Friday, 23 October 2020

Maintenance visit

We actually managed a visit to Erin Mae this week. We'd been in Wales for a few, very enjoyable, days, sharing an AirBNB farmhouse with our London grandchildren (and their parents!), just making it before the Covid19 rules prohibited it. From the Brecon Beacons it was quicker to get to Great Haywood than to go home, so up we went. Erin Mae is still "winterised" from a year ago, and was not suitable for staying overnight, so we booked into the Premier Inn in Rugeley and went over in the morning.

The main task was to check that the covering I had over the chimney was still secure – Storm Dennis has been and gone since I set it up. I put an extra layer of plastic on and secured it with my favourite Gorilla tape – it's great stuff. The other thing was to put the pipes attaching to the top of the calorifier back in place. When I drained the water system a year ago I'd removed them to syphon water from the tank, and couldn't get them back in again. We were in a hurry to leave, so I'd left them … and it's now a year on. It should have been a very straightforward task, but I just could not get them to screw into place. In the end I asked Marina Engineering to do it and we left. Today I've had a message that's it's all been done, and relatively cheaply.

So now there are just two main jobs that will need to be addressed in the spring – assuming we're able to be back on board. Sealing around the cast iron chimney collar and replacing the flue from the stove turns out to be more complicated than I thought, and really beyond my expertise. I've had a chat today with the engineering department at Streethay Wharf, and we shall almost certainly take Erin Mae down to them as soon as we're afloat again. I also need to check that the central heating system doesn't have a leak. If we manage to get up in April, we'll need some sort of heating, and the fire won't be operational until the chimney is fixed.

All in all, we were really pleased with Erin Mae's condition. The inside was dry and smelled sweet. The work I've done on re-siting windows has clearly paid off and rain has stayed on the outside. Hopefully we will actually be able to do some travelling when the winter is past.

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