All is not as it seems

We’re now into the thick of the new year and work things are starting to settle down. The period between Christmas and new year sees a real down turn in bus service with a Saturday service operated during this period. The downside is some buses don’t move during this time and we end up with a mad rush the day after new years day with non starts etc. Things are quietening down now however.

Radio

After a few weeks off the air with work and antenna problems I am back again. I put a new antenna up last year and intended to try it out for portable, when I’m out and about. I was so impressed with it’s performance that I left it up, which is fine. However I hadn’t sealed the connector and box for the weather. A few weeks ago I noticed that the antenna wouldn’t tune and that’s when I realised my mistake. The Unun box had water in it and rain water had also got into the co-ax which kissed good bye to any insulation required. I have now replace the feeder and dried out the box and we are up and running again. I had two 599 contacts into Spain and Slovenia yesterday evening, so I know its all working again. I like the antenna because I can tune from 80m to 10m, so it is a useful antenna.

Boat

I should have been up at the boat this weekend gone but didn’t manage it, I had a few jobs around the house to do. We went up over Christmas but the boat looks a bit neglected at the moment, due to the mild weather there is quite a bit of algae covering all the boats up there so I do need to get down and give the old girl a wash. Plus I could do with a tinker, with a boat, unless its a year old there is always something that needs tightening adjusting or replacing. The worst thing you can do with a boat is neglect it as it will bite you back at some stage.

Radio Club

I went to the radio club on Friday, I ended up staying until half eleven, I haven’t done this for ages. We had a good laugh, I actually enjoyed myself up there for the first time in over a year.

Alf

Alf January

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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55 Times round the Sun

Tomorrow sees my 55th birthday putting in an appearance. Last year I took a long look at my life and made a few decisions to change some things.

The changes I put in place are working out quite well, I am learning to let go of things that cause me grief or affect my mood or well being. I have had some family issues which were in the main caused by me, however the reaction from my mother and younger brother were not what I expected. Forgiveness from them is now out of the question and this hit me quite hard at the time. Over the past year I have come to terms with this and I am now comfortable with their decisions and am happy that I will never have anything to do with them again.

I also made the decision to get out more and I have taken up photography again and this is helping me do this. I can see this continuing at a good pace.

We have also made more use of the boat this year than we have for a number of years. We’ve even managed a week on the water and we have another 5 days coming up this week. We were considering selling Martha this year due to the lack of use, so this was our make or break year, I am pleased to say that Martha will still be a fixture and fitting for a few more years. Spending time on the broads also figures into my photography.

I renewed my Leyton Orient season ticket also this year, and so far I haven’t missed a game.

So I aim to continue upping my activity in a bid to reach retirement in a condition that I might be able to enjoy it.

In other news I was preparing Odin, my Land Rover, for MOT today. Unfortunately I have found some bad corrosion on the sills which is a bit of a showstopper as far as the MOT goes. So expect some photo’s in due course of my progress in welding in some new sills.

I am sitting in my living room having a glass of wine pondering my birthday, and the past year and I think I am altogether in a better place. So I raise a toast to the people who never made it through the last 12 months, and there have been a few.

Here’s to the next 12 months! Prost!

 

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I am an Island

Flippin hell, where has the time gone? Summer is now over and we are a third of the way into the autumn.

I have had a great summer and even a good September.

My camera skills, (not that I was anything more than competent) are coming back to me. I am now using a Canon 7D, I am really enjoying taking pictures again and I have even joined a website called meetup.com, it has tons of camera groups who meet up in places and set about taking picture. I haven’t been to any meet up yet as I don’t want to embarrass myself, but I know I will go soon.

 

During the 2nd week of September we took the boat out for a week, we haven’t done this for some time. We had a great time and we even managed to get on at Ranworth, this is Lesley’s favourite mooring spot. It was great to be out and about again and the boat performed well and without event. Alfie loved it and was as good as gold while we were out, he has settled into boat life very quickly.

We are off again for a few days in October.

