Monday, April 15, 2024

Work and play at Cropredy

 I'm glad to report that Herbie is still afloat - well you never know these days with all the weather we're having; there's a 40-odd mph wind outside as I write.  Anyhow we spend a jolly couple of days on Herbie at the weekend and actually got some jobs done.  We didn't go anywhere of course, but we didn't need to because lots of things were happening at Cropredy marina, it being their (our?) Open Day.  There was Hook Norton beer from the Village Butty and pizzas and a few traders too as well of course lots of other moorers to chat to and make friends with.  

We splashed out on a new button fender for Herbie's rear end - I haven't fitted it yet, first I've got to deal with the rusted upon shackles holding the old fender on, then I've got to lie flat on the rear deck to reach down to the welded chain fixings and peer over the stern hoping my specs don't fall off.  The fender itself is ever so heavy, I hope I don't drop it in the drink before I get the chains secure 'cos it sure won't float.

Jobs I did manage to get done were a) polishing the one side of the boat I can get at from our pontoon and b) fitting a new radio aerial.  Actually the aerial itself we fitted last time out, but this time it was routing the cable through the roof lining and down a covered wooden channel to the radio.  I found myself unscrewing all sorts of bits of boat, then deciding I didn't need to and screwing them all back again, then cutting the cable to length whilst worrying I might have cut it too short, then finally tucking it all away out of sight.  A proper DiYer would scoff at how easy a job it is, but for a dyspraxic old git like me who gets giddy looking overhead through my varifocals it becomes a non trivial exercise.  

One job I won't be handling myself is the fixing of Herbie's MORCO gas water heater which has decided not to keep the pilot light going.  Luckily I know a man who knows all about Morcos and he was at the Open Day - the redoubtable Clive Mantt who for years was the go to mechanic and Mr Fixit at Cropredy.  Now he has officially retired but he still will do the odd bit of gas work.  Other stuff like crawling around in engine 'oles and suchlike he now leaves to the younger generation.  I know how he feels.  Anyhow he's going to fix our Morco on Thursday - good old Clive.

When Aquavista swallowed up Castle Marinas, we moorers were naturally nervous about what it might mean, but so far the changes have all been good.  Cropredy has got posh new showers and toilets, better wifi, a new moorer's gazebo 

and a marked increase in social activities, so it'll be good to come for weekends or short breaks at the marina even if time or the weather precludes opportunities to go out cruising.  But when we do go cruising there's another benefit brought by Aquavista.  Last year they allowed their paid up moorers to visit any of their 29 marinas free of charge for up to 34 days a year.  Now they've put that up to 100 days!  That opens up some good opportunities for taking on a long cruise in bits and pieces, breaking off here and there to get back home for a while before continuing.
How about a trip to Nottingham? Aquavista have 4 marinas en route ( actually one on a short detour) from Cropredy and one in Nottingham itself.  I'm tempted. We could spread the return trip over two or three months.


Mike Todd said...

You might like to use a piece of old rope or blue twine (if it is not holding a work boat!) tied to the vfender and to the boat as a safety line in case it does slip. If clever - I've not gone this far myself - you could try and tie the safety line to the tiller arm and take the weight for you.

John said...

I was just about to leave the same comment as Mike, but with the added part about securing it to the tiller. I've done this on a couple of occasions myself and with a little bit of jiggery pokery it is possible to adjust the line so that the fender is held at just the right height to secure it to the boat and with no heavy lifting and trying to hold it in place with your non-existent 3rd & fourth hands.

Herbie Neil said...

Thanks guys, yes I was planning to use a securing line somehow. I've fitted buttons before but always found it really hard to get it balanced and level and it isn't helped by having to reach down so far to reach the bottom securing eyes, which at my age sometimes makes me woozy. This particular new button seems extraordinarily heavy, or is it just me losing strength. A bit of both I expect. We'll get there though.


Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Hi Neil,
My counsel would be to get someone young to fit the button! No point in struggling, mate. And keep the economy moving...

Cheers, Marilyn

Vallypee said...

Despite the weather, it sounds as if you had a good time, Neil. Good luck with that fender and don't take risks! The sun will shine again one of these days.