Saturday, 25 April 2015

Broccoli soup and a big bump!

 So with our first full day with Amanda, this meant only one thing, one hell of a long day.  
Not all bad as we are on a wee bit of a schedule to get to Pillings Marina where we are leaving the boat for a week, this is due to a daughter who married the man of her dreams in February in New Zealand, HERE we are returning home for the British version of the celebrations, and I can't wait.

So back to Amanda who has an insatiable appetite for doing locks, oh yes really she does.  
We set off northwards towards Leicester early, David pulled the pins at 7:45am with Amanda whilst I may possibly have still been in bed.  
But the first lock was an hour away and by that time I was actually dressed.  At the first lock,  Amanda I  prepped it, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, David hadn't yet started grumbling and all was well with the world, then BINGO!  Another boat came into view, we opened the gates again and waited for them to join us.

To non boaty new readers, these are all double sized locks on this canal and if you can work them with another boat life is much easier still.  

An elderly man was driving, (That is any man who is older than me), Amanda signalled to me that he was alone on the deck with a baby, well clearly I doubted my ears or at least her signalling skills, but no this was the case.  Shortly afterwards his wife appeared and as we chatted, she explained  that they normally look after their grandchild on a Friday and this was Trial Day boating with a two year old for the first time.....

I was hesitant on the wisdom of this but Hey Ho, I shall not judge.  The baby was strapped into a little chair on the cruiser back of the boat and away we went.  The grandma helping to close the lock gates while Amanda sped forward on a bike to prep the next lock and in some cases the one after that, all preceding speedily enough, or so we thought.

The baby was soon yelling and came out to play with grandma at the lock side....  my anxiety levels were rising, however all was going all right at the moment.  


Wal exiting the lock, grandma hanging on to the little pet.

Later grandad had lifted the baby now strapped back in her chair onto a locker cupboard so she could see a bit more and was happy again.
Whipping through these locks we were making grand progress.  
Then a bump, an "Oh no" and a scream from the baby who had slipped off the locker in the chair and flipped over and face planted on the deck.... 

Grandma had taken her inside and was comforting her while we carried on.  Much later with the dear baby asleep the grandma appeared on deck and declared that the little pet had a black eye and a large bump on her head.  The parents were to pick her up later, it might take a bit of explaining.

Later we found a stretch of straight armco to moor up on, so  after approx 9.5 hours we stopped and cracked open a bottle of sparkly as befits a day with 23 locks under our belt.  High achievement for us not but not a record breaking attempt for the Boat Sharers, I think they have done 38 in a day and maybe few more in addition as they did two flights Lapworth and the Hatton Flights plus a few extras. 



Another beautiful day



It warmed up so jackets were off and sunglasses on.

Supper was on the smaller side as we had stopped at Kirby Bridge for rubbish, water and homemade Broccoli and Stilton soup and a lot of galaxy chocolate which was delish, so for supper we had what we call a New Zealand breakfast, poached eggs on toast with avocados and tomatoes, with Lemon Tart raspberries and thick coconut yoghurt.        






















Friday, 24 April 2015

Going backwards to go forwards

So here's a bit of a catch-up of what's been occurring over the last few days.  
First a bit of history, there has been a titchy leak at the back that was a warrantee job that was to fixed at the next lifting out for "Bottom Blacking"which we weren't going to do until the end of the sailing season of 2015.  However, on setting out the slight leak become a steady drip getting faster until the morning after The Boat Sharers had left us it was substantial trickle that was audible.  
Although I had pointed this out to David, with my grave reservations for the forthcoming summer trip, by morning I ended any doubt that I would be accompanying the boat further, he saw the wisdom of my words like all sensible husbands do, eventually.  
We turned and headed back to Debdale, our home base.  
They were so very helpful to us and we were up, out fixed and back in the water in a jiffy.
Here are a few photos when the Boat Sharers were here.

David Shepherd Mechanic Lewis being bendy.

Mechanic and his apprentice.

Amanda wrapped around my husband, note blue sky.

Assistant photographer being creative.

David returning after car planting ahead.

Me under careful instruction.  I only like being instructed by this man, no others. (Not a rude sign by me but pushing on my glasses)

The day we returned coincided nicely with friends Joe and Lesley off of NB Yarwood  HERE being at a loose end as their boat is currently undergoing work at Debdale of its own, so they joined us for Locks, high jinks and lunch, still we had the nice unbroken sunshine we all love so much although chilly mornings and evenings.


David on return leg.

Evening mooring at Newton Harcourt, 


Joe lending a very welcomed hand.
Filthy, but she will be cleaned up by next year
Thank you Lesley for this photo, I wasn't there, I had gone shopping.


