Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ice Breaking and an ice cold duvet

Today we took a gang of CRT volunteers out for a ride on widebeamer  Jena, with fellow volunteer Richard and me sharing the helming..  In Adelaide dock where Jena lives the ice was a centimeter thick which made it really hard to manoeuvre her about in the confined space at tick-over speed. It wasn't much better out on the main canal until we got to Bull's bridge where water began to clear of ice.  It's quite noticeable how the ice melts near to large buildings.

I learned how wide the canal is at Adelaide dock.  Assuming that Jean is 60ft long, we now know that the canal is 60ft and one inch wide.  Coming out of the dock in reverse, as we have done on previous occasions is not too bad, because at least the back of the boat steers, but today we had to come out forwards and couldn't really steer until we had already hit the other bank.

Anyway the sun shone and we had a pleasant run up to Cowley lock and back, warmed by Cup-a-Soup and various nibbles provided by Debbie the CRT volunteer co-ordinator who sadly couldn't join us for the run.  Arriving back at Adelaide dock bang on time we once again ploughed into the ice and then Jena's engine stopped quite suddenly.  No, not the ice, but something big on the prop.  Taking off the weed hatch lid, I saw a sight I had never before seen.  The level of the water in the weedhatch was higher by several inches than the water in the canal.  That could mean only one thing - a large object was completely blocking the weedhatch. It turned out to be a big white duvet wrapped around the prop so tightly that we couldn't shift it.  After half an hour with a boat hook and a knife we managed to clear half of it - enough to fill a black rubbish sack, and then we had to go home because the yard was closing for the night, so the poor guys at Adelaide will have to finish clearing it in the morning.. Sorry guys, that water is literally freezing cold.

I found out how the car that I reported on yesterday got into canal down the Slough Arm.  Apparently some oiks had nicked it and pursued by the constabulary had driven through a field to the canal where they hopped out and shoved the car into the water before scarpering.   What a pain in the backside these kids are.  I have rather more sympathy to the two people we saw sleeping rough by the canal today, huddled up in blankets on the hard ground .  Just imagine how cold they must be.  We have to report where we see them and someone from CRT will visit them with a social worker to see how they can be got in the warm and dry somewhere.

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