Saturday, 14 January 2017

Oh gawd not again....

So time to go home really.  
Rain was coming later today, so the plan was for David to go off biking this morning come back, pop WaL back into conveniently situated slot and naff off home.  

Spanner in the works arose when David was ages cycling and the rain arrived early meaning we had to fill with fuel in the rain, something we take care to avoid lest any water get into the fuel tank.  So with the help of cloths and an umbrella the job was done.

Eventually we were sorted and as I had stripped the bed and turned the diesel stove off we decided to brave the snow forecast and drive south, now the reason we left was that the snow was to turn into rain as we got well south, which it did, the was snow forecast the following day in Leicestershire which as all Soft Southerners know will stick around longer that far north.

Endless queues.

M1 north of the M25

 So as you can see, visibility reduced, sleet settling on the grass verges  but the road remained clear......  so why oh why did the M1 then the M25 grind pretty much to a halt from a little south of Northampton to Croydon?  Our home trip which normally takes 3.5 hours took over 7.5 hours?

Look at the above snow Reader, the other night we had nothing like that amount.

Home again and both of us are looking forward to a bit more winter cruising maybe next months and we'll actually go somewhere.

Supper was coffee, sushi and granola bars at a service station and cheese and biscuits at midnight.

Out in the teeth of a gale

Dry today but very very windy, so lets get out there quick!  
On foot though, today no idiot would go boating.  

It's by chance that when WaL was launched at Debdale that this was the marina that our builders used.  We had no idea, being clueless on many aspects of boats, boating and the UK's geography north of Surrey unless on the M1.  So to discover that Debdale is on the most beautiful arm of the GU and to go anywhere we have to travel down it in stunningly wonderful countryside was a joy.
I heartily implore you Reader not to divulge this, as clearly I don't want all the world and his mother here.

So we always take a bit of time each trip to Debdale to explore the immediate area a bit more.  Today a small hike south towards Foxton Locks but over the fields and not on the towpath, up a bit, and sort of back again.  I was shown the map, it made sense so I followed wearing a warm hat and having two hoods as well.

Lovely bright sunshine denied the icy chill wind, David reminded me that the later part of the walk would be right into the face of the icy wind..... I couldn't wait.

Ten mins out of sight of the boat, the footpath is diverted.  There is head scratching going on but we just carried on and ended up not remotely where we had thought but in a farm yard looking for the tiny yellow arrows placed here and not there but we peered around some barns we carried on.  Then out of a Land Rover  popped a well fed middled aged man in green tweed (of course) and kindly asked if we were looking for the footpath, he pointed it out, (He had to as he had ploughed it out, farmers are not supposed to do this.  Ask one)  it went straight through a ploughed field, to a hedge and then straight through another ploughed field.  This nice smiley man explained that his group were going on a shoot for pheasants, we could watch if we wanted, if we didn't have any objections...  
I merely said I had objections to being shot.

Well his companions were nothing like as smiley as him, as we all arrived roughly at the same place, none of the men made eye contact let alone smiled or returned our greetings.  I guess thats what I mostly have against shooting, its the people.  Then a miserable looking one's cap blew off and rolled right across the field...  didn't laugh at all!

Me and the shooters had feet like this.

Well David was right about heading back right into the teeth of a gale, it was a head down mouth shut sort of a return.

A hot shower, I put on my only dress and off we went back to Kibworth and to that lovely Italian restaurant we went to only  three days ago.  

So supper was pizza and panna cotta and I have to say that I was struggling to walk afterwards.  I can recommend it and I'll be popping back next time I'm in the area.

New NZ sheepskin slippers

Life is good.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

A trip to nowhere

Having found that my brand new shiny dongle had failed to work over the weekend, we went into Market Harborough by car this morning.  It was heavy rain so we were in no rush to do the next phase of our cruise till later when rain had ceased.
First stop Costa for our fav coffee stop but really to use their wifi on a vital business call, (He is only "semi" retired Reader), well happily the earth continues to turn, so we headed to EE to have a full and frank discussion about the dongle.  So it seems that dongles, as with credit cards via the post have to activated, who knew that?  
Well all of

Last shop was Mountain Warehouse, of course David assured me he needed nothing, but we brought new waterproof trousers and two pairs of ski gloves, Reader if you have cold hands I urge you to go to this establishment where currently they are buy 1 get 1 free!!  

Back to WaL  on with new gloves to give them a road test.  Rain stopped, pins pulled, we needed water but decided to take the scenic route of course, off we go northwards almost to Saddington Tunnel simply to turn the boat then to head southwards again to fill up at Foxton Basin.

