Monday 8th to Sunday 14th February 2010.

A quiet week, sat on our hands mostly, watching the occasional boat drift past aimlessly wandering the few miles open to navigation, longing for the sunshine, green leaves and summer clothes. Well that’s how I see it from my little porthole.

Went out for lunch on Tuesday with Graham (G8LUV), not one pub but two because he has a car. Very nice, thanks G.

Wednesday was leaving day but when the snow storm broke we ran back inside. Who hadn’t checked the weather forecast then?
leaving day

We would have been off exploring the further reaches of the Leicester line on Thursday but one of us has had a call from the surgery. Come in for a test, they said, it’s to do with your little problem last January, not this January the one before.
Tummy pains have gone but the cause was never found. Now there’s a simple test that will eliminate a bug that inhabits humans. It involves breathing (without talking I presume) and one can cope with that.
If all goes well come this Thursday we should be up-sticking and moving up-hill again.

Highlight of the week – drinky-poos with Mike and Alison on Canny Chanter. Good company, good wine and good food. While V sampled the deli plate I got stuck into a plateful of sausage rolls. My favourite starter, main course and pud, sorry to say I pigged myself by eating the first, the last and most of the others in between.
Thanks guys, it was a lovely evening, most enjoyable.

We’ve seen nb.Gerald a few times during our travels but never met her owner. Jo (nb.Hadar) had mentioned Gerald was on the Leicester Line so when we heard the distinctive plonk-plonk of her Lister we realised Roy had made it down to Kilby Bridge. It was nice to connect the boat with her owner and with the dog, of course.

V went to her Mums at the weekend so I tackled the ‘list’. I jumped into action after a late brekkies and varnished the galley floor which meant I couldn’t move about the boat until it dried. This meant I had to sit down for a couple of hours. Must do this again some time.

Made a new fan to hang over the galley doorway and must report its success in shifting warm air down the corridor to the bedroom. 20 degrees in the saloon would normally produce 14 degrees in the bedroom through natural convection. Now the temperatures at each end of the boat are the same.
Using the guts of a portable humidifier found in the skip on our Sheffield cruise last year it hangs to one side of the doorway and drawing only 0.07 amps at 230 volts it pokes a decent draught down the corridor.
As a consequence we have far less condensation on cold walls and porthole frames down the other end of the boat. There are three fan settings and a heater element which we can switch on when the engine is running – very nice.

Wish I could say everything was working well but our optical smoke detector is playing up. A right little monkey it is, sitting there good as gold all day but shrieking its head off at 5 o’clock in the morning. The latest it goes off is 6.15am. The label says it has no user replaceable battery, it should last for 10 years but we’re not going to make 2018 with this one. What a nuisance.

== Kass, you can switch off, the blog ends here for you ==

Got a new project on the go, not sure if I should mention this yet, may be a bit premature but here goes anyway. I’ve picked up on a website dedicated to diesel fuel alternatives which is advocating the use of water as a fuel. Now don’t laugh, it’s possible if it’s done the right way. It has long been known that injecting steam into a petrol engine makes the fuel go further and this is something similar but for diesel engines.
Trials show that by emulsifying water before injecting it at high pressure produces combustion in a diesel engine. A palm oil derivative is used as an emulsificant (can I say that?) and at the right consistency and temperature it burns just like diesel.
Start up still uses diesel but the switch-over is made within minutes, when the temperature is right. Diesel is then switched off and the engine runs on water.
Costs are tiny, the emulsifying oil is used in very small quantities and both mixing and pre-heating is performed by the engine. Diesel is switched back into circuit immediately before engine shut down.
Fuel pumps are undergoing tests to see if there is any noticeable extra wear on moving parts and seals.

It will be interesting to see how HMRC manage to tax water when used as a propulsion fuel.

This all came about during research into alternative fuel generators for our boat, not wishing to keep petrol onboard gas became the obvious choice. But now I’m sold on water fuelled engines and despite the website removing the palm oil conversion process I’ve seen enough to get me started. Now to get my hands on a certain bottle of household cleaner, some palm oil and a few bits from the skip and watch this space as they say.