Sunday 26 September 2021

Cathedral and Water Loss

 We were aiming to get to the cathedral in good time for the main 11 am service. It takes around 30 minutes to walk there, if no wrong turnings are taken so we gave ourselves plenty of time.

After Mike had made tea, been to the bathroom and dressed, Christine thought that there was still just enough time to do a load of washing so she filled and started the machine. Just as she too was heading to the bathroom she could hear that the water pump was running continuously so she switched the machine off, thinking that its rinse cycle was a problem.

At this point we noticed that the gauge for the water tank was showing EMPTY! Since we filled it to 2/3 last night this was a a real puzzle. Had someone left the tap on? We had not heard the pump running until now so that seemed unlikely.

Mike filled the tank to the brim this time hoping that this would help but we ran out of time to investigate further as it was time to leave for the cathedral.

At least we knew the route - much the same as before but we checked out the final part yesterday on our way back. This time we had no unexpected diversions - aka wrong turns - and arrived with 16 minutes to spare! We were amongst the earliest arrivals.

We were made very welcome - by the time the service started there were around 50 people in the congregation and a dozen in the choir. The service was led by the Dean and the Canon Missioner preached - it was Safeguarding Sunday and he dealt with the subject carefully but clearly setting the agenda locally for much improved responses to survivors than has sadly been the track record of the Church of England in the past.

It was a well presented service and we were glad to have been able to be there.

In the churchyard we were amused by this grave - the stone reads, "Entrance to C Rowley's Vault" - as if anyone goes looking for the way in!

On the way back we were a little surprised just how quiet the central open spaces were.

Back at the boat it was straight to get changed to to investigate. Initially we thought that it was a problem with the pump or the adjacent accumulator (which maintains pressure in the water system) but there was nothing we could see nor anything from the instruction booklet to suggest things we could do without specialist equipment.

We were pleased that the tank gauge still showed FULL so we then switched the pump back on to see whether it could pressurise the system but alas the pump just kept running. Normally it takes just a few seconds.

We then realised that gauge was now down to almost half. Where had the water gone? We looked all around the cabins and cupboards but could see nothing strange. We then thought to look in the engine bay and found that the bilges were full of excess water. A least we knew where it had gone.

We carefully tried the pump again and immediately spotted water spurting out from the complex piping around the calorifier. Eventually he leak was tracked to a joint which had come completely apart but it is right behind most of the other pipes so difficult to see and reach. However it seems to be just a push fit connection (perhaps it should be something else?)and Mike managed to reconnect the joint at least temporarily. A quick test showed that the pump now reset the pressure as quickly as normal. Time for lunch!

Later, a check showed that all was holding for the moment. (It was the red pipe coming in from the top that was the problem) We made several attempts to find a mobile engineer but, as we suspected, getting help where we are is not going to be easy. We may have to wait until we return and can take the boat to the nearest available boatyard engineer.

We then pumped and mopped out the bilges - there was a LOT of water. We have been puzzled for about a year why one side of the bilges keeps filling with water whilst the other is quite dry. On the other hand, we dried it out a couple of weeks ago and it remained so until this morning. Perhaps it is had been an intermittent leak that at last failed completely?  By the time all of this was done Mike needed time to recover from bending himself into the confines of the engine bay  -he cannot do much anyway! So, the plans for doing one or two other tasks on the boat have had to be deferred yet again.

Whilst we have not been able to effect a permanent repair, at least we can leave with some explanation for the loss of water. It would have been difficult if we went back home completely foxed. 

Later update: around 9:30, just as Vigil on BBC1 was reaching its climax, we heard the pump running again. A check in the engine bay showed that water was again leaking, not as badly as last time but enough to prevent further use of the pump. We filled as many kettles, pans etc as we could find. No shower but at least we could have a cup of tea and a wash.

The situation is now stable with the main tank isolated and the water level in the calorifier below that of the leak, This means that, as we are going home tomorrow for a short while, we can consider the options for a repair, but they are no so easy in the middle of Birmingham.

1 comment:

  1. Is that St Philip's? I remember the entrance to the vault! We visited a couple of years ago when the interior (of the cathedral, not the vault!) was being restored. We were able to have a fairly good look at the stained glass, which was fabulous. I'm not sure they were able to have proper services. Also in the churchard is the memorial to the people klled in the Birmingham bombings.
    Best wishes, Debby