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Michael Tyler

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  • Michael Tyler
  • October 22, 2015 09:02:57 PM

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News and current affairs without bias. Sourcing material from all over the web. Covering news stories MSM avoid. Video's contain a mature content.

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A birthday nightmare at Calcutt Boats

A happy birthday to me from the people at Calcutt Boats. The post A birthday nightmare at Calcutt Boats appeared first on Michael Tyler. Related posts: Weedon -> Calcutt Boats Calcutt Boats -> Flecknoe Far from madding motorway

Not really what I was expecting when I agreed to book my boat in for blacking.

During my stay:

  • Booking was recorded as just hull blacking: On the phone I asked for a blacking, service and mooring. I confirmed this by email, to which there was no reply. When I arrived, I was told there were no moorings available, despite the fact I’d organised to have the carpets cleaned which meant moving all the furniture around and some of it off the boat. It was claimed they ‘hadn’t received the email’. I had asked for the service on the phone and confirmed it all by email. They claimed they didn’t receive that.
  • Washing up was stolen from communal area: Not a big thing you might think. When the boat was on the crane and I wasn’t allowed to do any washing or release of grey water from the sides of the boat, I did a bit of washing up in the communal area. Within the space of 2 hours, I had the only 2 mugs I own stolen plus 3 sharp veg. knives and some spoons. I don’t have any more mugs. Now I will have to go out and buy some more.
Damaged wheel hub
Damaged wheel hub
  • Car vandalised in the carpark. Parked my car under the tree in the carpark overnight. The next morning I arrived to drive off the following morning, and noticed the wheel had been damaged.
    As the car was parked directly next to a piece of derelict machinery on the side that was damaged. No vehicles were able to come alongside and I have difficulty looking at the way that damage comes from the inner wheel to the outer wheel, how such damage could be caused.
  • Negligent engine service by boatyard. The boat was returned to me after the engineer had said it was ‘good-to-go’. This was after he had had problems completing the service on it. He left the engine half done after starting work at 4.30pm. Not turning up the following day like he had promised when he did a turn up, he did about 1/2 an hours work on it and said the boat was fine and ready to take away. It wasn’t. Bonnie made it 300 yards before it broke down.

What a birthday treat from Calcutt Boats! I was in some trepidation about spending my birthday up on stilts on the boat. Now I know it was a bad idea.

Letter of complaint

I had to write a letter of complaint to the owner, Roger.

Broken down after a service at Calcutt
Broken down after a service at Calcutt – Here’s a picture of where my boat had broken down at the top lock.

To be fair. Work on Bonnie was given priority over some of the other jobs that needed to be done by the boatyard.

It took roughly 1.5 days to sort it out completely.

The truth is, it should never have come out of the boatyard in the first place.

Here’s a copy of the letter of complaint.

I felt I needed to do this.

Setting things out very clearly that I wasn’t happy with the work that was done.

It’s simply not enough to do it any other way. When you take a car, boat or any other vehicle away as finished and it doesn’t make it 300 yards, some serious questions need to be asked.

Shock

The letter did give the owner a shock, and after threatening to throw me off top-lock and make me find some engineers to sort it out myself, we agreed that it might be better if we organised a meeting in the office were we could sit down and discuss what the problems were.

After some discussions which I recorded on my phone, which are not very exciting and not worthy of publishing, we agreed that I should leave the boat in their hands and they should continue the work to it’s conclusion and then give me a reduction according to what they deemed was appropriate.

Service and blacking and marina

Engine service, blacking and use of the Marina for two nights came to £655.08 on the 13/07.

The additional repairs after I had been given the boat back with a clean bill of health came to £590.83 on the 15/07.

Not what you’d expect.

These things are sent to try us

And try us they do. What I thought we be a routine visit to the boatyard on my birthday cost me roughly double what it should, a vandalised car and some missing cutlery!

I feel like a victim.

