Excellent Service

Yesterday I had walked up to the marinas in Rufford to ask if they knew anyone who could do a service on our engine (it has clocked up over 250 running hours, and so is due an oil change amongst other things). The friendly woman at the first marina said she got asked that a lot but didn’t know anyone.  I asked at the other and was told that a retired engineer called Paul lived at the marina and might help if I left my number.

Over breakfast we decided a good use of the day would be to explore the Old Hall that was just across the canal from where we were moored.  When we realised it didn’t open until late morning we decided to use the time by driving up to the first marina to buy some diesel.  That all went very smoothly, and I told the friendly woman that I might have a solution, but I was waiting for a phone call.

As I was negotiating the exit from the marina, my phone rang! I was able to agree to meet Paul the engineer after lunch at the nearby moorings – and all while continuing to exit the marina.

So that changed the day’s plan completely.  I spent a few minutes before lunch on a job that has been on the list since before we embarked.  We now have a plan of the canal network on the kitchen wall – that should make some route discussions a lot easier!

Canal Map on Kitchen Wall
Casting Light on the Canal Network

I’d seen excellent reviews for the cafe at one of the marinas, so we went there for lunch.  The reviews were correct.  The cakes were great, and the service was excellent, even when I managed to pay for our main course twice and had to ask for a refund.

I dashed back to the boat just in time to be able to greet Paul when he arrived on his bike.  He was extremely friendly and happy to show me what he was doing.  My conclusion after watching him work was that even if I did know what I was doing I still didn’t want to do that job.  He had quite a job squeezing himself in to the gaps between the engine and the hull, and then had to exert considerable force on occasion.  At one point he pulled his foot out, and then had to rescue his boot separately.

Engineer Astride Engine
Engineer Astride Engine

While he was test running the engine, he asked me if we had a good supply of gas.  I proudly told him we had none – a gas free boat!  He then asked if we had an electric kettle, and did it work.  I was still showing off about the boat, pointed to the battery bank and told him it did.  At some point the penny dropped and Clare made him a cup of tea!

The next question is how to tell the boat control system that the boat has been serviced.

Boat Control Panel
Boat Control Panel Showing Service is Due

It turns out there is supposed to be a button to press for that, but a typo somewhere has meant it is missing.  Rob at Ortomarine reckons it should be easy to fix – more great service.  Downloading a software upgrade will be much easier than an oil change!

We gave the newly serviced engine a chance to fully charge the batteries and heat the water by heading out for a very rural mooring in the late afternoon.  I was still thrilled by each glimpse of a kingfisher on the way.