Lunch was Fresh fig and goats cheese tart with capers and a mixed salad followed by Lemon tart and raspberries.









Monday, 20 April 2015

Spring Cruise 2015 begins

So Reader here we are again, happy as can be, ready for the off on our adventures for 2015.

We arrived at Debdale loaded with the paraphernalia for the spring.  David fetched and carried and I was inside unpacking.  We had supper at The Bell at Gumley with our friends Mike and Gerry off of NB Tubbs, the pub is in new-ish hands and the food was excellent and good value.

The next day we had friends arriving, Amanda and David, who visit us so often and have been given the title "The Boat Sharers"
The first thing to be done was to fill up with water...fairly easy exercise you would think, hose in tank off you go, visitors arrived, loaded their luggage, popped their car along the canal, got our warm layers on and went to look at the water level after 50mins or so, only on level 3 out of 10!!! Some twerp had kinked the hose, so unkinked and away it gushed and was filled in ten minutes flat.

It was later in the afternoon and we passed through Saddington tunnel without incidence and along aways.

Amanda and I walked several miles doing locks and catching up on news of husbands, children and boaty stuff.  
The day was clear blue skies, unbroken sunshine and the odd white fluffy cloud wafted past.  
Then I heard a plaintive cry, Amanda and I spotted from the tow path a tiny lamb in the canal below a steeper section of bank, it was under a prickly branch and would never have been able to have made it out of the water on its own.  We both pointed and Captain David stuck the nose of WaL into the reeds whilst Shepherd David leapt into action with his shepherds crook, otherwise known as a boat hook.  He took a flying jump off the boat, got one wet foot and quick as a flash hoiked out the lambkin and sent it on its way back to its mother who looked like she could care less!  But it was saved, it would not have lasted much longer in that cold water.  What a pair of Heroes eh?
 The captain took about two months to switch the camera on and only managed this shot..... Look carefully behind the tree to see the Action Hero Lamb Saver.


Can see him clearly in the water, lamb has fled already!



Not much further on and we moored up for the night.  Not a bad spot I'd say.


Pretty special I'd say.

Supper was mushroom and stilton risotto with herby salad and black forest trifle.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

..... and so to bed.

I am writing this from home now as I bet you have guessed Reader.  I feel bad not winding up properly last week but after we got home its been a bit wedding focused here.  If you are not a Frequent Flyer to this blog, our daughter is getting married in Feb 2015 in New Zealand and there are things to do now.  
     We have had a Bunting Workshop here this weekend (or I could say a Sweatshop), 120 metres of bunting is going to fill someones suitcase and I am hoping its not going to be me. But it is made now and is currently decorating my lounge nicely.  
It worked well with me and all daughters plus friend Clemmie (and the groom had a go too).         The next day was the Clucky Day..... not heard of that you men boaters???  Well its a day when mother, bride and sisters go off trying on wedding dresses, shoes and the like, mostly for fun when you already have one.... This did backfire slightly as the bride is now on her 4th choice of dress.... can't say more.

So then back to Market Harborough, we had a fun weekend and on the Sunday a good lunch was had by all at the Waterfront restaurant.  We had to part company with our fellow diners on the Sunday afternoon and The Yarwoods made a prompt getaway  the next morning they have all sorts of jobs to complete before they go to Spain for the winter, but I had decided that a morning shopping in town.  I brought a new dress,   David on the other hand went a bit mad, hard to believe I know.  It happened in Waitrose of all places, 25% off of all wines, so he brought some.

So back to the boat, the roof was in need of a scrub, then underway to Foxton, very sad I felt to be going home finally, but its been a pretty long cruising season for us.
On this leg we did actually see the Kingfisher that was elusive two days ago.  It was about 1pm when we left the basin, the sun was out and in places it was blinding off of the sparkling roof!


NB Yarwood on their way, Bon Voyage crew

I like what the sun did here on my phone

Glorious day, gee wilickers though it was cold

Arriving in Foxton, there were just a couple of boats that came down then all quiet.  Although we were minutes away from Debdale Marina, our winter base, it is closed on a Monday so we were going in on the following morning.
This was Foxton early the next morning...

Pretty beautiful eh?


Bridge 61 in soft autumnal light.

So the boat was popped into her winter bed, we loaded the car, and like the nincompoops we are we had forgotten to bring up with us in late August the mini electric radiators from home, so someone has to go back and put them in...

When unloading the car at home, David had a count up of wine...  we have 72 bottles here!!!!!
I told you he went a bit mad.
See you all next year.







