Thursday, 20 December 2012


Sunday 16th December to Tuesday 18th December 2012

5 Miles for this period

Totals: 1436 Miles, 1160 Locks, 46 Tunnels, 24 Lift Bridges, 96 Swing Bridges

A car, a car – never pass up an opportunity to get a lift in the car when you need to go somewhere. And it came to pass that on Sunday that Mick and Elly were heading to Stafford to do a bit of shopping whilst they had the car and we tagged along – we were after all wanting to go to the same places as them.

A few bits and pieces at B&Q after we had dropped into ASDA where Diane only wanted 1 or 2 things – we came out with 4 full bags.

Then the girls wanted to donate money to Dunelm Mills – Mick and I went over the road to Homebase.

Diane had been consulting the weather reports for the last few days and saw a window of cruising opportunity – days without rain, without wind and without the likelihood of overnight ice.

All we had to decide was how long would we go out for – with the need for a trip to Stafford now not required we decided to go out on Sunday and back on Tuesday.

We had been wanting to visit the Dog and Doublet at Sandon for quite a while now and this was the chance; so Diane made the booking and we cruised down to just above Sandon Lock and moored up.
Early morning is always the best time - this is at Sandon Lock

Dinner was quite superb and by the end we had over indulged (but not too much) – walking back was a wee bit tricky with a lack of footpath and a slightly busy road, but we got back safely to the boat.
Dog and Doublet
Monday was a reasonable day – not too cold and a little sunny but mainly cloudy. I got on with work as usual and Diane was busy catching up on programs that she had recorded and with some of her craft work.

We had both seen the afternoon tea menu when we were at dinner the previous evening and we decided that we would need to try that as well – we didn’t need dinner that night – it was all lovely and delicious.
afternoon tea - I'm ready to go again

Tuesday came and time to cruise back to the marina – only trouble was that as we were reversing back to the winding hole the engine suddenly went dead – dead in the sense that it stopped when in gear – something serious around the prop – eeek the freezing water beckoned.
always time for a chat - Diane with a passing working boat

we are pretty happy with the way that the boat now looks

We had managed to pick up and wrap around the prop a collapsible chair (BMW insignia and markings and all) – one of those chairs that would only be there from a very limited number of sources.

Down the hatch, carving knife in hand; care to cut only the chair and not a finger as I couldn’t see exactly what I was lunging into.

After about 10-15 minutes it was cleared; quick count to see that the fingers still counted to 10.

Diane took the controls as I went down to the bathroom to wash up – it was more a thawing out process than necessarily the cleaning – but both were accomplished.
Even with her eyes closed

Then outside to see the end of a perfect winding process – she really does have all of the skills and now the confidence to just do it – cannot be any prouder of her.

This was to be a dry day with no wind – an excellent chance to fill with diesel and to do a pumpout, which all happened without incident – also decided to fill 4 x 5 litre fuel cans (just in case) and then a lap of the marina to come back into moor up.

Witnesses were present to see the reversing back into the space – between pontoon and neighbouring boat without touching either – the lack of wind was a big help.

The afternoon was spent part with work and part on the phone trying to sort out getting the oven repaired before xmas – it can be done by one company but not until after New Year – they needed a marine-qualified gas fitter (because of the regulations) – so be it – the xmas menu will be modified to suit what we have to cook with.

Unfortunately this is out of our control so we will live with it and get on with other things.

On Tuesday night the wind started to come up and it was decidedly colder – just as the weather report said and just as that weather watcher of mine told me.


  1. It may sound daft but a kettle of boiling water down the weed hatch WILL take the edge/sting off the cold water for a short while.

  2. Thanks for that Mal - the boiling water did help but with the amount of time and the amount of water movement because of the size of the chair wrapped around the prop the benefit of the hot water didn't last long at all.
    I was lucky because at one point i thought that it was wrapped around the skeg and might have involved a dip into the canal to remove it