Saturday 11 May 2024

Back on Board Again

We are still coming to terms with having an EV especially on ,longer journeys. When we returned home earlier in the week we had a small margin of 28 miles which was perhaps a little closer fro comfort than we planned. So, this journey we planned a break to top up, calling at Droitwich which is close to half way. We included in our plan going to the charge station outside Lidl so that we could complete our food shopping. 

Mike had also booked a taxi for 4 o'clock to pick him up at Swanley Bridge Marina (where we need to be in just under two weeks' time) and take him back to Overwater. Mapping out the times mea t that we needed to make a really early start (well, early for us) and we slightly surprised ourselves by being on he road by 8:15. It was a clear run with only known roadworks speed limits on the M6 to hold us up - but the traffic never came to a standstill.

As we came off the motorway, Christine checked via Zap-Map and Google and, yes, the charge station was free. Alas, by the time we arrived a few minutes later someone was just hooking up. However she said that she was only staying long enough to do her shopping (also in Lidl). True to her word, it was not long before we were able to take her place on the tether. We had already topped up with £10 (this is a Pod Point station which does not yet take contactless payments but their app works smoothly now we know what we are doing)

We did not have to stay long after Christine returned with the shopping (Lidl's famous till queues helped fill some of the time!) as by then all of our credit had been eaten up. We were not quite fully charged but enough for the second half og the journey.

Again, the sat nav route proved very efficient, this time taking us off the M6 at the Telford turn. Although we went through some points familiar from recent trips, the route was slightly varied. we arrived at the marina about two minutes ahead of the original ETA.

We were able to take the car very close to the boat so it did not take long to offload everything (well except for the new radiator which we will deal with later) After a cup of tea Mike set off once more just after 2, hoping that this would give him time to do another car charge in Nantwich. There is just one charge station working in the town right now (Morrisons seems to be on long term sick leave) but with two outlets. Alas, as Mike arrived both were in use so he diverted to Morrisons. We failed earlier to find green beans (both Lidl and Aldi had non in stock) so that was the first item.

When we arrived at the marina, Mike realised that the contactless charging of his phone had not worked (we still do not know why) and it only had 27% charge left! he needed it both for navigating to his taxi pick up as well as being able to hear if there were any problems . . . So he set off with a standard USB cable just in case. Alas, we have not so far needed to use this and he soon found that it needs a newer USB type connector at both ends! 

He returned to the charge station which now had a free space and he connected up. All went reasonably well (even though last time as well as this most people seemed to have problems with the card reader) With the display both on the station and in the car confirming that charging was taking place, Mike walked to the nearby shops to find a USB cable. He tried several shops to no avail - few USB cables anywhere of any of the various types. So, it is back to crossing fingers.

Back at the car something was not right with the charger. Although the station said that it was connected, the car reported very little extra charge from when we arrived. It seems possible that another driver had tried to use a different type of lead (some stations allow more than one in service at a time) and in the process confused the system. Mike had to resort to restarting the connection which then proceeded OK but at a very slow rate. By 3.25 we had taken on enough and so Mike set off on the short remaining trip to Swanley Bridge Marina. No sooner had he collected a parking permit from the office when he had a call from the taxi driver to ask where to meet - she was very early! After parking our car away from the main office (we knew the drill from previous visits here) it was the final leg of today's trip back to the boat. In the end, the phone died just a few minutes after arriving back, staying alive just long enough to pay the fare!

Meanwhile Christine had just unpacking - she had been somewhat delayed by frequent conversations with other boaters as well as a trip down to the office. She checked out where we can pick up a gas bottle on our way out of the marina tomorrow.

Mobile phone signals are not great around here and the marina's wifi seems to be switched off so it may well turn out to be a reading night, although how long we will be able to resist the morphean arms we shall see!

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