Saturday, 22 March 2014

A visit from coal boat Bletchley

After I'd cleaned all the water and crap out of our diesel tank, it was time to re-fill the tank, but Clive has stopped selling diesel, so Alan at A.N.A. fuels came to the rescue with his Big Woolwich narrowboat 'Bletchley'.

Alan steers Bletchley into Blackthorne Lake Marina.
Reversing in to the neighbouring pontoon.
Honey I shrunk the marina manager! Barry, looking shorter than normal at this angle.
Bob, our neighbour off NB Puffin, helping to manoeuvre Freyja close enough to reach Bletchley's diesel pump
Alan sells coal, gas, loo blue, eggs etc.
The menu

Alan manning the pump
Bletchley gets herself stuck fast!
Kurt of the Rinstead Chapter of ' Hell's Dingies' comes to the rescue, and no, he's not towing him off! Perhaps he thinks he can get salvage rights and use it as a butty!
Winching her off the bank
Brummie John lends a hand. Free at last!

Getting Christina ready for her 4 year safety certificate and cleaning out our 'polished' diesel tank

Christina's safety is due in April, so we are striving to get all the little jobs done so that we can get the surveyor over in March, that way if there's anything we've missed, there'll be time to sort it.

How to reach those awkward corners when painting the gas locker in Christina's bow. A piece of pipe, a jubillee clip and a brush.
While Julian was re-wiring Christina, he came across this gem, the main feed into Christina's consumer unit steps down a few times and is then attached to the terminal with a small crocodile clip!
We've added 16 amp C form plugs and sockets at each end of Christina's cabin and 13 amp 4-ways in the workshop and boatman's cabin. Modernised and tidied all of the 12 volt wiring, which we've run through trunking.
We're also fitting a gas bubble-tester in Christina, Freyja already had one fitted.
The Whalegulper shower pump that we fitted was such a success that I've fitted one in Christina too.
Likewise I replaced the crap & leaking sureflo pump with a Whale watermaster pump, once again, I was very impressed with the build quality so I'm in the process of replacing Christina's leaking waterpump too.

On the way down to the Nene from brokerage, we had huge problems with water and diesel bug blocking filters, wrecking the lift pump etc. We broke down many times, eventually, at the bottom of the Rothersthorpe flight, we were advised by River Canal Rescue to get our diesel polished and that it would probably cost less than £100.
It actually cost nearly £200 with the filters, and we were more than a little miffed when we broke down again with the same trouble after just a short distance to Northampton, we started to run from 5 gallon containers and that's what we've done since.
Because I now had an inspection hatch, I decided to clean out whatever was left in the tank.

Here are some videos showing how much sludge and water came out of our tank after it had been 'polished'!
Too thick to go through the funnel

And here you can see why

Yuk! So glad to get this lot out

Now the tank has been cleaned out, I've added this Mechanical Line Solutions centrifugal filter, which will, hopefully, extract any water and traces of diesel bug that develop in future.

A 'Gentleman's weekend'

The lads outside Joe's favourite local watering hole, The Crick Club.
We have been talking about bringing Joe's drinking pals up to see where his body was found and to incorporate a weekend on our boats and in a few watering holes.
Joe's family had made a temporary memorial and mounted it on the bridge where he was found.
They then added this brass plaque.
We drank in the Crick Club and met some of his old drinking pals and also the barmaid who, like the manageress of the Brewery Tap in Sudbury, was also called Sarah, and who he also liked to wind up!

Ray and Pat enjoying a brew on the end of our pontoon.
Andy and Jules chilling with Glenda
Glenda, kindly rustling up a belly-busting brekkie for everyone.