Monday, 10 March 2014

Cruising in the sun

Monday 3rd March to Saturday 8th March 2014

Come Monday morning and come the sun – a beautiful day was in store of all of us – being a workday of course I was busy creating a budget for someone to spend; but the LOTB (Lady of the boat) was desirous of doing a bit of cruising and after some lengthy time of repeating the same question (read as nagging) my resistance was worn out and I gave in.

The fact that she had prepared the boat for getting away made it a fait accompli and suddenly we were cruising out of the marina under a glorious sun.

For quite a while now we have watched with a little bit of chuckling as people we know have decided to install battery management systems and then promptly become obsessive about checking on their power usage – wanting lights to be turned off and electrical devices not to be used too much – and reading the meter(s) rather than a good book.

We have stated that we would not follow down that path, preferring to use our single voltmeter to gauge our usage and our reserves.

It is a sad indictment on the modern world and my lack willpower that I have to advise that since the installation of the new batteries we now find ourselves with a brand new system to check on the power usage and it also makes sure that any appliances not being used are switched off – completely and fully integrated and automatic.

There is even a voice modulated option which we have incorporated into the system.

I am of course talking about Diane.

So I guess we have saved money in the process, which will be put towards the purchase of a hearing aid.

We didn’t go far – our intention was the Great Haywood would be the limit and after a night at Ingestre we made it to the junction; turning the boat under the bridge and then reversed back down past 3 boats to moor up above Haywood lock which had been locked whilst the pound was empty which had allowed work on Colwich Lock.

Blue skies, cool air, pure enjoyment
It wasn’t long before we were joined by Lynn and Phil) nb Valentine who moored directly behind us.

A visit to the farm shop and then off to The Clifford Arms – really dog friendly and both Banjo and Freddie settled down with treats from behind the bar.

At Great Haywood - Claire (Foxglove), Diane and Julie (Damper Van)
enjoying the sunshine
Prior arrangements had been made for lunch with the usual suspects at a Chinese buffet – The Golden Orient – if you get the chance go there –food was very good.

There were 9 of there in total – Paul, Elaine, Dot, Heather, Roly and Bev as well as the two of us. Thanks to P&E for picking us up.

Dot had instructed poor Gordon to stay behind to finish the painting of the boat, which received appropriate inspection after the meal – by golly we were full after eating – the old adage of eating chinese and you’re hungry an hour later was thrown out of the window. We didn’t need any further sustenance that night.

Take a bow Gordon - almost done
Gordon had passed inspection and was in the home straight as far as finishing it all.

Thursday, in Diane’s mind was afternoon tea day, which meant that we would be cruising back as far as Sandon for a visit to The Dog & Doublet – still good value and not much for dinner (again).

Mine, mine, all mine..
Sandon is a lovely spot to moor up for us – we enjoy the quiet as well as the food and we slept well despite the 2’waves – and just an hour to get back to the marina, which was undertaken the following morning despite the rain and wind – why cruise under these conditions? – the LOTB needed to be back so that she could get ready and then catch the bus into Stafford – the twins were meeting up again.

Sue and Andy arrived back from house-sitting and so early doors was arranged – Roly joined them on the walk into Stone – they did survive the trip without the benefit of the car, which has gone home.

We all managed to walk safely back towards home – needing just the one stop at The Three Crowns to ease the thirst.

Saturday arrived and we were off to Stafford for the market, which we had not been to before – the thought process involved thinking that a larger town meant a larger market – wrong – it was quite smaller than the monthly Stone farmers market.

We had come in by bus – there was some explanation needed for Sue and Andy on what buses were and how they worked – no, they are not cars and although someone drives you they are not taxis – we think that they will eventually get used to them.

Luckily not our bus

Hold on Andy - this is public transport
Dot and Gordon joined us and after coffee and another walk around the stalls, during which time D&D found two which sold Black Beer and Raisin wine (the backpack became a bit heavier as a result of this) we all decided on lunch at The Picture House (the Wetherspoons at the old cinema).

They had the football on the large screen and a quick chat to the bar manager gave a positive response to changing to the 6 nations rugby when it was due to start.

three wise ???'s

Raise your glasses fellas..
A no-brainer after that – we all stayed to watch Ireland win (Dot was happy) and then see France win over Scotland. A very pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Not wishing to cause too much stress for S&A, we all decided that a taxi would be best for the return journey - Andy was obviously thinking of the presents the following day would bring – Happy Birthday Andy – hope you had a good one.

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