Life Is Not Always ‘Utopia’ On The Water

Since our last post, we’ve had a bit of a stressful time.

Weathering the storm ‘Fionn’ over the weekend (20th January), we experienced all of her rage; high winds, hailstorms, continuous heavy rain, snow… we had ‘the lot’ thrown at us. It was a pretty miserable weekend, and we were feeling fed up and depressed. The best we could do was to batten down the hatches, and let the ‘rage’ pass.

Monday morning promised us much better weather; and feeling tired of our ‘scenery’ we were anxious to move on. Unfortunately, life would have us tied on this spot for another four days!

We’d been in bed for just an hour on Sunday night when Rusty started! He started pacing up and down Cyan, panting, and acting distressed. John let him off the boat, and Rusty shot off down the towpath, and disappeared into the dark. The rain was pouring down! Whistles and shouts didn’t bring Rusty running back. John got dressed against the weather, and just as he’d put his boots on, Rusty returned wet and muddy. He appeared OK, he was rubbed down with his towel, and his feet were cleaned. He’d never ran off like that before. After everything appearing settled, John got back into bed.

Then Rusty started again, pacing up and down, panting, and licking John’s face to wake him up. I got out of bed, putting coat and shoes on, and this time clipping Rusty’s lead on him before landing on the towpath. It was all too clear, Rusty had ‘exploding diarrhoea’. Poor boy looked in quite a lot of pain. He was straining badly, but it wasn’t productive, except from wind exploding from his rear.

This scenario was repeated every couple of hours for three days and nights. Obviously we thought it’s best not to move, giving Rusty time to get better. We were all exhausted due to lack of sleep. The towpath was now wet and very muddy. We gave up trying to keep Cyan’s floor clean, and it resembled a ploughed field (luckily we’ve no carpets/rugs). Despite Rusty’s ‘furious’ bowels, he never had an accident – and for that we’re very grateful!

Thursday night we decided we needed help! Rusty hadn’t eaten since Sunday, and it looked like his symptoms were not getting any better. So Friday morning we made a few phone calls to a vets, to Wigrams Marina, and to Enterprise Car Hire.

We were about a mile away cruise from Wigrams, and luckily for us the weather was quite pleasant. Rusty we thought (Friday morning) was showing slight signs of improvement, but we decided not to take any chances. Poor lad was feeling really fed up, and his collar could now easily slip over his head.

Cutting a long story short, Rusty was examined at the vets, he was diagnosed with having colitis, and we came away with kaolin and probiotics. Eventually he started to take chicken breasts cooked with rice I’d prepared.

Last night was the first night we all managed to fully sleep through, and this morning was the first time we could ‘pick up’ after Rusty.

Colitis starts through something in his diet triggering the ‘episode’. I know pork and chicken skin doesn’t agree with him, but he’s not had any recently. We’ve just got to be careful and strict; it’s not always easy when a couple of doleful eyes pleads for a ‘taste’ of what we’re eating. Rusty had parvo as a puppy, so his tummy might be a ‘weak spot’.

We spent 3 nights at Wigrams, and we couldn’t wait to leave. Tottering along the jetty boards a couple of times a night with Rusty was scary. There’re gaps where there wasn’t a boat moored, so walking along the boards, in the wind, made us nervous.

Our past three stays at Wigrams have been great, but not this time. The place is drenched, and the field for exercising dogs is deep in mud.

As we’ve had a week or so of wet weather, our laundry basket was over flowing. I took the chance to do six washes (we’ve got a small load washing machine), and hauled the wet clothes to the marina’s laundry for drying. Except the laundry was busy with fraught boaters competing for a dryer (they’ve got three, but only two were working). I left my two bags in the laundry, with the plan to use a dryer when the bottleneck had dispersed. After several visits, including one at 11:30 pm, I gave up, and brought the two bags back to Cyan to dry (somehow).

Yesterday morning we left Wigrams in glorious weather.

