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!

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