Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Stockton (Exploding expansion tank)

We’ve realised that we haven't cruised much lately – three days moored in Warwick and then two in Radford Semble and a couple of weeks ago we spent four days in a place called Edstone.  Anyway we decided to move on on Monday.  We had planned to get to a place called Cuttle but as we came out of the seventh lock of the day there was a loud bang and our water expansion tank had burst open.

I immediately switched off the engine as it would soon overheat if there was no water to cool it.  Most narrowboat engines are water cooled and they have what are called skin tanks one or both sides of the hull alongside the engine.  The skin tanks are the equivalent of car radiators but use the cold steel to cool the water rather than air.  The water in the cut keeps the steel hull cool underwater.

We secured the boat in a short pound between two locks in the Bascote flight.  Mooring in a short pound is not normal as the water levels can fluctuate quite rapidly but we had no choice.  We called RCR (River & Canal Rescue), the equivalent of the AA/RAC and they promised to get us on the move again on Tuesday.

We were in such a quiet location that we didn’t mind although I was worried that we would drain the batteries if things weren’t sorted out in 24 hours.  To alleviate this problem we walked a couple of miles or so to the nearest village, Long Itchington.  We had a lovely walk and extended our stay by visiting the local pub on the grounds that it would save on the electrics as we only need to keep the fridge and freezer on when we are off board.

The old manor house on the left in front of the church took our fancy.  Mind you, the newer builds must have a lovely view too.

On our way back to the boat we passed the modern equivalent of a mounting block built with of breeze blocks.

The area we are currently in is on Blue Lias limestone which really gives the water in the cut a strange bluey cream colour.

We think this section of the Grand Union is one of the prettiest and quietest on the whole canal and we have really enjoyed our time here.

Here’s Buddy up to his usual trick of playing with sticks at each lock.

We were frugal with the electrics and hadn’t run out by the time an engineer came out with a replacement part on Tuesday afternoon.

We spent the morning reading and I finished The Book Thief and had a lot of tearful episodes but fortunately Karen was on hand to cuddle me.  It's unusual for me as normally it's films that make me emotional.  I definitely recommend the book to you though - it’s next on Karen’s list to read which is only fair as Sophie did give it to her.

As the boat was OK to drive we cruised three miles and up 13 locks to Stockton during the late afternoon.  We passed the unusually, modern named, Kayes Arm which is now a home to residential boaters.

We have never seen this boat trader before – everything is purported to be ecofriendly.

The towpath was very narrow in places but fortunately we didn’t see any cyclists and walkers meet head on!

We moored for the day just past this old junction.  It is now used by a company that offer helmsman courses for people who are buying their first narrow boat.

This is the evening view from the front of the boat looking backwards on our current mooring.
These are the seven locks we went up on Monday...

... and these are the 13 we went up on Tuesday including a double staircase lock which is the picture on the right immediately below (the top gates of the bottom lock act as the bottom gates of the top lock).

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