Thursday 30 April 2015

Some things never change....

The day dawned bright and sunny.  It was very busy in Watermead Park, one hundred and one people were out walking their dogs, some were even out walking without dogs.  
Its great to see a great amenity being so well used.  
We fiddled about doing jobs, not that I can name any job I did,  but I'm sure I must have done something useful.

Later we set off from the mooring next to the lock here and had help from the small group of watchers gathered there, always nice to get help opening and shutting the gates.

We carried on through some very pretty water meadows, farmland and some scaggy sections but on the whole it was beautiful countryside and the sun shone brilliantly.

A section of the river Soar

Really hoped he was slip and fall in for the camera but no....

Some very lovely countryside.
We wanted water and stopped at a pub on the canal side where I had spotted a water point 18 months ago, it wasn't in our Nicholson's Guide.  A kindly cruiser owner moved his craft along to let us in and we started what was to become an hours wait while the tap trickled on.  G&T's were served with kettle chips while we waited however I don't think we will be bothering again here for water.

Sileby Mill looking very attractive today.

These two were having fun, but were tricky to pass in the wind with another boat coming when hogging the central lane! 

We rocked up eventually at Barrow-on-Soar, taking one half of a visitor mooring that has a corner a third a way along which effectively meant only we could moor here as we are 70', right behind us was a weir, these generally give me the Heebie Jeebies at night, but Amanda assured me she copied one of my 'Very hard to untie' knots so I was happy.

Barrow-Upon-Soar for the evening.
She tires at last, minutes earlier he was off too

Supper was red pepper and mushroom pilaff with a good merlot.  I washed up while David and Amanda went off together to play Musical cars.

Early next morning Amanda departed.  She has something called "Work" to go to, not sure what that is.....

Some things never change, her tyre was flat again, yes same one.

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Polishing, stupendous lunch and a foul up.

Saturday morning and “David the insomniac" was up dressed and out washing the last unwashed and unpolished side boat.  
This left Amanda and I awake, drinking tea and snugged up in bed together talking about the vital things that Ladies have to talk about frequently.

These were actually taken earlier this week when David did the really knee achingly tricky pointy end.

Much later David reappeared having finished his jobs came in for coffee and a rest.  This was sort of a sign for me to go and do my bit.  Polish application.  
I was ready in hours.  I rubbed it on all over and Amanda buffed.  Result? 
Gleaming boat ready for our annual membership to the Shiny Boat Club.  We even did the chrome portholes too.

Moving off about midday we heading towards  Leicester city centre for lunch.

Passed these charming tearooms in this lovely old lock side cottage, I am loving the ancient slate roof.

Just along the way was this amazing piece of history.  Its a Packhorse bridge, it dates from the 1400’s and probably replaced an earlier bridge over this marshy land.  There are eight arches in total and three “Refuges” that is a little space where people could let the horses past.

Beautiful stonework 

Amanda standing in one of the "Refuges", David was in the distance disappearing off on the canal in WaL.

Very narrow, just for horses.

All these centuries and still stands strong.

There were about five locks to take us to the city centre, the river Soar flows in and out of the canal, you know when you are on a section of the river as the water is much clearer, but still not there was not much of a flow.

I think this was called St Mary's Mill.  Lovely old buildings mixed with small amount of modern art.

Last lock before the centre.  On the river again here, pretty clean water.

We moored up on the straight in Leicester.  Ours was the only boat but we moored anyway.  I changed out of my oil smeared fleece and trainers, rouge was dabbed and away we sauntered to our favourite restaurant Kayal   HERE  we found this place 18 months ago and have been every time we come to Leicester.  The food is terrific and was again today.  I had prawns with an onion, garlic, ginger, tomato and mango sauce with lemon rice. Utterly divine.

David was asked if he wanted to join us on a trip to John Lewis (Lovely big department store) but declared he would rather have his wisdom teeth pulled.  So he returned to WaL to read the Sunday paper, in peace.

We had a great time and hardly brought anything……much.
Casting off again late afternoon we trundled on through swathes of floating detritus and rubbish, so disgusting in places I shall forward the photos to the council and MP’s on Monday.

At least someone sort of picks some of it up....

The inevitable happened and the prop became fouled, in every sense of the word.  David did his version of a boy band member stripping off and getting down and dirty on our behalf, us two were a bit helpless as we were on the tow path but the boat could not be pulled into the side due to the shallowness, it took him over half an hour to clear the rubbish, clothing, plastic bags and branches.
The water smelt dreadful.

That pile of plastic was much much bigger when David was finished.

The last lock of the day was also full of rubbish and David decided to pull the boat out by hand to avoid the prop becoming fouled again.

Man handled.

A chilly evening, the heating went on and we moored in the first place we could find in Watermead Park
just before it began to rain.  Its a lovely country park of over a hundred acres not far from the city centre.  

Don’t tell anyone but all in bed by 9:30pm, its all Rock and Roll here for sure.

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.