Wigrams Turn Marina was very busy over Friday and Saturday with all of the hire boats leaving for the Easter holidays so we made the decision not to leave until Sunday. In the meantime we walked Duggie over the fields enjoying the pastoral scenes on the way, but we were also pleased to see that the water level at the Calcutt reservoirs looked healthy
On Sunday Jacquie drove to Braunston whilst I enjoyed the cruise there, despite the showers of rain. Jacquie and Duggie walked back up the canal to meet me and we moored opposite the Boat House Pub, it was relatively peaceful apart from a hire boat skipper thinking he was in a fairground dodgem, I gently suggested to him that if he kept a little forward throttle on he would have more control.
Seven am on Monday the alarm woke us and we immediately headed SKYY up to the entrance to Braunston Marina, the one with the wooden bridge over it, there I swung SKYY 180 degs. and reversed back to the lock, but even at that time I was third in the queue for the nine o’clock opening. Fortunately the lock was over flowing and as soon the first two boats had gone up, the pith helmeted lock keeper let us through on our own when he realised we were just going up the one lock. As we came backwards out of the lock Tim was reversing a boat from the dry dock and as soon as he was clear I motored in.
Whilst Tim pressured wash the hull, I set about repacking the stern gland, the tooth pick that I bought at a market stall, did exactly what I intended it to do and that was to remove the old packing, which can be seen at the top left of the picture. The new packing had to be compressed with the flat of a screwdriver and pressed into the gap around the prop shaft and then pushed home. By the time the third piece was in, there only just enough thread to get the locking nuts on, but I am sure once we have cruised a bit I will be able to tighten them up
My other jobs were to paint the starboard gunnel and to sand flat and paint the cream and red bands on the stern, all made so much easier whilst in dry dock. The flower tubs also got a repaint and the garden centre at Wilton Locks provided the petunias and trailing lobelia and although not in flower yet, hopefully they will be up to our usual floral standard
.A walk around Daventry reservoir was encouraging as there is now a reasonable amount of water in it, the level on the stones looked as if it was only about five foot below normal; compared to our last walk when there was just an expanse of mud below the stones
By the time we were ready to leave the dock on Thursday morning SKYY looked very smart. Tim’s blacking was shiny and the early morning sun glinted of the sparkling cream and red bands. Just after we left the lock we moored up and treated ourselves to a full Monty breakfast aboard Gongoozlers Rest, and then had an enjoyable reunion with Ann and Gerald from Hampshire Rose, who were moored nearby. Jacquie set off in the car for more shopping and I returned aboard SKYY to Wigrams. Jac parked the loaded car at the marina and walked back to bridge 108 and hopped aboard for last part of the journey before entering the marina, as usual I bounced of the rubber strakes at the entrance, just like the hire boats do, but fortunately no damage to the paint or blacking. The promised April shower arrived just as we tied up, but the journey had been in relatively warm sunshine all the way. Just a few more land based things to attend to before we start the adventure proper on Sunday.