Friday, 13 September 2013


Approaching the entrance to the second from top lock on the Audlem flight suddenly there was a horrible “klonk..klonk..klonk” sound from under the stern and the tiller starts to rattle. I immediately dropped the speed control into neutral and the sound disappears.  It can’t be the engine!  I engage reverse and “klonk..klonk..klonk”  By now I managed to get Waiouru into the lock preventing her from drifting around in the pound.  Jan closed the lower gates and I requested she slowly fill the lock chamber so we can get more water under the baseplate.  I attempted to engage the propeller “klonk..klonk..klong”  Something serious might have happened to the Python Drive?  Raising the engine hatch and engaging the prop revealed there was nothing wrong with the drivetrain.  Jan then suggested we might have a loose wet hatch cover.  This previously happened whilst we were on the Kennet & Avon but the sound was slightly different.  Waiouru has a separate weed hatch which has the advantage of not flooding the engine compartment and sinking the boat if the hatch cover is loose.  But it does mean you have to get head and shoulders down the weed hatch to check the propeller.  I lifted the deck cover above the weed hatch and the hatch cover was correctly secured.  Oh well…. looks like I have to lie down on the wet cockpit floor and slide my head and shoulders down the weed hatch to check if the propeller or shaft have been fouled.  It appears we had been given a side fender and rope.  Pity it is tightly wrapped around the propeller shaft.  Each revolution results in the end of the rubber fender striking the underside of the baseplate “klonk”!   Towpath Bill to the rescue.  He is the one who suggested we should invest in a cheap Wilkinson serrated bread knife to cut away anything fouling the propeller shaft!  At least I didn’t have to clear the obstruction in the middle of winter…. Or have I spoken too soon!

The passage up the five locks of the Adderley Flight went very fast with every lock in our favour.  At Market Drayton we found a vacant spot on the good 48 hour moorings and had a late lunch with the engine running whilst we waited for the Candy washer/dryer to finish the drying cycle.  The machine actually doesn’t use much water but the drying cycle can take 2 hours.  We usually run the Candy after we have been on the move for an hour.  That way the alternators have completed their Bulk battery charge stage and there is surplus electricity being generated.

When the cycle was finished we wandered into town  for a look around before heading to the local Morrison’s supermarket to top up the pantry.

 The Crown

Just me experimenting with my photography

On the way back to Waiouru we noticed a patch of of ripe blackberries so after depositing the groceries back on board we walked back to pick as many as we could.  Jan was going through them in the galley discarding those I picked  removing the rotten and over ripe berries when there was a hale from a passing boat.  It was Andrew and Michelle on nb Ashdown.

We last saw them at Chester when they were heading to Ellesmere Port and we were going in the opposite direction to Barbridge Junction.  They’ve now caught up overtaken us!

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