Debdale Marina all pretty quiet as we passed by.

Fabulous Leicestershire countryside.

That broom is annoying me.

We had turned now and this is almost at Foxton Basin.

One of my fav mooring spots.

NB Aber also from Debdale just gone through the swing bridge.

Pub Bridge 61 in day light as we turned.

So our cruise to get water had taken about two hours, but do boaters actually need to have somewhere to go?  

Even in new ski gloves and full thermal under garments I think about 1  3/4 hrs is long enough for me on deck in January.

Mooring up almost in the dark, I recovered with coffee and amaretto, then a glass of red, then sardines on toast for supper.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Champagne rubbish and ladders.

What I forgot to mention last night was us mooring up in the basin.  We arrived on the tail of another boat who took the mooring with the sign that says 24 hrs, water point and no mooring all on the one post, I guess you just pick which one applies to you,  so we decided to go through the swing bridge towards Market Harborough, Amanda hopped off all gleeful with the key to open the gate, once it was open, we three then decided to reverse and moor in the basin alongside the large pub.  She closed the bridge and under my silent direction, made her way to the new mooring place..... just before she arrived there to receive the rope, we three saw that the wee 25ft boat snugged up  to the boat behind him and left us almost enough room to get on the ambiguous mooring, overhanging a tad on the bridge operation only mooring,  as it was past 15:30 hrs, getting dark, we were off early in the morning and its January, we were naughty.  
Amanda eventually found her way back to us where she had started from,  she is always in high spirits when she arrives on WaL  😀.  Third time lucky.

So this morning after the insomniac had washed up and delivered tea, we pootled off.  The sun came in and out but it was chilly.  Croissants were served with cream cheese and smoked salmon, I missed it but in Kingfisher Alley one was spotted with a fish.  In short all was wonderful and merry.

Tow path in good condition here.

Happy Chappies

Arriving in Market Harborough basin.

We walked down to The Angel hotel in town for dwinks, happy memories of meeting other absent friends here, then  David said he was off to Lidil to buy a ladder.  My husband nearly fainted at the very idea, but no, off he went and here he is arriving back.  He put it on the deck and had a sit down, I tried to move it slightly, but it was very heavy!!!!!

Hero and ladder.

Leaving the basin, we saw this.  the hedge full of bottles and mostly takeaway food containers,  some bottles and now floating down the canal.  Now looking on Google earth it we wondered if this could be the edge of a travellers site looking at the type and spread of the buildings.  I will forward these photos to the Council and to CART.

Old loo cassettes and oil containers here

Ladder now being used as a drinks table, we touched a shallow ledge and the boat rocked Amanda and I grabbed the glasses, then we saw a vibrator in the water.  Although my personal experience is limited, its like seeing a zebra, not everyday but unmistakable.

Blus skies, black trees and sunlight.

Sun came out for a memorable day

Just to be clear these two in matching outfits are not related.

Back through the basin at Foxton and to park near the car.  We had dinner here  HERE  a new place for us but so worth a visit Marilyn!!  Lasagna was delicious.  Might have to come back here.

Boat Sharers have departed this evening.  Always sorry to see them go.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

New Years Cruise

Well to say cruise is maybe a bit of an over statement,  Lets say Winter Flit to here and there. 

This is something we have always said we shall do, but this is now the fourth winter before its happened.  So with thermal under garments, long and thick sleeping garments we arrived at Debdale last week and boarded WaL.  It was damp feeling and dark until the bungs were removed, cold and unwelcoming but not for long.  

First things first prior to unloading the car was to get the heating on.  Had this operation failed then frankly it would have been 'Home James' on the next bus.  But no, all systems worked, including the engine, and so I kinda unpacked whilst David unloaded the car and ferried unwanted items from the boat to the car, this included the cratch carpet and associated cushions.  

After a couple of hours the Fine Company arrived, who else but our resident Boat Sharers (Or at the very least they think they are).  More unpacking, clinking of luggage and in they jumped and off we went.

It was late in the afternoon by now so we just turned right out of the marina and snarled off to Foxton Locks Basin.  Its jolly here, a few other boats moored here and of course Bridge 61 for a pint.  Much later we reboarded the great ship WaL and snuggled down for supper which was;

M&S Pasta and prawns starter, M&S Lamb moussaka and M&S spiced apples tartlets.  I am glad it was so nice as it had taken me ages to choose!

