Monday, February 22, 2016

Boat Moving.

Not us,unfortunately. When we were down in Leeds we met a couple on a old converted naval pinnace. They too wanted to go south, but were thwarted by the floods. They’ve been up to Apperley Bridge, back down to Leeds and back here again since then. but on their last trip they had gearbox problems and it failed completely while outside the marina. If it had to happen it could have been in a worse place…
Anyway, to kill two birds with one stone they decided to have the boat moved by road down to Loughborough where it can be repaired. So this morning we had a little excitement. (it’s quite boring here…)
As it is a fairly light boat a Hiab-type crane attachment behind the cab of the transporter was used…20160222_102127_Burst02

It took three attempts before the driver was happy with the sling arrangement and lifted the boat from the water…

…swinging it over to the waiting trailer.

The directional prop steering can be clearly seen.

It took a while to get the round profile hull securely chocked, but eventually she was safely strapped down.20160222_113057
It would be a shame if anything had happened, after all she’s survived the last 112 years!

Hi Adam, Ditchcrawler. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with pumping over the side, which is why I included an option to pump into a bottle for disposal. Tom, Jan, it’ll be a while before we get to the potting compost stage, but I’ll put you on the waiting list…Be right back

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Back to Apperley Bridge and a loo for sale…

First off, thanks for the comments about the recent installation of the new loo.
Kath (Bobcat), I looked at oil drain tanks, but they were all too deep to fit under the floor. The container had to go under to give me a decent fall from the loo. Good idea to stuff it under the vanity, though.
Hi Pip, Mick. Depends how big your tank is, I guess. Ours, when full, would weigh in at around 12Kg. Not something I‘d want to lift and carry too far. Incidently, we have two choices. I can pump over the side into the cut, which seems to be a fairly common method of disposal. Or into a smaller container to dump it on the land. 

The loo has been in use for three days so far, and we’ve not encountered any problems. The fan just hums gently, only audible in the washroom, and there’s no smells at all. looking good… I‘ll let you know properly after we’ve had it for a month…

On that subject, we’ve now got a Thetford C200 swivel bowl cassette toilet for sale. IMG_8451
Two cassettes and in full working order. Thoroughly sanitised, too! Going cheap… I’ll be putting it on ebay, too.

Yesterday we moved back to Apperley Bridge, past the workers laying the new towpath.
The path is fenced off and there are large signs advising of the closure at Rodley, but I lost count of the number of people who arrived from that end on foot or bike and who seemed surprised. “Oh, it’s shut then…”IMG_8437

Busy, busy.

The floating “convenience” that drifted down to us at the weekend is now a lot further up, but they’re still using that skinny polypropylene to tie it up!IMG_8443

There are several Embden Geese hanging around here, and they seem quite happy in the company of the local swans.

In the background is a small group of Goosanders. I had to take the picture at a distance because these shy divers either take to the wing or duck under water as you approach.

It’s not just boaters that the swans beg from!

We moored up on the wharf at Apperley Bridge Marina, filled with water and emptied a loo cassette for the last time. With the chandlery shut on Thursday we’re allowed to moor here for the day. Although it’s not so convenient for grass for Meg, it’s a lot nearer the shops!
A few days here again.

Locks 0, miles 2

Monday, February 15, 2016

“Pancho” is in and working!

After a delay caused by a required modification to the wet side of the system, our Separett composting loo is now up and running. Mags had the honour of the christening, and no, Tom, there are no pictures! She flatly refused to allow me to record this historic occasion!

Plan A involved installing a small urine tank under the floor, which proved to be just too small. Plan B required a larger receptacle, which in turn required removal of a large piece of floor and ballast.
A shallow lidded storage box is used a tank, with a top entry as before, but, as it runs below the loo and can’t be lifted out, it has an outlet connected to a drain pump and a float switch which lights a lamp at around 9 litres.
As before the pipework and electrics run beneath the floor to the false wall in the corner of the washroom.

With the electrics checked for function and the pipes checked for leaks the floor covering went back down and the furniture was finally installed.Panorama_0

It’s difficult to take pictures in a very small room…

Now we’ll see how we get on with it.

With two or three fine days in the offing we moved from Apperley Bridge on Saturday, pausing to pick up another load of logs on Calverley Embankment, then mooring at Calverley Lodge Lift Bridge.

The towpath resurfacing is continuing along here, the workers have the use of a floating comfort station…
…complete with sun deck!

We had an intimate encounter with this vessel in the early hours of this morning. We heard a bump and scrape, followed by a bang. A look out of the window showed said vessel drifting slowly past in the frosty darkness. By the time I’d got the thing pulled in ahead of us and secured I was as frosty as the grass. It was only tied up with cheap, thin, blue polypropylene line, and it had frayed and snapped. It must have taken several hours to drift the few hundred yards down to run into our stern.

The frosty night led to a beautiful bright morning we shared with our new neighbour.IMG_8409 
With work boats up and down all day it broke loose twice more, the first time I retied it with the string provided, the second I thought sod it, let them deal with it. Which they did, taking it back to where it started out around the corner. I’ll go and see what they’ve used for mooring lines in a bit…

The logs we picked up on Saturday are sliced…

…and diced, and should last us for another couple of weeks.IMG_8405

And that’s that. Tomorrow or Wednesday we’ll head back for Apperley Bridge. There’s no point going on to Rodley, there are no winding holes between the village and the top of the padlocked Newlay Locks. We’d have to book a C&RT chap to take us down to Kirkstall, only to turn around and come back up. Rather a pointless exercise.

