Friday, 30 August 2013

We’re being stalked….

Monday 26th August to Tuesday 27th August 2013

The final run into Shardlow started off with quite cloudy conditions and even before we had set off there was the sight of some familiarity – who could that be – why surely not, but it was – nb Josephine with Jean and Andy at the helm.

This was the first time we had ever seen them up and awake so early in the morning.

Sadly we only had a chance to say g’day and not a lot more as it was difficult to moor up/breast up.

The rest of the morning was a few deep double locks with plenty of boats moving in both directions.

We did share the last few locks with a lovely couple – John and Dorothy on nb Haytack – they were off to rivers further north and we moored up ready for tomorrow.

Lunch was at The Malt Shovel – the only one of the three canalside pubs that we hadn’t yet tried - very nice it was indeed.

Later in the day after a bit of work we strolled further along past the floodgate lock and onto Derwent Mouth Lock – just to see what would be ahead of us in a few days time.

By the time we returned there was just a bit of time left for picking a few blackberries from the bushes which seemed to be laden down with them – the apple and blackberry crumble will be nice (hint my dearest!)

It is different for us here in that we are never sure what time businesses start in the morning and we were not sure when Lockgate Stoves would be open – so we reverted to assuming 8:30 to 9:00 am – we needed to reverse the boat back and as we were in the process of doing this Michael and Paul arrived – we moved the boat in beside the workshop and voila – we were ready.

I have to say that it was pleasing to see everything ready for us – the stove and accessories were all there – Michael and Paul were ready – after the first brew of the morning – and pretty soon they were into it.

The drip tray fitted; the stove looked excellent in position; even the diesel tank was a good fit – we had thought that the front of the locker may have needed to be removed but with just taking off one of the lockdown feet from the tank (the one at the back which couldn’t be accessed anyway) the tank went in like a dream without any trouble and any mess.

Within an hour they were drilling through the roof to fit the chimney section – it even looked like they knew what they were doing – which they did.

the hole through the roof being made

daylight coming through - now just to
get it perfect
Diane was busy making sure that no one made off with her cratch chair and that all of the weekend newspapers were completely read – of course that involved someone having to keep up a steady supply of coffee and tea – mmm, wonder who that would be then!

making herself comfortable
As the day continued everything started to take shape – it would be a bit absurd to think that all would go to plan – with the number of different  boats around and no 2 being the same, everyone of these installations would need its own little bit of tweaking – and ours was no different.

the stove and flue all in place
As mid-afternoon approached and everything under control a likely looking lad strolled up looking for a boat called “Gypsy Rover” – we knew exactly who this was – one of the pair who had been chasing, er I mean stalking us for a few days now – young Tone (nb Muchgigglin') had found us.

Diane and I checked with Paul and Michael if everything was OK – we were heading off to the pub for a little while.

In the grounds of The Navigation Inn we caught up with Tone’s much better half – Julie – and his sister Barbara.

Diane had not seen them both since April 2008 and I hadn’t seen them since July 2010 and it was absolutely wonderful to see them both again after all of this time.

In short, we had been on a hire boat for 3 full days, when they asked if we wanted to share the Hatton flight with them down into Warwick; share the locks with them – they in their brand new boat and us complete novices.

After the 3 hour trip down the flight we were no longer novices; there were no scratches on their boat not previously there; and we had made some wonderful friends – further enhanced by a few hours in the Cape of Good Hope.

This time we managed to get a few beers/wines down and relieved some of the tales from then as well as catch with how we were all doing.

Diane and Julie

Tone has an evil look in his eye

I cannot tell you what he said immediately after the previous shot

These are the very best times – catching up with people that you haven’t seen for so long.

Diane popped back to the boat to make sure all was well and after locking it all up, she returned with the news that all was finished and just the testing and start up to be done in the morning.

We had the key to get back into the yard and back aboard – we weren’t too late and agreed to catch up with Julie, Tone and Barbara again tomorrow.

6 Miles, 4 Locks

Totals: 2005 Miles, 1456 Locks, 63 Tunnels, 29 Lift Bridges, 141 Swing Bridges

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Cruisin' again

Sunday 18th August to Sunday 25th August 2013

After a couple of relaxing days back in the marina we needed to be off cruising again – we have a date in Shardlow.

But none of this could happen before Phil came in to finish the new hearth for the diesel stove to be set on – the very reason that we are off to Shardlow.

Have to say that we are very pleased with the end result.

