Getting Nowhere Slowly
Monday 25th June
I planned an easy day ahead. It was going to be another hot one from the outset. I wrote up the blog in the morning and finally got it published – 15 days since the last one! Wi-fi in Braunston has improved no end for me here with a very strong BT signal. Previously it was Marina wi-fi only and that was a non starter for most people outside the marina.
Later I went up to the village to get some beer tokens (£20 notes) at the Post Office and some bread. Passing the hairdressers, I decided that I had better get a trim before I went home looking like Tarzan, then being such a hot day, it would be good sense to pay The Plough a visit, where it was nice and cool inside.
In the afternoon I stripped the bed and washed all the bed linen in the launderette, because this is probably my last chance for quite a while and it is too much to go in the twin tub. All in all, it took four hours out of the afternoon! Call this a quiet day?
Tuesday 26th June
After breakfast, I walked around to the marina office to see if they could pressure spray the inside of my waste holding tank, as the capacity had diminished from 10 weeks to 3 weeks over the years, which is a vast difference. I though initially that Pyrford Marina pump out was only working at half capacity, but now I realise it is the tank that is the culprit. Despite another marina moorer telling me that they could pressure spray it, Graham said that it was not possible and the only way was to fill the tank with water and roll the boat about, which is going to be a long drawn out process and involve a great deal of pumping out. There is no inspection hatch on the tank, so it really is down to some chemical or biological method. I think a call to LeeSan might be in order as the next step. Another problem is that I agreed to have a large dose of Elsan Blue added to the tank at Clifton Cruisers, where I had the last pump out – a big mistake I think, as that all has to go before I can use any sort of biological product again.
It was time to move on up the cut, so I said goodbye to the Cat Herders that were left and motored up the North Oxford as far as Bridge 85 to a nice quiet spot behind nbTawny Owl, belonging to Richard Powell of Primrose Engineering, who was demonstrating at the Braunston Show. From that point on I did not intend doing a thing, so I didn’t, though I did consider walking across the fields to The Rose Inn at Willoughby, but I didn’t do that either.
Wednesday 27th June
The day began very overcast, but it was forecast to improve later and by 11 am the sun had appeared and eventually it was wall to wall sunshine with a welcoming breeze to keep the temperature down.
After the spending the whole morning online answering e-mails and researching various things, I decided to walk to The Rose Inn, however things were not to be and I got lost across the fields. It was only at that point that I decided Google maps was the way to go, but by then it was getting too late as the pub closed at 3pm, so I wound my weary way up the road back to the boat, which was easier than taking the short cut, which was all long grass.
Time to move on a little further tomorrow.
Through the side hatch.
Thursday 28th June
When the canal was clear of traffic, I let go and as soon as I was adrift three boats came from one direction and one from the other, so all of a sudden it was like Piccadilly Circus. Without a line to the bank, things were difficult to control, although I did not hit anyone. Eventually I got away towards Hillmorton and the dreaded Old Royal Oak!
There were two boats that had been there a long time. I know because I asked some punters sitting outside. One of them was a glass fibre cruiser loosely tied up; some people have either no idea, or they just don’t care. It was a difficult place to moor alongside the outhouse, with a high bank at one end and no rings, so I had to rely on mooring pins, which I drove in alongside the wall. At the same time other boats were passing by, some at speed and had no consideration for what I was trying to do, which made it even more difficult. I did wonder if the mooring pins would hold, but after half an hour of other boats passing, it seemed to hold OK.
After a spot of lunch, I went in the pub and ordered a pint, which was crystal clear for a change. I could also use their wi-fi to watch the You Tube videos of the Braunston show, but none of them showed me hitting the point, which is most unusual as one of the cameramen is normally stationed there. Maybe I scared him away with my actions. A different pint was needed to rehydrate and that was clear too, which is so unusual. I returned to Stronghold, which was still securely hanging on the to the pins. I trimmed the nettles with the garden shears (a must on board a boat), which made it so much easier to get along the outside.
Later I was i need of more lubrication and returned to find that England were playing Belguim in Russia, so that was a must. At the end after another pint, I returned to cook the calves liver – delicious!
Friday 29th June
I let go about midday and my mooring place was in demand by two canooists and a Noddy boat, so I do not know who won. Once again the leisure batteries were not getting sufficient charge, so I moored up just south of Hillmorton Locks to try and sort out the problem. Despite wriggling all the relevant wires about, there seemed to be no change, so I started the generator and ran on that for some considerable time, before reverting to the engine. By now the voltage had risen to 14volts, which seemed to be the limit of the alternator. I think there is a device that can boost this, so further investigation ir required,
In the meantime, I partook of a bit more washing in my new machine, so that took a while, but so much easier than by hand.
Saturday 30th June
I let go about 11am and soon arrived at the locks, but there were tow boats waiting and nowhere for me to moor, so I attempted to hold station in the middle, but what with the north wind from one side and the back pumping outfall on the other, I was on a losing wicket. At one point I was between the two waiting boats and one guy thought I was trying to jump the gun and said so vehemently. I spoke to him when he got in the lock and he apologised, not understanding my position.
The bottom lock had a volunteer on, so that was a great help. The wild orchids are now in full bloom pn the lock island and the lockies are doing all in their power to keep the mowing grunts away that cut them all down last year. As I passed my intended moorings there were no boats there, so I changed plans and decided to stay on the long term moorings in Rugby, where there are plenty of rings and usually some space. I filled up with water first and emptied the rubbish in the car park container, which was about to overflow.
I watched a Girl Guide boat come around the bend heading for a moored boat; the steerer altered course at the last minute, but by that time there was nowhere for the stern to go, except into another moored boat, the owner of which went ape on the towpath, shouting and swearing at them as they moored up. She also took a photograph, which I found out later she was about to put on Face Ache. Later I walked down to commiserate with her and to ask if these were 14 day moorings; she was very animated over the whole thing and I reckoned that she was either drunk or stoned. While we were talking I noticed the cannabis plants growing on the cabin top in full view for all to see, so the answer was obvious.
Sunday 1st July
I planned to spend an easy day, with a quick visit to Tesco, but I spent most of the morning down the engine ‘ole again looking for clues on the low charge rate, but nothing was evident and I reverted to the generator to get the battery voltage up to nearly 14 volts. Each alternator is only pushing out 14.2, so there is no possibility of getting much above that voltage.
I get no watchable TV here either, so considerable time was spent retuning this to different transmitters – all a waste of time.
It was another scorching day and surprisingly I moved the boat from the shade of a big tree into the sunshine when an opportunity occurred; this was so that the solar panel would get all day sun when I was away from the boat.