Saturday, November 19, 2011

On the move again

We took advantage of the good weather during our enforced stop-over at Swarkestone. I tackled the several chips in the paint on the roof, scraping them out, applying rust killer, then primer and top coat. While I’d got the materials out I also tackled some rusty blebs around the hinges on the back door. Welded on hinges seem to suffer from rust, whether it’s to do with the metal becoming more susceptible following heat treatment, or flexing as the door is used causing the paint film to crack I don’t know. But all four hinges have been sorted, now.

I also did a quick cosmetic job on the left side below the gunnel. Down to the first guard is painted gloss black, then comastic is applied below. I don’t use fancy brands, after all a lot is left on lock sides! I bought 2½ litres of B&Q Non-Drip black gloss the last time and still had some left, so the existing paint got as quick rub down to “key” it and remove any loose bits, then one fresh coat, just rollered on. It looks OK so long as you don’t inspect it too closely.
I’d normally do a proper job, scraping out, derusting and priming any damage, then building up the paint layers to bring it flush with the surrounding paint. Then hand flatting with wet & dry, more primer if required followed by 2 coats of gloss, roller applied but floated off vertically with a quality brush. It may take several days to get the job done, fine in the summer but risky in November.

We had an overnight visitor on Thursday. Mags’ son Howard was over on a flying visit from his home in Eire, so spent a day and night with us. We had a drive round to Stenson to have a look at progress on the lock there, and were assured that work would be finished as planned on Friday. Good news.
He left us on Friday morning and I got a few more jobs finished, then we were ready for getting away this morning.

First it was just 200 yards to the water point to top up the tank, then an hour’s cruise to Stenson Lock.

Looking back at Swarkestone Junction.SAM_0001 Swarkestone Junction
The lock is to the right, the entrance to the disused Derby Canal is to the left.

Reflections as we fill with water.SAM_0003 Reflections
The bright sun has overexposed the diamond design on the top bend, but it’s clear in the reflection.

We’d seen no-one on the move for the last few days but this was all to change today. We met our first boat below Stenson Lock, another above, then several between Stenson and Willington.

What, boats!SAM_0009 NB Snowdrop

Approaching Stenson Lock….SAM_0006 Stenson Lock
….And in the deep chamberSAM_0007 Stenson Lock

You may notice that all the wood on the roof has now gone, replaced with 10 bags of solid fuel courtesy of John Smiths of Melbourne and delivered to the boat. We spotted some logs on the offside near Bridge 20 but couldn’t get close enough in to retrieve them.

From here it’s 40 minutes or so to Willington. NB Shiraz was on the service wharf as we arrived, so we pulled onto a vacant slot on the 48 hour moorings to wait. Then decided we may as well stay here for the night anyway. We had intended to empty the loos then head out of the village to near Bridge 24a. There’s a lot less towpath traffic there. But this will do for one night.

Moored at Willington.SAM_0010 Willington

The next impediment to our trip west is closures at Fradley Junction. Two of the locks are currently closed but due to re-open on Saturday, but then another 2 will be closing on the following Monday. So we’ll have a weekend “window” to get through. Along with everyone else….

Hi Chas and Ann, we’re heading your way, looking forward to seeing you.
Locks 1, miles 5

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