Jan 15th 2010 - Kidsgrove
We are still here! Apologies to all you avid blogees out there for the lack of activity but we actually abandoned ship on Monday, January 11th. We were unable to fill up with water as the pipes were frozen, we were unable to pump out the loo because the pump-out facility was frozen and we were getting extremely low on diesel with no way of getting to the next filling station! As we had things to do on terra firma we decided to hire a car for a week to allow things to thaw out!
We packed everything up and shut everything down and after loading up the hire car we headed off to Huddersfield and stayed with Clive's parents overnight. Then on Tuesday morning we drove down to Cambridge to stay with our daughter Vicki and her partner Ben. We had a very good reason for being in Cambridge, our son Gareth has been involved in a long court battle to try and keep his four year old daughter, our beloved granddaughter, Indeia, in this country. Her mother, Gareth's ex partner, has married an American serviceman and now wishes to reside in America with her husband, new baby daughter and Indeia. To cut a long story short, she won the case and we are devastated to be losing Indeia. However we have to look on the positive side which is that she will be coming back to the UK every summer when she will spend six weeks with Gareth, also every alternate Christmas and Easter. We already have a family holiday planned for this Easter and Indy will be coming with us so that is something to look forward to. But it is going to be very, very hard for us all when she goes in May, especially for her daddy who will miss her so much.
We left Cambridge on Thursday and drove over to Cranfield to visit our good friends Shirley and Barry. We went out for dinner in the evening to a Brazilian restaurant in the centre of Milton Keynes and for the first time in my life I ate goat! I have to say it was very nice indeed. We stayed the night with Shirley and Barry and then drove back up to Huddersfield on Friday afternoon.
On Saturday Vicki and Ben drove up from Cambridge to join us and the whole family went out together that evening and we all had a lovely time. It was a very dressed up do and it was really nice to get all glammed up again. However my beautifully manicured finger nails are going to have to go - if I don't cut them tomorrow I am likely to break them doing the locks, so better to be safe than sorry. Shame - it was rather nice to look human again! I have put a few photos in the gallery.
We finally drove back to the boat today and although it has been good to see everybody we were very happy to be back on board. We managed to fill up the water tank as everything has now thawed out but just as we were preparing to use the pump-out facility to empty the loo one of the BW guys came over and asked us if we could hold off as there was a problem! It seems that after everything had thawed out there was a blockage in the sewer pipe so they called out the drainage people. The guy that came to sort out the problem got his rods out and fed them all down the long pipe with a sort of plunger thingy at the front end. He managed to clear through the blockage but when he was pulling his rods back out one snapped in the middle leaving seven rods plus plunger thingy somewhere in the middle of the sewer pipe! So the pipe is now completely bunged again! He spent ages and ages trying to shift the blockage back up the pipe but all to no avail. He has informed us that he will be back tomorrow morning with a pressure washer to try and clear it that way! Keep your fingers crossed that it works because we are now in dire straits. Our loo holding tank desperately needs emptying now and we can't use the loo at all. The BW loos, showers and launderette are also out of bounds as they all empty into the same blocked drainage system! We solved the problem this evening - we went to the pub! We had a lovely meal and also made full use of their facilities!!!
The only other thing that we were worrying about was diesel. Our meter shows that we are now almost running on empty however we discovered today that the coal merchants up the road also supplies red diesel and he is going to deliver a couple of containers to us tomorrow, enough to keep us going until we arrive at the next filling station at the bottom of the lock flight - phew!
So all in all we are in good shape - providing the pressure washer does its thing in the morning!
All being well our normal blogging service will be resumed once we are on our way and have something to report.