Saturday, 5 April 2014

Breaking Free from the Crap

Thursday 3rd April to Friday 4th April 2014

One thing about this life is that at the end of any given day the events that occurred fail to resemble what you thought would happen.

Earlier in the week we had met Barb and Bruce who are from Canada, although Barb is originally from England and has been over there for some years. They were staying on a boat belonging to friends to savour the some of the joys of boating life - including the unenviable problems that have been associated with vacu-flush systems.

I think it was Wednesday when they first approached about a backing up problem, for which I could not offer any reasonable solution - I have to say that it didn't look good.

So, come Thursday, and they were getting ready to leave for Friday flights back home and Bruce was concerned again about it - this time however the gauge was indicating that the tank was just on full - this could have been the reason for the previous problem.

He was in dire straits about being able to get it emptied - no-one in the marina offices seemed to care at all; he was willing to pay (again their desire for customer satisfaction showed no bounds of contempt); I wandered past and he nervously asked could I help - "Sure, no problems" - no boater wants to see another in this situation.

In a seemingly short time the boat was started, untied and we reversed out carefully and then the wind caught us and we became an end-of-pontoon blockage - not a good start, but between us we retrieved the situation and made it to the pump-out station.

The vacu-flush system must have been under some slight pressure - we prepared everything and then loosened the cap - the pressure was there and then it was gone - what didn't go quickly was some of the contents - eventually the pump did it's thing and the tank was emptied; Bruce and I cleaned everything up and back in order - all I can say is that it was none too soon.

Next was to get the boat back to the mooring, which wasn't helped by forgetting which one it actually was - Diane pointed out my mistake and we reversed back and had a second run at it - thankfully all did go right the second time and we moored up - and it only took an hour from untying to getting back.

Some may recognise the boat - different crew this time

second-time perfect

It didn't take long for a certain swagger to appear in
Bruce's style
Lesley and Joe on Yarwood and heading out

Friday was an early start day for us - off to Midland Chandlery for the Freaky Friday 20% off sale - the list was in hand. Special thanks to John (nb Earl of Shannon) for taking us along.

Working our way through meant a full basket and a near empty wallet, but we did save ₤70 on things that we were going to buy anyway.

Included in the purchases were navigation lights; a new Thetford Cassette toilet (we will be changing the toilet from pumpout to cassette); new brass horn; as well as lots of little bits and pieces.

The monthly budget is going well if we eat beans on toast for most of it.

Fridays mean early doors and this was going to be our last; so the best thing to do was reduce the walk home after by cruising up into Stone; so after filling the diesel tanks and further reducing the weight of the wallet we broke free - goodbyes to those we hadn't already seen and we were gone.

It felt good to finally be back cruising; through Aston Lock and then to find a mooring spot - a friendly word to one boater and he moved back whilst we winded and into the spot just made for us.

A little further back were nb Klara (Roly and Bev) and nb Yarwood (Lesley and Joe) - as space became available we were joined by nb Caxton (Elaine and Paul) - it was all brewing for a good night.

cheeky monkey!!

No disappointments either - the eight of us were joined by Sue and Kev (nb Carillon) and later by Richard (nb Pendle Warter) - and there was also the 5 dogs as well.

It was our last night there and we were well attended by the lovely sisters - Lou and Lizzie - ever smiling and friendly - they have been wonderful to all of us; Lawrence was behind the bar as usual; missing were Michelle and Maggie.

the gang - from left - Lesley, Paul, Elaine, Ray, Joe, Diane,
Roly, Sue and Kev

Lou and Lizzie (or is it Lizzie and Lou?)

Joe and Diane

Diane got her bar towel

Joe (with fixed stare), Diane (not really asleep) and Richard
just enjoying it all

Roly - there is nothing but good things to say - the nicest one
amongst us all - but with plenty of stories

Paul - total enjoyment

Kev - in his natural state

Hi Sue - you can't hide it all behind the menu

Taken on another day but included here
- "Mad-Eye" Macey
We have had such a brilliant time at The Royal Exchange - we will miss it all.

Drinks were flowing and naturally an indian meal follows that, so Kev phoned through all of the orders - somehow Roly missed the menu, so come pickup time he needed to add his late order.

Heading back to the boat to eat, it was difficult carrying dinner and Diane - seems that the Black Beer and Raisins had been fast acting and lack of footwork and sense of direction as well as a little slurring were the presiding landscape.

All's well that ends well - we made it back; enjoyed the food; had plenty of water (not just for the spicy food) and promptly fell asleep in bed - at least I was asleep and Diane contemplated what she would be able to do to stop the snoring - thankfully I awoke safe and sound the following morning.

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