Well, here I am, sitting in Chertsey tied up at the bottom of someone's garden. A garden which is equipped with a miniature railway, on which I have ridden twice this evening, pulled by a miniature electric tram. There is a steam locomotive too, but I missed that one. All in all a rather surreal - but in a nice way - end to the day.
We started early(ish), leaving Gunthorpe at eight. We locked ourselves through Stoke, and got to Holme just as the lockkeeper had come on duty. We didn't thrash quite so hard today (just as well perhaps) but were soon in Nottingham, where we took advantage of the excellent new facilities at Meadow Lane once more to have a shower in readiness for tonight's festivities. Apparently there is a festival taking place in Nottingham this weekend; a couple of people warned us of it, but we saw no sigh - apart from a BW chap on every lock to help us through, which was a nice surprise. Then we were back out on the Trent again, up the Cranfleet cut and back onto the canal. It was in Derwent Mouth lock, the first on the Trent and Mersey, that we noticed a Funny Noise issuing from the enginee room. A sort of rattly, slightly grindy noise. Very slowly and gingerly, we made the final mile to Shardlow, where we inserted ourselves between Bath and the bank, with Sharpness, the lovely tunnel tug, on the outside making three.
Whilst I went to socialise (sadly, this entailed drinking beer), Jim changed back into working clothes and went to investigate the Funny Noise. As we had secretly hoped, he was soon joined by a number of men. The engine manual came out and the removal of parts of the engine commenced. The provisional diagnosis was knackered fanshaft bearings. These will have to be replaced, as this is the fan which is integral to the air-cooling system. Apparently there is a place in Derby where the assembled multitude were confident we should be able to get replacements, and a bus which should take us there, but not until Monday, obviously. In the meantime, there is a great deal more dismantling to do, to access and remove the relevant bit.
The good news, on the other hand, is that the oily exhaust does seem to be completely cured! Well, I did say so far, so good....
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