Tuesday 22 November 2022


We drove over to the boat last Thursday to stay a couple of nights before continuing to Rugby for a national meeting of Waterways Chaplains.

We arrived in time for a late lunch after which Mike set about trying to fit one of the cupboard stays he has bought with the idea of making it easier to access the spaces under the rear steps. All three steps are used for space that is needed quite frequently - the top one has rubbish bins, the middle one our non-perishable foods (ie tins) (there is enough in there to survive for about a couple of months without visiting a shop!) and the bottom one has a variety but most important the lock keys and lump hammer for mooring pins.

He carefully read the layout instructions, measured the location of both ends and, with the bit of contortion always needed when working on or in a boat, drilled holes for the screws. Alas, he found that although he though that they had been advertised for this application, all of the instructions are for a situation such as our overhead locker in the main bedroom where the flap its lifted up and returns to the horizontal. There is room for the stay to fit within the steps but not in a way that all of the instructions assume - the space is deeper than wide. After some considerable time, and too many now useless drilled holes, he was forced o concede defeat, at least for now. Not and especially happy bunny, and it was now dark.

Next day, whilst Christine was cleaning and sorting what needed to be taken back home until next season, Mike set about cleaning and polishing the outside. We had brought from home our Karcher and polisher, normally used for the car. After a wash of the roof by hand to remove what he thought was most of the dirt (roughened surfaces are very difficult to get really clean) he set up the pressure washer and soon found how much more dirt could be removed! No doubt there is still plenty left engrained but it was looking so much better by late morning.

By this time, Christine had taken the car into town for some shopping but Mike forgot to take the polisher out before she left! Instead, when he had finished washing and shampooing the port side, next to the pontoon, he turned to another end of season task - drying out bilges and lockers where rain can occasionally intrude as well as trying to make sure the drainage channels and holes were clear.

It was now time for another late lunch and then to polish the first side with Craftmaster Carnuba Wax. Not brave enough to attempt doing the other side whilst standing on the gunnel, the boat had to be turned around. Getting back onto the pontoon was made harder by the wind which increased just in time to challenge us!

The sun was fast dropping towards the horizon by the time the other side was washed and polished so we immediately turned the boat back again to its normal mooring direction - stern to the bank. This time, with still a strong wind, we judged it better and came straight into the slot - our neighbours were on board so we did not want to bash them too hard!

Alas (?) by now it was almost dark so there was no time to do more than pack up, leaving the front and stern decks to some other time. Shame!

On Saturday morning we drained off the water tank, the main winterisation task. We set off in good time - the meeting was at 11 in the centre of Rugby and we had to sort out parking. Not long after starting on the motorway we were warned that the M40 (which was our route to Rugby) was closed at junction 3A with the M42 north. We learned later that a lorry had crashed through the barrier during the night but it did add around an hour to our journey time, compounded by not taking the best exit at the M6 intersection and finding the satnav directing us back along the way we had just come for a bit. At least we managed to arrive in time for a very quick coffee (and pastry!) before the meeting proper was due to start.

The journey back home was all in the dark. Unlike the Google route we had been anticipating, the TomTom in-car satnav took us along the Fosse Way and thence down to Swindon rather than via Marlborough. It seemed to take forever but was not much longer than the time we expected, just over two hours. It made us realise that we have not done much night driving since the start of the pandemic.