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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Quiz, Two Prizes.

As the calendar ticks over into December Christmas is just 25 days away. Having a little tidy up amongst what Jaq calls my "man" storage areas she has kindly allowed me on board Nb Valerie I have come across two items surplus to my requirements.  I have  decided to have a Christmas competition with these two items, pictured below,  as prizes.

 First prize; in excellent used condition in need of a good home an interesting read of several different canals including London.

Second prize; Likewise also in need of a good home a horse brass.
 Ok here are the questions;

Question one: The first blog post I did was published on March 8th 2005. So far it has run for approximately 142 months.
How many blog posts have been published in this time.
750,  1,000,  1,250,  1,500,  1,750,  2,000. Point for nearest guess.

Question two: On what date and where did Jaq and I get married:

Question three: August 27th 2012 who visited Nb Valerie.

Question four: Title of first blog post on March 8th 2005:

As for the rules of the competition;
You do not have to phone a premium rate phone number that will close at a certain time but not enter your entry but will still charge you.

It`s all just a fun thing with genuine prizes.

The competition will run for about two weeks, during which I will remind people to enter, and the entry`s closest will be the  winners.

All the answers can be found within the blog even question one if you feel like sitting down and doing some serious counting.

The editors decision is final although windlasses and mooring pins at twenty paces on the towpath at Rugby could be a decider if the editor gets lairy.

Prizes will be posted out worldwide if winners supply an address via our E Mail, (not in comments box please). Winners can  remain anonymous if they wish, personal details will not be published.
Use the comments box for your answers as first in the box will be the leader in the case of two identical winning entries.

Any other rules you can think of will be taken into consideration by the judges(me) so will have no influence on the result at all so just don`t bother protesting.

Have fun blog readers. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

There's a Chill in the Air

“When the cold comes to New England it arrives in sheets of sleet and ice. In December, the wind wraps itself around bare trees and twists in between husbands and wives asleep in their beds. It shakes the shingles from the roofs and sifts through cracks in the plaster. The only green things left are the holly bushes and the old boxwood hedges in the village, and these are often painted white with snow. Chipmunks and weasels come to nest in basements and barns; owls find their way into attics. At night,the dark is blue and bluer still, as sapphire of night.”
― author Alice Hoffman, Here on Earth

 The weather forecast for this part of Britain is COLD moving in today from the northeast and becoming COLDER over night. We put it off long enough: time to cover the windows with plastic to create a double glazing effect which stops drafts and shuts out the cold. 
   I washed and dried the windows and Les cut the tape, peeled away the membrane, meaured and cut the plastic sheeting to fit and wrestled it on to the windows; I followed along behind with the hair dryer, tightening up the plastic. By the time the first five windows were covered the change in termperature inside our floating home was amazing: dry, deliciously cozy, still; like the warm breath of a lover next to you in bed at night. 
   As Les tidied up the scraps I fixed a pot of South Western Chile Cheese Potato Soup. This is potato soup with chunks of onion and green peppers sauteed in ground cumin, garlic and butter and added to the potatoes cooked in milk. Some Creme Fraiche or sour cream, salt, pepper, chopped green chiles or for those with a hankering for a real fire in their belly, several spoonfuls of diced jalapenos, simmered for thirty minutes and topped with grated cheese. Mmmmm good!
   On our personal health front Les is experiencing more prolonged aching and pain across his buttocks and lower back which we will have sorted out this week with a change in drugs. The nerve pains he was experieincing have been addressed by Pre-Gabbeline, and liquid morphine is used for breeak thorugh pain. He uses one crutch to get around now but seldom lets anything slow him down or stop him for long. 
  I had my right knee replaced on the 26th of November at Warwick hospital. This time there was a considerable bit more pain and my leg muscles are all tighter. This all has to do with my right S-I (Sacro-Iliac) joint which keeps popping in and out. I was doing well though, until the bandage came off and an infection set in to the incision. Before I could say "Damn Gina" Les had me in a taxi to Stoke Mandeville hospital A & E where in under three hours I was sorted with blood tests, an x-ray and a determination: The infection was just getting started and hadn't reached the joint so that was good news. The bad news: a ten day treatment of antibiotics Doxicyclene. 
   Me and antibiotics don't get along. By day three my gut had shut down as all of my billions of healthy gut bacteria died in agony: I felt and grieved each extinguished cell as nausea and dizziness gripped me all day long, allowing me an eight day diet of water and yogurt. Of course by day seven I was blessed with a full flung yeast infection and no tub in which to soak. Sponge baths and showers every four hours are not quite the same but they do provide some relief. 
   This infection knocked me for six and put my recovery back about a week and half. All I want to do or seem able to do is sleep in between short bouts of boat cleaning to keep on top of laundry, dishes, dirty floors, etc. Les has been willing and able to hold down the fort with the help of occasional rides from friends and local boaters to town for prescription refills and groceries.
  NB Valerie goes in to the marina on Monday next (December 5th) for three days as she is blacked, inspected,  and a couple of other projects are undertaken for us by marine engineer Darren Killick. Our fancy hotel in London is booked for those three days, having used all but two of our 63,000 Avios airline points and £150.00. We are going to take a boat trip on the Thames, and we have a list of London peculiartities we want to find from Simon Leyland's book A Curious Guide to London. We will bus hop as our energy allows, Les with his crutch and me with mine. We will enjoy recovering in the large tub back at our hotel and eating meals prepared bysomeone else.
 At some point when I feel better I will undertake a post with pictures to show everyone all the work Les has done since August to tackle the long list of projects and issues which needed attention.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Jaq gets to grips with the boat stove.

