Sunday, 3 January 2016


. . . and last day, this trip.

We went to St Matthew's Church again this morning for the regular All Age service - except that this was with a baptism. As usual it was a fairly full church and a lively service. A very mixed ethnic congregation. Definitely not a 'dead' church.

It was a very wet day and promised to stay that way. hence we drove down to Yiewsley even though the walk would have been good for us!

There were a few more things to sort out this afternoon, such as filling the stern tube greaser and trying out the new pump to empty the secondary bilge sections (there is an automatic bilge pump for the compartment below the stern tube but rain does still get in elsewhere. Whilst the concept of the new rig was right, the pump, being a bilge pump, will not empty a compartment really dry as it needs a couple of centimetres of water to work. Perhaps a Mark II?

Otherwise Christine prepared to leave the boat tomorrow and we did not do a lot!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

More Maintenance

We definitely had a lie in today! We awoke to a dull and often wet day - which continued much the same throughout.

The first task was to tackle the oven. Yet again it was coming loose from its fixing which has never been satisfactory. The problem was that the screws which hold the framework into the under-worktop space go into the end of the side panels forming the kitchen units. Especially week has been the right side where the screws go into fibreboard - at least on the left they go into plywood.

Having thought about it it for a while, Mike eventually devised yesterday a possible solution - using a bolt and hole through the side panels. The photo shows the hole with the nut and washers - the main part of the bolt replaces the screw from the front. Whilst it was a bit fiddly to get the nut to take on the thread of the bolt, careful use of bluetack and a pair of tweezers managed it, but it did take two of us at one point - one to hold the nut and one to turn the screw thread!

Mike then realised that the oven is really designed to be supported at the bottom but the design of the unit means that it was forward of the base and thus hanging in fresh air. This is why it had a tendency to tip forward and add additional pressure on the restraining screws.

Two provide some support Mike decided to screw a piece of wood underneath but had nothing suitable on-board, despite squirreling away every spare piece in hard-to-find corners of the boat. It was by now mid day so we set off to go up to Wickes in Uxbridge - probably the nearest place.

We found what was needed and also a new smoke detector. For several nights the old one had sounded an alarm during the night but never during the day. It did not seem to be a battery problem so we concluded that it was coming to the end of its useful life. We installed it soon after buying the boat. It was originally the only one and in the main cabin but always went off whenever there was much cooking! Year before last (ie 2014!) we replaced it with one that has a 20 minute 'snooze' button and moved the older one into the guest bunks cabin.

After lunch, whilst Christine set about sorting out the packing for Monday's return trip, Mike finished off the oven and then turned his attention to the smoke detector. Opening the packaging he discovered that the battery cover was missing and without it the unit was unusable. So there was no alternative to setting out once more - by now the rain was quite heavy - and returning to Wickes. They exchanged it without any difficulty although the only other unit on th shelves had clearly been opened and the batteries unsealed.

Back once more to the boat and a quick interlude to empty the elsan in pouring rain. Even now t he smoke detector was not straight forward as the tiny plug that was supposed to hold the battery lid just did not work. Eventually small screw was found and used in its place!

The next mistake was to sit down for a mug of tea and a slice of stollen - getting back up gain was a challenge! Hopefully that is now the end of our list of immediate maintenance tasks!

By the way, I now realise why it is so hard to communicate the details of boat projects in photos!

Friday, 1 January 2016

New Year's Day

After last night's late night we were not up until quite late! It was rather colder than of late and also there was some mist around.

Jess wanted to take a selfie with the Nexus tablet using the back facing camera. Not sure about the chap alongside.

Late morning we walked to  Tesco for a newspaper. At the gate out of the marina over the footbridge it looks as if the prisoners are desperate for release.

Oh look! See what happens when you take a large shopping bag just to carry a newspaper!

We looked into several other stores for some replacement wine glasses but the shorter ones seem to have gone out of fashion and the tall ones will not really fit out shelf. We later discovered via the internet that they may only be available from catering suppliers.

Earlier, Christine had made a soup with some of the remaining vegetable portions and it was very welcome once we returned to the boat.

The afternoon was quite laid back - Mike tried to teach Jess Pontoon (twenty One) whilst she had more success in teaching him Rummy. However it is as well that we had an internet connection ti check the rules (LTRU).

It was nearly four o'clock by the time we set off to run the girls back home. We stayed there for a cup of tea but returned with enough time to roast our joint of lamb for tonight's roast rather than at the weekend. Well, everything is topsy turvey at this season.