Monday, 18 August 2008

Mon 18th - Llangollen to Blakes Mere

Ah, this is better. I'm sitting on the side of a small lake alongside the canal - I'd spotted it on the way up, and it's good to be away from everything, everyone. Well, I was away from everyone until two other boats moored up right next to me, so I moved a few hundred yards further on - they don't call me a misanthrope for nothing (in fact they don't, it's generally only me).

It's been an eventful day - I ws thinking of an early start anyway, so being woken by a boat going past at half past six wasn't the end of the world, and I was on my way myself half an hour later.Being single handed I've no-one to send ahead on the single boat stretches, so assuemd (correctly that I'd have the canal to myself, ansd if anyone was moving it would be in the same direction.

I'd used a little more fuel that I was expecting, so topped up at Trevor - had a look at the engine, but nothing obvious. Note to self - when looking for a fuel leak, look when the engine is running - which I did once over the aquaduct, and saw a broken pipe gushing fuel - it was amazing anything was getting to the engine. Noticeable amounts of white smoke (unburnt fuel) suggested the air mix was wrong, too (must look at Tony Brooks' notes about that).

Another brass olive on copper pipe was to blame, thankfully there was enoguh remaining pipe to be able to pull the broken section out, put on a copper one and carry on. Tortoise wasn't happy about going home at all, actually as later on the temperature started to rise - both sea cocks were a bit bunged up - clearing them (with a bit of thick wire, actually) did the job, thankfully.

Just near bridge 27 a face stuck their head out of their boat and said 'hello, Tortoise!'. The boat, Rosie May, I'd passed a couple of times previously (once a few evenings agho mooring up more or less where I am now, in fact). I couldn't resist stopping for a chat, and I'm glad I did - the lovely Mich is a food artist, works with respecting and honouring food, and in fact will be part of the festival of London food thingy on Southwark Bridge 13th Sept - sadly I'm already double booked that day. We chatted for far too long about food, anaerobic digesters, people we knew in common (inevitably) and life generally; sometimes it works out like that.

Also got to meet Bob and his boat 'Vital Spark' - I asked about the windows, and he started the sentence with 'well I had a steel rolling press at home'... there's two steering positions, one outside and one in a wheelhouse that rises up electrically... he was marvellously enthusiastic about showing me round, and it is good to see boats that are a little bit different, as so many are - well, look the same, really.

In the evening I made a basic wall shelf unit for the kitchen - it goes over the cooker and is 5 1/2 deep at the bottom, but good to have things in front of me rather than being tucked away.

Rain at dusk itself prevented a more photogenic shot, but once it was pretty dark I got the ga cyclinder brazier out beside the lake, and watched the flames, the surroundings becoming dimmer with the brightness of the flames, the noises of the wild around me. It's obvious to everyone bar me, I suspect, actually - this is my church.

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