Category Archives: Boat Engines

Fully Charged. 16th March

Above Lemonroyd Lock to Lemonroyd Marina

Thankful for just about a full nights sleep, maybe things were improving. I popped some painkillers just in case, which was just as well! As we had our breakfast Tilly was allowed shore leave, she went self catering and would have liked to join us at the table, however we turned her away at the hatch, our breakfast of blueberry porridge far less crunchy than hers!

Some feline comfort

Mick headed off on the Brompton to get a newspaper and a few supplies. He returned with news. He’d had a phone call from Alastair in Goole saying the part for our engine had arrived, he was on his way!

A short while later we had a knock on the roof, this was Sue and a friend (sorry I can’t remember your name) from the marina, they or another boat were ready to come out to give us a tow into the marina later in the afternoon. We updated them with our news, hopefully we’d be able to run the engine again soon and head that way under our own steam, we’d let them know.

Cleaner cabin side

It took us several days, admittedly slowly to reach Lemonroyd, it took Alastair 40 minutes! Mick walked up to the nearby car park to help Alastair find us. The sun was out, things were starting to look up. I decided to give the cabin side a wash down with canal water, get rid of the mud splatter we still had from Goole, a general covering of something pale washed off too, general Goole docks dust. A full on proper wash still awaits Oleanna, but this certainly made me feel better.

Smiling as ever!

Alastair sat in the engine bay chatted away, found a suitable tool to remove part of the broken fixing that had sheared off and been left on the engine side of things. The replacement part and pipe were put on. Mick was instructed how to tighten the connectors should he need to in future, they turn the opposite way to how you’d think. The engine was started up and left to warm up to check for any leaks, none. Jobs a good’un! Hooray!!!! Thank you Alastair for coming out to us as soon as the part arrived. We’ve still not heard back from RCR!

Lunch, then we untied, winded and headed for the marina. Yes we could run our engine now to charge the batteries, but with the new bully boys this would use a LOT of diesel as they were down to about 30% after three days of no engine. So instead we’ve opted to go into the marina for a couple of nights to recharge the batteries, fill up with water, do some washing and most importantly have showers!

Red flashing light ahead

Alex the marina supervisor was there to help us tie up. An ap needed for us to be able to have electric was donwloaded. Sadly a miss understanding had us thinking that the mooring fee included electric, it didn’t and the minimum we could add was £10. The invertor hummed away as the batteries charged most of the afternoon. The water tank was filled and we both had lovely showers. first load of washing done. By the time it was bed time we’d used more than £5, but the batteries were fully charged.

Oleanna, about to be hooked up and recharged

Pair 11 of my Sockathon came off the needles as we watched Traitors Australia. I managed a good evening, pain relieved by Ibuprofen taken with food. A return visit to the dentist most definitely on the cards.

0 locks, 0.5 miles, 1 wind, 1 right, 40 minutes drive, 1 small part, 1 cuppa, 1 engine mended, £10, 5 familiar boats, 1 bored cat, 2 full bully boys, 1 full water tank, 4 Ibuprofen, 4 paracetamol, 2 cocodamol.

https://maps.app.goo.gl/Msbz6dFwVTCeq9Hk6

11 pairs knitted

36 pairs spoken for

41 to go

£795 raised

https://www.justgiving.com/page/pip-leckenby-1704636205453?utm_medium=fundraising&utm_content=page%2Fpip-leckenby-1704636205453&utm_source=copyLink&utm_campaign=pfp-share

Is That Near That Lemonroyd Place? 15th March

Above Lemonroyd Lock

Not a good night.

The co-codamol that had work yesterday evening was topped up when we went to bed, by 2am its effects had worn off. Next dose at 04:15 didn’t have any effect. At 06:00 we were on the phone to a rather sleepy sounding lady from 111. When asked for our location she said ‘Is that near that Lemonroyd Place?’ She was very helpful, however there were no appointments in Leeds for today, Bradford or Harrogate were the nearest she could find. We’d done a bit of online hunting for ourselves this morning so opted for a Dentist in Beeston (south west Leeds) they had an appointment at 08:30.

As I got dressed Mick called for a taxi, then we walked down to the marina to meet it. The driver was very chatty and my toothache faded away for a while, but only for a while, as we drove round the southern side of Leeds in rush hour.

I opened the front door to one of those wonderful cut glass doors and surrounds that Edwardian houses do so well. Inside was a wonderful hallway with plaster panels and a statement staircase, it was almost enough to distract me from my pain!

What a lovely set of steps

Xray, poking about. It could be a wisdom tooth over growing, it could be a touch of decay on the tooth destined for a crown, but which one? The later was chosen, numbing done, no pain evident from the wisdom tooth, it looked like we’d found the culprit. A temporary filling and £125 later I was waiting for a taxi home, Mick and Tilly had stayed at Oleanna in case RCR arrived with a replacement part. The return taxi driver used to work in the post office in Fulford where I grew up, he’d most probably served my Dad!

Back onboard, Mick had tried calling RCR to see what progress had been made, they’d call back. With water and electric running low he’d called Lemonroyd Marina to see if they might have room for us, they did, we just needed to get there! As part of our bronze RCR cover they will tow you to the nearest marina, but when Mick called them to see if this was possible we were told to flag down the first passing boat. Well, there aren’t any due to the river being in flood, this also did mean that it would be hard for RCR to get a boat to us too. However there was a possibility of a tow from someone at Lemonroyd, the marina manager would ask round for us. Two offers came, one for Saturday when the wind had calmed down, the other Sunday.

