Tuesday, 15 April 2008

A weekends work.

We visited the boat this weekend having not been aboard this Christmas. I came over from Uttoxeter, mum from home, and grandfather from Bolton.

The remaining morning was spent briefly discussing our plans for the boat for the next year, various trips, supply of coal, work we wanted to do on the boat, and that sort of thing.
In the afternoon we stripped down and cleaned the boiler for the impending boiler inspection. First removing the roof/funnel/smokehood and first sweeping all the 200 fire tubes with a long wire brush and powerdrill and cleaning up the top of the boiler with the vax. Then cleaning out the firebox, removing all the remainder of the last fire and any clinker, wire brushing the tube plate and wet legs, and again hovering clean. Followed by emptying out the ashbox and again hovering that clean.

The boiler inspection happens annually and lasts for 14months and we choose to do it at the beginning of each season, usually before the first steam and after the risk of frost has passed, as we are then always close to home and have as much time as possable to correct any problems that we may have without having to redrain the boiler afterwards as we would in colder weather. Every four years we have a hydraulic test, where the boiler is pumped full of water upto 1.5times working pressure (300psi) and inspected for leaks and any sign of problem. The remaining years the boiler is inspected inside and out in a 'dry' state (no fire or water) and then filled and steam raised. Pressure gauges, safety valves and gauge glasses are checked to be function properly and necessary ancillaries (feed pumps, injectors) checked.

While all this was going on, my dad and brother where in the workshop at home making the new draws for the back cabin.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Holidays and Steamboats.

I promised i would write about our week away in monmounthshire. It was great week as always.

Every year we hire a big house for a week and cause chaos in the local area. The house this year was Treowen where we have been every other year for since 2000 (going to varous other large houses around the country the alternate year) so we know it well and have watched it slowly being done up year on year as well. We got out most days, a days cycaling in the forest dean, a trip to caerphilly castle, cardiff model engineering club, the 'go-ape' highleval assult cause at FoD. And a more 'hardcore' day on the bikes at CwnCarn. As well as the usuall pool, croquet, music, radiocontroled cars, drinking and much good food .

A selection of people at breakfast in the kitchen.
A number fo bikes loaded ready for FoD.
Go-Ape at the Forest of Dean. My sister and various cousins.
My cousin Patrick with one of his RC cars, another regualar feature.
Sax Trio. Music of all sorts is made, be it live instements, or more MP3 based!

Also this weekend i visted another steam narrowboat. Ive been making an effort to get in touch with all the steamnarrowboats on the system. Theres only about 10 active boats so it seams silly for us not to be in touch.
This boat 'PussyWillow' as currently called was origanally started many years ago but she was never finshed and changed hands as a unfinished project a number of years ago but is still as yet unfinished.
However i got in touch with her current owner a while back and as i had a free afternoon drove down to Kettering to see her and her owner on the banks of the Nene.
He has done a fair bit of work on the engine a Leak Compound like ours, which when bought wasnt in a running state. And as seams to be not uncommon with these engines the crankshaft wasnt in a fit state to run and the timing miles out. So that has now been rectifide and the engine runs satisfactorally on compressed air, which is an excellent sign of things to come, steam engines always run better on steam than compressed air anyway. And then i was invited for tea! Excellent.
Sadly i dont have any photos, so clearly im going to have to visit her again sometimes soon!