Tuesday, 20 May 2014

A Slice Of Boat Life - Doing The Laundry.

(Boat Chalice - posted by Cath)

Doing the laundry (written with the non-boater in mind)

"Fisher Price" Washing machine tucks behind shower.
Today the weather is likely to change, but we are starting to get a bit low on undergarments, so the laundry needs to be done. We generally travel with 7 - 10 days of underclothes, and try to get the washing done on long lock-less pounds. The reason for this is that doing the laundry on our boat is fairly labour intensive, so we can't easily be doing it while working through a flight of locks. When the washing gets done is a delicate balance between the weather, the number of locks, and how desperate we are for clothing. We do use launderettes, especially if we are out for a long time, and have used up all the spare bedding that we carry, but I much prefer to do a regular small wash for clothing. This meant that Alan had to steer for a lot of today, while I sorted out the washing.

It is an effective. but small, twin tub.
We have a very small twin tub - know affectionately as the 'Fisher Price Washing Machine' - which is kept under a shelf next to our shower in our small bathroom. It is actually very efficient at cleaning, and the washing tub can take up to the size of a pair of jeans. The washing machine is 240 V, which means that we need an inverter to convert from our 12 V batteries. The batteries are charged by the engine while we are moving, the same as in a car. We have a starter battery, and some 'domestic' batteries, for our lights, computer equipment, phone charging, etc. If we stay very long without running the engine our batteries run down. It is not unusual for boaters have a generator, or solar panels to allow them to charge the batteries, but we only have the engine.

Some boaters have proper automatic washing machines, and tumble driers, but we like to keep it simple - we also don't have much space for large pieces of equipment.

Normally it is hidden away like this.
The water is heated by the engine - a bit like a car engine being cooled by a radiator - this hot water is stored in a 'calorifier', a large hot water tank under our bed. We also have a gas water heater, but as the engine is running anyway, and needs to be cooled we use the heat of the engine to get hot water.  A tank of water will give a hot shower, so we tend to shower while on the move, so that the water is replenished for someone else to use. The water itself is kept in a large tank in the bows, which we fill up from water taps every few miles on the canal. In our kitchen we have taps for hot and cold water, but also a filter for drinking water - for water taken straight from the water tank in the bows.

The washing is hung up on an airer, and on one of those spider like devices - depending upon the temperature, and the humidity it can be dry in anything from a few hours, to several days.

Today's journey - not about laundry

The former stop lock at Stretton
The weather has held off - one or two very short showers, very little more than a few spots.

Alan did most of the steering early in the day, then I took over as we went onto the Coventry canal.

Tethered horses graze the tow-path at Ansty.
When we got to Nuneaton we pulled over and went shopping - and were pleasantly surprised. So many towns these days are nothing more than charity shops, pound shops, cash converters, betting shops and boarded up properties. Yes, there were quite a few charity shops, but the centre of town was vibrant, with real shops - a very good greengrocers, an ironmongers, a proper wool and yarn shop - and other shops that people really need.

Hawkesbury - also known as "Sutton Stop"
After shopping we headed on until we got near to Hartshill, pulling over in a stop we have used before, and where there is a really nice field for a recovering dog to have a good walk in.

Brinklow to Hartshill
Miles: 16.3, Locks:1

Total Miles: 99.2, Locks: 40

The stop lock here only has a fall of about six inches.

Preparing to make 180 degree turn from Oxford to Coventry canals

And now the inevitable pictures of Odin, who continues his steady recovery......

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