Cupboard Love

We kept out of the cold and wet weather for most of yesterday.  It didn’t feel like a nice day for cruising so we just stayed where we were.  Today however the weather was cold, but bright and dry.

We continue to have an issue with the electronic monitor for the level in the waste tank.  I found the manual in a cupboard yesterday.  The troubleshooting section says that it reports the level continuously, but if it can’t get a valid reading it just repeats the last one.  It has been repeating the same value for the last week, though it got higher than the value it stuck on last month.  I know from our history that with the two of us on board, we need to empty the tank about every three weeks, so despite the reading on the meter, it was time for a pump out.

We’d spotted a boat yard that offered the right services a few miles along the canal and noted that it was not open on Sundays – and we even remembered that it was Saturday today.  We moored up at the jetty and read the sign.  It said to sound the horn (button provided), but only after you’d made sure the boat was the right way round.  So we cast off again to wind in the adjacent marina entrance.  I waited for a boat coming the other way and then set off at the wrong angle.  There was a stiff breeze blowing along the canal, a narrow entrance to aim for, and I started from the wrong place.  This is where experience helps, I knew I had to get well over to the other side of the canal and turn much later than seemed sensible.  Of course that’s easy to say after the event.  I managed to resolve the problem by hopping off the back of the boat with the rope and pulling the stern up wind along the towpath.  Only my pride was damaged.

The woman running the boat yard was very friendly and chatty.  We were joined by her one-eyed dog, Baxter, who is named after the boat yard.  Apparently that has gone to his head.  He is a cross between a collie and a german shepherd and spent a lot of effort trying to round everyone up.  He was especially excited about anything flying, apparently after an incident with dragons in Wales.

Shepherded.  A man is standing on a canal wharf near the stern of a narrowboat.  The man is looking a the dog, but the dog is giving its attention to the boat.  A wooden hut on the wharf side has flowers in raised beds in front of it.
Baxter Keeping Watch over Shane and Bartimaeus

With the waste and diesel tanks now correctly showing empty and full respectively I winded again – this time with suitable respect for the wind – and we carried on our way.  It wasn’t far to a lovely spot I’d spotted before with open views from both sides of the boat.  We moored up and enjoyed lunch watching lambs sharing a flooded field with lapwings and an egret, and a pheasant on the other side of the canal.   A heron landed in the water between the trees on that side of the boat.  Earlier we saw another swan on a nest and two baby moorhens.

Canal view. The opposite side of the canal slopes gently down to the water.  Small trees are growing at the water's edge at either side of the picture.  The water is almost still and reflects the white clouds in the blue sky.
The View on the Less Open Side

By the time I’d cleaned the red kite droppings off the solar panels and topped up the battery water I was surprised to find myself still feeling enthusiastic to sort something out.  Many months ago, when I had built the tandem cupboard I had put a flat panel on the side that faces the saloon.  When taking the tandem front section in and out, I realised that there was a sizeable chunk of space inside the cupboard that was unused.  By remodelling the panel I could make a much larger and more useful shelf in the saloon.

I began by putting the cratch cover up so that I would have a space to work.  Although the sun was bright, the air was very cold, so being inside a tented area was ideal.  Before long the panel “just came off in my hand”.

Demolished cupboard.  The cupboard in the saloon of a narrowboat.  A panel has been removed from the front revealing a tandem inside.
It Just Came Off in My Hand

It took most of the rest of the afternoon to slice up the remaining new pieces.  The bow deck makes a reasonable saw bench, but I think my saw is pretty blunt – it was hard work.  By dinner time I had made good progress.  All the components are in place.  Tomorrow I will start painting before the pieces are finally slotted together again.  It already looks reasonably good, I don’t know why I didn’t give this cupboard some love many months ago.

Rebuilt cupboard.  The cupboard in a narrowboat saloon. The units are mainly white, but there is a section which is bare wood.
Cupboard Ready for Painting

We went for a short stroll around Grafton Regis between dinner and sunset.  The smell of food from the pub was surprisingly tempting even though we had just eaten.  We resisted going in and headed back to the canal.  The lambs were surprisingly unafraid as we approached.  Their eyes caught the flash and make them look a lot more demonic than they are in real life.

Lambs in a field.  Two lambs standing under a small tree in a field.  Their eyes appear brilliant white in the light of the flash, which also highlights the barbed wire that keeps them off the towpath.
Lamb 66 Looking Like it Should Be 666
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