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Category: Narrowboat

Twyford Wharf -> Amazon Flex

Twyford Wharf -> Amazon Flex

Or just outside.

My winter workplace, Amazon is about 300m from where I am moored now…

It’s very muddy here, which is why I didn’t come down here when I was starting at Amazon just over the road.

Glad I didn’t. Negotiating the mud takes in cold wet etc. is difficult. 15 minutes in the car is easy.

Pig Place

Didn’t stay at Pig Place. I was in two minds when I arrived.

Walking at 4am in the morning. 5-7 minutes to the car. And back, just to stay outside the pig place.

Not really worth it….

After having my pins pulled out and my neighbour describing my boat passing his floating backwards down the canal made me think there may be better places to be.

DOX2

So. Moved on down to Twyford Wharf, where I completed my (short) term of employment at Amazon.

Looks very much like any other factory without all the seasonal workers which were there for the Christmas period.

I appreciated my time there.

They sorted us out with free stuff. Pay was always on time. They even got a DJ in on Christmas Eve. Here’s a picture of him.

Empty warehouse? – Amazon DOX2 DJ – Christmas Party

I was told it was a lot busier last year at around the Christmas period, but since then they’ve opened 2 new sorting centres to distribute their parcels. One is at Lutterworth (DBI7 Amazon), the other is Birmingham (Amazon DBI3).

These have taken away a lot of the capacity from DOX2 sortation operation.

Last year a couple of the co-workers described scenes of operatives confronting WALLS of parcels and having to adhere to 2m DISTANCING RULES.

Very different kettle of fish to this year.

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Aynho Wharf to Pig Place

Aynho Wharf to Pig Place

Spent 3 weeks at Aynho Wharf. Perhaps a week more than I should have, but it appears no-one is counting.

Anyhow, yesterday, I moved on.

New Job…. At Amazon….

Working in the warehouse that provides the parcels that make up the delivery routes I do for Amazon Flex.

It’s a 5am start, then 8 hours handling parcels and shipments bound for the Midlands area.

Not a lot to it: Sort parcels when they arrive off lorries and log them on the system. Group the parcels into routes. Issue routes to the delivery drivers. That’s basically what the day consists of.

The pay isn’t bad, £14 per hour, plus there’s a potential £3,000 bonus if you stick it out for long enough!

That consists of £1,500 after the first 6 weeks, then another after 12 weeks has passed. So you have to stay for 3 months!

Not sure I’m going to do that, but 6 weeks takes me beyond the Christmas period.

Fixed pumps

Both of my pumps broke.

That’s a pump that brings cold water in, and a bilge pump that pumps dirty water out.

Both broke, or started causing problems as I was leaving London.

A life without pumps on a boat is a smelly dirty life.

No fresh water to wash and cook. No showering if you can’t pump the water away afterwards….

For this reason, I needed to get them fixed pretty quick.

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Kings Lock to Aynho Wharf

Kings Lock to Aynho Wharf

20 miles, most of it on the canal.

Bowled up at Aynho Wharf at about 6.30pm. Started at about 9.15am.

A long day.

Felt tired.

Beer

Had a beer to celebrate.

One picture today, that’s heading up the post.

Bonnie in London

So that’s it for ‘Bonnie in London‘.

In the end, my return journey took me from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday night. 4 1/2 days.

I estimate that I saved

In Hotel

Accommodation from booking.com: 17 nights – Cheapest £300 (dorm), Most expensive £6000. Average £1800 (B&B).

Food from The Savvy Backpacker: Lunch £5, Coffee £4, Dinner £15-20. Daily £30 x 17 = £510

So maybe £2000 for staying in a hotel and eating out.

On the boat

Weekly shop £25 x 3 = £75

Coffee and Lunch x 5 for the days in London. £50.

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Days Lock to Kings Lock Oxford

Days Lock to Kings Lock Oxford

Same as last time spɹɐʍʞɔɐq ʇdǝɔxǝ.

So many engine problems.

I’m kind of glad I took Bonnie out on this long trip, now upwards of 200 miles, as it’s exacerbated problems which would have occurred anyhow over the winter period when I’m having to run the engine more to heat the boat etc….

From yesterday –

Oil leak

As detailed yesterday, a lot of the oil was disappearing to destinations unknown.

Got up this morning and dipped the dipstick (?!), in the oil that is, and was shocked to see about 2mm of oil on the plunger.

A truly dangerous amount of oil to run an engine on.

Considering I’d poured over 1l of oil into the engine yesterday, it was time to diagnose and fix the source of this problem. That is, if I wanted to continue my journey without the engine blowing up. Or ceasing, as more be closer to the truth.

Drain sump pan

Sump pan on the boat is like a big tray that sits underneath the engine.

The idea is that it catches any of the potentially hazardous and polluting substances which drip out of engines.

It’s just like a metal box that sits under the engine.

