Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy new year

All that's now left is for me to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

LED glow

LED GlowAn update on my LED 'project' is well overdue.

As you can see from the picture taken yesterday, the LED is still going strong. Though it's not as bright as it was initially.

It's now over five month's solid that light has been on, using the same set of batteries.

I'd never have believed it would last as long as it has, and with more to go...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gooducken

GooduckenHere's the main component of our Christmas lunch.

Gooducken - Goose, duck and chicken. This was to feed six.

Along with roast potatoes, sweet potatoes, roast parsnips, brussel sprouts, peas, carrots, bread sauce and, of course, gravy, this made for a fine Christmas meal.

Did I mention copious amounts of champagne and other sundry liquid pleasures?

All very much appreciated by everyone.

Not much of the gooducken left, though there is still some of the Christmas eve ham still kicking about... Not for long I suspect.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas

Here's wishing one and all a very happy Christmas, wherever you are and whatever your situation.

May all your wishes come true.

Here we have the food and booze in, and are getting geared up for what looks set for a brilliant Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wikileaks - what's the point?

Are we supposed to applaud the recent wikileaks 'cablegate'?

I, for one, do not, and feel this will have long reaching, and unintended, consequences. None of them positive.

It seems to me that the thinking behind releasing hundreds of thousands of supposedly secure US Embassy diplomatic cables by wikileaks is fundamentally flawed.

To release them and not hide sensitive names and information is plainly ludicrous for all kinds of obvious reasons, not least of which is humanitarian.

To release them, but subjectively redact information renders the cables and the wikileaks people pretty much superfluous.

We are now left to read cables and cable contents that the wikileaks people think we should be allowed to read - so far as I can see that's not much different to leaving the US government to decide what should be public or not, though the US government is likely to be better informed on the sensitivity of these diverse issues.

Besides, who's to say that the cables have not been doctored in some other way as part of the release process?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Solstice

Last night, at 23:38, was the exact time of the winter solstice for us folks in the northern hemisphere. Summer solstice for you lucky people down there in the southern part.

It says so in the Astronomy picture of the day website, so it must be true.

It never really occurred to me that the solstice would occur at an exact time, but I suppose it makes sense if you think about it.

Actually if you look in Wikipedia, they have more information on it that you would ever actually want to read, unless you are either really keen or bored.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter

Wintry roadStill no boat news.

The cold and unpredictability of the weather more or less dictated I should not go down to Lady Jane during the weekend.

That inevitably means a few more non boat posts here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

So simple

It often seems it's the simple things that make the most difference.

Ever since I've owned a digital camera, I've struggled somewhat with copying pictures from the camera or it's card.

The issue has been one of sheer tediousness, and the potential for missing pictures.

I have to go to the directory where the pictures are stored, then find the highest number image I've saved.

I then have to go to the camera or camera card directory, find the number after the highest copied.

I then have to highlight the un-copied pictures and drag/drop them into their final destination directory.

It's not difficult, I know, but tedious. I also suspect that I'm not the only one struggling with this.

While doing something else earlier, it suddenly occurred to me that I could knock up a program to do this job for me.

In fact, the program lists all the files in a destination directory, defined just once on the camera/card, and copies all the files that are on the camera/card that have not already copied.

Suddenly, this task is quick and easy - I should have done this years ago.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Robin

Robin dropping in for a snackThere is not much happening on Lady Jane at the moment, mostly because of the weather.

It's that time of the year when things seem so damp and miserable.

No boat action gives me the opportunity to blog about other stuff for a while.

Here is our 'tame' robin, dropping in for an early morning snack of meal worms.

This robin is often seen close-by when we are in the garden. I think it likes the company.

In the mornings he will often stand there, with me sitting close by, chirping merrily away.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Split 3

Split 3Here Split 3 makes her way up the River Itchen, past Lady Jane, on a Friday evening.

Split 3 is a regular visitor to these parts.

This emphasises a big difference I've learned between coastal shipping in the US and shipping here - known as short sea I believe.

In the US, because of the way the rules and regulations work, Split 3 would probably be a barge, with a separate tug to push it.

Here, in the UK, it's more normal to see small coasters or vessels like this, with no tug in attendance.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Skip boat

Skip boatSome time ago, when I was planning on getting rid of the wood from my deck, Rob suggested I float a skip across the river, fill it, then float it back again.

I think you guys in the US call skips dumpsters? I'm not sure.

At the time, I was taken with the concept. Not that I intended to do it though, on account of the dire risk of the thing tipping over and sinking.

The consequences and subsequent clean-up effort would have been unthinkable.

Today though, when I arrived on board Lady Jane, I saw this skip in the water just down the river from me (right there in the middle of the picture).

I thought that was just too priceless a photo opportunity to miss!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Cistern

CisternI swear, in total I've spent more time on this toilet than almost any other single thing on the boat.

It's forever giving problems, and usually at the worst possible times.

Captain Bob, who travelled with us a while on the Wanderbird, says he is going to write a book about marine toilets and the problems he's had. At least I'm not the only person suffering.

The setup I have is, I think, very simple. I pump seawater up to a header tank above the toilet. This water can then flow into the cistern in a similar fashion to a normal household toilet.

What could possibly go wrong?

The disconnected white pipe you can see is the freshwater feed, for when I'm alongside and water is in plentiful supply. The wooden block is to hold the broken flusher mechanism in place.

Anyway, I quickly learned that if I let the header tank run dry, I'd get fine silt into the cistern as soon as the header started to fill and the silt got stirred up.

I know a simple filter would most likely fix this, but I've never got around to doing it.

The silt either blocked the filler mechanism, meaning there was no water for the next flush, or prevented a seal being made after someone flushed, meaning all the water from the header would then leak out.

The toilet inlet mechanism had eventually got so full of silt that it took ages to fill the cistern between flushes, then causing blushes.

The silt situation got slowly worse until the inevitable running dry of the header and subsequent complete blockage of the filler mechanism, despite 'gentle persuasion' with the handy piece of wood.

After a spell of bucket flushing, I finally managed to put in a brand new filler mechanism. A better one which should not be as affected by silt. After that and because I'd bought the parts online, I keep getting ads for plumbing supplies and toilet flushers when I visit some of my regular sites. Like I really need reminding of this!

A few weeks after fixing the filler, the pump I use to fill the header tank went on the blink. Standing in the freezing cold cussing some, although satisfying, did not help the situation one bit.

Now, with it being at or below freezing on board, the water in the filler pipes will have frozen - thus forcing me back to using a bucket to flush when I'm next down there.

Ahh, this glamorous millionaires boating lifestyle....