Friday, 27 March 2015

The long "summer" cruise begins with a short hop to Stoke Bruerne after a minor plumbing problem. We encounter a complete shambles.

We arrived at the boat yesterday afternoon to prepare to begin our extended cruise. We plan to be on board for six months, with the occasional return to our house (to collect post, mow the lawn and satisfy the conditions of our house insurance).

Since we were last on board, at the end of January, I had been slightly worried that I hadn't switched off the gas and electrics. I knew I'd switched off the water and drained down the shower mixer taps, and I'd left a thermostatically controlled fan heater in the cabin to prevent things freezing up too much. I was relieved to find Jubilee as we'd left it - with the (not un-pleasant) "boat smell" to welcome us!

When I switched on the electrics for the water pump, though, the pump made a strange noise, higher in pitch than the usual vibration, and nothing came out of the taps. Oh dear. Had the water pump failed? Fortunately I had a new one still in its box on board, so I read the instructions while Ally and Ben fed us at their house. Back at the boat after the meal I lifted the mattress out of the way (the water pump is situated under the bed) and had another look before actually doing anything. The first thing I noticed was that the new replacement was a different make from the one installed. Hmm. Then I checked yet again that I'd actually opened the stop cocks either side of the strainer under the well deck. I'd already checked twice.

Well, what do you know? One of the stop cocks was still closed! I opened this and switched on the pump. Still the same ineffectual noise and no water. Ah - but I'd also closed the stop cocks either side of the water pump. I opened these and - yes! - water came out of the cold tap.

There was still a problem with the hot side, though. Nothing came out of any hot tap. When I checked in the engine room, where the calorifier is situated, I heard a thin trickling water sound coming from inside the calorifier. From this I deduced that there was rather more air there than desirable. But how was I to get the air out and water in? First I exercised the pressure relief thingy on top of the calorifier. When I did this there was a hiss as air moved - but was it going in or coming out? I had no idea. After a lot of water pump operation and a bit of fiddling with the pressure relief thing the system eventually built up pressure and the pump cut out.

Hooray! Water now came out of the hot tap! I could, at last, switch on the immersion heater - and wash my hands. At least we had been able to fill a kettle - one of the advantages of a marina mooring.

But now we have a marina mooring no longer. I untied from our berth at 1520 ...

... and here is where we were.

Earlier today I drove from Thrupp Wharf Marina to Fazeley, where we'll be in a few days; parked up; and got the train back to Wolverton from where I cycled to the marina. I was glad I'd gone the whole way on the good old A5 - when the train crossed the M1 near Northampton the northbound carriageway was at a standstill.

The nearest station to Fazeley is Wilnecote. As I had time to spare I had a little look round, and spotted this former Mines Rescue Station (on the A5 Watling Street).

Now I know this is old hat to lots of you, but today I saw - and heard - my first lambs of the year; by the canal at Grafton Regis.

After sharing the first five locks at Stoke Bruerne with Thump we tied up in the Long Pound and went for a two-for-£10 meal at the Navigation. We then wandered across to The Boat for another drink in a "proper" pub, and ended up with a Complete Shambles. This is an ice cream/cream/toffee/Mars Bar/chocolate confection which looked very enticing on the menu. I won't have it again. The atmosphere in The Boat was good, though. We chatted to a couple who had just been served the most enormous bowl of delicious-looking chips.

Tomorrow we intend to get to Bugbrooke or Weedon. The weather is not looking good: rain and wind. Today we had lots of sunshine which made up for the chilly breeze.


Nev Wells said...

Hi John,

At last.....the cruise begins, I look forward to some vicarious cruising 😄


Andrew Tidy said...

By strange coincidence I was struggling with lack of hot water this week and also identified air in the calorifier so also fiddled with the "pressure release thingy" and was also unsure if I was letting air in or out. In the end I heard water overflowing into the cut so assumed all air was gone. All working well now as we continue our three week stay on the boat.

David Lomas said...

Have a god trip, we shall be following your blog all the way. Best wishes from Juliet & David

Halfie said...

Nev, oh yes. If you happen to know where we might be going, perhaps you could let us know.

Andy, that is, indeed, a coincidence. Did you also hear a curious tinny trickling water sound from within the calorifier? Glad it's sorted now.

David and Juliet, thanks for your comments. I hope there will be sufficient of interest!