Saturday 30 December 2017

New year new start

My DD1 had one of her dogs put to sleep in June he had heart failure.

Christmas Eve she had her other dog put to sleep, she had a tumour. She was diagnosed a while ago but was well and happy in herself. Christmas Eve she took a turn for the worse and so they took her to the vets, she died in DD'S arm at 4am.

DD and her husband had a long chat, he feels they need a few dog free months especially since social services are looking to place another child with them in the new year.

Today DD1 emailed me a photo of a rescue dog they are meeting next weekend.

She is a 10 year old staffy bitch who's owner died recently.

Friday 29 December 2017

All Mod Cons

Logotha asked about cooking and  keeping things cool on the boat.
We have all mod cons on the boat, but some of them are on the small side.

The oven has four gas rings but it isn't big enough to hold four large pans. My pans are small apart from my cast iron casserole dish.

The oven is small, yes and dirty after Christmas, it's on my to do list. It only had one shelf but we managed to buy a second one. I bought two small oven trays as mine were too big.
My freezer, I haven't had this long, the one that was on the boat when we bought it didn't work. This is 240v electric. Because it is so efficient it runs off our solar panels on sunny days.
The fridge, it's very full because of Christmas, I don't usually keep this much h in it.
The cool box, this will also run on solar, it holds beer and soft drinks.

My tiny washing machine it takes a 3 kilo load, I have to move the steps to use it.

No tumble dryer but this hangs over the log burner.
The there is also a pole to hang things over. In the summer I have an airer that sits in the prow.

The log burner, I keep the kettle on it so it cuts down on boiling time, I use it as a slow cooker by standing my casserole dish on it.

When it's sunny, even in the winter the solar panels will run the fridge freezer, cool box, charge the phones, tablets. I can also run my sewing machine on the solar.

I don't have a hair dryer or hair straighteners, they use heat and won't run on the solar.

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Painting the engine bay

We've had a lot of rain and a smattering of snow which has now melted.
The water level is very high almost up to the level of the jetty.

CHS has spent a couple of hours every day painting the engine bay. He's done the rustproof and two coats of primer. Next it's the bilge paint, it's so cold a couple of hours is all he can do before he turns into an icicle.

We took presents round to DD2 yesterday and brought DGS home with us. I also gave my DGD's a bag of yarn oddments as they had been given French knitting dolls but no yarn.

Tomorrow DS is visiting with his GF and we have a fuel delivery due. We are down to our last bag of coal and it's very cold so we don't want to run out.

I cooked a big pan of leek and potato soup on the multi fuel stove and served it with crusty bread. I felt the need for a meat free meal. I cooked some pigs in blankets for CHS and DGS.

Monday 25 December 2017

Windy tonight and it's not the sprouts.

Heavy rain and high winds here tonight. The boat is rocking from side to side quite a lot.

We have had a quiet day, just the two of us.

I cooked a tiny piece of beef, an equally small piece gammon a turkey breast and most important of all some pigs in blankets.

There is lots left for sandwiches and bubble and squeak.

Sunday 24 December 2017

Busy weekend

We went to a family wedding, we stayed overnight in the hotel where the reception was held. The room and ensuite were bigger than our entire boat.

All very posh, but the rooms were very hot and we were glad to get home.

 The food was delicious, this was the starter, a terrine.

The main course was chicken.

The Winter Wonderland room where the reception was held.

 There were six bridesmaids, two flower girls and two pageboys, twins four years old, one of them did the best impression of John Cleese silly walk I've ever seen as he walked ahead of the bride scattering petals. This is the sort of thing, for me that makes a wedding special.

The bride and groom.

We went to our room after the meal and before the dancing started at 8:30.
I had a raging ear/tooth/jaw ache and my beloved was pissed as a fart having started drinking at 2 o'clock!

Friday 22 December 2017

More weird things to learn

Our new engine has been ordered and should be fitted around 22nd 23rd January. Mind you that could be canal time, in which case it could be February or even July.
We may also have a buyer for our old engine, we will know in the new year.
We have had many visits from very important technical bods, there has been much sucking of teeth and many conversations about pythons and hospitals, I've only just mastered sacrificial anodes and now there is another vocabulary to learn.

We had our black water pumped out before we moved back, hopefully that will last until we move back to the work area to have the new engine fitted.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Chortle chortle, snigger snigger.