Colour work Pattern

Alastair the engineer at Goole was more than likely to be coming out to us, as he works for RCR and this was how we first got to know him a few years ago. Mick called him, we were on his radar, the part not arrived, it would most probably be Monday or Tuesday. A while to wait but we’d now got a tow organised and tomorrow we’ll be plugged in and by a tap, oh for a shower!

As the day progressed the anaesthetic wore off, as it did so the pain returned! Hopefully it was caused by the treatment I’d had and would improve in a few hours. Back on the paracetamol, a dose of Ibuprofen taken after dinner, it’s been suggested that I avoid Ibuprofen after taking so much of it when I lost my little finger, but sometimes needs must. I spent the evening sipping water which eased the pain for a few minutes. Think I’ll be up and down all night going for a pee if the pain doesn’t keep me awake!

Blue skies, however the tree was in the way of the solar

At least the sun made an appearance.

Over the last couple of days rumours have been spreading that the current stoppage on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal at Vazon Sliding Bridge which was due to reopen next week will be extended for another 9 weeks! A post on the Trentlink group suggested that this is almost certainly going to be the case, Network Rail just need to confirm it with C&RT.

With our current engine problems, river flood gates closed ahead of us, medical appointments, the quick route south on the Trent now unlikely to open for a couple of months (closing our alternative route south), our plans for the early part of the year are no longer possible. We’d been aiming to join a Fund Britains Waterways campaign cruise on the Thames. This was timed to happen just after Cavalcade. Boats would head out of Limehouse Lock onto the Tideway and cruise down stream through the Thames Barrier, wait for the tide to turn then head up to West Minster, joined by more boats coming out from Limehouse, arrival timed for the end of PMQ when all boats would sound their horns. We simply haven’t got enough time to get there anymore.

Not a good day.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 taxi’s, 1 smiley lady, 2 possibles, 1 temp filling, 0 part, 2 offers of a tow, 1 red flashing light, 1 lazy day, 1 statement staircase, 1 snoozy lady, 2 disappointed boaters.

It Just Came Off In My Hand! 14th March

Above Lemonroyd Lock

Time to pack some socks up. We wouldn’t be going anywhere today as the lock light was flashing red, the river had come up overnight. It may not have rained here very much but up stream on the Pennines it certainly had, down at Castleford the level had risen higher than when we’d been there.

River Aire levels at Castleford

Mick wanted to tinker in the engine bay. The new batteries are not doing quite what he’d expected, one charges more than the other. So whilst I did sock things he took the engine board up. Power was turned off for a while. I took photos of a couple of pairs of socks, then they were labelled and packed up. Postage paid, address labels printed and attached when the power came back on. I just needed to find a post box now.

Socks ready for the post

Maybe we’d go for a walk and shop after lunch.

Since having the new batteries, when we are stationary we’ve been running the engine whilst running the dishwasher, this gives the batteries a top up whilst the dishes wash and gives us hot water for showers. It’s been working quite well and a massive difference to last year when no matter how long we’d cruised during the day we’d need to give our depleted battery bank an extra charge before 8pm to have enough power to see us through the night. None of that now.

Such a small thing

Mick appeared from the engine bay. We had a problem. In his hand was a pipe/connector this was from where the engine connects to the calorifier. We once had a problem with this connection on the Thames. It’s position is where Mick finds himself sitting to do things in the engine bay. Today he’d noticed it was leaking, so he had a go at tightening it with a spanner. Instead of tightening it came off in his hand!

Now we can’t run the engine, now we can’t move, now our water reserves are getting low (we should have topped the tank up to the top the other day rather than being eager for breakfast!). Add to this the lack of sunshine, solar being the only means to charge our batteries without the engine. Economy mode engaged and a phone call to RCR.

Hiya!

Stephanie called him back, Mick sent photos, a new part would need to be ordered then an engineer would come out to fit it, hopefully it would be that simple. However something had sheered off so there may have to be some drilling involved too. Oleanna’s W.O.C. number was required so the correct part could be ordered. Mick pointed out that we would run out of battery power without the engine, there was talk of hiring a generator should we need one.

After lunch I headed off to do some shopping and post socks. We are half way along one side of a triangle to the nearest shops, the rail line making a direct route impossible. I walked up towards Woodlesford then up the main road, past the Co-op and on to Lidl. A top up shop of essentials, a bigger shop could happen another day, after all I’m still hobbling.

The road back to Lemonroyd Marina

Back at Oleanna Mick was still waiting for RCR to call back. They didn’t. Electric saving measures were implemented although we did allow ourselves to watch the first episode of Traitors Australia Season 2 (you are a bad influence Adam!).

The last few days I’ve had a bit of niggling tooth ache. For years I ignored such pain quite successfully, my relationship with my teeth wasn’t good for many years. Today the pain increased. Paracetamol was doing nothing. Thankfully Paracetamol and Codeine gave me a few hours of relief, something would need to be done. Was it a tooth that is on the cards for a crown? Could I get to Birmingham to my dentist tomorrow morning? Was there somewhere in Leeds I could go?

Oh what a day!

0 locks, 0 miles, 0 engine running, 1 gas boiler, 0 showers, 1 hour TV, 1st sock of pair 11 finished, 1 broken bit,1 painful tooth, 3 miles walked, 1 camera suggestion.

Sitting Higher And A Friendly Goodbye.

Firstly thank you to Chris and Rufus for helping the blog move earlier this week and to those who commented that they were hearing us loud and clear.

It’s a touch concerning who reads our blog!

