Happy New Year

Apsley Marina

Apsley Marina

I really am going to write about the damsel flies, lace making and the Aylesbury arm, just not this time.

For now a quick up date on New year’s cruising and challenges of boat owning.

New Year’s day was drizzly but not cold so three of us met up for a mini cruise. Our 5 lock up and back trip was an enjoyable way of starting the year with friends. With sharing operation of locks and handling the boat we made good progress from the old paper factory site of Bassildon Bond, past the old soft drinks factory and up to the boat yard and marina at Winkwell. No other boat was moving, but like us, most had their solid fuel stove going keeping the inside toasty warm and producing the nostalgic smell of burning coke or wood.

We took lunch, a simple fare of bought sandwiches and hot drinks, inside with the glowing, flickering fire keeping us company.

Being on the canal is a bit like visiting any antiquity. You can see it, touch it, imagine the ancient activities, but you are still not part of its history. And although we may day dream on what it would be like to have been there, when it comes down to it, unless we were one of the very elite life would be very hard indeed. Long hours, uncomfortable clothes, cold and you could not rely upon even the food. How lucky we are today in this country.

We got the boat back into the marina built on the old paper factory. When the canal was built/cut over two hundred years ago the owner insisted that it was cut closer to his factory to enable him to transport coal to fire steam engines. This was to make his power source more reliable than the then current water wheel.

Having had a little tussle with the wind, she has a tendency to keep changing her mind and blowing the boat in different directions in the marina, we moored up and that was the last of what had been an enjoyable day, so we thought. We did not suspect the ticking time bomb that we had each partaken of. The little invisible horrors that unseen, undetected, unthought of, had been laying in wait in those sandwiches. I shall spare you the details other than say a) even in this day and age we can not totally rely on our food, b) we all succumbed exactly 36 hours later c) used the term “bomb” appropriately.

Never mind, won’t be visiting that sandwich counter again!

So the year of cruising started with some ups and, well, ups and downs so to speak.

But servicing beckoned and I decided to do the slightly over due job of taking out those tricky glow plugs before they get stuck and snap off in the engine. Saturday saw that job three quarters successful. That is, three plugs came out, one snapped off. But thinking about it I think that even snapping the last one was a small victory. I really do think, in fact I am certain, that I didn’t swear! Well it’ll give me something to do this week.

Glow plugs are the 4 silvery looking things amongst the tangle of pipes

Glow plugs are the 4 silvery looking things amongst the tangle of pipes

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