I’ve moved on to a very quite Flecknoe.

Flecknot

What once was a bustling metropolis of boaty holiday makers has now fallen silent, only one or two liveaboards and the rest overnight stays that leave in the morning.

In previous times, it’s not been possible to get a space on the stretch below.

Canal in Flecknoe
Empty canal in Flecknoe

Not the case now.

Still. It’s no skin off my nose.

Why the lack of boats on the network?

Whilst I was having my boat done at Calcutt Boats, I noticed that not all of their boats were out. Maybe not just one or two spare, maybe 3-4+ were in the hire area.

In the weeks prior to coming up here, I noticed that there were less boats and both Aynho and Pig Place, so I’m not convinced it’s just this area.

The price of diesel has sky-rocketed, that and the other cost of living increases may have contributed to a limitation of boaters on how much they’re willing to move their boats.

The hire boaters and weekend holiday makers which used to pack the bank from Wigrams Turn right up to Flecknoe are now gone.

It’s no skin off my nose. The parking is better and the mobile signal has improved! Why complain? There may be a few less pissheads around, but I can cope with that!

Here’s come pictures to brighten up your day.

The post A birthday nightmare at Calcutt Boats appeared first on Michael Tyler.


Tysoe windmill

Is located on the Northern stretch of the Cotswolds. In Warwickshire. It was a hilly ride and the wind was against me on the way out. By the time I was coming back, the wind had died. That’s the thing about wind, unlike the hills, rewards for effort put in against it are often stolen. There is no pay-back. Today was one of those cases. In my face, then gone, more or less, for the return journey. Still… The sun... Read More Read More The post Tysoe windmill appeared first on...

Is located on the Northern stretch of the Cotswolds. In Warwickshire.

It was a hilly ride and the wind was against me on the way out.

By the time I was coming back, the wind had died. That’s the thing about wind, unlike the hills, rewards for effort put in against it are often stolen. There is no pay-back.

Today was one of those cases. In my face, then gone, more or less, for the return journey.

Still… The sun was out. Cycling in the Cotswolds is something people pay money for.

In this case it’s right on my doorstep.

Be a shame not to take advantage on my one real day off.

The post Tysoe windmill appeared first on Michael Tyler.


Weddings and Birthdays

Since I’ve just been turning around in the boat, my last 3 stops retraced back. That means on the last 3 journeys, I moved from Pig Place to Aynho, then back to Pig Place again. CRT Warning CRT sent me a warning email about not moving the boat far enough. As a continuos cruiser, you have to move 21 miles or more direction wise in any year of your boats operation. This counts as the licencing period, which may run... Read More Read More The post Weddings and Birthdays appeared first on...

Since I’ve just been turning around in the boat, my last 3 stops retraced back. That means on the last 3 journeys, I moved from Pig Place to Aynho, then back to Pig Place again.

CRT Warning

CRT sent me a warning email about not moving the boat far enough.

As a continuos cruiser, you have to move 21 miles or more direction wise in any year of your boats operation. This counts as the licencing period, which may run from June to June, for example…

Once you reach the June, the annual period re-sets. My licence came due whilst I was at Pig Place and when I had turned around and came back, it was in a new year.

Effectively, they’d sent me an overstay but, due to the fact my licence had renewed, it was invalid.

Got onto them. They changed it pretty rapid, which is a good thing. I was none too happy.

Not sure if the recorder, an individual who walks up and down recording the length of stay of boats from the towpath, had recorded it wrong.

That’s what I’d put it down to anyway.

I decided not to do a post about my location but about weddings and birthdays, which we seem to be having a lot of….


Kerri’s 50th

Kerri, my big sister, has had her 50th in the last few days.

We took her out to a restaurant in Cheltenham, with the family.

On a Monday, it was a fairly low key affair, and we were all finished up and in bed by 11pm.

