Saturday, 26 December 2009

River Irwell

I recently spent a day in Manchester, and we had a few hours to spare in the morning before our departure by train. We wandered down the Rochdale to Castlefield, me boring T with tales of how his mum and I used to walk down these towpaths in the late 80s plotting to buy the old warehouses and convert them. Our exploration of Castlefields was hastened by the constant drizzle...
"It's this climate that actually encouraged the development of the cotton industry here. The dampness made it particularly easy to work the material"
"Dad, I don't care. I'm getting wet!"

The Science Museum was closed so we headed into town - via Waterstones - and sat warmly in Starbucks I read in one book about the Irwell and how it had once been used for navigation to Hunts Bank.

Since then, I have found virtually nothing in detail about the Irwell. The Nicholsons simply ignore it altogether, as they ignore the Ship Canal.

On returning home, I went straight to the TNC website to see what they thought of it. If there was a canal that had been opened for just 15 minutes in Burkino Faso (the Ouagadougou & Keadby perhaps), the TNC will have been up it, photographed it and moaned about the lack of real ale. Sure enough, the TNC provide the only commentary on the Irwell. They have done it not once, but twice.

It is a great pity that given the Irwell's central location and the possibility for it to form a massive water feature for the centre of Manchester, as the Thames and Seine do for London and Paris respectively.

I intend to return to Manchester soon to explore the Irwell, although I lack the courage of the TNC to take North Star up to Hunts Bank.

The overheating BMC 1.5

Everyone seems to love the trusty old BMC 1.5. Even my unofficial Chief Engineer says it will go on for ever. This is my fear. That it will go on poorly long enough that there's not sufficient justification for removing it and fitting something either:

a) much older
b) much newer

The lastest saga is that on our recent trips, the engine has overheated rather too quickly, requiring a shut down and then a slow cruise for an hour. Not particularly pleasant in the total darkness.

It turns out that the skin tank is only 4.5 square feet and should be 8 square feet. It is being proposed to double the size by putting an external skin tank.

I am assured this has been done to loads of boats in a similar predicament (Why are there loads of boats in a similar predicament? Was there a whole generation of boat-fitters who couldn't fit an engine in a boat properly?) I can't help feeling, however, that a big tank stuck under the counter on one side is going to affect the swim of the boat. Also, I hate the thought of drilling holes in the side of my boat. Below the water line.

I heard that marinised Isuzu diesels are very cheap right now because Isuzu are withdrawing from the market. Tempting.

Winterising too late

One of those dilemmas. Should I winterise? Or not?
North Star is due for some heavy duty interior rebuilding in February and so will need to be moved in 5 weeks' time. I wa rather hoping not to have to drain all the water and was hoping for a drizzly, mild, grey winter.
As the temperatures dropped day by day over the last two weeks I watched, hoping that there would only be a day or two of sub-zero and - rather stupidly - keeping my fingers crossed and blindly hoping everything would be alright.

Then two weeks ago, I decided that this was unlikely to work. The ten day forecast for Daventry was suggesting that it was going to be colder than the inside of a Texas post office in July. Sadly, my witless attempt to save a little bit of effort have kicked me back, as I am told that there is damage to the gas heater.

My next dilemma is that North Star is due for her safety inspection in February and I am not sure if she will pass with a damaged gas heater. If she doesn't pass, then is the insurance valid? Damn, damn and damn!

At least Santa had elves

With two months of travelling - mainly to remote parts of China, lots of extra work, lots of football games and all manner of jobs at home, blogging has had to take a rest for a while. At least Santa had elves to share the load. And reindeer.