Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

A Brand New Morso Squirrel Stove

We are out and about with the boat at the moment, with the intention of replacing our multi-fuel stove, which was damaged beyond economic repair as a result of melting snow and a lot of condensation getting in to it via the flue pipe last Winter. I had surveyed the job myself, and concluded that the job could turn out harder than expected due to potential problems with corrosion around the flue joints, even though we intended a like for like replacement.

We took the boat to Kings Lock Chandlery at Middlewich, who are the local Morso agents, and stayed while the job was done, as previously arranged. As expected the top of the flue pipe was seized to the roof plate, and was a right pain to get off, which in the end resulted in damage to it, and a repair to re-fit. I am now glad we had the experts, who are HETAS trained, (similar to gas safe for solid fuel installations). We were charged 4 hours labour, and including all ancillaries, the job came in at £760 all done for a new Morso Squirrel 1410. Ouch! But still less than the RRP of the stove alone. Tonight it is a fish supper from the excellent chippy opposite the boat yard, before making for home tomorrow.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Lidl Parkside 4-stroke Generator.

I bought one of these today, a high capacity petrol generator from Lidl, branded with their own name, 'PARKSIDE'. Now, I am fully aware that many will say "buy cheap - get poor quality", with the possibility of damaging sensitive electronics equipment due to inferior output voltage regulation, but for my purposes this seems to work well.

I already own a high quality Japanese generator, which is used at the boat to power our every need there, including the C-Tek battery chargers without the need of running the main boat engine. This one is going to be kept at home, and used mainly for powering machine tools and my high wattage Karcher jet washer in and around the garden. It will also double up to be used in the ever more frequent power cuts we seem to experience here now, particularly in Winter. (We had a 24hr power out over last Christmas, and the Christmas before the grid was off for over a week, and the supply company had to bring in a huge generator of their own after 24hrs while they fixed the problem). If needed for work on the boat, I could also take it there.

At 42kg and 96db noise level when running normally, it is probably too noisy and bulky to be kept and used around the boat in any case. But, it is specified to have a maximum output of 2.8kw, with a continuous output of 2.6kw @230V. It has a 15ltr petrol tank, which will keep it running for 11hrs under nominal load, and for the British market, is fitted with two standard UK type 3-pin sockets. The motor is 4-stroke petrol, rated at 7HP, and the unit is fitted with an overload cut-off switch, and a volt meter. There is an earthing bolt which should be connected to a suitable grounding stake when in use, but there is no 12V output. Fitted with heavy duty wheels, and a draw-bar, it is easy enough to move around the locations where it will be used. I have now built it up and tried it, and so far, I am suitably impressed. The unit also comes with a 3 year warranty, and the build quality and finish are superb.

Click here for the Lidl website product details. Product details. A Lidl video of the product is at the bottom of the page. The cost of this item? Just £179. In my book that is worth a punt.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Good Old Blackpool

Another bank holiday weekend not spent at the boat. We decided that as we are spending the week there after Tuesday to facilitate the fitting of the new Morso Squirrel stove, that we would do other things this weekend. Not Crick Boat Show, not the multitude of other canal boating activities that can be found around the country. My decision was to visit Blackpool. As you will see in the images, the blue sky and sunshine is belied by our windblown appearance wearing our warmest coats. Good old British Summer!

 .......And all within 1/2 an hour of home!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Troughs, Pig Swill and Peanuts!

Not usually my remit to make political comment, but just who do this lot think they are kidding when the rest of us are in the mire!

Pay rise: MPs may be in line for a £10,000 salary increase, but will have to give up their gold plated pensions.
(c) Mail On Sunday

Click this link to visit the Mail on Sunday article....

Personally, I would like to pay peanuts and see how we get on with the monkeys!

Friday, 17 May 2013

The cost of our British Winter.

There must be thousands of people across the country who have experienced additional costs this year as a result of our recent atrocious weather and extended winter. We have now joined the ranks.
At the end of October last year we had to leave the boat in a bit of a hurry because I was taken ill there, and that resulted in a short hospital stay. When we returned here recently, everything seemed fine. KL is a very dry boat and has no condensation problems. However, after four previous trouble free winters, this year our Morso Squirrel multi fuel stove has suffered several areas of damage due to corrosion as a result of the constant damp weather. The flue collar has cracked, the bolt holding the left fire grate bracket has rotted off, the fire door no longer closes properly, and various other problems including the main casings no longer fitting together properly due to corrosion. After taking advice from our local stove supplier, Kings Lock Chandlery, we have decided that replacement will be the most cost effective way forward. In future, their advice is also to seal off and insulate the flue from the weather, underneath any flue cap used, and even place a container of moisture absorbing granules within the stove itself, when the boat is left for long periods, such as a winter lay up. The new stove goes in next week.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Little Venice Canal Festival

Today we followed the theme of Duffy's hit song and took the tube to Warwick Avenue.

Jill's apartment is ideally located for Central London destinations with a tube station just yards away at the end of the street, and most popular destinations are within 20 minutes or so. This time ours was the Annual Little Venice Canal Festival, a short walk from the Warwick Avenue tube station, and at the junction between the Grand Union Canal and the Regents Canal. It was busy, probably due to the lovely weather, and a plug on the TV news the night before. There were the usual stalls and displays, and a scattering of recognisable boat names. There will be another event here on the 1st September, perhaps we should make the effort to attend with the boat, we were certainly invited to do so several times while engaged in conversation with IWA and festival officials. A very enjoyable day.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Five days in London.

We are spending the bank holiday weekend in Central London with our daughter Jillian. On Thursday we took the four mile bus journey to Wigan, cost £3.80, to catch the 200 mile Virgin Train journey to Euston, cost £12. I still don't get how that works!
On Friday we borrowed Jill's car to visit a distant cousin of mine in West Sussex. Her great grandfather on her mother's side and my great grandfather on my father's side were first cousins. As it also happens she is the great granddaughter X 2 of Algernon Percy, 1st. Earl of Beverley, whose own father was Hugh Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland, on her father's side. She is also the great great granddaughter, (on her grandmother's side), of General Thomas Bruce, 11th Earl of Kincardine, also 7th Earl of Elgin, who at the age of 34 removed those architectural artefacts from the Parthenon in Greece, see General Thomas Bruce Info.. You should try researching your own family history - you never know who you might find!
My interesting finds are all detailed on my other website Although we have met before, we spent a very interesting morning over coffee looking through old photos of her father in an Eton Society group in 1920, see Eton Public School and the Eton Society, or 'Pop'. We were shown a book, written by her grandfather, Colonel Algernon Durand, as military secretary to The Viceroy of India, 1894-1899, The Making of a Frontier. A photo from 1894, taken in Shimla, India, of her grandmother Elizabeth, (nee Bruce), who is descended directly from the Earls of Kincardine. Her grandfather (my side), who was MP for Mile End in 1916, and her Uncle John, (my side again), the Guardsman Monk, who was Aide-de-Camp to the Governor of Malta whilst serving in the Irish Guards in 1921. We even looked at and held personal telegrams from Queen Victoria after a family loss in the late 1800's. As with all committed family history researchers, our meeting ended with a visit to the grave and headstone inscription from 1983, of my cousin's parents in a lovely sunny rural churchyard.
Saturday was spent doing the usual sights of Central London, although this time we made time to visit the likes of the National Gallery.
Today we visited Richmond Upon Thames, which is the location of the images here. The river level seemed to be still quite high.