Monday 23 December 2019

Back for Christmas

There is always a bit of apprehension when we return to the boat after a break back home in case something disastrous has happened (not an unrealistic fear after previous experiences!) We drove up from Cornwall yesterday, leaving after early church so that, even with a couple of breaks on the way, we turned into the marina entrance just after 1 o'clock.

As always we checkout all the systems, turning on everything that should be turned on. However, on this occasion, alarms were ringing even before we opened the main door as, checking the electric supply meter we found that it had run out! (Still not quite sure why as we thought we had left enough credit) However, once inside we quickly established that the solar panels had been doing a great job and the battery was reported as 98% charged! Christine quickly bought some more cards from the marina office and we added credit back to our hookup.

Apart from a not unanticipated leak of rain down the flue (it had shown signs of doing this on our last trip and this is one of the items high on our to-do list) the boat was in pretty good shape and soon warmed up.

We unloaded from the car, fulled with water, and stowed away what we had brought with us and breathed a sigh of relief! The evening was helped by having brought our meal with us which Mike cooked a few days before we left.

Today we rose in reasonable time as we needed to do a 'big shop' at Morrisons - this meant not having to bring quite as much in the car, leaving room for several nets of logs from our good quality local supplier.

We were out of kindling so an early task today we to chop up some of the wood brought from home, cut to the right length, left over from when we had our decking repaired a year or so ago.

We also were low on diesel so we cruised from one end of the marina to the other - alas someone nearer had just beaten us to it so we had to hover whilst they were filled up before we could pull alongside and do likewise! Getting back onto the mooring was a bit tricky as the wind had strengthened again - it was otherwise a very pleasant morning - and it took two attempts to judge the strength correctly. The wind was blowing side on when lined up to the mooring. It was necessary to approach at quite an angle so that when blow around it was aligned. It can be quite a surprise to discover just how quickly the boat turns on open water in a strong wind!

The supermarket was heaving and the aisles chock-a-block as customers tried to empty the shelves and the staff were just as quickly re-stocking them! The fruit and veg section had been laid out a little differently, we think in order to cram more stuff on the floor space!

By the time we made it back to the boat it was lunch time. After that, Christine made a batch of soup for later in the week whilst Mike prepared a stew for tonight.

We debated whether to return into town for a few items that we did not include in our raid on Morrisons but when Mike went to look for the boat key (so that Christine could bring in more solid fuel for the stove from the front deck) he found that it had broken off in the lock at the back! This happened to us last year as well. (We now know why it happens and will have to take precautions in future) It was by now almost four o'clock but as Mike extracted the lock barrel and also the broken key from it, Christine established that we would have to go to the northern edge of Worcester to get a replacement cut.

Timpsons is alongside a large Tesco and were extremely efficient. The chap had almost finished cutting two new keys by the time Mike had parked the car - it was very much a day for 'hunt the space' in supermarket car parks! Full marks to Timpsons.

There was still time to pop across to Halfords on the large Blackpole retail park for a replacement head torch - the previous one had finally opted to go on permanent strike after playing up the last few times it has been used.

Spoke too soon! Just after posting the above, the automatic bilge pump in the engine bay came on and stayed on. Checked the bilges and there was almost nothing to pump out so something not right. In the past we have had this happen when the pump sucks some leaves or other detritus through its coarse filter but we soon ruled that out even after removing a few leaves from around the inlet. After some considerable effort - not helped because the electric feed and outlet pipe were well restrained to the engine bearers! But then we could not work out how to remove the electric wires from the pump - surely it is not permanently wired in? At that point we were forced to draw stumps for the day - hopefully there will not be a sudden inrush of eater through the stern tube overnight! Perhaps we can find some information later in our box of manufacturer's instructions. The engine bay is so cramped that doing anything in there requires either a limbo dancer or a very small person - neither of which we aspire to!

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