Wednesday 16 September 2015

River running

In view of the Met Office's warning about rain and floods and imminent apocalyptic disaster, we thought we'd leave our mooring in York early and head off down river to Naburn, where we are booked to go down the lock onto the tidal section tomorrow.

After a misty start, the sun came out, and as I went to take a final few photos of the morning I noticed that the mooring lines were looking very different to the night before. The river had clearly risen about 9 inches in the night, following the rain that we'd had yesterday on our trip to Ripon. It was also running faster than yesterday, and this all confirmed our decision to move.

The trip boats were looking shiny in the sun as they moved around just down river.

The bits of the city wall near us were looking cheerful in the sun as we waved good-bye – no doubt glad to see the back of us.

It's been a good few days in York, but we're ready to re-trace our steps to Selby. Getting to Naburn early turned out to be useful. A boater tied up just in front of us shared some useful painting tips, and then gave us a contact number for a fuel merchant who delivers solid fuel to Selby on Thursdays, for a really good price. I rang them and ordered a couple of bags – it's that time of year when we're glad of a fire in the evening.

And then I tackled the diesel central heating unit. I'd wondered whether one of its connections had been leaking, as I'd found water in the bilge underneath it when I didn't think we'd had too much from rain or lock gates, and the last time I'd turned it on I'd needed to bleed the radiators a fair bit. I'd looked at the header tank and thought it was low. A week or so ago I fiddled with the connections, and one came off in my hand. But it wasn't a water / antifreeze connection, it was the air intake, and it was awkward to get into the right position to put it back. So that's what I did this afternoon. Then I started topping up the header tank, so I could run the unit and look for a leak. That's when I found that I'd mis-judged the level, and the system was actually pretty full after all. But by then I'd managed to fill it quite a bit beyond the maximum mark. Oh dear!

There wasn't any obvious way to extract fluid from the tank again. A piece of thin tubing would have let me syphon it out, but I don't have any. In the end I was reduced to undoing a junction in the piping below the tank. I thought I might control the outflow – some hope! The header tank emptied itself into my handily-placed bucket. But at least I learned a bit about how the connectors go together. I wan't too distressed at having to replace some of the anti-freeze, as I think operations over the last year have probably diluted it a bit. I had some in store, and used that, but I'll need to get some more to fill it up to where it should be.

Being on a boat turns out to be a mixture of being totally on your own, and not being at all on your own because people are so often helpful, or have useful advice. I'm at a stage of life when I usually call in the expert if there's something to do with the car or the house. We didn't buy Erin Mae in order to have a DIY project, but sometimes – indeed, often – that's just the way it goes.


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