Tuesday 31 May 2022

Pitter patter

On Saturday we pitter-pattered back to the head of the Atherstone flight from whence it is a straightforward walk down to the town's Aldi. Since I always buy more than intended, I was glad of the Ikea wheelie shopping basket / trolley for the slight hill back to Erin Mae. I laughed at my best beloved when she bought it, but I haven't laughed since! We winded and went back to our marina, ready for the party.

It turned out not to be for the jubilee, but a big-0 birthday celebration for Kat, the manager, who is a big hit with the marina's clients. Everybody took their own food and we had a good natter with people we hadn't met before. Sunday we joined our church on-line (shades of Covid lockdown!), and in the afternoon did a good clean of Erin Mae's roof – with particular attention to what the pigeons had blessed us with from the tree overhead on Thursday night. So Monday we were ready to move by gentle stages, dodging the showers, and stopped again in what's becoming a favourite spot just short of Springwood Haven. We were having a nice cuppa on the towpath when NB 10,000 Reasons came by, with our BCF friends Andy & Sue Smith who'd been helping Paul, another BCF-er, up the Atherstone flight. They were followed by Chris Buck on NB Kairos, so we all had a jolly chat on the towpath for a while, until they pushed on to Nuneaton for the night.

Looking at the weather forecast, I wasn't sure about moving today at all. But the conversation with Andy and Chris had suggested that Springwood Haven's price for blacking Erin Mae's hull is not actually exorbitant but pretty normal, and they are, after all, very nice people! I knew they had just a couple of slots left in the Autumn, and decided to bite the bullet. So we headed on down, called in, and made the arrangements with Liz.

In view of the weather website, we pulled in for the night pretty soon after, and it wasn't long before the familiar pitter-patter started on the canopy. Then sunshine. Then pitter patter. Then sunshine. Then the most almighty rainstorm, lashing down. Then thunder. Overall, I was glad we hadn't been beguiled by the very pleasant, occasional sunny spells into going any further.

Try again tomorrow.

Friday 27 May 2022

A Plan comes together!

7.30 alarm saw us up and about, and at Springwood Haven Marina about the time they opened. We found ourselves talking with Liz, who was definitely surprised at what her colleague had said to us yesterday about ringing early to see whether they could do anything about our watery woes. But she seemed to appreciate the fact that I knew I was a jolly nuisance, especially this being hire-boat-turnaround day. And since I'd arrived first thing, rather than ringing… (that was the cunning plan!). Well, she was really helpful and rang through to get someone over from the workshop. Rob duly arrived and came down to see what was what. 

He sorted it out in no time, screwing the T-junction in as far as it would go, and constructing a pipe arrangement to fit the new position.

Thanks, Rob. Great job! No more leaks! And therefore an Honourable Mention on the blog! 

We decided to turn around and head back to our new marina as they're having a party tomorrow evening and we thought it would be good to show our faces. Not sure whether it will be a Jubilee celebration. So we winded at Springwood Haven's entrance, and have tied up where we were last night, but pointing the other way.

In the foreground is where the cows come down to cool their feet and have a drink, under the controlling eye of their matriarch. And in the distance you may just be able to see the reason for our excellent mobile broadband reception, standing on the brow of the hill.

Think we'll stay the night in this sunny spot. 7.30 a.m. was a long time ago.

Thursday 26 May 2022

Service resumed – almost

We made the journey up to Mancetter yesterday, with a little niggle niggling away in the back of my mind as we negotiated the M42 at narrowboat speeds. After draining Erin Mae's water systems last October I'd replaced the junction unit that screws into the top of the calorifier (hot water tank).

The pipe going off to the left is an emergency outlet should excess pressure occur. The one going straight ahead takes hot water to wherever it's needed throughout the boat. But I had a problem. Screwing the junction down tight, took it almost an extra quarter turn from what is shown in this picture, and the emergency pipe would not move across that far. I'd cleaned the thread of old sealant tape, and thought this was probably the reason. I assumed that, come the re-commissioning of the system, I'd be able to wrap enough PTFE tape around the thread to get it to tighten in the right position. But would I?

I waited until today to see what would happen. I found my niggling niggle had been justified. Even with copious quantities of PTFE tape, the junction was leaking. If I screw it down tighter, the emergency outlet pipe won't reach.

I rang a nearby marina (Springwood Haven) that has a good engineering department, but their mechanics were all tied up today and tomorrow is turn-around day for their hire fleet. They said I could try ringing at 9 a.m. on Friday to see whether anything might be possible. I rang RiverCanalRescue, but my policy only covers propulsion breakdowns.

In the end we decided to cruise down to Springwood Haven and turn up first thing. Who knows, they might take pity on a couple of needy souls, with a job that, for them, should be relatively straightforward.

So here we are tonight, with the unsuspecting marina just a couple of hundred yards further on. Not quite the first couple of days we were hoping for. Wonder what the morning will bring!