Our mooring at Whittington was lovely – we were on the 14 day mooring at the end of a line of boats with the railway within sight but very little sound and no roads nearby.
We had decided we would have a maintenance day and managed very successfully to avoid doing anything about it all day – that takes some skill, mind … It was a good decision really as the farmer across the cut had lime spread by a truck and because of the wind, much of it ended up on the boats. Instead we walked into Whittington (my boots and jeans were coated in white lime powder) and did a bit of grocery shopping at the Co-op and posted Kirsty’s birthday card (late – her birthday was yesterday.) I made an appointment for yesterday to have my haircut, so we stayed on at the mooring and are very glad we did.
On Tuesday we did get on to maintenance stuff, and unfortunately I have no photographic evidence of it, dammit! David emptied water from the various segments of the engine bilge using various methods – squeegee mop, hand pump, disposable nappies. In between being called to assist him with holding/fetching (what IS that about – being required to assist with their tasks???) I wirebrushed, wet-sanded* and treated a number of small rust patches along the port side of the boat. I also suffered severe nettle attack through my jeans – I had to take them off on the towpath – fear not, no sensitive souls were traumatised by the sight of me in my knickers and T-shirt. There was no dock to be found, so I resorted to anthisan – it worked but took some time as nettle is particularly good at getting into your skin when knelt on, even in jeans.
*When in Kidsgrove (the site of our doing a runner) I found 5 sanding blocks for a quid – they were great value and I wish I’d bought more!
|The beast is clean|
Then he brought the giant 24v 150amp alternator up from the swim where it currently lives, cleaned it up with white spirits (he did have a bowl of soapy water ready, but I thought my dad’s ashes would perform a whirling dervish at the thought of something that probably shouldn’t get wet being washed …) and photographed it and its associated wiring bits and controller thingy.
|The rear of the beast|
While he was lying on the towpath (I sense a pattern, I did the lying on the towpath thing back at the junction of the T&M and the Caldon, trying to remove a branch from the water) well back from our boat so the alternator was in the sunshine, a boat pulled up to moor. I did notice they looked at David a bit strangely so I went over and said to them that he would be moving shortly so they needn’t be afraid. We chatted for a bit and discussed boats, and we played with their lovely 16 week old pup, Ted.
|A very cute Ted|
The following day we chatted again, and introduced ourselves to Cheryl and Jerry; David was very interested in their solar panels and controller or somesuch for them, so on to their boat we went. It is lovely and in beautifully kept condition – their external paintwork is stunning and they haven’t yet had a repaint done (note to self: David must be put to work with washcloths and polishing cloths immediately). They were heading off to the shops in Lichfield on their bikes that arvo so we invited them for a viewing of our boat and wine and nibbles on their return. There followed a frantic bout of boat cleaning and tidying! I made a decision while washing the floor that I am going to replace the vinyl on the floor early next season – there is a distinct ‘grain’ to it that goes across-ways and is therefore very hard to keep clean (frustrating not to be able to do big powerful swipes with the squeegee across a 50cm space with walls restricting movement of the mop handle).
Out came the table and chairs on to the towpath – it was lovely and warm – and out came the tray of nibbles and the chardonnay (Oz) and sauv blanc (Chile). After 2.5 bottles of wine among the four of us, it seemed natural to go in and cook dinner making sure there was enough for all (chicken, capsicum and peas with lime and tarragon, potatoes and salad with Adair’s lime, honey and ginger dressing). Jerry was on dessert - pancakes with blackberry couli – beaut! They had mentioned they played cards for sweets, so we suggested Up and Down the River which they didn’t know (yay!), but no sweets were wagered (boo!), and a very entertaining evening was had. David and I came first equal in cards, their cat came to visit, their pup had been taken home to bed before dinner – he was tired after much playing with David.
Yesterday morning before we left, we gave them our hand poo pumpout kit (that is an unfortunate order of words, but I’m not sure how else to place them) as they may need it being liveaboard through winters and we have an emergency bucket. David is pleased with the additional space in the gas locker! We did consider
kidpupnapping Ted, but decided
he wouldn’t cope on our boat alone over the winter and Mel would not be happy
(or safe …).