Mayday! May Day! We should be boating of course today. We decided to head for Cropredy just for the fun of it. On arrival at the boat it was still very cold so I decided that a fire was in order. One needs a nice fire in the boat to warm oneself up in a very chill factor 10 or 11 degrees. When the sun was out it felt a bit warmer but the air temperature remained cold. So a fire was set.
My Villager Puffin has just had a new glass fitted to the door which looks very smart with a new white rope seal around the outside. However the seal leaked and the boat soon started filling with smoke. All windows and doors were opened, the houdini and swan hatches were opened wide but the boat filled up very quickly. The best mate evacuated and I started removeing sticks from the fire and throwing them through the swan hatch into the canal. It took about ten minutes for the fire to die down to smouldering embers and a lot longer for the smoke to clear.
We decided that a cruise was not on without a fire and turned at the winding hole to return the fire door to the boatyard. Being wonderfully accommodating they fitted a thicker seal while I waited. The door could not be re-fitted immediately as the glue needed an hour to set fully. We moved on throught he lock to Tramway. Passage through the lock was delayed becasue the boat ahead of us, which will not be named by us, had a crew member who only opened one bottom gate paddle "because it empties so fast". . .not! The Best Mate offered to wind the paddle gear up for her but her blunt refusal to use a second paddle led TBM to withdraw and wait. When we got to Tramway LT Moorings the said boat was occupying the Calthorpe winding hole. And it was occupying it for a long time. I stood to and waited for a while then decided to pull into a vacant mooring space and we had lunch.
After lunch the fire was out and cool. We decided to inspect the flue to see whether the state of it was the reason for the smokyness of the fire. It was not that clean so I decided to pull a rag through it to remove some soot. This did not do much so The Best Mate suggested the hearth brush. The handle had a hole in it so I could attach the rope. I inserted it and promptly got it stuck, just inside the flue. The stiff brush bristle bundles were pointing rearward so I could not budge it to bring it back up. I tried hard bit was defeated. Fortunately I carry length a 1" heavy wall galvanised piping for difficult occasions. Applying this weightily behind the brush and The Best Mate pulling down on the rope moved it through OK and brought a bit of soot out with it. The Best Mate then came up with the idea of a shower scrunchy. That was attached to the rope and worked a treat.
Our flue cleaned and the fire cleared, I re-fitted the stove door with a lit lantern torch inside the fire. We could see light through the seal! So still no working stove.
We moved on, turned without any problem and returned toward Banbury lock metting Maffi's boat a the Town Wharf (ex lift bridge) narrows. Thence to the lock. We locked through without any problem and entered the pool to find an Oxford Hire Boat and our friends on Nook and Cranny. We left the lock gates open for the hire boat to crash into the lock, and chatted with our friends. I lowered the lift bridge after Sonflower as Matt emerged from Tooley's, after locking up for the day. I told him about the light I could see and he told me he would order some thicker rope seal. Great service.
We returned to home mooring, surprisingly tired. We are out of practice at this boating thing 2 Miles, 2 Locks, 2 lift Bridges 5 hours