Saturday, 18 June 2016

10th Week (w/e 13/6/2016

Our tenth week of continuous cruising, although can you call us this as we have secured a permanent mooring at Debdale Wharf marina a spits distance from Foxton Locks from October onwards. We are still enjoying ourselves a great deal and the good weather is an added benefit.

So how has this week gone……?

On Tuesday we started the day a little late after recovering from too many beers and a giant feast from the night before in celebration of our wedding anniversary. Ahead of us were the double locks of Braunston so late morning we started our journey. Fortunately we were lucky enough to find a family about to enter the locks so we coupled up with these which helped a great deal. It was a very enjoyable time chatting to the various family members as we travelled up the locks. Hire boaters often get a bad reputation, but yet again these people were really nice and considerate. When we went through the last lock we said our goodbyes and they headed off, we boat quite slowly, so I was pleased they went ahead of us. I hate it when you have a boat behind pushing you to turn the revs up. When will people realise it’s not all about getting from A to B – but the journey! As we moved forward, the thought of the forthcoming tunnel was on our minds. Braunston tunnel is 2042 yards long and isn’t a straight line! It is also two way travel, so often you will pass an oncoming boat part-way through the tunnel. We switched on the cabin lights and the main light at the front and we entered the tunnel, there was no sign of the boat that had come up with us in the locks, so we were on our own. It’s seemed a very long journey travelling through the dark tunnel and being dripped on heavily as we passed through, but funnily we both enjoyed it – helped by the fact that we didn’t meet a single boat coming either way, no-one up the rear and no one coming our way. We were soon in the sunshine again which was needed as it had been very cold. We decided we would head for Norton Junction where the Grand Union (central) swerves to the left onto the Grand Union Leicester section. As we neared I could see ahead of me a super mooring spot, but it was past the turning. I decided to turn the boat around and then reverse down the canal a few hundred yards into the spot. Not as easy as you think as narrow boats have no steering in reverse. However, Captain Hastings with the help of the bow thrusters moved steadily into the place alongside the tow path with ease. We settled down for a quiet night on the boat, weather still amazing. We decided to get the COBB out – a smoker (not BBQ) which allows you to load it with food and leave it cooking for an hour with no messing. It can also sit on top of the boat as there is no heat from the sides or base on the unit. As usual with us – as soon as we had prepared the meats and vegetables and got the thing smoking, the weather changes and we had a real heavy down pour of rain. So our evening meal was under the back canopy, both of us laughing as what bad luck we had had in this regard and what total plonkers we must look like.

The next day (Wednesday) was gloriously sunny and hot, a truly wonderful day, so as our solar panels were working really well and were covering all of our energy requirements, we decided to stay another day, Sandra had some washing to do, so rather than lift the genie out (still problems with my back after last time) I switched the boat engine on and used the engine Powerpack generator instead. 40 minutes later Sandra had completed the washing and it was hung up under the canopy for drying. We went for a little walk and chatter to our neighbours - like you do! When we returned to my horror one of my favourite shirts had gone! It had probably blown into the canal – which was a worry as it could end up around someones prop – we looked up and down and could not see it! We then messed around the boat, moving the TV aerial for a better signal and as boaters do, chilled with a glass of ice cold white wine. What a life! After the second bottle of wine and a bit to eat, we retired to bed feeling accomplished and happy.

Thursday, needless to say our heads were a little thick, from too much wine the night before. I said to Sandra that we needed a rest from the wine for a while and she agreed. Today the weather wasn’t that great initially, so after filling with water and having lunch we decided to head for Watford locks. This set of locks is a staircase of locks and is renowned for a long waiting time to get through them. Fortunately, we were very lucky and we went through the whole lot within 35 minutes - helped by a great Lock Keeper. We decided to moor up shortly after the locks and we found a lovely quiet spot (again) just before the Crick tunnel. Today was now turning into one of the hottest days we experienced so far and in the evening we slept with all windows open including the two cratch doors in our bedroom.

Friday was completely different day weather wise – it was pouring down with rain! British weather at its best. Today we were aiming to get close to Yelvertoft, not too far and where the following day we were going to moor the boat for Saturday and Sunday. Before this we had to go through Blisworth tunnel, this time luck was against us, part way through this 1528 yard tunnel, we saw another boat coming our way. Fortunately we passed each other without a scrape. Soon after the tunnel we were passing our way through Crick, unfortunately there were no moorings available so we continued and were soon close to Yelvertoft. We decided to stop early as the weather had also picked up a little. Sandra decided to cook one of her amazing curries that night.

Saturday we headed off to the marina and soon we were moored up in a temporary berth, hooked up with electric (£13 for the night) and then awaited for our daughter Emily to pick us up. In the evening we attended a dinner suit and ball gown gala evening to raise funds for charity. We had a great time with our friends and family.

Sunday we were soon back on board Captain Hastings, batteries fully charges, but only showing 85%, sometimes I have heard this happens, so I re-set the control system and soon all reading were showing 100%. We headed off after having lunch and after we had filled up with water. We decided only to travel half-hour or so, we were both suffering, yet again, from thick heads! – Too much alcohol again, made worse from not getting to bed until 1.30am! We chilled and rested and had an early night – both realising that we were becoming boring old farts!

Monday we were both up early and full of life, weather was cloudy and not as warm has had been, but still good boating weather. After breakfast we decided to stay put, it was a great mooring and we had some cleaning to do and a bit of touching up of paint on the exterior of the boat. So that is exactly what we did. I painted, Sandra cleaned and then she touched up the black on the boat sides. We don’t put fenders down unless moored, so the rubbing stakes need painting every few weeks. Taking the ladders and poles off the roof was not the best thing for me and it soon became apparent that I had pulled the muscle in my back again! Damn! We stayed on board for the evening and needless to say we did not drink any alcohol! Could this be the start of a new habit?????

So another week as passed, next week we will be heading for Foxton for their annual festival.

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