Twenty-two weeks on our continuous cruise adventure so far. This week we have been busy in a ‘messing around’ sort of way, which you will find details of when you read the blog further. We have also been getting on each other’s nerves more than we usually do, but what do you expect when you are living in each other pockets in a confined area. I think its worse when you are not cruising for hours like we have been doing so.
So how did the week go………………??
On Tuesday we awoke to a lovely sunny day, on my mind was the TV signal. As we were now going to moor at North Kilworth Wharf for the summer months and on a permanent basis even though we will be cruising a lot from April, it’s important that we can at least watch TV when we want. I spent a few hours re-wiring the TV cable and re-positioning the aerial, but it was still not a brilliant signal, we just couldn’t get ITV, the one channel Sandra had to have for her daily Emmerdale ‘fix’. We decided to do a little more research; maybe we would have to invest a little more money. We decided to move off from our mooring and head towards Yelvertoft, in fact just after the Welford junction we moored up for the day – all of 30 minutes cruising. Sandra prepared lunch and I decided to touch up the yellow paint in the seating area. Just as I started a boat passed and I could hear the husband and wife team having a right full on row, I then watched the guy jump off the boat and go absolutely mad at the woman because she missed the mooring spot he had wanted her to stop at. I laughed to myself, at least Sandra and I did our arguing in closed doors! I got on with my painting and just as I was about to rub down an area, I caught the eye of another woman walking along the tow path. She looked a bit distressed, in my old job I had become very tuned up in reading body language, as she passed I said hello. She immediately stopped and we started to chat, she informed me that her and her husband had purchased a sail away boat and for the past two years he had been completing the fit out. She said that this was their first long trip onboard. She then went on to tell me that they had fallen out and she had decided to get away from him and the boat for a while. I laughed and told her about the couple further along the tow path and how they had also just gone through similar. I told her that both Sandra and I had got on each other nerves this week and soon we were both laughing. We then chatted about the usual boater thing- toilets! Soon she was heading back to her boat, I shouted out to her and told her life is too short to stress out! I then got on with painting wondering why I wasn’t taking my own advice. I decided to try harder! Later we both tackled touching up the black paint along the gunwales – and when finished we commented to each other how lovely the boat was looking. I was also able to give her a good wax polish. Bright yellow boats certainly shine in the sun!
On Wednesday the sun was on and off and it was a bit cloudy, ideal for our type of boating so we headed off to Yelvertoft, taking our time really steadily. We passed the lady from the day before, she and her husband were sitting on the front having a coffee and laughing, they had made up. We waved and she did the same with a big smile on her face. Their boat was a stunner and we ‘nosed’ inside as we cruised by and what a good job he had done with the fit out. We carried along on our journey my mind running away its self, I asked Sandra whether she thought I ought to become the boaters ‘agony uncle’ or maybe set up a counselling forum, but her response was quite clear that I was too much of an idiot to do that, Sandra never one for mincing her words. We later turned the boat around at a turning point annoyed at a boat had moored too close to it, which meant I had to use the bow thrusters to swing her round in the room available. Like all journeys, you can go one way down the canal and when you come back the same way, you see a completely different vista. We moored up just before bridge 37 a spot we love and had moored before and settled down to washing and polishing the other side of the boat. Afterwards I cleared out a little water, maybe two pints from the bilge. This was my fault for forgetting to turn the gland after a day’s cruising like you should. We called Noth Kilworth Wharf on the phone and spoke to the lovely Rachael, who told us that unfortunately our mooring would not be available tomorrow as planned, but Friday. I asked if we could moor up near to the service pontoon which she was happy for us to do so. Soon after packing away everything and deciding we would stay where we were for the night I sat down in the cabin and felt a needle like pain in my back. I immediately thought I had caught one of Sandra’s needlework pins in my back. I asked her to look, but there was none, as I was pulling my shirt off a damn wasp/bee fell to the floor – I had been stung. Sandra put some bite cream on the spot where I had been stung and I took an anti-histamine tablet. This was all I needed; I was still fighting off an allergic reaction rash from the horse fly bite a couple of weeks ago, which was now not only on my legs but on one arm. I knew what this was as eight years ago I had the same thing happen. I ended up going to hospital to see a consultant who informed me it was vasculitis caused by an allergic reaction. There is nothing that can be done and it usually gets worse before it gets better. It just looks horrible. We rested and soon it was time for Emmerdale!!
Thursday was another lovely day, this time a little sunnier and certainly hotter! We moved off around 10.30am and decided we would moor up again just before the Welford arm. The tow path is very low and close to the water’s edge here and it makes painting the gunnels and touching up the blacking really easy. As we pulled off on route I looked at the energy readout controls on the Mastervolt system and was pleased that we would be hooking up to an electricity point later as the batteries were showing only 56% battery usage left, and as all good boaters know, really that meant only 6% left as it’s unwise to go below 50% if you want a long life out of the batteries. Once moored up we got on with the painting and I was surprised that due to the sunny day, when it was time to move off to our temporary mooring at North Kilworth Wharf that the reading had gone to 68%. Although expensive, Solar panels in the summer are a real benefit. We moored up at the Wharf and Ben the husband of Rachael got us hooked up to electricity. We decided we couldn’t be bothered to cook, so we nipped out for a couple of beers at a pub in Lutterworth a short drive of less than 5 miles. We then went to Papadoms an Indian take-away that had been recommended. When we got back to the boat, both of us were not really impressed with the quality, which was a shame. We eat at least one Indian meal a week and we had hoped this would be our regular place. We switched on our digital recorder which we had set to record damn Emmerddale, only to find the disk was full and it had not taped the double episode. Sandra was not a happy bunny.
