Sunday, 6 August 2017

Solo again

Thursday 19th July to Sunday 6th August 2017

I have been slowly making my way eastwards from Lemonroyd Marina; there has been a bit of time spent in Castleford and since then it has been a steady pace to Keadby where we (the boat and I) sit and contemplate more than our navels.

The flight back from Australia was not particularly enjoyable – I have made a few of these flight on my own but this was pretty miserable – not only leaving Diane behind which has always been hard when we have had to be separated but also the prospect of seeing friends and saying au revoir to them; the thought of having to sort out everything on and in the boat – there is/was a massive amount of stuff that we have collected and stored during our time afloat.
They say that with not a lot of space we do become inventive of how we manage to find places to poke things away and believe me we certainly have become inventive; but not everything will make the journey home and a great many bags of things (mainly clothes and books) were dropped off to charity shops in the Castleford town centre – hence the longer time spent there.
I never tire of seeing herons around and this fellow has been around the front
of the boat for over a week
I did manage a train trip over to Manchester to have a day out catching up with Diane’s cousin Marnie and her husband Leigh – they are over here from Australia for a year – a gap year – Marnie is of Welsh origin and Leigh is originally from around the greater Manchester area.
Leigh and Marnie - A bloody good day catching up and looking forward
to getting together back in Australia
We basically found a pub and had a great day talking about all sorts of things – things that they wanted to do; advice that I could pass on to them – but after about almost 7 hours of this I realised that I needed to get the train back to Leeds and then Castleford – a 2 hour trip – so said my goodbyes and made the train with a few minutes to spare; got to Leeds quite late and found out that the train to Wakefield was the last one for the night – so made that with just 3 minutes to spare – a bit of luck there or I would have been stuck in Leeds on a Saturday night – probably never going to be my idea of fun.

But just when you think that you are on top of it all, there are all of the craft things that Diane was involved with; all of the little bits and pieces that you kept (just in case); I am amazed at what I have found that we still had, and slightly amazed at where we stored things that we couldn’t find.

My intent is to travel back up the tidal Trent, through Nottingham and make it back onto the non-tidal Trent as a first step (that could also be a last step). To accomplish this our good friend Paul Macy has agreed to be crew for me as we battle the wild and untamed Trent – battling monsters, evil pirates and the storms – well that might be a bit much – at least we will mainly have the incoming tide pushing us along.
He will join me tomorrow along with the two boys – Bombo and Sammie – and the four of us will expand on Jerome K. Jeromes famous travelogue and we will be Four Men in a Boat (two men and two dogs in a boat might be more accurate).

The pantry is reasonably well stocked – that is another thing that has to be sorted out and apart from some staples, the meals will be aimed at reducing the stock in the cupboards and fridge/freezer.
There is also the matter of some quantity of illegal contraband in the form of bottles and cans of ales, lagers, Guinness and red wine that will also need careful reduction – I am blaming Diane for allowing this to become the problem that it now is – truly glad that Paul was on hand to sacrifice his time for the greater good; such a true friend – actually he said ‘YES’ first before other volunteers could do so.

Interestingly the journey from Castleford to Keadby has been largely uneventful – not even the lift bridges and swing bridges presenting a problem for a single hander – all have mooring bollards on the side of the navigation where the controls for the bridge operation are found.
The locks have been just as good – most were the large locks no longer used by the big commercial traffic that has disappeared, but I do like an electronic control box which does everything for you – that is, when they work.
At the junction at Knottingley - the visitor moorings are full but this time
there is no rubbish around

Just peaceful cruising

The Exol Pride on its way to Goole from Rotherham - perhaps not a bad
place to meet - at least it was going slow as it passed.
Coming into Thorne (on Friday) and the boater in front had phoned CaRT to advise that the lock was not working – sure enough, after an hour wait, the CaRT man was able to say that one of the sensors was not working at all, but he locked us through with the standby over-ride system. This had been the only problem encountered with the locks.

