Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Odd jobs at Saddington.

Apart from a trip to Foxton and back, we’ve been here near Saddington since last Thursday. The last few mornings we’ve woken to ice on the canal, but the clear frosty weather has made for good walking, on tracks that would normally be muddy. Meg stays surprisingly clean when it’s frosty!

Ice on the canal
Frozen mud = clean Meg
There’re lots of footpaths around here, and we’re getting to know the surroundings quite well. I only get lost about once a day, now. Across the fields past Smeeton Westerby it’s about 40 minutes to Kibworth Harcourt, with a Post Office and good sized Co-op. Or alternatively a round-about 50 minutes to Fleckney.

Christ Church at Smeeton Westerby
But it’s not all been exploring. I took the opportunity to do an oil and filter change on the engine and gearbox, and to repack the stern gland. This is the seal that prevents water coming in where the propeller shaft goes out. It’s primitive but effective, graphite impregnated woven cord, squeezed into place around the shaft by a stuffing box.

And I removed all the batteries from the compartment, to allow me to tidy it up a bit. Just the 2 good ones went back in, and we ran the electrics from them for 2 or 3 days without any problems.

Yesterday Mo and Ness on Balmaha arrived, heading back towards Foxton and the summit level. They’re stopping a couple of nights, so we had the chance to have a good long chat. We’ve not been able to before, we’ve usually just been able to wave as we’ve passed in opposite directions!

Balmaha as we go to Foxton.
We went to Foxton today primarily to fill and empty tanks as needed, but also to stop at Debdale Wharf on the way back to pick up a couple of replacement batteries. Had a chat with Vic on No Problem; they’re still there, partway through having a complete revamp of their battery and charging set-up.

Feeding the Foxton Ducks.
It was an enjoyable trip, cold first thing but the sun soon making inroads into the ice on the canal. It was mostly thawed by the time we got off, just some odd patches that remained in shadow.

Still a bit of ice in places…
But beautiful blue skies.
Through Pat’s Bridge.
The low sun highlights topographical features, like evidence of Feudal Ridge and Furrow farming techniques.
All being well, No Problem will be joining us tomorrow. Then we’ll set off north, sharing the broad locks up through Leicester and on to the Trent.

Locks 0, miles 6

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