To dry the clothes; all windows, doors and hatches were wide open, and the central heating turned up high, as we cruised along. Some clothes were placed on clothes hangers and hung from curtain poles, some draped on the clothes maiden, some hung onto a ‘peg rack’ hanging in the open cratch, and sheets were spread over our two chairs to dry. Success!

It was a lovely cruise, and it was fantastic to have the warmth of the sun on our backs! Truly a treat from the weather we’ve had to endure.

Eventually we moored by a place that’s looks to be quite a conservation area. Just across the water from where we are is an owl box! With the ‘blue’ full moon we’re experiencing tonight, we might be lucky and see an owl.

Cyan hadn’t been moored too long when we realised we didn’t have any 240 volts! While we were in Wigrams we were on shoreline electric. We double checked to see if all switches were in the correct position – and yes they were!

We use 240 volt AC for recharging two laptops, two tablets, two WiFi dongles, and the mobile phone (plus obviously other items that are not so important such as the soundbar for the TV). This is a disaster!

John checked the system, looking for fuses, and obvious faults. He was flummoxed!

Before the battery ran out on the laptop, I found three boat electricians in the area from the Internet.

This morning, after a phone call to the service manager at Braunston Marina, the manager said there was a slot available tomorrow morning. As it was raining at the time of the phone call, with the forecast telling us the weather will dry up later, we decided to stay put till this afternoon.

While waiting for the rain to pass, John studied Cyan’s electrical system plans. After further investigation with his circuit tester….. Eureka! A loose connection in the ‘Consumer Unit’! A small adjustment to the connection and the 240 volt system sprang into life.

After a quick phone call to Braunston Marina to cancel our ‘slot’, we settled back happy with the thought all is under control for the first time in a week, and with monies saved!

For a bit of amusement, here’s a 70 Piece jigsaw from one of the images on this page. For full screen, click the  at bottom-right of the jigsaw.

Moody Skies

Knew it was cold last night, but didn’t realise we were iced up again.

Had a slight panic; last night we checked the App (Bluetooth access to the solar panel controller) that tells us how our batteries are doing, and how much/little solar energy we’re gathering. We had a good day solar wise yesterday as we didn’t have to turn the engine on to charge the batteries until around 5:00 pm. When we checked the ‘App’ (for want of a better word) just before bedtime, there was a message saying the App needed updating. So we clicked the ‘OK’ button to begin the upgrade…. then typically…. the App wouldn’t connect to the solar panel controller. Sod it we thought, this’ll wait until the morning.

We just thought it was  the App upgrade that was the problem, until we discovered this morning the solar panels weren’t working despite the bright sunshine.

We did lots of tweaks, uninstalling and installing the App, pressing buttons until lights stop blinking, resetting, and pressing ‘this’ upgrade button, and ‘that’ upgrade button, each time we got into a loop. We read the online manual how to fix it, and we wrote to Victron’s help forum. Our head’s were dizzy…

At the third ‘uninstall’ and ‘install’ of the App, it was BINGO all the knobs and whistles worked! Panic over thank goodness. The updated App is a very different layout from the previous level, we are sure we will get used to that. Most importantly the Solar panel output and the boat battery bank condition is now visible with the App.

We set off from our mooring about midday, after about 3 hours of sunshine shining on the ice.

We passed the new Dunchurch Pools Marina.

It’s all looking really grand, and it looks like some boats are already resident. Even though we were just a couple of hundred metres away from where we were ‘iced in’, the marina looked ice free.

The ice was in patches, usually amassed in cold corners.

The huge family of geese didn’t appear to mind the cold water.

We can’t remember when we saw our last wide-beam. This one looked enormous!

Ancient ridge and furrow fields, probably made by ploughs pulled by oxen in the middle ages. Would love to know the history of these fields.

At Braunston Junction we used the rubbish and Elsan services.

Then we turned right to continue on the Oxford Canal.

