The Lesser Spotted Number Checker. 2nd June

Lockdown Mooring 3 to not quite Lockdown ‘Home’ Mooring

With so many boats being about we didn’t want to take our time this morning. The water tank needed filling and we’d rather not have to wait, along with hoping we could get back onto our ‘home’ mooring where the towpath has a hard edge and is a good height to do the gunnels. So as soon as breakfast was done the covers were rolled back and we were on our way.

Topping up

The water point was empty so we filled up the tank and disposed of rubbish. One big bin was still full to the brim with soil and rubble as it was a month or so ago and the bottle bins had long since overflowed!

Number checker

A C&RT blue t-shirted chap walked past, tablet in hand. A lesser spotted number checker! The first we’ve seen in months, well there has been no call for them whilst the 14 day rule was suspended. But by Saturday every boat out on the cut will need to have moved as 14 days will be up. That is unless you have health reasons and have informed C&RT. Mick chatted with the chap as he walked past, it was his second day back after being furloughed, time to walk the towpaths again.

Over flowing

Another two C&RT chaps turned up in their vans, sheers and kebs put in a wheel barrow and off they went along the towpath. They were heading to trim the overhanging sideways trees and brambles along the towpath, presumably Fountains don’t go above ground level.

Trimming the overhanging vegetation

The sun was out and so were plenty of boats. We pootled our way back to Barbridge, where we kept a straight course on to Hurleston. The usual boats were still on their ‘Home’ moorings on the side of the reservoir. Would our ‘Home’ mooring be free?


Through Bridge 97 there was a boat hanging off the end of the visitor moorings, The Wine Boat. Behind them was a C&RT skip boat and tug! Excuse me!!! That’s our spot!!!! Further along was the Pooh Boat (Winnie sits on top of their bow fender), but there was enough room for us at the end. We pulled in and tied to the last ring, tyre fenders deployed.

Get on with it!

Before lunch there was time to give the primer on the port side a quick rub down and a rinse off. This dried over lunchtime and the delay encouraged the sun to pass overhead and leave the gunnel in shade to cool down. Tilly sought out what shade she could find, first alongside Mick and then right next to me, except we both kept moving! Very inconsiderate!!!

Boats came past, one slowed to say hello. NB Sonoma was the next boat to be built after Oleanna by Finesse and we’d bumped into (at a distance) Gordon and Dawn two days before lockdown was imposed, right here at Hurleston Junction. Today they were out for the first time since things have been relaxed, a day trip for a picnic. Just as we’d finished lunch Gordon came to check on where we get touch up paint from. I had a rootle through the bow locker finding red and cream tins of paint, the blue hiding somewhere behind bags of coal. Apparently their blue is the same as ours, information was passed on as to where we’d bought ours from. Still haven’t dug deep enough to find the tin of blue Gordon, if it is a different number I’ll give you a shout.

Is that shade in there?

Dungarees back on and the containers with the black Multiforte were dug out. Back in September when I was last doing the gunnels, the paint tin lid wasn’t going to have an air tight seal anymore. This was due to a touch of rust and the way the tin was made, a very tight seal which sealed itself incredibly well and had to be prised open so much that we almost needed a tin opener! So we’d decanted the paint into tuperware containers hoping for the best. A small one container I’d intended using for the starboard side a week or so later, but rain and work meant it never happened.

Oh bugger!
A paint blister

I opened up the small container first, a thick skin had formed. I could carefully prise this away from the sides of the container. I then realised that a skin had formed all the way around the paint. One giant black paint blister. With gloves on I held the blister above the container, squeezed the paint to the bottom and then punctured it. Still quite a bit of usable paint thank goodness. There had been enough in this container to do one side, but now just enough to get half way.

Liquid centre

The other container had done a better job, just a skin on the top, the paint also flowed better onto the gunnel.

The blue needs touching up now

By the time I’d finished it was getting on for 5pm and insects were making a bee line straight for the fresh sticky surface. Should I move onto the starboard side or not today?

Mick checking my work

By the time we’d have winded, hoping our space would still be free (I think I’d have guarded it with boat hooks), sanded the primer, rinsed it off and waited for it to dry before painting, the insect population would have been chomping at the bit to stick to it. So the starboard side will have to wait for a suitable window in the weather, hopefully in the next couple of days.

0 locks, 3.42 miles, 2 straights, 1 full water tank, 1st number checker, 2nd Finesse boat, 2 doberman standoffs, 1 cat seeking shade, 5004, 1 rub down, 1 rinse, 1 giant black blister, 1 side looking smart again, 71 deceased insects with different ideas, 2 paw prints! TILLY!!!

Who’s paws might these be?!

3 thoughts on “The Lesser Spotted Number Checker. 2nd June

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Good to see you too. One day we’ll sit on the towpath together and have a drink, or several and reminisce.
      Just think, we are about to become ‘strange’ boats too!

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