Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The generosity of fellow boaters; and is it art?

I don't know what made me do it, but I asked Jan to look up what the engine hours reading was when we last filled up with diesel. We were just approaching Newlay Locks on our way to Leeds. Subtracting the figure Jan gave me from the reading currently being displayed gave the worrying result that we'd done 89 hours since Scarisbrick Marina where we filled up 16 days ago. Given that an analysis of last year's cruising stats told me that we use about 1.25 litres per hour I concluded that our 100 litre tank must be very empty indeed.

At the bottom of the locks I dipped the tank. Only about an inch of dipstick came out wet. Oops. Well, at least we hadn't run out in a hazardous situation, but I kicked myself for not checking before it got to this stage, especially as we had passed a boatyard at Rodley three miles ago.

I emptied the ten litres of emergency diesel from the jerry can into the tank and got the bike out ready to cycle back to Rodley to get some more. I'd calculated that those ten litres should be just about enough to get us to Stanley Ferry, the next diesel opportunity on our route, but it would have been touch and go.

Before I had a chance to figure out how I was going to strap the jerry can to my bike, though, I was approached by a woman from a wide beam which had come down the locks. She asked me if we were all right, as the lockie at Forge Locks had been expecting us but we hadn't turned up. When I explained the problem she immediately offered me some diesel from their boat's store. I thanked her for the offer and explained that it really wasn't a problem for me to cycle three miles to get diesel and three miles back again, but she insisted and one of the men on board hauled out a 5 gallon drum of diesel and a shaky (in that you shake the end to get it going) siphon tube. OK, that's very kind. They transferred ten litres of the red liquid into my can, thus saving me an hour or so of trying to balance a heavy, unwieldy can on my bike.

We were flabbergasted, though, when they refused to take any payment! We tried as hard as we could, but they said that we would be helping other boaters in the future, and other boaters would help them, so they weren't bothered. Thank you, all three of you, but especially the woman with the bright red hair. I don't know your names, nor even the name of your boat, but I shall look out for you.

They did say that they would be stopping in Leeds, but they were not at Granary Wharf when we got there, and the trip boat said that they had passed them heading down the Aire and Calder. Before we parted, at Forge Locks, Jan promised to donate the money to the Waterways Chaplains; the red-haired woman was very pleased at that.

Trip report: We tied up in Granary Wharf, Leeds after another mostly rainy day. As we came into Leeds I saw a strange sign on a wall, upside down and back-to-front.

I had worked out that it was something to do with the remains of a wooden icebreaker but it was only when I held a mirror to the screen that I realised what it was for. When you look at the sign's reflection in the water it makes sense.

"The remains of a wooden icebreaker lie submerged", it reads on the surface of the water. Clever. But I hadn't been quick enough to get a better shot without the weeds in the way. Is it an artwork? Is there really a submerged icebreaker there? I might have to go back tomorrow to find out.


Steve Parkin said...


Interesting and heart-warming story about diesel supply.

I posted about the Leeds Icebreaker sign a few years ago. You are on the right lines - you will find that it is the responsibility of artist Roger Palmer.


Have a safe journey, Steve

Halfie said...

Thanks Steve.

Alan Stevenson said...

It was our pleasure to help you out and it was really nice to meet you. The wine went down very well.

Halfie said...

You're welcome, Alan. Thanks again.