Down and Up

Yesterday’s weather forecast was broadly correct – if you stay out for long, you’ll get wet!  We opted to stay where we were and watch the sheep that had appeared in the field opposite.  We went for a short stroll in the morning back to the “lozenge lock”.  We were curious to see if the continuing rain had put the level up further.  To our surprise the level had gone down – the gauge was now showing more amber than the day before.  On the other side of the bridge I spotted a water monitoring gadget.  It isn’t obvious what it is measuring – I would expect it to be the height of the water, but it just might be stream velocity.  The warnings here are about “strong stream”, not depth, though they are clearly related.

A metallic cube on stilts with solar panels on top sits beside a river. An arm protrudes over the river with a sensor on the end. Just downstream, the river flows over a weir producing foam downstream.
River Gauge

When we got back, I started to explore the problems that we were having with our music system.  We often listen to Radio Paradise (other radio stations are available, but this one doesn’t have adverts) via the Raspberry Pi that lives in the cupboard with the tandem.  Sometimes the music stops if we lose our internet signal, but that didn’t seem to be what was happening.  I’d tried running an update on the Pi, but that had made things worse.  I was also getting very confusing messages about missing network resources.

The previous night we’d tried to watch some TV, but found none of the streaming services we use were up either.  We had to make our own entertainment – reading books and doing crosswords.  We don’t often have the TV on during the day, but I put it on to see if it was still misbehaving – it was.  Later I tried to move some money to pay a bill and got another strange network failure.  I decided that I wasn’t going to be able to fix any of these, and I just had to hope the network connections would resolve.

I’d recently seen a post online from another narrowboater saying that he had rotated all his light switches.  He had six pairs of light switches, one of each pair operated ceiling lights and the other under-gunwale lights.  Rotating the switches gives them a natural up and down association with the lights.  We also have six such switches, and still press the wrong one sometimes.  I busied myself with that.  Once I’d worked out a minor trick (using only one of the retaining screws) it was an easy matter to rotate them all.  It feels like an improvement.

A cluttered shelf with keys on cork floats. Behind is a double light switch with the switches in a horizontal orientation.
Rotated Light Switch

One of the switches is just inside the stern door.  The upper switch now operates the ceiling lights in the galley, while the lower switch operates the low-level deck lights. I realised that I had photographed this same switch last year when I fitted the WiFi extender box.  By coincidence we are moored a few boat lengths from the spot where I took that picture.

Later on, I noticed that I was able to make my payment.  I quickly checked and found the TV was working properly again.  It took me a little longer to get the music back up again.  For a while I could only play music via the speakers on the TV(!), but I’ve managed to resolve that now.  So our entertainment systems are back up.

A view over a field with low hills beyond.  The main part of the field is flooded making it look like a small lake.
Water Levels in this Field are Up

Today’s weather was set to be dry, if a little dull.  I had suggested to Clare that we get the tandem out (first time this year) and go to see what Bicester had to offer.  We moored in a spot that was convenient for a small road.  The flooding in surrounding fields suggested that cycling over tracks could be problematic.

The tyre pressures on the tandem had gone down considerably since it was last used.  I spent some time with the small pump I used to use only in emergencies.  It is very good for its size, but it is a lot of effort to get the tyres up to proper pressure.  I decided that getting a full size track pump would be a useful investment.  Two years ago I would have worried about storing it, but I now know that we have places where things like that can live.  Almost the first thing we saw in Bicester was a bike shop, so I went in and bought a pump.  Getting tyre pressures up should be easy from now on.

By the time we got back to the boat the sun had come out and the temperature was going up.  I set up a table so that we could have dinner in the front cockpit.  We had finished just in time before the sun went down behind some low cloud and the temperature started to drop again.

Clare and Shane sitting at a table in the front cockpit of Bartimaeus. Behind them are the open doors in to the boat.  The sky above is light blue and cloudless.
Dinner in the Front Cockpit