Thursday, December 24, 2009

Apple iPhone Accessories for Christmas :)

Hi All,

Well I don't have any Narrowboat news today as I have spent the last couple of weeks over in Brazil, no sign of a Narrowboat over there ;-)

As it's Christmas time I have been shopping for my family and of course you always see things you would like to buy yourself. I have had an iPhone for nearly a year now and it's the best phone I've had.

I came across a very good site which sells iphone accessories one I'd really like for Christmas is the Black Morphie Juice Pack which is an extended battery pack for the iPhone, very useful considering the battery is probably the iPhone's biggest weakness.

Unfortunately being the 24th December, I think it's a bit late... maybe something for me to buy next year :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Diesel Heating installed in my Narrowboat :)

Wow, time flies when your having fun :) I have not updated my blog for ages it seems and lost has happened since my last update!

Sirius has been moored in London for most of the summer continuously cruising along the Regents canal, staying at places like Little Venice, Camden Town and Victory Park to mention just a few :)

Current she is moored at a boatyard and having a decent diesel fueled central heating system fitted, so finally after owning her for 6 years, I will be able to flick a switch and have a warm boat! And more importantly, I can set a timer to ensure I have a warm boat when I arrive, what a luxury!

As soon as it's all fitted I will take some photos and post them to my blog :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Low energy LED bulbs for a Narrowboat

I have spent the last 3 weeks living on board Sirius, it's the first time I've really lived on board for any really length of time, and I am really enjoying it. What I have found is that by living on board, a lot of the little things that don't really matter if you are only using the narrowboat occassionally at weekends, suddenly become more important.

Like for example the amount of electricity that everything uses, when you are moored in one place for a week, it's not great to have to run the engine for 3-4 hours to charge the batteries, so the more economical you can be, obviously the longer the batteries will last.

The first thing I have started to do is re-wire the entire boat, for whatever reason (lack of electrical knowledge) the previous owners have used wire that is far to thin, which results in a large voltage drop, i.e. in my boat instead of having 12v+ at the headlamp, I had closer to 8.5v, which as you can imagine results in a very dim headlight!

After re-wiring the main runs of cabling, the next task will be to replace the current bulbs (which are all approximately 10-20w bulbs) with low power LED equivalent bulbs which draw about 1-3 watts, a huge saving!

The following site looks like a good supplier, if anyone knows of any others please let me know: Ultra LED Online

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to change a fuel filter | Lister ST3 Fuel Filter

Over last weekend I thought Sirius had an exhaust leak until I realised that it was infact a fuel leak. The seal on the fuel filter had failed and hence it was dripping (well at one stage spraying) diesel onto the hot engine and then it was smoking.

I have ordered 3 new filters from Online Auto Spares who are a business selling engine parts via eBay, excellent service and Graham who has been emailing me is obviously very knowledgeable, thanks Graham!

Here is a photo of my Lister ST3 and the offending fuel filter:

Lister ST3 Engine
Lister Fuel Filter | Top View
Lister Fuel Filter | Side View

The fuel filters are very easy to change:

1) Turn off your diesel supply
2) Undo the nut on the top of the fuel filter (make sure you put something underneath to catch any diesel inside the filter.)
3) Remove the filter (make sure you don't loose the spring inside!)
4) Give the filter bowl a good clean with some kitchen roll or rag
5) Refit the filter using the new rubber seals provided with your new filter
6) Don't over tighten the nut

Bleed the Engine (I.e. get rid of the air in the fuel line)

1) Open the small nut just above the fuel filter as shown in the view from above.
2) Turn over the engine until fuel starts to come out of the hole and then re-seal it
3) If you have further bleed points do the same again
4) Then turn over the engine until it starts, simples :)

I hope this helps someone!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

England's five best canal holiday routes

There was an article on Times Online today by Terry Ramsey about his five favourite canal holiday routes. I wonder how they compare to others? Feel free to leave some comments about your favour canal routes :)

Narrowboat Wardrobe | DIY repairs | Completed

As you may have seen from a previous Narrowboat Wardrobe post one of my many DIY jobs to do on Sirius was to mend the wardrobe doors, well you'll be glad to hear that I have finally finished and the repaired doors are now hanging :)

The only problem which you will notice if you look at the photo below is I have some how managed to loose three of the slats, so there is a small gap at the bottom of the left hand cupboard door, opps!

Click on the image to enlarge it

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Double Bridge Naish Hill Lacock | Official opening by the Duchess of Cornwall

The Duchess of Cornwall is to open a newly restored double bridge on the Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal next Tuesday (26th May 2009)

I actually found this article on Twitter and the original article can be found on the This is Wiltshire website.

