Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Counting the cost of the big freeze

Counting the cost of the big freeze
28th December 2010

I ventured down to Wand'ring Bark today, the first visit in the five weeks since Belle had her accident. I approached with some fear and trepidation, wondering what I would discover.

The marina remains a sea of ice, still five or six inches thick but it has retreated from the hull by a few millimetres, enough to let it float free but still tight enough for it to grind every time I moved around.

My main fear was for the calorifier, how could it have survived minus seventeen degrees or worse? But amazingly it has, there were no signs of water and I kicked the engine into life to put some heat into it and see if the lack of leaks was due to it being a solid block of ice. Slowly the little black vein pumped warmth into the cylinder and all remained well.

Sure the ice has forced a water pipe off a tap - but that has happened before. And the already leaky accumulator has given up the ghost but in all other respects the boat was fine. I think we have  got off lightly, and if she can cope with the travails of the last month I think she can cope with just about anything.

Others were not so lucky. Several chimneys were smoking away as the owners put some warmth back into their frozen craft but those wit Paloma water heaters seem to have had a tough time. Several has frozen up and ruptured their heat exchangers - an expensive fix.

Whilst WB has been left to freeze we have been all toasty at home, burning up lots of the logs purloined from the cuttings of the Shroppie at an alarming rate. But no matter, I have been watching a self sown silver birch grow up in the garden for the last 20 years and decided to view it as my reserve log pile. Today that reserve as transformed into two months of fuel, all cut up with the chainsaw and split into logs. With a bit of luck this will see us through the winter and maybe even offer a couple of bag fulls for the Easter 2011 cruise.

Its good to start dreaming of possible 2011 desitnations.

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