Wednesday, 10 December 2014

That's better!

I have made a couple of visits to Constance over the last few weeks. I cannot get the central heating to work properly. It is not the Eberspacher boiler - that works fine. The problem is one of circulation. I think I must have either an air-lock or a blockage because I cannot get the water to circulate.
That said, the bathroom shelving is now finished.
 There is space in the bottom shelf for one of the loo cassettes to sit out of the way.
Two upper shelves and a lower shelf for the spare loo cassette

 Loo cassette on the shelf at the back and one stood in front. All neatly stowed away and still space for 'loo blue' etc. The dark grey is the engine cooling tank and I have noticed that the engine is not getting quite as warm as it was and the swim tank warms. This suggests to me that the engine's thermostat has failed. Another job to do...
With the loo in front as it was before. All of the engine room spaces are now blocked off so the engine fumes should not be so strong whilst the engine is running. There is now plenty of room on the upper shelves for all the normal 'bathroom' things - wash-bags, soap, shampoo and spare loo rolls.
I am still in the area just to the north of the city of Oxford. David comes to see me every time I come up to Constance and we have a meal together, then do all of the puzzles in the 'i' newspaper.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Work continues in the bathroom

The central heating is now all connected up and ready to test. The shelving in the bathroom is coming along slowly. It is the painting that takes forever...

The shelves and the extra space will be far more useful than the old sink was. Out with the paint brush and get to work!

Lower Heyford to Thrupp

Now that the new cratch cover, dodger and tonneau have been fitted it is time to move on from Lower Heyford. I would not like to overstay my welcome in any area. Passing under the road bridge, the water point was occupied...
As I was going to Thrupp for the loos it didn't matter

Dr Bones was not at home today

The ignominious fate of Caravan Lift Bridge 215 - abandoned in a field!

Enslow Wharf

Just on the yellow - should be OK

The Cherwell comes in from the right

And leaves on the left at Shipton Weir Lock

Another of the big diamond shaped locks

Exiting the lock
And so it was on down to Thrupp for loo emptying and water. The water fill seemed to be painfully slow, but with loos emptied, water filled I needed to find a mooring for the night. There were spaces along the street in Thrupp for 48 hours. Just as I moored it started to rain.
The next day I walked off in search of a 14 day mooring. The only one I could find was back at Shipton-on-Cherwell, so it was back under the Thrupp Lift Bridge...

Something new!

The cratch cover on Constance was fitted in the early part of 2000 and has suffered from the ravages of time. The main deterioration has been due to light. The material has become hardened a little, the green has faded and it has all become a little tatty around the edges. Whilst sharing a lock transit somewhere back in the summer the front gate on my side opened a little more as I exited the lock and the balance beam ripped a long tear in the already aged material.
Gaffer tape (what else?) was used to effect a temporary repair!
We looked back through the records and found that the cratch cover was made by Sparks Marine Trimmers of Aylesbury. We contacted Vernon and he came to Lower Heyford to measure up. We decided at that time to have a dodger and tonneau cover made.
The job has now been done and I must say that we are absolutely delighted.

All now a beautiful green, nicely pliable and with larger transparent windows! Just need to get on with the paint-work...

Thursday, 30 October 2014

An unexpected problem

The improvements to the little bathroom area have started. The little sink has now been removed as we have never used it. The rotten chipboard panel is now out and has given space to get into the area above the swim & the engine cooling swim tank. This area has always been damp and I had always assumed that the damp was coming from the stern area under the wooden decking when it had rained. As the layers of rust were removed there was suddenly a bit of a spurt of water. Another scratch and the spurt turned into a geyser!
Oops! One large and two small holes at the top of the photo
 The swim tank had to be drained a little to get the top surface dry. All of the layers of rust were removed and had anti-rust treatment applied before a couple of layers of fibre glass (car body repair kit) were applied. The finished, cleaned fibre-glass repaired tank top was then painted with Danboline.
Looks better now!
The strip of swim to the right (in the photo above) has not been painted yet because it was not dry enough.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The start of winter maintenance

