Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Plan B is now Plan A

Monday 28th  April to Tuesday 29th 2014

Lovely to see the sun again as we upped "pins" (so to speak - we were on chains); leaving our departure late enough to make sure that Jim was up and out of bed after his morning coffee.

Diane had one last go at installing Viber onto Joan's iPad - no luck.

So after goodbyes alround we continued our northward heading - passing through Burton this time without stopping - we didn't need any supplies this time - the usual moorings at Shobnall Fields were completely empty - not seen that before.

Diane had volunteered to do Dallow Lock - a lady approaching from the opposite direction gave help - "Are you Sheila?" "Yes" came the reply.

Sanity Again was approaching from below - now to two Australians used to the stereo-typical comments of numerous English - the names Sheila and Bruce arise all of the time - but here are an English couple who some would think had been transposed to the other side of the world.

Needless to say, Diane did have a chance to have a bit of a chat at the lock - no doubt we will see you both again soon enough.

Closer to Willington we came up behind a boat travelling on the slower side, but not so slow that it was any inconvenience. We simply slowed a little and enjoyed more of the sun and the countryside.

We met up with them at the services at Willington - breasted up alongside as they watered up - we only had rubbish and the cassette to concern us.

Chatting to them (sorry no names - just the boat name nb Kyozen) - a young couple - everyone looks young to us these days - they live aboard and are self-employed (repair and fix Land Rovers) and simply love the lifestyle - next time we will get names.

With everything done we were off but only as far as Stenson (above the lock) - that's enough for the day.

As we near a destination, Diane is keenly looking for a walk somewhere that will engage us. Spotting a bloke walking along a path on the non-towpath side, she saw a public footpath heading up towards the village of Findern - haven't been there before, so we headed off after mooring up.

Following a combination of the OS in Nicholsons, the phone maps and public footpath arrows we made it to the village.
1 Church, 1 store (with PO), 1 investment/finance company, 1 bus stop, 2 hairdressers.
Findern church in the background

This water pump was used up until the 1930's
when the village finally had mains water put in

We saw it all in 5 minutes, but it was a peaceful little place with just a bit of road noise from the nearby A50.

The walk back to the boat was far easier - it was essentially downhill all of the way.

Tuesday was not an early start, but we were making for Shardlow today.

Just after entering Stenson Lock and had opened the paddles to start going down, a boat was coming near to the lock - so a quick about turn and lower gate paddles back down and refill the lock - 2 boats to share the locking - he was a single-hander - no problems, no extra work to do really, but the boats are more stable in the lock with 2 boats there.

We shared the locks all of the way to Shardlow and forgot to get his name, the name of his dog, or the name of his boat - gee Diane was really slack about that.

I think Diane was more interested in keeping a lookout for Irene and Ian on nb Free Spirit who were on their way towards us.

Coming along to Swarkestone Lock, Diane signalled that there were boats coming up - so I hung back, just sitting alongside the moored-up boats waiting (as one does) - gates open up but not a lot of movement initially - Diane was chatting away, then I realised that it was Irene and Ian, as I found out a few minutes later - hellos and immediate goodbyes - seems to be the boating way.

In the meantime the second was eager to move in to moor up for water, so an exchange of hand signals and we all knew what was going on.

Look - we made it!!

Finally moored up at Shardlow, there were two things to do before anything else - pop over to Lockgate Marine to pickup some cleaning tablets for the Reflecs - whilst the doors were open - hard to catch them like that - bit of a chat with Paul; then to Millar Marine the chandlery for a new soft rope - got the last one at a reduced price.

It didn't take too much discussion on the way back about detouring via The Navigation Inn for a late lunch - Diane had had enough of salads for a few days - she has been good with cutting out the rubbish food and upping the exercise - so a treat.

So here we sit tonight having enjoyed lunch and not keen or eager to have anything else to eat.

The only other thing that we have done over the last couple of days is agree to abandon our intention of cruising the North-East rivers and canals due to the continued closure of Holme Lock in Nottingham - even if it was to reopen on May 16th it leaves us short of time to do it justice - so that will be next year.

Our plans now are to head down the Leicester line and visit Crick - mooring and tickets organised and with Andy and Sue (nb Festina Lente) doing the same there is a feeling that there will be a few late nights awaiting.

After that it will be off to Birmingham to discover more of the BCN; after which we will depart via the Wolverhampton flight and cruise the Shroppie at a more leisurely pace than we did when we had a hire boat 6 years ago. After that we will see what happens.

That was Plan B for the year but it is now Plan A.

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