About Me

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After thirty years of hiring, I finally bought my own 50ft boat in 2005, which was built in 2001 by Andicraft at Debdale Wharf. I mostly cruise single handed and have no problem with that, although it does take a little longer than with a crew. My mooring is on the Wey Navigation, so I have a choice of routes on the Wey or the Thames.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Summer Cruise 25

Friday 14th July

It was time to bite the bullet and change the fuel filters today, not a job that I enjoy obviously. The biggest problem is bleeding out the air at the end and wondering if it will fire up and that there are no leaks of diesel.  The engine was ran up first to re-charge the batteries and to make sure it would start easier after changing filters. All the necessary tools were brought out to do the job and this time (something is improved every time I do the job) I cut a plastic milk container in half to catch the diesel when the filter drops, so the container surrounds the filter. This was far easier than using rag underneath as previously and the diesel could be poured back into the tank. All went well with the two filters and all rubber washers were replaced. Bleeding the system was another matter and the reason it is difficult is that the fuel pump cannot be hand operated with the engine stopped in the standard position. It really has to be turned by hand to get the lobe of the cam off the fuel pump lever. With a diesel engine and its high compression, this is almost impossible unless your name is Tarzan (who’s he?). The long and short of it is that after a lot of bleeding by turning the engine over, it began to fire intermittently and I could see diesel being squirted out of the two injector pipes that I had loosened, so with it firing on two cylinders, I tightened them up and it ran on all four eventually – job done!

It was definitely time for a pint or two in the Greyhound and thinking more about it in there, I reckon the filters need not be changed for 1,000 hrs instead of 800 as recommended in the handbook. I do know that some boaters only do this once a year, regardless of time or distance travelled.

Saturday 15th July.

Washing was on the cards today as well as making some more Stilton Cheese Puffs. Washing was put in soak and the cheese puffs were made and cooked ready for lunch and to give some to my daughter, so quite a productive morning ensued. I was being collected by car to see the new blinds in their house and pay a visit to Tesco to stock up for the next few days. After returning to Stronghold, we were to have food and drink at the Rose and Castle pub in Ansty, where I passed by a couple of days ago. The reason for not going to The Greyhound being that the restaurant is booked solid and getting a table in the bar is chancy on a Saturday night. The atmosphere in the R and C was just not the same as The Greyhound by a long chalk and of course the beer choice is vastly inferior too. I had their fish pie and I have to say that I can do far better and I just have, with additions like prawns, anchovy fillets, baby spinach, fish stock, lemon juice, mustard, parsley.

Sunday 16th July

Another cloudy day – unbelievable that this is July, but then we are in England!

Washing was on the cards today, but not before I had done the cooking and that was making a fish pie, which took up most of the morning. Even then, I had only done the fish mixture, so the potato topping will have to wait until another day: I forgot to get any cheddar anyway.

Having done that, I took a walk to The Greyhound for a couple of pints of mild ale to quench my thirst. Although the mild in there is pressurised, it is not too strong and goes down very well. Anyway, it cannot be had in the south, so that was my excuse!

Washing was easily done under the nearby tap and as usual I hung some in the engine ‘ole over the rail, which would be completely dry by the end of the day tomorrow. The remainder was hung over the bath and will take longer to dry.

Monday 17th July

The first thing today was to go towards Nuneaton for a mile and wind in the Griff Colliery Arm that once was. That took an hour before I even started off from Suttons, so I finally left at 10.30 am. It was a beautiful sunny day with a slight breeze that made things more comfortable and was an uneventful trip back to Newbold, arriving at 3 pm and easily getting a mooring behind a couple on a boat from Saddleworth Moor in Yorkshire, who were going to the Cropredy Music Festival. They are going to get there 3 weeks before the event, but I did not ask if they could moor for that length of time.

A very pleasant but uneventful day.

I passed this restored Ruston Bucyrus excavator on the way out of Suttons
and wondered if it was the one restored in the TV programme Scrap Heap Challenge.

These cast iron boxes were on both sides of railway bridge 42. 
I presume that they are nesting boxes - am I right? 


Tuesday 18th July

It didn’t take long to get to Rugby at Bridge 58, where I stopped with the intention of collecting some more Tesco provisions and then moving on. However, I took the opportunity to pay a visit to The Range and the B and M stores first, where my daughter said there were many food bargains to be had. Sure enough, there were not only knock down food prices, but bargains in every other type of household goods, tools, garden furniture, household furniture and so it goes on– the list is endless. The Range was much the same and I didn’t even get to the furniture upstairs. I did want a non-stick oven tray, but had to go back to Stronghold to measure the oven first and then return. The whole business took a couple of hours, so I decided that I would stay here for the night after all – hey ho, the best laid plans etc.

It had been another hot day, but at least the wind was keeping the heat under control. The 50 watt solar panel is doing very well today in the wall to wall sunshine and keeping the fridge batteries up to 12.5 volts which is fine by me, so no need to run the engine.

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