On Monday I headed for the boat and met Dusty, the coal boat, at Samuelson Bridge 168 where they were loading coal and gas. Or should I say they were drinking tea during a break in loading coal and gas. Dusty is trapped on the north section of his patch at the moment by re-building of a lift bridge between Aynho and Somerton Deep Lock. The fact that his boat was pointing south, but he usually comes from the south threw us. His timing is all wrong too. He shouldn't be here again til after Christmas. I was told that as soon as he was loaded he would be along to my boat in five minutes.
I waited and checked out a little sealing job I need to do. But the drizzle started and silicon sealant will not stick properly in the wet. So I cut up some old slats for kindling and stacked them neatly in the wood box.
Then I played the harmonica for a bit. I looked out if the cratch back down the canal. Trade was brisk. Dusty had been hailed by King of Clubs who wanted four bags of coal to supplement the whole willow tree that is stacked on his roof in one foot lengths. Then another boat crew returned from shopping and quickly hailed him to top up their diesel tank. It took more like 45 minutes to get to me, 200 yards down the cut!
"Nice to be serenaded" I heard Kati say as they arrived. Dusty always engages in cheery conversation and it was great to catch up. We have been away so long and the last fill we had from them was before we left our mooring on March 3rd. With no mooring to stack coal beside we can only accommodate 4 bags of coal at a time now and topping up the tanks took 153 litres.
That should keep us warm through rain or shine. Dusty comes rain shine or snow too! Here is some historical footage of the effort that these coal boats put in to getting the warmth to us.
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