With the predicted forecast of a cold front by the end of the week we decided to cruise up to Hawne Basin where we would empty and fill tanks. Before going into any detail on the cruise we should mention the large Sainsburys at Merry Hill closed permanently on 30 Dec 16. However the ASDA supermarket us still in the mall and the Aldi is just up the road. It was a very early start; so early that we turned on the boat headlamp until we reached Blowers Green. The water pressure here is quite poor and we therefore decided not to stop. There is a sharp turn on exiting the lock. Fortunately the wind had picked up and pushed the bow around. It was probably the easiest turn we’ve done here.
The cruise to Bumble Hole was uneventful, except for the low sun in the east which was directly in our eyes for the bulk of the trip. Fortunately no other boats were on the move. Upon reaching Bumble Hole we discovered all the moorings with bollards occupied. It was still reasonably early (9.30am) so that might have changed by the time we returned from Hawne Basin. The cruise down to Hawne Basin was very slow. The water level in the canal is still down and there is so much rubbish in the bottom of the canal that we did 85% of the canal on tick-over and still got urban jellyfish on the prop. We were also heading east with the low sun directly into our eyes.
At Hawne Basin we emptied out the toilet tank (£8) and topped up all three diesel tanks (£178). Jan also took the opportunity to add to our collection of brass plaques. It was then a case of retracing our route back to Bumble Hole. This time we collected something major around the prop whilst inside Gosty Hill Tunnel. We ‘limped’ through the tunnel barely moving and once out in the open I went down the weed hatch to cut and remove our most recent collection of recycled apparel. I’m not that keen on using the knife during winter. My submerged hands are usually so cold that I can’t feel them and I’m slightly concerned I might cut off a finger (or two).
The mooring situation hadn’t changed at Bumble Hole so we moored on pins just short of the water point. Actually it’s probably the best mooring should the canal freeze over for any length of time as we can access the water point from the boat.
After we moored I made yet another trip down the weed hatch to remove the latest spawn of urban jellyfish. The water is only going to get colder so better to have one miserable day rather than know I’ll have to do it later.
Towards the end of the afternoon an email arrived advising the replacement 12V DC to DC step up converter had been delivered to Argos in Birmingham. I had a look at the map and decided the best option was to take the X10 bus into the city.
This morning we filled the water tank in preparation for the forecast cold front due at 3pm. I then walked a couple of kilometres to the X10 bus stop just missing the bus. There is a bus every 20 minutes so it wasn’t much of a wait for the next one to come. The trip on the bus took 50 minutes and I found it rather interesting looking at the urban environment. Rows of terraced and semidetached dwellings. It reminded me just how tightly packed some of England’s citizens live. Frankly I couldn’t see myself willingly live in one of those tiny boxes. But then we are currently living inside a 6ft diameter steel tube….! Ah… but we can move our tube regularly….
I was back at the boat by 2pm having stopped at Lidl on the way back to buy some bread. Later in the afternoon I replaced the defective DC-DC converter and can again charge the laptop of the boat 12V system.
The temperature has definitely fallen, but at the moment there isn’t any sign of snow and nor is there much wind. Not that any of this worries us as we’re now fully prepared.