Saturday, 2 February 2013


Well what a day!  As Dawn works on a Saturday, except when were off boating of cause, it is the only day I get to have a little lie in as I usually stay in bed until Dawn leaves for work so I don’t get under her feet while she is getting ready.  Well today Dawn had a hospital appointment at 8.00am for a MRI scan to  find out what is wrong with her shoulder after slipping off Mike Askin’s boat Victoria at Alvecote last year.  This meant getting up at 6.30am and driving over to Rowley Hall, Stafford.  By 9.00am I was back at home loading a few things in the car and heading off down to Darley for a full days indulgence with the intention of pumping out the rain water and lighting the range to air the cabin.  When I got there  I unlocked and went in the back cabin to light the fire only to find that I had left the box of firelighters at home and that there was only one fire lighter, no paper and no kindling in the coal box.  I grabbed some sticks out of a bag in the hold that I had chopped last year only to find they were damp, but not put off I set a fire with them and the one fire lighter.  I lit the firelighter and the sticks smouldered away then finally went out so I temporarily gave up on that one.  Next I thought I would start the engine so I could switch the pump on. I pressed the button and --gerdunk---geeerrrrrrdunk ---gerrrrrrrrrrrrduuuuuuuuuunk.  The battery was flat.  This had me quite perplexed as when I left the boat a few weeks ago the battery was charged and I have a small solar panel that usually trickles a charge into the battery.  Not to be out beaten I got the starting handle out but after several failed attempts to hand start the Petter I gave up.  Right plan B.  I got back in the car and came home for the firelighters, the generator and the battery charger.  I dragged the generator out ready to put in the car when I thought I had better check that it would start as it has been stood for three years.  I screwed the lid off the petrol tank to be greeted by a dry tank, oh sh*t I thought and so went down the garden shed to get the petrol can.  After a quick trip up to our local garage, I returned armed with fuel which was quickly poured into the tank.  Choke on, generator on, and a few slow pulls on the starting cord to get everything moving, then I went for it and after about the fourth pull – yes your right—the starter cord snapped.  Back down the garden shed to retrieve my socket set and I set about removing the starting assemble, which came off quite easily as it’s only three bolts.  As I pulled the unit off the end of the engine, I felt a sudden whirring vibration in my hand as the return spring unwound, 2nd oh sh*t.  I’ll sort that in a minute, first I need to find some replacement cord after a rummage round the shed, I came across a length of 6mm  polypropylene cord, although too large I thought if I unravelled it I could use one of the three strands.  So that was what I did and after sitting on the cold concrete floor for 15 minutes I was winding the spring back up and re-fitting the starting unit.  Attempt number two followed a similar course of action with the cord snapping on about the fourth attempt.  Next, armed with a pen knife I went into the summer house and cut the starting cord off another broken generator.  Eventually after over an hour , I was loading the generator, the battery charger and the fire starters into the boot and was off.  When I got back to the moorings, Chris Shenton, who is on the next mooring, had arrived and after greetings he asked why I needed the generator and I explained my flat battery and my inability to hand crank the engine and knock the de-compressors down at the same time.  “Mines flat as well” “Don’t bother getting that out of your car, we’ll have a go between us” and so we both disappeared into the engine ‘ole but even with the two of us, we could not get up enough speed  and momentum to start her (3rd oh sh*t)  “Don’t worry Bloss, I go over Anglo Welsh and borrow a battery”  and so he did which resulted in the engine starting after only a couple of revolutions. Next we put the battery on his boat and that too sparked into life.  God bless ya Chris always there to help, cheers.  Next the range.  After taking all the blackened sticks and coal out of the fire box, I re-set the fire with some more fire lighters and after ten minutes it was roaring away and warming the back cabin up for even with several layers of clothing on, the wind was quite raw and the cold had started to bite.  Right, I thought, pump the rainwater out of the hold.  Climbed down into the hold to switch the bilge pump on and it was at this point that the 4th oh sh*t could be heard, as even though the pump was not running, the switch was in the on position.  When I went down Darley last time I had pumped the water out and when it was all out I had stopped the engine, locked up and gone home.  The battery was flat because I had left the pump on which had run dry and burnt it out! Oh sh*t, sh*t, sh*t, oh sh*t.  I disappeared into the warmth of the back cabin and set about polishing all the fixed brass, as I had removed all the loose brass last time I was down. After this I tatted in the warmth of the engine ‘ole filling the stern tube greaser and generally cleaning. By the time I had finished this it was getting on for 4.00pm and time to be heading off home as we were having the eldest granddaughter to stop tonight. So maybe a few more sh*ts there, so, as always, till next tme
Don’t bang ‘em about