Back in 2014 we were getting ready for a life afloat, a year on a boat was calling and work for me was starting to wind down, we’d not yet found NB Lillyanne but had hopes that NB Oleanna (Mark 1) wouldn’t be far away from being completed. Little did we know what was going on back then! But in the summer of 2014 as we were finally packing up the house to move onto NB Lillyanne our friends in Scarborough got together to wish us well on our travels, a nice gathering at a local pizza restaurant and a few pints later, a lovely evening was had.

Nowadays, we get to see our friends every now and again in Scarborough, but not really often or for long enough, so this had to be put right before we left for the spring and summer months. A gathering was organised at our house last Sunday afternoon and it just so happened to be half-term too.

Lamb and veg stew

Catering for a possible twenty was put into operation starting on Friday. The cheapest way to buy lamb was by the leg, this was roasted then chopped up to be added into a stew. A separate veggie stew was made up and potatoes were scrubbed and ready to be baked in the oven. The house was given a dust down and we awaited our friends to arrive.

From left to Right.
Pip, DUNCAN! Gill, Jenny, Jaye, Dawn, Mick, Charlie (down the front) Tucker and Lee just leaning in. Ben and Frank are missing from the photo.

Sadly some friends were too far away to join us, had family visiting or had come down with a lurgy, so the numbers dropped! Never the less we had a lovely afternoon, nibbles, cheese and puddings provided by our guests. Lots of catching up to do especially for Jenny and her son Charlie who live that little bit further afield and hadn’t seen some people for about ten years. A gathering like this simply would not be possible on Oleanna, we have difficulty having two of us in the galley never mind twelve!

Stocked up for the next year

Thank you all for coming and sorry to miss those from further afield or with a lurgy. We also topped up on Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil and Charlie and Ivy‘s goodies for the boat, delivered by Charlie.

Left overs

Because the numbers had dropped our freezer, which we’d been doing a very good job of emptying, has now been filled up again, but we’ll gradually eat our way through them, we’ll just have to vary our diet occasionally!

Tuesday, Mick picked up a hire car and we loaded it with cushions for the dinette and headed over the Wolds to Goole. Time to start putting Oleanna back together again before we move back onboard.

Mick checked the Bully Boy Batteries from his phone whilst I screwed the pan drawer back to the pull out corner cupboard. The old screws had only just managed to last seven years, so new holes and screws were needed, I also added some facing the opposite direction too so hopefully they will last a lot longer.

Now it was time to move things back into cupboards and drawers that had been moved for varnishing. The galley tops also got a very good clean.

Will they all fit?

Before lunch we needed to see if the new dinette cushions fitted. The new foam is a lot firmer so it took a touch more effort to squish them into position.

Hooray!

The one new corner cushion, replacing two, fits well. However the end back cushion now is a little bit too long at the bottom. It’s the same size as the old cushion which was also rectangular, but now it just needs to have a slight angle taken of the bottom for it to fit perfectly. For now this is fine. But if anyone happens to have an electric carving knife as we pass, I may borrow it to trim an inch off it. All cushions are now double sided, which the original ones weren’t, so if they start to look a touch dirty we can flip them over.

Left over cheese by the hatch

We could now sit and use the table again for lunch, in comfort. Much better than the old cushions.

Life Jacket hook position

The afternoon, we checked that the new shelf for The Shed would fit. It does but only goes in one way and still needs blocks to rest on before things can go back in the cupboard. The battery below it also needs some blocks of wood round it to hold it in position for the BSS, Mick is also thinking about shortening the cables to the battery. This all needs doing before the fire extinguisher can we put back on the wall. But I got chance to decide where and how other items would be stored in The Shed rather than just being piled up on top of each other. Our life jackets will happily sit behind the extinguisher on a big hook. Coat hangers on another deep hook above the power socket, this is only for storage as they get used in the pram cover for drying washing not for hanging coats on. The window vac will happily sit in a couple of big hooks on the cabin side, but the hand held vac is too bulky for hooks and there is nowhere to be able to attach a string to hang it from. I’ll make a bag for it which will be fixed to the cabin side also. This should then leave us with little needing to be piled at the bottom of the cupboard in future, just the Brompton bag and took box, Hopefully!

See you soon

It was starting to get late, so we packed up deciding that we’d need another visit before we move back on board to finish off jobs and I also want to give the bathroom a good clean too. As we loaded up the car Alastair came to say hello and handed Mick an invoice for the couple of little jobs he’s done in Oleanna’s engine bay for us this last week.

Hopefully we’ll be back down soon to finish off.

0 locks, 0 miles, 20 down to 12, 1 lovely afternoon with good friends, 5 litres rapeseed oil, 1 car, 7 cushions, 1 a touch too tight, 2 batteries playing nicely, 1 spotless galley, 1 pull out drawer, 1 stove top kettle under the sink, 2 boaters sitting higher, 1 plan for The Shed, 1 more visit, 2 of each back at the house, 1 slightly amended cruising plan.

New Bully Boy Batteries

Mick here again.

Long time readers of the blog might remember that when Oleanna was being built in Sheffield back in 2016 we decided that we would have a lithium battery bank installed. Finesse, our boat builders, had suggested it to us and we decided it was a good idea. There were many delays in getting them from the supplier but we finally got our three RELiON LiFePO4 24V 50Ah batteries installed giving us 150 amp hours of electrical energy. We were quite happy with them although larger capacity would have been nice.

