over the last month the problem has got steadily worse, the machine overheating and shutting down after about an hour with the cooling fans running flat out.
So I thought I’d bite the bullet and strip it down, to see if I could find the problem. I used to build PCs, and have upgraded plenty in the past, but laptops are new territory. You have to be a bit inventive to get one of these babies apart, believe me!

Anyway, it succumbed in the end, and I found the problem.

The copper coloured thingy is the cooling fin assembly on top of the processor. The 2 fans blow air through the matrix to keep it cool. The 2 felt-like pads on the top were blocking the matrix completely, mixture of fluff and dust that can’t be seen or removed from outside of the case. No wonder the poor thing was getting hot under the collar.

So an hour carefully stripping it down, 2 minutes to clean it out and 10 minutes re-assembly (I knew what I was doing by then) and it’s running like a song. Using less power (the fans aren’t running as much), running faster with a cooler CPU and more reliably. I wonder how many have been thrown out for a similar problem.
It’s still showing it’s age a bit though. One of the two USB ports hasn’t worked for months, and if I hit the M too hard the key flies off. The optical drive has to be coaxed into reading CDs or DVDs, and the eject button on the card slot fell off last year. But it’s my friend, and I love it.

Locks 0, miles 6

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