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Tom and Bex

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About Tom and Bex

  • Birthday 31/10/75

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  • Occupation
    Emergency Care Assistant
  • Boat Name
    Diesel & Dust
  • Boat Location

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  1. Fully agree - be that car or boat! Also ditto central heating!
  2. Very very pleased with our result of 4th this year. Really didn't think we'd done that well this year as we planned a route with very few locks and were 2 crew members down. I say "planned" in the loosest sense of the word - our planning was all done at 1am Saturday morning after picking a start point that would not earn us any points until 9am! Next year I'll be more organised and read the rules in advance even though I should have remembered from pervious years. We started from engine arm as we needed a mooring the crew could join us late Friday and leave a car somewhere safe within easy cycle ride of the finish. Our route was engine arm (no points earned), Spon Lane locks, Pudding Green Jn, crew walked to winding hole at end of Wednesbury old canal stub, down Ryders Green locks, Tame Valley Jn, Walsall Jn, Walsall Town Arm and return, Tame Valley Jn, Rushall Jn, Catshill Jn, Pelsall Jn, Cannock extension to Grove Colliery basin and return, Birchills Jn, Walsall Jn and return to Birchills Jn, Horseley Fields Jn via Holly Bank Basin, Oldbury Jn via Old Main Line and Tividale Quays, both Titford pools and finally back to the Pumphouse. Cruised right through with no breaks. Surprised by lack of queues at the locks on Sunday morning but think several others cruised right through the night as well. Got the question at Pudding Green Jn wrong, but got all the others. Also got all the points for the photo opportunities. Already looking forward to next year and have some useful timings from our new boat to use in next year's planning! Looking at the closeness of the points, even amongst teams that took quite different approaches and routes, I hope they don't change it too much for next year. Tom & all the crew on Tatty Lucy
  3. Still there today but now sporting a pram hood. Just as awful in the flesh as in the photos! Has for sale and a phone number in marker pen in one of the window boards. Tom
  4. Narrowboat Tatty Lucy says sorry about the impromptu swimming lesson! And Lily says she hopes Barney is being well cared for and has now dried out having thrown a tantrum when we had to pass him on................ twice!
  5. Well be there in our new boat currently nick named Tatty Lucy Tom
  6. I can easily believe they got jammed by a log - we came through a month or so ago and there were several large logs along the side between Gosty tunnel and Hawne Basin with several already floating in the canal. We definitely hit 1 or 2 going though the tunnel and thought at the time it would be quite easy to get jammed in there.
  7. I hope you have a sign up in your cafe saying cash only! We'd not usually think of asking if a cafe took cards and would just expect it unless signs clearly stated otherwise.
  8. Ours lasted 6-7 years in our previous boat, and although not corroded into holes was definitely weakened where it entered the roof collar. Probably could have got another 3-4 years out of it before it corroded through completely. I would say 10 years would be a good guess for longevity but no doubt some will go on a lot longer. That was burning a mix of wood and smokeless as full time liveaboard. Worth making it part of an annual check on stove and flue condition, including poking it around the roof collar with screwdriver to check integrity. I'm sure several boaters are unaware of the risk of this problem. Reason for early replacement was we needed a new flue for the epping in the back cabin, so it made sense to replace the lounge flue with a new one and use the good middle section to make a new rear flue pipe.
  9. Rest assured I will be testing it as soon as I get it back and before installing it. Should be easy to see if it is a replacement unit as the one I'm sending back has had the holes drilled out in the corners to fit it. Rest assured I will be testing it as soon as I get it back and before installing it. Should be easy to see if it is a replacement unit as the one I'm sending back has had the holes drilled out in the corners to fit it.
  10. Worth mentioning though that a lot of controllers specify that you should disconnect solar panels before disconnecting the 12v feed to batteries - don't just turn the battery isolator off and leave panels connected.
  11. I very rarely have any cash on me, and when at work regularly use contactless debit card to buy a 50p coffee from the local garage. Nothing to do with amount of money I do or don't have, just find it much easier and less hassle. What I do find annoying is having to write cheques for things where they won't take bank transfer or PayPal, or (even more annoying!) our local solid fuel supplier who only takes cash!
  12. Just an update about my smartgauge, I've contacted Merlin directly who have asked I send the unit back to them for repair/replacement. They said technically it should be returned via Cactus, but happy for me to return direct. Not even a request for proof of purchase, both of which indicate they are aware of potential problems. I also raised the issue of quality control, adding how can such a large error get through, and their response was: "I would also like to assure you that we do have strict quality control procedures in place here, so I will raise your concern with our Engineering Manager accordingly." Will let you know how accurate the replacement is when it arrives! To answer the question about how I know it's inaccurate without a calibrated meter, I have 2 digital multi meters (one cheapish once and one quality one), both from different manufactures. I also have a cheap Chinese panel voltmeter, and a tracer solar controller display panel, and all 4 agree with each other within 0.5% or less. The smartgauge however reads consistently 0.5v higher than these. I would be gobsmacked if all of them were so far out and the smartgauge was accurate! All of them combined cost less than the smartgauge, so how they can get away with selling it for so much when the accuracy is so poor I don't know.
  13. There does seem to be a run of badly calibrated smartgauges at the moment. The new one I've just installed is reading 0.5v high. That's compared to my digital multimeter and the tracer solar controller. Need to borrow a calibrated meter to check, but find it highly unlikely they would both be that far out and the smartgauge accurate! Maybe that's why Cactus Navigation sell the smartgauge cheaper than anyone else - they get all the rejects to sell! If anyone knows how to calibrate the smartgauge let me know - might be easier than getting an accurate one to start with. Tom
  14. In sure I recall reading somewhere (possibly on here?) that there was outstanding finance secured on these boats. That might complicate the ownership situation and who has authority to sell. Glad I didn't pursue these boats further after initial contact, something just didn't seem to add up when I was enquiring about buying one. Tom
  15. I believe Crick is normally only 10 or 15% off but freaky Friday is 20%. Would be interested to know when it is this year as well, had feeling it was usually end of March to coincide with clocks changing but not sure. Usually printed on back cover of waterway mags if anyone has one?