The weather has continued to be brilliant; must be something about being down here in the south - we should have come down here a year or so ago, but then we would not have wanted to miss what we have done and everyone we have been with.
It is now time for us to spend plenty of time with all of the relatives and we have had two great days of cruising with everyone.
|She did find time to relax and enjoy the sunshine|
Tuesday was a bit of a late start - about 4pm - Maggie and Paddy along with Paddy's nephewThomas (Tom) and Sandra - all the way from
We cruised down through 3 locks and a couple of miles and returned, but with the speed we were going it was a 2 and 1/2hour trip and everyone had a wonderful time.
|from left - Sandra, Paddy, Tom (at the helm), Maggie and yours truly|
After that it was time for a family dinner - fortunately a table had been booked at the nearby Harvester and we were joined by Phil, Nikki, Mia and Jess, as well as a late appearance by Paddy's brother (Tom's uncle) John.
|Phil doing his "I'm a little teapot" routine|
|Tom, Johnny and Sandra|
|Paddy with the usual prop in hand|
Tom and Sandra were off in the morning on further travels of their 4-5 week trip away - I am sure that we will catch up with them back in
Wednesday was another warm day - reaching about 20C. We weren't due for cruising until somewhere after 2pm so it was work in the morning - Diane spent it polishing the port side of the boat and chatting away to the multitude of towpath users.
We then winded the boat - the canal here was wide enough that we couldjust swing it around.
Diane pushed it out and then grabbed the stern rope and simply pulled it around - even though the engine was not engaged there was sufficient "horse"power toget the job done.
|Saving on diesel - chaff bag and sugar cubes at the ready|
We went down to the waterpoint to fill the tank - there was a bit of a wait as a hire-boat were doing the same as we intended.
I went down to have a chat with the crew of the boat - a family of five - turned out that the older male was a chap called Tom Hodgkinson, who introduced himself as a journalist with The Times doing a story on how to spend a week on a narrowboat, also met partner Victoria and the kids - Lyla, Arthur and Henry.
|Tom Hodgkinson not being too idle with the boat|
Just Googled Tom and found a lot of background information about him.
So looking forward to how he saw the week - article to appear in The Times travel supplement in a Saturday edition to come.
We stopped below the lock to await today's crew - Nikki, Mia, Jess and Phil.
At a little after 3pm we headed off and made it down through Batchworth lock, winded and then started back from whence we came. We did however make use of the facilities at the lock - rubbish bins (200 metres down the way and an Elsan point).
Our path crossed again with the Hodgkinson clan as we were heading back slowly.
The girls and indeed Phil and Nikki were really enjoying the slow pace of the cuising and even the work at the locks.
|Oi! You're supposed to be helping - not having a chat|
|Looks a bit like Lock Zen|
|We continue to see unusual styles|
Our only down side for the day was a dutch barge (older style and in need of some TLC) seemed to be having some propulsion problems, but rather than move over to offer us the option to pass them, they instead steered a course directly down the middle at such a slow speed.
It reached a farcical stage that their passage through the hole for Bridge 169 was stopped - right in the middle of the bridge hole - all three crew hopped off to try and pull the boat (25 tonne plus) through - they weren't going anywhere at all.
|Nowhere for us to go - don't want to see such selfishness again|
Waiting and waiting for them to move was not such a painful experience for us as it was for them - they were the ones straining, but their lack of any consideration for fellow travellers was undeniably rude, by anyone's standards.
Anyway they eventually got it tomove and started to pull/propel the boat into a mooring spot immediately after the bridge; we motored past them, close enough to just miss but also hear a clanky sounding engine - their problem - no acknowledgement/apology from them; no care for their predicament from us and certainly no acknowledgement of their pesence either - their's was a position that, given their actions, I would have no sympathy for.
One more lock was negotiated and we moored up - Phil and Nikki, had taken off to pick up something to eat from a nearby chippy.
We all enjoyed the sustenance and a last chance to chat for the day - they did have a great day and eager for a return trip - the invitation is open.
Two thoroughly enjoyable days of cruises with the people that we wanted to be with; two glorious days to bask in; the same stretch for most of the time but different company means different appreciation.
8 Miles, 13 Locks
YTD: 273 Miles, 168 Locks, 6 Tunnels, 2
Totals: 3167 Miles, 2289 Locks, 104 Tunnels, 36