Waking Up In A Cold Boat

Did we missed the fire this morning! We let the fire go out yesterday so we could re-position the baffle that fell down in the stove after a bit of a hard bump Cyan received while manoeuvring around an obstacle.

After starting up the central heating boiler, it was hardly worth going back to bed, so consequently we had an early start to the day. The weather looked promising, hardly a breath of breeze, a very welcome change.

This morning we cruised to our planned spot, which was just before Springwood Haven Marina. Passing the tree I mentioned in an earlier post, that’s full of catkins. This time the camera was to hand so I could capture the sight:

Just love the thought that maybe, just maybe, nature is starting to stir.

It was also good to feel a bit of warmth from the sun on our backs for a change.

But the best bit of the day; was hearing a thrush singing his very best song from a branch next to the Coventry. In fact there were quite a few birds singing, probably they’re delighted to be out and about after hiding from the fierce winds we’ve recently experienced.

We had a short break from our cruise while I popped into Sainsburys for some fresh milk, bread and a packet of disposable baby’s nappies. Think I’d better clarify what the nappies are for ūüôā , John requested the nappies for the purpose of mopping up any spilt oil from the oil change he’s about to do. He’s now got enough ‘nappies’ to last him for umpteen oil changes, over several years!

We were concerned with a large amount of diesel on a part of the canal. Concern started to be further aroused after we passed a moored boat that was listing rather badly, it looked like there were no sign of life on board, though there were bags of coal on the roof. Beyond this boat, there were also a lot of diesel spillage in the water. (A quick email was sent to CRT to put my mind at rest, so now it’s up to CRT to decide whether it’s ‘something or nothing’.)

We moored just in time before a sharp shower of rain. After a cup of coffee, and a couple of freshly bought donuts, we set too to sort out the stove. I stayed inside Cyan, removing the baffle, and fire bricks, before I wrapped the stove with an old towel to keep any soot/dust inside the stove. John was outside in the rain, giving the flue and the chimney a good brushing (no more than a 10 minute job). After a good cleanup, inside and outside of Cyan, the stove once again has a roaring fire!

While in the ‘mood’ John mended the eco fan; he managed to banish the infuriating ‘tick tick tick’ as the blades spin round.

Cruised To Hawkesbury Junction, And Then Back…

Woke rather late this morning; it’s probable we were catching up on the sleepless night we had the night before, thanks to Storm Eleanor.

After the fire was sorted, tea brewing in the teapot, and John still with his head under the duvet, Rusty and I wrapped up warm for a short walk. The weather was dry, and breezy, with a wind coming (uncharacteristically for a January), from the South/West. When we got back, John was up and dressed, he’d made the bed, and had a mug of tea waiting for me (bless him).

Re our fridge saga, during a phone call, and a haggle, to Springwood Haven Marina yesterday, they agreed to meet the price for a new fridge as offered by Ely Boat Chandlers. So to cut a longish story short; on Monday we’ve to be in Springwood Haven to have the fridge exchanged for a new one, and to have the ‘gas flow’ adjusted on our new cooker.

Springwood Haven have also arranged for Cyan to undergo an inspection/survey for a¬†‘Boat Safety Scheme’ certificate. As Springwood Haven have done most of the refurbishments, and renovations¬†on Cyan, it makes sense to be ‘on the spot’, just in case the examiner comes across a problem.

Today, after breakfast, seeing the wind had died down, and the weather forecast looked favourable, we upped mooring chains and made for Hawkesbury Junction to avail ourselves of the services there. Our rubbish was now three bags deep, and the Elsan services would soon be getting urgent.

Before we left, I had a quick look at the water tank gauge, and was slightly concerned to find the tank almost empty. Have we used that much water? Surely we couldn’t have a leak, or we’d have heard the bilge pump working, or would we??? Shudder the thought!

Would you know it, as soon as we set off the wind picked up! Why on earth do we trust the weather forecasts? Still, we were wrapped up warm, which of course made the journey pleasant. The wind was against us, and Cyan’s engine was working rather hard, every now and again I got a whiff of hot engine oil.

Steering Cyan was rather testing, and concentration was needed to avoid the branches and dross ‘Storm Eleanor’ had dumped into the canal.¬† Just as we were approaching Hawkesbury, we came across this clump of branches obstructing the navigation. I can’t bring myself to call the obstruction ‘a tree’, but it might well have been for the problem it caused.

John increased Cyan’s speed a little, then he cut off the propeller, and steered her around the fallen branches, letting Cyan’s momentum carry her over. The wind was fierce, and pushed Cyan against the armco.¬† After passing the weir, Cyan was eventually encouraged by John who was pushing her bow from the towpath, to get back into the middle of the canal. (We reported the problem to CRT).

Our first stop was to fill Cyan’s water tank. The water flow from the waterpoint’s tap is very slow here, so we were prepared for a long wait as the water gauge had registered the tank empty. There was nothing for it but to have a cup of warming tea. After I’d drank my tea, I looked at the gauge to see how much water we needed, but found the needle hadn’t moved, the gauge still registered empty. John checked the electric fuse switch which works the water pump and the gauge, and all looked to be in order. A short rap on the gauge’s glass moved the needle to ‘a quarter full’.¬† Five seconds later, water started overflowing from the tank; the tank was full, yet the gauge’s only registering quarter full – conclusion: the gauge is faulty.¬† This isn’t a big problem, it’s more of an inconvenience, although we’ll need to have a think at how to solve the faulty gauge.

