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  • clivenmel

Oct 20th

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Today�s agenda on the face of it, is fairly straightforward; as we slowly head west we need to top up with diesel and find a pump-out station for the loo�Fortunately, our good canal guide books furnished the name and number for Thorn Marine, 3 or 4 miles west of Lymm. A call to them yesterday confirmed they were open for business so it was an easy 9.15 start and a day that should be uneventful�   Lymm, by the way, is a really pretty market town with wonderful old buildings visible from canalside. In fact, Cheshire as a whole is a very beautiful county � we like it a lot; including some really pretty, tree-lined sections with autumn leaves carpeting the canal.   Do you recall the famous (infamous) �leaves on the line� excuse for British Rail never to be on time in the Autumn? Something about the wheels slipping on the sap from fallen leaves? Well, we had a similar experience today�nothing to do with wheels, of course.   We had been cruising for only about an hour, with the wind getting up and coming at us almost dead ahead; any slight shift in angle and the boat started to wander. It reminded me of aircraft coming in to land in a cross-wind � they look to be coming sideways until the last minute until the pilot finally straightens it up for touchdown! We were crabbing sideways at times just like that. Fortunately, the Bridgewater is wide enough to give you time to correct things so you don�t easily barge into the side or other moored boats.   Anyway, back to the leaves; the boat suddenly seemed to be slowing down and the engine labouring; I pushed harder, thinking it was just the headwind but to no avail. After a few minutes, I couldn�t get more than 1200 rpm from it no matter what. Then we both could smell something hot � hot metal, hot exhaust, just HOT. A quick tie-up and inspection down below confirmed an over-hot engine, or at least seemed so to us; Oil � OK, Water levels- OK; Prop-shaft-OK. What the hell was it!   A call to my friendly expert needed.   After describing the symptoms, the verdict was in � Leaves!   WHAT??!   �It�s quite common�, says he, �leaves get sucked into the prop chamber and restrict the prop. Pop it into neutral and leave it a bit, stick it into reverse, give it a few revs and that should fix it�   He was right; evidently an old boater had described the same thing to him a couple of years ago and he now knows what to look for � another item in my �experience� locker!   Anyway, by 2.30 Thorn Marina came along, we got our diesel and pump-out plus another basket of allsorts (expensive visiting chandleries) and we were fit to go. Today has been WINDY � I think I mentioned that; it�s got worse. By 3.30 we decided we weren�t in a rush to go anywhere, so stopped at a little village called Moore, where we moored! The local shop had all that we needed (including wine!) and have just dragged themselves into the 21st century with their very first hand-held credit-card machine! A few instructions (us to her!) soon had us on the way back to the boat where we found a rather inviting old log by the tow-path. This went with us and has been burning away on the stove very nicely since. In fact, we�ve had to open the windows � it�s like an oven in here! Ever heard of the �boiled frog� syndrome? This could be it! (for those not conversant � put a frog in boiling water, it jumps straight out; put it in cold water and slowly heat it, it will slowly boil to death!)    

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