We woke up next to the lovely village of Elton ready to power on to Oundle to meet Mal and Dave, who were to take over the next leg of the journey. I turn the key and have the usual debacle with the boat not starting but it is seems even more stubborn than usual. We open up the engine and try the magic wrench trick, but this time nothing but sparks, the engine won’t turn over. Lewis tries giving the starter engine a whack (this is a respected mechanical technique) but to no avail. Half an hour of alternate sparking and whacking and a little bit of the old Mottram family friction but still no joy. We had to face the fact that the boat wouldn’t go and we needed help.
Amber made the call to the Canal and River Rescue (the boaty AA) and a couple of hours later the lovely Cliff Wall(!) arrived to have a look.
Meanwhile Mal and Dave were winging their way to us expecting a lovely boat holiday. Of course we warned them that the boat was broken down but at that point we hoped it would be fixed the same day… and also we were desperate to see some new faces! So, whilst Cliff Wall was taking a look at our engine, Mal and Dave arrived like a breath of fresh air and Amber’s relief and Tamlin’s excitement was so lovely to see.
Day 6 was spent wandering the picturesque town of Elton,stressing about the boat, drinking coffee at a garden centre, stressing about the boat, relaxing by the river, stressing about the boat, and chatting to our neighbours, Chop and Glenda, who turned out to hail from Rhiwbina. It’s a small world!
Chop told us loads of reassuring tales of the trials of boat ownership, floods and fires in the engine and the like. We ended our 6th and least successful boating day with a prosecco toast and a pub dinner… Pie and Chips, YES!
Day 7 (Thursday) We were to leave Mal and Dave on the boat, we were a bit worried that we hadn’t had a proper chance to go for a drive with them and show them the ropes, but even more worried that the boat wasn’t going to go at all… It felt like a sad end to the first stage of our journey, but there wasn’t much we could do, so we left them to their bizarre static-boat-camping holiday just outside Peterborough (the stuff of dreams). The worst part was that the longer the engine was off the less battery there was so the lights and the water pump were failing too. Glamorous. Let’s call it the joys of boating life, and fingers crossed it won’t be for long.