The ice is thick around the boat and in fact the whole canal is now frozen over and it will take several days to melt when the temperature rises. The pigeons are confused and found themselves walking on the ice searching for scrapes of food.
The freezing weather has some unexpected consequences. The gas bottles are stored in a front locker of the boat and the gas at constant low temperatures thickens up in the bottle and does not flow in the pipe to the cooker. The solution is bizarre; I put a small blow heater aimed at the bottle and after about 20 minutes the gas starts to flow well, a bit Heath Robinson but it works.
The other more serious consequence was the partly frozen boiler which blew the seal and caused a small flood in the engine room, not enough to threaten the boat but worrying all the same. The solution is one I want to pass on to other boat owners. Those who follow the Blog regularly will remember our time in Clamecy when we had battery problems and sorted out the difficulty by visiting the tourist office and getting the name of a local car electrician who was used to 12v and 24v systems, and he fixed the matter without fuzz and very cheaply.
This time we asked the girls in the office to find a local plumber and the best bit was not only did the girls come up with a local plumber but he arrived with his wife in less than 3 hours and stayed for nearly another 3 hours to fix the problem, brilliant, and we are now cosy warm again.
So the lesson you may want to take away is that if you stuck somewhere with a problem in your boat and there is no nearby repair yard, still the best solution if available but when it is not available then try local tradesman, carpenters, plumbers electricians etc who may well be able to sort the problem and get you underway.
This post was written by Terry Barrett
Photographs by Tes