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Boat Blog: A morning of DIY

Posted by indigodream on 31 January, 2010

Sunday 31st January

Richard’s original plan had been to spend at least a full day on the boat over the weekend but we’ve been down with some bug or other, so a morning was all he could manage. He had a quick visit to charge up the batteries and carry on with assorted winter tasks.

Indigo Dream was fine and Richard enjoyed coming back to her. The moorings are emptying a little, there are now three free mooring spaces between us and the pub though the waterpoint is still a bit crowded (it’s frozen so I guess it doesn’t matter) and the assorted plastic cruisers are still behind us. It must be tough to liveaboard on the cruisers during this year’s winter – they look distinctly draughty.

The batteries were at 78% – down from 84% so that’s not too bad. Richard left the batteries at 95%, but the central heating is set to run on timer for 2 hours every day ( 5 hours on Thursday as he mistakenly thought I was going to the boat on Thursday – I am not, I am busy being a lady who lunches!).

There was a tiny amount of clean water (<1L) in the cabin bilges and the wall in the toilet was dry (but discoloured). Richard attacked the toilet wall with a hair dryer again, fixed the two missing clips on the gas pipe, re-fitted the fridge, sealed up the gas pipe enclosure, improved access to the bilge, sealed up one cable hole into the engine compartment and emptied the trapped, rust-coloured but not smelly, water from alongside the toilet tank (which is in its own ‘bay’ under the back deck).

The real star today was the clear plastic panel we got to cover the gas pipe enclosure – the gas pipe needs to be inspectable so this was an elegant solution. The plastic came from these people: – nice range, all cut to suit, very prompt service.

By the time Richard was ready to leave the boat, a tiny amount of water had percolated back into the same spot in the cabin bilge. It keeps re-appearing, which suggests that the first theory of water percolating down through the ballast  from when we overfilled the tank is now unlikely; repeated drying out of the bilges will be interesting.  The cabin bilge water is clean so it’s not canal water or from our toilet tank; the water’s not soapy so it’s not from the sinks and and we haven’t used the shower so it can’t be that. This leaves either a leak in our domestic water pipework, rainwater or condensation.

Against the leak theory is that the floor downstream of the tank is dry, the pipework was de-pressurised over the last week and the amounts don’t tally – we might expect a water depth of perhaps 10mm over about 4 or 5 months, but 2mm after a week?

Rainwater? Hmm we are not aware of any leaks apart from the mysterious damp patch in the toilet.There’s no staining around the windows/portholes

Condensation, well it is the right time of year and may account for the perception of having less water accumulating over the summer. To be continued ………

People have been talking about the grannybuttons effect. Well we are experiencing the Mutley/Baxter/Bones effect with a surprising number of hits coming in following our trips to dog training classes. Our dogs may well have more to say on the subject – we are to try and teach them the sit command, not easy with a greyhound!.

Note to Sue: Richard has oiled the hatch….

Local Snippet – fancy a cuppa?

I was interested to find a large Tetley building in Greenford (about 500 yards down the road from the canal). I know that tea used to be a valuable commodity and I’ve found some photos of tea barges on the Thames (though not along the Grand Union). The tea barges looked distinctly ‘dark satanic’ compared to their nautical cousins, the beautiful tea clippers, though I’m sure that both played an equally important role in delivering a good cuppa to the nation’s wealthy! Tea was apparently heavily taxed from the late 1700’s right up to the 1960’s, making it a popular commodity for smugglers.

Tetley is housed in a modern tower block – I guess that its site is a co-incidence – there’s no evidence of any relationship with the canal (past or present). However, a lot of land in the area was once owned and developed by Lyons, famous for its tea houses.  I can’t find any business relationship between Lyons tea and Tetley tea but the world of corporate take-overs is very murky.

I was surprised to find that this unassuming tower block is Tetley’s UK headquarters. According to one of Tetley’s websites, the brand employs 1000 people worldwide – I was surprised that it’s so few, I wondered whether they’d missed a nought – our local Tesco superstore employs 500 people…..

Anyway, Tetley was established by two ‘Tetley’ brothers in 1837; they later expanded their business to America where, apparently,  they accidentally discovered the tea bag. The story goes that one of their staff started sending out samples of tea in silk bags (cheaper than the tins they previously used) – the customers mistakenly thought that the tea was meant to be brewed in these bags, so the teabag was born (in the late 1800’s). Tetley is credited with introducing the teabag to Britain in the 1950s – I can’t imagine life without them, though the history of coffee might be more relevant on Indigo Dream 🙂

PS: Link to BW’s London Tidal Locks leaflet for 2010: It is here: I have no idea why Waterscape only links to the 2009 version when they have a 2010 version! Anyone know who to contact waterscape?  Last time I tried the published addresses they bounced.

6 Responses to “Boat Blog: A morning of DIY”

  1. Greygal said

    Two out of five can do the sit thing but they don’t stay sat for long….enough to eat the treat and that’s it. Besides, they look a bit daft sitting…what’s the point of having lovely long lissome legs if you don’t show them off?

  2. indigodream said

    And they look a bit silly with their bums hovering in mid-air! (for non-greyhound owners, greyhounds have such big thigh muscles they can’t ‘sit’ down like other dogs)

    Ours do more of a ‘collapse’ than a sit (if we gently rugby-tackle them behind the knees) – “that’ll do” said our weary instructor……

  3. Gilby said

    Hi. Re Tetley & “there’s no evidence of any relationship with the canal (past or present)”, Lyons-Tetley used to occupy the whole industrial estate between Oldfield Lane & the canal. They made stuff on site like Ready Brek and they packaged tea. They had a basin built for unloading barges bringing tea from the London docks. The basin is still there, near where I think you are, a few hundred yards along from the Black Horse – where the towpath rises up over the bridged entrance into it. Lyons took over Tetley (or vice versa – becoming Lyons-Tetley). When they stopped manufacturing and packaging operations some years ago the site was redeveloped into the current mainly warehouse estate, retaining a presence in their remaining Tetley office building. Am not sure if there is any other evidence of their former activities but at least the basin remains(or it did the last time I went past sometime last year), somewhat prettified by some shrubbery, beds and grass landscaped around it.
    And on the opposite bank, the current Entertainment UK site replaced the old Lyons Maid ice cream factory which I believe used to be the largest in Europe.

  4. indigodream said

    Hi Gilby, that’s helpful – the basin is still there – I always thought it would make a smart mooring spot and I’m surprised that no-one’s taken advantage to make some money from it!

    I knew that Lyons had a big presence here – what I couldn’t work our was the relationship of Tetley to Lyons so thanks for sorting that also!

  5. Try an email to
    and request a read recipt.

    They always claim they didn’t receive mine,but they always receive the one complaining that they have not replied to the first one. Strange?

  6. indigodream said

    Ah I did not think of enquiries.hq – that has been very useful in the past.

    I followed their contact us link and found corrections @ Hopefully I was being unduly negative [1] as so far that has not bounced….


    [1] Things do improve. Last September I tried to get some inaccuracies on boaters guides – bit of updating needed. I think I had to try 3 different published addresses before I got one that did not bounce [2]. This time the first one I tried worked!

    [2] I just checked – the boaters guides on how to get onto the MSC at Ellesmere Port is still wrong, has not been updated. I will dig out one of the old emails and forward that to enquiries.hq.

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