Monday, 9 March 2009

Not Quite What We Expected

Sometimes things on the cut just don't turn out the way you've planned. Hilary and I intended to call at Norbury Junction and spend the weekend on Starcross on our way home from a few days away in Teesdale, County Durham. We thought it would break the journey and we'd have a nice restful couple of days either at Norbury or with a short run up (or down) the Shroppie.

The first phase went to plan. We arrived at Norbury Wharf early on Friday afternoon, settled in on the boat, ran the engine for a while to charge the batteries and settled down for a comfortable evening on the mooring. On Saturday, after a leisurely breakfast, we decided to head up to Knighton and spend the rest of of the day on the visitor moorings provided by the Shropshire Union Canal Society at Bridge 47, just past the Cadbury's wharf. We arrived at lunch time, which is when things began to divert from the plan!

We've always been intrigued by the roll top table in the kitchen on Starcross, which transforms a small kitchen working surface into a dining table by extending sideways into the cabin area and have often wondered how it worked. Well, we got our chance to find out because - on Saturday - it didn't. Pulling the table out in the usual way resulted in the top coming away completely, leaving behind a complicated system of sliding wooden rods and catches as you can see in the photograph

It took us an interesting hour or so to work out how the whole thing functioned; to realise that the wooden rods had probably swollen over the damp and cold winter and to apply firstly WD40 and ultimately stern tube grease (!) to get them working again. Despite the delay it caused to our lunch we were pleased to have overcome another unexpected problem of the sort that boats (particularly oldish second-hand boats) throw at you from time to time.

It was on Sunday, heading home, that we had a less rewarding experience. For some time we've been aware of a slight possible leak somewhere in the bathroom area on Starcross, but had put it into the "one day, we'll get round to looking at that" category. For some reason known only to her, Hilary decided that Sunday was the day. Whilst I steered us back towards Norbury, she set to in the bathroom to trace - and cure - the leak. I was a bit surprised when she didn't emerge to assist me in tying up when we arrived. Our mooring space is very tight and a bit tricky to approach when everyone's home as there is not much room as you can see:

Nevertheless I managed to get us tied up only to find Hil still battling away. Inevitably the problem lay in the most inaccessible place - behind the wall that separates the bathroom from the kitchen. To reach what appeared to be the damaged pipe we would have to cut away part of that wooden wall and the tools we had on board were just not up to the job.

Hilary would not give up though, and went off to Norbury Wharf Ltd to borrow some better equipment. Although this allowed us to reach the probable source of the leak and to attempt a repair it eventually became obvious that we were not really able to solve the problem and were in danger of making it worse. Eventually (and very reluctantly on Hil's part) we gave in and asked David at Norbury Wharf if he could get someone with some plumbing skills to take a look for us, thus maintaining our ongoing attempt to become NWL's best customers!

No comments: