A day down the pan
Finally, a night aboard Wand'ring Bark - the first of 2011.
With Belle away watching Derek Jacobi doing his Shakespearean stuff, Jeff and I found ourselves with some time on our hands. We had to go to the boatyard to pick up Wand'ring Bark after her new cooker was fitted, so why not take her out for a run and give her a shakedown in advance of next weeks trip?
WB all spruced up and ready to go
We stocked up with curry and beer and off we went, but only a mile or so down the cut to a spot well suited to a bit of re-blacking. Now I know re-blacking the sides is pure vanity, but after a hard years cruising the sides of WB are scarred and battered. A quick coat of blacking only takes a couple of hours to apply and suddenly the boat is transformed, all set for another season afloat till I haul her out of the water and do the job properly in the autumn.
After a sublimely quiet night we were reflecting on the outstanding tasks and concluded that all was basically in order. Oh how wrong we were. Jeff emerged from the smallest room and reported that the flush wouldn't stop. He was right, something was wrong and a solution was needed, fast.
One new, fully functioning cooker
The water valve on the toilet is tucked away and access demands the removal of the loo, so out it came. This sort of job never goes smoothly and I soon discovered that one of the retaining bolds had corroded away, which explains why the pan moves a bit under load. An inspection of the holding tank was not encouraging. It's nine years old and corrosion has set it. Its days are numbered but lets hope it holds out till next winter.
Then it was time to set about the Thetford dump through. I removed the valve assembly and discovered a twist of blue plastic which was obstructing the ball valve - a bit of debris which has found its way from the new accumulator. But one thing leads to another and the valve release mechanism falls out - which means unscrewing the whole toilet - only for the trapdoor mechanism to fall to bits.
Two hours of trial and error later and we finally had all the bits back together again and functioning nearly properly. The loo is now unconvincingly attached with a single bolt till I get round to doing the job properly, and the pan has never been cleaner. I hate fiddling with toilets!
The day was rounded of with a quick wash of the boat, the addition of a sparkling new chimney and Wand'ring Bark is all read for the off. Stylish new cooker, gleaming paintwork, shiny black sides and, of course, a function loo. All in all a very satisfactory weekend spent under a clear blue sky with shorts and tee shirts being the order of the day. Roll on Easter.