Sunday 29th August 2010
To get down to the IWA Festival in time for the Boaters' Christian Festival service at 1030 meant an early start. We got under way at 0600. Early enough? We certainly beat the power coming on at Day's Lock. This meant hand winding the hydraulic gear - hard work! Mind you, at least the power didn't come on part-way through the operation as it did at Osney Lock on Wednesday on our way up.
Then, with the boat in the lock, before we had a chance to open the top gates, the power came on at 0700, and we had to go through the entire procedure of raising the top gate sluices again. This being a timed operation, we could do nothing while the sluices lifted a little, waited a long time, then lifted a little more, waited another long time, then lifted fully. And all this time the lock was full!
No such problems today, as we cleared Day's Lock by 0655. The only slight awkwardness was caused by a rowing race at Wallingford. I bet they didn't expect boaters to be about at 0800 on a Sunday morning!
Then, at 1000, a sight to gladden our hearts.
After two weeks, and two propeller fittings, at last, the northernmost boats moored up at Beale Park. All we had to do was keep going until we came to S10, and simply tie up on the outside. We were designated the outside (F) mooring anyway, so that was fine. That was done quickly, and we had a warm welcome from the harbourmaster who knew all about our little difficulties; then it was a quick visit to the Waterspace office to collect our wristbands and information pack - then we could dash to the food marquee for the service. 1020. We'd made it!
I suggested to David Litchfield, who had a hand in organising the service, that Jan could speak for a few minutes about the problems we'd had in getting there, and about how God had provided help at all the right times. This was gladly accepted, and, as you can imagine, people were hanging on every word as Jan described what happened!
The rest of the day all seemed rather busy. I talked over what had happened with the rescue service, who had a stand at the festival, and their chief engineer came to the boat and adjusted the engine alignment. He did this by "feel": adjusting the engine mounting nuts until the prop shaft seemed to run more freely (checking by turning it by hand). While he was there he also bled some water from the bottom of the fuel filter. This was very easy to do: just slightly loosen off a 10mm nut under the filter casing to let a thin stream of liquid out into a container; when this ran pure diesel just retighten. He advised doing that every fortnight. (That's every fortnight of cruising, presumably!) Earlier that morning the engine revs had suddenly dropped and returned to their original level, doing it a couple of times. This, evidently, was caused by water getting into the fuel line. I suppose the sloshing about on the tideway a week earlier had allowed some of the water sitting at the bottom of the tank to get into the filter; this was now getting into the engine. After Trevor had bled off the water we had no more trouble.
I also helped David Litchfield prepare his boat Kew for that evening's illuminated boat procession. The theme was "the Rolt years": David had suspended LTC Rolt's dates on giant letters over the boat. These would be lit by a couple of floodlights. Spot the deliberate mistake (don't worry - it was corrected before the procession)!
I was on "bow fender duty" on Kew for the procession itself, and got very cold sitting there waiting to let a tyre fender down when necessary (which was about once only). Jan was singing with the band in the hold.
We got back at about 2330. A long day!
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