Once the hoses were stored away, we left the waterpoint, and cruised towards the services. The rubbish point was absolutely full at Hawkesbury, there was hardly room to dump our rubbish. It was full of what we’d think ‘non-boater rubbish’, eg., Christmas trees, loads of empty boxes, and ‘stuff’ – John didn’t want to do too much ‘inspecting’.

While we were filling with water and using the services, three boats passed us, including Auriga the fuel boat. Good we thought, the branches from the obstruction might have broken up a bit more.

With everything ‘done’, John winded (turned) Cyan around, and we were back on our way to Gypsy Lane.

Getting around the obstruction was just as difficult, and this time Cyan was bumped hard against the towpath.

The wind was not for letting up. By the time we passed the entrance to the Ashby, daylight was fading.

We eventually moored at about 4:00 pm., with the wind howling.

Tomorrow we’re making for the bridge just before Springwood Haven for the weekend.

When Cyan was bumped, the baffle in the stove fell down. We’ll let the fire go out tonight, and take the opportunity to sweep the chimney while the baffle is placed back into its position – hope this wont take too long as the weather forecast (if they are to be believed) says it’s going to turn cold again at the weekend. Don’t worry about us being cold, we’ve got 5 radiators to ‘play with’, running from a diesel boiler.

This is also a good time for John to give Cyan an oil and filter change.

After a good tidy up on Sunday, we should be ready for ‘inspection’ and a brand new fridge on Monday!

Oh Bother! It’s A Blustery Day!

What a night last night. There were no sleeping through Storm Eleanor for us, not from where we’re moored on the Coventry. We were glad to be tied up tightly, though I did have the horrors that the armco might gave way, and we’d be buried into the reeds by a strong gust of wind!

Lying in bed, and wondering if the canopy at the stern would be ripped apart, wasn’t very comforting. So I passed the time reading the #StormEleanor hashtag on Twitter. Some of the comments were very amusing, although in the main people appeared to be more worried about their rubbish bins being dumped in their neighbour’s gardens.

Waking up this morning, it appears we’ve been spared a catastrophe. Our thoughts are with other boaters, hoping people remembered not to moor under trees.

With wind still buffeting our boat, we were surprised to hear the sound of an approaching narrow boat! Cruising slowly towards us, tacking into the wind was a lone boater. We nervously watched as he came nearer hoping the wind would not crash him into CYAN. He came close, but not that close, and with a cheery wave he powered past. Either an ‘expert’ skipper on a mission to deliver a hire boat, or Eddy the Eagles’ brother!

On New Year’s Eve we stayed up to see in 2018. At 11.55 pm we took ourselves up on deck, under the canopy, to herald in the New Year. We could see a light shining behind us, along the towpath, but curiously the light suddenly stopped moving. At first we considered it strange, which consequently made us a tad nervous. Eventually the light came closer, until it was close enough to see a man pushing a motorbike, the bike’s light was shining. We’d a feeling that we’d ‘scared’ each other! A cheery shout ‘Happy New Year’ made the man smile a little. New Year was welcomed into Cyan with a bottle of Cava, while listening to Big Ben on the radio.

Nuneaton people know how to celebrate; we had a great view of around 8 firework displays from our vantage point on Cyan.

This morning we received an email from C&RT, reminding us our 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. If your boat needs work to meet the requirements, you will have time to correct the issues and get your boat re-examined.

To get the BSS examiner of your choice, you should make your booking now, as they could have a waiting list. You can view all Boat Safety Scheme requirements relevant to your boat, and get details of all examiners operating in your area at¬†www.boatsafetyscheme.org “

This is something we’ve chatted to the folks at Springwood Haven Marina about, and consequently we understand they use the services of an examiner from the Ashby Boat Hire Co., we might be able to book a slot with them before we venture toward Hillmorton Lock.

Regarding our fridge, we’ve emailed Springwood Haven Marina asking for their best price for a¬†FF2022¬†¬†12v fridge freezer, they emailed back saying they’re phoning round to get a good price for us. The best price we could find on the internet is Ely Boat Chandlers at¬†¬£529.99¬†(inc VAT). We’ve got to think about having our old one disposed of. Sad really because the fridge/freezer works perfectly well on shore power.

While cooking Christmas lunch, I (think) discovered a glitch with the new gas cooker we had installed last month, it appears the oven switches off, or goes cooler, if I start to cook the vegetable on the hob. It’s taken a while to come to this conclusion as I kept thinking it was something I’d done, like accidentally knocking a switch, or moving the hob lid by accident, and activating the safety gas cut off. Springwood Haven will take a look at the gas regulator when we visit, it could be set too low.

All ‘chores’ to do… but we’re in no rush, and we’re definitely not moving today.

Stay safe everyone!