Saturday 30 May 2020
Day 1 in the Long, Pointy Metal House
I heard ducks in half sleep and awoke to a vibrant day. It promised to be just as wonderful as yesterday. It was cool and pleasant, thus far. We had mugs of tea (yes, we had the wherewithall to achieve this). Mu pottered, arranging and re-arranging or I should say squirrelling stuff away. She has it down to a an art form. It wasn’t the works of art I was hoping for but useful – nevertheless.
Time Stands Still at The Iron Hill
Cleaning was the order of the day and would be for multiple days. We were obviously adjusting to non-house living. It involves a change in mindset, from instant everything to instant nothing. It is a challenging but rewarding transition to make. Canal time is a thing. It is mooted as: an appearance of time passing slowly, slower than experienced in a town, say. Here on Nb Silverdale time stands still! The clock’s battery had run out . It’s second hand, stuck in place flicked like the clock had a nervous tick. Time is forever a quarter to twelve.
Cleaning continued briefly and then we made our way to the chandlery. Whilton Marina Chandlery is a cornucopia of narrowboating miscellany but most importantly, it sold Thatcher’s Gold! We purchased a cap for the top of the boat’s stove exit. We will eventually get a chimney (the old one died and had been resigned to the scrap heap) but the cap would stop the rain getting in and ruining the Squirrel’s beautiful newness. However, we were not expecting rain, nor lighting the stove anytime soon. We also purchased some Thatcher’s as it would have been rude not to.
It was now sweltering. We also purchased some WMC Non-toxic Toilet Fluid. We had bought both the cap and fluid last time we were here with MIRRLESS in 2018. We had lost the cap early on in our journey as I veered into overhanging foliage. Cap number one is at the bottom of the Grand Union Canal somewhere. When the fluid ran out, we could never find anything as nice to replace it. As we plan to stay here a while, we should be able to enjoy both for longer.
The day was hot. The electrics were still not working (no amount of switch flipping had worked). Chris: a Whilton Marina employee was on duty over the weekend (although the Marina was officially closed Saturday & Sunday). We had met Chris last time we were up and had chatted. Having discussed our woes of no water and no lights, he offered to take a look. This would be after seeing someone out of the canal, via the diesel pump, to set off for London and blacking a boat. This was a tall order as the afternoon was moving on.
Meanwhile, the heat continued to rise, the sink continued to stink and the lights continued to not work.
The people for London left, the boat for blacking got blacked and Chris, true to his work came by. At the stern of the boat (the technical end) he assessed what we had. He decided to start the engine: an Isuzu Marine block. He turned the key in the ignition. It started! This was good news. We had an engine! It also meant at least the Starter battery was working. After head scratching (he scratched his head, I scratched mine. After all, we were socially distancing and it would have been inappropriate to scratch each others) it was decided to flip the fuse box switches. Each switch was in a green state and we flipped them to – white! Not red as expected. We tried this first with the Horn fuse – but nothing. We tried one more – the Lights fuse. They worked! We tried the Water Pump fuse, the water flowed like a river. The Water Pump kicked in. We tried the Tunnel Lights (there were two), one worked and one didn’t. It didn’t matter Everything was working. The new fridge and freezer purred into life once the switches were thrown.
Life had gone from Bronze Age to Post-Solar System Travel in a few flicks of switches – life was good. We rejoiced. Our choice of narrowboat had been vindicated. Thanks Chris.
Chilli, rice and Cider on the stern, under the canopy – our first meal. Afterwards, we went for a walk around the Marina, up over the bridge that spans the mouth into it. The sun started to fall, it was a little cooler now. It had been a successful first day in marina life.
rp – peace and narrowboats