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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Tuesday 27 June 2023

A worrying situation.

 I would be lovely to say that time had flown by since our return from our overseas adventures but truth be told, these last two months have dragged. Yes we had that mad run up to the rally, completely flat out and exhausted by the end of it but since then all has been relatively quiet.

I suppose I should mention David's and Marilyn's return with MB, that happened nearly a month ago now. MB looked magnificent, washed and spruced up with everything intact apart from the clip on the fridge door. The spring had come off, an easy repair by my man that can so no need to worry about that Marilyn! Oh, and many thanks again for that lovely necklace. I'm still wearing it!


Anyway Ian luckily found plenty to do having the run of the societies workshop, he passed the time tinkering and repairing some of the broken equipment necessary for Friday work party.  I did get roped into painting the floor in the facilities block, that was fun but not for the knees! I made sure to warn visiting boaters that the block would be closed for a day and night so to make use of elsan before I got down to it. Then it was sit and twiddle thumbs until mid-June when we departed for Milton Keynes to look after our grandson when our son and daughter in law headed off to South France for a well deserved holiday.

I should just mention one bit of excitement that occurred beginning of this month. We both  had settled down after dinner watching a TV program that must have been so boring as to have slipped my mind, when a loud knocking on the cabin side brought us rushing to the back deck. There stood Vicci from the boatyard with a worried expression on her face. One of their moorers had heard water running in the pump house. This was most unusual as the pump was not operational at the time, in fact the pump was only ever switched on if water was needed from below lock to bring the levels up in the basin and that was rarely a necessity. On saying that we did have a situation a few years ago when the 'little darlings' managed to, not only lift the top paddles on Langley Bridge lock but open the bottom gates as well. Water rushed from the basin and long pound and it wasn't until all the boats starting tilting that the problem came to light! Took all night  with the back pump working to bring the water levels back to normal! Anyway, Ian went to the lock cottage for the key while I walked to the pump house.  I, too, could hear water running, not from inside but under a metal sheet placed to hide the hoses and fittings alongside the outside wall. Once Ian returned we lifted the sheet and found this.


Now I should just say that none of this has anything to do with CRT. The fittings had been placed there way back in the days when the pump house was being restored by the newly formed ECP&DA. It stood to reason then that ECP&DA would have to fix it! So how to repair the leak? Somewhere under the waterline by the bank was the inlet valve. Find that and maybe capping it off was the answer. Stop the flow of water entering the pipe and a repair could be carried out. Fail to do so the hose may give out emptying all the water from above the lock into the pump house and beyond. A flooded Langley Mill came to mind! Nothing for it but for Ian to don his waders, enter the canal and hope to find the valve. 


By now Carol and Mick Golds had joined us. They had been instrumental in the restoration of the basin over 50 years ago and if anyone should know where that valve was, it was them. 

They could remember roughly where, Ian searched the area, a mix of flour paste and water was poured into the water in the hope of seeing where it was being drawn to but to no avail. Only one more thing to try, get Dan and Vikki from the boatyard to see if they had any idea on what to do. What we hadn't realised was Dan was in the middle of his birthday celebration and had already had a few bevvies but was more than happy to help.  Of course he had the answer. Off he went to get a pot of glue/grease? rope and a very large exhaust bandage. On his return down the hole he went and within 5 minutes the temporary repair was complete. 


A proper job will have to be carried out which will probably mean digging up the bankside to find the pipe but that will happen on one of ECP&DA's Friday work parties. We won't be there to see it because finally, on the 3rd July we will leave with FS and head down to Trent lock.

And wildlife

New life appeared, lovely to see, but two days later, all gone. Too many Pike in the upper basin!

And this young wagtail stayed opposite FS for two days waiting to be fed by its parent.

I'm glad to say a parent did return and one hungry fledgling finally got fed.

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