You can find more information about the event on the Wilts and Berks Trust website, the following page might not exist after the event: The Official Opening of Double Bridge Naish Hill Lacock

I hope I still have my Narrowboat when this link is finally finished :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Narrowboat Directory - Looking for ideas / feedback.

I am currently building a new website which I am hoping to launch in July 2009 which will be available on the following URL:

As you can probably tell, the idea of the website is to be a directory of all Narrowboats in the UK. I have the current listings from BW, EA & the Broads Authority which are all pretty poor when it comes to database design. E.g. The BW database has approx 12,000 Narrowboats but it has approximately 3,500 different Manufacturer names!

So, a simple bit of maths tells you that there must be something wrong, it's unlikely that there were so many craft builders and even less likely that on average they only built 3 boats each.

A couple of weeks ago I dug deeper into the data and realised it was a real mess, but you'll be glad to know I am sorting it all out and creating a new database with a unique list of Craft builders, so when my new site goes live you will actually be able to see all the boats manufactured by the same craft builder!

Of course with 12k+ boats I may make the odd mistake, and of course my source data may well be wrong in the first place!

What I am hoping is that some of the people who read my blog and own Narrowboats might actually be interested in my new site? If you are, I would be really interested to get some feedback comments with your ideas of what sort of information I should store related to each of the boats?

My medium term goal is to allow boat owners to update their own records with things like links to their blogs / websites. Contact details (not public) to allow easy contact (i.e. a forwarding service for messages)

What else would you as Narrowboat owners like to see in a Narrowboat Directory?

If you have your own blogs, it would be great if you could link to this article to try and increase the amount of feedback it receives, thanks everyone in advance!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Narrowboat Wardrobe - DIY Repairs

The next phase of my DIY on Sirius is to repair the wardrobe door and give the wardrobe a good clean! As you can see from the photo I took yesterday, it really needs both :)

The left hand wardrobe door fell apart a couple of years ago, but I have all the bits and a couple of clamps and some wood glue, so hopefully I will be able to put it all back together again. Then the cupboard will need a really good clean as I was storing wood and coal in the cupboard ( no idea where I am going to store it now! )

As soon as I have sorted it out I will create another blog post with the results so watch this space :)

Narrowboat Wardrobe - Click on the image to enlarge it

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Google Tasks or Remember the milk?

I have been using Remember the Milk for a few months now for trying to manage my tasks, both related to my job working for Ava (who produce Temporary Staff Agency Software) and also for day to day tasks like repairing the floor on Sirius!

I saw today that Google have announced they are now providing Task Lists in Google Calendar which I am sure will effect companies like Remember the Milk.

For me though, Remember the Milk still has the edge as they have an excellent little iPhone application that allows me to check my tasks whereever I am, and it also allows tasks to have a location associated with them, so I can see what are the closest things I need to do at any time. So for any of you travelling up and down the cut in your boats with an iPhone, it could be useful to you too, i.e. Remember to buy XYZ at a certain boat yard, or Milk at the next Tescos :)

Narrowboat Bedroom Floor Repaired - Part 1

I have been meaning to upload a couple of photos for over a week now! I have been busy as my younger brother decided to beat me to it and he married Linda over the bank holiday weekend, they were very lucky with the weather!

A friend Dave and I ripped up the very rotten flooring in the bedroom on Sirius and built a new supporting structure which is fixed down onto the Narrowboat steel. Most of the floor boards are now fixed on top of this structure, I just have a little bit more to do, I thought I would post some photos today showing how far we have got, and then when it's all finished and TIDY ;) I will post some better photos :)

Click on the image to enlarge it
Click on the image to enlarge it

Friday, April 24, 2009

Narrowboat DIY

Well the DIY is going to continue this weekend, I will hopefully post some photos tomorrow. The plan is to rip up some of the flooring which has unfortunately rotted away by water leaking into Sirius through a currently un-known source.

After the old flooring is up, obviously stage two will be laying some new flooring, I'm not sure yet what sort of wood to use, it will probably depend on what I can actually source from the local DIY store.

