Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Nothing runs smoothly living on a boat...

Well, we went away for the weekend, to visit my dear friend Angel and the kids in Hereford.  It was such a lovely weekend, a trip to Hay Bluff, ice-cream in Hay-on-Wye, game playing, violin playing, movie watching, heart-shaped breakfast in bed on Sunday, such a relaxing time albeit too short and despite missing the coach on the way home and them having to drive us to Gloucester we came back feeling refreshed and happy - until we got onto the boat and it was FREEZING - the Heritage stove had locked out.

Argh! What was the problem, it couldn't possibly be lack of fuel could it? I mean we'd put around 250 gallons in, surely that was enough for two weeks? Well, it seems not, for we couldn't get it to restart when we pressed the reset button and we were told not to press it more than 3 times without calling an engineer and at 10pm on a Sunday night, Valentines at that, we thought it was best to try and research Heritage stoves on the internet, have a little argument about what to eat, bought on by being too tired and cold, then fill up our hot water bottles, make up and snuggle down to sleep, wearing pyjamas on top of our underclothes, then a hat and scarf on top of that, with the top blanket tucked in above the pillow.

Jam had to be up at 5.30am for work and he recommended I stay in bed, even texting me later in the morning to make sure I was still resting and keeping warm.

Of course, I had a little lie in, the squirrel was obviously requiring me to rest a little more, but then the urge to eat and go to the loo overtook and I had to get up.  I made some tea, another hot water bottle, then after calling both the coalboats to find out when they were next stopping by (week today) and the chap from the next lock where there's a diesel station, (no answer, left a message, no reply) I decided I would take the 25L fuel can that Jam had bought home the other week and fill her up to at least work out if it was a fuel problem.

The first garage I came to they wouldn't let me fill up for it wasn't in their recommended 5L fuel canisters, and were quite rude to me - what I should have done was fill up then go and pay for it and they wouldn't have been able to do anything about it and probably wouldn't have noticed, but I carried on and decided to walk along the canal to the diesel pump at the next lock.  However my way was soon barred by workmen who are building a new bridge across the canal and I was sent on a detour past another garage and around the back of Kings cross.  I decided to go to the lock first, for diesel would be much cheaper there, because you don't have to pay so much duty on domestic use only.  As me and Jerry (well I feel like I'm walking the family dog by now) approach the gates I see a few people leaving, one of them towards me on a bike. I half recognise him from the previous times we went to fill up when the canal was frozen over and stopped him to ask if the chap that could fill up for me was there.  No came the reply, and the man was late for work and couldn't do it himself -PLEASE my inner voice is yelling out to him, I'm pregnant and it's no fun living in a fridge without any hot water or means of cooking food and keeping warm, OKAY I hear myself saying, I guess I'll try and fill up at the station back there, the other one wouldn't let me but I'll beg them. Cheerio, come on Jerry...

I walk boldly up to the pump, fill up Jerry, wheel him to the door, then pop in to pay. No. 6 please.  'Do you have a nectar card?' Whoop whoop, that's more like it, of course I do, thank you very much, what a nice man, have a nice day and Jerry and I skip home, well, not quite skip for Jerry's quite heavy now, but lucky that Fluffer left me her sack trolley when she went off down under and it's not too difficult to get back, wheel down the steps and Jerry has a fancy catch so you don't have to unscrew the whole cap and can just pour through a tube thing - glug glug glug, I go back inside and try to reset the burner again. Nothing.  It's time to call the engineers.

The Heritage stove company is a small company based in Cornwall.  By now I know the names of nearly everyone working there and speak to J who tells me S will call me back when he's finished with his client.  A few hours pass and I call again, anxious to try and get it sorted so we don't have another freezing night. No such joy, the message is passed on but nobody calls me back.  We're slightly more prepared for tonight though, rescuing our electric blanket and big flat heaters from Ithaka boat and using the stove over there to cook dinner, sausages, sauerkraut, steamed parsnips and brussel sprouts.  Sleeping with an electric blanket makes such a difference!

Poor Jam though in the morning has to wash in cold water, whilst I stay sleeping in the warm bed.  I arise and call the stove company and am immediately put through to S who is very apologetic, had a bereavement in the family and didn't get chance to call back, so we run through some settings and button pressing and low and behold the burner fires up.  This is great news, not for long though, the stove one goes out, so I have to wait five minutes then reset the stove burner three times and hope for the best.  I do the washing up with hot water. The stove burner lights then the heater burner goes out, but they're just going out - the green button going off and not locking out - where the amber button comes on, so I call back, but S is with a client so I'm told he'll call back.  I manage to get a hot shower.  Both of the burner on buttons are now off.  They seem to be coming on and off intermittently.  

This is a photo of the Heritage stove - my friend LLG took it as we were just moving in.

I'm still waiting for the call.  I can't believe that it takes 20-25 litres a week to heat the stove and 35-40 to run the radiators and hot water - that means huge diesel bills (especially if you run out and have to get it from the garage) and they say that is efficient!?!  I'm baffled, there must be a better way...

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