We visited our mooring today, and found that work had started on the nearby bridge over the canal, which is a couple of hundred yards away.
Last year the bridge just down from us was damaged by a vehicle strike. A whole chunk of masonry had been dislodged and fallen into the canal below, which was cleared fairly quickly, but the damage itself has been temporarily fenced off since then. The reason for this? The bridge is a listed building and will have to be repaired to exactly the same design and quality it was pre-incident, which is expensive. So the last 12 months has been spent waiting for BW and the highways authority to decide whose responsibility it is to finance the repair! Obviously this has now been sorted out and contractors have started work, with a resulting road closure for the next month. Apparently Waterways Heritage have been on site during the week to approve the materials that are to be used. I am glad it isn't going to be replaced by an ugly concrete structure, as is often the case when we undertake building work these days.
The boat itself is surviving the winter weather well. We will be giving the exterior a good wash shortly to remove all the green from the damp conditions. Today we fitted a new carpet length in the corridor from the back cabin through the bedroom, over the top of the laminate, just to give a little warmth as you enter the boat. I also repaired the base of one of the saloon swivel chairs with some nylon webbing, which worked well, saving the huge cost of replacement from a specialist canal boat furniture supplier. It always seems strange to me, but buy anything that is marketed to be specifically for a narrowboat and the price is guaranteed to be 50% more expensive than a similar item obtained from a high street retailer in domestic goods.
Having completed all checks, and made all repairs, we now look forward to starting to use the boat again in February. The first jobs on the list when we are there in fine weather is to remedy the cockpit seat base, where the bottom of the block board face has started to de-laminate due to being exposed to the weather, albeit covered by the cockpit cover. I also want to tighten the nuts on the prop shaft gland. Although it isn't yet leaking any water when we are stationary, I noticed a bigger volume of bilge water had collected in the container under the gland at the end of each days running, during last year. If this doesn't rectify the problem, the gland packing will have to be replaced, until a rate of 2 or 3 drips a minute is achieved only whilst the shaft is turning. Importantly, the shaft must remain free to turn by hand or it will overheat. More on this when I do the job.