Flat batteries at Lapworth

Friday 5th March 2010

Ah well it had to happen sooner or later.  After 10 days at Lapworth Zulu has consumed every last bit of battery power and I really can’t work out why, as the isolator was off leaving only the bilge pump to drain them.  The starter battery is also isolated from the cabin batteries when the engine is off.  There was such a resounding silence when I turned the key that I actually thought someone may have taken the batteries, but they are all there intact.

Then a little towpath magic happened.  Several people stopped to offer their advice, most useful being “see him over there… go and ask him to borrow his genny”.  And so I did.  And 10 minutes later a lovely 2Kw generator was topping up the starter battery.  Thanks very much mate – that was very generous to let me walk off with your generator in your wheelbarrow.

I phoned River and Canal Rescue a bit late in the day, but their engineer did offer to come out even though it was going to be after 8pm.  I was pleased to be able to call them back before the guy set off, in the knowledge that I was probably going to be able to start the engine myself before he got here.

One hour later I risked turning the key and Zulu fired up instantly.  So instead of leaving at 5pm and being at Hatton top lock by dark, I left at 7pm and am only at Tom O’The Wood moorings tonight, filling the water tank at the convenient tap and blogging by candlelight while the engine is still squeezing or hopefully pouring some charge back into the batteries.  The cabin battery bank was down to 4.5 volts – the technical people amongst you will realise this is not a good thing as not only does it make the lights very very dim indeed, but it also enters that grey area where they may not ever be charged properly again.  I do hope this isn’t the start of battery troubles.

The day started well through, after a very heavy frost and minus 5.5C at 7am this morning.  I took the train to Lapworth and discovered that the single fare would be £42.00 whereas splitting the ticket into two halves, from Newbury to Banbury would be £14.80 and from Banbury to Lapworth would be £9.80.  A saving of £17.40.  But then my Network Railcard saved another £1.80 despite the minimum fare on a weekday of £13.00. And the ticket lady said … save another 20p by getting a return to Lapworth from £9.60.

Therefore I paid £22.60 for exactly the same seats on exactly the same trains instead of £42.00.  There is something seriously wrong with the system when a return ticket is less than a single, and two tickets are almost half the price of one.  What can we do to get a fair fare structure!

So tonight its an early night.

Total progress today. 1 mile.
They all count, as long as they are in the right direction.

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