Kerri's 50th at Muse, Cheltenham
Kerri’s 50th at Muse, Cheltenham Left to right Aurelia, Tal, Maggie, Me, Mum, Kerri, Craig and Finn.
Kerri blows out birthday cake
Kerri blows out birthday cake. Very small one while everyone watches. 😂👍
Kerri's 50th
Kerri’s 50th – Left to right Craig, Mum, Finn, Kerri, Aurelia, Maggie, Tal, Dad

The post Weddings and Birthdays appeared first on Michael Tyler.


Back at the Pig Place

‘Where the dear and the antelope play’… Or just pigs. We have some buffalo in the field opposite. So it could be, ‘where the pigs and the buffalo play’. Aynho Wharf Had to go to Aynho Wharf. For water. Turned around. Came back up again. Took about 2.5 hours from where I was before. The water takes forever to fill up at Aynho because of the low pressure. Solar and the cost of living Able to do all my cooking... Read More Read More The post Back at the Pig Place...

‘Where the dear and the antelope play’…

Or just pigs.

We have some buffalo in the field opposite.

So it could be, ‘where the pigs and the buffalo play’.

Aynho Wharf

Had to go to Aynho Wharf. For water.

Turned around.

Came back up again. Took about 2.5 hours from where I was before.

The water takes forever to fill up at Aynho because of the low pressure.

Solar and the cost of living

Able to do all my cooking on solar now the sun’s out.

That means I only use the gas now for:

  • Washing
  • Showers
  • Washing up

Made a 13kg calor last for 4 months last time.

Gas. A gas bottle is £40 now for 13kg. When I started boating in 2016, it was £28.

Equates to around £10 per month for gas.

Electric is free.

Diesel. I bought £75 in January. Might have to get some more in July to get me up to Calcutt boats, in Napton. That’s £12.50 per month.

So.

All in all, £22.50 currently in monthly overheads on the boat.

Narrowboat Ropes

Had a slight bit of wear and tear on my front and rear ropes.

As you can see, the rear rope is frayed and the braiding is coming undone.

I’ve tried to strap it up with some handlebar tape.

It’s really starting to become a hazard, especially in locks, where it can become entangled in things such as the rail bar, or not fly through the air properly because part of the rope become entangled on your hand as you try to throw it.

A danger.

Frayed mooring rope
Frayed mooring rope

For this reason, I had to take a trip up to the Chandlers.

Chandlers on the Oxford Canal

There aren’t that many.

That sell ropes on a Sunday.

Only one.

Weather was hot and sunny, so took the bike to make the 25 mile trip.

Maybe you can guess by looking at my Strava map, who that Chandler is.

Before going back, I dropped into these few pubs for a drink.

Kings Head – Napton

http://follyatnapton.co.uk/ – Napton

Butchers Arms – Priors Hardwick

https://www.thebrasenose.co.uk/ – Cropredy

https://thepigplace.co.uk/ – Aynho

Kings Head was the best. Meal was great. Staff are nice. Nice place to eat and drink.

Brasenose was the worst. Not a lot to say about this place. When the management changed, it went downhill.

That’s the benefit of taking the bike rather than driving. Fairly enjoyable ride home 🍺🍺🍺

Here’s a picture of my new ropes on the Brasenose beer table.

Narrowboat Ropes
Narrowboat Ropes

They’re called ‘toffee’ for some reason. I don’t know why…

Pretty aren’t they?

£33 each.

Pubs….

Stopped outside the Red Lion in Adderbury.

This was taking place outside.

In fact, the whole village was given over to Morris Dancing… Kind of like a ‘mini-festival’.

I was subsequently informed that Adderbury was the home of Morris Dancing! (Says on wikipedia).

Here’s

Some pictures from last 2 weeks.

The post Back at the Pig Place appeared first on Michael Tyler.