One day last summer (2023) the voltage of the battery bank wasn’t as it should be. Upon investigation I found that one of the three batteries was faulty. It was showing 23 volts instead of the more usual 26. I tried to revive it by connecting it on its own to our Victron Multiplus charger whilst we were hooked up to shore power in Cropredy Marina. But it didn’t play ball so a replacement was required.

In theory these batteries have a 10 year warranty so I set to with some investigation. I spoke to Ricky at Finnesse who said that they had not used these batteries again after the long delays in supply that we had experienced. I contacted RELiON direct and they explained that the 10 year warranty worked like this:

Legacy Series (Model numbers that begin with RB) – Should the manufacturer deem a valid warranty claim exist and battery(s) are unable to be repaired in year one (1) through three (3) the manufacturer will replace the defective battery free of charge with a similar product. Should the manufacturer deem a valid warranty claim exist and battery(s) are unable to be repaired in years four (4) and five (5) a similar product will be offered at 20% off the retail MSRP listed at the time of the offer. Should the manufacturer deem a valid warranty claim exist and battery(s) are unable to be repaired in years six (6) through 10 a similar product will be offered at 10% off the retail MSRP listed at the time of the offer.

So, not really a 10 year warranty after all. We fell into the last category of getting a 10% discount off the retail price of a new battery. That was really not an option. We toyed with getting a new bigger battery from another supplier to connect in parallel with the two remaining batteries. At first this looked hopeful but in light of the fact that the old batteries have no programmable battery management system (BMS) it would be difficult to get the settings of a new battery to match. So we decided to limp along on 100 amp hours for the rest of the season and sort it out when moored for the winter back in Goole.

I did a lot of research. There is a very useful Facebook group the “12 volt boating group” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/144684286108763 ) which has many knowledgeable members. In the end I decided that we would buy two new self heating 24v 230Ah LiFePO4 batteries from Life Batteries, a nice friendly company in Cornwall https://www.lifebatteries.co.uk/. There will be a very useful big step up in our capacity from 150Ah to 460. I considered getting just one battery, but as Paul Balmer of Waterway Routes fame (https://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/) pointed out, if that one battery goes faulty then you have no domestic power. The self heating will come in useful if ever we need to charge the batteries when they are below 0 degrees C.

Measuring the battery tray. 53 x 33 cms available.

The new batteries will be connected in parallel with the lead acid bow thruster bank thereby providing the alternator with somewhere to send its electricity when the lithium batteries are full and switch themselves off from charging. Our old batteries were connected up in the same manner. One new battery would go in the old battery tray in the engine bay and the other in The Shed cupboard inside. There will be a shelf over it so the cupboard can still be used as a Shed.

A bit of a rewire was required. The original installation was a bit untidy and in seven years I’ve not been able to find any fuses in the DC supplies to the inverter or the domestic distribution panel.

Old batteries. The one in the middle was faulty and bypassed with a bolt!
Two of the three old batteries. Showing the lack of bus bar and fuses
A total of three old batteries. The one with yellow tape on the terminal is faulty. “Temporary” connection block in the foreground

When the old batteries were removed it was clear that the tray neaded a bit of TLC. Now painting is not usually my reponsibility on Oleanna but in this case I took on the job, mainly because once completed I would be the only person who would see it and Pip was busy with other stuff.

TLC required
Fertanned
Painted

Next came the installation of a new positive bus bar and fuse holder. It is attached to a bit of wood that was glued to the bulkhead with Gorilla Two Pack glue. It’s a bit skewiff, my excuse being that I was working upside down, back to front and left handed. By the time I noticed the skewiffness the glue had gone off so there was no moving it to make it straight. But it does the job. Along the top is the bus bar. The thin red cable on the left goes via an inline fuse to the shunt for the battery monitor. Next is the orange cable to the new inside battery, then a black cable to the bow thruster bank (via a Mega fuse), another black cable to the 24v alternator and then another orange cable to the new outside battery.

Bus bar and fuses

The Victron inverter / charger is connected via the blue Mega fuse at the bottom and the 24v DC system to the orange fuse. All is covered by a plastic cover.

The Outside battery

The independant 12v starter battery is on the left. A wooden cover will be placed on top of the whole lot to protect it.

The inside battery. Terminal covers yet to be fitted

The BMS settings in each battery were programmed as advised by the very helpful Mark Cheesman at Life Batteries https://www.lifebatteries.co.uk/. You can connect to each battery via Bluetooth and an app on a phone. There are two important settings to change: the “batt over voltage” is the voltage at which the charging is turned off, set to 28 volts. It turns back on again when it drops to 27 volts. The other setting is the “batt under voltage” which is when the discharging is turned off, set to 24 volts, it comes back on again at 25 volts.

The important settings circled

Time to start the engine. A final check of everything then turn the key. The engine fired up and I monitored the charge going to each battery. Just under 30 amps to begin with which was good. The 100% state of charge (soc) is incorrect. The BMS requires a few days of use to work out the correct soc and even then, as with all soc readings it is liable to inaccuracy.

Real time monitor of one battery

The temperature of the alternator needs to be monitored and after about 30 minutes it was reading a steady 40 degrees C. This is on the cool side, apparently 90 degrees is ok. I think I need to get rid of the surplus length in the battery cables. I reckon I’ve got about a metre too long in each cable. Once this is done the charging current should increase. To do this I need a crimping tool and some new lugs which I don’t have. That can wait for another day.

I’m looking forward to using the electric kettle when making tea in the morning.

TLC Day 8. 30th January

Salt and Pepper!