At the last swing bridge for Friday, I decided that just for fun, I might crash my leg into one of the foot pegs below the seats at the back of the boat – it took a bit of skin off the leg and a lump the size of half a tennis ball came up – at least when I told Diane about it later she knew that I had been taking my aspirin – the thinner blood meant that this would happen.
That is NOT my knee - the lump that appear after a bit of an innocuous

The first aid kit in the freezer (aka the bag of frozen peas) helped to ease it a bit, but putting my leg down to walk was a bit painful as the blood rushed downwards – it was decidedly better the next day, but still painful to press on.
Sunrise on Saturday morning - and it was a nice day to go along with it
As anyone who has come into or left via Keadby Lock can attest, there is a sliding rail bridge just west of Keadby Lock – you approach from either direction and wait for the signalman (or is it signalperson) to wave you to come through, at which point the rail bridge slides out of the way.

Saturday: after getting through Vazons swing bridge, I moored to wait for the call – a train came through about 2 minutes after I had moored; then waited; and waited; and waited; and waited; another local train after 18 minutes –mmm I thought “there had been plenty of time ther for me to get through; but I waited some more; then two freight trains came at the same time (different directions and tracks); then I waited – after 45 minutes I had had enough and walked over the swing bridge, down the dirt road to the signal box.
I had to call out to make the person inside that I was there –
This young fellow pokes his head out of the window, looking all of about 17 and asks “are you waiting to come through?” – classic, I thought – he looked like he might have been the work experience kid
“No, I am here for my good looks – 45 minutes I have been waiting, what are you doing?”
“I’ve been having my breakfast, I’ll go and check the computer to see when I can get you through”
No reply after that, just the siren to not use the crossing and suddenly the bridge starts to move back – I guess that means that I can go.
I wasn’t about to be rushing back to the boat, so at my normal pace (which today was slow due to the gammy leg) I set off – about 200 metres in all, but finally got through – bloody kid!!

So now I am moored up at Keadby; there are still plenty of things to do as there are with any boat and I have found more hiding places – at least the bins here are only half full.
Sunrise on Sunday morning - I may be developing a theme here

a panorama of the Trent - the white building on the right is the control tower for the lockkeeper

The weather has largely been not too bad; of course for anyone expecting an English summer to have sun and warmth and no rain then forget it; it has been a lot better here than further south from the reports that I hear.

40 Miles, 7 Locks, 4 Lift Bridges, 11 Swing Bridges
YTD:  653 miles (1051 km), 327 Locks, 19 Tunnels, 13 Lift Bridges, 30 Swing Bridges

Total: 5285 Miles (8505 km), 3478 Locks, 143 Tunnels, 79 Lift Bridges, 202 Swing Bridges


  1. Hi Ray,
    Such valour on Paul's part to assist. It'll be a struggle for him, but he's man enough to take it on!
    That bruised leg looked very painful - was there any arnica cream in any nook or cranny on the boat? if yes, smother it on the wound.
    The weather further south (around Nantwich and its environs) has been and continues to be pants! Although we have had quite a bit of sun yesterday and Saturday, it also rained both days. David just noted that he cannot remember the last time it was fine for the whole day ...
    Travel safely, chaps.
    Marilyn xx

    1. Hi to you both, I didn't apply any ointment, simply a stocking that I use on aeroplane flights for DVT and it helped to contain everything and reduce the swelling within a couple of days; my nurse was happy with the self-prescribed treatment so I was glad to keep her happy but thanks for your thoughts and suggestion.
      Apart from Tuesday 1st August when it bucketed down all day whilst we were moving, we have had dry weather - not always brilliant but a fair share of sun has been out and about


  2. Sorry to hear about your current enforced change in plans, also sorry to have missed you at Knottingley (we are tucked in behind the green boat in your photo of the visitor moorings). Have a good trip up the Trent and good luck for the future. John & Julia nb RUNE

    1. Now that was a pity that we missed each other - it would have been lovely to catch up with the two of you again


  3. hi Ray
    I will be in Keady by Sunday of this jeek-presume you have mo bed on?

    1. Sorry Richard, we left Keadby on Tuesday 8th in all of the rain - we had a schedule to keep to for Paul's sake; I am in Nottingham at the moment until this Sunday