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Boat Blog: the mysterious leak(s)……

Posted by indigodream on 24 January, 2010

Saturday 23rd January

Richard went up to the boat today to investigate the mysterious wet patch in our bathroom which I mentioned a few posts back. It’s got worse since then and the bottom of the wall panel is sopping wet (though the damp hasn’t tracked much further up the wall since we last measured it.

It’s a mystery – the wall panel at the junction with the floor is sodden but the floor itself, the back of the panel and surrounding woodwork (well, MDF-work) is dry. Richard took out a section of floor under the cooker (which backs onto the wet panel) and the floor is dry underneath.

We’ve looked everywhere for the source of the water without any success – our latest theory is that it’s condensation. We can’t find a plumbing leak (not there anyway!),ย  and it’s not coming up from the bilges.

Richard partially dried it with a hairdryer today – we’ll see what happens next……

Unconnected with our bathroom panel, we may have a leak somewhere else – there were about 2 or 3 litres of clean water in our cabin bilge though this could be water percolating down the boat from when we overfilled the tank and some water got into the boat out of a loose connection on the tank vent. Richard left the water pump off and the pipes not quite empty but de-pressurised to help with the diagnosis.

Richard had no trouble getting the Webasto working, he thinks that there is a loose connection on one of the 12V positive terminals into the timer but did not have time to properly investigate as he was off to see the Leinster v London Irish game later and obviously we had to watch the Ospreys beat Leicester. ๐Ÿ™‚

Richard also continued our exploration of our winter home. Today he found a good old-fashioned hardware store and a very decent bakery next door to it. Cross the canal at Black Horse Bridge and follow the road towards Sudbury – the shops are about a mile away on the main road up by Sudbury Hill Station. The hardware shop (BRS Hardware 020 8422 3957) has a fantastic range of stuff some of it hidden away in tardis-like cupboards.ย  There is a useful list of London hardware shops here but unexplicably BRS Hardware is not on the list.

Batterywatch: 100% on Sunday 17th; down to 91% by Wednesday 20th; charged back to 100% on Wednesday lunchtime. Down to 92% on Saturday, long use of hair dryer,ย  wet/dry vacuum cleaner and of course the coffee machine took the batteries down to 84% despite the engine running.

Local Snippets….

I’ve been much impressed by Captain Ahab’s exploration of historic waterways and I’ve been thinking that I should make an effort to write something more meaningful about our surroundings, particularly when we’re cruising such familiar water (or uncharacteristically staying still, as we are at the moment!).

Sadly, though, I don’t have the Captain’s patience or diligence for historical research, so I thought I’d start by finding out and sharing little snippets about the structures/industries that have caught my eye along the way.

I’m not a historian so feel free to correct me when I’m mistaken!

A brief history of Greenford

We’re moored at the Black Horse in Greenford, a curious area with three distinct faces – the green spaces of Horsenden Hill, the industrial estates south of the canal and the low level housing to the north.

Every time I’ve cruised through here I’ve been surprised at the abundance of green space. Well, I shouldn’t have been – Greenford is an ancient parish with settlement dating back over a thousand years (apparently recorded in 845, then mentioned later in the Doomsday book of 1086). Back then it was a small settlement and it seems to have remained that way for many centuries – right up to the 1800’s the parish was still described as ‘small and isolated’. Miraculously the old parish has managed to retain some of that green space, thanks to the green belt, and maybe to the geography of Horsenden Hill which rises 278 feet above sea (or river) level. So that explains the first, and arguably most attractive face of Greenford.

The settlement apparently grew around a church and a few ‘big houses’. The canal is a relative newcomer to this ancient landscape, which may explain why Greenford doesn’t feel centred around the waterway (which is where I think it should be, of course!).

Even the arrival of the canal in 1801 doesn’t seem to have impacted on the area’s rural facade. There seems to have been some attempt at establishing an industrial base here in the 1850’s but the dye factory that was first built here dramatically exploded (tragically killing two workers), so that was the end of that! Interestingly, the canal is apparently 100 feet above sea level – I’d never thought that the Hanwell flight (to the West) or the locks from Camden to Limehouse (to the East) added up to such a big drop, obviously they have to or or we’d have to re-write the rules of physics!

