We had been having a little bit of a problem for a month now with the leisure batteries charging quickly enough - so much that we have found it difficult to run appliances like the washing machine or vacuum cleaner without a longer charging time from the engine.
We thought we had isolated it down to the alternator being on it's way out and this morning we had an electrician coming to take a look - we had spoken with him yesterday afternoon to make the final arrangements regarding time and location.
His name is Warren Dashwood and he turned up a little later than planned but only after a phone call to say that he was running late; the symptoms were described and the engine board was removed and down into the engine bay he went.
He has a wide-beam moored in Rickmansworth by the name of Merlin - we remember seeing the boat.
Our thoughts were that we were up for a new alternator - probable cost about ₤200 plus labour and another day to come back to fit it; but that was the "experienced" guess of us two amateurs.
Probing around with the ammeter, it was a good 10 minutes before he surmised the exact extent of the problem.
Apparently, and we were not aware of it, the two alternators were joined together in the circuit, so that both contributed to the charging of all batteries - leisure and starting. The individual banks were separate to each other.
Both alternators were working correctly, but the larger one had a leadwire which had broken inside the plastic sheathing and so was not contributing to charging the batteries. This was why it was taking so much longer; this was why the battery light was staying on; this was why we had trouble initially but the batteries were still being charged eventually.
He fixed the problem lead; the engine was restarted; the light gave an initial flicker and then went out and stayed out; the charging was working fully - best result we could hope for - even better was the ₤35 charge - and off he went.
So we can highly recommend him - Warren Dashwood 079 7350 7120.
After this success we then had some time on our hands and a shopping list that needed a little attention, so we headed up to Edgeware Road to Waitrose where we could claim a free coffee - more saving as we would have gone for a coffee anyway.
Once back at the boat it was time to head off for our only planned event - the Bakerloo line down to Waterloo station; a brief consultation with the phone satnav to get our bearings and we headed off to Upper Ground Road - we thought that we might have been a bit early but as it turned out hundreds of others were there before us, so we joined the queue - luckily we were there when we were as many others joined after and missed out.
|This was part of the queue behind us - many joined this line later - most |
missed out on getting in
At 4pm the line started moving and about 600 of us filed in to take our seats overlooking the set for ITV's QI.
|"Help - I'm cemented in"- Stephen Fry|
|"Hands Off" - Alan Davies|
The Floor Manager was telling everyone that photography was not allowed and that all phones needed to be switched off completely - naturally we complied as did everyone else - oops we may have taken a few photos before she said that; and we may have taken a few more afterwards as well.
It was fascinating watching the show go ahead - we were in there for about 2 hours and it was simply like watching 5 performing a play except that it was totally unrehearsed and at various times quite comical - which is exactly the aim of the exercise.
We had a good selection on the panel - as usual Stephen Fry and Alan Davies were there and they were joined by Bill Bailey, Sue Perkins and Romesh Ranganathan.
There was a suitable amount of interaction with the audience. At the conclusion we all filed out to find a still sunny day there and slightly warmer perhaps.
To enjoy the end of the day, we could see the London Eye, so we strolled down towards there - the length of the waiting queue did nothing to entice us to have a turn; we simply milled around, taking some photos and enjoying the evening sun and eventually sought out a tube station (via Costa for coffee) and came back to the boat - clearly exhausted again.
It was the last few hours before the internet allowances would be wiped out and restarted so we checked if there were any programs that we wanted to download - which we did - and after that it was time for bed to recharge our own batteries and begin the process again.