Well this week hasn’t been a typical ‘continuous cruise’ experience, mainly due to the fact that we have been moored up at Debdale Wharf Marina for most of the time. This is the marina we will be using as a permanent base from October this year, until the new marina at North Kilworth is completed, then we will move our boat there. We will still continue to cruise, there isn’t a chance that Sandra and I could cope week in and week out restricted to a berth in a marina, we might as well return home if we had to do this. What we will be doing is mooring through the winter and then going off for three to four week cruises and then returning to base. We want to do this, rather than continually cruise, for two reasons, firstly we like the idea of having a ‘home’ for the boat to return to and secondly our daughter Emily is having our first grandchild and no way do we not want to see the grandchild on a regular basis. Already we are booked up babysitting for Christmas and New Years Eve!
So how did this week go…….?
On the Tuesday we awoke to glorious sunny weather and the sound of bird song around 6.30 am. It was great to switch on the electric toaster and electric kettle without a worry in the world about running the batteries low by doing so. A clear advantage for a marina mooring! We decided to make use of our car – which was already at the marina and we went off visiting family. It was weird driving the car and Sandra had to remind me to increase speed a little as I was only going 20 miles per hour on the main road! We arrived back on the boat at tea time and had a chill out evening with of course a nice glass of red wine!
On the Wednesday we packed our overnight bags and headed for our daughters place all of 20 minutes away. Today we would be staying with her and Elliott (husband) overnight catching up with the gossip. We both had a great time and also caught up with some rubbish TV and ended the night watching a great film ‘Dead Pool’ which was funny – if nothing else.
Thursday we hung around the house, and then did a little shopping before returning to the boat. It’s funny we both look forward to being back on ‘dry land’ and catching up with our daughter, family and friends but still look forward to getting back to our boat – our home! Later in the afternoon we met up with Sandra’s sister and brother in law – Rob and Elaine two recently retired people and laughed how things had changed and how all four of us were coping with no longer working, The answer to this was ‘dead easy!’. Later we visited a nice pub in Market Harborough before trying a new restaurant (for us) called Avatar – a Nepalese Indian Restaurant. We had heard mixed reviews, like you do these days with social media – but were very pleased with the service, quality of food and the price which was a good 25% cheaper than the other Indian Restaurants in the town which are clearly in a cartel as they all charge exactly the same price – give or take a penny or two. We ate reasonably late and mine was particularly hot (I like a curry that way), so I wasn’t surprised when I ended up with indigestion – I hate eating late.
Friday I awoke at 5.00am, I just couldn’t resist looking at my smart phone to see what the results were regarding the referendum of whether to leave or stay within the European Union. It was quite a surprise to find we were actually going to leave. Sandra rose around 8.00am and both of us chatted and watched the news for the next few hours. When I looked at Facebook I realised that many people were becoming quite vile amongst each other. I couldn’t really understand this, we live in a democracy and the people who voted to leave had won. Simple as that, I posted saying we should now all work together for a common strong country – but the negativity coming back was astounding. Later in the day we carried on shopping, getting stocked a little more ready for our Oxford cruise in a few weeks. Whilst on our travels we had a call from our daughter relaying her concerns that the doctor had told her to go to hospital as he couldn’t find a heart beat from the baby she was carrying. This sent Sandra and I into a total panic, so we went off to Emily’s house and waited for further instructions from her. Fortunately it was nothing to be worried about the hospital staff found a heart beat straight away and soon she was back with us along with Elliott who had left work early to support her. We all gave each other a hug and all of us commented how real life is not about referendums – it was all about family. Sandra and I left soon after and headed back to the boat relieved, relaxed and in need of a few glasses of wine!
Saturday was a cloudier and cooler day than it had been. We had to pick up a parcel from the mail offices, so we headed off around 8.30am to do this. We decided we would call at our regular haunt for a cooked breakfast. Unfortunately we ordered the wrong one (well I did – so Sandra keeps reminding me!) and ended up with a very greasy ‘sizzler’ breakfast. We still ate it all – so it couldn’t have been that bad. The parcel was a pressure cooker, small and absolutely ideal for use on the boat and only £11.99 – a bargain! When we returned back to Debdale Wharf Marina, we went to the office to pay (£45) for the week and also arranged for a pump out. Mike the owner took control of this and didn’t he do a great job, flushing the tank out, rocking the boat and so on. Well worth the £15. Soon we were heading towards Foxton Locks again, our favourite haunt around these parts. We found a mooring spot easily; the £25 fine for staying over two days really does seem to be working. My brother Tony and his new partner Rachael (we have known her for many years) came to visit for the first time. My brother couldn’t believe how luxurious the boat was and commented on the granite work surfaces, AGA and the lovely bathroom we enjoy. He could now quite clearly see why we like travelling and living on the boat for most of the year. As he left we agreed to arrange an overnight stay on the boat in the near future. As soon as they had left we got changed and headed for our favourite boater’s pub ‘Bridge 61’ at Foxton just next to the bottom locks. We were soon joined by Sandra’s sister Elaine and Robert and her Brother Jason and his wife Genda and daughter. We had a few drinks in the garden as the weather had really picked up and we laughed and laughed. Later we went into the pub and when Sandra’s family had all left we stayed longer and joined some of the regular boaters. The topic of conversation was the referendum and quite clearly they had all voted to leave. We left the pub after drinking far too much, to be honest, we were quite merry and when we got back we were soon tucked up in bed.
Sunday was a bright and breezy day and although we both had quite ‘thick heads’ (goodness know why?) we went for a short walk and laughed as one of the couples we had met the previous night was reversing his boat – made worse as he had expressed he hated gongoozlers! We shouted out at him to ensure he knew we were looking! We had a coffee and cake at the café and returned back to the boat and basically chilled out nursing our headaches! Sandra later used the pressure cooker for the first time and made a really tasty beef casserole for the evening meal. It took only 15 minutes to cook 1kg of diced beef – amazing. We decided to watch a DVD as the TV signal was rubbish – too many trees. We picked out a DVD and thoroughly enjoyed watching three episodes of Shameless. Did we laugh!
Monday was colder than it had been for ages. The day before we had noticed some boat owner had moored on the water point (idiot) and today he was still there and we needed to fill up. Fortunately a Canal and River Trust volunteer was to hand – but as I was explaining to him that the boat shouldn’t be at the water point, the guy decided to move off, smiling as he went (typical). Soon we were filled up with water and ready for our 6 day cruise to and from Kilby Bridge. We headed off and were please to be moving again. Pleased to be proper boaters again! We were soon going through Fleckney tunnel (around 800 yards) and down the double locks. We decided, especially as the weather was beautiful and the batteries were at 92% to moor up in a lovely rural spot. Just as we sat down another boat past us with the crew member shouting out ‘How’s Mr Biddle then?” and to our surprise it was Helen and Peter – Facebook friends. They moored up just past us and soon joined us on board for a few beers! As they left it was agreed to go down the next 6 locks the following day in convoy! In fact it was also to help each other as the double locks on your own can be a right pain – to say the least!.
So the week ended well, back on our boat and moving, back being boaters