By the time we moored up the wind had changed to bitter, and we were freezing!

The weather for the weekend doesn’t look brilliant. Think we’ve snow predicted at some point on Sunday, so we might not move for a while. We’re sitting in a lovely spot, quite high up with glorious views and a dry towpath.

Today we’ve cruised over 4 miles. We’ve got about 28 Mbps of WiFi, and great digital TV.

For FUN! Here’s a 70 piece jigsaw. For full screen, click the  at bottom-right of the jigsaw.

Our Blustery Day!

After yesterday being a ‘Windsday’, a ‘Blustery Day’ (and night), it’s fitting that today is officially ‘Winnie The Pooh” Day!

“What day is it?”, asked Winnie the Pooh

“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet

My favourite day,” said Pooh”.

― A.A. Milne.

That’s exactly how I felt at 8:00 am. Rusty and I were walking the towpath, with clear blue skies, and with the sun shining brightly. It was one of those days where everything was still, a huge gaggle of geese were peacefully grazing the grass in the field opposite the towpath, and ducks were cruising gently up and down the canal. Stopping for a moment and taking in the ambience… it’s a feeling rather like entering a cathedral (not that I’m religious), it was a spiritual moment – and yes, ‘Today is my favourite day”! Think we’re very lucky to have the time, and the lifestyle to experience such a day.

Gosh what a night we had last night. As we were nestled under a huge hedge, we didn’t get the full force of the wind. Though there was one gust of wind that gave us a jolt, physically and mentally.

Being in such a ‘isolated’ place, devoid of street lights, and car headlights, the stars were magnificent. It was a cloudy night, but there were long gaps in the clouds where the stars shone through.

I caused a bit of a disaster within Cyan at about 3:30 am. The bathroom was calling, and since I was out of bed I topped up the fire with coal, and returned back to bed. Several minutes later, we were choking through smoke filling the boat. The wind was blowing down Cyan’s chimney, forcing the smoke back into Cyan. We’ve got 3 carbon monoxide alarms throughout Cyan (yes, we’re over cautious!), as they didn’t go off, it didn’t appear dangerous, but we were choking, and our eyes were smarting.

Eventually everything was under control, and we took a mug of coffee up on deck while the smoke cleared. Don’t think I’ll be doing that again! Still it did give us time for stargazing.

Cursed/blessed with having a vivid imagination, I was slightly concerned being moored so near a HM Prison Rye Hill (a Category B men’s private prison, which exclusively houses sex offenders) – it wasn’t until we discovered exactly what’s behind the hedge near Cyan that makes having any concern about safety silly.

The grassed area is open to the public, and Rusty thinks it’s a great place for ball games.

Here’s us thinking we were ‘isolated’ – it appears we’re not. Plus of course, a little further down is the new Dunchurch Marina, which I don’t think is completely finished yet, though there are boats moored inside.

We’re staying ‘put’ today, as it’s such a lovely and quiet place. We’ve had more boats passing us today than I think we’ve had in the whole of the past week.

We’re going to spend about 6 weeks around Braunston, and surrounding area while we wait for Napton Locks refurbs to be completed. So far CR&T website advises they won’t be finished until 16th March 2018.

It’s A Beautiful Day For Yellow Warnings

With yellow weather warnings for later today, we set off from our moorings at Rugby after rubbish, filling water tank, and Elsan duties were complete.

Think we’ve been so lucky with our weather after hearing the news of heavy snow further North. Our weather warnings were to alert us to high winds, which were to arrive at around 4:00 pm., although our morning cruise was pretty challenging due to a strong breeze.

A ‘mother’s union’ of ducks were clearly enjoying the sunshine.

We passed a pair of swans who were busy cadging food as we sailed through Clifton Cruisers.

Passing the civils works which will be the cause of a ‘winter stoppage’ starting 5th February 2018. Believe a new bridge will be built, could this be for HS2? Can’t help but wonder if the Carillion nightmare is involved?

