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

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