Thursday, 14 September 2017

The curious case of the drip at midnight

The curious case of the drip at midnight
Sept 2017

Have you ever woken in the middle of the night and heard the rythmic tic, tic, tic of a drip? Annoying at the best of times but on a boat the sound of a water drip is never good news and one which cant be ignored.

It all started a few nights ago at the Black Country Boating Festival when I woke sometime after 2.00am to the steady sound of the drip. At first I thought is was the dodgey pipe joint under the sink which has leaked intermittently into an ice cream tub ever since we set out in April. But the resonance was all wrong and whats more, by moving my head I could tell it was coming from the back of the boat, not the galley. 

I tried to get back to sleep but there it was, drip, drip, drip. Unable to sleep I got out and stuck my ear next to the engine cover to see if it was the stern gland. Unlikely I know and no, the noise wasn't coming from the engine bay. Its more like the gas locker - so I lifted the lid and sure enough it was louder. But that's impossible cos there is no water in the gas locker. But, the path outside was wet so maybe, just maybe, the drip was water emerging between the bricks next to the gas locker and echoing through. Not a perfect answer but it was plausible enough to let me go bask to sleep.

There followed a whole string of drip related dreams: Drips from the ceiling soaking the house, drips from the stern gland filling the engine bay - you get the drift....

Imagine my consternation when I woke at 3.00am in the Black Country Museum and there it was again, a steady sequence of dips maybe 30 seconds apart. There is no way its the tow path this time, so I ventured out in my pajamas (again) and opened the lid of the gas locker. 

Yup, there it was again - but louder with the lid off. 

And then a moment of realisation. I keep a trigger operated water spray cannister in there to help then I use cutting compound on the paint. But last time I had moved it was in Birmingham to replace a gas cylinder, and when I put it back it went in upside down. In fact it wasnt a drip at all but instead a bubble, like you get in an airlock with home brew. 

The source of troubled dreams

As the night cooled so did the cannister, The air contracted and sucked in more air from outside which them bubbled up, one bubble at a time.

Turn the cannister over and the problem was solved instantly.

Peaceful sleep has returned to the good ship Wand'ring Bark.

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