Kings Sutton in the Fields

The next stop down is ‘Pig Place’. At least it has been in the past…. I don’t really want to move down to Pig Place right away, for one reason or another. Instead, I’ve stopped here in between Kings Sutton and Twyford Wharf, effectively in the middle of no-where. The way I like it. It’s about a 10 minute walk to the car, but it’s outside of the parish of Twyford Wharf which is apparently what the CRT uses to... Read More Read More The post Kings...

The next stop down is ‘Pig Place’. At least it has been in the past….

I don’t really want to move down to Pig Place right away, for one reason or another.

Instead, I’ve stopped here in between Kings Sutton and Twyford Wharf, effectively in the middle of no-where.

The way I like it.

It’s about a 10 minute walk to the car, but it’s outside of the parish of Twyford Wharf which is apparently what the CRT uses to measure whether you’re moving your boat or not.

Moving out of a parish and/or into a new one counts as a move apparently.

It’s probably 10/15 mins on the boat.

Not far.

I don’t think anyone’s counting.

Sutton in the Fields

The post Kings Sutton in the Fields appeared first on Michael Tyler.


Living off-grid narrowboat

Here’s a cost breakdown of living as a single person on a narrowboat from what I gathered over the last 12 months. Derv: £324.69 (included a trip down to London and back 300m) Coal/Wood: £348/£72 Gas: £127 Electric: Free Boat licence: £960 Maintenance and fees: 2 pumps – £247 Insurance: £150 Total cost for one year All in – (Fuel/Heating/Light/Gas and Electricity/Licence/Insurance) £1,982.19 Cost of living Crisis I’m hearing this increasingly when I turn the...

Here’s a cost breakdown of living as a single person on a narrowboat from what I gathered over the last 12 months.

Derv: £324.69 (included a trip down to London and back 300m)

Coal/Wood: £348/£72

Gas: £127

Electric: Free

Boat licence: £960

Maintenance and fees: 2 pumps – £247

Insurance: £150

Total cost for one year All in – (Fuel/Heating/Light/Gas and Electricity/Licence/Insurance) £1,982.19

Cost of living Crisis

I’m hearing this increasingly when I turn the radio. Stories of people heating cans of beans on their gas room heaters, food banks not being able to cope and people having to choose between electricity and food.

Can’t be sure whether it’s truly indicative of the state of play out there because this is the BBC (radio 4) we’re talking about, and they like to lay it on thick with the old bullsh1t.

What I do know, fact-wise, is that the cost of fuels have gone up by roughly 50% in the last 12 months.

This is not an insignificant amount. It’s affected all fuels across the sector and electricity prices have gone up also.

My battery overfloweth

Since fitting the solar panels last winter, I’ve had basically too much electricity.

This has meant as summer approaches the level at which I use the electricity is FAR less than the amount the panels pump out.

In contrast, when I go to get gas from my local supplier in Banbury, they tell me the Calor wholesaller hasn’t been returning their calls for 9 weeks.

No-one on the industrial side of things has ANY Calor in Bunbury (13kg).

This does not bode well, and I fully expect in the full-ness of time, the supply shortage could leave me unable to do my cooking, currently on Gas, which would be a bit of a problem…..

Simple math

If you’re given lemons. Make lemonade.

Fitting an 2000w inverter to my narrowboat

I’ve had the inverter for years….. Bought it before I left the marina. In the first 6 months in fact. It looks a bit like this –

Bestek 2000w Inverter
Bestek 2000W inverter

I’ve used it to: Power the TV. Power the circular saw. Charge up computers and devices.

Basically, the heavier duty stuff that you can’t do on 12v.

Under most normal circumstances, it’s been sitting unused.

Rather than not use what I’ve got, I’ve decided to mount this in the engine bay. That way, I can connect it to Bonnies 240v wiring loop, and run kitchen appliances off it.

It will run anything up to 2000 continuos Watts, and a peak of 4600W for a short period. I’ve no idea how long a ‘short period’ is. But I’m assuming if we try and keep things below the 2,000 mark, everything will function as they’re intended.