You can just about see the huge, and formidable, but now redundant railway viaduct built circa 1885. The viaduct stands within Clifton Golf Course.

In a short time we were at Hillmorton locks. I did the locking for two reasons, John’s knees suffer through the cold damp weather, and I’d rather John took Cyan into the locks when there’s a strong wind.

Love the quotes on the lock gates: “This Door Makes Depth”, and “Captive For A While”.  The “Captive For A While” lock, Lock #4, was a pig! The paddles at the top gate were really hard to lift, and even harder to let down. I gave up with the one in the middle, and I was just thinking we should let CR&T know. Then John jumped off Cyan to have a go dropping the paddle, with success.

The locks were soon behind us.

At the top of the lock lies Sally’s grave. I’ve no idea who Sally was, whether she was a cat or a dog, only that she must have been well loved.

More ‘earth works’ as we sailed from the locks. Looks like a new water main is being laid.

This cheeky Goldie made sure we’ll not be stopping. The tail up, in dog language means: “I’m in charge here!”

Wondering what these naughty two are up too? You can imagine…..

We could just about see the gathering ‘murmur’ of starlings.

Fascinating to watch, and not one ‘accidental’ crash.

Passing Barby Moorings:   

  

While typing up this blog, I just had to take a picture of the birds flocking to the power lines. The other ‘amazing’ thing…. the time of taking this photo was 4:55 pm! My goodness, the evenings really are getting lighter – EXCITING!

We moored in a brilliant sheltered spot, right next to a coppice, where there are no tallish trees. We did try and moor about half a mile behind us; but we had to abandon the mooring due to the fact it was difficult to hang on to Cyan while we moored. The wind kept pushing her to the other side of the canal.

Depending on the ‘Yellow Weather Warning’ for tomorrow, we may spend a day or so here.

Just realised, our neighbour is HMP Rye Hill!

Today we’ve cruised 6 miles, and 3 locks. Digital TV is non existent. WiFi is 30 Mpbs!

Rugby, Our ‘Home’ For Four Days

Nothing much has changed with the weather, it’s still grey, damp and brrr cold! Though having nighttime temperatures just above freezing makes such a difference. I can remember kicking off the duvet because it felt too ‘hot’ in the night.

We set off at about 11:15 am., with an anticipated destination being the moorings at Rugby, very near to the Bell and Barge PH. Just as we were setting off another boat past us. We followed the boat (at a distance) until we arrived at Rugby.

Our journey today took us under the M6.

At Brinklow the boat in front left the swing bridge open for us, and we closed the swing bridge after we went through. Here we met a young swan who was busy trying to ‘preen’ itself of its cygnet feathers.

On leaving Brinklow we spotted a bold clump of snowdrops – a welcome sight!

Cruising through cuttings, there’s plenty of trees blown down through recent winds, making it an ‘interesting cruise’. The badgers (or is it rabbits) have been busy undermining the cutting’s bank, and loosening tree roots. Don’t think I’d like to cruise this culvert in high winds though.

Rusty still has a fit of shivers as he travels through tunnels, and he always gets a cuddle which I hope helps. The lights on Cyan’s roof automatically turns on as we travel through the dark tunnel.

Towpaths are pretty dire around this area.

Looking back through the bridge towards the Barley Mow PH.

We arrived at our destination at 1:30 pm. We quickly moored, and were soon toasting our feet by Cyan’s stove.

After the problems we’ve had regarding our old fridge/freezer hammering the batteries, and recently our new fridge/freezer which has been filled with food (consequently the food had to be frozen or cooled down), we’ve had to run Cyan’s engine to charge the batteries late at night, just before retiring to bed. This has been the reason why we’ve moored away from homes, and other boats. Tonight will be the first time in a while we’ve moored next to houses. According to the Canal & River Trust license TOC’s, boat engines and generators have to be turned off between 8:00 pm, and 8:00 am. Tonight we’ll keep a close eye on the batteries, and if necessary, we’ll have to be frugal with the electric.

