Willow’s water tank filler is just outside the front doors, and we’d been having problems when filling up using the hose that because the end of the hose didn’t go far into the tank, it needed to be held in place with a large weight to stop it coming out and splurting water everywhere. This meant that while the water tank was filling we couldn’t get in and out of the he front doors and had to use the side hatch.
So (inspired by a post on canal world) a few bits of plumbing fitting and some spare pipe later, we had a neat way of filling up. The hose plugs into the plastic fitting, and the large bore(22mm) copper pipe goes into the tank, with the ball valve in place to turn the water on and off. You plug it all into the tap via the long hose, with the valve in off position, turn on the tap at the wall, put it into the tank, then turn on the valve. No mess. Then, when it’s done, you can just turn off the valve to immediately stop the water flow, then turn off the tap. No running to the tap to turn it off because the water’s overflowed. And you can still use the front door. Win.
On the way back from trying this out yesterday, we had a number of interesting situations to deal with. Firstly, winding the boat at the water point was very tight (we’re talking 6 inches spare), but thankfully that all went fine. Then, we needed to wind again to moor up pointing the right way. There was a strong stream running and this meant that Willow ended up slightly further downstream quicker than we expected, and got wedged completely between the two banks! Oops. All this with lots of rowing boats returning from a race, who were disgruntled at having to wait. Thankfully, some fellow boaters were passing and they, along with some passers by, lent a hand. James used the plank to lever the stern end away from the soft bank, which gave us the few millimetres we needed to free the fore end from the concrete wall and pull it round. It only took about 5 minutes in the end but it was stressful! We decided to give up on turning there and go a bit further out of town to wind, which we were able to do with no fuss. Then, on the way back in, we were passing under a footbridge which is half wrapped in scaffold, reducing navigation width. A traffic light system has been set up to prevent collisions, but the junior boys double which was coming the other way didn’t notice the light was red and came haring round the corner towards us, but luckily we were able to stop and let them pass. Still, although stressful, we were able to deal with them all without damage to Willow or sinking any other boats, so it could have been worse!
We also met the new owners of the Duck at the weekend. They have done so much with it already, giving the boat a new lease of life! They’re keen cooks and so the Duck’s kitchen, already large for a boat its size, is even bigger, with a lovely Belfast sink and a five burner hob as well as an oven. It’s so nice to see it is in good hands. They also told us that like us, it was those beautiful curved doors which sold the boat to them!