We called into Sainsburys to pick up an order from Ikea, I’d not had confirmation that it had arrived, but it should have been there since Sunday. The lady suggested looking for my delivery on DPD, she needed a QR code to scan before I could have my parcel. Then of course she needed to see some ID for me, which I didn’t have! Thankfully she believed me that I have a driving licence and handed over the order. Thank goodness we’d gone by car, it was a huge box! We chose some soup for lunch and then headed on to Goole, thankfully the sun was out today making for a pleasant drive.

More cupboard sorting, this time the cat proof cupboard. Illustrations for Seperate Doors, bits of panto model, some of these need to stay on board, others need to head for safe keeping at the house. Now we no longer live on board full time some things don’t need to be at hand should we want them. The big box of boat build details was packed along with the folder on Stillwater Narrowboats, that can be filed away somewhere upstairs upstairs, no need to look at that again.

One of my all time favourite illustrations for Seperate Doors

The office cupboard moved from port to starboard. I’d like to have a pull out shelf for the printer at some point, it now being on the starboard side means the power lead will reach a power socket. Whiltling things down is good, but I’m also mindful that we need to compensate for the weight of the new batteries and not end up on a list.

Very tasty

Mick ran the engine. I made a cardboard template for the shelf that will sit above the battery in The Shed. Pea and Ham soup, then a final tidy of various things, The Shed put back together. I could then hoover through and get ready to put a coat of Danish oil on the floor. With the hoovering done, Oleanna was winterised.

Glad you can’t see the diggers on the otherside of the Dutch River

Thankfully the day being bright, Goole looked like the Med today, I had plenty of light to be able to do the oiling. I took my time gradually working my way backwards to the bow. Making sure everywhere got an even coat, no slap dashing today. The last bit is always so hard to do from the bow steps leaning down past your toes to cover the last foot square. Done! The front door was locked, the oil can now cure over several days before anyone will walk on it.

Please dry evenly!

There will need to be another trip so that we can put everything back where it lives and give the bathroom a good clean. The Shed will need it’s new shelf and some hanging rods rather than rails, but we need to see what space we’ll have once the fire extinguisher is back on the wall.

Onion!

Mick will be along sometime soon to explain more about what’s been happening in the engine bay with the new Bully Boy Batteries. I’m now heading off to chain myself to the sewing machine to cover the dinette cushions, oh and a bit of knitting too! Hopefully soon I’ll be able to show you some of the finished socks, once their sponsors have received them.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 last trip, 1 engine ran, 3 Chippy lanyards, 1 panto car, 2 phone boxes, 1 Petiti tree, 1 hoover, 2 last soups, 1 onion, 1 careful coat of oil, 1 face looking forward to not wearing a mask again, 1 boys blood pressure creaping down each day.

TLC Day 7. 29th January

So much for treat pizza and that fire!

Mick is in the process of changing some medication. For a week he needs to take his blood pressure morning and evening, so on Saturday when we got home he disappeared to do this, returning a while later with a puzzled concerned look on his face. He records his results on an app, this evening his blood pressure was too high, he should seek immediate medical attention. 111 asked him to go to A&E. Should we eat first or should we try to beat the Saturday night influx, we decided on the latter, stupidly!

The long wait begins!

A&E was chocka at 7:50pm, we only just managed to find seats, we’d be a while. The while turned into 8 hours. Mick’s blood pressure was read several times, two ECGs and blood tests done. I’m sure they only did blood pressure readings to get everyone moving once in a while so they didn’t have a room full of freezing cold DVT cases. Eventually a little before 4am Sunday morning he got to see a lovely Dr Frankie. Mick was examined and told to double his dose of drugs, continue to do his blood pressure twice a day and get in touch with his GP Monday morning. We went home, cold, tired, slightly relieved and hungry!

An empty boot apart from some black pudding

So no visit to Oleanna on Sunday, we needed a lazy day, Geraghty zoom, breakfast and those pizzas were finally devoured.

Pairs 2 and 3 in the post

Monday morning Mick contacted his GP. Within half an hour he had a phone call back from a doctor who upped his dose again. The hire car was extended by a couple of days and a plumber postponed his visit, at least this meant we could get to Oleanna earlier than planned. Unfortunatly we came across stand still traffic near Howden, the only cars coming the other way had turned round. I put down my knitting and went into navigator mode.

First thing was to light the stove and open windows. Stove paint once dry needs to cure and to do this it needs to be heated up for around 20 minutes, this always lets off fumes. At least we’d have some heat today.

Still too much stuff

Mick carried on with things in the engine bay whilst I started to go through cupboards. The cupboard under the sink was given a good sort, large night lights, cleaning cloths galore. I would now need to find space in there for our stove top kettle as our battery bank will be good enough to use the electric kettle routinely, but it should stay onboard ‘just in case’.

Spicey Parsnip soup before the galley bottom drawer was sorted, two first aid kits well out of date. We have a new one to bring from the house along with a life time supply for a family of ten of sterile wipes!

Connecting the second bully boy battery

The boat was dusted from top down ready for a good hoover when we got power again. By 3pm Mick moved indoors time to connect the second battery! Very exciting. He turned them on, looked at the computer. Oleanna had power again! The invertor hummed away happily bring electricity into the boat charging up the batteries.

Checking all was as expected

Once second coats of varnish were applied to the remainder of wood it was getting late again. Mick didn’t want to leave Oleanna on her own just yet with the two new bully boy batteries in charge. There was still tidying up to do in the engine bay and The Shed cupboard needed to be put back together. Things were turned off and we headed home.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 batteries connected, 2 more soups, 2 dead first aid kits, 10mg not 2.5mg! 1 electric kettle, 2nd coats, 1 coat oil under the corner cupboard.

