Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Renewing old acquaintances and friendships

Yesterday was lovely (sorry, that word again, but it does aptly describe how I feel).

I was feeling a bit blah the afternoon before because the noise level from the pub (have blanked its name - ah yes, Cross Keys) increased dramatically over the course of the afternoon and evening with live bands playing. As I was getting in to bed that night, earplugs firmly inserted, I said to David that I could not believe myself having stayed put, instead of moving! I thought it was probably that we had put up the pram cover, fixed the clothesline to the tiller, and moving (on a Bank Holiday Monday) was all too much.

However the earplugs did their job and I slept well, and no problems were encountered from the drinking/music loving public.

I got up quite early to walk down to check out the next set of 48 hour moorings here in Penkridge, and on the way encountered Pauline on nb Bradwell. She reminded me that we had met a couple of years ago at Napton and on the way to Fenny Compton - I had seen her over the last couple of days and thought she looked familiar. So it was lovely to reconnect. She is an amazing woman who boats solo, and who travels the world in the northern winter. Patagonia and Antarctic earlier this year and Japan this coming February. I hope we catch up with her in the next few days so we can have a sitting down over a glass of wine conversation. She obviously has a lot of knowledge to impart, and I'd like to hear it!

The moorings were free so I rang David and asked him to get the boat ready and back I came. Off we went, he walked, I steered - and while waiting for someone to exit the lock and Pauline to go into it (there had been a queue even that early, and there has been a steady stream of boats all day) - I managed to get grounded on the far right hand side of the cut. B*gger! Reversing did nothing, so it was out with the pole. Couldn't reach the bank, so put the pole into the rocks on the bottom. No movement. Tried rocking - no lifting. I was getting a bit anxious as David clearly hadn't picked up that I was stuck as he was signalling me to stop. 😡😖💣 My anxiety was not that he hadn't seen I was grounded (see emojis for my state of mind ...) but that he would let water out of the pound I was in and reduce the amount under the hull...

A Dutch guy in a hireboat moored across from me asked if there was anything he could do. 'Yes' I said, 'Take a deep breath in and suck my boat off the bottom.' Laughter and then renewed efforts with the pole. (If I hadn't been able to get clear, I would have asked him to come over with his boat and tow me off sideways - Plan B)

I had another go with the pole, and decided to check to work out where the hull was caught. Jabbing down with the pole I realised that there was a concrete paver (I could feel the straight sides ...) under the rudder, so I used the stern button as a lever with the pole and edged the boat away. I had to do it gently though as I could hear the pole creaking (ie cracking). A new pole is required and it's a good thing we are going past a chandlers on Thursday morning, is all I can say ...

To make sure I stayed clear I had to go fairly fast, but there wasn't much canal left between the bow and the lock, so hard in forward to get clear of the obstruction, then hard in reverse to slow down, then more throttle to get into the towpath side and avoid the overflow ledge ... No crashes and the TV stayed in place.

And that was all before 8am!

Once we had moored up, I made brekkie - no kitchen rage this time as the eggs that we got from nb Suzy Q the previous night were beautifully fresh and therefore had whites that sat roundly in the poaching pan instead of spreading out like a map of Australia.

The day stretched out, so what to do? Aha! The oil needed changing, so that was my top choice. For some reason polishing the mushroom vents, sanding and painting did not make the cut.

A change of clothes, all equipment gathered and at hand, and down into the engine bay I went. David disappeared off to see if he could find a home handyman who was advertised locally.

So there I was, down in the engine bay, and I hear the loud revving of an engine and much shouting from the canal. I think to myself that I am going to need to hold on as someone is about to hit me. Then I hear intelligible shouting 'David, David' then 'Marilyn, Marilyn, where are you?' So I cease pumping oil (unlike any Texan) and claw my way up out of the hole to find - YAY! It's Ian and Irene on Free Spirit. They stayed with us in February in Waikanae and we had been keeping tabs on each other, but clearly I hadn't been keeping a close enough watch. I certainly didn't know they were so close!

So cake from their boat, a batch of cheese scones in the oven (all ingredients included this time), coffee, and two haircuts. Lots of chat and laughter. It was so lovely to see them again. (It's that word again!)

I was in my working clothes so why not do a haircut ...

or two?

Off they went into the sunset. Well, the afternoon, really. Into the queue for Filance Lock. Glad we did it this morning, grounding or not... I gather from Irene who sensibly went to check, as no boats had come down but heaps were lining up, that a single-hander was struggling. Why no assistance given or taken, I ask? With at least 5 boats waiting, surely someone would go and offer help and be accepted. I've never done a lock on my own, but I know if I was, I would be more than happy to accept help. I rather like the idea of life being made easier for me ...

As Ian and Irene left I got back down into the engine bay to finish the oil change - easily accomplished, but I did get a bit mucky.
Working, boss! The engine was still a bit warm when the two Is left, so I could continue pumping. Good thing, as we couldn't start it up with two litres already taken out ...

I am not forgiving Irene for this one - I wasn't grumpy, honest!

I stole the photos from Irene's blog - David has shown me this nifty way to take snapshots of screens or parts thereof and I have used it here. And I didn't ask Irene's permission, so there!


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

So...your getting your own back then! I thought this was your normal position in the boat. Might have got you trying to climb out instead! Now that would have been something to laugh about! Xxxx

Marilyn McDonald said...

Getting a shot of me climbing out would have been funny, but better on video, I reckon!
We didn't take any photos so I had to steal yours and I knew you wouldn't mind really!
PS It really was great to see you both.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Loved seeing you both too. Sooo looking forward to when we go back to NZ to spend loads more time with you. A combined trip in the motor homes sounds a hoot. Xxxx

Anonymous said...

Hi great reading your blogs.saw your exploits in the engine bay and decided to do oil change.the pump broke so had to take it apart the washer end had broken I drilled a hole through the washer housing and brass pump handle and inserted a treat..will be out with the missus this weekend having a couple of days at Kinver good fishing and good carvery at Vine pub.Hope to see you again and have a chat.all the best Bill.