20th May 2011
It was a day spent preparing the boats to be shown to the public. I was allocated to the engine ‘ole and spent several hours Gunking the chequer plate deck along with polishing the brass and copper pipe work. Also on the agenda was clearing the mud box – not an easy and very pleasant task, but who was I to argue, being the newcomer and cabin boy. I should explain that the mud box is below the fresh water inlet in the hull supplying raw cooling water to the engine. Because that water is sometimes muddy it collects in the mud box before its journey to the engine. The top is bolted on with about 8 bolts and a gasket to keep it very secure and prevent leaks of water into the surrounding space. Once the bolts are removed and the top taken off, the only viable way of cleaning out any mud at the bottom is by clawing it out with your fingers – as I said, not a very pleasant job.
Meanwhile the remainder of the crew where polishing the outside brasswork, sweeping the hold out, rearranging top cloths on the top planks and displaying the NBT explanatory posters. We did stopped for a brief lunch and finished about 6pm.
Mouse and I bought all the ingredients for a beef casserole, but had no container in which to cook it in the recently cleaned out coal range oven. We walked into the town hoping to find one in a hardware store, having already measured the internal size of the oven. I seem to remember that there was only one hardware shop and most of the utensils were plastic, but there were more than enough charity shops around and we discovered one with exactly the right sized dish and lid for £2.99 – bargain! The meal was in the oven by 4pm and the range was heating up perfectly, so in four hours we had a ready one dish dinner that was thoroughly enjoyed at the end of a hard day, before repairing to the beer tent for some well earned ale.