Friday, after being told that our new mooring spot wouldn’t now be ready until Saturday, we headed to our house a 35 minute drive. We cleaned the house, mowed the grass and I painted the dining room ceiling along with putting up a new mirror in the downstairs water closet. After Sandra and I having a row over nothing, probably needed, you can always tell when one is coming, we settled down and soon Emily was with us and both of them went for a coffee in the town. Later we had an old fashioned family meal together and soon we were back on the boat. It’s funny how we look at the boat as our home and not the house. In fact we currently prefer the boat to the house.
Saturday we got up all excited, today we were moving our boat into the permanent mooring spot, all of 100 yards further down the tow path. The new mooring is a lovely spot with one side facing the canal, but with all of the facilities of a marina, electricity, water and good parking and safe with it not being on the tow path side of the canal. We reversed the boat down the canal, and were thankful that there was no cross winds. One of these would have made this difficult to do. We tied up the boat, which was harder than expected as the tie up points on the pontoon did not match our boat. We would have to compromise on this. I decided to make my priority the TV, so for the next few hours I set up the new high gain aerial which had been delivered to the house. This took ages as in a very week signal area you have to have a clear line of site to the transmitter. To my surprise after plugging into a signal booster we had all of our favourite channels, although the digital recorder which has a weaker reception was a little ad hoc. My only concern was that the aerial looked ugly on top of the boat – I hate to see boats piled high with ‘stuff’ and our boat, along with the aerial, life rings and solar panels was becoming a little cluttered. Sandra reassured me that when travelling we would pack away the aerial and go back to the small digital ones dotted around the boat discretely. In the afternoon, after we filled up with water, we headed off to Lutterworth for a little shopping, mainly a long gas lighter to use with the methylated spirit stove we use when the Heritage cooker (AGA) is not in use which is when the weather is too hot for us to use it. We were unlucky, in any small market town you can’t guarantee to get what you want. However, Sandra did find some more baby cloths to buy Emily in preparation for our grandchild. We went for a coffee and a cake and soon we were soaked to the bone as it rained and rained and rained. We got back to the boat and immediately switched on the Aga – full blast and soon we were roasting ourselves to death! Sandra cooked an amazing pasta dish with garlic bread and we settled down to the start of the new X Factor series. I can hear you all ‘tutting’, but we both find this reality/talent show so much fun, I might add this is the only one we watch.
On Sunday which was a bright but cool day we decided to tackle the roping up of the boat, we moved the boat a couple of feet, however this then impacted on the TV signal and I spent a good hour or so re-positioning and re-tuning the TV. Oh the joys of living on a boat! I then decided to move the MiFi (WiFI) system along with the external aerial for this – realising that the provider Three was only just within our signal range. Once we had sorted this we were just about to relax when Emily arrived for a visit. We sat for ages having a good old chat and at the same time thinking what we would do for a family holiday next year. It was agreed that we would take up one of Emily’s friend’s properties abroad. Great, especially when Emily informed as that as we were no longer earning a six figure salary and ‘early retired, that she would be treating us this year! Later when Emily had left Sandra got the pressure cooker going, a brilliant bit of kit for boating and only £12 off Ebay (brand new). We ended up with a lovely beef and vegetable casserole to tuck into as we watched the second episode of X Factor!!
Monday we were up quite early, we had a busy day ahead of us. We went off to the local butchers, a brilliant place we used to use 25+ years ago when we owned restaurants, their meat being of real high quality. Our freezer was looking low on stock, so we bought steak, beef, chicken and gammon along with some really good sausages. We also treated ourselves to a pork pie which had been cooked with stilton cheese. When we got back to the boat we had some of this and it was truly one of the best pork pies either of us had ever had. We then went off to Emily’s and stopped at Aldi’s for some essential groceries. At Emily’s I managed to re-negotiate my wifi deal at Three, we had been paying £20 for 15GB of mobile data, after I called them to moan this was reduced to £13 with 20GB of data for a years contract. We also chatted with Emily and discussed Sandra’s mobile phone which was on a Tesco contract (O2) about to come to an end. Where we are now moored her signal is terrible – further research showed that the way forward would be to find an EE contract as this had a good signal. Whilst there I also picked up my daily emails only to find that another one of my short stories had been accepted for print in the Canal Times October edition – brilliant. At Tea time we headed back to the boat and unloaded everything. We had already taken out a curry Sandra had cooked from the freezer to make more space for the new stock (on board we have a full-size Freezer and Fridge – just like home). It was delicious and both of us commented that curries are better a day or so after they have been cooked. We had a cozy night on board realising that our alcohol consumption had reduced massively over the last week or so. I looked over to the recently bought box of Shiraz from Aldi of all places – we just had to open it. Three or four glasses later, we were quite merry. Our life on board a boat is just brilliant.
So the end of another week, bit emotionally draining due to us both bickering at each other, but nothing major, we have know each other nearly 40 years and still love the socks of each other.