... ... ... Seven years in an unassuming narrowboat on the waters of the "longest, friendliest village in England"  


What is a "macerator"

Posted on April 19, 2017 at 4:40 AM

: 'macerate'   "soften .. by soaking in a liquid"... Latin .'macerere' ... derives from Greek. Archimedes would have been macerating when he had that Eureka moment then. I'm well acquainted with ' maceration' on board and ashore. On Pentargon, our Flahavan's Oatflakes are soaked vernight to ensure beautiful porridge in the morning. Maceration in warm water with Epsom salts helps exfoliation of trotters and nail clipping ... don't mention steradent or dentures please... but we do macerate marrowfat peas and Mung Beans ...  and marinading is a close cousin to aceration too and that happens frequently as we sail around the cut ...


8.15am on Wed.19th April 2017 at  Bridge 43a on the Coventry canal. Overhead, Watling Street with which we have remained in occasional but ongoing contact with since leaving the River Darent in Dartford on the 10th October 2016. An excellent night's sleep has been enjoyed and the sun is shining in a blue sky. I've made my coffee and have two boiled eggs on the go with toast when NexDoor's engine fires up ...

NexDoor arrived under cover of increasing gloom last evening in a 60' floating corridor. On board, a lovely couple on their second day's hiring and their first of 2017. They tied up 'longside and we chatted as I helped them secure just short of the landing stage. Old hands who get a couple of weeks afloat and always early in the season. This boat is very new they say. The Atherstone pound was well populated last night and theirs was the last spot available ... 

NexDoor had backed off from Lock5 in gathering gloom and used convenient rings to tie up just behind Pentargon. The bottom gates of Lock5 at Atherstone yawn when the lock is empty and because Lock5 is self emptying, or was when I was there, a boat going up in the morning from NexDoors position can slip the rings and rope directly into the lock. The gate is light. from that admirable vantage one can rope right into the lock without starting the engine or even staying on the boat. You just pull gently and the boat does all the work ... 

and it is a single handed operation ...  

Letting some water down from a top paddle ensures the gates closes itself ... and it stays closed while you let more water in. I've been very entertained watching erm novices ... who have not yet discovered this little trick ...  I'd suggested to Next Door the previous evening that if they wished to set off early, they could be in and up the lock in a flash. Last night's boat had come down the flight, so it was likely that all the locks  would be in their favour. They could make a clean sweep of the remaining five to Atherstone top before anyone had even got up. 

Boaters generally don't get going too early on this lazy canal and especially on this beautiful stretch ... So! When I heard Next Door's engine firing up, I reckoned ... [wrongly as you will shortly see] ... they were going to do a "fast away".  I popped my head out to greet them wiith the morning's felicitations and offered to lockwheel them up the flight..

He sez "We're not in a hurry away! 

We have to start the engine

to go to the toilet"

I'm incredulous. This 'state of the art' canalboat

needs lecky to replenish their overnight use

watching telly or whatever they do.

They now have to start the engine

to run the alternator

to generate the electricity 

to charge the batteries

to supply the power

to run the "macerator"

to go to the toilet. 

Next Door also shared that the ' heating system' on board only works while the engine is running. This was explained through a huge cloud of steam/smoke emitting from a pipe. I left him to it and retreated to the innards to muse over this bit of strangeness. To perform a bowel evacuation on this brand new steel narrowboat, one has to be in possession of a workable voltage in the leisure circuit. I mused as to what one might do, when this boat develops an electrical glitch so that there was no leisure voltage. On the forums, almost half of all boaty troubles fall are electrical.

My boat is 1973, but it does have an onboard "Airhead" composting toilet. When I want to shoot a log I just sit down and pull the firing pin. Oh! And the heater uses lumpwood charcoal. Look up the page "Heat"

CARDAMOM:  As an aside, These days I have a cuppa coffee each morning, hand ground in Pentargon's pestle and mortar with cardamom seeds. Cardamom has excellent laxitive properties. The seeds for the coffee, the pods for the tea! 

Polesworth Library Sat.20Apr.17 ... Pancras library Fri4Jan2018 ....

yes these blogs are tended regularly. They will someday be my bread and butter

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