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The name describes my demeanour and voice! I love narrowboating and that is why this blog is mainly about the boat and our interaction with it. I have been keeping a log for Sonflower ever since we bought her and moved onto her as our main residence. Some incidents in our boating life have been hilarious, some scary and some down right dangerous. I cannot tell what will come in the future but you can now share them! The crew are an 'ordinary' couple. The Best Mate and I.

Friday, 30 September 2011


Those who read Mortimer Bones' column in Canal Boat magazine will appreciate that not all things that seem simple on a narrowboat turn out that way.

This morning I went to take the boat to the town centre, a cruise of 1/4 mile. This weekend is a boating festival: The Banbury Canal Day. The town council put a lot of effort into making the assett of the The Oxford Canal work for the town and give the loacals a grand day out into the bargain. For the last eight years we have joined in the fun come rain or shine. This year, in contrast to the last two, it looks like we are in for a shining sunny day on Sunday.

So all seemed to bode well until I appraoched the boat to find her bow higher than I can remember seeing it before. The water tank was empty. Believing the saga of the "water in the bilge" to be over, I imediately raised the over over the water pumop to see whether water was engulfing it once more. No! But the pump was running dry!

I turned it off and investigated further. The little amount of water in the bilge that had run aft was cleared quickly. The taps were all closed and tight. The shower pan was dry. Where had all the water gone and why was the pump running?

We needed water. I cast off and boated into the town. First stop the water point which means navigating the lift bridge, no mean feat single handed! Thankfully a helpful waiting pedestrian lad took the windlass and lowered the bridge as I passed through to speed his crossing and help me.

Filling our tank takes about one and a half hours! The best mate came along from her art class at The Mill. She did not expect to see the boat at the water point. I explained the lack of water and we decided that she should go and buy a sushi lunch as we had plenty of time and the resources of the town were at our feet.

Lunched and with a full tank I had time to think about our problem. Running the pump for a short while revealed that the relief valve on the calorifier was letting by and that was where the water was going. Relieved water ended up in the stern gland bilge and was pumped away by the sern bilge pump!

We continued our cruise. Through the lock, down to the turning point at the end of the Tram way Mooring site and back again, through the lock, back to home mooring, to the turning point at The Arm just north of Spice Ball Park and then back to town to moor under Tom Rolt Bridge: our weekend mooring: 2 miles, 2 locks, 2 Lift Bridges and four and a half hours to fill up with water!

But with no isolation valve on the calorifier inlet, how can I fix the relief valve without draining the tank again?

The water pump says off.

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