TLC Day 6. 27th January

A lucky dip Helical sock, 5th pair

Back down to Goole today. The temporary battery was disconnected after a blast of the central heating, thankfully it was a warmish day as I wasn’t going to be lighting the stove.

More cableing was going on in the engine bay. The second battery was put into the original battery tray. Blocks of wood have been added so that the battery can’t move more than 10mm in the tray. We’ll need to do something to hold the battery that is in The Shed, blocks of wood or maybe angle brackets.

Mick working with limited room

Mick busied himself hoping to get the instalation complete today, tidying up would be left for tomorrow, maybe even checking things worked as they should do.

A puddle of oil!

The Danish Oil on the floor was still just a touch tacky. I could see where I’d either not been able to see properly in dim light or I’d been a touch slap dash. No shoes inside today, socks only, I managed to find some heat holder socks to attempt to keep my toes from freezing.

Inside I realised that along with the porthole in the bedroom there were the bedside tables and a couple of tops that should also get a varnish to protect them from muddy paws. A space was cleared on the bed so that I could reach the porthole. Everywhere had a sand then some Bar Keepers Friend applied to where there were stains. This was left to dry whilst we had some Spicy Butternut Squash soup for lunch.

Other tops were lightly sanded and then the stove top got some attention. Water has somehow got in during the really heavy rain this winter and had left rusty patches. When lighting the stove recently I’ve made sure the nearest CO alarm has been operational incase we have a dangerous leak. The top was sanded then wiped down with white spirit. Once dry I got the stove paint out and popped my mask on, this stuff stinks! In my younger days a little bit of a whiff was put up with, but now I really hate it as it seems to linger with you for hours!

The BKF was all cleaned off, the porthole required a second coat, most probably a third should have been applied, but I was running out of patience. Everything was cleaned down, followed by a coat of varnish and a second coat elsewhere.

As the day light started to fade so did our enthusiasm. The floor not having gone off fully after two days meant that it would be a bad idea to give it a second coat today, this should be the final thing to be done once everything else was finished tomorrow. Mick was cold from sitting on the engine so we called it a day and headed back over the Wolds to warm up infront of a fire with a cat on my knee, some knitting and pizzas for tea.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 porthole, 2 bedside tables, 2 more tops, 2nd coats, 1 stove top, 1 stinky boat, 2nd battery and other things, 2 cold and dark, 0 power tonight on Oleanna.

TLC Day 4. 25th January

Not quite as picturesque as Tilly

The tin of Danbolin had been brought inside yesterday so that it could warm up a touch before being used. The battery tray in the engine bay got a coat, this would take the rest of the day and overnight to dry.

Painted and drying

Time to bring a battery inside. The plank was positioned to aid getting the heavy black box onboard and then it was brought down the stern steps. The steps then needed removing so that the cupboard would be more accessible. The steps will now live on the dinette table for a while and access will only be through the bow doors, the stern doors being kept lock from inside so that we don’t forget!

Battery in it’s new cosy home

Everything seemed dry in the cupboard today, so in went the battery onto the floor of the cupboard. A shelf will need to be made and supported above it before items can be organised in The Shed again. The cables will come down from behind the board (at the top of the photo) which covers the hole from the engine bay, the shelf will need to accomodate the cables.

Inside I mixed some Bar Keepers Friend into a paste with a few drops of water, I applied it to the stains on the top of the drawingboard slot. Would this work? I’d see. This was left to dry whilst we had bowls of warming chicken soup for lunch. The dried paste was then scraped off, the residue rubbed away with a green pan scrubber, everywhere was then hoovered. The stains had vanished! A wipe with white spirit and it was left to dry.

Varnishing

I decided to do the same with marks on the window frames and along the wooden trim of the side hatch, this gets wet paws applied frequently to it and was looking quite dark. The BKF certainly bleached down the wood and brought it back to life. A coat of yacht varnish was applied to the hatch, window frames and shelves.

That looks loads better

Possessions were moved to the front of the boat, with the old battery reconnected I could hoover through before applying oil to the floor. This should really be applied, left for ten minutes to soak into the grain, then any excess wiped off with a cloth, giving an even coverage. However, this is next to impossible on a boat. The narrow spans of floor mean you start at one end of the boat and work your way backwards. Yes I could stop every three foot and wait for ten minutes to wipe any excess away, but my knees wouldn’t have appreciated that. Hopefully after a second coat it will even things out.

Danish oil being applied from a trusty Pip pot

Mick sat in the car waiting, not able to do anymore in the engine bay today as the temporary battery was in the way again and it was getting dark. I was glad of being able to have light inside and managed to remember to turn them off as I worked my way to the bow.

Oleanna locked up, the fire dying down. Back across the Wolds to three parcels left with our neighbour, more wonderful yarn. My old collegue Gemma in Leamington Spa had sent me a lot of part used balls of yarn, she works for Wool Warehouse now so I imagine her stash is huge.

The other two parcels were from Vykky at West Green Loft Yarns. One parcel filled with part used balls of yarn, the other a generous handfull of mini skeins. Blimey if I get more generous donations like this we’ll be needing a butty just for the yarn! Thank you!

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 battery in the shed, 1 tray grey, 3 black spots vanished, 1st coat on windows, hatch and 2 shelves, 1 temporary battery, 1st coat oil, 2 aching knees, 1 aching head, 3 parcels of yarn joy.

PS for Tom, this is the reply to your comment a month ago about our batteries.

