Ah, the best laid plans. Last week we’d planned to take the kids up to the boat for the day on the Saturday; pay the monthly mooring fee and take Eileen out for a ‘warm-up’ chug, just to check that the mechanical side of things had survived the rigors of the cold-snap.
However, the dodgy weather forecast for the weekend forced a re-think, and in the end only Mol and I headed up the M40 to Banbury.
Sleety snow flurried across our journey, the tops of the Chilterns were snow covered, and the temperature hovered around zero.
I always dread that first encounter with the boat after a few weeks away, particularly in Winter. My mind runs away with gloomy thoughts of what might have befallen her, frozen pipes, tampered fittings, loosened ropes and the like…
The reality – happily – was that Eileen’s in fine fettle and is robustly surviving yet another Winter – her 109th!!!
Inside, though chilly, there was no condensation, no new water in the bilges, in fact she seems to have been peacefully, contentedly, successfully dormant since we left her at New Year.
A turn of the battery isolator key, a count of twenty to warm up the plugs and away she roared. The wet exhaust coughed out an initial gout of carbon and off she went, shivering back to life… The cold water feed flowing freely, and the engine settled to a reassuringly steady rhythm. Wonderful Stuff!
I left the engine running whilst I finished off a load of minor chores. Mol, despite traveling up the motorway with me, stayed resolutely on the bank, having convinced herself that spiders lay in wait for her inside the boat!
I sorted, smiled, took photos and left feeling reassured that all’s well.
I felt determined too that we should come up again as a family in a week or so’s time, during the Half Term holiday, and get out on her… stoppages and weather allowing…