After two weeks of no apparent progress with Jubilee at the boatyard it's suddenly all done. And I have picked up the boat and cruised it back to Milton Keynes. Ally had driven over to Norfolk to pay us a swift visit, and I get a lift back with her to MK; Ben then drove me to Gayton so I could board the boat last night.
The boatyard had helpfully moved the boat further along the Northampton Arm - had it still been at the boatyard I wouldn't have been able to access it as they are closed until Monday morning.
There is now a small, very neat, circular hole in the floor at the back of the cabin under the step. It's about 2.5" diameter, and it's plugged with the original wood from the hole, if you see what I mean. That had to be done in order to suck out all the water which had collected in the bilge. I don't know why it hadn't made its way through to the bilge pump under the stern gland. Anyway, I'm assured that a leak was found and is now fixed. It was from the first radiator of the run. Last night I checked the level in the central heating header tank - on the max line - and switched it on. So nice to have reasonably instantaneous heat throughout the boat!
I've left the hole uncovered for now as it's still rather damp and smelly down there. I have an old computer fan with me which I'll try to rig up to force a bit of ventilation.
On my way back to MK I stopped off at Blisworth to pick up the shaft (boat pole) which I last saw floating at the bottom of Stoke Bruerne Top Lock. Fellow boater Martin from nb Purity had very kindly fished it out for me two weeks ago (while I cycled to Wolverton to catch a train) and had been looking after it on top of his boat. He is now a bottle of wine up on the deal.
My progress down the locks was much quicker and more enjoyable than the passage up a fortnight ago - the presence of daylight in today's trip certainly helped! Going down locks single-handed is quicker anyway, as it's easy to haul the boat out of the lock and close the gate while still holding the centre line.
OK - that will do for today. Photos will have to wait until I get home. Now I must book my train ticket...
Con-stern-ation* - It goes without saying that Tortoise is a strange boat, and not least in the nether regions. The prop shafts slopes downwards, river-style (there's a bloo...
10 minutes ago