Sunday, 30 August 2015

Will the surprises never end?

Maybe it’s just that we were moored up for a fairly long time, but David got inspired to clean out the engine bay and bilge yesterday. This rash of manly-type tasks is just too much for my sensitive soul to cope with! David is my IT hero, my technical whizz, the go-to guy for sorting out the TV, the DVD player, the iPhones and pretty much anything that has an LCD display.

But grease? Oil? Drills? Tools that can be found in a workshop rather than just in a plastic box? None of these really fit with my perception of the man I’ve been married to for 40 years.

Don’t get me wrong – we did an enormous amount of DIY when we bought Cherswud, we had lots of help and tuition from a number of people: my dad, as well as a variety of builders who did work that was clearly beyond us. We are both good at asking questions, watching carefully, thinking things through. And over the years (it took 20-ish of them) as we renovated Cherswud from a concrete hulk to a lovely home, we learned to do all sorts of things. Towards the end of that process though, as we were both working full time, we more often than not paid people to do the work rather than spending weekends doing it ourselves. And accordingly with unused skills, some competence was lost.

However we never touched plumbing, electrics, plastering (apart from small holes or repairs). We have also never done anything to our cars apart from changing wheels, topping up the oil and water through their respective apertures, and occasionally with previous cars, retrieving the keys which have been locked inside … You will have noticed that the list of car tasks did NOT include washing or polishing.

So to see David down and dirty (very!) in the engine bay was a bit of a shock for me.
Evidence - the work shirt. We are not sure why but we seem to have oily/greasy stuff around the edge of the framing for the engine bay cover.

No, that is not a tattoo ...

I do wonder though if it was just that he was keen to be the first to use my new vacuum pump thingie for extracting the engine oil. It can be used for sucking up all liquids so it had its first outing yesterday as he utilised it for getting the water out of the bilge section near the stern gland grease tube. The level was too low for the bilge pump and just right for the suckie thingie obviously.

However I may be doing him a disservice – because he continued down in the engine bilge until he had extracted and replaced all the puppy training pads from under the gear box and engine, tidied and put back all the bits sitting on the swim.

And today he was planning on going back down to sort out the bilge pump. Somehow he managed to disconnect it yesterday. But we are now moored at Barrow on Soar (we got the last mooring just before the rain started and he is on to IT/TV tasks for me as I want to watch Foyle’s War on the ITV iPlayer on my phone – apparently it uses less data than on the laptop, my IT guru tells me. At least, I think that’s what he said. Something to do with data file sizes.
Yesterday after David was all cleaned up, we walked back along the riverbank to the Thurmaston Lock where Tracey and Ray are moored with their two boats, one of which is Tea Junction. We had a good chat with Tracey, bought and consumed an icecream and played with their cat - a beautiful moggy who looks just like a cat we had called Indy and has the same friendly nature. Kirsty brought Indy back from Taranaki one year when she'd been told that the kittens were going to be put down. A friend of hers drove to Taranaki to get her and the kitten, and Indy spent the whole journey roaming around the car and whining loudly. She got under the driver's feet at times, and she was lucky to survive, I gather. However she was a beautiful cat and the best pet we'd ever had. We had to give her away when we moved to the UK in 2003 and she had two sets of owners after that, all of whom loved her.

Kirsty darling, this one is for you! And for you too, JoB. And for Ann and Bill. Doesn't that pose look familiar?
 Our cruise from next to Watermead Park to Barrow on Soar was very relaxed. We hardly saw any boats until we approached BoS, although there were three in a row coming towards us as we went through the narrowest piece of the river that we saw all day!

Our first stop was at the waterpoint at The Hope and Anchor pub - Tracey had told us about it. (Thank you, Tracey, as it isn't marked in the Nicholson's or on MemoryMap.) It's a bit slow but we weren't in a hurry and I managed to eat my brekkie, have a shower and get some washing started while we were filling. No one else was approaching in a thirsty sort of way so we felt fine doing our ablutionary tasks at the same time. A boater moored on the pub mooring came to ask about our solar set up and the MPPT controller and a cyclist borrowed our Allen keys to sort out something on his bike. So a bit of a social time first thing on a Sunday morning - that can't be bad, can it?

These young chaps looked interested as we passed by - they were keen on the cup of tea David was delivering to me, I think. They lost interest when they saw there were no biccies - it's a fasting day today.

This weir is after the Mountsorrel Lock and is rather attractive, we thought

It was a bit scary coming across the first group of people on pedalloes (bikes on two kayaks is what some of them looked like, and others are the flatter, sitting down low style) as they are reasonably maneouverable I guess, but as they are a craft hired out for an hour or so at a time, people are unlikely to have developed any real skill. And neither they nor the craft would look pretty after a close encounter with a 16 ton boat ...

Barrow on Soar looks to be a nice place but along with lots of pedallo boats of various descriptions being used by a range of people including some young kids, and there are a number of day hire boats plying the river under the control or not of a few slightly pished young men, plus a fair few narrowboats – all of these seem to be converging near the corner we are moored close to – I am keeping my eyes shut a fair bit. 

PS Does anyone know what this plant/shrub/tree is? It's quite tall (well, taller than me) and was growing on the public path on the way in to Thurmaston. I have seen several of them recently and I really like the seed heads/flowers. Kath (nb Herbie) I DO hope it's not noxious too!


Vanessa said...

Hi. Pleased to hear you are progressing OK. We were moored in Loughborough for the last 2 nights just before the junction (turn left to the basin & facilities). Quite quiet,near town and (John says) not too far a walk to the station. We are now at Trent Lock. Thanks again for the blackberry muffins. Vanessa

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Vanessa and John, We are aiming for Loughborough on Tuesday and Tony, another blogger (nb Holderness) suggested between bridges 39 and 39B - is that where you are?
Shame we won't catch you up, but it was lovely meeting you two the other day. Hopefully we will see you next year! Enjoy Crete.
Hugs, Marilyn and David