A few photos to accompany...

Beloved Boat Sharers, aka David and Amanda who joined us for New Years delayed celebrations

The Foxton Locks Inn which we don't actually patronise 

We prefer instead Bridge 61.

We moored in the basin overnight and left hurriedly in the morning as we overhung the water point mooring by 2.5 ft.

Friday, 28 October 2016

The Last Gasp of boating for 2016

So after an earlier than planned end of play last evening, this morning was a damp start as you'd expect in October but the sun came out and we finished off the jobs.

In previous years we had washed the roof off and then gone through the very leaky drippy Crick Tunnel with its white deposits that spoil the paintwork, only to have to wash it again and re-polish, the next year we forgot and did it all again.  Now we are older and not quite so stupid so we leave the roof till we are through one direction or another.

After completing tasks, we sat back and prepared supper for the lovely Pauline and Neil from NB Waterlily.

We first met them on the Thames at Teddington Lock waiting to go down the tidal Thames and in to Brentford.  Like I have said before, poor Pauline was as nervous as a kitten, then later in the week I saw on another blog that she had gone out onto the High Seas at the Thames Barrier!

We had sea bass for supper and early the next morning we departed quietly.  They to go through Braunston to their winter mooring at Barby and us heading home.

I do really love the Leicester Arm, I look upon it as mine.  But making this last leg up in the autumn is always so sad as its the very last gasp of boating for the year, its been another lovely lovely summer.

The lovely company Neil and Pauline.

What you can't see so well is that Neil and Pauline borrowed my guest slippers, Pauline borrowed my thermal heated fleece ones and Neil got the pink sparkly ones....

I am in purple (of course) with a bow and David's match the floor mats!

From the overnight mooring we had it was a relatively short hop up to Watford Locks, we were there early, as Pauline and Neil asked the previous afternoon what time they opened in the off season, the answer was that the locks are no longer locked overnight and you can DIY through.  But on arrival the bottom lock was empty so I walked around the corner to see if anyone coming down, no, so we went in to be greeted by the sight of very low pounds

Look at that polished back end....!  Fabulous eh?

There was nothing else to do but play around with the water levels and let some more down, but frankly its not something I would do lightly.  We consulted each other and agreed with ourselves before proceeding.
We got through the first two locks and then I was delighted to see the early arrival of the two volunteers.  They said it was ok for us to proceed and he played water behind us.

It seems that the levels are alway low overnight but this was a bit extra low.

Second lock in from the bottom

WaL creeping round the bend

I had the camera ready to record the scrape....

But there wasn't one at all.

Very low side pound

Working our way up the flight.

Soon through and on our way to Crick.  Less drippy than on previous trips even if it had poured with rain that night in Braunston.  We stopped at the water point in Crick and David scrubbed whilst I directed the hose, tricky job really, he likes the water just behind his scrubbing, occasionally in front and all the leaves washed off.  He really doesn't see the funny side of the water going all up his leg......

This shell has been there since 2012 when we started but now its on its side, oh and theres another, maybe they are collecting them.

Don't you just love breasting up, on a bridge hole, on a bend....?  What is the mindset?

A sudden heavy shower, I suddenly had a phone call to make....

Fabulous colours and apologies for the lack of clarity.

The Welford Arm empty for once.

The run up to Husbands Bosworth Tunnel

Cold but look how lovely the sun was again.

The Laughton Hills mooring.  I have to stop here each and every trip.

Yellow hearts in the hedge

The roof was polished you will be pleased to hear.  I was very pleased to complete all the wee jobs and my bit of varnishing too.

All that remains is a run down to Foxton in the morning and then glorious packing.... 

The next morning off we went after ten am due to rain.  It was cold grey and sad.
When we got to Foxton we soon realised that all the other boaters around had done the same thing.  We were the fifth boat in a line of about eight to go down.  
The lockkie asked me to wait until there was one clear lock between us and the boat in front as they didn't really want the extra water to flood the pub!!  Well thats what he said and who am I to quibble?

Three in front that we can see from here.

Last night aboard WaL this year... sob sob

In to Debdale Marina the next day, load the car and away, that sounds quick doesn't it?  Well it wasn't quick but all completed finally.  We are at home now and sad about it too.  Our trip to Lincoln had to be postponed for family reasons,  hence the non lingering on the Leicester Arm, but if we get a run of good weather in the winter who knows, we may do as we have promised ourselves a few times and go winter cruising.  Are you up for it Amanda?

Until next time.....