Yesterday when  I arrived to collect my beloved from work I was an hour too early.

I had done some shopping and some other errands, it didn't seem worth driving home only to turn around and go back. So I popped in to see my old work colleagues, some of whom were more pleased to see me than others.

What really made my day was when I found out that there have been numerous complaints about my replacement.

I did make recommendations to my line manager when I announced my retirement, but of course these were ignored. After all what would I know an out the job, I'd only been doing it for 13 years!

The complaints are not the person concerned but the change and reduction of hours and also the lack of handover which has left my replacement struggling. She is getting no support from her line manager and no support from the company who supplied the crap equipment that is making her life so difficult.

Tuesday 19 December 2017

We are a butty

The engine was removed yesterday, so we are now a butty until the new engine is fitted.
The engineer who removed it took a video of it running, he will post it on YouTube and advertise the engine for sale. The gearbox we have is designed to go in a deep-sea fishing boat as is the engine!

The marina is frozen over and this morning we had a beautiful sunrise.

Saturday 16 December 2017

You keep me hanging on.

Because space is limited, everything that we can hang, we do.

There are hooks everywhere, these hold our keys
Hooks for our mugs.
Magnetic knife holder

Three saucepans and two frying pans hang on the fire surround.
Coal glove and ridge monkey hang above the companion set just below the co2 alarm.

A pocket wall hanging organiser hangs beside my chair.
I bought this from Ikea, the buckets hold cutlery, the one on the end holds baking parchment, straws and cling film. Above the buckets is the solar panel monitor and the 'clock' that confuses so many people as it has no hands, that's because it's my weighing scales.
We even hang up the toilet rolls!

Thursday 14 December 2017

Thawed out now

We had a couple of days where the water in the marina was frozen, it was minus 5, I heard it freezing over it makes a distinctive sound.

The ducks were most confused, the swan managed to stagger over to the boat for his breakfast.

CHS fitted secondary glazing to the bedroom windows, it's made a huge difference to the temperature at that end of the boat.

It's thawed now and chucking it down with rain, I've spent most of the day indoors, I've changed the bedding, an exhausting job that means leaping to and fro across the bed to tuck the edges in.

I've also stripped the vacuum cleaner down and put it together again.

I'm not sure how I'll cope if life gets any more exciting!

Tuesday 12 December 2017

You've got what!

I've been following a thread on the MSE forum about simplifying live. Mostly it's about people who want to life with less stuff.
Obviously we have less stuff than most because we got rid of everything that didn't fit on the boat.
One post made me chuckle though, someone posted that she only had six handbags and that once she had one more that would be enough. 
I don't think I've ever has six handbags at once.
I have a rucksack for when I'm shopping and a small black clutch bag for posh. That's it and I manage very well with just those two bags.

Monday 11 December 2017

Oh I ache!!

Cleaning boats in the winter is not a nice job. With no power and no running water it's a slog, plus the uninhabited boats are really cold. One of the boats I clean only has port holes so it's really dark inside especially in the winter.
 It took me an hour today to clean two venetian blinds on a boat, by the time I'd finished my hands were clawed with the cold.
 By the time I'd done the rest of the boat I was frozen through, my lovely CHS had a hot cup of tea waiting for me when I got in.

Mind you I had the easy job, CHS was getting the boat ready for a big job next week. We are having the engine replaced!
We will be engineless for a whole month and it's going to cost eleventy billion squid.

We knew we were likely to need to have it replaced when we bought the boat, but it ticked all the other boxes so we bought it and have been saving ever since so we have the money to get the job done. We know people who have been searching for their perfect boat for years and years, we just wanted to move on and start living aboard.

There is nothing actually wrong with the engine that we know about but it isn't designed for narrow boat use, we cannot find anyone to service it and we have no service history for it. Our concern is that if it goes wrong we will be stuck, unable to move and unable to find anyone to repair it.

My tenant has just phoned, the bath isn't draining, what next? I've phoned the plumber, it will depend on what he finds whether or not I pay the bill.

Saturday 9 December 2017

Where the money comes from.

I've written a post about where the money goes, so here's one about where the incoming money comes from.

CHS is still working and earning a low wage, at least half of his money goes into savings as we need to be prepared for any boat problems, there is a big expense coming up soon that I will do another post about.

