Thursday 31 January 2013

Tuesday and Wednesday

There wasn't much to report yesterday, it was another day of work.  I did go out for a half hour walk with Mick - he decided we should go down the towpath South of the marina.  Oh dear.... the mud!!  We aren't terribly well equipped in the way of winter boots and squelching through the mud wasn't much fun.  The towpath really is in a sorrowful state.  It's difficult because that low lying area gets the water from the river next door when it bursts its banks.... twice since we've been here.

This morning we decided we really should "bite the bullet" and go and fill the diesel tank and pump out the loo.  As we went out to prepare Barry (nb Winton's Folly) next door said he was about to go for diesel too but from there he was heading into Stone.  We worked out with him that if we moored up under the bridge, and he tied up to us, we could both get diesel, we could pump out our loo and I'd walk up to the Aston lock to help him through as he was on his own.

It was windy already and got worse no sooner had we drifted from the pontoon.  Huge gusts!  We managed our way out of the mooring and past nb Stanley and into the centre of the marina.  Fine.  The sun was in our faces so it was hard to see but we were well on course for the bridge... a little across from where we needed to be to allow for the push of the wind.  Just as we got near the wind worsened and gave the boat a big shove so we came into moor with a bit of a bang.  Never mind. 

Along came Barry behind us.  He looked like he was nicely on course too.  We could see the he was battling against the wind and at about the same spot as us, he copped a big gust.  Luckily there wasn't much room left under the bridge with us already there so it was only a little ding. 

Up at Aston lock it looked like a picture perfect day - except you can't see the wind in a photo.  A couple of the swan youngsters have taken up residence there and as the lock was filling they swam up to each other and kissed in that classic swan pose you see in figurines.  I was frantically trying to get my camera out but it was too late.  What an amazing sight.

Mick brought the boat back in by himself while I went up to the lock.  Back on board we did our calculations.  It's costing us just over £1.50 a day in diesel (running central heating for 3 hours a day - mainly for hot water but also to warm the back of the boat in the mornings), £2.50 a day in coal (the new stove goes 24 hours a day) and less than 50p a day in electricity (we haven't used the fan heater at all since we started using the coal stove), so all up a little over £4.50 each day while we're in the marina.  We did have extra diesel cost as we were out of the marina for a few days and back to running the engine for power.

The other thing we did was to lift up the mattress of the bed and shine our torch through the loo tank to make sure it was empty.  The pump at this marina doesn't have a "sight glass" in the hose so you can't actually see what is being pumped out.  Others we've used have a section of plastic so you can see the difference when it's just water being pumped out.... sorry.... I know it's gross. We can only judge by the the pulsing of the hose as the pump works to tell if it seems to be empty.  We put the hose in the flush pipe for the last minute or two because it seems we have our tank empty before the 8 minutes are up.  But, we just can't be sure!  Our level gauge isn't working so we'll look into having that fixed.  Meanwhile the "torch under the bed" method works well.  It's empty!

We were told a tragic tale at Monday's afternoon tea, of a couple who returned to their boat to find the loo had overflowed all over the floors while they were out.  I can't imagine how awful it must have been.  They thought maybe the marina pump wasn't working properly, which is why we were a bit paranoid today.  But we're sure all is well now and I'm glad of that with Mick going away in a few days time.

There was another event worth a mention.  As Mick reversed the boat into our mooring he knocked the pontoon and our ash bucket fell in!  He spent a good couple of hours over the remainder of the day fishing with the "sea searcher" magnet but no luck.  He fished left, he fished right, he fished further out, and closer in, all with a very confused swan honking and snapping and hissing at him.  There were a few amused spectators too.  He did manage to bring up a drill bit of his that had rolled off the decking a few weeks ago.  So in honour of his antics I've resurrected "in the drink" for this blog entry.

I spent the rest of the day working and am finally catching up.  There's been a bit of juggling going on between the work for my two employers as one had an urgent job to be done.  It will be nice to have more time to spare than just a half hour walk or an exciting visit to the pumpout.  I want to catch up properly by the end of the week as we've hired a car for Friday.

There was a plan made on Monday for drinks at The Swan in Stone at 5pm today.  It will be the last time Mick gets to see a few of the marina folk as several will have headed off on their cruising by the time he returns the last week of March.  I was frantically doing work right up til 4.30pm when we really should be going.  But, I still had another 2 hours at least to go and dreaded having to come back and finish the job at night.  It had to be sent back in time for Thursday morning at the office in Melbourne.  I was dressed and had one shoe on when we started discussing whether I should bail out and stay back to finish the work. I paused with my other shoe in hand and agonised over what to do.  In the end I decided to stay back.  I have a whole day of work ahead tomorrow for my other employer.  And, I'll still be here to see everyone next week.  Now the work's done for today and I have time for blogging.

In memory of today :
1. Pretty Aston lock in the sunshine
2. Seeya Barry!
3. onwards.... fishing

In the drink to date : Elly - phone charger (retrieved - it floated!), Mick - sunglasses, Mick - hearth brush, Mick - mooring hook (retrieved with sea searcher), Mick - reading glasses, Mick - drill bit (retrieved with sea searcher), Mick - ash bucket

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