Monday 19th Can we have our Blue Peter Badges now?
MWNN managed to cadge a lift from a fellow Brit who was ferrying the crew from Hermes to the station this morning. He returned with his ticket to Pont de Vaux booked to recover our car, and was looking to Wendy (Jeff's sister) to drive him to the station to catch the 4.20pm train. Wendy has to take her son to the hospital for his check-up following a recent accident so couldn't do it. No question of anyone else stepping in to take her place. MWNN had to call a taxi. Is it too much to expect a big favour to be returned by a little one? We have run out of cold drinks and fresh fruit. The broken shower switch that was going to be replaced at Montceau les Mines remains out of action so I can't even take a bath (did I mention that we had a hip bath on board? It's my one luxury.)I had planned to wash the bedding and heavy clothes at the launderette at Blangy. The washing machine here is off limits when Wendy is not on site and there is no dryer other than one clothes line that is full of other boaters' stuff that couldn't be dried in the downpours of Saturday night and Sunday. I shall have to take all the washing home and bring back the bedding when we return in September. We didn't expect payment or anything of that sort. This was a rule of the sea aid to a fellow mariner in distress. But I did think some acknowledgement might be in order, particularly in light of the difficulties it caused us. We wait and see whether we will be charged for mooring here for the extra days we had not planned to be here. There will be some harsh words exchanged if we are.
Tuesday 20th July - The Happy Ending.
Jeff is a magician – truly. He fixed Aeigir, having first adapted the tow-out trailer to accommodate the boat’s unusual hull shape by cutting off and welding on new support arms. The problem lay not with the prop seals as previously thought but with the engine mounts. One of the feet was lower than the other 3, causing the engine to bear down at an angle on the prop shaft. This had been going on for about 5 years. Eventually the strain on the shaft caused the damage to the prop seal chamber and the seals failed. Jeff adjusted the feet, repacked the seals et viola – all better. If the failure had happened out at sea, the boat would have sunk.
Peter and Heidi came to say goodbye tonight and gave us a box of the delicious coffee they’d served us at the end of day 1. We exchanged snail mail addresses and, no doubt, will receive and send Christmas cards for 2004 at least. Heidi is radiant. The boat is sea-worthy again and they can continue on their way. As for us – we head home tomorrow, stopping overnight at just past Reims. I am looking forward to a proper bath at the Campanile tomorrow night.