Thursday, 16 October 2014

Back on board the shrinking boat, and an encounter with "grease bug"

We drove to Milton Keynes yesterday, having called in at both sets of parents in Essex on the way. It was good to be back on Jubilee. There were no surprises, unless you count the absence of leaks a surprise. Before leaving the boat almost three weeks ago I ran some silicone sealant around one more window frame from which the occasional drip had emerged in the past.

The boat has started its annual contraction, leading to doors needing more effort to close. Do all steel-cabined boats do this? I assume it's a combination of the steel shrinking slightly with the cooler temperatures and the woodwork expanding slightly with the increased dampness.

We cruised to Galleon Wharf in Old Wolverton today, but returned to the marina this evening just before dark. We have to be back as we're helping on a Canal Clean-up day tomorrow; and then Jan has a Boaters' Christian Fellowship committee meeting to attend on Saturday. We would rather have been on a towpath mooring, but it's easier to be where the car is without a lot of shuffling.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's clean-up: we're doing the section of the GU from Fenny Stratford Lock to The Globe at Linslade. I don't really know what to expect as I haven't done it before, but I imagine there will be a certain amount of grappling hook lobbing and hauling out of the usual ferrous detritus. I understand that there will be some vegetation tidying too.

Before pootling down the cut today I cleaned out the engine bilge and the bilge under the stern gland. The former was straightforward; I used the top half of a plastic four pint milk container - the part with the handle - to scoop out the water/oil, then finished off with an old sponge. I put the drainings into more old milk containers. The bilge under the stern gland was rather more difficult to clean. There seemed to be a skin on top of the rusty water and, indeed, there was. It was disgusting. I was able to pull up great goopy strands of a jelly-like substance. Was this some form of bug gone mad? There was a certain amount of oil there from the grease exuded from the stern gland - were conditions right for grease bug? There was no way I was going to get the stuff on my camera, so no photos, unfortunately.

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