Phil - just like a rabbit in the headlights - with his handiwork
It really isn’t any hardship whatsoever to be off cruising again, nor is it any come-down after Paris – it is just a pleasure to be out on the boat again and so soon!

There is a schedule to meet but not so tough that we can’t see more new places along the way. It has to be about mooring in different places whenever you travel a similar way as you have done before.

Our first new mooring was by bridge 70, from where we wandered down to the antique centre (they didn’t seem too interested in haggling over any prices so we kept our cash); The Wolseley Arms served up quite lovely food and a pleasant atmosphere.

Next, it was onto Fradley Junction, where we were due to meet up with Tone and Julie with whom we shared locks way back in 2008, when we were on a hire boat, but we missed them as we had gone down a lock and by the time we walked back up they had gone through heading to Great Haywood – never mind we will catch up with them later.

the puppy in Banjo coming out - yet again
After that it was onto Burton and here we called back into Shobnall Park – it is ideal for Banjo to run around a bit – it really doesn’t matter where you moor in Burton, it is a long way from the town centre. Here we needed to get a couple of windows cut – one as a replacement for the broken one and the other as a spare.
From here on it is lovely cruising and we didn’t need to travel especially long on any day to reach our end point in time, so Willington it was. We did try out the cafĂ© in Willington this time – very nice indeed.

As we had some time spare it was a chance to get the perspex out and recut some new double glazing for the front windows and install them – very pleased with the end result – we needed to remove one lot of curtains away from where the new stove will be and also to put the other curtains between the two layers of glass and perspex.

From the rest of the panels that we had we managed to get more pieces cut for the portholes; and installed the first layer of magnets – gee she keeps me busy, I think holiday mode is better.

We managed to catch up with Peter (nb Moonshadow) with whom we travelled back in March on our way towards Manchester –Meagan was back on the boat so we will have to catch up with her later on.

An interesting days cruising to Swarkestone on Sunday – Stenson Lock provided a break with about an hours wait – it is becoming increasingly annoying when people find it outside their ability to provide help at locks – only coming along when it is their turn to go into the lock – and sometimes only when they are actually in the lock – so we are adopting a more “bu___r them” attitude – we will always go down to the lock to help those that are ready to help others – as for those who don’t we simply walk away from the lock and leave them to it.

Anyway, apart from that, we found a nice mooring at Swarkestone and wandered down to The Crewe and Harpur for lunch – about average for a gastro pub; Diane then thought it would be nice to follow the public footpath back to Barrow Upon Trent and see the pub there.

suviving the nettles on our walk

in the clear(ing)
Public footpath, one might say “how hard can that be?” – the shoulder high nettles were one thing, the wrong path could be another, the field mice might be something else again – but all-in-all it was a pleasant walk – we found the next village and the pub and rested enough to return for further relaxing.

34 Miles, 19 Locks, 1 Tunnel

Totals: 1995 Miles, 1451 Locks, 63 Tunnels, 29 Lift Bridges, 141 Swing Bridge

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Paris - Final Part - General

These are just some general photos that we have taken to further enhance the
memories of Paris that we have

Paris Part 4 - Arc d'Triumph

Memorials to the fallen in war are always poignant and this is much the same.

But it also serves as a focus for tourists not just as a memorial but for the architecture and the views from the top of the 244 step climb.

the clib was by sprial staircase - up and down

Monday, 19 August 2013

Paris - Part 3 - not a hunchback in sight

How did we handle the language?

We made sure that we did not adopt the Joey Barton methodology - whom we
think had watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail just a few too many times
You just cannot speak english in a ridiculously French accent and expect that to
be fluent in this lovely language.

We managed to order coffee, lunch and make sure that the locals knew that we were
Australian and not English - and with that they accepted us with no problems at all

We spent our last morning at Notre Dame, but declined the few steps up to the
top of the tower

Paris - Part 2 - a place close to home

We can't go too far without finding a canal and it was too true for Paris as well
- here we found the Canal de Saint Martin which began at the
Port de Plaisancy de Paris basin

the commencement of the canal proper - the tunnel entrance

and the tunnel exit - straight into a staircase lock

the operationwas controlled b the lockkeeper - sitting comfortably
the small building on the left

the swing bridge was also controlled remotely by the lockkeeper

Ahhh Paris - Part 1 - La Tour Eiffel

We have had such a wonderful time in Paris last week that I am not going to
spend too many words on writing about it - hopefully the photos will bear
witness to how we found this lovely city.

It was a terrific way to celebrate 30years of marriage -