BUT…… (here comes Richard the Engineer)ย  how does the maths work out? Well not that well! Limehouse cut is kept at near enough 11″, there are 12 locks up to Camden each at 8′ so that adds up to a surprising 107′. We need to look at this again.

The industrial and suburban faces didn’t emerge until the 20th Century – far more recent than I would have imagined. The railway arrived here in 1904, but the greatest influence seems to have been the arrival of the then giant Lyons company, famed for its tea houses. With better transport and prospects of employment, affordable housing soon followed. I found a site with some charming photographs of the staff at the Lyons factory when it was in its prime.

In 1086 the population in Greenford (presumably the parish) was around 130; by 1911 it was over 8,000; by 1931 it was around 14,000 and 20 years later it was almost 33,000. I wonder what it is now? Small wonder that one of the history sites says that “the peace and tranquil of the countryside in Greenford was largely lost forever”. But that seems like bleak assessment to me. Compared to the hustle and bustle of London, Greenford, from the canal, feels like an emerald oasis, so I’d rather celebrate it for what it is rather than what it used to be.

You can read much more about Greenford’s history on the websites highlighted here – the sites manage to be both concise and eloquent – no mean feat…..

Bored yet?

I hope not, in the next few posts I’ll be taking a little look at how some of life’s little essentials have influenced the area i.e. beer (the Black Horse), tea (Lyons and Tetley) and bread (Hovis)…..

5 Responses to “Boat Blog: the mysterious leak(s)……”

  1. Graham said

    Hi Sue, I am probably totally wrong, so you can tell me to wind my neck in but when I was a Lad and lived in both Alperton and Northolt I thought that the hill between the two was Horsenden and that Greenford started south of the A40, I also worked for Glaxo at one time and there postal address used to be Northolt.
    I am probably wrong but thats me all over, so Jill says!
    I just wanted to say hello,

  2. indigodream said

    Hi Neil, always good to hear from you and I think you’re being very helpful….

    Well, as to ‘where is Greenford?’ I’ll need to get a map out and check but it sounds as if the boundaries have moved quite a few times since 1086 so you may well be right ๐Ÿ™‚

    I notice that Nicholson’s shows Greenford as South of the M40 but I think that might be a modern thing – when Greenford was first established there were no roads in the area!

    This website suggests that where we’re moored does count as Greenford; the BW sign calls them the ‘Greenford Visitor Moorings’ and they can’t be wrong! From the sounds of things, it’s all come under Ealing’s umbrella so maybe the debate’s academic! I’ve been looking at Lyons and Tetley (two very local firms near to the canal) and they both refer to their sites as ‘Greenford’- they’re both north of the A40, as is Greenford station. The two local GSKs listed on their website now are, postally, Uxbridge and Brentford. So now I’m confused…..

    I think it may be a case of ‘tempus fugit’ – the boundaries, such as they are, seem pretty fluid.

    Anyway, I’m very happy to get your comment – it’s good to have a view on my new attempt to enrich the blog. The only trouble is that generally the best material for enrichment is MUCK so maybe I should just go back to wild speculation and leave the history to the experts ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. indigodream said

    I meant to say ‘Hi Graham’! Honestly I must pay more attention – I was thinking of Neil from Herbie (another of our regular correspondents who is local and full of useful knowledge)!

    Anyway, ‘Hi’ to you both – I’ve left a couple of comments on Contented Souls just to say ‘hello’ but I’m not sure if they’ve come through – if you read this then ‘Happy New Year’!

  4. Matilda Rose said

    Hi Sue & Richard, Happy New Year to you too. We always publish all comments so, sadly, no; your comments haven’t come through. Baxter & Muttley are trying to persuade me to have a bash at the liver cake recipe left on Bones’ blog, however, I’m not at all sure about the effect it will have on Mutt’s ridiculously delicate tummy – a year of eating what Labradors eat hasn’t really improved things!!

  5. indigodream said

    The liver cake is a big hit here – Lou and Blue have eaten a ridiculous amount today fresh out of the oven and I’m too soppy to resist their pleading!). If only you were a little closer (or had a more reliable postal service) – I’d pop some over to you….

    I must look again at what’s happening to the comments – I must be doing something wrong. I’d hate for you to feel all lonely now that Caxton’s moved on ๐Ÿ™‚

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