Ellesmere Port

sinkage

sunken narrowboat

half in half outSlept only two miles from Ellesmere Port so we had a short trip to the Waterways Museum, arriving before lunch. Web site is a little ambiguous, we finally understood it as the cafe and shop are shut but the museum open. Pulled up to find everything padlocked. Good thing about having a boat is padlocks don’t keep you out, so we filled up with water from outside the cafe and tried to move into the top lock….only to get jammed against the museum trip boat. Walked down toblue spot mooring Ellesmere Port the bottom basin to see wEllesmere Porthether there was anywhere to moor if were able to unattach ourselves from the museum boat and squeeze past. The bottom lock was cordoned off and looked a bit battered so we reversed up and moored half in and half out of the museum. Jumped off thEllesmere Port waterways museume bow and had a sneaky walk round the old working boats. Came across a volunteer who was in to pump bilges, found out the bottom basin is tricky at the moment as two narrowboats have sunk in the lastwork boat two weeks – eeeekkk. Water is 20ft deep so in theory you could moor on top of the sinkages but if the locks are opened to let a vessel into the shipping canal you could find yourself with another boat coming through your hull, not nice. Our stomachs churned as we peered into the water and saw the roof of one boat, complete with mushrooms and aerial.  Nick wanted me to blog it as our ‘greatest disaster yet’, but am refusing to even joke about such things! Bonkers to think of the sofas, tv, beds, kettle, microwave, pictures all down there, soaked in the gloom.Manchester shipping canal

Walked down the locks and out onto the Manchester shipping canal. A strange place to spend New Years Eve but magical in a ghostly kind of way. All heading South from here on.


2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 16 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


Charred

leaving ChesterAs gusty as it had been for the last month so we decided it was time to travel on. Filled with water, then, finally the boat headedfender under the bridge and up. Not mentioningfeed sack anything to each other, we both stood thinking how juddery the tiller felt and how the engine sounded strained…eventually, less than a mile into our epic voyage to the summit of the Shropshire Union we pulled over under a bridge. Nick de-clothed and unscrewed the weed hatch. Praying to find a prop offender, our luck was in – one animal feed sack appeared from the murky, icy water. Pushed on, engine sounding much happier. viaduct

Sorting out the top of the boat as the boat moved along, we noticed the latest in the line up of wind crunched fenders…then we took a closer look…strange…it had a hole through the middle…felt a bit brittle, all in all looked quite BURNT. Thought back to about four mornings ago and noticing smokey stuff coming from the side of the boat. Turns out we’re definitely lucky not to have blown up the heating system and probably fortunate not to have killed ourselves with fumes. We now know the outlet for the heating isn’t the same hole as the exhaust, we’d covered it with a fender that had been slowly incinerated throughout December. Won’t make that mistake again.oil refinery

Moored about two miles from Ellesmere Port, just fields and oil refinery lights in the distance that look surprisingly beautuful at night.


Mascara

Chester mooring #2Just topping up on boating essentials like mascara, hair masks, concealer, corrector, eye shadow etc before we leave. Needless to say we haven’t seen any boats on the move today.  Not sure exactly when it’s going to happen but pushing off from here will be strange, Chester has become very familiar. Bobbing about here won’t cover the miles and miles of waterways out there!


Eviction

Turned key for a battery boost first thing this morning, engine turning over but not arbolstarting – oh flips, we knew we were pushing it with the diesel level and this morning’s mission was to fill up. 

Decided to ignore that for the time being in the hope that problem might just go away. Both heaved the mattress in the air, not really sure if we were hoping for a damp top or bottom to the membrane – top it was. Lovely, sweat. Marine dry mat coming this way. Ripped the damp membrane out as plastic was obviously making things even worse. Still a bit bleary eyed we staggered back out to the engine, dip stick was saying we still had diesel, turned key again and hey presto the engine started. Will try ignoring all problems from now on.

trip boatRealised our water runs in darkness were slightly rediculous and, seeing as the boat yard only sells diesel by in 20L cans there would be alot of wheel barrowing if we didn’t move. Checked the flight of three locks, nothing coming. Pulled up for water, wacked the hose on and started collecting our seven jerry cans and funneling them in. Suddenly about 20 ramblers appeared from nowhere all very ‘earthy’ looking which piled the pressure on not to slop diesel in the canal. Water filled, diesel (plus one big lump of rust – arrrggghhh, we await that breakdown) onboard, just about to take the kitchen door for a little trim in the boatyard when a piddly boat popped out the bottom lock and straight into OUR space!!! So technically not ours but we had left our doormat and a mooring chain. Went along and asked to have our mooring chain back – which they were merrily tying upto  whilst standing on the door mat. Hinted we’d only moved for water and were just coming back- seemed to go straight over the guys head, he chatted away as I peeled up our soggy door mat and wandered down the tow path with the chain. The Murkster’s last trip out is to their bow tonight, along with a pair of scissors:)

Moored on pins almost under the bridge, not so bad after all as we get to the concrete path sooner than we did before. Wok and Go for supper plus nightime window shopping as our Chester days are numbered.


Damp Membrane

inside mattressFound the ply under the mattress to be a tinsy bit damp about 10 days ago so wedamp membrane insulated the external wall in the bedroom, bed has been way more snug since, we thought we had it sussed. This morning it was there again…EVERYTHING OUT and fan heater on to dry the mattress and ply, while the Diptyque candles fought the damp hot smell. We created a condensation factory so the Karcher Window Vac got plenty of use.

Eight 15L carrier trips to the water point as the washing machine was on the go with the memory foam mattress cover. Figured the damp was somehow rising from beneeth the bed, which is especially chilly and then soaking it’s way into the mattress. Hatched a plan involving damp membrane and a weekly blast with the fan heater. Nick got to work chopping the black plastic to size while I googled ‘condensation narrowboat mattress’….so, it’s not just us. upside downLoads of problems involving beds made from ply with few air holes but – and this is where our plan possiblylast of the underlay falls down – the moisture might not coming up, it might going down…sweat…DISGUSTING. Apparently the average human produces over half a pint of sweat a night, ever wondered why your bed has a slatted base?!? Little time will tell, a couple of days and we’ll see which side of the membrane has moisture bobbles. Amidst the upside down chaos a £5 piece of carpet was temporarily laid to stop us stabbing our feet on the gripper rod.


Defence

condensationWithout a doubt the worst part of boat life so far is condensation. Sufferers we’ve spoken to seem to combat it by either taking as few showers and possible and/or having windows open in an attempt to equalise the internal and external temperature…err nope, not for us thank Murkyou. Our first weapon is the much loved 190w de-humidifier that lives quite happily under the table in the Pullman’s cabin and whirrs away from time to time. Today saw an expansion in our armory…the Karcher Window Vac, it’s the kind of thing likely to be seen on dreaded shopping channels or being flogged from trailers alongside bonus time black bags. Now we have one. Kind of got carried away with the demo window frame and squirty bottle in B&Q, next thing we’ve bought it and are walking back to the boat in shock. But, oh my, woweeee, it’s amazing – sucks windows, frames, tiled floors, shower screens, showers cubicles dry in seconds, leaving the troublesome water captured and clear to see; even has a lithium battery to boot.