Thursday, 21 May 2015

It's a bit of Catch-up

Sunday 17th May to Wednesday 20th May 2015

My my, I have been a bit slack in not writing about what we have been doing - I plead guilty, your honour, but with extenuating circumstances.

Sunday was nominated as "work-on-the-boat-day"because there were a few things that needed attention - most notably there was a change of oil now due (only a few hours over) and with the waters here in Paddington Basin being so clear we could see that the prop had some rubbish wrapped around it.

The secret to doing some of this stuff is the frame of mind and once ready it is vital to strike quickly before you wake up and find that you are actually doing it.

So a change into the overalls and boots; clear the engine board and lift it up; start the engine to warm the oil up; get out the new oil, new filters, old empty bottles and the rest of the stuff.

Problem then is that whilst waiting for the oil to warm up, there is a high chance of being side tracked by almost anything.
Despite my deep contemplation of absolutely not much at all, there was some loud "doof-doof" going past and some yahoo on the back yelling out.
Awaking from the meditation, I realised that I recognised that voice and looking up, I recognised the boat and the "yahoo".

Tone and Julie on nb MuchGigglin' had arrived - we had been expecting them but I had sent an email to advise that Monday would be a good day to get a spot - not to worry and in keeping with the seeming current rules of the basin, they breasted up next to us.

We chatted for a bit but I still needed to get the oil change done - so I carried on with that whilst they looked after tying up and some guests that they had onboard.

With oil changed there is always the problem of where to get rid of it - not just this oil change but I still had the receipts of the last one. No problem, Tone asked that if we didn't want it he would use it in his engine - as fuel - gotta love a Russell Newbury engine.

We hadn't seen them for almost 2 years, but as usual it was just like last week.

We all cleaned up; the guests were ready to leave for the station and head their way back home; Diane and I had already planned to go to The Dickens to see the ManUnited v Arsenal game - so it was four for the pub.
Julie and Diane

Tone and I 

We saw some of the game but just were so happy to see them both and catch up one everything that the match was secondary.

So a few more drinks before heading back to the boats - they will be here for the week as will we so there is a few more times of this to come.
Diane in her own manner was able to coax Tone into seeing about the possibility of a passage on the Thames from Limehouse to Brentford; for me, I don't like to impose and was happy to try and change the subject.

The following morning it was back to work time - having enjoyed a week off, it was now well and truly catch up time so I had a very busy morning and early afternoon; Diane busied herself, but later in the afternoon the four of us headed out again for another pub - this time we found The Royal Exchange and we have been there a few times since - a very nice little pub with character (and characters).
the basin is pretty full -in fact overfull 

breasting up everywhere and in the middle at the end it is even triple breasting

One other reason why I was so busy on Monday, was that Tuesday had been marked for me to head up to Manchester to see the lawyer about my application for Indefinite Leave to Remain, so I needed to get ahead.
Tickets had already been purchased and after more work in the morning we both walked to Paddington Station - I got off at Euston and Diane continued on to do still more London exploring - eventually getting a couple more Monopoly place names; visited King's Cross station and the famous Platform 9 and 3/4 (from Harry Potter); after that she made it to the British Museum.
catering for the Harry Potter brigade - there is part of that
in all of us

and the merchandising

Whilst she was having fun I was gruelling it out to Manchester; going over the papers and forms with the lawyer; signing documents; paying even more money; double checking on everything and finally we were both satisfied with it all and I was relieved - not anywhere as much as when the whole thing is completely over and I have the final card to stay in the country - hopefully within the next 3 months.
Not knowing how long the paperwork would take, we had booked a later train and so there was nothing much to do but wait for it - fortunately I had the laptop and the work notes came out and a good way to while away a few hours and achieve something as well.
More Shaun the sheep, with some crazy woman

and the merchandising - this time all going to charity

a Candy-BAA

the British Museum

Diane does love her Egyptology, so it was
a bee-line to there

The Rosetta Stone

Finally back in London and then to the boat, I dropped the backpack on the boat and headed up to a restaurant on the basin called SeeSushi where the other three had a table and had managed starters and were waiting for my arrival which was about the right timing.
The food was pretty good and reasonably priced - drinks were as expected, on the dearer side, but I cannot go past spending sometime with these guys - they were the ones that really started our education in the ways of the canals and we just enjoy their company so much - that is when we can get together.
The question of the Thames trip was finally resolved and we will be all locking out of Limehouse Lock on Saturday morning at around 9 am and heading up towards Brentford where we will need to moor up on the river pontoons until the lock opens sometime around 5 pm - there is a pub just nearby so we have that sorted as well.

Wednesday was a chance for a return back to normality - well at least a bit; the application was now being processed by the lawyer with everything in her possession and she was satisfied with the level of documentation; the rush of work from being away for a week was levelling out; the plans for the next 3-4 days had been resolved - yes, back to normal.

There will always be a degree of spontaneity with being on a boat travelling but sometimes it is nice to have a reasonably normal day,and in the light of the last few it was a nice change - just for a day or so before we move further on to unchartered waters.

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