Monday, 30 June 2014

Oil change and Brewood

Friday 27th June to Monday 30th June 2014

The lovely weather that we have been experiencing has disappeared and we are back to overcast conditions - but we really knew that this was coming - the main reason that we have not moved on Friday.
The forecast was for heavy rain and even a bit of Queen weather (thunderstorms and lightning).
Wimbledon however was unaffected, which meant that the lady of the boat would be keeping an eye on what was happening to the south; meanwhile the clock had run up on the engine hours since the last oil change and that would be my lot later in the day.
In the morning I set about getting some work done which helped to keep me ahead of everything.

I had not long put the engine on, to heat up the oil ready for pumping out, when down came the rain - pouring down and the promised lightning and thunder as well.

Boats were still moving and in all cases without exception, there was the male of the boat out the back on his own looking like a drowned rat - strange how there are always things to be done inside when the rain comes.

Anyway, as I was readying the engine area for the oil change - it is all under cover - a situation of which I am very happy and again glad that we had the pram cover installed - when another boat goes past - Cockney Sparra II - Dave and Sue - well, really just Dave on the back and closely following was Damper Van - yep, you guessed it, just Tony out there - Julie was inside.

They both had decided to moor up just in front - not long later the rain eased off and the three guys had a bit of a chat about it all.

The engine work took a bit longer than usual as all filters were due to be replaced and then the diesel decided that it didn't want to flow through.
Eventually I got it going and the engine sprang back into life - thankfully that was done for another 250 hours.

We caught up with Sue when she was out walking Bella, but the rain reappeared and we headed back inside and that was that - the books came out, the TV was off and we enjoyed the peaceful quiet of the area, occasionally interrupted by intermittent rain.

The following morning we heard boat engines start early and I could see both Dave and Tony heading off on their respective boats - they were meeting others in Brewood and had said that it would be an early start for them.

Not much later we headed off ourselves - as we have seen in a good many other places around the system, a mixture of heavy rain and very shaded towpaths lead only to muddy conditions.

We did try to moor up just after Bridge 11 - nice and open - but the Shroppie shelf was hiding down there and it took a good few minutes for us to extricate ourselves away.

Much better moorings on rings after Bridge 13; towpath was nice and dry and solid, but it was quite shaded and we weren't hopeful of much sun for the panels - especially as it was cloudy anyway.

We were last through Brewood in 2008 on a hire boat and had some minimal memories of the village, so we went for a discovery tour to see it a bit better this time.
The memories had not let us down too much; of course you do see more with more time.

It was nice just to take it a bit easy and we made a casual decision on lunch- The Red Lion looked quite nice - it was now essentially a bar and restaurant and we both enjoyed the food very much - prices were quite good as well.

Once again the tennis beckoned and after feasting we relaxed in the afternoon - Diane will tell you that I had another of my increasingly frequent afternoon naps, but I was sure that the screen went blank and the clock went into fast forward.

The lack of sun was not doing us any favours and so we looked through Bridge 14 on Sunday morning where it appeared much more open - so much so that we moved the boat just 800 metres into bright sun and things were looking much better.

As a Sunday treat, Diane washed the roof between intermittent showers - rinsing showers she called them, but she got wet as well.

The rest of the day was a bit more rest and a bit more football.

Monday came and we had an appointment in Birmingham around lunch time, so it was a bus ride to Wolverhampton and then the train into the city centre; found our way to the place - early, just so that we knew where it was.

Then it was back to Gas St Basin and the Slug and Lettuce for lunch - one of Diane's favourites - a stroll back for the appointment.

It was for Diane only, so I headed to a nearby man-creche (The Shakespeare) for a couple of pints and quietly read my book - sun on my back, some quiet background music - really was lovely there - could have stayed for at least another pint, but Diane found me and we needed to get back.
We had a bit of a chance to see a small part of the centre of Wolverhampton and what we saw we liked - might investigate a bit more at a later date.

The lack of intensity of the sun over the last two days plus the two previous days of very low solar levels and some very high usage has meant that we have put a bit of a strain on the batteries, so an hour's engine running has given them a bit of a boost.

2 Miles

Totals: 2616 Miles, 2001 Locks, 90 Tunnels, 32 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges

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