Our boat is moving again. Not forward or backward but just rocking side to side. The ice has let go. It has been covered by a blanket of snow which has all but gone now leaving strange patterns on the surface. When it was covered in snow it looked like the rest of the land except that it was flat. We have read about people risking their lives by trying to walk across the canal or even throwing sticks on to the ice for their dogs. We can’t help ourselves talking about the conditions, a common enemy perhaps. Those of us that are wrinkly can recall previous cold winters like this one. We would drive around with a spade, an old sack for grip under the wheels, a flask of tea or hot soup and clearing our own paths and pavements.
We have done the hazardous deed and filled the diesel tank from a collection of containers. Had plenty of old cloth and detergent on hand to prevent spillage and a large funnel to guide the liquid into the small tank hole. We have been lucky with that other liquid, water, as our hose pipe is just long enough to reach a nearby unfrozen tap. All the taps on the pontoons have been turned off while the temperature was below zero. Boaters have had the daily chore of fetching heavy gallons of water half way round the marina and down the towpath.
Most days we have walked out to visit other boaters on the frozen ‘cut’. Jo and Lesley from Caxton met us in the Cafe by Great Haywood lock. We all had a good natter about life and future plans before going back to Caxton. Another day we went to Rock n Roll in the marina.
It seems that our alternator has been having a hard time with the washing machine. The boat was built with the washing machine already installed so you would think that the engine power system was designed to cope. Not so apparently. Most boaters have larger engines, higher output alternators or mains generators for their washing machines. We will have to rely entirely on the domestic hot water provided by the engine for our washing. The trick will be to turn down the temperature which turns off the electric heaters after filling with hot water.