The alarm went off very early for us and we both got up more or less straight away, none of this sitting in bed with our first cuppa this morning! Last time Finesse came out to meet us they arrived just as we’d put the kettle on, I was still getting dressed. But as it turned out we could have had a bit longer with our eyes shut today.
Sims’s bridge isn’t the busiest and it makes a rumbling noise as a car passes over it. A car came over and then soon reversed, that had to be them looking for somewhere to park.
Several months ago we’d noticed a darkening of the oak surround under one of the windows, this had gradually grown into a bigger patch. We’d been instructed to see if we could see anywhere where water might just be getting in around the window, but there was nothing that we could spot. I’ve been cleaning the gutters (for want of a better word) around the window as often as I could hoping that that might help. If it was condensation that was causing it then we’d have had similar happen in the bedroom, but this was the only one.
Nothing for it but to see what was happening underneath all the trim. Kris removed the curtains and then drilled out the wooden plugs that covered the screws on the wood surround. With these undone he lifted the surround away from the window revealing the insulation and structure around the window. Straight away he could see that water was getting in somehow, not lots, just enough to have caused the damage. With no obvious gap or anything to be seen, he cleared away the spray foam around the bottom of the window, still nothing. All the fixings holding the window in were given a turn with an allen key. He then went round the window with some silicon sealant followed by some spray foam to replace the insulation he’d removed. The bottom of this window will now be better insulated than before. Once the foam had expanded he then started to refit the window surround.
What to do about the stain? I have some crystals that when mixed with warm water would bleach the stain, I’ve not tried it, but apparently it works amazingly. Kris had a different idea, he had come prepared with a length of oak precut to fit over the affected wood. This he cut to fit round the Houdini shelf and then stuck it over the top. All staining removed. We decided to do the other end of the same panel so that it looked the same. Job done.
Meanwhile, outside Ricky and Chris/Kev were busy. They removed the temporary batteries that have kept us going for the last year. These were never going to survive our needs for long, but we think that our training on battery management with our shareboat meant that we never ran out of power, we just had to run the engine twice a day.
The new batteries were slotted into the trays that had been made for them so many moons ago and were secured into position. They then made up new cables (bus bars) to connect them, soldering connectors to the ends. The inverter needed some reprogramming now that the type of batteries had changed. Then everything was tested to check it was doing what it should. It was. Hooray!!!! The display panel read 100% charge.
Chris/Kev now moved onto the bow thruster. On our way up to the Ribble last year we had blown a fuse when some weed got caught around the propeller. Mick had hunted round on the internet for replacement fuses. The Vetus ones were around £12 each, but Mick found 200 amp slow blow fuses much cheaper. He ordered several. When they arrived he replaced the fuse, the bow thruster worked for a couple of seconds and then blew the fuse again. Maybe what had caused the problem in the first place was still there. Buying some waders he then got into the water removed the grill and tried to unblock it. There didn’t seem to be anything there. Then in January we hired the dry dock in Chester for a day to see what the problem could be, the tube and prop were clear of any obstruction.
Finesse rang a Vetus engineer on our behalf explained what was happening. He asked what brand of fuse we were using. Apparently not all slow blow fuses are the same, some blow slower than others! So today Chris/Kev put a new Vetus fuse into the bow thruster. Tied up to the bank it was tested in both directions first short blasts in both directions, then longer ones. It worked! A volt meter was used to check that all was well before the lid to the locker was replaced, it was.
Discussions were had about our chimney, it being taller than most other boats. Measurements were taken with Ricky’s laser measure so we now have a figure in mind when it comes to low bridges and tunnels. To make it any shorter they would have to amend the flue inside the boat, as double skin flues only come in certain lengths and angles. We are going to think about it and risk trying the low tunnel on the Droitwich next month if the river conditions are good. I’ll also look at Oleanna’s profile and compare it to that for Standedge Tunnel. Height wise we should be okay, it’s just that our highest point is to one side of the boat.
The guys had arrived at 7:45am and their jobs were completed by 10am. A short day, well they had set out from Sheffield at 5am and still had to get back. A shake of hands all round and they were off. Their visit had been as efficient as ever. We then sat down for a celebratory breakfast, cereal.
Later in the day I went to open the side hatch which had been getting progressively stiff. But now it moved easily, without the noise. Kris must have worked some secret magic on it whilst I was outside. Just wish we knew what it was as our bow lockers are even noisier!
6:30 alarm, 7:45 arrival, 1 Kris with a K, 1 Chris/Kev, 1 Ricky, 3 chaps straight to it, 1 rainy day, 1 window leak sorted, 1 can expanding foam, 1 clear silicon, 1 coloured silicon, 1 white silicon, 200 amp fuse, 2 to 3, 100 to 150, 24 volt, 2 men pretzelated (in the words of Jaq), 2 men in the box under the back, 1 man in a box at the front, 1 man in my bathroom! 4 crossed legs, 1 celebratory bowl of cereal, 1 bottle fizz that’s been in the fridge for a year, 2 smiling boaters, 1 boat completed at last, 1 Oleanna big grin.