Radio

Radio has been a bit quiet of late with many other distractions of late. I have been back to the radio club, but I doubt I will be going back on a regular basis. August and September were probably about the quietest months I have known since taking up the hobby. This can be blamed on the fact that we are quite low down in the sun spot cycle and the fact that there was quite a lot of solar flare activity which does play havoc with the ionosphere.

Things are starting to pick up again however, and I even managed to work a Canadian this week VO1MP, stangely enough he was my first Canadian contact when I first had a QSO with him back in 2007.

Work is getting a little problematic at the moment and I think it may be time to consider my options again.

Orient

I renewed my season ticket this year despite the league table drop and now have M115 for the year, my seat neighbours are a good bunch and I have a good spot. The season started well but we are starting to slip again, so watch this space.

 

Gott Mitt Uns!

 

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You aint a beauty but hey you’re alright!

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post and this is in the main because I have been so busy up at the boat. This weekend has been the first one in seven weeks that I have actually been at home all weekend.

Work has been a real grind lately with a lot of negative activity in the press and media which has ramped up the pressure on my department considerably. Because of this radio has had to take a bit of a back seat of late.

I have been getting back into photography lately and as my technique improves I started seeing the shortfall with my current camera, Canon 1000D. So I took the plunge last week and bought a 7D body and upgraded.  I liked the 1000D but in comparison to the 7D it is way behind. The 7D is an 18mp camera as opposed to the 1000D which is 10mp. The 7D is nearly twice the weight of the 1000D but it does feel like a proper camera, the bonus is that the lenses fit both the 7D and the 1000D, so it was a relatively cheap upgrade.

I have been out this weekend trying it out and and I am liking the results see below:

Micro Butterfly Buff TailBumblebee Buff TailBumblebee2 Deer Statue Hornet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the pictures above were taken at my local nature reserve, I live about half a mile away and in the twenty odd years I have lived here this is the first time I have visited. I was really fortunate as today they had an exhibition on beekeeping and honey making. They actually had a working hive on display with glass panels, it was fascinating. I got talking to a chap outside who had been keeping bees for over thirty years. I then had a walk around the reserve and it made a nice pleasant stroll. I will definitely be returning.

Alfie found a frisbee yesterday and has made me take it out every time we went for a walk this weekend, the poor sod is knackered now.

I belong to a facebook group called photos of Harlow, there are people on there who are a mine of information about Harlow. I found out this weekend that the pond in Risdens wood is actually a crater left over from a V2 rocket strike in WWII, in fact it was the 599th rocket to hit the UK. I think my dog would probably thank the Germans for this if he could.

Football season starts next week for me with Orient at home to Barnet, we have lost some good players over the summer but I am hoping with the new manager they get wound up enough to want to get back up into the 3rd division, watch this space.

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What’s my age again

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted and the main reason for this is that I have been flat out at the boat every spare moment I had, in fact I have just got in from another great though tiring weekend.

We took the boat out a couple of weekends ago and visited the White Horse in Neatishead, this used to be my favourite broads pub and was taken over a year or two ago, this was my first visit since it was taken over. We liked the pub because it was dog friendly, felt like a local pub and had great, friendly staff. I have to say I was relieved as apart from the facelift nothing had changed, great staff, great service and still dog friendly, I’m looking forward to visiting once the summer season is over. We got there lunchtime with the intention of stopping for one and then going back to the boat. We parked ourselves in the new yard area with the dog and was soon joined by a family who were on their first boating trip, they came from Whitstable and we sat there for a couple of hours sharing stories and enjoying each others company. It reminded us of the reason we like boating in the first place.

I have spent the last couple of weekends on the moorings, I have painted the decks and gunwhales and varnished the rear doors, it’s great seeing Martha looking good again. It has also been nice catching up with everyone again.

I’ll be up again next weekend to continuing with the varnishing, we plan to go out on her for a week in September, providing I can get the time off.

In other news I sat and passed my IOSH exam last week, this is a qualification in Health and Safety something I’ve been looking to do for some time.

Back to work tomorrow and time to make plans for next weekend.

Stay safe.

