About Me

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The name describes my demeanour and voice! I love narrowboating and that is why this blog is mainly about the boat and our interaction with it. I have been keeping a log for Sonflower ever since we bought her and moved onto her as our main residence. Some incidents in our boating life have been hilarious, some scary and some down right dangerous. I cannot tell what will come in the future but you can now share them! The crew are an 'ordinary' couple. The Best Mate and I.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Even more frustration part 2

I tried to fit the new pressure switch. I carefuly followed the instructions which said "do not remove the presure switch screws" but found that the pressure switch housing on the pump masked one of the screws that I had to remove so I had to remove the pressure switch screws to remove the switch to remove the body screws. Are you following me?

The instructions also said that if I was careful I wouldn't need to disturb the internals. I was very careful and removed the top body. Then came the surprise!

The internal sealing housing containing a rubber seal was sort of triangular in the new pump and circular in the old design (seen on the right). Those crafty Mexicans had made it so that you couldn't fit a yank pressure switch to a Mexican pump!

I now have issues with two supliers. One on winter holiday who supplied the pump that doesn't work and one a 40 minute drive away who supplied the part that doesn't fit.

I have put it all back together as it was except that I had cut the power cable from the switch to the motor!

Now I am seriously considering Tony's remote pressure switch idea.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Even more frustration

The water pump saga is not over!

The pump is not shutting off again and I am losing water through the relief valve at 3 bar pressure. To make sure that I had adjusted the pressure switch to minimum I removed the adjusting screw! Two turns back should have done the trick but not in this case.

The supplier of the pump is now on a winter break until March. So I rang up Tony, the fount of all knowledge on all things technical in a narrowboat. He loves to talk about these little problems and had a solution: ditch the pump pressure switch and get an independant switch from a reputable chandler. It should cost about £20. He recommended a Square D switch.

So I went to Midland Chandlers at Braunston. It is about a 40 minute drive from home mooring. I told the man what I wanted and he said that they had these switches for about £50 and I would need a fitting kit and tee piece in addition. He could not locate one on the shelves, however, (they are enlarging and re-arranging their store) but he did have what he felt was the real solution to my problem.

He told me that Midland Chandlers have about 150 Shurflo pumps ready to be returned to the manufacturer because of defective pressure switches! Since switching manufacture to Mexico the quality of the pumps has dropped remarkably and there is a whole batch of pressure switches that just do not work. My pump supplier had said that his wholesaler was Midland Chandlers! Could it be that he had part of this batch? I was told that they could not help me with my pump and were sympathetic but legally I had to go through my supplier. On the shelf were genuine Shurflo pressure switches from the previous incarnation of pumps, made in USA, and fully compatible with the pump I had installed. Cost £28.

This seemed the logical solution to get me through the winter. I can return the pump to my supplier, still under warranty, in the Spring.

Watch out for further instalments.

Up we go!

Here is a view out of Tooley's dock as it is filling to let SONFLOWER out.

The repairs to the rear rail and gates are complete and the gates shut more easily than they have ever done before.

I backed her up to Sovereign Wharf and turned her to return to home mooring.

Now all I have to do is pay the bill.

Friday, 4 November 2011


This is a beautifully blacked and quite well preserved Springer from the early eighties judging by its registration number.

Nothing unusual about that then! Except that I am reliably informed it has been refitted with a state of the art Vetus power set up including a BOW THRUSTER!

Knowing how lightly Springers behave and how responsive they generally are to the tiller, I can only imagine that this one is going to be used in some sort of formation dance performance or something very aquabatic.

more Frustration

The pump saga is not over!

After an apparent success in re-fitting the Shurflo 3.0 water pump and returning a defective one (that would not work at all) to the supplier, the pump has now started to behave in the same way as ot doi when ot emptied my water tank into the canal. To remind you: it will not turn off because the 3 bar relief valve on the calorifier is lifting. I have tried re-setting the adjustable pressure switch. I am now assuming that the re-set pressure of the relief valve may be considerable less than 3 bar!

One reason why this is particularly frustrating is because getting to the pump is not exactly simple.

First one opens the under sink cupboard door fully and removes the vegetable rack:

Then move the storage box in the other cupboard to the left

Swivel it and take that out

revealing the trap door floor hatch

Which is removed to reveal the pump

and Finally

Sonflower is back in Tooley's dock.

She has been hydraulicaly straightened, ground apart and re-welded to re-align the starboard gate.

While out of the water she is having her stern gland re-packed. It has been doing more leaking than it should and taking more grease than it should this summer so it is getting a ten year service!

Hopefully she will re-float on Monday.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

In the CaRT

So that is what all the signs and paperwork will look like from next April.

Not a bad effort for a logo. Will the acronym be CaRT, CART, or C&RT?