However, we did decide that we should sort out our drop-through toilet (look away or go la la la if you don't want to read this bit). The toilet had started to wobble on its moorings and we were a bit concerned. So we rang the trusty Ed Shiers to ask his advice. As he was heading down towards Bristol area, he said he would call in on his way back with a maintenance kit - purchased, as it turned out, at Alvechurch!
So he arrived in good time and then proceeded to lift the toilet off its moorings and reveal all the icky contents of the tank (thanks, Salvi ...)
We are all fairly sure that the toilet had never been removed in all of its life which is a testament to its installation by John Woods back in the day (probably about 23 years ago). But the screws holding it on were all rusted through and the maintenance kit doesn't include those; so Ed had to visit Screwfix, either in Redditch or Warwick (not sure where he went). While he was away I valiantly cleaned all the non-moving parts - multiple buckets of water from the tap two boats away, rubber gloves, bleach, and the about to be thrown away scourer ... David was excused toilet duty because of the need to keep him germ-free ...
The toilet is now on very stable footing which is most reassuring! The only thing remaining is replacing the main seal which prevents water in the bowl leaking down into the tank. Apparently when the toilet is disturbed, that seal often fails because the way it's seated changes. So a new mainseal has been ordered at Swallow Cruisers and will be fitted Monday on our way back to Lapworth to collect Karol and his cousin Kzryz. Note to readers: I really like the Lapworth flight, but I am bored with the section between the locks and King's Norton Junction ...
|This table and seat are near Swallow Cruisers - perhaps we will sit here while the main seal is being fitted.|
|And from the other side|
And on our way back to Kingswood Junction the following morning, as we came through Shrewley Tunnel, I saw a big white blob in the water coming alongside the boat towards the stern, so into neutral I went - then lots of squawking - a pair of swans had swum through, one each side of the boat! One swam happily, the other got a bit tossed around as I was closer to the portside than starboard ... I could see the silhouettes when I looked back and there were two necks and heads - so that was all right then!
It was Friday last week (six days ago) when Tim, Dana, Olek and Karol brought Kai down to stay with us - they were heading to Portugal for a week, so we were put in charge of her. Well, I think the intention was that we would be pack leaders ...
It was lovely to have all five of them onboard, even though for 4 of them it was only overnight.
We did get them to help us up the first 6 locks at Lapworth back to where we had moored a few days earlier with Salvi and Ann.
While we would have liked some shade as it was very hot, Tim deemed that the shady part was too close to the road and therefore too noisy. So a shade sail it had to be! Tim, Olek and Dana were the construction team with David finding materials down in the gas locker - all those things David tells me that we shouldn't keep... It provided much needed shade for all of us, and didn't impede passersby or cyclists - well, tall cyclists had to duck a bit, but no-one had to dismount. Job done!
|Tim, Karol, Kai and pre-dinner nibbles under the shade sail|
|Little stretchies were used by Dana to secure the sail to the fenceposts and to the pram-cover. The boathook was used as a pole and a piece of cord was installed as a guy-rope. Excellent skills!|
The team left mid morning on Saturday and had a much faster trip back to Bury than they'd had coming down - 1.6 hours instead of 3.
Since then, we have had Kai with us. She is a lovely dog, but as a staffie, she has a reputation that precedes her and is unfounded in her case. She is supremely uninterested in any wildlife, never barks at dogs or people, likes to have a sniff at them but doesn't growl. She is happy being on the lead whether sitting on the towpath or on the grass or the back of the boat.
We had declared that we would not be feeding her between meals. Well, how many minutes did that last? Mmmm ...
She sleeps late in the morning, sleeps quite a bit during the day, esp if she's had a big walk, and is a most restful guest. She DOES try to inveigle herself into prime position on our bed, but heads back to her own bed when instructed.
|Dog barrier at front doors. Of course, if she wanted to, she could just bunt it out of the way ...|
|At first I attached her lead to the ring and the t-stud on the boat side. But I realised she is quite steady on her feet and this is the equivalent of having her head out the car window...|
|Checking the view to the rear in case pesky ducks are following ...|
|This is called colonisation|
|As is this ...|
|At Edgbaston in our private park area beside the boat ...|
|Our own park ...|
Today we walked along the towpath to find the HSBC so that David could get some in-person assistance with their new internet and mobile banking app (having tried and failed on his own and with Helpdesk assistance yesterday). About a mile in only to find the branch has been closed for 3 months, but is still showing on google maps, dammit. So back we came and Kai never pulls on the lead. Good dog!
The only thing is that she sheds hair so David is on sweeping and vacuuming tomorrow!