Tom. Back when Oleanna was being built the builder suggested lithium batteries from a company called RELiON. They seemed good at the time but you may remember we had supply problems. Last summer one of the three 50ah 24v batteries went faulty. Our builder had never used RELiON again after our supply problems so they had no relationship with them. I looked at claiming under the guarantee and it turned out in the small print that the 10 year guarantee worked like this: a failure during years one to three would result in getting a foc replacement. A failure during years four to six would get you a 20% discount off a new battery. A failure from year seven to ten would get you a 10% discount off a new one. Their new prices hadn’t fallen as much as others in the lithium market so a new battery with 10% off would be more expensive than one supplied from elsewhere.
So we decided to limp on with 100Ah for the rest of the summer and decide what to do at our leisure. There is a well renowned facebook group “12 volt boating group” which has a lot of useful info and some recommended suppliers. So I have found a 24v 230Ah battery available for about a third of the price we paid for our 3 original batteries. We could keep the two batteries that are still working and add the new one to the bank but there is no access to the Battery Managment System on the old batteries so that might be problematical. So I am going to ditch the two remaining 8 year old batteries and replace them with two of the new ones giving us redundancy if one fails (thanks Paul Balmer) and a massive increase in capacity which will be very nice. I might do a blog post about it when I come to do the fitting.

Mick

2023 A Sociable Year

A long post, it’s the annual round up.

January, we sat waiting. Waiting for a new alternator to arrive, for the River Trent to come out of flood and then for the canal to defrost sufficiently for us move. This meant Pip doing work on the boat instead of in the house, this made for smelly days and a very cold workshop under the pram cover.

After almost three weeks we were on the move again having to navigate through thick fog, navigational aids helping us not to bump into the banks! Ahead of us in Yorkshire was a troublesome swing bridge, closed to boat traffic. Our plans had to change, we arranged to moor up in Newark and head back to Scarborough by van. Chin rubs nearly made the longer journey better, but I really don’t like the outside moving SO fast!

Four days later we were back on board, the bridge ahead was now open. Tides were checked, locks booked, cupboards stocked for a few days cruising. Winter cruising can be so so pretty, yet so so chilly. A display by the Red Arrows as we left Torksey kept us amused and a defrost was very welcome when we arrived at Keadby. After four days cruising we were moored up in Goole and walking to catch the train back to Scarborough.

#unit21 in Huddersfield kept Pip occupied for much of February. Then it was time to give the house some TLC in between lodgers. A back bedroom got a makeover just in time. Mick had trips to see Oleanna, a jobs list left with Alastair and the covers headed off for some much needed mending. Tilly was kept busy checking out the neighbours, they stay inside so I get free reign of their outside!

April arrived along with two lodgers, it was not possible to do more work on the house, Pip chose to knit socks instead. Dementia UK her chosen charity this year. Donations of yarn came from dyers and Pip’s needles started to click away, keeping up with requests. 15 pairs knitted and her target met.

May, visits were made to Oleanna preparing her for cruising, these were interspersed with visits from family, delivering socks, getting the house ready and starting work on the design for panto. On the 9th of May we loaded a van and returned to life afloat. Tilly the happiest cat once she was back onboard! A day later we set off heading west. Leeds for a few days for Pip to head to Matlock for work and then a wonderful visit to see 93 year old Betty in Harrogate.

Working our way up the Leeds Liverpool Canal, locks and the new stupid swing bridge much lighter work with two boats. Our favourite canal with wonders of the waterways, friends on route, Mick’s birthday and a trip to Bowness to see the latest Ayckbourn play. We managed a night on our favourite mooring on the network sadly it was too windy to enjoy the view with a barbecue.

Up over the top, we teamed up with NB That’s It, thankfully descending the Wigan flight in a window between vandalism and blown cills that have hampered the flight this year. Then along the Bridgewater Canal, panto designing whilst on the flat. Through Preston Brook Tunnel and onto the Trent and Mersey turning right onto the Middlewich Branch.

Back on lockdown ‘Home’ waters we cruised the Nantwich pound, 5 hours 13 minutes including a lunch and shopping stop, back in 2020 we’d spent 80 days here. We cruised southwards on the Shropie joined for a day by Carol and George from WB Still Rockin’. Laura and Alison from NB Large Marge joined us for the ascent up the Wolverhampton 21.

Through Bumingham and on to Lapworth and then Hatton where we had an extra pair of hands from Jane, who hopefully now has her own narrowboat. A well deserved burger at the Cape of Good Hope with Emma and David, then a lovely evening with Lizzie (NB Panda) at The Folly, it was turning out to be quite a sociable June.

Oleanna wiggled her way across the summit of the South Oxford, very familiar water to us. Despite the sunny weather and us cruising most days our batteries were not happy, turning themselves off overnight! Diagnosis was required, we pulled into Cropredy Marina to plug in and run tests. One of our three batteries was dead, bad enough but thankfully nothing more. Once a panto meeting had been attended we could move on, except there was an emergency closure at Banbury Lock. C&RT worked hard to get the canal open as quickly as they could, thankfully our hold up wasn’t too long.

We met up with the crews of NB Azzura (Liz and Mark) and NB Perseus (Julie and Simon) both Finesse boats, had a visit to London for Andrew’s birthday. Then had a rendez vous with Paul and Christine and enjoyed a good catch up onboard NB Waterway Routes.

Down to the River Thames where we turned upstream onto waters we’ve only cruised once before. Such a lovely stretch of river, sadly with fewer moorings now. We sped up to Lechlade where we took up residence for a week so that we could attend a get together at Pip’s cousins which coincided with the Royal International Air Tatoo in Fairford. It was great to be with family on a jolly occasion.

Work took over for Pip as we made our way back down stream to Oxford, Cinderella had to go to the ball and the model needed to be finished. Then we sauntered our way back northwards. One day had us meet up with Frankie NB Discovery, NB Dusty the local coal boat and Graeme on NB Misty Blue, it was good to catch up with Graeme and hear of his adventures since we’d seen him last year.

A trip for us both back to Scarborough to do a turn around of lodgers, see a show and pick up post. Mick would have to return the following weekend to swap bedlinen over again, this time by train from Rugby. Stand still budgets and inflation required Pip to do more work on panto so her days were kept busy reducing Cinderella’s carriage from £2000 to £400.

Stoppages around the network meant we had only one real route we could take to head back north. We winded and climbed our way up to the Leicester Section. Here we met up with Ken and Sue NB Cleddau at Houdini’s Field sitting out till way after dark. Then a small detour to Welford to meet up with NB Panda and Lizzie for an evening before we continued our way north.

Another detour to Market Harborough before Leicester where North Lock had a badly leaking cill which required a crew of C&RT chaps to force the bottom gates open, booked passage was required, this meant we got a few days to enjoy the city whilst we awaited our turn.

Sadly by now the lack of water on the Chesterfield Canal meant the top end of the canal was closed, no point in rushing up the River Trent for a return visit. In Nottingham Pip’s little toe had a kerfuffle with a cupboard necessitating a visit to the drop in centre for her little pinkie to be realigned. This meant Pip had to hand the windlass and key of power over to Mick for the last locks of the year.

Downstream on the River Trent, stopping at all our favourite moorings. Pip’s knitting needles came out again to knit more socks for Dementia UK. We had a trip into Lincoln along the Fossdyke Canal, we actually managed to finally visit the Cathedral this time!

Tides were not helpful for the rest of our trip north so a couple of days at West Stockwith was needed, but that did mean we’d be sharing the tidal waters back to Yorkshire with NB That’s It whom we’d met earlier in the year.

There was time for a catch up with David as we passed through Bramwith, a jaunt up to Doncaster and then finally along the New Junction and onto Goole where a space had been found for us in the marina. A train ride to Scarborough to pick up a van and see the latest show before packing up the boat again for the second time this year.

Planned works at the house then went very smoothly. Scaffolding arriving the day after we arrived, new windows later in the day with four carpenters and two days later the decorator who was to give the house a much needed new coat of paint outside.

Mid October Pip moved to Chipping Norton for a month to work on panto, Mick and Tilly left to welcome a new lodger for the Christmas show in Scarborough. Panto was as much work as normal with the addition of Pip getting covid after the first week of rehearsals. The show opened to toe tapping audiences and many many bananas, getting great reviews. Mick had a days trip to London to support boaters who had gathered outside the Houses of Parliament for a Fund Britain’s Waterways rally.

Back in Scarborough Christmas came early with a visit from the London Leckenbys at the beginning of December, they hadn’t been to Scarborough for ten years. A few more house jobs have been done but a list has been compiled for the new year along with those on Oleanna. We’ve had a lovely Christmas, catching up with Scarborough friends, Tilly has slept lots, we’re lucky to see her before 2pm most days! I’m just resting for when the outsides start changing again.

Don’t worry Tilly the count down has started.

This year our plans changed all because of an invite from Pip’s cousins. We travelled our favourite canal, cruised many familiar waters , visited ‘Home’, climbed trees and pounced, caught up with many boating friends and made many new ones along the way. One very sociable year.

So our vital statistics for 2023 according to Canalplan are

Total distance of 805miles, 2.25furlongs and 436 locks.

There were 121 moveable bridges, of which 33 are usually left open; 151 small aqueducts or underbridges and 16 tunnels – a total of 6 miles, 5 furlongs under ground and 7 major aqueducts.

This is made up of 244 miles, 1.25 furlongs of narrow canals; 251 miles, 5.5 furlongs of broad canals; 69 miles, 1.5 furlongs of commercial waterways; 95 miles, 4.75 furlongs of small rivers; 57 miles, 3.75 furlongs of large rivers; 87 miles, 1.5 furlongs of tidal rivers; 185 narrow locks; 223 broad locks; 28 large locks.

Although according to Nebo we did

815.09 miles and 431 locks! Hmm maybe my maths isn’t so good. But then we only started using Nebolink in August, tracking our every move rather than just on our phones.

470 engine hours, 789.8 litres diesel! Ouch, having to run the engine to top the batteries up on an evening didn’t help with this, 150amp hours down to 100, 3 gas bottles, 120kg coal, 19.5 litres oil, 2 oil filters, 2 fuel filters, 1 shower mixer, 1 domestic alternator, 1 set new engine mounts, 1 overnight guest, 3 packs Dreamies, 1.5 packs Bonkers, 39 friends, 6 brought in, 34 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval, 34 pairs of socks, £1132 for Dementia UK, 2 shows, 9 lodgers, 10 supermarket deliveries, 33 boxes wine, 1 toe, 6 months cruising, 3 boat mover sightings, 209 posts, 184 likes, 9,503 visitors, 31,309 views!

Thank you for following our journey during 2023. We have a plan for 2024, but there are several invites and a rendez vous with some New Zealanders. Will we stick to our plan? Have to alter course to fit everything in? Wait and see, we’re already counting down the weeks to being afloat again.