The Long Journey Home – Part 9
Friday 8 June 2018
A Walk to Tearooms
The Long Journey Home – Part 9 saw us with the second day we had ‘stayed still’ since setting off from Whilton. It was an overcast day so perfect for cleaning and walking. We cleaned and carried out a few odd jobs. Things get dusty very quickly when out on the cut. It’s a by product of having the doors open both ends and flying backwards and forwards through the boat, relaying messages (58 feet is a long way to shout over the roar of a BMC 1.5 diesel engine). It’s a lot safer than traversing the footprint wide gunnels down either side of the boat. The roof currently isn’t an option as the solar panels are full width across the top of the boat.
A Walk to Tearooms
We decided to walk to Thrupp from Enslow as it also had a marina but more importantly; a Tearoom 🙂 Just after setting off I called Whilton Marina to try and address the continuing use of water by the engine. It was drinking us out of house and home! Even at rest! They called back and agreed to send out two engineers to try and resolve the issue, once and for all. They would bring parts that might be needed with them. It sounded hopeful.
It was a beautiful walk of 2.5 miles, over a bridge where the river Cherwell joins the canal and you actually drive along the river for a distance, before leaving it to rejoin the Oxford canal. There are two locks and a disused railway line that no longer spans the canal. You then enter Thrupp. There is a canoe club and the marina has quite a few canal-side moorings. It was full, obviously very popular.
Annie’s Tearoom was a lovely traditional English tearoom. We unfortunately had to rush our toasted teacake and tea & coffee as we were conscious of the route march we would have, back to Mirrless, to meet the engineers from Whilton Marina.
Back at Mirrless, the day was a bit brighter and warmer so we cleaned some more and waited. Eventually Barry called, he was at The Rock of Gibraltar with Dan and they were making their way to us. Barry had worked on Mirrless and was the one who finally got her ready for us to move aboard on the Friday. If anyone could resolve our problems, Barry could.
Sign of a Leak
Two guys with a wheelbarrow loaded with equipment trekked down the towpath and after I’d given them the history of Mirrless’ overheating, they started to work on her, looking for the offending leak. Every pipe, link, join, outlet, even the gearbox was checked but everything was bone dry – no sign of a leak. So, they set to installing a header tank. This was basically a white plastic container to hold more water (or to be fair, coolant). It would theoretically remove any chance of an airlock (especially with the calorifier, which was higher than the Bowman tank – all good technical stuff). With this installed, filled with coolant and the engine tested, all was looking good. Only time would tell.
Barry had fished the Cherwell river which was next to the canal, the other side of the towpath. He knew the Oxford canal, the Thames river and the Kennet & Avon canal and gave us some invaluable tips for our future journey. He was also very knowledgeable about the London canals which would be useful for future trips. After the engine had been left to run for a significant amount of time without incident, Barry and Dan left, stopping only to look into the Cherwell at the point he had pulled out three large Chubb (“They were this big!”).
We returned once more to The Rock of Gibraltar to avail ourselves of their WiFi and phone charge. We also had a pint of Brackspear bitter and Thatcher’s Haze cider. It would have been rude not to. We also had a small meal, then sat in the garden, to enjoy another Summer’s evening.
We walked back to Mirrless; across the old stone road bridge (now superceded by a large metal road bridge) along the towpath on the other side, back towards the Winding Hole.
A Quiet Spot
This area had been a quiet spot with very little traffic; on the canal or the towpath. After the meeting of boats at every turn, it seemed the 9 mile stretch into Oxford was less frequented. At least at this weekend.
We put down the blinds, turned on the lights (Mirrless is very well lit) and made a few notes about the day for the blog.
Tomorrow we would receive our first visitors to Mirrless.
Here ends The Long Journey Home – Part 9