Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Nearly Trip

Why the nearly trip? Well it nearly didn’t happen, we nearly got to our destination and we nearly didn’t get back.

Down to the boat last Saturday to get it ready for a slow run up to Foxton and Market Harborough. Spent the day cleaning and stocking up, after all it was high time we made some use of her now that we are starting to make progress with some of the major faults. Pootled round to the new self pump out facility in the marina and took a walk over to the office to obtain a token for the machine. Set to work with the pump. There was plenty of chugging and hissing but Trudy appeared to be constipated. Finally the pump stopped with ‘nowt taken out’. Whilst Karen went for another token I wrapped tape around the nozzle to try and improve the suction seal, this had been remarked on our only two previous pump outs. Both times done at manned pumping stations and both reporting difficulty in getting a good suction seal.
Second token inserted and this time with a bit of hopeful gurgling but not a lot else. Panic was starting to set in as a full tank meant no trip. Pressed the pause button on the pump and went below to dismantle the bed to get at the holding tank. With the bed in bits I got Karen to give the pump some welly and as expected the outlet pipe starts wheezing like an old man with bronchitis. All stop. The pipe into the tank is loose – isn’t there anything on this bloody boat that has been fitted properly?
With a tank full of slurry there is no way I can hold the pipe inside to tighten it up, so applying a bit of Ben Harp Narrowboats technology I slap silicone sealant round the fitting and cover it in tape before applying more sealant, real quality work this.
With the pump restarted there is lots of lovely chugging but of course we have used up a lot of time sorting out the problem and the pump stops. Off sprints Karen to get token number three, this time we have it sussed and Trudy is getting a well deserved enema.
This close to our holiday I have no intention of taking the holding tank to bits for a permanent fix so this will have to do for the time being.
Topped up with diesel at the auto pump at the same landing. 60/40 fixed split but I bring my own red for the heating.(when it works)
A chug back to our mooring and Trudy-Ann is all set for the off on the following morning.

Sunday dawns and the dogs know something is happening, straight into the back of the car and refuse to come out while we load the freezer stuff and last minute items.
Off we set in lovely sunny weather as far as the Hope & Anchor pub ready to pass through Leicester on Monday. Moored next to Watermead Country Park which has some fine walks.
Made an early start on Tuesday wanting to get as far south of Leicester as possible in the day. We had a good run but there is so much rubbish in the water around the north side of Leicester in particular.
 Belgrave lock weir
 Fishing for a bike at Freemans lock
Sox the new pup is getting into the swing of this boating lark and likes to sit up in the wheelhouse and keep a lookout, where as Brock the old boy is happy to sleep below.
Managed to share a few locks on the way through until we were approaching Kings lock when passing boaters warned us of low water levels above the lock. This was confirmed by waterways staff at Kings lock who reckoned that with our draft of 27-28 inches we would have trouble getting through. Decided to night stop here and if the situation had not improved on the following day see if we could wind under the old railway bridge a couple of hundred yards back.
To be continued…..

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