This is an extract from Alexandra’s Log book 01 October:
Best of intentions, a bit of good luck, a surprise and some shenanigans…
Unusually for us, we got to the boat very late on Friday – it was after 10pm. First job was to turn on the heat. It was the first really cold snap this year, and we were feeling it! According to the car, it was just under 5 degrees. And there was some condensation building inside the boat, even before we arrived.
Something is wrong!
But after a few minutes, something was clearly wrong. The pump for the heating sounded a little tinny, and the vents were pumping out lots of air, all of it cold! It was late and we were tired so not the time to start tinkering with the heat. But clearly we couldn’t stay on the boat either. So we packed up, and went to a friends house, (like a pair of begging asses), hoping for accommodation, and intending to return home if that didn’t work out.
Of course, our friends were pleased to see us despite the late hour, and sorted us with warms beds in 5 minutes. In need of a drink, we sat down with our welcoming hosts and had a few too many.
Despite the late night, we were up early on Saturday morning and back on the boat to see what happened. I had noted that the diesel tank was down to half full the previous weekend, but we dipped it anyway. Half full my backside. It was almost empty! Clearly a gauge issue, but that will have to wait to be fixed. So the pair of begging asses were on the scrounge again, this time for cans and a funnel.
Glass half full or half empty?
It sounds like were a bit unlucky, but there is another way to look at this. I think we were incredibly lucky – lucky the heat cuts out before the diesel runs out completely, and very very very lucky this happened in a marina and not out on the lake. Although counting my lucky stars became a bit difficult over the banging that was taking place in my head. We made a few trips to town to get diesel, and met a friend for a lunch. This had been pre-arranged which was a bit unfortunate for our friend because sparkling conversation wasn’t on my menu. But one cottage pie (isn’t mash just the best comfort food?), good coffee and a natter improved my humour considerably.
We have had no issues with gauges up to now, but clearly the fuel gauge isn’t happy. Mike looked at the gauge and electrics and all seems well. That leaves the sensor in the diesel tank. But this is not easy to get at on Alexandra, so it will have to wait. In the meantime, we will monitor the tank manually – using an old fashioned dip stick! And keeping it topped up. While we were under the floor, we cleaned the weed filters. They were a bit clogged up – I think some areas near Athlone, especially the inner lakes are shallow and weedy. We will have to keep an eye on them in future.
One of our Lakeside neighbours is laying up their boat for the winter. Already! While the weather has suddenly got cold, I can understand. But Alexandra’s heating was replaced about 4 years ago, so I try to keep it in use until early November or at least until the October Bank Holiday weekend. So we have a few weeks to go yet!
I began to take notice of the weather. It was indeed a stunning day. Cold. But bright and sunny with not a cloud in the sky. So we headed into the town moorings. It was beautiful on the lake. But mooring was limited when we got to Athlone and we had another stressful moment… there is a very strong current in Athlone. Nothing new in that, and we are practiced boaters. Not today! Oh I hope no-one was looking as we struggled. I know everyone has bad days, but we looked like we had never been on a boat in our lives! We just weren’t having a good day. With some help, we eventually got sorted and safely moored.
Later that evening, we had another good meal in Il Collosseo, and a quick one in Gerties. We attempted to walk off our meal, but the late night caught up with me, and I headed back to the boat early. My nice warm cosy boat. Yaaay!!
Sunday in Athlone
The first day of October got off to a foggy damp start, but this soon lifts to another bright sunny day. One of the lovely things I have noticed about moving Alexandra to Lakeside is that we are meeting people we haven’t seen for ages. So we were delighted to meet Ronnie and Mary and have a natter.
I had recently heard about a canal in Athlone. A canal? Who knew? So off I went to do a bit of exploring and I have already posted about my canal walk.
When I got back from my walk, it was time to leave as we needed to get home early. Which was a pity, because we missed the Raft Races! In aid of the RNLI, this is a great event, and well supported. Not so sure about some of the craft/rafts tho!!
I guess the rafters take this very seriously and put a lot of work into their new craft. But to me, there is something wonderfully crazy about trying to make a boat out of cardboard and crates. And then trying to row it in the strong current in Athlone. Is this optimism at its finest? Fair play to the contestants!
Thanks to Lucinda Hewitt who provided more photos of the Raft Races.
And have you seen this crazy sport? Its called flyboarding. What a brilliant display, which took place in Athlone at the raft races. Thanks to Flyboard Club Lough Derg for taking this clip: Flyboarding in Athlone.
Til next time!