It was a working weekend at Alvecote on the Narrow Boat Trust boats. I was hanging about at Rugeley, having booked a temporary mooring at Stafford Cruising Club the following weekend, which was only a few miles away, whilst I went home for a few days.
I was fortunate to get a lift from John Mills to Alvecote and it was good to see Barry again after the BCN Challenge, where Stronghold came 23rd of 39 entries. Not bad, considering we only entered for a good time on the BCN and a chance to revisit Ma Pardoe's on Friday night and The Great Western, Wolverhampton on Satuday night! On the other hand we won the competition for naming the Ogre of Gosty Hill Tunnel as "The Cratch Snatcher of Gosty Hill Tunnel."
Steve Smith and Ian Palmer were also at Alvecote painting and blacking the hull, as Nuneaton was very high out of the water without her engine. There were so many jobs to be done and eventually I ended up removing the mud box, so that a union could be tightened on the diesel pipe connecting the two diesel tanks - not an easy task below the engine room floor, even though the floor had been removed to disconnect the engine ancillaries. The pipe had been weeping into the bilge for ages and now was the chance to put it right. The problem was that it had been assembled when the hull was out of the water and all the pipes were rigid, making it doubly difficult, but we got it out and gave it a good flush out before reassembly, as well as tightening the diesel union.
The diesel pipe is between the fuel tank(bottom of pic) and rectangular mud box.
Barry and I took a trip to the local tip to dispose of used engine oil and discovered that there was a Re-Use Shop there, where anything that was saleable was set out for re-sale at very basic prices. What a good idea! Why don't other waste disposal sites do the same?
The engine was returned by Lister Mike (as Barry christened him), on a Land Rover the next day and even started it up on the back of the vehicle, even though it was not bolted down. It ran as sweet as a clock, with no vibration, even when revved up. Snowy turned up later with the JCB and hoisted the engine from the ground into the hold, where it was put back on staging to make access easier when replacing the ancillaries. We even managed to get a coat of green paint on before it was hoisted back into the engine ‘ole later and all the water, fuel and electrical connections were made.
Refurbished engine without gearbox etc.
Lifted back into the hold for additions of gearbox and header tank.
Back home with a coat of green paint applied.
Ready to be bolted down.
Finally, the lid goes back on.
Maggie Young arrived hoping for a ride on Nuneaton later in the day, but operations were still incomplete by the time she had to leave. We had two new members, recruited by Ian Palmer and one of them, Ron was quite happy to turn up two days running to help with the blacking.
Barry gave me a lift back to Rugeley, so that I could move Stronghold to another mooring further up the cut, as she had now been resident for 7 days, although there was ample space for other boats. I also need to charge the batteries somewhat to keep the fridge cold, before returning to Alvecote. Eventually, I got a lift back from David Thompson the following day, as Barry was about to leave also. At last, I could have a shower! It was another trip to the launderette with a week’s worth of washing and this time I got it right! As The Vine was just around the corner, a pint was in order to while away the time before collecting the washing. I happened to talk to the pub owner who was about to pay for his drink with thrupenny bits. I said “Not a lot of people would know about those now.” So, he gave me one that came from the mint in 1967 and had never been used.
It was time to move on towards Great Haywood and in doing so, I called in at Taft Farm Wharf, where there is a working boat moored selling diesel and gas. The diesel was 79p/litre and the 13kg gas was £22. No questions asked and no declaration. Unbelievable! Diesel is normally about £1.20/litre and 13kg gas is £32. Someone is making large profits out of boaters.
I found a good mooring just above Haywood lock and disappeared in the direction of The Clifford Arms.