Wednesday 31 October 2012

Slight change of plan

Grindley Brook bridge 28 to Swanley Bridge Marina : 10 miles, 9 locks, 3 lift bridges
Total to date : 86 miles, 40 locks, 20 lift bridges, 6 tunnels, 6 aqueducts
In the drink to date : Elly's phone charge (retrieved - it floated!), Mick's sunglasses, hearth brush, mooring thingie (retrieved with sea searcher)

Last night we had an email from Roger (Crown Narrowboats) who built nb Parisien Star.  We'd asked him if he would do some work for us, cutting back the radiator in the saloon so Mick could fit a solid fuel stove.  We also have more questions for when we see him! Roger said he had other commitments coming in and could we meet him at Middlewich for Friday.  Hmmmm.... get out the canal guides.... get on the laptop.... how many hours a day will it take us to get there if we cruise every day.... well..... seems we can do it.  So we scrapped our plan of only cruising a couple of hours a day, and of visiting Nantwich before making our way to Middlewich (lot's of "wiches" isn't there!).  Now we'll cruise 4-5 hours a day until Thursday and hopefully we'll be moored up at Middlewich Thursday night.

I started typing this blog at lunchtime as we made our way towards the end of the Llangollen Canal.  We had intended to moor up just before the 4 locks that are right at the end and take a walk to the ice cream shop!  Don't the best laid plans always go awry.

As we were doing the Swanley locks Mick said to wait before emptying the lock so he could dart inside to use the loo.  Oh no.... a loo disaster... the macerator pump isn't going.  We got in a bit of a panic.  What should we do?  We knew the Swanley Bridge Marina was just on from the locks so we decided to moor up and if we couldn't find a resolution ourselves we'd go the marina for help.  We read the trouble shooting guide, rang Roger, tried everything we could think of.  Mick was so frustrated.  He can fix this type of thing himself so easily in a house but everything's so different on a boat! We decided we'd move across the canal to the marina and ask for help.

They were very helpful and came out to discuss the problem.  They decided they'd have a go at pumping it out again.  A whole lot of messing around later - the loo expert fellow had to go off and do something else in the middle of all this - and we were still no better off.  It was nearly 4pm by now so we decided we'd pay to stay the night in the marina.  The loo fellow said he'd come back after his little job and have another look.

We hooked up to shoreline, turned on the fan heater, plugged in every electrical appliance that could be charged, dug out the electric kettle and toaster and settled in.  I went over to the marina office with the books I'd bought at the charity shop and finished reading and swapped them in the marina's little library.  It's actually a very nice marina.

Another very helpful Roger (this one on call at the marina) returned about 5pm and diagnosed a blocked loo.  I don't want to know how the problem was resolved (it involved a pair of kitchen gloves) but it's working again!  Yippeee!!! 

And another bit of excitement for the day was Mick dropping one of the mooring hook thingies into the drink.  We remembered that when we sorted through all the stuff that came with the boat there was one of those "sea searcher" magnets on a string.  Mick dug around and found it.  What a fantastic thing that is.  It only took a couple of dips in the general spot of where the mooring hook went in and up it came.  This was the fourth time one of us has dropped something into the canal so we decided we should keep track of them (see top of blog entry).

We can relax now.  It was a rather stressful afternoon with dropping things in the canal, a blocked loo, and then having to manoeuvre the boat inside the marina with the wind blowing.  We'll be able to make our Friday deadline so all's well on nb Parisien Star.

Today's selection :
1. Last night's mooring was very picturesque - only marred by the powerlines
2. Lockside goodies for sale - firewood, onions, tomatoes, eggs
3. A lockside cottage that's for sale at the moment
4. Tonight's mooring at Swanley Bridge Marina - looking towards the back of the boat
5. And looking to the front at the marina office and the bridge


Roger from Crown said...

Hi, as soon as Mick put the phone down after saying he was going to get someone from Swanley, I said to Yvonne bet it was a blockage. Great loo's they are but fickle, blocked mine in the early days with a kleenex. Yvonne has small hands thankfully :-)

Elly and Mick said...

Roger, I had to smile when I read this comment. I told Mick when we decided to come to the UK and live on a boat that anything to do with toilets was his job! I see you've found a way around that... with the likely excuse of Yvonne having small hands. That excuse won't work on this boat! LOL