Monday, 10 April 2017

Lock we Gailey, up we go...

Sheila had a cunning plan for today and, like most of hers if not of mine, it worked. We arose betimes and worked up Penkridge lock before breakfast. It was Sheila's turn to steer so I worked the lock and saw her onto the water point above. Having started the tank filling and dumped rubbish and recycling, we ate breakfast complete with coffee.

We were just finishing when a group of lockwheelers appeared asking where the water point was. They were off the Black Prince boat Poppy and we had just finished filling when Poppy was ready to leave the lock.

I walked on to Filance, arriving as a boat left coming down so good news all round. Once up that lock I rode to Otherton, setting the washing machine going as I did so. I should perhaps say something about the amount of washing we do since it apparently exercises the minds of some of my readers.

We have a Zanussi Compact or Studio machine, a little physically smaller than a full sized domestic beast. From the boater's point of view this has a number of advantages. It uses less water, takes up less room and does a smaller load. In practice one load of polycottons will consist of, say, three or four shirts and the corresponding underwear and socks. This is just the amount which can be dried reasonably easily either on the whirligig when the weather is kind or on a mixture of hangers in the engine room for the larger articles and a folding rack in front of the Squirrel for the smalls.

It will also take a double sheet and pillow cases or a quilt cover, or a set of towels. So in practice we can wash three days worth of clothes for the two of us in one load, hence the tendency to wash every other day so as to get through the linens as well. The "Daily" wash setting takes about 90 minutes so can be complete after a typical day's boating for us, allowing an initial half hour for the alternator to do the bulk battery charging and get the water in the calorifier decently hot.

Although the machine is cold fill only, as most are these days, we set it going then add 16 litres or so of hot water via the soap drawer – if you fill it up before starting the cycle, it perversely pumps it all out again.

Elanor tells me that I remind her of a criticism of Ronald Reagan by one of his ex-wives: "If you ask him the time, he'll tell you how the watch was made", so I guess that's enough, or more than enough, about washing on board...

It was a good run although, as we were following one of Justin's Aqua hire boats, every lock of the next four was against us. We've tied below Gailey Lock on the visitor moorings there, well back from the lock which will otherwise bounce you about rather when emptying. I've had to light the Squirrel again as the weather is indeed cool, cloudy and breezy, but at least it will encourage the clothes to dry.

Tomorrow, up that last lock and on to Coven.


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