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The Waterways Wanderings of Narrowboat “Just Heaven”

Still here

This morning I fitted a new leisure battery, supplied by the very helpful people at Bristol Batteries. It took me nearly two hours as the access is difficult working down in the engine ‘ole. We have three leisure batteries but the one that needed replacing was the most difficult to get at. It entailed removing the starter battery and two of the leisure batteries to get at it. This meant that I had to disconnect all the wiring and then reconnect it again at the end. Hopefully this will mean that we dont run out of energy by the evening. Whilst I was struggling with batteries Heddi washed, polished and waxed one side of the boat.

In the afternoon Pam & Mark our son-in-law Simon’s parents came for a visit. We took them for a short cruise to Patch bridge & back. Pam had never been on a narrowboat before and the last time Mark had was in the 1970s.

Jan & Mike visited in the evening and we went to The Bell in Frampton where I had an excellent meal of belly pork.

The swan family are providing us with hours of entertainment. The little ones are gorgeous, how can anyone call them “ugly ducklings” ?

Splatt Bridge

We moved down to Splatt bridge during the morning as we had arranged to meet all the family there for barbecue in the afternoon. Nik, Paul & Izzy arrived first shortly followed by the Davies’s and great grandad.

Ahhh...

Ahhh...

On the way down to Frampton we saw a group of cygnets riding on mum’s back. We were to become very familiar with this little family by the end of the week.

The weather was good and it’s a great spot for a gathering as there is plenty of room and it’s not so busy with walkers, cyclists etc.

The new barbecue worked well and everone had a great time. The two little girls in particular really enjoyed themselves. After everyone had left we had a quiet evening to ourselves. It would be almost a week before that happened again as we had arranged a succession of visitors.

3 generations! Isnt she gorgeous!

Hempstead

An early start at 6:15! Josh stayed in bed until about 8:30. To start with the weather wasn’t too bad, but it got worse. As we were coming down river to Worcester it was very cold and raining hard.
We stopped at Worcester for a cooked breakfast and I lit the fire to warm the boat up and dry us out. As the afternoon wore on the weather improved, and by the time we arrived at Gloucester lock at about 6 o’clock it had stopped raining and warmed up a bit. I went to call the lock keeper and discovered that my phone, which had been in my pocket, had been ruined by the rainwater that had filled my pocket!
We had to wait for the lock as they were operating restricted hours due to the low river levels. We stopped at the new Sainsbury’s to get some food for the barbecue on Sunday. By the time we had finished shopping it was after 19:00 so the bridge keepers were off duty, but we found a mooring just up from Hempstead bridge.
Josh found the trip down river rather boring as there isnt anything to do.

A bored & Grumpy Josh

A bored & Grumpy Josh

Wolverley Court Lock

We picked up grandson Josh then drove in two cars to Frampton on Severn, left one car there and continued on to Kinver.
Unloaded as quickly as we could and set off. The idea was to get as far as we could tonight as we wanted to do the whole Severn run from Stourport to Gloucester in one day if possible.
It was almost nine o’clock as we moored up at Wolverley Court Lock. A cup of tea then to bed.

Maintenance backlog

It isn’t just BW who have a maintenance backlog, we have one too. I keep a list on board of all the various little jobs that need doing. So this weekend was dedicated to crossing some of them off the list.
First I decided that the still leaking calorifier needed to be completely taken out in order to effect a repair. There just isnt enough working space or visibility to do it in situ. So I drained the Eberspacher central heating system, partially drained the engine cooling system and drained the tank itself and took it out. Once it was out on the towpath I pressure tested it with a kit that friend Mike had lent me. With some soapy water we quickly identified the remaining pinholes. Rather than just soldering over these I covered the whole area with a piece of copper sheet I had bought from the Crazy Wire Company.
I carefully soldered all around the patch and allowed the solder to go up under the sheet by capillary feed. When it was cool we pressurised it again and repeated the soapy water test. All seemed to be good so I re-fitted the tank. One of the tank connections from the central heating wouldn’t stop leaking, so I took it off again and upon inpection it was clear that the rubber seal had perished. A quick trip to B&Q produced a new one and all was well.
We went on a short trip down to Wittington Horse bridge, winded, then up to wind again above Hyde lock. This was to run the tank up to operating temperature. I also ran the Eberspacher to test out that side of things. All seemed to be OK – no leaks.