Day 6

I think I mentioned previously that there were six manually operated locks on the Nene, and EA had a plan to electrify one per year starting 2020. Obviously that didn’t happen. I did three of them yesterday, and FOUR more today. The extra one is illustrated, the electric drive mechanism at Titchmarsh lock is lying on the lockside and a flywheel has been added.

Three years ago when I came this way en route to Crick the lock didn’t work so I called EA. An engineer arrived and confirmed there was no power, then explained that Titchmarsh lock takes its power from the adjacent Middle Nene Cruising Club HQ, and every time there is a power outage they have to call one of the committee with a key to come and push the circuit breaker back up. Maybe one side or the other got fed up with this arrangement, or maybe Covid restrictions made it impossible.

Apart from that things went OK. I went through two of the manual locks with other boaters sharing the work which is always welcome. At Oundle marina yesterday I climbed over some Armco barrier between landing stage and car park. Unfortunately the dodgy knee didn’t quite clear it so it’s a bit more dodgy now. Not a show stopper but it has slowed me down a bit.

‘I’ve not had much trouble with weed so far this year, I think I’ve been down the hatch three times, but this morning when yanking bits of reed off the propshaft I noticed the prop is loose. The nut is still on and the split pin still in so it’s a bit of a mystery. Even more odd, last year when I had Seren out at Brearley’s in St Neots to clean and antifoul the hull I noticed that the prop was tight on the shaft but the nut wasn’t tight against it because it was at the end of it’s thread. I couldn’t undo the nut so Jon Brearley said he could fix it before he put her back in the water. He told me he’d undone it and put some washers between prop and nut then tightened it up. Maybe he forgot. So, first boatyard I see tomorrow I’m looking for an engineer to do it right.

Cooking Update

First, slow cooking rice pud works, but I need to be more organised. My ‘Slow Cooker’ is based on the old ‘haybox’ idea of putting a pan of boiling food in a box surrounded by insulation and leaving it to cook. Not having a haybox onboard I boiled up the rice, milk, sugar and spice then wrapped the pan in an old towel before burying it in the storage box where my sleeping bag is stored. The trouble is I did it in the afternoon and it wasn’t ready by the time I needed the sleeping bag so the following morning I reheated it and tried again. It works OK though slow cooking like that doesn’t allow much moisture to evaporate so the result was bit milky. More rice next time.

I’ve just started another batch of Bara Brith Seren. The fruit is soaking in tea (yes really) and I’ll make the dough soon and leave it to prove overnight.

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