Adrian has been working in London this week, so I've been able to stay in town after my shifts. On Monday, Doug and James from Chance came to see me at work, and seemed to enjoy having a look round. Yesterday evening, we all met up and had dinner out together.
I came up to the boat this morning; I was due to have been doing a boat test, but it's been put off to next week (probably wisely, given how windy it was today). There's another test in the diary for tomorrow, and the forecast looks pretty good.
So today turned into a day to do jobs. On my way up I called into a car parts place in Milton Keynes to get some oil. They had a 20 litre container of the right stuff for £54, which is a big saving on the price of buying it in four or five litre bottles. It'll see us through a few oil changes, and we have plenty of space to store it under the boards of the engine room. It is big though, and not very easy to pour from!
I've done a few oil changes now, and have learned something every time. Getting the old oil out is easy, and this time I was prepared for the more tricky task of getting the oil filter off. I put a container on the floor underneath to catch drips, and had another nearby to dump it into. For the first time, I had real trouble unscrewing the filter; I had to break out the filter wrech from the toolbox to get it moving. Once it was off, the new one went on very easily, and I then measured out the new oil. In the middle of all this, there was a torrential downpour. I closed the slide over, but the wind straight in the back of the boat meant I still got pretty wet.
After lunch, I took the old oil to the recycling centre at New Bradwell. It seemed odd going by car -- I've only ever been there by boat in the past! I took the opportunity to get rid of several empty oil containers at the same time; only fairly small ones will fit underneath the pump, so there's no point in keeping ones that are too big.
On the way back, I bought a new floor covering for the engine room. The back of the old one was disintegrating, and putting a fine dust all over everything. Back at the boat, I cleaned as much of this dust off the engine as I could, and also topped up the batteries. At the same time I filled the water tank, which was a bit depleted after our weekend out earlier this month.
It had turned into a very sunny weekend, and by mid-afternoon the wind had dropped to merely a very stiff breeze. I decided I'd get out of the marina, which is always my preferred option. We have a winter moorer in the next berth, and they like their radio on so lound I coould hear it inside Briar Rose. They've also got a little pennant on the boat, which was flapping in the wind and hitting the satellite dish. The tapping was driving me mad!
The direction of the wind meant I thought it would be a real struggle to turn left out of the marina, so I went right and have come down to Cosgrove. I was a bit worried about whether turning round above the lock would also be tricky, but the wind ended up helping. The turn took a while to get going, but once I'd reached a certain point, the wind took over and did the work.
Once I'd moored up, I did another job I'd been planning to do for a while: sort out the rear fenders, which have become a bit droopy. I took the button and tipcat off (being really careful to keep a firm hold of all the shackles and fittings), then turned them round and put them back on. I also shortened the chain on the button by one link. Here's a before and after.
As the sun has gone down, the wind has died away. It's due to be calm tomorrow too, so we should be ok for the boat test.
1 mile, 0 locks.