Locks 0, miles 1¾

Thursday, February 11, 2016

It’s been difficult at times…

…but we’re getting there!
Getting all the plumbing to fit into a pretty small space took some thought and work, but the basin is in now. The loo is ready to go, but a 24 hour “dry” run showed that the pee container was way too small, and that was without any beer! so now we’re on Plan B…

The delay with the vanity unit came to a head when the supplier promised a delivery day which was unfulfilled – twice. So they got kicked into touch and I sourced a similar one from a local supplier up in Bradford. A little dearer, but you pays your money and takes your chance.

We’re intending to toddle off towards Rodley tomorrow, picking up some more logs on the way, if there’s any left. Then we’ll spend the weekend out in the sticks before returning here to pick up the last batch of bits needed for Plan B from ebay at the local Argos “Click and Collect”. Useful service, that.

Enjoying this weather at the moment, cold nights leading to crisp, frosty mornings and fine sunny days. It looks to be staying fairly good for a week or more.

Thanks for the comments, folks. Steve, Angela, it would have overflowed into the bilge, not good! Plan B should solve the problem…
Sue, no, we didn’t have to keep our legs crossed; the cassette loo is still in use, although flushing it with a jug of canal water! It’s been around a bit though. In the saloon, next to the dinette, wherever there’s been space. You know what it’s like when you're doing work in a narrowboat. We even had an en-suite for a while!
Hey, Gary, Della. That’ll be all that fancy coffee!
Tom, you don’t mean actually in use, do you??? Nah, surely not!

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Project Pancho nears it’s conclusion…

There’s been a lot of head-scratching the last week or so, working out how to install the new composting loo in our somewhat spatially challenged bathroom. It’s not just the new loo; there’s a new vanity unit going in, and I wanted to make sure that all the associated pipework was hidden.

Blank canvas, wash basin and cassette loo removed.
The marks on the wall indicate where the wash basin used to sit, with the waste going straight through the hull side alongside that from the shower. Things get a little complicated ‘cause I’m swapping the loo and basin positions over…

But the first, and most worrisome job was to drill a 76mm hole in the roof for the vent from the loo. I always follow the old rule, “measure twice, cut once”, but in this case it was measure several times from different datum points (windows, roof vents etc) then measure again! In the event, my first exploratory 6mm hole was about an inch out, but still within the area to be removed.

And there it is, through steel, spray foam and deckhead lining.

One useful trick I’ve picked up on the way is how to deal with the steel swarf. If you don’t clean it all up it rusts very quickly and stains the paint. You wrap a cloth around a magnet, hoover up all the swarf, then unwrap the magnet away from the area. Neat, eh.

Roof vent fitted, there’s a fly screen inside.

The 75mm pipe runs inside the wardrobe on the opposite side of the bathroom bulkhead.
Apart from the roof the pipe has to go through two shelves and the bathroom bulkhead to mate up with the loo.

Rather than tile I chose to use wall board. Dead easy, high gloss white and cut-able by Stanley knife.IMG_8385
There’s new cushion flooring gone down too.

The vent comes through the wall, and the pipes for the basin now come up through the floor. I cut out a narrow hatch along the wall, removed the brick ballast and routed the pipes through the void. They’re well wrapped in insulation.

Removing the bricks has actually helped the boat’s trim. We were always a little right side heavy before. The waste pipes are now boxed in.

I think one of the reasons that this model, rather than the Airhead or Nature’s Head, is not so popular with boaters is the remote urine handling. (Not literally…) The other two use a tank integral to the unit, this design is more suited to land-based applications where the pee can go to a soakaway, drain or into Separett’s Ejectortank which dilutes it with water for use as a fertiliser. The outlet from the urine “funnel” is at the back, but only around 170mm up from the floor, which makes sourcing a decent sized catch tank with a small footprint almost impossible. My solution was to cut another hatch, this time removable, discard the ballast (we’ll be leaning the other way at this rate!) and sit a container on the base plate. The drain pipe goes into it through the hatch cover.
The container is a plastic storage box, and realistically will hold no more than 3½ litres. I hope that’s enough for 24 hours for two people. If not I have a cunning plan…

Meet Pancho, in position and almost ready for commissioning…
Why Pancho, I hear you ask… Well, it’s a Separett Villa 9010. Hokay? Winking smile

For ventilation there’s a fan drawing air across the solids tank and up the vent pipe. I wasn’t sure how quiet it would be, so installed a switch, just visible on the panel alongside the loo, so it could be turned off at night when we’re in bed. In the event it’s so quiet you can hardly hear it even when you’re sat in situ…

We’re still waiting for the vanity unit to be delivered, hopefully that should be with us Wednesday. Then we’re back in business.

Anyone want a used but functional Thetford C100 cassette loo?

We did move down from the top of Dobson’s Locks on Friday, in dire need of diesel and solid fuel. This time our transit of the mechanised swing bridge went smoothly…
We filled up at Apperley Bridge Marina then were blown across the canal to where we moored. We’ll be here for a few days.

There’s still no chance of getting south of Leeds, I think there’s still remedial work to be completed on the Aire and Calder, and anyway the River Aire rises to above safe navigable levels if someone so much as spits into it.
It seems more and more likely that we’ll be heading east on the L&L as soon as the bridge refurbishment in Shipley is finished.

Locks 2, miles ½