Saturday, 14 September 2013

A Battery Upgrade

Wednesday 11th to Saturday 14th September, 2013 at Aston Marina.
On Wednesday morning, M left for home for a few days from Stone Railway station, a lovely old building squeezed between two main line tracks.
Our progress was carefully watched by the local station guardian, who went from window to window checking up on us.
As MM was on a 24 hour mooring, R moved her a bit further down the canal on to a new mooring for the night. The following day he took MM just a couple of miles down the canal to Aston Marina, where she was booked in for three nights.
The original plan had been for R to follow M home, but that all changed.
Recently we have been having problems with the domestic batteries on MM. They should provide 550amp-hours (ah) of power but lately the voltage has been dropping very rapidly - so that instead of giving over 12 volts, early in the morning they have been down to 10 volts. Research indicated that they were coming to the end of their life. Not actually unreasonable, given that we have used them a lot and they have done close to 300 "cycles", which is their nominal lifespan.
The marina chandlery was very helpful but couldn't get a fresh set of batteries before the weekend; however, the internet provided a "next day delivery" opportunity and so R ordered five new batteries for Friday delivery. They are the same make as before, but slightly more powerful, providing a total 600 ah capacity.
On the Friday, when the batteries arrived, R installed them and was so pleased that he went and treated himself to dinner in the marina's Bistro.
Wow! The Marina is a family concern and they describe themselves as "foodies". They're not kidding!  The food in the Bistro was spectacular. The menu even showed the distance that each main item had travelled - in the case of the lamb, it was 4 miles!  R said it was the best lamb he had ever tasted, outside of the Lake District.
They also have a huge farm shop, full of local produce.  Again, a "foodies" paradise.
On Saturday, when M returned, she was very pleased to see that MM was in bay A1. "Most appropriate", she thought.
The two boats next to us were built by the "Top Notch Boat Company" a new builder that we had seen at the Crick show in the spring. In fact we had already seen these two boats there.  The hull of the boat closest to the camera was, in fact, built by Jim Sparks of Alexander, who also built MM's shell.
M was a bit down after her trip home, so R took her for dinner to the Bistro and she agreed that the lamb was some of the best she had tasted. Staffordshire lamb, cooked to perfection with a small raft of redcurrants, fondant potatoes and baby carrots all elegantly presented and served by smiling, attentive waitresses. We allowed ourselves the rare luxury of an "assiette de desserts" washed down with a glass of sweet dessert wine. What a treat!
The moon, just past its first quarter, was shining brightly in a starry sky as we walked the short distance back to MM.
Getting to Aston Marina: 2 miles, 2 locks and 6.5 hours (mainly power).
Trip: 386 miles, 306 locks and 326.8 hours.

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