Postings to the Canals Mailing List by Mike Casswell, winter 1999/2000
Tuesday 4th January 2000
Time I think for an update on Jemima D.
Following much sterling work from Sue, Neil and several others I was able to bring Jemima D to her winter mooring at the beginning of November, just in time to beat the stoppage deadline.
It is a private, offside mooring, just below Hazelhurst Locks and bridge 37 on the main line of the Caldon. This is a few miles from where I live, handy for the work I intend to do over the winter.
When I arrived, a couple were just leaving from their small fibreglass cruiser on the next mooring. They told me all sorts of useful stuff and mentioned in passing that they had mice aboard. I took little notice.
If you ever hear this said, take heed from this ancient mariner! Your blood should run cold at the very words. We have suffered greatly from the ravages of these damned rodents. They have destroyed most of the contents of the kitchen cupboards and drawers, eaten a lifejacket and crapped on everything they haven't chewed. I just hope that they haven't attacked any wiring that I cannot see.
I moved (*) Jemima up to Park Lane Wharf at Endon (where, you may wish to note, BW are currently building a brand new sanitary station) and purchased two 'Little Nipper' original pattern mousetraps. (Note for the more squeamish: our neighbours had previously tried capturing and releasing only to have their guests return.) Successive settings of these, baited in the traditional manner with cheddar, have succeeded in killing five mice and I now believe that we are once more free of them.
I am reluctant to return Jemima to her official mooring in case more of these voracious creatures invite themselves aboard, unless anyone can offer a guaranteed strategy for preventing this? Their route of entry must have been either up a mooring rope or by dropping from an overhanging tree, so I cannot see any way of preventing them. Perhaps a ship's python?
On a more constructive note I have begun rewiring Jemima. I have completed the cabin lights, having refurbished some flourescents, replaced others and added all new cabling. I shall be continuing with this work, not sure whether I shall get the whole done for the start of 'the season' (not my concept, but it's how the co-op runs) but should certainly get most completed, along with a few bits of woodwork.
(*) Let this not be a completely practical report. The trip to Park Lane can only be about a mile, plus the three locks, but I was fortunate enough to choose the Saturday before Christmas which was one of those perfect high pressure winter days. The sun shone, the smoke from the stove went straight up, the ice sang then crackled and groaned and all was, for an hour or two, all for the best in a perfect world. For a finale, an apple green and pink sunset as I stoked the stove, drank my tea and toasted my fingers and toes.
Saturday 22nd January 2000
I've broken my duck at last....
I think it was 1974 when I first set foot on a boat on a canal and I have never fallen in the water, until today.
It was carelessness, of course. I used a line which I *knew* was tied to the bollard to help me step from the front of the boat onto the bank. Only it wasn't tied, to my disappointment.
On the positive side: I didn't hit anything except water and didn't hurt myself. I didn't lose my glasses. I had wood and coal for the stove.
On the negative side: It's January. I had only gone to Jemima D for the afternoon, so had no spare clothes, towels etc. I had to manage with one J-cloth and a toilet roll, but I'll spare you any further details.
I fully intend not to repeat the experience for another 26 years at least!