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Quietly now, as we turn the page

 

Another weekend at the boat, nice and peaceful

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I decided after last weeks fiasco at the boat that the engine needed a service. So during the week I gathered all the parts together needed to carry out an engine service. After a hectic week at work, on Friday afternoon I set off up the boat, a little later than I normally would, but was pleased that the by-pass at Thetford had relieved the normal traffic jams of the past. I arrived at Tescos Stalham by about 19:00, after a buying some provisions I boarded the boat and it was nice to be back. For some time I have been struggling with the boat as it seems every time I go up there I always have some work to do. However that said this weekend I had some work to do, but it wasn’t work that had to be done and that is the difference.

The weather was cracking, in the high 20’s and I opened up the canopy and settled in for the evening, in the knowledge that I had a busy day tomorrow.

Being a very light sleeper and suffering from Insomnia for more than 20 years I was really surprised to have slept in till 10am the next morning, I never sleep this long normally. I set about servicing the engine and changed all the filters and the engine oil. I also cleaned out the engine bilge, this had filled up recently when the water pump dropped all the coolant out. I have always prided myself on a clean engine bay but of late I have not been too attentive in this area. this took me most of the day and I’m pleased to say everything went to plan. On Saturday evening I sat on the front of the boat looking out into the marina listening to the birds and watching the Swallows diving and darting about picking up insects for their young.

I came back home on Sunday morning safe in the knowledge that the boat is shipshape and ready to go out when I come up next week.

I haven’t done much radio recently, unfortunately there has been a very large solar flare which has knocked most of HF radio comms for about two weeks now, however I did work my mate Bob, about half a mile away on the key today.

My new pedals arrived for my bike while I was away, these are Look KEO pedals, I have always used Look after trying Shimano and SPD. My old pedals are about 15 years old and the cleats are quite worn so its about time I got a new set. I am nearing the wait I feel comfortable with on my road bike and expect to be back on the road with it in about 7 days time, watch this space.

 

That’ll do for now

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Loneliness, is a crowded room

Friday saw my annual visit to the nurse, except that I have missed three appointments. So once we got the bollocking over she went on to read my results, advantage Honey. She was very surprised to see my recent blood test results. My HBa1C and fasting tests were down considerably on the previous results, she said I don’t know how you are doing it, just keep doing it. I have to say the biggest factor in my success is the Paleo diet. 20.5lbs lost so far.

After my visit with the nurse I was quite pumped up so I got home, cracked on with work and got finished by about half past two. Me and Alf then jumped in the car and set off for Norfolk.

You may remember that on my last visit my water pump failed on the boat. I ordered a replacement on ebay, this turned up and was the wrong one, so I ordered one from ASAP a very good boat parts suppliers in Beccles, like an idiot I went by the picture on the site and not the blurb and when trying to fit the pump on Friday night I noticed that the impeller was larger than the original pump and would not fit the engine.

Norfolk is like going back in time, and don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it is frustrating at times. ASAP the biggest parts suppliers on the broads doesn’t open on Saturday. I then spent the whole morning driving around Norfolk visiting boatyards trying to locate a replacement pump. I eventually found one at Thorpe at Kingfisher Cruisers. Really nice people!

Problem No 37!

I got the pump back and fitted it to the boat only to find that the impeller seemed to be snagging when turned by hand, not something you want when the engine is driving the pump at 1000rpm. So on closer inspectionit turned out the impeller was 80 thousandths of an inch to wide. I then spent the next 2 hours taking with a fine grinding wheel taking metal from the outer edge of the impeller. Eventually I managed to fit the pump and it turned freely. So I topped the coolant up adding anti freeze to the mix and started the engine up. The engine got up to temperature pretty quickly which is never a good sign. You guessed it, I had an air lock, this was borne out by the fact that I had no hot water from any of the taps. After a great deal of faffing around which involved getting burned I eventually got all the air out and managed to get some hot water. I had intended taking Alfie for a walk on the beach but unfortunately by low tide the rain was bucketing down, I had had a bad day and decided to go home, which we did.

Radio

The HF bands have been rubbish lately so I haven’t done any radio worth talking about.

Back to the boat again next Friday.

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