  

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Friends and Cocktails

After a bit of fannying around this morning, we made our way along a pretty great stretch of canal to Market Harborough.  Its about 5.5 miles there to Union Basin where we were meeting friends. The sun shone as it has most of this last week.  I had my eyes peeled all the way for Kingfishers which nest along here, but I was disappointed today.  I learnt from an expert that at this time of year they are not feeding their young so are not out as much.  You really do appreciate TV's slow motion cameras when you do spot one as in a blink of an eye they are gone in a flash of blue and orange.


The reeds glistened in the sunshine 
Leaf soup. Bungs yer prop up a treat.  Not at all annoying.

We came to the swing bridge just outside Foxton village.  Its a cantankerous old bridge this one, weighs a ton and hates being pushed around.  I was struggling with it and just then a friendly lady walked by and offered to help, thanking her as she hopped to and got the ball rolling, she told me that CART had done work on this bridge, however when she does her 4 mile walk here every day, she often helps boaters with it. 

We arrived in the basin, and turned around,



This is an old Bonded Warehouse now a rather nice restaurant.

We we looking all around to see where our friends boat was....



Spotted it yet?


There she blows!

NB Yarwood.  HERE    The boat was blindingly shiny, but yes you've guessed it, Lesley said it needed polishing......!
We moored up just outside the basin on a nice vacant straight section with our own water tap laid on.
Handy.

We invited them for cocktails and supper and it was rather good too.  Waitrose's current monthly recipe cards for red salmon risotto and black forest fruits calfoutis. Went down rather well, as did Lesley's Brandy Sponge, I do love a woman who splashes the brandy around a bit, hic.









Sunday, 2 November 2014

Foxton

Just left last nights mooring, how pretty is this?


We had plenty of time this morning to get to appointed place, that is to say The Bridge 61Pub at the bottom of  The Foxton Flight.  We arrived at the top in a little over an hour, passing by these trees...

Running the gauntlet.
The worst ones have with fallen or been removed however the angle of their growth of these remaining ones gives me the screaming abb dabbs, so David drives as fast as he can under these.
As we edged into the first lock there was a fair few people watch and taking photos, it was only about 11am, the crowd got bigger and bigger....


With the undivided attention of two lock keepers, who did lots of the work although Reader please be assured that I repeatedly asked to swap sides so that I could do the paddles, we made super fast work.  Turned out for the luck watchers that 6 or 7 boats had gone through much earlier, we were the last boat to go through the locks today.
The crowd grew as we progressed down, and a cute set of three little brothers who were thrilled to be invited to open the gates for me.  Their mum was cautious and hung on to the youngest one so that was good to see, but another mother had her small son, maybe 4 years old,  on a sit on scooter, she held the dogs lead while the child on the scooter peered over the empty lock side, Reader it was so scary I had to look away, the lock keeper tried to tell her to keep him back, but she merely replied that he won't go in.  So that's alright then!
Phew.
The crowd stayed with us all the way to the bottom where fond farewells were said and the children all waved goodbye.  I am happy to report small child indeed not fall into the lock, however this year several people did.
I walked down and over the bridge followed by a couple with a small girl, I took the centre rope from David and we moored up.  As they walked past I heard him say "That was Prunella Scales"
as he walked off I collapsed into a heap of helpless giggles, you see Reader in China, if you don't know her, HERE  she is a well known British actress who is 82, currently I am considerably younger than this but clearly today didn't look it.
David when he had stopped laughing his head off, realised that this made him Timothy West who is 80!!

We moored here after I had got express permission from the lock keeper


This is the sign


Frankly we didn't really understand this sign, does anyone?

Sunset from the bridge
Supper was a very cheesy mushroom omelette.






My favourite place.

So a nice morning with sunshine too.  This section of The Leicester Arm David and I consider a bit to be "Ours", we don't mind other boats using it,  and when we reach here we know that we are almost home to Debdale, it does make you a bit sad because although it is the most loveliest section its getting towards the end of the current cruise and in this years case the most fantastic summer of weather and cruising.

We had a lovely run up to Bridge 50, it took about 3.5 hours and I loved every minute of it.
Here are some of the sights.

Lots of pheasants running about the path.

HERE

What a great sight.

This is Oilseed Rape, look carefully and you will see it flowering in places, it should do that next April!!!!

Welford Arm moorings, usually at least two boats here.

This farm is opposite, we say its The Grundy's Farm

An avenue of yellow and green leading up to....

Leading up to The Husbands's Bosworth Tunnel


The Laughton Hills, home to buzzards and our mooring tonight. 
The view from the cratch.
Supper was with friends at The Bell in Gumley.