Keeping Things Crossed. 19th October

Wood Top Bridge to Cheddleton Mill

As we languished in bed this morning we could hear the chug chug chug of an engine. Peering out from our bedroom porthole the bow of an old work boat came past, sheets down and then the familiar FMC livery, it was Tench with Alex at the helm. Sadly we weren’t able to get out to say hello in time. But as we are all heading towards a dead end then our paths will cross again.

Before setting off we wanted to empty our yellow water tank, so Mick set everything up outside whilst I gave the toilet a clean and got ready to flick the switch to turn the pump on. ‘Ready!’ came from outside, so I flicked the switch. All as normal for about 20/30 seconds. But then the pumping noise stopped and a kind of clicking noise started. This was switched off almost as soon as it started! What the….

With the panelling removed Mick flicked the switch again and out from the side of the Whale pump was a section that was flipping outwards. Video attached. Very odd and definitely not what it was meant to be doing. Computer turned on and an email sent to Finesse with the video, they agreed that it was very odd and that a new pump would be sent out to us, the second in a week.

Thank goodness we’d had a second outlet installed to be able to manually empty the tank, otherwise I’d have to be finding secluded bits of hedgerow for the next few days! At first Mick tried a small hand held pump attached to a length of hose. But just below gunnel height there is something that restricts the width of pipe you can get down, so this wasn’t going to work. We decided to look again at it after we’d moved.

P1150762smBy now it was raining, but determined to get down onto the river section and visit The Black Lion we both put full waterproofs on and pushed off. Only a couple of twists and turns brought us to the moorings at Cheddleton where there was space just behind Tench. By now it was heaving it down and we wanted to say hello to Alex, so pulled in behind. I walked down to see if there were any moorings below the next two locks, but there was nothing. With the rain forecast to stay with us for the full day we decided to stay put and see how the river reacts. By the pub at Consall Forge there is a weir which if the current is strong would be a bit hairy, also there is a low bridge to get under, which if the level is up we might not manage. So better to wait and see what happens.

P1150771smP1150775smBack at Oleanna Mick had got the hand pump out that he uses to empty the gear box oil from the engine. This has a finer tube that fitted down into our yellow water tank. Quite a bit of pumping was required but it did the job and some of the hedgerow got a treat. Thank goodness I’d no longer have to keep my legs crossed.

The rest of the day we pottered around Oleanna.

P1150778smI decided to get the mats I’d bought fitted on the steps to help protect the oak from wet feet, there isn’t always the luxury of time to take shoes off to pass through the boat whilst cruising.

P1150781smP1150788smThe front steps were easy, one mat just needed to be cut in half as it fitted perfectly across the steps. The rear half treads took a little bit more time, but not much. I cut a paper template using a page from Towpath Talk (the boaters fire lighting paper). The depth of tread was just about the same as half that of the mat, then cutting the width and curved corner to fit. Hey presto! Our steps now have some protection, better than just newspapers on them. Hopefully the rubber backing will mean that they don’t move too much, but can easily be taken outside to be cleaned.

P1150793smDSCF7117sm0 locks, 0.39 miles, 1 fullish yellow water tank, 1 sideways flicking pump, 2nd hand pump, 1 emptyish yellow water tank, 2nd pump on it’s way, 6 tread mats cut, 8th rag bag nearly complete, 5 whole hours of rainy muddy exploration, 1.5 hours to clean up, 1 stove keeping us too toasty, 1 river rising, 0 sightings of Alex, 1 evening watching recorded programmes.