Stage 3 - Find the leak! This could be the hardest part, actually trying to trace when the leak is coming from, so fingers crossed :)

Stage 4 - I need to mend a couple of wardrobe cupboard doors, I have all the tools and now just need to take the doors off and glue them back together.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Royal Navy takes delivery of 70ft narrowboat

I thought this was an interesting Narrowboat related bit of news from the This is Wiltshire website. The Royal Navy have bought themselves a 70' narrowboat! I wonder which of the following gadgets it has:

* bow thrusters
* Anti-GRP torpedos ;-)
* Helicopter Landing Pad? ( Something I was considering if I every become good enough at flying my model one :) )

In all seriousness though, they have bought the boat to allow service men and women to relax after a tour of duty, a pretty good idea as it will certainly be relaxing as we boaties all know :)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Giving Sirius a spring clean

For the last couple of weekends I have been giving Sirius a decent spring clean with help from a couple of friends of mine. Two weekends ago we jet washed the outside (both sides) and gave her a good scrubbing down, she looks a lot better now, but the down side is this exposes all the areas that need a re-paint, and on a 70' narrowboat, that's quite a few places!

Then last weekend it was time to give the insides a good clean, dusting, removing a gazillion spiders and their webs, hoovering and generally giving everything a well deserved clean. There is still a bit to do, but she's certainly looking a lot better than before.

The next task is to fix a cupboard door and to replace some floor boards as my friend Anita unfortunately found an area that was quite rotten and she put her foot straight though! ( Even though I have warned her that I was going to replace that patch of floor soon, and please don't tread on it :) ) Luckily she was not hurt at all and we just had a good laugh about it :)

Hold Tight and Tell No One

My girlfriend has been persuading me to read more recently, by more, I actually mean in all honesty that I have not read a fiction book for the past 15 years! So, as we had a long flight Marie bought me Hold Tight by Harlan Coben which turned out to be just the right sort of book for me, I'd highly recommend it! And following on from that I am now reading Tell No One which has proved to be another book that I don't want to put down! Prehaps after all this time, I'm now back to being a reader :)

Playing around with Amazon associates

I thought I'd have a play around with the Amazon associates scheme and see how well their automatic book adverts actually work. In theory after 4 or 5 people visit each page on my blog the books or products advertised should be relevant to the content in my blog.

So far I have noticed that the books advertised on the home page are definitely narrowboat related, so maybe it will be of interest to someone, or maybe just for me :)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Window's have been repaired.

Hi All,

It's amazing how time flies when your having fun. I have now had the windows replaced by Marine Windows, they also added new sealant to the other 10 windows (at my cost) so hopefully that will stop a bit of the water that gets into Sirius, and maybe keep out a few of the spiders :)

I've also moved Sirius, but not very far and the Thames is now back on Red boards and stream increasing again, so I am now stuck where I am until the conditions improve. A useful website is the Environment agency page that shows the current river conditions for the Thames, it's a shame it's not a mobile friendly page, as I am sure there are a lot of people on their boats, especially live aboards who would like to be able to look up the latest information without having to download a 300k page on their mobile! How about being mobile friendly and providing a cut down text only version (or limited images) which could probably be nearer 5k in size?

Thames River Conditions Online

One option if your mobile supports it, is you can add their RSS feed to your mobile, my Nokia is able to read RSS feeds, it actually names them "Web Feeds", but at least that way you only get the information you need and none of the styling, images etc.

The URL for the RSS feed is:

Thames River Conditions RSS Feed

I hope this is useful for someone else :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

High waters on the K&A

Well as those of you who living in the UK (and who actually read this in the next week or so) will know it has been raining cats and dogs over the last few days. The K&A is at it's highest point this year, the water was flowing straight over the weir on Tuesday night in the centre of Reading by the Loch Fyne restaurant.

I don't think there is a hope for me moving Sirius this weekend, for a start I won't fit under the first bridge with the current height of the water. Fingers crossed it comes down a lot in the next couple of days as I had hoped to move on Saturday, others I think it will be a weekend of boat spring cleaning and DIY, a job I must admit I have been somewhat postponing ;-)

I will see what the water levels are like this evening and if it's still as high as yesterday I will try and take a photo for the blog :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The repairs are beginning!

Craft Insure, who are the insurance company who I have my Narrowboat insurance with have given me the go ahead to replace the smashed windows and repair the window frame.

Apparently they are not sure I should be claiming for new carpet and bedding, I would be interested what you all think? I had two windows smashed on top of the bed and over the bedroom carpet. The glass shattered into thousands of tiny pieces which I have tried to hover up, but if course, I keep finding tiny shades of glass in the carpet and it's even more difficult to hover a duvet. Personally I don't like the idea of getting cut by a bit of glass in bed or when I step out in bare feet in the morning!

What do you all think?

It seems to me like they are trying to back track on paying out for the claim which is really annoying as I thought they were a good company. We will have to see, watch this space.

I am hoping to start cruising again on the 14th February (as long as the Thames is not on Red boards) when the lock onto the Thames has hopefully been re-opened. I am looking forward to reaching Lower Heyford for a pint in the Bell Inn!