I needed to empty it. It was about 1/3 full. Take all the liquids out.

Once I did this, I could see where the leaks were coming from.

Have a little pump that my mum and her husband, Michael bought me a few years ago.

It’s able to hand these noxious substances, ie. oil and water mixed, and I pumped it into a container and disposed of it.

Then I got the new oil and poured it in the filler cap.

Almost instantly, I could see the oil oozing out the side of the rocker cover (pictured).

That’s not supposed to happen.

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Henley-on-Thames to Days Lock

Henley-on-Thames to Days Lock

The same as last time, Days to Henley except this time I had:

  • Fuel ran out
  • 2 Fuels leaks
  • Coolant boiled off
  • Oil intercooler flange began spurting coolant
  • Engine oil being used at a rate of knots
  • Rear prop shaft leaking water into the engine bay

All of those needed attention along the way.

Fuel ran out (nearly): Got up and after checking the engine, checked the fuel, which I had been meaning to do. I was lower than I thought. I had to get on my bike at 6.30am with my jerry can and pick up 10l from the local 24hour. It was clear diesel instead of red. Makes no difference except it costs 50% more.

2 Fuel leaks: leak #1;Had to stop and take off the fuel filter. Didn’t stop the problem had to stop and clean the threads off the fuel line. Leak #2; Didn’t see this until I’d repaired fuel leak #1. The injector fuel line was leaking and dropping fuel onto the heater plug. Cleaned off the threads and re-fitted. Problems went away.

Coolant Boiled Off: Stupidly, I took the top off the coolant manifold whilst I was working on the fuel lines. I don’t know why I did that, but it upset the pressure balance, and shortly after, all the coolant boiled off.

Luckily, I noticed the coolant was boiling off and I stopped the boat. Had to re-fill and bleed (twice). Problem went away.

Oil interchanger flange leaked at high temp: Once the engine got going, the flange between the oil interchanger and the cooling system started spurting boiling water all over the engine bay. I’ve no idea why it started doing this. At the time, I had the engine cover off as I’d been fixing the fuel lines, I was watching to see if the repairs had worked and this coolant started spurting out all over the place!

Luckily I was able to pull in. That’s not always the case on the Thames. Sometimes you might have to go for miles. Not this time… Pulled in. Tried to tighten it up with a screwdriver, coolant still spurting… Got spanners out, tightened it up, proper tight. Spurting stopped. Problem solved.

Engine oil leaking or being used fast: Real fast, and this is a worrying. It’s using a lot of oil. I don’t know where this oil is going, but the lack of white smoke and otherwise healthy engine suggests it’s not making it into the fuel (through head gasket or piston rings). I don’t have time to drain the sump tray and analyse where this is coming from/going to. Problem not solved.

Rear prop shaft leaking: Had it re-packed 2 years ago. It’s dripping out and filling the engine bay at a slow but steady pace. This is a problem I can’t fix along the way.

So…. It’s been fun of that variety along the way.

Twilight Sailing

Donned my lifejacket and did some night sailing along the Thames.

I won’t be doing that again.

Canal it’s not.

Scary.

Still, I’m here now, at Days Lock, cooking my dinner and looking forward to getting in my bed.

The weather is mild.

I’m hoping tomorrow will be my final day of sailing along the Thames.

Only the one piccy from the day and that’s heading up this post (Reading).

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Penton Hook to Henley-on-Thames

Penton Hook to Henley-on-Thames

The full 7hrs and 38 minutes of it.

Got some more pictures in….

First from the Queen’s house – Frogmore Cottage.

Prince

Harry used to hole up here, a while back when he first got married to Meghan. It’s an estate house with a golf course behind Windsor castle.

The highland cattle peer out over the Thames from the raised concrete embankment.

It’s terraced avenue of oak trees lean out over the Thames, reflecting in the waters and dropping their leaves.

Rather a posh spot.

There’s lots of signs telling you not to moor up, it’s the Queen’s estate or whatever.

Full day

Apart from a 20 minute stop for lunch, and another 20 minutes having to manually operate the locks at Belvale, it’s been a full day of sailing.

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Brentford to Penton Hook

Brentford to Penton Hook

11.50 or so when I exited the lock at Brentford and began my journey back to my car and Oxfordshire.

The picture on the front is Richmond bridge.

If you remember, last time I came through, it was down.

Get to the point

I’m not doing any relaxing on this journey.

For that reason, there’ll be no morning update to the blog, just one in the evening.

Tomorrow

In the morning, I intend to get going at nautical twilight 06:05:45. Failing that Civil Twilight 06:46:47…

Whichever is possible to navigate under.

Dawn is 07:22:10. Seems to late for my purposes.

Sunset is 16:09:15.

Today I finished at 17:26.

5hrs and 50 minutes today – 20 miles. Tomorrow I intend to do roughly double that.

No photos today.