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.