If there was a thread of any kind through the Cleddau crew’s October maybe it was breakdowns, deliveries and one short list growing ever longer..
The month hasn’t been entirely boat-free. Squeezed between various appointments and domestic crises (more, later) there was a three night meander from Crick to Welford Junction and back.
Now why was this boat named INTENTIONALLY BLANK? (“Ever seen those pages in an aircraft manual?” explained the boat’s owner.
The boat was spun round in the wide water at the Junction, then tied up beside the River Avon Aqueduct, and while the Captain wiped down the solar panels and washed the roof, Boatwif checked out the river below the canal. How far would these Pooh sticks get? To Stratford? To Warwick? Not far it seemed, as the sticks, lobbed from the bridge above the Avon culvert, were soon caught up in the reeds that line this juvenile waterway.
Onward the next day, back towards Crick, past the glamping site (strictly for adults), ignored by a young heron (I’m not looking at you, I can’t see you, you’re not there…) , past a donkey and a Fergie, cwtch in its shed.
Two boats were vying for access to the Yelvertoft water point, but onward, along past Cracks Hill, scene a month earlier of an uphill climb – and back to the marina.
It was another two October weeks before Cleddau was revisited; there were jobs to be done and boat care to be undertaken. Bilges pumped out. Freezer emptied. Grocery cupboard stripped. Poles, boat hooks, step ladder and gangplank removed from the roof, roof and port cabin side wiped down and polished.
Five days later there was a return, more jobs to be done: bow section polished; bow fender adjusted. Then, thrill – a mini-cruise – as the boat was reversed away from the pontoon, slowly turned – and reversed back onto her mooring.
Starboard side roof and cabin side washed and polis … but then, 90 minutes earlier than forecast, sharp showery rain interrupted play .work. How frustrating that after two long days of arm-stretching, back-breaking and elbow grease effort, the boat, though 95% polished, remains 5% unpolished…!
Retrieving the Captain’s walking boots from the bottom of the boat’s airing cupboard added yet another on the list of Recent Things That Have Gone Wrong. The right boot was soaking wet, so too was the Narrow Boat Board Game. There was a radiator leak – had finally the source of the water loss in the central heating system been identified? The need to repeatedly top up the antifreeze in the Webasto system had been a frustration and a cause for concern – could a cure be found…? (This is an ongoing issue).
Earlier in the month there had been the gas boiler issue, (1) the faithful unit condemned as dangerous and unusable. “Is it because it’s relatively old?” Boatwif had enquired of the inspecting engineer.
“Not relatively old,” the gas gentleman had said, “it’s VERY OLD,” his tone of voice emphasising the seriousness of the situation. Ok, the model hadn’t been made since 1985, and maybe the boiler had been installed in the late 70s, but there was no relenting – and the Cleddau crew were left gas-less…
As the external temperature dropped so too did the new system’s ability to cope with the demands made upon it. There were plumber return visits and eventually the new white block now inside a different cupboard and (2) the thermostat controller began to talk the same language.
The boiler issue was the most protracted and expensive saga.
Even the dentist chipped in with a similar line: He inspected a front filling that had partially given way. (4) “Wow, that was really old,” he said, examining his computer records. “Seven years is a really long time for a white filling.”
(6) A toilet repair was much more successful – for a £4 part, helped by a YouTube tutorial, the flush mechanism was returned to full working order.
(7) Another success (relatively cheap too) was a new wheel mechanism for an east-facing bedroom window blind.
Repairs and replacements continued with (8) a bathroom ceiling fan and (9) a new backdoor bell push.
Meanwhile the Captain made a succession of visits to the local computer shop, as (10) his PC refused to cooperate after a Windows update… Eventually a new desktop computer was bought.
Politically aware readers might recall the Mid-Beds parliamentary by-election on October 19th. Would The Things That Have Gone Wrong list in this mid-Beds household be as long as the loooong voting slip of 13 candidates…?
Along came (11): the house security system (yes, another thing that is “old”) required two new sensors.
If the above-mentioned Cleddau airing cupboard radiator leak counts as number (12) fingers were crossed that there wouldn’t be a Number (13).
But then, good news seemed to break the sequence – a new great niece has arrived and all is well with Baby Sis, Cooker Man, the younger Bristol Niece and family.
Family – remember Cal Guy Jnr’s visit to the UK this summer? A text to his phone to ask if there were any requests to be transported next month from the UK to California produced an immediate text reply: “A lot of chocolate”.
In recent days it’s been much more fun buying items for a newborn baby and chocolate for a teenager than contending with elderly domestic equipment…!
Miles 20¾; Locks:0
2023 totals: 375¼ miles, 276 locks, 6 swing bridges, 16 tunnels