Day 3

The thing with old boats is there’s never a dull moment, always something to fix. After Gerald had gone last night I had a brainwave. Started the engine and put a shunt across the charging relay. The leisure battery was getting a charge and showing !2V on the monitoring volt meter in the cabin. So while I had volts I had a shower and did some washing and washing up. I left the engine on for about an hour the removed the shunt and turned off the engine. There obviously wasn’t a lot of charge in the battery after an hour because the voltage soon dropped off with the fridge on.

This morning I reconnected it all for a bit to do some GOBA membership stuff, but then Alan arrived to fix it and cut off the power. My little experiment confirmed what Gerald had thought and Alan said the quick and cheap option was to remove the automatic relay and fit a manual switch. Anything else he’d have to order and I’d have to wait days for it.So by 10.00 it was fixed and we were on our way.

I called Tina at Stanground Lock to book passage but she insists on 24 hours notice. With all the fuss yesterday I’d forgotten, but then as I didn’t know how long it would take to fix Seren I’d probably have to cancel anyway. I don’t know why the MLC are so fussy about it. I’m on the last mooring before Stanground so any boat going through there in either direction, except for a handful with private moorings, would have to pass me. I haven’t seen a single boat moving all day. Years ago someone told me it was because every lockful of water released down into the fens has to be pumped out again so the lock keeper aimed to pair up boats that could fit in the lock together. But almost every time I’ve been we’ve been the only boat through. The exception was once when I didn’t know about booking and just turned up following a little cruiser and asked if we could go together. Tina couldn’t think of a reason why not and grudgingly allowed it.

So the upshot is I’m just above Ashline lock in Whittlesea. Passage booked for 10.00 tomorrow so need to leave between 08.00 and 08.30. Ashline is an unattended lock and VERY hard to operate. The top gates leak and it had been left full so it took me an age to empty it. ThePenstocks (Slackers on the Ouse and Paddles everywhere else) are unbelievably heavy and hard to turn.

Talking to Alan earlier he suggested that the solar panel controller might be OK once the battery was charged becasue they use the battery voltage to regulate the charge. After dinner I connected it back up and it is working but soon as I got it going the sun went in. Maybe tomorrow all will be well.

Meanwhile I’m doing some experimental cooking. The sourdough recipe was perfected on the Llan trip and named ‘Bara Seren’ (bara is bread in Welsh). One of my favourite things in Wales since I was on holiday there with my parents is Bara Brith, literally speckled/spotted bread. ie fruit loaf. So that’s today’s experiment Bara Brith Seren. I’ll report tomorrow.

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