Chertsey is still at Torksey, worn part replaced and engine reassembled, but not yet been started up as we need someone a bit more expert - or at least a second opinion - to reset the timing. Hairy Neil, who helped us diagnose and fix the problem, has gone away for the weekend, but his friend was going to come - but he un fortunately wasn't well so couldn't come before we left on Friday. Neil has very kindly offered to move Chertsey for us, and to sort the timing out before he leaves. The time available now to get through Fradley before the stoppage begins on the 7th is getting very tight though, and there are still a fair few potential hitches in this plan. Will Neil find crew? Will the engine start, and run well enough to be confident on the remaining tidal section? Will he get through Fradley on time, or will Chertsey end up abandoned on some foreign towpath for another winter?
Bakewell, meanwhile, needs to be collected from Warwickshire Fly at Stockton. For this job I have engaged Nick Wolfe with Aldgate, doing it in his professional capacity. Although this route isn't affected by stoppages, we need to leave early on Tuesday to fit in with Nick's schedule (which includes the promise of a bonfire party at Smethwick), and having us as crew makes it cheaper (not sure if that will hold when he finds out how inept we are). Hopefully there are fewer pitfalls in this plan, though one potential big one is that I have so far had no confirmation from Warwickshire Fly that they have received the money I transferred last Monday, and which should have been in their account by Thursday, despite my explicitly asking them to let me know, and emailing and phoning subsequently. They have taken the ad down though so I guess that is a good sign.
So the car is all packed up with yet another complete set of household effects (I am getting very practised at this now) and we leave early tomorrow in the hope of having a day to settle in before setting off. So begins another new adventure. I suspect Nick will be quite a demanding captain, so I might be too exhausted to write up each day as it happens, but I will do my best. Up the Grand Union on a pair of Grand Union boats - what could be better?
Location:Plans, and impossible dreams