Now that the holiday season is pretty much over and the good weather is behind us it is time to settle down and do a bit of maintenance.
The room that we (laughingly) call our bathroom is very small. This is almost an understatement. It is about 2 feet wide and about 4 feet deep. There is a shower tray and working shower. This is a most welcome attribute and I have no intention of making any changes to that. I might move the rails (from which the shower curtain hangs to allow a little more room whilst one is in the shower - showering.
At the rear of the bathroom is a small avocado/greenish coloured (Yuk!) mini hand basin. We have never used it. To reach it you would have to stand in front of the Porta-potti loo and reach over it to use the sink. I have decided to remove it. The panel on which it is mounted was made of chipboard and the bottom of this panel has, at some time become wet. It is basically rotten! In the picture below you can just see the 'U' bend of the little sink, which is about to come out. Anyone want a small green wash basin? Never used!
The loo normally sits here
 In the picture above, the floor panel that the loo sits on has been lifted out, so that is the bottom of the boat down there in the rusty, slimy mirk. This is to be cleaned out on my next visit. The (now dry) dampness that has afflicted the wall panel can be clearly seen as can the holes through it.
The rusty lump is the engine cooling side tank
 The top of the engine side wall cooling tank are a bit rusty. The side panels are OK, it is just superficial rust. When the sink and the panel have been removed this will all be relatively easy to clean up.
Looking through above the swim tank towards the stern
But first of all the water pipes for the shower have to be capped off and the pipes for the sink removed.
At least it is an indoor job. It does not mater what the weather is doing, or even if it is daylight or night-time!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Banbury to Lower Heyford

A very pleasant couple of days were spent in Banbury. Judy was able to browse the shops in the Castle Quay shopping centre whilst I was able to explore all the little back and side streets of which Banbury has plenty.
It gets a bit tight going through Banbury shopping ventre

Past the Castle Quay entrance

Under the museum bridge with Tooley's behind

Not too many watching the lift bridge operating

Waiting for the lock to become free
 As we leave Banbury we are again out in the rural Oxfordshire countryside.
The next lift bridge

A different style of bridge

The M40 again

Nell bridge from the lock
 Nell Bridge was the crossing point of the busy A41
It's a bit tight in here!
 But they had to widen it a bit, so they built the A41 bridge over and to the side of the 1787 bridge.

The old and the new Nell Bridge

The Cherwell Weir

Aynho Weir Lock

Judy bringing her in

Somerton Deep Lock

All 12' 6" of it!

A lovely peaceful spot just above Upper Heyford Lock

Upper Heyford Lock

Another narrow bridge at Upper Heyford

Now moored at Lower Heyford

Looking towards the Oxford-shire Narrowboat hire wharf at Lower Heyford

Claydon to Banbury

After a couple of days near Hay Bridge I needed a shower. Hot water necessitates the engine to be run, so I moved a couple of locks down to Claydon Middle lock.
Claydon Top Lock
 Incidentally - the house on the right in the photo is currently for sale - no road access, no electricity & no gas. I expect it will sell for a good price because of the location!
And now we are green again!
 At last it was time to paint the side green. Here is a photo after the first green has been applied.
Down through Claydon Locks
 We are now moving on towards Cropredy as we need water and rubbish disposal.
Old Ridge & Furrow fields abound

Approaching the north of Cropredy
 To the north of Cropredy there is an off-side group of boats in a long-term mooring area. There are also a number of shepherd's huts as well. Most of them are quite colourful.
The entrance to the new Cropredy Marina

Cropredy Lock

Leaving Cropredy behind

The M40 cris-crosses the Oxford canal many times

As we enter Banbury from the north.
Anywhere here will do for us to moor for a few days. The approaching Banbury Canal Day means we will have to move on before the weekend but shopping in Banbury is quite high on the list of things to do.