Monday, 21 July 2014

Fridge problems, but a better day after that.

(Boats Sickle & Chalice - posted by Cath)
Monday 21st July - posted retrospectively due to no Internet - even in the pub, which claimed to!)

Steady progress through the locks once we finally got moving.
We woke up to find that gas had run out overnight. As our fridge is gas powered, this also meant that all our cold stuff was rapidly getting warm.

Changing the gas bottle gave us the stove back and we began to make coffee, but the fridge can be difficult to relight the pilot light. It involves crouching on the floor, looking at a tiny little window at the back of the fridge, turning the gas on, and pressing a button that gives a spark. Because it is hard to see in bright sunlight this needs to be done with all the curtains closed, and the fridge cleared so that you can see the window.  Sometimes it goes on the first click, other times it can take hours of trying on and off to get the pilot alight. That was what happened this morning, and of course,  everything was rapidly getting warm.

One of the "standard" "must take" photos - This is Gailey, of course.
In the end, Alan took the fridge out of its housing, to see if the piezo electric spark was faulty. It worked fine, and there was nothing obviously wrong with the fridge, so he blew the dust off it, and put it back. It lit first click.

So, despite our intention to get up early and get started to avoid the queuing at locks, it was quite late before we got going.

Stopping for an early luch at Gailey.
It was a bright and sunny morning, as we set off for a series of locks. However, while there were quite a few boats about we seemed to get lucky, often arriving at locks as a boat was leaving, or having another boat arriving as we were leaving. Alan set off ahead on Sickle, mostly working the locks single handed, with help from other crews going the other way.

Yes, it really is that narrow - and "Sickle" was all over the place.
We stopped off for lunch after Gailey lock, and decided not to stop at Autherley Junction, but to press on to Brewood (pronounced 'brood' - typical).

Autherley stop lock, so shallow David opened gates with no paddle winding.
After Gailey there was a clear run through to the stop lock at Autherley, but Sickle found the shallow canal hard going, bumping along the bottom a lot of the time. We realised after that this is the first time we have brought Sickle along this section.

Very typical of much of the "Shroppie".
On the Shropshire Canal Sickle continued to scrape the bottom, especially when approaching Brewood Alan got stuck. It was the worst grounding he has ever had. David and I were some distance ahead and trying hard to reverse back to him. However, Chalice doesn't reverse well at the best of times, and in the shallow and muddy channel we found ourselves dragging first to one side, then the other. We couldn't even get near to the bank to let David off with the boat pole to help Alan. While we were making idiots of ourselves going backwards very slowly in a zig-zag, a boater lent Alan a long boat pole, with which he finally managed to push himself off the scour.

Just about free from the worst grounding I have had with "Sickle".
We moored in Brewood, and went off to the pub after dinner.  The excuse was that we were moored in a cutting, so had no Internet, but the pub claimed free wi-fi.  Unfortunately that also broke before we got to post the blog - the pub claimed it was because it was overloaded by all the people using their mobile phones to cheat in the pub quiz that was going on at the time!

Filance Lock (Staffs & Worcs) to Brewood (Shropshire Union)

Miles: 16.4 (Chalice), 16.4 (Sickle), Locks: 12

Total Miles: 206.7, Locks: 91

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