Looking into Herbie's crystal ball, what do I see for the coming season?
Yay verily, I see hordes of stay-cation boaters merrily chugging along our beloved waterways, using lots of lock water, and I see said water getting very short.
Yesterday, en route by car from Wigram's turn to Cambridge we did a short detour to have a butchers at Welford Reservoir that feeds the Leicester line. Here's how it looks.
Not ideal for the start of a busy season is it? The lower photo shows the overspill slipway. I foresee some lock restrictions before the summer is out.
Luckily our vague cruising plans for the summer include hardly any locks as were thinking about the North Oxford to Coventry and then up the Ashby, only three proper locks and one little stop lock each way.
That's always assuming we get going. Yesterday we popped in to say hello to Herbie and were pleased to see that she was looking ok and inside, she was just as we left her apart from a very fine rust coating on the lower part of the stove flue, probably from condensation. That'll rub off easily, then we'll black it. Otherwise no sign of frost damage or pest infestation or damp. Domestic batteries 100% charged.
Now the down side. I tried to start the engine, and for the first time in 15 years, failed. The starter battery (which doesn't get charged by the solar panels) was low, but turned over the engine quite a few times before it gave up. Had we got the dreaded diesel bug? I dipped the tank and it looked fine. We didn't have time to investigate further, so we'll have to sort it out when we next visit. Maybe the fuel in the lines had dissipated over the long lay off. Re bleeding (I hate doing it) will be the first thing to do I guess. An overnight charge from the land line charger should get the battery back enough to turn her over again. If none of that works, at least there are 'engineers' on site, so help is at hand. I doubt very much it is anything serious.
As ever, there is a bit of roof paint repair to see to, but I'm beginning to realise that's just normal, and I can deal with it.
Otherwise, all systems go. I'm not sure where to hope for a warm dry summer fro pleasant cruising, or some decent rain to fill the reservoirs.