Monday 27th December
I haven’t seen Indigo Dream for ages, though Richard has been popping in to make sure she’s ok whenever he’s had meetings in East London. It was a great pleasure to go and see her today – it felt like coming home, though we didn’t stay long – it was still quite cold on board and we couldn’t justify running the heating to warm her up properly given our current fuel situation.
The lock on the gate to the marina has broken so we couldn’t get in with our keys. We were a bit horrified – we often come to the boat quite late of an evening and we’d have been stuck! Fortunately another boater was coming out and opened the gate for us; we later got the code for the electronic keypad lock – thank heavens that’s still working, otherwise we’d have been stuck inside the marina!
We hadn’t got to the boat a moment too soon – our fuel gauge was reading an ominous ’empty’ and the central heating was running on fumes. Luckily we had two 20l jerry cans of diesel with us and topped her up to a quarter full. manoeuvering the diesel from the car to the boat and filling her up was less hassle than we’d imaged, so at least we now have a contingency plan for keeping her going. Despite the almost tropical 7 degrees in the basin, the boats were still iced in, but the thaw is evidently in progress. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to move soon, fill the diesel tank properly and get ready for the tideway on the 7th January.
We ran the engine for a while and were pleased to find that it started instantly – that’s more than I can say for my diesel car, whose starter motor froze solid a week ago – mind you, it was minus 10 degrees out here in the countryside! For the record, I also gave the floor a quick once over and took my summer clothes home!
I was pleased to find that the bedding (human and dog) had stayed dry over the winter, despite the cold. Although temperatures are forecast to remain positive for the forseeable future, we’ve set the central heating to come on for an hour every other day. I don’t know whether that will be enough to keep the boat from getting damp but I felt better for leaving it on.
The marina was quiet, but we got talking to another boater who uses two electric heaters to keep his boat frost free – they’re low wattage ‘tubes’ (he estimated 60w each). It was a useful tip as that’s another option for keeping Indigo Dream frost free – the shore power is reliable and carrying/inserting new power cards is a lot easier than hauling diesel! Having said that, the central heating is still our preferred method of keeping her frost free – the calorifier’s is in our engine bay and running the boiler means that the whole heating system is warmed up. Still, it’s good to have a Plan B, though with a bit of luck, there won’t be another prolonged big freeze (ha ha!). If the boat hadn’t been iced in then our diesel supply wouldn’t have been an issue.
We left the hounds at home today – they wouldn’t have been impressed with a cold boat and Lynx is still recovering from his latest misadventure – he is building up his stamina slowly and we’re so relieved that he’s on the mend.
We had a quiet Christmas with LOTS of good food, company and, of course, presents. But the most delightful present of all was a long-awaited blog post from Greygal – her year in a single post, including exciting news of her new dog and her new boat!
Public Health Notice from Sue
As most of you will have gathered, I’m a pharmacist by profession, so this is an informed plea for all of you who haven’t done so to get vaccinated against the flu – it is NOT too late. This is especially important for those in vulnerable groups i.e. existing chronic illness like asthma, diabetes, young children, pregnant ladies, over 65’s – if you’re not sure whether you’re vulnerable then ask your GP.
Why am I nagging you? Well, this is really important – Flu is a serious illness – it’s not just a heavy cold. I have had the flu vaccine – a chest infection (treatable) has set me to gasping for air with asthma – flu (tricky to treat) could kill me – we owe it to each other not to spread it around!
We transported diesel to the boat in jerry cans; this, of course, made me wonder why they were called ‘jerry cans’. I assumed it was from the war as ‘Jerry’ was the disparaging term for germans; but that, to me, also implied that the product itself was being disparaged. But far from it, ‘jerry’ cans were, indeed, manufactured by the germans during the war and were of superior construction to the british equivalent. They were much prized by British soldiers if they could be captured. There’s a bit of disagreement on the internet as to whether they originated in the first or second world war.
Anyway, the design is interesting, well, quite cunning, in fact. The indented design on the sides allow for fuel expansion and the three handles on the top allow the cans to be easily carried by one or two people; the cap is also designed to prevent leaks and has some sort of mechanism to avoid the formation of air bubbles in the ‘nozzle’, making pouring smoother. Clever, eh?