Thursday, 21 December 2017

shear legs and engines

The floating village of the canal is long and thin, and the people who live there are never still for long. You might arrive at a very quiet spot, moor up and drink in the splendid isolation; and a day later find yourself surrounded by other boats. And then you may just squeeze into the last space in a bustling place, and wake up one morning to find yourself all alone and wondering 'Was it something I said?'
When I came up to Semington last week, I towed Deb's boat along with me, because her engine is kaput. A dead engine is no excuse for not moving, in the eyes of CRT, so move she must. Her partner Jim had sourced a replacement engine in Devizes, and it was obligingly delivered here. Over the next couple of days, a few other familiar faces drifted in, and we had enough bodies to heave the old engine, a very heavy BMC Commander, onto the towpath and away, and then heave the replacement Isuzu into place.
As you see, there was a bit of ad hoc craning, with a few tree trunks used as shear legs. A passing dog walker exclaimed, ' That reminds me of Dartmouth!' He was formerly a Fleet Air Arm pilot, we learned, flying Gannets. The Services do seem to like playing round with telegraph poles; I did something similar at Biggin Hill once, long ago, when going through the selection process. And then we did this once, at RAF Hereford...

building a bridge

...there's a fair bit more work yet to be done on Deb's new engine before it's chugging along again, but at least the heavy stuff is done. And we all got filthy dirty oily and muddy, and had to go to the Somerset Arms and drink cider. As you do.

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