There is something so wrong about packing a boat up for the winter.
Every instinct tells me that it would be more appropriate to move aboard with a large stockpile of food and fuel and protect the boat from the frost by popping another log on the stove and putting the kettle on. That's what you should do with a narrowboat.
But we can't do that.
So the boat has been winterised.
Once again, the wonderful Paul & Chrissie have provided invaluable support. The radiator that is fed from the boiler behind the stove to keep the bedroom snug doesn't need attention: that is filled with inhibitor and antifreeze. One less thing to worry about, but I still need to climb the learning curve after finding the header tank and wondering whether it needs topping up, and if so, how and when...?
I'm not going to worry about that now.
I arrived this morning with a long To-Do list, and started by lighting the stove and putting the kettle on. No point in being cold, is there?
Draining the water tank took 50 minutes with the kitchen and bathroom taps and the shower on. While that was happening I had a look at a spot of rust that was letting water get past a mushroom vent. There wasn't much I could do about it with the tools I have, so it's been treated with Vactan and when I return in a few days the spot will be protected from the rain by some duct tape. A cowboy repair, I know, but how many people carry the kit needed to repair mushroom vent corrosion in their toolbox?
Once the water tank was empty, I enjoyed the envy of several other boat owners. Apparently the installation of a pump specifically for draining the calorifier once a year is a luxury I don't deserve as a new boater. Paul, you have no idea how much I owe you, and when I see you next the drinks are on me.
Old sheets are covering the good furniture; the cupboards and fridge are propped open; the mattress is on its side; and all the other soft furnishings are stowed in the house.
And we will spend the winter planning our spring holiday.