Shopping for a hob for a narrowboat

Running on solar, you’ve got to be aware, during the day, there’s an oversupply of energy. And if you do your useage of the power supply during daylight hours, it makes very little difference to the overall charge of the batteries by the time you go to bed.

Obviously, if you start cooking at 9pm when the sun is weak or going down, running a 2000W hob is going to impact your batteries.

There were basically two hob types I was looking at.

An induction hob…

Induction hobs have specific requirements with regard to cooking utensils which have to be magnetic.

A combination oven…

The oven had a total output at 2,500W. This was with one hob operational and the oven on full.

By contrast, the induction had a max output of 2000W for one hob.

Most of my cooking happens on two or more hobs.

The oven also includes a grill.

No-brainer really. Bearing in mind the space constraints…

Battery Bank

My battery bank consists of 4x120amp/h AGM batteries. = 480a/h

I have 480 amp hours of available energy.

If we take it as that we never want to run the batteries below 1/2 charge, that means an available energy of 240 amp hours.

Busbars connecting battery bank
Busbars connecting 480AH battery bank

2000W/12 = 167 amps

167 amps is what a cooker will be taking from the batteries when running at full.

That’s roughly an hour and a half on full strength before it’s drained your batteries to their lowest operable level, (without damaging them).

On a sunny day, as you use the batteries to cook, the solar is going to be topping them off again, and it’s likely that by the time you finish up for the night, the charge you’ve used will have been replaced.

Obviously, this would be the ideal position, where you turn on the cooker and it runs directly off the solar with the batteries acting as a time based conduit between the two offering a buffer to boost the amperage up to level.

Making the boat 240v

Some money was spent on Bonnie in the early days when there was visions of me living on a marina.

As things turned out, I was much happier as a continuos cruiser, and these expenses seem to been wasted until now.

The boat is fitted out with a number of 240v sockets along it’s length connected to a fuse system, isolator switch and hook-up point, for the mains.

In order to make this 240v system active, I’ve taken my inverter and mounted it in the engine bay.

It’s always on, which during the summer is an insignificant amount of draw.

Mounting BESTEK 2000W Power Inverter
Mounting BESTEK 2000W Power Inverter to baseplate
Wooden baseplate
Wooden baseplate
BESTEK 2000W Power Inverter mounted on wooden baseplate in engine bay
BESTEK 2000W Power Inverter mounted on wooden baseplate in engine bay
Connecting BESTEK 2000W Power Inverter to narrowboat busbars
Connecting BESTEK 2000W Power Inverter to narrowboat busbars
Angle-grinding cavities for 230V cabling
Angle-grinding cavities for 230V cabling
Connecting the hook-up
Connecting the hook-up
  • Mount inverter
  • Connect to busbars
  • Drill for cable access
  • Connect hook-up to inverter

Job done! The boat now run in 240v, only up to around 4600W in short bursts.

Cooking on solar!

As opposed to ‘cooking on Gas‘! Which I’m hoping to phase out.

Last night I cooked my first bit of meal purely on electric. I fried up some rice. Took about 15 mins. Worked like a dream!

Cookworks 28L Mini Oven with Hob
Cookworks 28L Mini Oven with Hob
Space for the Cookworks 28L Mini Oven with Hob
Space for the Cookworks 28L Mini Oven with Hob
Cookworks 28L Mini Oven with Hob on the boat!
Cookworks 28L Mini Oven with Hob on the boat!
Cookworks 28L Mini Oven with Hob on the boat!
Cookworks 28L Mini Oven with Hob on the boat!

So there we are. All up and running!

I look forward to cooking some pizzas and potato wedges in the oven and using up some of that summer solar energy.

I’ll include some snippets of my solar cookers performance in future blogs.

Until my next instalment….

The post Living off-grid narrowboat appeared first on Michael Tyler.


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