I was on a night shift last night, so I drove up to Thrupp Wharf from London this morning after work. I stopped on the way to buy some coal, as I didn't think there was much on board, and we were likely to need it. Even so, I arrived at the boat at about 9.30.
I unpacked the car, lit the fire, and started de-winterising. We don't actually bother doing much winterising, as we normally use the boat much more during the winter than we've done this year. I put the shower mixer bar back on, turned the water on at the stop cock, and turned on the water pump. I was hoping it would run for a bit, then stop. But it ran and ran - so I knew something was wrong. But it wasn't a burst pipe; it was the tap in the galley. Even when I turned the taps off, water still came out. Clearly there had been some frost damage, and a new tap was on the cards. I got back in the car, went to B&Q in Milton Keynes for a new one, and returned to the boat.
I resolved to sort things out later, and set off from the marina at just before 11.30. The sun had been making brief appearances all day, but as I started the engine a light snow flurry began. Even so, it was good to be moving - and I'd put on several additional layers.
At Cosgrove Lock, a boat was coming up, so I hovered in the middle of the canal while I waited; going onto the lock landing would just have got in his way. As I was going down in the lock, a Wyverne hire boat arrived to come up, so I was able to leave the gate open. Below the lock, the moorings were busy, and the sun came out.
Towards Wolverton, there's been extensive work to trim back trees on the offside. It makes the canal about twice as wide as it was before. When I reached Wolverton, I moored up. The station is by close, and Adrian was due to be coming up from London after work.
Once I'd moored, I started on the first of the day's projects: replacing our satellite tv system with a freeview one. The double boosted ariel is mounted on a wooden broom handle which sits in some fittings that that always been on the front of the cratch board. I wired everything up - and got no signal at all. I re-made one of the connections, and the tv found some 130 channels. Unfortunately, when it came to actually watching them, no signal could be found.
I decided to leave it alone for a while, and headed to Tesco for a big shop. I had lunch in the Costa cafe, then did the shopping - which was a struggle to carry back to the boat. As I walked, I took note of the direction of the area's tv ariels. When I got back, I pointed the ariel in the right direction, did a rescan, and the tv worked perfectly.
Now it was onto the tap. Getting the old one off was tricky, thanks to the confined space under the sink. I decided to reuse the copper pipes, as they were bent slightly to fit, and had connection fittings already in place. In the end, in spite of the difficulty of working in such a tight space, the job was done relatively quickly. The new tap is the same shape as the old one, but in a different finish: brushed stainless steel.
I had time to put the satellite dish and box, and the old tv, in storage under the dinette, then to make the bed and have a general clear up, before Adrian's train arrived a couple of minutes before 5. I walked round to the station to meet him. It's just a few hundred metres from the moorings.
It's been a busy day, but a productive one.
3 miles, 1 lock.