Friday, August 11, 2006

11 August 2006
It’s been a while since I set up this Blog, and a fair bit has happened in that time. First, we had a buyer for the house, no chain, cash available. So we went looking for a boat. We spent a week or so knocking about in Lancashire and Cheshire, and having looked at several "floating sheds", we were getting a little disillusioned when we came across a small boatbuilder in Northwich who had an almost completed fitout based on a Jonathon Wilson shell. They were prepared to do some minor modifications for us, and could have the boat ready in early August.
Then the house sale fell through. Just as we had agreed a price for the boat. Massive disappointment.
But within 48 hours, we had received another offer, and had agreed a price.
On the back of this, we finalised the deal for the boat and paid a deposit.
Skip forward now 8 (very eventful) weeks.
My notice at work completes 4th August, we’ve sold all the furniture, several cars, and had a garage sale to clear most of the rest. Margaret’s daughter in law, Christine, is going to car-boot the rest, with the proceeds going to PDSA.
We’ve been living in our touring caravan for 3 weeks, since the house sale went through. This is due to be collected on the 5th, and we take over the boat on the same day.
As boatbuilders seem to work to a different calender to the rest of us ordinary mortals – you’ve guessed it - the boat wasn’t ready.
We had no curtains, no hot water, no gas, and no 230 volt electricity. But we like a challenge, and by Tuesday 8th we were ready for a test run. We took the boat down the canal for a couple of miles, and she handled like a dream. We paid the balance and had 2 or 3 bottles of wine with Mike and Charmaine (from Orchard) to seal the deal.

Fuelled and Watered and ready to go!

We intended to move off in the morning, heading up to Preston Brook and back as a shakedown cruise, but were delayed by a faulty oven. The lads at the yard had it swapped pretty quickly, though, so we moved off and spent our first night near the Anderton lift.

Look out kids, Learner Driver!!

Wincham Wharf

Mooring at Marbury

I checked the fluid levels in the morning, and was surprised to see some oil in the containment below the engine, and the level ½ way between the H and L marks.
Anyway, I thought we’d press on, and went past the lift, through Barnton, Saltersford and Preston Brook tunnels, and spent (quite) a few quid in Midland Chandlers.

Anderton Lift from the T & M

Preston Brook Tunnel - 1239 Yards

Set off back to Northwich with the intention of reaching Orchard Marina by 5 PM, but after going through Saltersford tunnel the engine oil pressure had dropped to 20 PSI, and the pressure warning light/buzzer came on as I dropped the revs to moor up.
Switched off and called Mike, who sent Kevin out that evening. Problem diagnosed as a broken connector for the oil pressure gauge, replaced, oil topped up and run down to the boatyard for about midday on Friday. The lads checked for any further leaks, cleaned out the containment area, and we set off South at about 3 o’clock.
We stopped for the night near Brambles Cutting at around 5 o’clock. And so starts the "maiden voyage" to the Midlands.

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