Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring and a collapsing sump pump, and Beethoven's hand

A brief resume of our London trip.

What a joy to be out boating in the spring weather this week. Coots are nesting and the flowers in our pot on Herbie's roof are in bloom.

On Monday we moored at Kensal Green, a pleasant spot at any time, but especially nice in fine weather. The warm afternoon encouraged me to tackle a job that's been hanging over me for months. - the pool of oil under the engine where we had a gearbox cooler leak last summer. Oil does no harm down there, but it's messy. In previous times we have squeezed down there and bailed out with a can - a horrible job. Now was the time to try out my recently acquired hand sump pump. 12.95 it cost, so I didn't expect a Rolls Royce. Pacer Marine isn't the maker, they just sell 'em.

Well, it worked, and I retrieved about 3 litres of watery oil, but I was less than impressed when the pump end cap came off in mid stroke. A good job I was wearing old trousers! If you ever get one of these pumps, my advice would be to strip it down before you use it and stick it back together with some oil resistant glue or sealant. It should be fine then. Anyway now I have a nice empty engine drip tray:-).

For the rest of the week we have been in Paddington Basin and doing the tourist bit. We decided to take a look at the British Library, where they have an exhibition of their "treasures". Apart from the usual great old books like the Domesday book and the Lindisfarne gospels etc, they have a great collection of original scripts of famous works. So you can see the final chapter of Jane Eyre in Charlotte Bronte's handwriting, and then pages written by Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, and more. You do get a sense of the character of these writers by looking at their handwriting.

Even better was the music bit. Original pages by Handel (dense and bold), Ravel (amazingly neat and precise), Mozart (tiny and busy), and best of all Beethoven - a violin sonata written in full flow complete with crossings out and dashing strokes, obviously written at great speed while the muse was on him. It did feel a bit amazing to have my eyes six inches from this piece of paper on which the great man worked. In the next cabinet, scribbled song lyrics by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Worth a visit.

I'll tell more of our trip in a later post and there'll be photos.

At present we're at home while Claire and Joe have the boat for 24hrs. Now we're off back out to the Black Horse to take over again.


Graham said...

Now you have an empty engine bilge, chuck a bag of Tesco Value cat-litter in there (the clay sort - not the paper variety) it looks so much cleaner and makes it so much easier to clean out whan it has absorbed any spillage from filter changes and broken gearbox coolers.

Neil Corbett said...

Mmm. Probably more aesthetically pleasing then the Sainsbury's basics disposable nappies that I sometimes use for water in the bilge! One time, I mistakenly tried paper cat litter. I wouldn't do that again.