Saturday, 30 March 2013

I asked a local chap...

I asked a local chap...

" Is it far too the closest pub"
" Ah, feck no" he replied through a toothless grin, then he walked off. 

Charming I thought to myself he could have at least told me what direction it was! I'll have to wait until I get a mobile signal and have a look online. 

It is still very chilly here at the moment, -4°c at night and about +4°c in the day with a wind chill of about zero degrees c. The canal was iced over again this morning and before the first hire boat had gone through the canal was topped with a dusting of fresh snow. 

Another chilly start to the day

At a very reasonable time coal boat 'Jules fuels' came chugging by. I just had time to get on the rear deck to flag them down. Due to the extra long cold spell coal was strictly rationed. They have already managed to squeeze an extra four tons of coal from their suppliers a couple of days ago and that was nearly all gone. We took our couple of sacks and topped up with diesel. We seem to be cooking nearly everything on top of our stove at the moment and with our battery bank at a pathetically low capacity (so fully charging from solar by midday at the latest) we haven't needed to run the engine at all to cook/charge batteries. 

Deb's turn to cook today and before our breakfast teapot had got cold we had a herby Spanish chicken and olive casserole slow cooking on top of the stove.  She has even made some steamed sponge for pudding at some stage of the day. We seem to be into a routine of having our meal in the early afternoon and missing out what we used to call lunch, no doubt pud will be about teatime. 

I did a quick paper power audit yesterday just to see how many amps we need per day as a worse case scenario. The idea is to have a battery bank capacity of between three and for times your daily usage. Also once you know the average usage you can calculate how long the daily charging needs to be. From what I've learned so far it looks like you need to put 130% of what you take out back in to take into account charging inefficiencies. My paper calculations look like we use just under 100A per day (or will once we have the 12v fridge in and working. So that will need 130A of charging. If we use just our generator and 40A charger we will need to run it for just over three hours a day. That's why we have pretty dead battery bank at the moment there has been no real charging regime to speak of its all been very ad hoc. I started to transfer my info to a spreadsheet to check my figures but it would also appear that we only need a battery bank of between 320A and 400A so at least buying them will be cheaper.

Deb dragged me away from my spread sheet and onboard power audit calculations for a walk. The cold wind meant we had a bit of a march to warm up and we were soon in the very pretty village of Flecknoe, outside our closest pub the Olive Bush.  You see local chap hadn't said 'ah feck no' but more of an 'at Flecknoe'. 

Feck no, is Flecknoe!

If you happen to see my kids on your travels, send them home

The bar room of the Olive Bush (taken from their website, I didn't break back in to take a photo!)

Anyway it is a great little pub and the hundreds of boaters who are racing through the Warwickshire countryside going to and from Braunston are missing a treat. Great little bar area, just like it used to be, sat inside someone's front room. Great beer. Friendly proprietor and lovely chat with the locals all making us feel very welcome. 

Lunch was nearly ready by the time we got back at three o'clock and very nice it was too, even if it should have been a BBQ outside at this time of year. Pud as promised was eaten sat in front of the fire at about seven o'clock just after sun set. Of course we get an extra hour of light tomorrow as the clocks do their seasonal jiggling about so an extra hour of solar charge :-) 


  1. Hi there, how many amps are you getting from your solar panels and how many do you have if you don't mind e asking x thank you

  2. Hi Lois,
    We have an array of for one hundred watt panels. In the depths of winter we were getting up to twenty amps on an OK day. In summer about one hundred and twenty was average and we will get about fifty today. I've just finished our power audit and it looks like we use about 130A on the colder months and 100A in summer

    Cheers - James