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Spiceball Park – In the winter

Spiceball Park – In the winter

Winter moorer’s paradise… Spiceball park.

That’s right, it’s got pretty much everything. Parking, broadband, shops, good solar, working TV and radio. The whole shebang…

In comparison to Spiceball summer mooring, when it does indeed have all these things plus; banging and whistling all hours day and night from the factory opposite. Fine Lady bakery.

During the winter, moorers are allowed to remain on the 2 day mooring for 2 weeks!

This is away from the factory and actually bumps Spiceball Park up quite considerably in terms of livability. It’s even got a metalled pathway! You don’t need to get everything covered in mud when you get off the boat!

Here’s a picture of Spiceball Park.

2 Day moorings in Spiceball Park
2 Day moorings in Spiceball Park

The leaves, or lack of them means that solar energy is free. To a point.

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Deep Lock Dead

Deep Lock Dead

For now.

I arrived there last night to find the place closed and my path north blocked

The picture is me at the closed lock entrance.

It’s called Denham Deep Lock. It’s above Uxbridge. As you can see on the map, it marks the end of LONDON proper.

Looking at the CRT Stoppages and Closures , it’s not just closed for a couple of days, more like 1 month or so. It’s due to re-open on the 10th of December!

Looks like I’ll be finding another way home!

Down, across, up

Yep, that’s it. More down (to Brentford Tidal Lock), Across (to Oxford), Up (to Banbury… again :[ ).

I was looking forward to living somewhere new.

Still every cloud.

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Painting a narrowboat water-tank – The third coming…..

Painting a narrowboat water-tank – The third coming…..

** Update 5th June, 2021.**

Corroded watertank
Corroded watertank

How long does Vactan last?

I’d say the last coat, (of Vactan), stopped working around 12 months ago. That’s around the summer of 2020, so it lasted around 2 years.

The symptoms of it stopping working were; flaking into the watertank, sinking to the bottom, and after some time, maybe a year, going into and clogging the waterpump filter.

That is: the very thin coating that is Vactan eventually flaked off, sometimes taking a coat of the Rylards beneath it, sometimes not, coming free from the sides of the tank and falling to the bottom…

Dirty narrowboat watertank
Dirty narrowboat watertank

This is what the watertank looked like as I started work on it.

It’s a combination of the paints that I’ve talked about lower down in this post. As you can see, some of it has been flaked off, either by me going around with my

Triangular headed scraper
Triangular headed scraper

or come away over the course of time.

There isn’t much bare metal, nor is there a lot of the original iron oxide that I put on there to start with.

It took from the 27th July 2018 to get fully to this point. So 3 years.

Prep for a brighter better future (for your watertank)

In my case, the prepping is already done…

The majority of the paint remains intact on the layers beneath. To prep in this case, I need to remove the flaking paint. Then make sure the surface is good to receive another 2 coats of Vactan.

Doesn’t take long. Maybe an hour to get it all off.

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Gayton Marina

Gayton Marina

Due to adverse weather conditions, expected, I’m moving away from the Continuous Cruising this winter, onto the Marina.

It’s the first time for years… The last place I moored at was Barton-under-Needwood over three years ago, when I was fairly new to boating.

Barton Turns Marina

Barton turns marina
Barton turns marina

Was where I used to live.

I always got the impression that Burton was full of criminals.

The marina was alright. I went out a couple of times to the bar and had a few meals in the restaurants. I lived there for about three months from May until August maybe.

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Muscott -> Long Buckby and Google Pixel stops working

Muscott -> Long Buckby and Google Pixel stops working

Or thereabouts.

Actually Buckby Wharf.

Google Pixel 2 – Red light comes on and stops working

That’s right my phone, pictured below. Left it on charge overnight. Shortly after I got up in the morning, whilst it was still on charge, the red light came on and started flashing and the picture of the battery sign came on the screen.

google pixel 2
google pixel 2

Checked the Google Support website. “The battery is fully discharged. Re-charge for at least 30 minutes then re-try”.

I knew this was not the case, because it had been on charge, and when I checked the cable, it was attached securely.

So…. The phone had just stopped working.

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Fitting flexible solar panels to a narrowboat

Fitting flexible solar panels to a narrowboat

This is a short guide to installing flexible solar panels to a narrowboat.

Background

I’ve lived on my boat for 2 years. When I first started, I was located in a Marina. Everything was laid on, showers, water, electrical hook-up.

It reminded me of a high-rise flat for boats. After my boat was painted, I took it up on a journey to the most Northern and Southern reaches of the UK canal system.

It was called Bonnie Journey, in the name of the boat. You can read about it here.

It included some cycling, which I had to postpone due to injury. Whilst I was waiting for my injuries to recover, I stationed myself on the Kennet and Avon.

Kennet and Avon

Burbage wharf
Near Burbage

As visitors to this waterway will know. Kennet and Avon Marinas are few and far between.

I decided to try continuous cruising. When you’re continuous cruising, all your energy has to be self generated.

You’re entirely ‘off grid’. In winter, generating power was a case of starting the engine.

As the sun began to shine, in the run up to spring, I began to think of the advantages of solar.

After my boat was fully painted, I decided that the next job to be done, was to fit some solar panels, and take advantage of the free energy!

I’m now in a position to do that.

Researching

Most people are going to find that this is the most lengthy part of the process.

Before you shell out large sums of money, you want to ensure you’re getting something which is fully compatible with your needs.

The first question you need to ask yourself before fitting solar is –

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Dodford -> Whilton

Dodford -> Whilton

Skipping Muscott, made my way to Whilton, a short distance away from the marina.

As always, I’ve tried to moor in the sun.

I like to wake up in the morning and see as much sunshine as possible.
Same goes throughout the day.
As well as that, it keeps the solar charging 🙂

Bonnie Lady
Bonnie Lady

This is one of first pictures with my new phone.

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