Our plans are to stay here in Rugby for a family visit and retail therapy, until Wednesday.

Warning, Diesel Thieves Are About

Love this ‘tweet’ from BBC Weather: “Noticed how much lighter it’s getting yet? We’re racing to more daylight with an extra 2 mins today on yesterday. By 21st Jan it’ll be up to a rate of 3 mins/day!” That’s a cheery thought on a grey day such as today!

Last night’s fog had lifted by the time we rose at around 7:00 am. We were soon on our way to Hawkesbury Junction for Elsan and Rubbish services.

We bumped into one of the boaters we’ve met quite a bit on our travels around the Oxford and Coventry canals, after telling him we were on our way to Braunston, probably staying overnight at Ansty, he gave us some good advice. He said to be careful as he’d just had some diesel stolen from his boat’s diesel tank. He wasn’t sure whether the crime was at Ansty or Brinklow, though his friend had recently lost about 100 litres of diesel, siphoned out of his boat’s tank at Ansty. Since hearing that, John’s now locked our tank; I know we should have done this anyway, it’s a bad habit we’ve got into. Think from now on we’ve got to be more careful.

There were ‘some’ anticipation that the day might brighten up, but it wasn’t a ‘real’ prospect.

Despite the ‘grey’ day, it’s a different world cruising along the canal, while the ‘rest’ of the world is busy rushing about. In the pic, we’re just about to sail under the M69 motorway.

We passed Ansty’s ‘resident’ geese. They’re looking very well too.

Think we’ve had enough water now, the Oxford is full!

One boater and….  

….his dog! (Who’s never far away).

John didn’t want to moor at Ansty, he said the towpath was too muddy, he was right, though I think there’s more to that decision.

Eventually we’ve moored next to the Trent Valley Railway line. The trains are quite close, though with Cyan’s hatches battened down, the noise of the trains is not a problem. What’s good about being here is that the towpath is hardly used, especially by bikes, so it’s relatively mud free.

Bright January Day, And The Birds Are Singing!

We’d moored for the night at the other side of the bridge from the CRT Yard at Hartshill. At 10:40 am we pulled Cyan back through the bridge and mooring on the wharf, to wait for an arranged 11:00 am Tesco delivery. It’s a perfect spot for a delivery as just beyond the hedge on the left, is a public car park, it’s an easy delivery for the driver. There’s something really cool about having a Tesco delivery popped through Cyan’s side hatch, and straight into the galley.

While waiting for the delivery, I was fascinated watching a cheeky robin. He closely inspected Cyan, which was obviously an ‘intruder’ on his patch. He hopped up and down the length of Cyan, then he hopped onto the roof, then he hopped onto the chimney cowl for several seconds. I was just about to shoo him off, just in case he burnt himself because the fire was lit, when he flew off. He’d spotted John looking down the lane on look-out for a Tesco home delivery van. The robin landed a couple of feet from John, hopping around him, like he was studying him. What characters these funny robins are.

As soon as the delivery was ‘shoe horned’ into Cyan, John untied Cyan’s mooring ropes and cruised a little distance to the turning hole at Mancetter, famous for reputedly being the site of Queen Boudicca’s last stand against the Romans. After Cyan was turned around, we came back to the yard (obviously on the other side of the canal), and moored up for a short time at the water point. We know the water has a good flow here, rather than filling at the slow flow at Hawkesbury. We’ve also got to consider that if the weather freezes again, perhaps the tap at the next water point might be frozen.

For the most part the weather has been brilliant today, and it was a joy to cruise while listening the birds singing. They were obviously enjoying the sun too.

The surrounding area next to Star Cruisers looks to be changing fast. It looks highly probable a housing development is being built.

Where have all the boats come from? Those four boats weren’t moored by the bridge near Springwood Haven Marina on Tuesday morning – there’s hardly been movement on the canal. One of the boaters had his garden chair out on the towpath, and was sprawled almost horizontal as he and his dog enjoyed the warmth of the sun, with a beer.

From what I’ve read from several comments, the area of the Coventry that passes through Nuneaton is renown as NOT being a ‘thing’ of beauty. The pollution is pretty harsh.

We cruised past this scum of oil/diesel/whatever. It’s pretty horrendous, and such a terrible shame for the local wildlife.

In the pic below, you can just about see the oily film on the murky water. The water should be bright and shiny.

(Not connected to the above!) We passed the ‘Oil Boat’; the trader sells engine oil (for about) £65 for 25 litres of 15W40 oil. Works out as £13 for a 5 litres. We’ve just paid £25.75 for 5 litres at Springwood Haven Marina! At the motor factors before Christmas, John paid £15 for 5 litres. Plus the ‘Oil Boat’ will take your used oil (free) if you buy (fresh) oil from him. That sounds like a good deal!

Tonight we’re moored by Hawkesbury Junction, and we’re on our way to Rugby for a few days. Looking forward to meeting family in Rugby next week.

What A Grey Day!

What a Gay Grey Day! Well I suppose we are in Nuneaton, so it would be fitting to channel tones of Larry Grayson.

Happy to see there’s been a thaw overnight, though slithers from sheets of ice are still floating in the water.

We left Springwood Haven Marina after paying our hefty invoice. Hopefully this will be the last heavy raid on our bank account for quite a while. We now need to get our finances back on track. Still, we’re very pleased with Cyan’s upgrades.

The new fridge/freezer is much noisier than the old one, and we live in hope that our subconscious mind will soon blank the humming from our ‘conscious ears’. The manufacturer, Shoreline, mentions the noise levels in their blurb, and they credit the higher sound levels to the new non-CFC gasses that are now having to be used.

We passed this cruiser while it was ‘almost’ afloat, and listing rather badly on the Coventry around about last November time. We remember there were about 10 full sheets of marine ply laying on the roof, and us thinking that perhaps the heavy weight was sinking the boat.

A couple of weeks later, we passed the cruiser again, only this time it was ‘under water’. Someone told us the owner was having ‘problems’, and he couldn’t afford to pay to have the boat salvaged/disposed of. A quote from CRT, and from the fire brigade, was in the £100s. We’re rather surprised to see the boat still submerged, and without any warning notices; warning boaters of the hazard.

Suppose this is where some of our CRT licence money is being used, removing wrecks from canals. Not sure what CRT can do to resolve this?

We’re now moored just past the CRT yard at Hartshill. Tomorrow we’ve a date with Mr Tescos, he’s bringing us a big shop, as we’re stocking up ready for our next adventure.

Frozen To The Bones!

Before we got out of bed this morning, we knew the Coventry had frozen over, there was that telltale cracking sound around 3:30 am, caused by Cyan slightly rocking and breaking the ice.

Cyan’s engine was gently kicked into action just after 9:00 am, and she was ‘ticked over’ through roughly 250 metres of ice to the wharf at Springwood Haven. After mooring, the first thing John did was to buy a 5 litre can of oil, to top up Cyan’s engine. We’ve had no sun at all today, so Cyan’s engine has had to be started 3 times today to top up the batteries – and all without losing a drop of oil.

There were three ‘jobs’ we needed doing at Springwood Haven Marina:

First was to test the gas pressure of the new gas cooker as the oven and hob didn’t look to be getting hot enough. A problem was found (glad about that, because I thought it might have been my imagination, or that I’d picked a duff cooker). The gas pressure was found to be low (think the reading was about 32mb), after having a new gas pressure regulator fitted, the gas pressure is now reaching around 42mb. Box ticked!

Second was to have the old 12v fridge/freezer swopped for a new one. Box ticked!

Thirdly, Cyan was tested for her Boat Safety Scheme Certificate – pleased to say she passed. Box ticked!

