Monday, June 05, 2006

Rain, mud and fun, sunshine and a blizzard!

A somewhat delayed posting because we've been on the boat and away from the internet for 11 days, and then had lots of network problems NTL :-( when we got home. Anyway cast your mind back to the week before the bank holiday and read on.

We moored up at the Wendover Canal festival in rain that rarely seemed to stop. Mooring in the rushes, we needed to use the gang plank to reach the muddy bank. Needless to say it was slippy and on Thursday Jacob did a spectacular back flip off it to immerse himself in the canal. He was very shaken, but otherwise OK after a change of clothes. According to tradition he can now call himself a boater!

It was amazing to see the festival site transformed from an empty field in just a couple of days. They even built a temporary bridge over the canal. Despite the bad weather the festival attracted some 8000 people and about 140 boats, and we all had a good time. Jacob watched birds of prey demonstrations and had a go at abseiling,

and we enjoyed evenings in the huge beer tent which was mostly full of boaties. Tring brewery brewed a special beer for the occasion called Under the Bridge - very passable indeed. Perhaps the highlight for me was the Saturday night band "Grand Central" who were superb and played hits from the 60s through to the present day. I commend them to you.

The trip home - good company, fine weather, fun with oil leaks, and a blizzard!

After overnighting in the lush and quiet Tring cutting with the mist swirling over the water

we collected friends Rick and Marilyn at Tring station. A quick trip down and up the Marsworth flight - for the hell of it, and we were headed southwards toward home. At Marsworth we were delighted to spot the narrowboat "The Old Bovine", home to Leon and Ray who were so helpful to us last year when Richard's boat "Bankside" suffered a battery failure. As ever, Leon was painting the boat, so we stopped for a chat and some helpful tips on paint and painting.

The journey home (Wednesday to Saturday) was brilliant, with very good weather for the most part. Having two extra crew is a great help. Here they are with Kath.

I was disappointed to see that recent oil seal changes hadn't stopped our engine oil leaks, so after cleaning out the engine bay floor and lining it with newspaper we ran the engine and looked for drips. Eventually we found the source of the leak. Not a seal or a gasket at all, but a drip from a nut where an oil pipe enters the block. It just needs tightening. Sadly we didn't have the right spanner to get at it but, next time I'm at the boat with the right tool, it shouldn't be a difficult job at all.

On our last morning we had an amazing blizzard of cotton-wool-like willow seeds (like dandelion seeds). They were everywhere, so thick they covered the canal and even got in our throats. I've never seen the like before.

All in all, a great trip. Where next?

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