Thursday, February 15, 2024

Water stories. Lots of good and bad news.

 Water water everywhere, even in our hall carpet! More of that later, but first the stuff in the waterways. Well some of it has spilled over rather, so not all actually in..  

The other day we took the guided bus from Cambridge to St Ives. The best way to describe the guided bus experience is that it can somewhat unnerving.  It hurtles along at speeds not normally associated with buses, and nervous passengers with a view of the driver can see that he isn't always holding the steering wheel.  This week however, after the usual breakneck first few miles the bus slowed right down, and looking out of the window we could soon see why.  The many gravel pits either side of the busway had spilled their banks and covered the cycle track alongside the actual bus track.  Mercifully the bus track is a tad higher so the bus had dry feet (or wheels I suppose).  Nevertheless it was a bit like crossing the Holy Island causeway with water lapping either side of the track. and extending as far as the eye could see.  

When we arrived in St Ives we went to look at the river Ouse.  The meadows upstream of the bridge were nowhere to be seen and it looked like the river was half a mile wide instead of its normal 20 or thirty yards.

Just over the bridge, the hotel car park was similarly nowhere to be seen with the hotel nervously perched atop its stilts

and on the town bank, more familiar to boaters, the river was perilously close to the  brim protecting the buildings beyond 

and the current was bowling along at quite some lick.  You wouldn't want to be out on it in a boat I can tell you. Not that you'd get under the bridge of course.

Looking at my CRT notification emails for the Oxford canal I saw that Banbury lock was over flowing and unuseable and the flood gate at Thrupp was closed and of course the bits where the Cherwell joins the canal were not navigable. The Thames I think has been on red boards for quite a while.  I haven't looked at this months reservoir holdings but I suspect that is at least one thing we don't have to worry about.

Good and bad news at home

Returning home after our sojourn in Cambridge we found that our central heating wasn't working.  The good news was that we have a British Gas contract so a phone call got them out first thing next morning.  Hurray! The bad news was that after fitting a new pump and automatic flow valve ( about £350 worth according to the gas man), it still wasn't working.  Boo! The good news is that we don't have to pay because our contract covers that.  The bad news was that the man concluded that the system was blocked with sludge and we'd have to have a powerflush (I'm not all that surprised as the heating system was put in about 35 years ago).  The worse news is that we have to pay £830 for that and the even worse news is that they can't get anyone to come and do it before Feb 27!! (I'm leaning on them to do better).  The good news is that the weather has warmed up considerably in the last couple of days and so we can manage by carting our fan heater into whatever room we are using. But the bad news is that when the gas man drained a sample radiator to check his sludge theory, he didn't fully tighten the connection before he left.  It was only some hours later that we spotted the damp patch (actually sopping wet would be a fairer description) in the hall and found the dripping joint.  My trusty adjustable spanner turned out to be of little use and I couldn't stop the weep, so we put a tray under it and phoned British Gas again.  Our man turned up next morning and, muttering apologies, fixed the leak and had a rather unsuccessful go at the carpet with his wet &  dry vacuum.  So now we have no heating for ten days and a wet hall carpet.  Hey ho. Worse things happen at sea.  I suppose we could go and stay on Herbie to keep warm, but I suspect we wouldn't be cruising because of all the excess water.

But here is good news of a different type.  Over in the graveyard behind our hedge, spring is really springing.  Look at these wild crocuses,

They're so thick in places that you can't walk along without treading on them.

Only the first daffodils are out yet but there are masses of them still to come, along with a big bed of primroses just over our hedge.  Everybody should have an old graveyard over their garden hedge.  We saw a jay over there this morning.

Finally, this is probably the last blog post I shall type on my trusty chromebook, because its now so trusty now as the battery has packed up.   I've had it for some years and it has more than earned its keep. I could buy a new battery, but instead I'll put that money towards a new Chromebook Plus which is a new breed of higher spec machines with extra AI based software features.  Chromebooks are not for everybody but they suit me well and it's nigh on impossible to accidentally lose your work. They get frequent updates  which unlike the Windows ones, are always quick and trouble free and actually worth having. So my next blog post , whenever that might be, will be shiny and more up market although you may well not notice it.