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Archive for November 19th, 2012

Boat Blog: Autumn Odyssey Day 12

Posted by indigodream on 19 November, 2012

Friday 19th September

Moulsford (Beetle ‘n Wedge) to Reading (Thames & Kennet Marina)

nb Rock ‘n Roll on her way upstream – we exchanged greetings, but sadly we were travelling in different directions today – shame, it would have been great to catch up with our fellow bloggers….

This turned out to be the last day of holiday, and I confess that I was relieved. Lou has been so clumsy on the boat steps and I’ve had to give her ‘backup’ doses of painkillers almost every day (usually in the middle of the night) – I was actually looking forward to getting home.

We had originally planned to spend an extra day on board and go down to Marlow or Cookham. But Richard had been concerned by water in our engine bilge, which he thought was coming from our stern gland. We have a Vetus stern gland which is normally totally dry; but Richard was concerned that we were getting more vibration from the engine and that our stern gland might be wearing out. He wanted an engineer to have a look at it and give us an opinion. Now, the leak wasn’t dangerous, but it definitely needed to be fixed before we got onto the tideway!

As we cruised downstream, we researched marine engineers – our first plan was to stop at Reading Marine, but although the receptionist was very pleasant and helpful, she needed to talk to the engineer to book our slot and arrange a week’s mooring there. They kept promising to ring back but they never did, so, onto plan ξ. We rang the ever-pleasant Thames and Kennet Marina, arranged a week’s mooring and a visit from an engineer.

We made haste to the marina and met the engineer there for an initial diagnosis. He didn’t think that there was much amiss with our stern gland – he recommended greasing it (again) – it only takes about a teaspoonful and to use a silicone grease. Richard had been wondering whether it was time to replace the Vetus gland, but rumour had it that the crane in the nearby basin would cost £1,000 – a bit much for a repair that would cost tuppence ha’penny (well ok, maybe a bit more than that but you get the drift!). and lastly do the tappets

Despite the river’s moods, we still fantasise about having our own plot of land with a mooring – this one just upstream of Cleeve lock would do us nicely – 90′ of river frontage, 50′ depth, parking and a dry dock/slipway in that shed – perfect! Now we just need to find £250k down the back of the sofa!

We were reassured and moved onto a visitor pontoon – it was quite disgusting – someone’s dog has been using it as a toilet – they are obviously quite happy to let them as it’s not their mooring. I don’t like that at all – marinas are tight-knit communities that rely on the goodwill of all in order to work – it’s that sort of irresponsible dog control that ultimately leads to dog-free marinas.

Anyway, I helped to pack the boat up quickly then I headed off by train to get my car from Teddington. It’s quite a trip – by the time I got to Teddington, the weather had turned nasty and I spent most of my trip back sitting in traffic jams on the M4 while the rain bounced off the windscreen. I felt quite sorry for myself, but luckily the rain had stopped by the time I reached the marina so we were able to pack the car without getting everything soaked. We warmed up the contents of the fridge and ate that for dinner before starting the tedious drive home. Actually, it wasn’t too bad, by M4/M25 standards, we were home by 10pm. Ty ran up to his precious safe den upstairs; Lou and Ollie sank into their memory foam beds; we found our own bed shortly after with a fervent wish for an uninterrupted night’s sleep!

The Engineer who came out to look at our Vetus was not one that could work on our tappets, which was the other job that Richard wanted doing. So we commissioned another Engineer to take apart our flexible coupling, see what state it was in, what the alignment was like, how the stern tube felt. He found time to look at our boat during the week, reported that he could feel our prop moving slightly but managed to tighten it through the weedhatch, coupling was fine, stern tube with no gearbox attached felt fine, alignment was perfect, tappets were a bit tight. We need to get the boat out of the water to have a good look at the prop and stern tube from the outside but it is looking good. After more greasing we still have some dripping but it amounts to perhaps a quarter of an ice-cream carton over a few days.

Note: We had a nice weekend at home and although I’d found the holiday a bit fraught with Lou’s health, I was surprised at how refreshed I felt when I went back to work on Monday – so “a change is as good as a rest” then 🙂


This notice made us smile – as if we could stop swans from cadging a lift in the lock!

I forgot to mention dutch barge Baglady – we shared locks with her for a couple of days. The crew was very genial despite their habit of throwing out very fat fenders every time they saw us approaching a lock behind them. Unsurprisingly she’s immaculate outside – I guess the inside must be lavish as well because she’s a hotel boat –

Lovely views….

Working boat Archimedes making the best of the deep water displacement! We’ve met her on the Grand Union with sister boat Ara, where they struggled with shallow water below Nash Mills lock…

I love these quirky barge-based businesses – you could just fancy a cuppa if you were walking the towpath..

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