Monday, 19 November 2012

Up and Down and around the way

Saturday 17th November to Sunday 18th November 2012

2 Miles, 5 Locks for this period

Totals: 1431 Miles, 1160 Locks, 46 Tunnels, 24 Lift Bridges, 96 Swing Bridges

With the car packed and the lodge checked to ensure that we didn’t leave anything behind we dropped the keys back at reception and we were off back to Stone.

As has been our case for a while now we decided against the fastest route i.e. the motorways and instead favoured the less well-travelled A roads to lead us home.

We realise it is a bit slower, but it does allow you to see so much more of the countryside and enjoy the scenery without it flashing past before there has been any chance of recognition of its beauty.

There has always been something about driving a long distance on a Saturday morning and more so when it is colder outside and the roads are a little less cluttered – of course it needs to be before everyone else is up and racing off to do their Saturday morning shop.

For us we simply had to leave around 8:30am and all was fine – a bit of a slight fog (nothing of any concern), a touch of the cold and virtually no traffic.

Driving along roads that are not perfectly straight and aligned to within a millionth of a decimal place of a degree of latitude or longitude gives you a chance to feel the road and move with the car – provided of course that it doesn’t wind too much to cause the navigator to throw up – we were in luck.

We stopped along the way when we wanted – for morning tea and the related rest stops that go with the intake of liquids and although about an hour longer, it was without any stress and without being quite so tired as dealing with the constant speed of the motorways.

This of course leads me to wondering why, in cars registered to be driven on British roads, that it is a requirement to have

a.       a left hand indicator – so many cars don’t seem to have them working (only the right hand ones work) – whether it be turning a corner; changing lanes; wishing to pull over to park – none of them work

b.      speedometer – my understanding of the motorway speed limit is that it is 70 mph and on A roads it is 60 mph – the cars that were passing by us didn’t seem to have their’s working – surely they would have realised that the 40 mph limit was just that and not the 60 mph limit outside the village limits. The same on the motorways – cars in the outside lane hurtle past at 90+ mph – I can’t understand why there is any defined speed limit it seems to just be ignored.

Of course the odometer is important – so that people will know for what distance they have travelled without being anywhere near the correct speed.

We arrived back at the boat just after lunch and unloaded the car back to a very cold boat.

Rob had been in contact with during the week as there had been a couple of problems with the servicing of the Mykuni heater which we had asked to be done – one of the parts needed for the servicing was not immediately available so we knew that the boat would be cold but you are never fully prepared for it.

We had thought about what we might do but not knowing at what time we would actually arrive back we made no definite plans.

Friends Elly and Mick on nb Parisien Star had arrived in Stone the previous day so we thought that we would move down a few locks and moor with them.

It can be a funny world sometimes and Elly messaged Diane that they had decided to move to the marina as their Eberspacher was on the blink and they too had no heating on board.

Decision made, we would follow suit and head to the marina – problem was that after settling the account with Rob and chatting with him and booking the next blacking (never too early to plan for the next one) it was now 3 o’clock and there were 2 miles and 5 locks to negotiate and a fading light.

There was also the matter of moving the car back to the marina, so we started the first lock at 3:15pm and exited the last of the four locks through Stone about 4:15pm – care being taken with a newly blackened boat – but under the expert control of “she who must be obeyed”.

That part done I relayed the car back to the marina and headed on foot to Aston Lock – a quick phone to check on her progress, to be greeted with the words “the boat has died” – I was able to garner from her that the engine had stopped and she was pulling over to the side by bridge 92 – so no choice but to hoof it off to there and see what the problem was.

Diane had expertly guided the boat in and was waiting – she explained that the engine just died and a check of that confirmed it – it sounded like a fuel problem but with, by now, almost no daylight left we did two things – rang Rob Paramore to explain the situation and see if we could get the engineer who had serviced the boat to visit the next morning (Sunday) and secondly to pull her back through the bridge hole to be able to moor up even close to the edge.

Rob had made the arrangements and Chris (the engineer) rang and we spoke about the problem – he would be with us in the morning – we were very glad to have these two available and able to help.

Our immediate problem was being able to keep warm enough for the night which was predicted (and starting to feel like it) to fall as low at freezing and maybe a bit further.

We survived the night; boat temperature inside was down to about 2C; fortunately we had enough in the batteries that we could still do all of the important things the night before (a.k.a. being able to watch Strictly Come Dancing) – my desire to see Match of the Day was delayed until Sunday morning in case there was not enough battery power left.
not for sitting on just yet - unless you want to get frozen to it

the mist off the water

freezing but not frozen in

ice on the roof - when the snow arives the ski jump will be

it's a winter wonderland - only colour (almost) is white

Chris arrived and starting working on narrowing down the problem and not long after a couple of stragglers along the towpath stopped to have a chat and in need of a hot drink – I, of course, refer to Elly and Mick who walked up from the marina (you need to read of their adventurous night with power and then lack of it and wrestling with a stubborn power card).

It took probably about ¾ hour for Chris to fully find the problem – a blockage in the fuel line close to the fuel filter – we had originally thought it might have been water in the line (no pre-filter in place).

Now having a clear fuel supply the engine kicked in immediately- we made the necessary arrangements with Chris to return this week to install a pre-filter and the we were off.

Back into the marina; then did a pump out and fuel top-up and moored back in place.

Lunchtime had arrived and beckoned us to seek out another Sunday roast – this time Diane knew exactly where – The Wayfarers on the A34 – too far from the canal to walk unless need arises; so an offer of lunch to Elly and Mick and the four of us were away.

The food was perfectly fine, but in the big scheme of Sunday roast scoring it did not rate so highly as other establishments that we had visited, but I enjoyed the Vegetable Wellington and would have that again.

Return to the marina, now fed and with everything else now taken care of we could all relax – the end of an up and down and around the way weekend.

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