When we woke on Tuesday morning the first thoughts were "What is it like outside?" - to which we saw lovely rippling water - great no ice, let's get moving.
So breakfast was prepared - I with my cereal, Gordon wanting only some toast - well it would have been toast but we couldn't light the griller - it sounded as though the gas wasn't coming through for either the griller or oven - the hob was working and this was an all-in-one stove.
The oven was working the previous evening, the spark was sparking; the gas was not there; so it was toast without the toasting effect. (We now suspect it related to the power - as everything later worked after we had run the engine)
Out we were to get the boat ready to depart and wait for it to become light enough to move, so I decided to walk along a bit just to check it out - mmm a bit of ice further on and that continued - when I returned to the boat I could see that the overhanging trees obviously created a covered area and hence no ice.
We decided to press forward anyway and at first light, the engine was started and engaged - all went exceedingly well for the first 3/4 of a mile - well the only 3/4 of a mile and then we stopped.
We had sliced through some thin ice but this gave way to ice that was too thick - let's moor up and wait for the sun and/or another boat to do the heavy work.
At 12:20pm our ears pricked up to recognisable sounds of a diesel engine - a marinised diesel engine - and then the sight of a boat coming towards us from the direction of
Engine on; warp speed engaged; ice broken in front - we were off - perhaps not quite at warp speed but certainly better than being stopped.
A little further on, another boat approaching - this one was very familiar - it was Mike and Charlotte on nb Isobella - I think Mike finally recognised us after he passed.
The cruising was exhausting as the ice made steering difficult on the turns; moored boats slowed down any momentum that was gained and on two occasions we met oncoming boats with moored boats - the broken ice channel then had to be widened.
All-in-all we were glad to reach
After the third one neither of us felt much like cooking so we stayed and had dinner there.
The following morning arrived and there was no such false hope as there had been the previous day - we could see the ice.
Unlike the previous day we knew that we couldn't afford a second day of waiting for a boat to come our way - by day's end it was the correct call, we didn't pass another boat.
We would have to be our own ice-breaker; so we put the clip-on ice-breaking attachment onto the bow of the boat - namely Gordon with a pole - and we gently eased out - very slowly at first and careful not to hit any other boat.
Across the way was nb Waiouru - only Jan on board this morning, so had a short chat with her - Tom was expected back later in the day.
We crept along gently breaking through the ice which in places was thinner than others. Under the bridges was the best - all water, no ice at all.
Progress was down to about 2mph, which of course is better than sitting still.
Finally at Anstey, we hit broken ice - there was a boat ahead of us breaking it for us - amazingly this coincided with Gordon taking over at the helm.
By the time we were at the junction we had caught up with a boat ahead, but they weren't the ice-breakers - a boat even in front of them and once on the Coventry (the other boat had winded to head back again), we found that the ice had started to reform, but the channel could be seen and it was the way we headed.
As we were heading further northward, the time was heading further the way of setting sun - later.
Not wishing to moor up too soon we continued, with tunnel light ablaze, and finally we were dazzled by the bright lights of The Anchor Inn and friendly moorings.
In what will surely become a tradition for this trip, we headed off to the pub for a pint or two (or three) - simply to relax after an even longer day.
This time however we did return to the boat for dinner.
As I am writing this blog - now at about 10pm - there have been two boats just pass by within minutes of each other - moving whilst the ice is broken.
Weather reports are saying a minimum of 6C overnight and up to 12C tomorrow - we have already set ourselves for a 7:30am start and a finish as late as possible - don't even care about any rain - just no ice. Today's effort was 22 miles and 1 lock; Tuesday : 9 miles and 3 locks
We would also like to wish everyone a Very Happy New Year - especially our lovely wives - Diane and Dot - whom we shall see again next year (2015)