Sunday 17 January 2016


Thank you to all those who commented congratulations to my announcement in the last post.  Having made the decision it feels like a weight has suddenly lifted of my shoulders and June cannot come quick enough.

We had a rare free day on Saturday so Chris and I took the train into Liverpool for the day.  On the itinerary was a visit to see the ceramic poppy's that originated from the huge display at the Tower of London in 2014.  Not all the poppy's were sold off as artist Paul Cummins had incorporated two elements of poppy's called the wave and the weeping window into the display.  He wanted these elements to remain as a lasting legacy to commemorate those who gave their lives.  The poppy's are now touring the UK.

The breath-taking sculptures were initially conceived as the key dramatic sculptural elements in the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London in the autumn of 2014. Over the course of their time at the Tower, the two sculptures were gradually surrounded by a vast field of ceramic poppies, each one planted by a volunteer in memory of the life of a British and Colonial soldier lost during the First World War. Over 30,000 people volunteered to take part in planting the poppies, with the final one placed in the ground on Armistice Day, 11 November 2014.

Nowadays the element called Weeping Window is housed outside St Georges Hall in Liverpool.  As we missed them at London Chris was really keen to see them whilst they were here.  They will be moving next week to Lincoln Castle so Saturday would be the last chance to see them before the display is dismantled for transport.

Not as large as the London display but still as poignant none the less

Each poppy is hand made and unique.

Now I don't consider myself an emotional person by any means  but for some unfathomable reason this lone poppy standing tall above the others really got to me and I just stood staring at it for some time.  Daft I know but I just could not help looking at it.  Somehow out of all the poppy's I could see before me this one poppy struck a chord for me.

The one poppy stands tall amongst the sea of the others.
After lunch in Costa coffee we wandered round the Maritime museum then headed home, cold but enjoying the day.

Monday 11 January 2016

Pottering and a life changing decision.

Hi all
Not this much going on at the moment hence the once a week posts.  We have been pottering about doing the odd jobs on AmyJo this weekend.

Yesterday we went out to buy two sockets to make up a new shorter mains cable.  We found them in our local Go Outdoors store in Saltney.  This is on the outskirts of Chester and is a huge store selling anything one might want for camping, caravanning, climbing, walking as so on.  Well worth the taxi fare for a visit.

We did spot, and bought, this little gem for £20.  Its a folding trolley but what took my eye to it was its compact size.  Stores away nicely in the cupboard but strong enough for the cassette or gas bottle.  Whether the small wheels will work on a dirt tow path remains to be seen.

The two litre coke bottle gives an idea how small the trolley is folded down

and when fully opened out
 Another job I've been meaning to get round to is a battery charger for our starter battery.  As AmyJo is a 24V boat the starter battery, being 12V, is not connected in any way to the electrical system so relies on an engine alternator to keep it charged.  During these winter months we are not running the engine every day in the marina so I needed a way to keep the battery topped up.  I found this charger in Halfords.  Its a smart charger giving a better charge cycle it has the 3 Bulk, Absorption and Float charge cycles.  In addition, a winter option to trickle charge at 0.8amps to keep the battery in prime order.  It also has a recondition option to assist when the battery is almost discharged.

I mounted the charger on a support post in the engine bay with zip ties and plugged it into a socket near the steps in the back cabin.

In Maintenance mode for Bulk Absorption and Float cycle charging.

One other piece of news is the life changing decision. 

As of 30th June I will be joining those in the largest leisure group of all by retiring.  We (Chris and I) have been thinking about this for some time but I now feel the time is right, I've had it with work these days as its just not the same any more and no longer enjoyable.  With this in mind Chris and I have starting to look at our cruising options this year.  With only Chris working we can extend our cruises considerably.  During the summer holidays we plan to cruise for the whole period of 7 weeks with other shorter trips during her other school breaks, hell we may even stay out of the marina all summer with Chris commuting to work whilst I move the boat when necessary.  This brings us one more step closer to our dream of continuous cruising.

Monday 4 January 2016

New year online.

Due to the naff wet weather not many photos in this post I'm afraid.

Having spent Christmas Day at the bungalow with the girls Chris and I returned to AmyJo.  Chris was flying driving south to visit her mum but as I had to return to work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I remained here.

We had tickets for the New Year celebrations at the Shady Oak pub just down the cut.  As there are no locks to contend with I moved AmyJo on my own together with our mooring neighbour on her boat to the moorings outside the Shady on the Monday.  There were two boats on the pub staging and two on the tow path side.  Sheila moored in the gap between the latter and I winded AmyJo and pulled in upstream of all three.  We were joined by a further 8 boats as the days leading up to New Year passed.

Over the following 3 days I commuted to work from there and when Chris returned on New Year's Eve we enjoyed the festivities to see the New Year in.  A great night was had in the newly decorated Shady Oak but unfortunately all the photos were blurry.  Not sure if this was the camera settings or we were more inebriated than we thought. 

In the end we stayed a full week and only returned AmyJo to the Marina today (Monday).  We were quite happy moored out so were in no rush to return, enjoying the excellent food and carvery (on Sundays) provided by the pub .  In fact we have enjoyed these stints out of the marina so much I think this will become a regular feature if weather allows.

Yesterday, Sunday, there was a short break in the wet and windy weather that was calm and dry enough that it enabled me to get the drone out for a brief flight and thus managed to get these photos.

The road bridge over the canal that passes the Shady Oak looking towards Chester.

Seen from directly above, AmyJo (centre) moored opposite the pub (top left).
By now the tow path was becoming a quagmire after all the foot traffic over new year..

The Shady Oak from above

AmyJo on her mooring
 I have to admit I'm having great fun seeing the canal from this new angle but I'm always concious not to annoy other people with the drone.  There is a lot of bad press about near misses by drones with aircraft at the moment  so I'm careful when and where I fly now.

Today Chris went back to work so after bringing AmyJo back to the marina I washed her down (the boat that is) and tidied up.  I also replaced the water filter as this was due to be renewed.

After two years of reliable service the Erberspacher heater has decided to play up and will not always start.  I guess its long overdue a service so we'll get that organised over the next few days.  I know it should be serviced annually but that got over looked.

Today the sun made a rare appearance so I checked our Solar panel output and was pleased to see

Does not look much at 60watts max but it was enough to bring the batteries up from 92% to 95% charge.  With this in mind it looks like they should make a big difference if we get a good summer (if we get one that is).