We are woken in the night by an odd, repetitive noise. It turns out to be a haggard man, propelling his boat and a second boat under tow, simply by waggling the tiller. He apologises for disturbing us and disappears into the gloom.
In the morning, rain has freshened the shrubs and trees all around; a constant hum from the mass of overhead cables is testimony to the continuing damp in the air.
Just an hour after setting off, smoke pours from the engine-room and we grind to a halt. It would appear that the alternator belt is on its last legs - and, stupidly, we don't have a spare. However, given that we have only put 20 hours on the clock since a new alternator and belt was fitted by Calcutt Boats, we didn't really expect to need one at this point!
North Star limps another few miles before the belt finally parts by Bridge 11. Calcutt sends a new belt by taxi and two hours later we stand in the engine room - looking at the wrong belt! They have sent the wrong one. Another even more tense call ensues and another belt is dispatched.
We have lost much of the day - from around 10am to 4pm - and our engineering contingent need to head up to Yorkshire. We are grateful to Brookfield Farm at Ansty who allow us to use their lane to park a car and load the departing party.
We decide to break for dinner at the Rose & Crown at Ansty, who no longer have visitor moorings - clearly for Health & Safety reasons. We moor up beyond the bridge and head up the lane to the pub. It is one of those pubs that is now 99% restaurant with a single table left for those who just wish to drink. However, there is a good range of decent drinks and an extensive menu.
Afterwards, we get under way again, to see a gorgeous sunset behind us. We make it to Stretton Stop, but remain a little concerned about the tightness of the belt. It seems too loose and we haven't brought all the tools back to the boat.
Stunning Thames steamer Alaska -
3 days ago