somebody has to do it!


It’s good to remember some of the sights from last year. So much frolicking, so much fun, so much companionship and plenty of solitude as well.  We can also look forward to similar in the coming year, God willing.


Unfortunately it does require a bit of preparation that is not so much fun. I was going to say not so glamorous. However glamorous does not really describe pushing lock beams, winding paddles, getting drenched before you can get the waterproofs on, dressing up in colourful but raggety clothes, and in my case falling in on average once a year.

I will stick with the expression not so much fun. Service time has come around, or rather it is a bit overdue, and it is winter. For GB that means a change of oil and filter, change of diesel filters, clean the oiler sieve, check the belt and have a quick look around for problems that I don’t want to find. Now for those of you who are not tech minded you will not be interested to know that these old diesel engine do not like even tiny air bubbles in the diesel. They will not start if there are bubbles. It’s because the diesel is used to force open spring operated valves and the air just gets in the way and squashes in and out. A bit like you trying to force your way past a space hopper jammed in the loo door, it’s just not going to let you past.

Now bearing in mind that the new filters start off full of air and empty of diesel it is a bit important and tricky to bleed all the air out before trying to start the engine. But the good old RCR course taught me how to do it. Although on the course they could not get their BMC to start again and had to use Eazystart. I don’t like working on a stone cold engine in the winter. So I make myself cozy under the canopy by first warming the engine up, not too hot to work on, but to the point where it will easily start again. Then I do the service, with the radio on, the fire going in the cabin and two mugs in the engine room, one full of tea, the other filling himself up with tea. I finish the service with the engine still warm so that she is quite willing to overlook any tiny bubble that I have missed, and brumm, success. And as for those other possible problems that I don’t want to find, well I didn’t see any, but then who wants to look too closely!

A quick quiz on the photos numbered 1 to 4 clockwise from top left. Which one has the water trap, the injectors where the air bubbles cause issues, the oil filter, the manual lift pump, the diesel return pipe, the alternator. A drink at Ricky (or where I next meet you)  for the first correct answer.

Meanwhile my domestic batteries are still charging at home!

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