... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Sunday 7 February 2010

A good book

Not the good book - although this could well become my bible - nor a book to read on the train, but an amazing gift from a fellow boater, whom I had never met or even communicated with before but who had heard that I had acquired Chertsey complete with the mythical beast the PD2, and who happened to have an Operators Handbook looking for a good home. Isn't that wonderful.

And the book is wonderful too. Not just because it's a detailed guide to everything you could possibly need to know about maintaining the engine, but because of the way it's written and illustrated. Decades before we started worrying about 'accessability' and 'plain English' this booklet is beautifully written, in delightfully straightforward and friendly style. It is packed with a level of detail that manufacturers would not dare provide today - and anyway, there'd be no point, because these days no-one can do their own repairs and maintenance because of the high tech and computerised nature of everything.

Somewhat xenophobically, perhaps, it is wonderfully refreshing that it is written entirely in English - you don't have to wade through a dozen different language versions every time you lose your place. And it's not xenophobic really - I bet Petters produced manuals in a range of languages - the difference being that they produced a separate one for each market rather than cutting costs by foisting the same multilingual one on everyone.

But best of all perhaps are the diagrams; every part illustrated in beautiful and stunningly clear detail and the wonderful thing is to realise that these weren't done on a computer; every single line was drawn by someone sitting at a drawing board; every line of shading deliberately added to make the drawing's message clearer. The trouble and the skill that went into them, dozens for this booklet alone, is awe-inspiring.

You can rest assured that this won't be going anywhere near Chertsey's engine hole. With a disregard for copyright that is most unlike me, I have phoptocopied the entire thing and am about to slip the copies into one of those display folders where each page is enclosed in plastic, and put the treasured original back in my Chertsey scrapbook. I'm sure they wouldn't mind. And maybe, one day, I'll be passing it on to someone else.


  1. I have the equivalent document for my Lister, with the same beautiful drawings. On the cover, in a box, in bold type, are the words "You want the best out of this Machine. Give this handbook to the man who has to look after it." which is enough to tell you that it comes from a different era.

    There are also footers on every page containing little homilies to good conduct: "Keep your engine clean", "Too heavy a lubricating oil gives sticking valves", "The exhaust should always be clean", "The responsibility for abuse is yours", and my favourite. "Look after the engine and it will look after you".


    I'm doing my best to live up to the high standards expected.

  2. I too have the equivalent document for my engine, with the same beautifully crafted drawings. On the cover, in a box, in bold type, are the words:-
    "Marina Langrycksmotorer
    fur drift med raolja
    1 cylindriga
    Direkt Omkastbara."
    Sorry Sarah/MoominPapa could not resist a wind up.
    Seriously Sarah, the PD2 is a cracking engine. Most of the boats that were taken from Braunston reservoir to Wendover arm for disposal had a t least the bottom half of a PD2. Clive and Pat Steven's bought Battersea of this tender and that had half a Petter in it which Clive re-built (you could still buy spares then,1968-9)and it served him well without a fail until he sold his pair and went to work for BWB. Started every time, ran sweetly and sounded beautiful (they have their own distinct sound) Can't wait until I hear you coming past Minnow this year?

  3. Funny how this has cropped up, I've just been reading mine on the AS2 after a bit of bother on Sunday. The starting instructions say "turn over smartly" well, I ran out of "smarty's" The Gardner manuals have wonderful phrases too, to do with hammers and the use of.

  4. That's strange Andrew, all my Gardner manuals talk about is crop rotation, lawn care and double digging! Sorry (he he) I'll get back to learning Swedish so I can understand my Bolinder manual.

  5. It's strange, I know a Swedish bloke who has a thing for old English cars. He's had a TR7, a Jag saloon and a BMC "landcrab". Blossom, if you're seriously having problems understanding the manual, Anders could probably help.


  6. Sorry Moominpapa, thank you so much for your kind offer, but tis only Blossom having a bit of fun, as I have 2 or 3 English manuals, but thanks

  7. At last! People having a conversation in my comments. I've finally arrived.

  8. Blossom: no problem.
    Sarah: I don't quite understand your joy, but if it makes you happy, glad to be of service!