Tuesday, 2 July 2013

How far did you go ??

Saturday 29th June to Monday 1st July 2013

It was another busy day of travelling on Saturday – we had a leisurely breakfast and then drove over to see Maggie and Paddy again and this time we were also able to catch up with Phil, David and Jessica.

Phil and Jess - a very rare photo of Phil

Diane, David and Maggie
They are all well – we caught a bit of the Lions match against the Wallabies – what a pity that the Lions couldn’t hold onto that 15-9 lead that they had amassed – do I feel unhappy about the Wallabies winning – not one little bit – Go you Wallabies!!

We were then off for another long drive to Ely – the thing about driving in this country is that it is not the distance that you have to travel – it’s the time it takes to get anywhere – another few hours to finally get to Ely.

The purpose of the visit was to catch up with Dot and Gordon and to celebrate her 60th -  although her official birthday is not for a few weeks – a bit like the Queen celebrating hers in June when it really is in April – so here is to Queen Dorothea.

We had a great day with nibbles on the boat; drinks at the Cutter Inn and then dinner at The Boathouse Restaurant.

The scene of dinner
The food was well received and Dot had a wonderful time.

Glass in hand - the classic photo of Dot

Take a deep breath - luckily not too many candles or poor Dot
 may not have had enough breath to blow them all out

Gordon, Dot, Elly and Jenny

Diane with cake - "I like cake!"
The weather has been tremendous whilst we have been away and Sunday continued the trend – we had a bit of a walk around the market, a bit of a look at the Cathedral (a magnificent edifice and one we will return to visit again); we went over to say our goodbyes to Dot and Gordon and the others who had been there – we will catch up with D&G just as soon as we can.

Photos of Ely Cathedral

A visit to the markets - couldn't resist the bread and the cakes

Which bag do you like best dear?
The one in the middle of course!

The quintessential English river scene

Almost like sisters - down to the frames of their glasses
The most pressing appointment that we had for Sunday was to see Nick at Streethay Wharf and discuss diesel heaters.

We thought, yet again, that we had enough time to drive from Ely to near Litchfield, but we fell foul of the Grand Prix – the A14 blocked with traffic diverted onto it when other roads are not accessible, so that meant further travel along minor roads and further south to the M1, but we were still only 10 minutes late – not really a problem.

I am definitely getting older – Nick seemed like he was just out of high school, but he knew his stuff and seems to run a good business there – we discussed all of the options; viewed a couple of different boats to show what can be done.

It will be down to looking at Ferndale and finalise the details and the pricing – this we will do about mid next week – we will need to cruise down to there – you could see Diane smiling about the prospect of needing to take the boat out for a bit of cruising, but we know it will be enjoyable, so now we will sit down and work out an itinerary to encompass this short cruise into a longer one – we have a few ideas about it already.

We had been searching for some time to find a place where we could buy some solid oak timber pieces to replace some of the oak-faced MDF which had swelled up from water leaks around the windows – now that we had resealed the windows we were ready to replace this pieces – well, we found a place in Stoke who were able to do it for us – at a price, as is always the case – but we needed to pick them up on Monday morning whilst we still had the car; then it was off to pick up Banjo from the kennels – he seemed pretty happy to see us.

But this was not the extent of our Monday – a few weeks ago Howard and Janet had arranged to pick up some new ropes for us and they also arranged to have them delivered to us – we had agreed that when we had the car we would catch up with them – at that time it was estimated to be somewhere on the Llangollen Canal.

No problems really – they were coming up the Frankton Locks today and we arranged to meet them at the bottom and give them some help to work them through.

There was a return call from Howard to us, but I think he mixed up the numbers and thought he was ringing the Tesco home delivery service – “Can you pick up some bread, milk, cigarettes, oh and the paper on your way”

It must have been desperation stakes for Janet for the cigarettes and we know that Howard loves his paper, so it really was no problem.

At the services at the bottom of the locks we caught up with them and had some lunch, before heading up the flight.

As usual you always meet someone who thinks that they know more than the lockie – a boat coming down seemed to think that we should wait until they cleared the bottom lock – they had some type of fear that the pound would be drained by taking a lock full of water from a pound that was flowing over the bypass -  not likely.

Next it was a cruiser coming down and you could see a certain amount of fear in the eyes as the steel vessels hovered around it – bless them!

As well as Howard and Janet coming up, there was Betty and Dave also coming up – so two boats and 4 people locking them through – no delays at all.

Both boats moored up at the top on the 48 hour moorings that are there – the lockie had said no problems to that; but to the boater who arrived at about 2:30pm for the passage down at 12 noon tomorrow, he was a  bit concerned about the two boats mooring there – “what about all of the other boats going down tomorrow?”

Moor them on the other side – which is allocated for additional boats – you idiot.

He was so concerned that you could see him discussing it with the lockie who apparently gave him no joy.

Wake up and read the signs which say 48 hour mooring and stop being a dill.

from left to right - Dave, Betty, Howard (with Rosie), Janet and Ray
A pleasant trip back via Audlem where Diane wanted to visit the Mill, but I am glad to say that it was of some relief to see the boat; park the car; and get back on board – some 500 miles during the 4 days was enough for me and I will be happy to not be driving for quite a while.

How for do you go for the weekend?

No canal travel

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