John had a good ‘natter’ with the Boat Safety Examiner, and he was left with a much better insight into exactly what the Scheme is all about.

There was little bit of consternation; in the CRT’s reminder email, it said, quote:

“According to our records your current Boat Safety Scheme certification expires on 31/03/2018.

BSS examinations are best done two months before the expiry of the old certificate. If your boat passes first time, the examiner is able to forward-date your new certificate so that it runs for four years from the expiry of your current certificate.”

We understood the email to mean that the new certificate will be dated from 31/03/2018. Not so, the Certificate will be dated two months from today’s date.

Today I received a reply to an email I sent to CRT about diesel spillage in the Canal, possibly from a badly listing boat. The reply said:

“Thank you for your email and informing us of the issue. We are actually aware if this issue and the local team and the Environment team attended the site on Friday.

Kind regards and have a nice day,”

Sounds like they already knew about the problem, but I don’t think it hurt to have emailed them.

We’re staying put for tonight on Springwood Haven’s wharf, tomorrow we’ll top up with diesel and water and make for a rendezvous with Mr Tesco at the CRT Yard/Clock Tower. Providing of course the Canal isn’t frozen over. The weather forecast predicts the temperature will be slightly above freezing.

All being well, we’ll make for a leisurely trip to Braunston before the stoppage starts at Butler’a Leap on 5th February.

No Use Crying Over Spilt Oil!

Yesterday John changed the oil and filter on Cyan’s Isuzu engine. All was well prepared, and the job was soon finished!

John started the engine, where it jumped into life, and ran sweetly. It still ran sweetly when John revved up the engine to test it. Brilliant, ‘job done’!

At about 4:00 pm, we turned on the engine to charge the batteries. All going well…. until…. in the far distance I could hear an alarm. It was a cold day yesterday, so we’d battened down the hatches. Thought, I’d better investigate, and was horrified to find it was the engine’s alarm screaming, with its bright red oil warning light glowing. Not good!

Once John was in the engine hole, it was obvious all the 6 litres of oil had spewed out into the container under the engine! Frantic, we wondered what had happened. The filter product number was checked against the old one: and yes that was exactly the right filter. Perhaps the new filter was faulty? John had bought 3 filters, and 10 litres of oil when he was at the motor factors, so he tried another filter. The filter’s gasket was lubricated with petroleum gel before screwing on the filter. John poured in the remaining 4 litres of oil, then started up the engine, and was annoyed to find that filter was spewing out oil too (think another litre of oil was lost).

Head scratching… think we’d best put the old filter back on. At this point the problem dawned. The used oil filter didn’t have it’s gasket attached. What had happened; the old gasket was left in place, while the new gasket and filter was screwed on top of it = the filter now had 2 gaskets, where the oil had leaked out.

John spent 3 hours this morning (penance I’d say) mopping up 7 litres of new oil from under the engine. All of the disposable nappies bought for the purpose of catching oil drips while changing oil have now been used.

Luckily, today we’ve had wall-to-wall sunshine since 9:00 am., and thanks to the 3 solar panels on the roof, the batteries have been on ‘float’ for most of the day so the engine hasn’t had to be run.

Tomorrow we’ve got an appointment with Springwood Haven Marina, where we’ll buy more oil to top up the engine. At the moment we think the engine has about 3 litres of oil, half of the 6 litres it takes.

Luckily we’ve only got a short journey to go, before Cyan gets her oil!

What have we learnt today:

a) to make sure the old oil filter gasket doesn’t get left behind, best use a mirror on a stick to double check

b) buy enough oil, and pampers, just in case there’s a problem

c) it’s a good idea to do a DIY oil change midweek and within walking distance of a chandlers.

d) it doesn’t do any good to panic!

We’ve got our fingers crossed for tomorrow, hoping Cyan passes  her safety certificate inspection.

BTW environment note; not a drop of oil from Cyan reached the canal (thank goodness).