Let’s set the scene. It was a beautiful day on the Nottingham and Beeston canal. All he necessary ingredients were there – blue skies, sun, snacks and good company. And a boat. Me and my crew of four were taking a lazy trip back to Sawley after two weeks ‘wild boating’ by Sainsbury’s.
We were not far from Beeston lock when I heard a beeping noise that was unfamiliar. I checked the inverter, which seems to beep periodically for a reason I have not yet worked out. But it was not the inverter. And then I saw the red flashing light on dashboard. It appeared the engine was overheating.
So we moored up by the bank, hammering stakes into the grass to hold us steady. Initial inspection of the engine revealed it did seem pretty hot. Running at about 80 degrees is normal, though the thermostat was now showing 100 degrees. My personal heat sensors are not so finely attuned that I could tell the difference. I was about to take the cap of the coolant tank when I remembered that it would possibly be full of boiling liquid and releasing it would not help the situation. Underneath the engine appeared to be a blueish liquid – it looked and smelled like antifreeze. I probably had a leak.
We decided the best thing to do would be to make a cup of tea, eat some biscuits and ignore the problem for an hour. It has often proved a fine plan A with previous boat problems. The engine had cooled somewhat by this time, and I took off the coolant cap. There seemed to be a decent amount of liquid in there. I had a look at all the pipes I could see (having no idea which were cooling pipes, and which were other kinds of pipe) and could not find any obvious leaks. I was beginning to suspect I could not fix this myself.
So I gave up and called River Canal Rescue. I had not been a member for a couple of years and so had to pay a fee to get someone to come to look at the engine. There was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing about this – they initially said 2 hours, and then they said the next day (by which time I would be elbow deep in placentas at work*). I played the ‘two-small-and-grumpy-children’ onboard card, and they reluctantly agreed to send someone that night.
The engineer who turned up recognised me. The last time he had come to my boat he had found the hole in the engine that had put a similar-sized hole in my savings to fix. He checked the antifreeze, checked the pipes and ran the engine for a while to see if it was overheating. And couldn’t find anything wrong. Not a sausage. He said as far as he could see I should be able to get home just fine.
So there was nothing else for it. I went to the pub**.
This blogpost was brought to you by ‘Feeling hot hot hot‘ (obviously) by The Merrymen.
*Not literally. It sounded like a pleasing phrase when I first wrote it, though now I am reconsidering its aesthetic value.
**And for those concerned about my wellbeing, I got back to the marina incident-free a couple of days later.