Sunday, 7 July 2013

Maintenance Cruise

I slept pretty well (perhaps not surprising given that the past three days I've had to get up at 4.15am), and set off at 9am.  A boat was coming out of Cosgrove Lock, so I went straight in.  Then a day boat from the yard here joined me.

It was pleasantly warm without being too hot during the morning.  There were lots of boats on the move, many of them hire boats, and most of those Alvechurch boats from Gayton.  I carried on to the winding hole at Great Linford, where I turned around and started heading for my intended mooring.  I liked this boat's approach to keeping the sun off.

I moored up just before Bridge 74.  The reason was that an oil change was on the cards, and the recycling centre is just a short walk from this bridge.  I needed the engine to cool down a bit, so while I waited I checked and topped up the batteries, then had lunch.

The the work began.  We've done a few oil changes now, so it's fairly straightforward.  I pumped the oil out of the engine, then got the oil filter off.  This is always tricky.  It's not easy to get at in our engine hole, and there's no way of putting anything underneath to catch the oil.  I put a plastic bag round it, which caught most of the oil, and then put the whole lot in a waiting ice cream tub.  I made sure I'd got the rubber seal off too, then put the new oil filter on and measure out the oil into the engine.

With that done, I turned my attention to e gear box.  This is surprisingly easy to get at, and I located the drain plug without too much difficulty.  There's not much room to get things underneath, though, so I put down a small ice cream tub, and also had a plastic milk bottle with a hole cut in the side to catch the oil.  When the milk bottle was full, the rest drained into the tub, and both were lifted out without any spillage.

Next job was the air filter, which we have never changed.  There's not enough room to just take the lid off, so I loosened the whole thing, lifted it off, then took the lid off.  Guess which is the old filter and which is the new one.

By the time all this was done, the Wimbledon final had started, so I listened to the first set on the radio, then at the start of the second set I took my old oil and a bag of oily rags, the old filter, etc to the recycling centre, which is about 100m down the hill from the bridge.

Back at the boat, I listened to the rest of Murray's match, glad I didn't have to move in the heat.  The temperature had really risen, although there was also a bit of a breeze.  Lots of boats went by, including some old working boats heading away from last weekend's Braunston rally.  These included Alan on Sickle.  Once Murray had won, I set off towards home.  Even though it was almost 6pm, it was still very warm, and the sun reflecting off the water gave me a bit of a headache.

I moored up past Wolverton Aqueduct, just a couple of boats past Del and Al on Derwent6.  This evening I went to visit them, and we sat in the cratch talking about all sorts of things.  I was flabbergasted to find that suddenly it was almost 10.30 -- it had been such a nice evening the time had flown by.

9.5 miles, 0 locks.  (10.5 miles, 1 lock)

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