Our house is rented out, the rent covers the mortgage and a little extra. There has been no profit so far as there have been problems with the plumbing in the house. We have spent about £1000 more in repairs than we have received in rent so far. We have now been advised that the decking is wrecked and needs replacing in the new year, we need to negotiate who pays as it has been wrecked by the tenant leaving it covered in plastic for the last 5 months. She has been advised twice that the plastic covering would damage the decking but carried on regardless.

I get my state pension of £595 but no private pension, I lost that when I got divorced. This goes into the joint account along with some of CHS's wage, this pays for coal, diesel for the boat, petrol for the car, food, TV license etc. I also received my winter fuel payment, £200. This will pay for Christmas this year.

I still clean boats but this is less often in the winter months. This month I've only done two boat cleans, so £50, plus I was paid £50 for some market research.

This is my money to do with as I wish, most of it goes on the DGC , books for my kindle or yarn to crochet with, though I try to save at least half of it in case we have a problem and need some extra for an emergency.

Friday 8 December 2017

Always room for a little one!

I visited DD1 today, noises are being made by social services, her oldest foster child is almost 20. Strictly speaking he is no longer fostered, she doesn't receive payment for him but he is part of the family. Social services would like him to move out so DD could take on more children.
DD is happy for him to stay and has said he should plan to move out by the time he is 30!
Because of the shortage of foster carers they have asked her to consider taking on a baby, normally everyone wants babies so she's always had 3 years and upwards. She has agreed that if one needs a placement she will accept. Her long term plans include building an extension to include a self contained bedsit so she can take mother and baby placements, with an extra bedroom above so she could take in more children. She lays awake at night worrying about the children that need somewhere to go.
Also her dog is terminally ill, cancer, the dog is not in pain, still enjoys a daily walk and is still eating. DD had one dog PTS a few months ago as he had heart failure,  DD had already said she will get another rescue dog or two, they will almost certainly be staffies as they are so good with children.

Monday 4 December 2017

Falling foul on eBay

You may remember that I was unable to sell an unwanted watch recently. I was a bit disappointed as it's worth about £50 and it would have helped towards Christmas.
Well now it seems I have fallen foul yet again when trying to sell something on eBay.
My latest listing has been removed as it contains pictures of nudity!!
Actually it doesn't, it's a leather choker and it not being worn by anyone it's placed on a white sheet. I give up!

Fortunately Christmas will still happen, I received my winter fuel payment last month and today I did some market research and received £50.

No it's not Santa

There is limited room on the boat for things including clothes, so we both share my dressing gown.

Sunday 3 December 2017

More boat photo's

So whilst I was out for three hours yesterday wrangling three year old twins, a 12 year old and a geriatric dog, this is what my lovely hubby did.

There was a wine rack on the boat that we didn't use as we don't drink wine, so he turned it into a spice rack for me.

He also made this fitted drawer top, the drawer closes with it in place. It gives me an extra work surface, something that I needed especially when trying to serve up meals.

 Another pic of the spice rack with the jars in place.

Friday 1 December 2017

Where the money goes

I have a spreadsheet listing all our outgoings so I know how much our lifestyle costs, it also helps remind us of when things need doing.

Pump out (emptying the poo tank)  £20 about every 5-6 weeks. Tank treatment, £20 per bottle and a bottle lasts 6 to 8 months.

Gas bottles £23, we have two and each one lasts about 3 months, they are used only for cooking and when possible I cook on the Morso stove. The kettle sits on the stove as this cuts down on the boiling time.

Electricity, 14p per unit, but we use solar where possible. We can run everything apart from the washing machine on the solar.

Coal varies in price, on the marina it's £13 a bag, if we buy from the fuel boat it's a lot cheaper.

Diesel, we spend about £37 every three months, this is for boat propulsion and the central heating.

Mifi, £40 a month and we seem to manage on that, we did go over our usage limit to start with but now we keep an eye on it more closely.

Mooring fees are £3000 a year, then there are licensing fees too but they vary depending on what you want. We may get a full year Thames license this year, last year we paid piecemeal as and when we went on the Thames.

All our other outgoing costs are the same as when we lived on dry land, apart from petrol as I'm currently doing a lot more miles.

Lights out again!

Yet again our on-site lights have failed! I'm up and dressed and about to visit our site manager who is due here today. Last time this h...