Friday, 2 January 2015

A mistake and a lapse

We departed Brownsover just after 9am heading south towards Braunston.  The plan is to get through Braunston Locks before they close for maintenance.  It was a quick transit up Hillmorton Locks after finding every lock in our favour.  As we rounded the bend at Hillmorton Wharf we could see a narrow boat was adrift across the canal.


We stopped in the middle of the canal as there was a male on board and it looked like he was attempting to move the boat to the off-side.  He was on the bow and bent down to grab the bow rope before standing up.  It looked like he might be going to attempt to jump from the bow to the bank.  The gap looked too big and yet he made the attempt.  The upper half of his body reached the bank below his abdomen didn’t.  His chest hit the large coping stones with a ‘thud’ and he slipped back into the freezing water.  It’s the first day of the year and a public holiday.  There was no one around.  This could have been a fatality, however he managed to drag himself from the canal and started to pull the boat to the bank. 

He seemed very embarrassed about Jan taking his photo.

I define a mistake as the consequence of a poor plan from a person who has insufficient knowledge.


We reached Braunston at 1.30pm and immediately filled the water tank before hauling Waiouru to a 48 hour mooring some 30 metres behind the tap.  After a hot drink I decided to do the 250 hour engine service.  I’d pumped the old oil out of the engine and then removed the old filter.  The light was failing and I was using my head torch.  The old oil filter came off and I used a paper nappy to catch the oil.  Then I fitted the new filter and filled the engine with clean oil.  After checking the dipstick I waited a couple of minutes and then started the engine.  As I was checking for oil leaks Jan came to the end of the cabin and called out “What’s that noise?”  An alarm had triggered and I couldn’t hear it over the engine.  I immediately turned off the engine and immediately started looking for the fault.  Previously the same alarm has been as a result of a loose alternator belt.  The main belt to the large alternator was indeed loose.  But as I was checking it I noticed oil under the engine.  Where the hell had that come from?  On rechecking the dipstick I discovered there was no oil in the engine.  It had all leaked out around the oil filter seal.  I know how to do an oil change but in the dark I’d suffered a lapse.  I hadn’t checked the seal on the old filter.  It wasn’t on the old filter….. It was still on the engine and fouling the seal of the new filter.  <Prat…. Idiot>  As a result we have 8 litres of clean engine oil under the engine.  When it gets light tomorrow I have two jobs.  1.  remove the 8 litres of oil from under the engine.  2.  Buy replacement oil.  Hopefully at least one of the local chandlers will be open.  A fool learns from his mistakes.  A wise man learns from the mistakes of other   I’m a fool!

I can’t even claim fatigue (jet lag) was a contributing factor.  Jan tells me I cut firewood all night with a chainsaw.  My sleep was so deep I heard nothing of the midnight celebrations.



Robert Hilsdon said...

Ouch, I did the something two months ago with the oil filter on my beta engine!

Robert nb Blue Iris.

Alf said...

If you have a suction pump, remove the oil, filter through a sieve, (I'm sure they are cheaper than new oil) & after refitting the filter (correctly this time !!) reuse the "spilt" oil. An alternative to the sieve, use an old stocking (remember them ??)

Tom and Jan said...

A good suggestion Alf but unfortunately I don't have a pump and there is a thin absorption mat under the engine. This job is going to be messy! :-(

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Robert,

I think I might have to write a checklist because today will be ugly and unnecessary!

Robert Hilsdon said...

After cleaning up the engine I will not make that mistake again, watch out for slipping while cleaning the oil up.

I was astride the engine when my foot slipped on the oil on the floor. It was a while before I could carry on!!

I used engine cleaner for the last clean which made the engine area eaiser to stand up in afterwards.

Regards Robert

Tom and Jan said...


That would make you one of the Sopranos? :-)

Fortunately for me the oil was confined to the containment area under the engine.