Wednesday, 25 May 2016

7th Week (w/e 23/5/2016)

Another week has passed and what a week we have had. This week as well as cruising for a few days we also returned home to our bricks and mortar house for a few days where we enjoyed a great time with Emily our daughter and our son-in-law Elliott. It was funny leaving the boat which has now become our prime home (in our minds anyway). When we got home the place seemed strange, even after mowing the lawn and cutting back the bushes at the front that feeling remained. The highlight was spending time with our family. It’s so hard living a distance away from Emily, especially as she is pregnant and could do with her mum and dad being close by. This is the key reason we have decided to moor permanently from November in North Kilworth a spits distance from her. We will still cruise – but ensure we are back every few weeks or so.

So how did last week go?

On Tuesday we moved from the glorious location of Tixall and headed to Rugeley, passing Shugborough near to Great Haywood, the old residence of Lord Lichfield when he used to be married to Princess Margaret and which now a National Trust property. This place is now open to the public and every time we pass we promise ourselves we will make a visit, yet again, we passed without stopping. One day! We arrived at Rugeley at around 1.00pm. This town is a small market town on the north eastern edge of Cannock Chase in Staffordshire. It’s a bit run down, but is good for shopping and recently they have had a large Tesco built right next to the canal, which is ideal for stocking up. It also has some good Indian restaurants and take-aways and a brilliant Whetherspoons pub which used to be the town cinema – all a 5 minute walk from the canal. Once moored I checked the boat engine oil and all was good, the only thing we need to do is vacuum out the engine bay, it has a lot of leaves on the engine floor, a job for later! We then decided to stock up on some essentials – gin and tonic and wine from Tesco. All was fine until I lost my debit card in the cash machine, after speaking to staff I suddenly realised that as I had the cash I must have subconsciously put the card back into my wallet – embarrassingly so, this was the case. I put it down to a ‘senior moment’. John Bailey, someone we met four or five weeks ago in Burton was moored further down the cut and it was great to catch up with him also, whereas we have completed the four counties ring in 5 weeks, John had managed to move from Burton to Rugeley! We laughed over this, but realised we need to slow the pace down. We had a great night on the boat surprisingly enjoying a meal for two curry meal (£6.50) from Tesco and a few gins – like you do!

On Wednesday we moved off, but the weather was wet – but not cold. We were heading for Kings Bromley marina where we were going to leave the boat for a few days. We don’t like leaving the boat out of a marina when we are not on it. The boat cost a great deal and paying £6 - £10 a night for peace of mind is a small amount to pay. Our journey went well; we know this water well and always enjoy this lock free couple of hours. On our arrival at the marina it was great to see friendly familiar faces. Kings Bromley had been our permanent mooring location for the previous three years and it felt like home. We were also pleased to be offered preferential temporary mooring fees. We stayed on the boat and Sandra cooked one of her lovely meals in the evening. We enjoyed a glass of wine and retired early to bed.

Thursday – Sunday, we were picked up by our daughter and enjoyed some quality family time. Brilliant!

Sunday lunchtime we arrived back at Kings Bromley after we had nipped into Burton on Trent to our favourite little Indian shop to stock up on Indian snacks and a couple of pre-cooked (by the chef) traditional curries for the night. Emily and Elliott helped us to unload the car, once back at the marina and soon we were waiving good-bye to our favourite people. Although sad, it was good to be back on board Captain Hastings. We chilled out for a while and had a great chat with our new neighbours who were rushing around getting ready to go on a Mediterranean P and O cruise. Later our Facebook friend Phill (an expert on everything to do with boats – including electrics) visited us to try and sort out our damn % battery status reading on the Mastervolt system. After a short while he had succeeded, a move of a wire here and there and suddenly everything was sorted. We then sat outside in the hot sun and just drank tea and coffee and put the world to rights for a few hours. Phill is one of those people that everyone needs as a friend, educated, funny, and experienced with life and genuinely a nice guy. He also refused to take any form of payment – amazing, when he left we promised to stay in touch (which we do) and next time we would be corking a few bottles – on me! Later after unpacking and sorting things out, both of us decided we would stay over another night in the marina and get an early start on the Monday. We called at the office and were told we could stay there free of charge – there are definitely some great people around inlands waterways. In the evening we tried our curries and unfortunately they were terrible, the rice was like eating rice pudding, and as sweet and the main dishes were not a patch on the ones Sandra cooks. We had a drink and ended up having an early night, what a hectic few days we had just enjoyed – we both slept well!

On the Monday after a leisurely start we decided to return to Rugeley to pick up on some essentials before starting on the next leg of our cruise. It was a lovely day for cruising, sun out and warm, as we came out of the marina we were shocked to see a narrow boat sunk and well away from the tow path. It always saddens us when we see this (3rd one so far) it is someone’s home that has gone. At Rugeley we moored up in a rural spot and had a good walk into town. Still recovering from the weekend, on our return we just crashed and officially enjoyed being retired – we can do this!

A different week, but a great week, next week we head towards Rugby and beyond!

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