Friday, 9 September 2011

Happy Birthday

One year today I started work on 'Boat'.

Its easy to be blase' about it all now as it all seems so natural and ive been there, done it, got the blog to prove it etc.

I think whats more obvious is how much ive changed, or I feel that Ive changed.

Im not sure how many of you have been faced with a life changing choice and wondered if youve done the right thing but I certainly have. I keep saying it, its my saying, I coined it but its true - 'Its better to regret having done something than to regret not having done it' For many, living within lifes straight jacket is the norm. In this instance, turning my back on bricks and mortar might be madness to most but its changed my life from boredom to where I need to be.

I like living life differently, especially if I have the options and room to manover to make it work the way I want. Its called freedom of choice, and in my book that equals quality of life.

'Boat' makes that possible.

Over the last few months ive had quite a few visitors aboard who have first seen the outside and made assumptions. Shes (boat, not me) unnatractive in her faded and rusting red primer, and resembles a fish from water, but once inside, eyebrows are raised and silence is golden, it says more than words.
Then follow the natural questions from those who have only ever lived by the rules of bricks and mortar.

How will you cook, wash clothes, keep clean, keep warm, feel safe and secure, etc.

The answer is, just like you do, but differently. This is like 'Glamping'- Glamerous camping. Ive never felt this close to nature when living in a house. Ive never felt so aware of my resources than I do now,- aware of how much water, electricity and fuel I use, -something which bricks and mortar isolate you from.
The beauty is, I dont wake up to damp crumpled clothes smelling of woodsmoke, hoping the rain will hold off, wondering how im going to cook a meal or get the washing dried.

Maybe this country would be a better place if more people lived closer to nature and in tune with the elements. Maybe there would be less mental health issues if people were more self sufficient and held more autonomy over their lives.

Food for thought me thinks.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Lets get started

This is how we do it.

Take one stubborn genny, raid the scrap yard for a 12v starter motor, purchase a 6'' Vee pulley, add in a Vee belt, heavy duty switch, some random bits of steel and turn a clever little bit of engineering.

The genny has been lifted off its wheeled trolly to facilitate easier access. Here is the crank handle which engages with the starter dog. Remove the housing and dog. Replace with same diameter shaft containing keyway and end tapped for retaining bolt.
Cut down the housing just enough to keep the oil seal inside. Fit to engine block.
Add the pulley and tighten up retaining screw and bolt.
Make up a base plate to provide a pivot point for the starter motor mounting plate and bolt to the genny base plate.
Cut out a hole in another piece of steel for the stater motor to pass through and bolt in place. Cut off the end of the solenoid plunger and add a spot of weld to the motor shaft to stop the bendix flicking in and out.
Glue on a handle, add a switch and wire it up to the solenoid.
Fit the toothed Vee belt, clear the decks, connect the battery, depress the decompression lever, pull handle to tension belt, hit the button and it fires up in 2 seconds.

Yabba dabba DO IT.

Just another day in the life of a genius. ok, it was about a month on and off but its a big achievment.

ps. No Elf and safety lectures please, Britain invented the world before we had the nanny state and we have acheived little since.

Any body still reading this?

Ok, im back from the summer recess, the one in which I turned 50 and spent a few weeks reflecting and sulking on the enormity of such a milestone. Maybe I just over did life in the preceding year and needed time to spend day dreaming, reading and generally doing nothing.
Ive felt like ive been 19 for as many years as I can remember but now ive graduated to being 20. After all, 50 is the new 40 or whatever number you wish to call yourself, so its no big deal realy untill I see the wrinkles I didnt have 10 years ago. Isnt it funny how we spend the first 21 years wishing we were older and then spend the remaining years wishing we were younger.

Anyway, enough about age. I feel awfully guilty that I havent done much boat stuff this summer but should I be rushing ahead so quickly? I hate doing things twice and thats the danger when you rush ahead. One example is the aft water tank. Ive had to move it to make room for the generator I bought back in February. I originally had a petrol genny which was going to live in a room sealed box cut into the side of the wheelhouse but petrol isnt the way to generate electric and fitting it in was going to be a compromise on space and quality of finish so I bought this Lister Petter 5KVA air cooled Diesel on fleabay. Having owned one in the past, I know them to be perfect long running economical reliable machines. I had looked at the more modern Chinese made ones in sound proofed boxes but the whole package is too big to fit in the engine room and it kind of defeats the purpose of the box if I had to start modifying it, besides, the Cheap and nasty Chinese replica engines dont last long.

The only down side to the Lister is that its a hand start. The first one I had was an easy starter but this one is a real pig. There is a decompresion lever on the cylinder head which needs to be held down whilst swinging the starter handle with the other hand, Its so hard to keep enough momentum going once the lever is released and once im out of breath its game over. There is an electric start conversion available but when I enquired of the price I was shocked. More than twice what I paid for the genny.

So........not one to be beaten, I move the goal posts and solve the problem. Miss Fixit wins again.