Thursday, 3 January 2013

Not the best start to the year

Yesterday I went to Starcross for the first time in 2013. It had been a month since we were last on board and it was a cold and damp boat that greeted me. There has been a lot of rain in December and Starcross has a design fault that allows water to collect under the rear hatch and eventually find its way into the engine room. As I'd neglected to renew the waterproofing, and with all the recent rain, the ingress had been worse than usual and the plywood ceiling is going to have be replaced pretty soon! 
Although the boat felt cold and damp I didn't light the fire straight away as I knew the chimney would have to come down to get under the low bridge at the marina entrance and I intended to go out for at least a short run as the batteries seemed very low and in need of a substantial charge.
Firstly I needed some diesel, which meant reversing off the jetty between two lines of boats, turning, going over to the far corner and reversing again up towards the fuel pump, taking care not to hit the part-sunken boat moored conveniently alongside it! With fuel tank full I had to wind again before leaving the marina. As it was almost time for lunch I didn't go far and tied up just past the Anderton lift. Here I decided to light the fire, but as soon as I got it lit I noticed a crack in the stove glass. The four bolts that hold the glass in place were seized-up pretty solidly but I did manage to remove the damaged glass, which I thought would enable me to get some lubricant underneath them. I still didn't seem to be having any joy however, so before I went any further I decided to check the spare glass we'd bought last time this happened only to find that it was several sizes too small!
By the time I got back to the Marina the chandlery had closed so no chance of a new glass. Even worse, when I shut down the engine the batteries were in no better condition than they had been four hours earlier! So with no heat and hardly any light I abandoned plans to stay overnight. 
On the way down I'd come by train to Warrington and a bus from there. This is the quickest, and most economical, way to do if the times are right, but I hadn't been planning to return in late afternoon. I could get to Northwich on the bus, but a train from there would cost an extra £7 and involve a diversion via - and change at - Chester which meant that I might as well hang about in Northwich until the next bus to Warrington at 19.00.

There were two redeeming features of the day:
One was finding the "Lower Angel" pub in Warrington to pass the time between the bus arriving and the Lancaster train. It's a gem of a place  - every bit as good inside as it looks from the outside in the photograph. It also sells beer from the Tipsey Angel brewery which specialises in recreating old brews from local long-gone breweries, which are much more to my taste than  modern pale and blonde ales.
Lower Angel, Warrington
The other good side to the day was that nobody at Warrington or Lancaster stations or on the train bothered to check my ticket, which means I can use it next time and with fares being as high as they are I have no qualms about doing so.


Nev Wells said...

Not good to hear that Jim....low batteries are one heat is another far worse. You have encouraged me to to get a spare glass for our stove. Hope it gets sorted soon and we can read about your extended cruising.

Take care


Anonymous said...

Nev, Just make sure you get the correct size!

nb Carmel said...

Ah! Found you again! all this jumping about is making me dizzy!!!
I checked on Carmel yesterday at Venetian, she is OK but a little damp inside, quickly dispelled with the fire lit for an hour or so. Must get a new glass myself . . . ho hum!
Like you I've got a bit of water ingress, it appears the seals have gone where the radio aerial is mounted on the roof, and the edges of one ceiling panel are looking a bit iffy, I'm hoping it will dry out ok. In the meantime I've bagged it and taped the bag to the roof hoping no more rain gets in - I'll need dry weather to re-seal it.
Fortunately my batts seem ok, started first time and everything works . . . . (now I've said that it won't next time - haha!)
Cheers Jim, happy new year
Dave K

Anton's Blog said...

Good to have found your Blog again.
Always interesting and helps remind me of the practicalities of boating. We're live aboard so need to keep on top of the heating and batteries. There is too much rain water seeping through to the front hold though - needs sorting this year.
For interest, here is my blog. If you are prepared to include it on your list, then I would be gratful.
Kind regards
nb Song of the Waterways