Saturday, May 18, 2013

A week of weather

The whole nation's just had a week of bad weather. For us, it's been lots of rain and some strong winds. We've even had to have the bubble stove alight for parts of some days. Today's not too bad, amazingly. It's been a week of doing jobs.

On the one day it was dry, I took the cratch cover off, laid it out on the ground and scrubbed off the dirt - dust, mud, green-tinged water stains and bird poo. There are several areas which need repair, and we're hoping to get that done next week.

The cover - clean - last year
Last year we discovered an area of floor under the carpet which was damp, and had been for some time. We dried it out over the winter while we weren't here, rolling the carpet back to allow the wood to air-dry. A few days ago while it was raining, we found water dripping off the pull-cord of one of the 240v wall lights. Clearly, rainwater was getting in somehow. The most likely place was one or more of the bolt-holes for securing the gangplank/bargepole rack onto the roof. Picking a dry moment, I took the rack off and found evidence of water ingress. I cleaned up around the bolt-holes, applied silicone sealant and screwed it all back together again. Fingers crossed!

When we had the new shower room built last year, we had the shower pump replaced, but the old one was still working, so I kept it. Yesterday, having bought a few bits and pieces for the job, I put it together to be used as a portable, general-purpose pump. Its first use was to get water out of the bilge  just outside the shower room where it has been slowly accumulating on and off ever since we bought the boat. Another case of rain leakage perhaps, possibly around windows, but we've not yet found the source.

Today, I've mopped up the water in the stern, propshaft bilge. Water's expected to drip here from the stern gland, and bilge pumps fitted as standard here are never able to pump out the last quarter inch or so. When it's all dry, I'll paint it with hull blacking, the better to rust-proof it.

I have to check the condition of the floor of the bow locker, too. I don't think there's any rust problem there, but the pair of gas canisters there sit on a piece of carpet (to cushion them from the steel floor, especially when they're being hauled out of the locker, or lowered in), and it's as well to check that it's dry and clean underneath. I'll take the carpet out, in fact, and replace it with some of the plastic tiles we bought for the foredeck last year, but which turned out to be totally unsuitable for that purpose.

We have a 16kg anchor for use on rivers, with 7 metres of heavy chain attached (another 7kg in weight). It needed around 60 foot of rope on the end of the chain, too, so we drove out to Tradline Rope and Fenders in Braunston and bought 17 metres of nylon anchor rope, to which he generously added a complimentary shackle to attach the rope to the chain. Casting this anchor and retrieving it after use will be part of our training for the IWHC certificate.
We still have a number of patches of undercoat around the hull, where topcoat has to be applied. We had hoped that we'd be able to do that this week, so now our hope is on next week. The week after that, we hope to be headed up to the junction with the River Trent, where our helmsman course will be.

I've just looked at the weather forecast for next week, although goodness knows why, since I've long since given up trusting them. If the weatherman's best guess turns out to be accurate, then we have some decent painting weather ahead, and a dry Crick Boat Show next Saturday!

Oh, I've entered one of last year's photos in a Canal Boat Magazine competition.

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