Pretty high up on most people's list of things that you don't want to go wrong on a boat, particularly when you are only looking after it for someone else, are a) the toilet and b) the engine - both pretty fundamental things!
So imagine my horror this morning when I discovered that the toilet on Areandare wouldn't flush. I did, at least, discover this before the situation became too serious, if you know what I mean, but my previous boating experience wasn't of much help.
Starcross 's toilet arrangements were pretty basic - the only thing that could go wrong was that the casette was full - but I deduced that the problem on Areandare was likely to be electrical. I hadn't moved the boat or run the engine much for a couple of days so thought perhaps it needed a bit more juice in the battery.
This was when I found that the engine wouldn't start!
Unusually, you can start the engine on Areandare from the kitchen, but not today! The ignition was on, but a further turn of the key produced nothing!
Determined not to give in and ring Barry and despite my very limited knowledge of things mechanical and electrical I sat down and applied some thought to the matter.
The toilet issue was just a matter of a switch that had somehow turned itself off but the engine continued to puzzle me.
As the ignition was working I thought perhaps it was the starter motor. All this time I had been wording from the auxiliary control in the kitchen until eventually it struck me that the problem might be with the throttle or throttle cable.
A quick trip to the back of the boat showed that the throttle lever was set just slightly in gear. On Starcross this wouldn't have been a problem - the engine would just have started in gear, but AreandAre has a different transmission system (that Barry has explained to me but which I only dimly understand) that obviously doesn't allow this. Knocking it out of gear allowed the engine to fire up straight away.
Anyway, all's well that ends well (if you are reading this Barry and Sandra) and I now have another nugget of boating knowledge tucked away in my brain for the next time something goes wrong!