As we all know Jaq is trying to absorb as much information from me in relation to the maintenance that she feels confident in tackling on board Nb Valerie when I`m not around any more.
The multi fuel stove seemed a good place to start as fires are being lit aboard boats all over the country at this time of year. I always carry out some maintenance about this time that includes checking that the silent killer, carbon monoxide, that has no taste or smell is prevented from entering the boat and is in fact safely using the chimney as an exit.
Every year I dig out the loose fire cement around the joint where the chimney pipe enters the stove. Don`t go mad you only need the loose pieces that an old screwdriver will pick out with minimal effort.
 Put some masking tape around the pipe for a nice neat finish. Fill the gap where you removed the loose fire cement and with a wet finger, not a hand Jaq, smooth the cement and remove the tape. A very tiny fire will cure the cement and if you wish, for cosmetic reasons, you can give the whole stove a coat of  Rustins high heat stove paint.

Next the inner chimney needed replacing and You can just see a new one i`ve made inside the boat outer chimney. Jaq is holding a spare I have made that will probably be in service after the present one has done two winters.
I have covered the making of this inner chimney HERE so will not go into it again. This will go with all the other spares I have under the dinette so at least if Jaq does have a problem at least she will have the correct parts to hand and will just have to find someone to fit them. A spare stern gland is ready to fit as is a P.R.V. valve with quick fit pipework attached plus many other spares. Who knows perhaps I might be able to watch over her but not physically help, bit of a pain this dying lark. Perhaps somewhere on my new Windows 10 programme there`s a cancel button or at least a delay button to allow Jaq more time to learn, now that would be quite something.

Next we had the problem of the glass having a crack which had also happened a few years back in 2007. The problem is that the threaded studs drilled into the door are quite likely to shear. This is now the 3rd piece of glass I have replaced in the stove door and  
the last time I was lucky but this time two of the studs decided to shear off leaving half the threaded stud in the door. The door is cast as opposed to the steel stove casing and the advice on the internet from other boaters is to not try drilling and tapping a new thread but to drill straight through the door and use new bolts that will be easier to undo in future.
The studs circled in Red are the culprits and in the lower of the two pictures you can see the bolts seen from the outside are not to conspicuous.
Having fixed the glass in first job was to buy a spare even though it might be years before it`s required.
Not really a job I would expect Jaq to do although if all four studs had been drilled through I have no doubt after watching me she would be quite capable of doing the job.

Talking of spares if anyone has one of these pumps I have a service kit sitting gathering dust. This is the pump I recently replaced with a Whale Gulper that requires no filter and so becomes a fit it and forget it pump. The filter was a pain to get to   beneath the hip bath and is now something else Jaq has no worries about cleaning practically every month.
This pump was 11 years old when I took it off, still working with no problems.
So if anyone is interested in a service kit for this pump contact me as the Whale Gulper is here to stay and the kit is not going to get used. 

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs