Tuesday, 29 December 2009

2 steps forward, one step back!

That seems to be the rhythm of the narrowboat dance! After freezing and fighting damp and ice in Iver boatyard, we finally decided it was time to make a move. This was despite the fact that RCR (narrowboat equivalent of the AA) made an error and didn't process my credit card payment for breakdown cover, hence we are not covered yet - (must wait until 2 Jan) - and a persistent problem with batteries that would not charge. After 3 days of eating by candlelight and freezing, we thought, let's just bite the bullet and head off, buy some new batteries, and hope it was just down to the boat not being used for a long time and the batteries being old.

So, we winded (turned around) and headed towards the Grand Union, stopping for a pump out at the marina in Iver and to try to get a lead on the batteries. While waiting, I started to disconnect the old batteries and hey presto found a red lead that didn't seem to go anywhere. That seemed odd - and so I looked around for where it came from - the alternator - and where it might go - and thank God- found that it had fallen of the split charge box (which enables charging of both engine and boat batteries). Hooked that back up and wham! Power! Charging! Energy! Finally a success! Bouyed by that, we headed out into the ice.

The ice was incredibly thick, but we need to be up the Grand Union to avoid being blocked by stoppages, so we pressed on, stopping between Iver and where the Slough Arm of the Grand Union joins the Grand Union proper. Nerves frayed from the horrible sound the boat makes when crunching ice, we moored up, had a few too many brandies, and slept very well.

The next morning, we scrabbled up the bank next to our mooring in search of civilisation, and found it in the town of Iver - (though the boatyard we had been at early was called "Iver" it was actually nearer Langley). Refreshed, with newspaper in hand, we headed off towards the Grand Union again.

More thick ice - and more! Just when we thought of stopping again as it was so thick, and praying for warmer weather the next day, we saw a boat, and a boatyard, so pressed on. Hallelujah! The ICE FREE Grand Union.

We carried on up to Cowley, where we are now, moored, and having a day of rest.

Happy New Year to all in case I don't update this before then - and dear GOD may the canal stay ice free!

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