Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Turn left at Fradley

We are in Staffordshire and reached the end of the Coventry canal north of Birmingham and in Cannock. There is a British Waterways Office here which is open so we applied for next year’s licence. We now turn left on to the Trent and Mersey canal. There are locks going down to Derby and locks going up to Stafford. There are always many boats here and once again it was a squeeze getting through. Our friends Sue n Vic on No Problem were heading this way but the river Trent is in flood so they cannot move now.
Having travelled every day for a week we have time to relax over the weekend but it was windy and the fire went out. Thankfully our boiler kept us warm while the fire was cleaned out. Then it was time to change the oil in the engine........
Happy Christmas to all our readers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cold but sunny

Waiting for a Christmas 'event'.
We were moving at 9am after a breakfast of porridge and toast. The ropes were stiff with frost and there was ice on the cut. Why do we do it? We set ourselves a task to achieve each day.
An hour of crunching ice got us to Alvecote where the Canal Time boat hire fleet once operated. There we found Dot n Derek on their boat Gypsy Rover and invited them on board for a chat. Good to see them again after seeing them while on our river travels this year. They are going south while we continue north to stop at Hopwas. The warming sun melting the ice and encouraging our 4 hour trip. On approach to the locks at Glascote there were no less than two boats in front and one behind. A total of 4 on the move.

Monday, December 08, 2008


The decorations are up and someone dressed up in a red coat had a huge curly white beard was seen wandering the streets. The town was known for making hats of all types from Top to trilby, now celebrating the fact with this art work.

Unfortunately the old factory still has broken glass in its windows and is unused now.
We moved down and stopped before lock 6. While there for the weekend a goat came through the hedge from the farm.

It seemed friendly but while Ann was taking a picture it came up and butted her in the leg! Luckily not pushing her into the canal!
The battery monitor is in danger of providing too much information! On average we are only using about 10% of our battery capacity between charges. The engine is putting back about 50 Amp Hours in an hour twice a day. 100 AH a day at 13Volts is 1,300 watt hours or 1.3 kilowatts of electricity. That seems to be enough for our TV, computer, fridge, lights and radio.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Nuneaton surprise

How pleasant it was to cruise past Nuneaton. Tree cutting in progress making a clean clear passage with none of the usual rubbish in the canal. The tow path in excellent condition so Ann and Molly walked all the way through. After a few misty cold days this one was bright with sunshine adding to the pleasure while moving.
We stopped at Springwood Haven Marina. Kevin here is agent for Victron Energy and we had got our ‘Blue box’ inverter charger here some time ago. We decided to get a battery monitor. This device measures the current going in and out of the batteries. Now we know how much power we are using. Volts times Amps equals Watts. Up to now it was an educated guess based on experience. Our solar panels actually delivered 1.3 amps when the sun came out, wow, previously an unknown quantity. It has just proved that around 2 hours a day is about right. Various forms of lighting have been evaluated. Obviously the florescent light is better than bulbs but single tube and double tube types draw almost the same current. The fridge wants 4 amps when running, and the inverter uses 1 amp doing nothing! The computer sucks 4 and a half amps when charging as does the TV including the sky bit. At least now we know when the batteries are full and can turn off the engine.
After that stormy night the sun shone and we went out for a walk. Down the tow path and across the muddy fields, over and under the railway and saw the river Anker rushing along depositing rubbish on its bank. We followed part of the Quarrymans walk. There are a number of granite quarries in the area which have created holes in the ground and tall pointed hills.