Page published 1 March 2021

On this page is a post originally found on "The Blog" that was made in early January 2012. It's the first of a sequence of pre-season boat preparation posts.

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6 Jan 2012

My neighbour passed me a letter. It's opening paragraphs read..

On Christmas Eve, the angel 'Homeserve' descended on our cottage to determine why the toilet was backing up in the cloakroom. Behold, a miracle was performed, the drain was unblocked, and Ruth and Roger were able to uncross their legs.

However, on the third day, there was little frankincense and myrrh, but quite a lot of something that shouldn't be there!

The king of drain rods emerged from festivities and once again a sense of relief pervadeth our cottage, but not for long...

It came to pass that a wise man from 'Homeserve' visiteth the site on 4th January, and proclaimeth that the problem was not in the drain run from our cottage, but in the communal overflow from all of the septic tanks, and he hath locateth a blockage close to the willow tree. He doeth what he could to allow some water to flow, but this is very minimal, and urgent remedial action is required so that Roger and Ruth can walk normally again...

Roger and Ruth's cottage is last and lowest on the outfall pipe and so will always be affected first when there is a problem affecting the drains. Being next door made me feel I needed to do what I could to assist. While not the ultimate answer, the least I could do was offer them a loo to sit on!

I had been looking for an excuse to visit Just 17 for some time. I hadn't been aboard since Diana and my last cruise in October and I had left all kinds of bits and pieces aboard with the remote hope that we'd have another warm weekend and we could take off for another picnic. Now I had the excuse I needed to visit Just 17 and do that final tidy up which I should have done at the end of the season and retrieve the Porta Potti to lend to Roger and Ruth.

Just 17 on 6 January 2012

Just after midday on Friday 6 January 2012. It's another splendid day at the Pleasure Boat.

It was around midday on Friday and, apart from slightly lower temperatures, it could have been that same splendid October day of our last cruise. Once at the the boat the only difference seemed to be a cockpit full of dead leaves and a water level that was more than a foot higher than it had been then.

Just 17 in October

The same view in October. The temperature was slightly higher then, although the water levels were much lower.

I had failed to take any bags with me to the boat so it took a few journeys from the boat to car to clear everything from on board. Unfortunately, the grass was damp after recent heavy rain and I found that I the carpet tiles in the cabin were beginning to look rather mucky. However, I decided sorting that out would have to wait for another trip.

Outboard Motor Bracket

The Outboard Motor bracket certainly looks in need of a little oil after three months in the open.

I wished I had taken my proper camera with me, as my phone's camera was difficult to use in the very bright light. All I could see, while trying to get a picture of the wooden bits on the boat, was my own reflection in the screen and not what I was pointing it at. I was tempted to try to take the pictures as I had noticed that all trace of the teak oil that I had applied back in September had already disappeared from the surface of the outboard motor bracket and jib sheet cleats.

Using teak oil had been an experiment I had decided to try after getting fed up with having to apply so many coats of varnish to try to keep the wood looking good. The plan had been to smear the wood on each visit to the boat, but the reality was that the wood hadn't seen any fresh teak oil since going back in the water in September. So that is now two jobs to be done next time I'm at the boat: retrieve the carpet tiles and oil the woodwork.

Jib Cleat Mounts

The mounting blocks for the jib cleats have suffered in the same way as the motor bracket and needs more oil.

Having got photos of the boat I decided that I ought to see if there was a worthwhile view across the Broad. The sun wasn't going to be at the perfect angle, so I wandered down to the beach at the head of the dyke.

Hickling Broad in January

Looking across the Broad.. What a wonderful day it would have been to be out on the water.

Back at home I rang next door's bell and presented a relieved looking Ruth with the Porta Potti before unloading the rest of the gear and dumping it on the kitchen table. I had forgotten that I had left both water carriers on board. Both had been left full, so I rinsed them out with a mild Milton solution before packing them in a polyethylene bag and taking them to the garage for final winter storage. I emptied the surplus tea bags and sugar into my usual storage pots and washed up everything else.

While drying off the cutlery I realised something else I had promised that I would do for the next season. Now that Diana and I sometimes cruise with others my previous stock of crockery and cutlery is inadequate. I need to do something about that. I hope I can still find stuff that matches!

Boat Clutter

Most of the gear from the boat is stacked on the kitchen table awaiting bagging and being stored in the garage or loft.

I suppose it's barely a boating blog entry this time. More a story of neighbourhood relief, but one of my correspondents had "complained", perhaps that should read "jested" that I seem to have given up writing for the winter! However, I do now have a growing list of jobs in connection with the boat: Retrieve the carpet tiles and give them a clean, oil the woodwork, purchase extra crockery and cutlery. I'm sure I'll think of more soon! Oh yes! I had told myself I should remove the cockpit locker lids for winter and give them another coat of "Five Year Wood Stain"!

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