Diesel do; a swift kick in the cratch #narrowboat #england

New cratch cover, new tonneau cover, new engine wiring loom – and we started the engine too! Wow, was that ever a tense moment after all of the work!


Cardinal Wolsey is now sporting his chunky new cratch cover in black canvas. Practicalities abound with this device, it helps prevent spray from leaky canal lock gates from splattering at (and possibly in) the front doors and vents, it keeps the well deck nice and dry and provides somewhere for short people to romp around and sit of an evening (it’s just big enough for two, provided that the butler is small and discreet). For those of you desperate to ask; access to the gas locker is by means of the front window panel rolling up and away, so gas bottles can still be changed.


Cardinal Wolsey is also now sporting his fine old-fashioned tonneau cover at the rear, also in splendiferous black canvas, the better for keeping that area dry and stopping the engine cover and gutters from having to work quite so hard to keep the engine bay dry. Quick and easy to put on and take off (the Cardinal, not me – I don’t look good in black canvas) it’s a halfway house between nothing and the full pram cover. Given that I’ll be moving every few days I decided that I couldn’t be Arsenal Villa’d with putting the full pram up and down each time, whereas this, well, tis but a dozen bungee toggles.

The new.

Rinky-dinky new switchgear and instruments have been fitted to replace t’old ones, which is what were slightly knackered… note the duct tape over a somewhat important button, the “stop engine” button! None of the switches (for horn, tunnel lights etc) were actually connected to anything much.

The old.

Switches and instruments of course, as we all know, lead to engines…


… and the Cardinal’s engine wiring is now a shadow of its former self, with all extraneous wires and lengths trimmed to provide the shortest, most efficient runs, all wires now the correct size for their load, all neatly protected and with properly made connections. It doesn’t get better than this – and this follows on from moving the batteries so that they are closer to the engine too. Fuses and remote isolation switches are all sealed in gas-proof boxes, the new wiring for the battery monitors and solar power will be going on soon. The water you can see is from my spillage when we refilled with water/antifreeze… mopped up of course after the photo session! A certain chap (not me) designed the loom, made it, fitted it – and it worked first time…


Next on the list for the engine is the instrumentation loom, the one that will make all of the instruments and lights work, and – just as importantly – proper forced ventilation in the engine bay. A fan will suck air in from a vent high up in one corner, blow it across the batteries to cool them, blow across the engine (cooling, and breathing) and then vent at the opposite corner, also high up. This means that the engine cover can be beefed up, sealed properly and have soundproofing added. The slightly dodgy hole through the front bulkhead where wiring and air used to come in can now be sealed.

A few more slaps of paint, some rubber grips on the engine runners (where humans are apt to stand) and some chunky rubber on the baseplate and it will look like the dog’s knees or perhaps even the bee’s b

Here’s a gratuitous photo of two ducks and a swan by the side hatch.


In a few days the Cardinal’s bum will be blacked, and all of the black bits from the blue bits downwards should be nice and black and painted and protected for a while.

This is another day where neither the Bro nor I will need much rocking in order to get to sleep.

A million and three jobs remain – but two million and six have been done.

Working here in the marina I am also gaining some pretty evil ideas for a book on life in a marina… now, if I can just avoid mentioning or identifying anyone by name…

Bang on eight o’clock each morning in the Chequered Flag Marina… ‘Gentlemen, start your engines please…’



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