Monday 8th to Sunday 14th March 2010.

Foxton is as good as anywhere for starting the week particularly with the choice of eating.
Starting with the affordable end of the scale V and I wandered up the locks to the café at the top and sampled the cuisine at lunchtime.
V took the healthy(?) option of beans in spud while I splashed out on an all day breakfast. You certainly can’t complain at the quantity here.
toplock cafe

We followed that by eating in the evening with Ter and Claire at the Locks Inn and went into overdraft on three courses. The only reason I was allowed to stuff myself twice was because it is our anniversary and I’m not saying how many of those we’ve had. Two meals in one day, once a year, isn’t so bad is it?

This has been an unusual week for water problems. No, not those sort.

Firstly our existing leaky porthole glazing unit in the bathroom was joined by two others in the corridor. Channelglaze don’t know if the big-freeze had anything to do with it but I was told these sealed units don’t like sitting in water. They don’t sit in water but I can’t stop them getting wet when it rains, that’s what they’re supposed to do – get wet.

There’s nothing one can do to repair them, I’m told, it’s a case of cough up and buy new ones. We’ll see how long we can put up with them before we start measuring up for new glass.

Secondly I was very nearly slagged-off by a plumbing services guy when I went to empty the boater’s briefcase at Foxton. He had spent some time clearing a persistent blockage when I arrived to test his work. When asking what the trouble was he said it was lack of flushing water, going on to say that boaters can’t be bothered to rinse the elsan after saying goodbye to last night’s steak and chips.
Oh, said I, I think you should be aware that BW turn off the water around 4pm every afternoon so it’s hardly the boater’s fault.
What, said he, why do they do that? I couldn’t give him a satisfactory explanation but assured him that after 4pm everything goes down the hole raw because the hose and flush are out of action.
I’d better speak to my superiors about this, he said. Good, said I, time something was done about it.

And thirdly our water pump threw a wobbly. It switched on but didn’t switch off. Consequently the pressure relief valve on the calorifier opened and dumped the contents in the canal. Good job we were there to turn off the supply because the microswitch contacts in the end cap had welded together and the pump was on its way to emptying our water tank.
shurflo pump

I’d noticed the pump was chattering a bit recently, so now I know why. Fortunately I got the thing apart and ground down the contacts so we’re back in operation again.

So any liveaboards with a Shurflo diaphragm pump please take notice when your first four years are up. If the pump chatters after its main pump-run then start getting worried.

Motoring on down the Arm during the week we bumped into Mike and Jo at Black Horse Bridge. We stopped for coffee and yummy cakes, the sort of dainties made with sponge covered in icing with chocolate drizzled over the top. You can usually count on Mike to have a pack of these up his sleeve when he’s been anywhere near the shops. It wouldn’t have been right to let them go without roping them in to pulling the swingbridge in Foxton village.

A day or two later we pulled into Market Harbro’ and with a sigh of relief found Keith and Jo still there on Hadar.

You just don’t know what the weather’s going to do so we played safe and took on another six bags of coal. But you can be sure that stocking up with coal will bring the sun out and the temperatures will soar.

Got an email from Mike on Anastasia to say the French were in town so we wandered down and admired their nerve at converting Euros to Pounds and then doubling it. The smells were free so we hung around until the pressure became so great that we had to run off to Sainsburys for a box of Camembert.
french market

Number one daughter, the larger princess of the two, came up to see us for one night and stayed for two.
Seeing as how I’d been down the shops to get measured for a penguin suit it was time to get V kitted out for the wedding. Kass took V to the city and came back with dress, jacket, hat, dangly things for neck and wrist and a new handbag, everything but shoes. Absolutely amazing to get all that done on a single visit.

Taking the long way home our happy shoppers dropped in to see how the twins were growing. Here’s Kass with baby George, four and a half months old already.

With Kass leaving us on Mother’s Day morning we just had time to get our wind back before Steve arrived to break his journey to the North. We haven’t seen Steve for quite a few months so there was lots to catch up on. We stuffed ourselves on V’s cooking and fell asleep on Steve’s homemade sloe gin.

I’m afraid there’s nothing new to report on the creation of engine fuel from water. It takes about a week to get the chemicals out of my hands and I didn’t think V would be too amused at me eating our anniversary meal ‘red-handed’.

On the nature side I can report that this week saw the start of the spider season. I probably shouldn’t have squashed them because by Friday this years’ flies had started arriving. No connection with the French market I suppose?

Ducks are becoming vocal, well the females are, and there’s been a lot of chasing up and down the canal, usually its two males on the heels of one female. No one minds the endless quacking but at four in the morning it can get a little tiring.

Have you noticed how this year’s lambs are more sophisticated than last year’s? They’ve worked out how to reach the water through drinking straws.
drinking straw