Last night’s temperature dropped to -7C, and we woke to a fair covering of very fine, dry snow. The stove wasn’t shut down as tight as we normally do through the night, and a few extra shovelfuls of coals was added to the stove at 2:30 and 6:30 this morning. We didn’t get up specifically to stoke up the fire, we just took advantage of the ‘call of nature’ getting one of us out of bed. We were as warm as toast throughout the night.
The sun started to come up just after 6:30 am. I popped out onto the towpath to sweep the snow from the three solar panels.
Our leisure batteries kept us ‘occupied’ for a fair time yesterday. Gosh batteries are complicated, I settled on ‘my’ simple analogy of ‘saucepans’ (How John laughed…. 🙂 ):
‘the capacity of water (‘water’ aka electricity) in a large saucepan (‘large saucepan’ aka a good battery) takes longer to heat (‘heat’ aka solar/alternator power), but keeps hot longer (meaning charged). Whereas the small amount of ‘water’ in a small saucepan (‘small saucepan’ aka a bad battery) is very quick to ‘heat’, but cools much quicker (‘cools’ aka discharged).’
Basically, this means our ‘broken’ batteries are quick to charge, and quick to discharge (we’ve got a tiny ‘saucepan’ 🙂 ) (My physics teacher would have been amazed at Jen’s clarity of thought…and the size of her saucepans! John)
Our mission is to replace four (heavy) batteries, but the logistics of doing this when we’re frozen in, with ‘yellow weather alerts’ for the next four days, and not being near a road, is a bit of challenge.
John had found over internet the batteries he’d like, so we searched for boatyards that are along our planned journey, right up to Harefield – Harefield Marina looks to have the best chandlers/facilities, but they are miles away, and we’re not into rushing. There were a few boatyards we phoned, but… (least said).
Like most ‘things’ in life, our solution is right under our nose; well about a mile away at Grove Lock Marina. Grove Lock Marina is part of a group of other marinas, such as ‘Kings Orchard’, ‘Fazeley Mills’, and ‘New Mills’ marinas. They don’t have any ‘maintenance facilities’, but we wondered if we could book into the marina for a few nights while the batteries were delivered, and if we had to, we would change the batteries between us, and just in case there’s a problem, we’d be on shoreline.
John made a phone call to the marina this morning, and spoke to a really helpful guy called Paul. Unfortunately Paul said the marina was full. John explained our problem, that we were frozen-in just a little away from them, and that we needed new batteries. Paul suggested when the canal is thawed, we could moor up at the pub (on C&RT property), where we can order the batteries, and have them delivered to the pub’s car park. That sounded brilliant. John asked Paul if he knew of a good mobile engineer; Paul suggested a guy called Ed Bowden who they use a lot, and he’d recommend!
After about 5 minutes Paul phoned us back, he’d just thought of a boat that’s normally moored at the marina. It’s presently out of water being blacked, and if its mooring was available, would we be interested? “Yes, of course we would”. Paul made a phone call to the owner of the boat. He returned to say the boat will not be returning to its mooring until Easter Weekend.
So our solution now is to sit tight until the ‘thaw’ (maybe Sunday/Monday?), cruise the canal for a mile, and up Grove Lock. As soon as we moor we’ll order the batteries for delivery the next day, where hopefully the mobile engineer will fit them for us.
(John explains our situation further below.)
“Despite our best efforts at being energy frugal the leisure batteries are not holding charge. Fortunately, the sun is shining sufficiently to provide Solar energy to meet our daytime needs. After dark we are resorting to topping up from the two alternators.
The 2 year battery warranty is a ‘Return to Base Warranty’ or put another way, return the batteries to our works (Market Harborough) and we will assess their condition prior to taking any warranty action…. As we are frozen into the canal and without alternative transport, plus being without batteries while they are away being ‘assessed’, there is only one option open to us. Ignore the remaining 7 months ‘Warranty’ and look for new replacements.
Through the power of the internet we located some replacement deep cycle (600+) units with a 5 year warranty that fit the bill, the price includes free next day UK delivery. In hindsight we should of perhaps considered that a ‘2 year’ warranty was a reflection of the battery quality? You usually get what you pay for in life!
We have obtained the services of a mobile electrical engineer to assist with the replacement battery installation and check that all is well ‘lecky’ wise, and found a place to moor nearby with a mains hookup. So now we just need for the thaw to set in before we can move and get our ‘Current Restored‘ again!”
It’s still snowing……