Thursday, 26 October 2017

Our Time in Middlewich

Well as we are sitting in the dry dock here in Middlewich I thought I would jot a few things down.

The dry dock its self is quite spacious at about 5' 6" at the mouth and 4'6" at the far end, its probably about 14' wide and over 70' long. there is a walkway which is around 4' wide down each side and at the end. The whole lot is covered by a corrugated shed.DSCF9644

I understand that it wasn't build as a dry dock, but as a salt loading shed, this would account for the entrance being via stop planks in a concrete wall across the mouth.DSCF9642

Looking at old maps the lock layout at Middlewich was completely different when built, with the canal following the present line from Big Lock and the bottom two Middlewich lock but then continuing straight and swinging back in just before the bridge that is just above Middlewich Narrowboats

 g map  old mal

We came onto the dock on Thursday mooring and on Friday the hull was pressure washed, his was with a petrol powered portable pressure washer.DSCF9660 Now from above you get an idea of the size of the building, the front facing the canal is open and there is a vent in the roof about 2' by 4', its actually a missing roof sheet.DSCF9659 Even with this amount of ventilation and area, within two hours our onboard CO alarm was sounding, so the CO was mixed fairly evenly with the air, it didn't all go to the top of the building or disperse out of the door with loads of ventilation, it filled the boat which was almost dead centre in all directions of the building. So don't assume if you have a CO leak in your boat its going to go to the top.

The hull shows signs of pitting over most of the sides, it was fairly obvious the area protected by the anodes, we have 6 on each side , one at the bow and stern and two down the length of the sides near the bottom. I would suggest that they fully protect about 4' around them, you can even see it from this photo of the base plate, the anode is in line with the stocks.DSCF9650

On the Saturday the first coat of black went on and was left until Monday.

While the blacking was being done we walked into town to visit the Mexon street market, but due to storm Brian it had to be closed down, we then noticed a notice saying the church was open so we went in for a look. They received a lot of lottery funding for the church as it was in quite a bad way with a leaking roof and damaged stone work. As part of the funding they had to produce a heritage trail in the church and they have done a first class job of it, the best information I have ever seen in a Church or even Cathedral.
I wasn't sitting idle, for some time the rear slide has had a tight spot when opening or closing it, the temperature made it worse or better, which ever way you look at it, so that was removed and fixed. Both the front and back slide as well as the front locker lid were getting quite rusty so they were all removed, ground off using a flapper wheel in a mini grinder, treated with a rust stabilised and repainted. Not very well I might add, but they are not all rusty and will do until the boat is painted again. Also the tunnel bands were treated for rust and repainted.

I also dressed the propeller up a bit taking off some of the dings around the edge, I did wonder if a blade may have been slightly bent, but measuring from a fixed point it all looks good.DSCF9670

Monday and we have another coat of black on, I have done some more painting to the hatches and we had a wonder round parts of the town, calling in for tea and cake in Maggie Finn's tea Rooms This evening I heard the sound of paddles so looked out to see a chap drawing both top and bottom paddle on middle lock, I wandered down for a look and the bottom pond was almost dry, little fish flapping on the mud and a 3 foot ell swimming down the narrow central channel. His boat was in the bottom lock hoping to come up but there was no water ahead of him. Being a kind soul I offered to go to the top and let water down. Once the water was flowing I walked back down only to find they now had all 4 paddles up on the bottom lock because they decided to back out and wait until the morning.

Tuesday mooring and we walked up to the yard where we discovered that the chap who blacked us yesterday would be down to put a third coat on shortly and sure enough he was, only he could only do the back have as the front end was suffering from condensation due to the warm humid atmosphere today. Unfortunately it stayed like that all day.
We made a pilgrimage to Aldi, the other end of town and on our return fond that the Dickinson stove had gone out, I was expecting this as the diesel day tank (actually a 6 day tank) was empty. It normally fills automatically when the engine runs, but the last time that ran was for a short time last Thursday morning. When I fitted out Harnser I originally installed a small electric lift pump to top the tank up, this came on automatically every time the engine was started and ran on a timer, however this was not in use now, so it was a case of hot wiring the pump to top the tank up. I was expecting problems lighting the stove due to air locks in the anti vibration coils but that didn't happen and it fired up straight way. I wonder what tomorrow will have in store for us.

Wednesday boat wise nothing happened other than I refitted the hatches I had painted.
We spent the day at Iron Bridge Gorge and on the way back to Middlewich heard that the M6 had a lorry broken down in the road works, so we left at junction 14 but that added over 30 minutes to our journey.

Thursday and Greg came down and put the third and final coat of black on the boat, we in turn DSCF9675walked up the locks and paid the bill, ouch.

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