Thursday, 17 August 2017

Visitors and crew arrive

Monday 7th August to Saturday 12th August 2017

Just enough time in the morning to get the boat in some semblance of order before it was time to hike it down to the train station and meet Paul and the boys as they alighted from the Sheffield non-express.
The old train spotter that he his, he was keen to tell me about the stations and the track and the trains themselves – at least that was the case until I managed to let out a stifled yawn !!

It was great to have Paul visit and to be able to catch up with him even for the few days that we would have together – it was far different to the original plans that we had envisaged earlier in the year when he would take control for a couple of weeks on the Lancaster Canal – solo – whilst Diane and I were due to tour around Scotland in the Jaguar – sadly it was just not to be.

Paul would have to content himself with a few days on the tidal Trent and put up with yours truly.

The first shock that he had was that the lockout onto the river would be at 6am the following morning; the second was that it was due to rain all day.
Like a trooper – a very asleep one at that – Paul was up not long after 5am – a time for which he was more akin to arriving back rather than getting up – and we were ready to go by 6am.
As it normally ends up, the weather was a bit windy but dry; the clouds approaching were bringing the promise of meeting the forecast and sure enough about 30 minutes into it the first drops appeared and the tempo increased until it was more than a drizzle and not quite a downpour – either way we were pretty much wet within the hour – no real point in doing anything about it, we would remain that way until we moored up at Torksey.
For Paul though, remembering that he had not been on this river before, it was definitely different to what he had experienced here – the flow was pushing us along and in 4½  hours we arrived at Torksey and moored up at the pontoons – it was also a chance to get inside for a hot shower which was heaven sent.

The rain continued and even the possibility of a visit to the White Swan after 4pm (when it opens on Mondays) could not tempt either of us to venture outside – the boat was warm (and dry) – the mykuni had done its job – so a drink and then dinner and a relatively early night at 10pm.

The day before, I had been to see the lock keeper about passage to Cromwell Lock – indication was about 9:15, so we prepared ourselves for that – this was a day to sleep in – obviously compared to the previous day, but more importantly it was a dry day – no rain, no drizzle, no anything.

At the appointed time we set off and we had a better chance to enjoy the trip; taking it in turns for tea/coffee duties and steering, the time to Cromwell went fairly quickly.
It was obvious that the effects of the tide were substantially less this far upstream and after the flow reached a slack point, there was virtually no further movement at all – passing through Cromwell Lock with 4 other boats (all cruisers) was not so bad, but each of the remaining locks for the day, until we reached and moored in Newark, were all slow filling and we spent a long time simply passing through the locks.
The water point at Newark Nether Lock was only available in the lock -
so under the Lock Keepers instructions we moored in the lock and filled
the water tank

a panoramic view of the lock

There were perhaps a half dozen of these small hut just after the lock - maybe
for the fisherman

Once moored in Newark, Paul needed to take the dogs for a walk to do their thing and also to check out the drinking and dining options for later on – we had decided that it would be nice to have a drink and eat off the boat.

One important job that we had was to be ready for a delivery of packing boxes – after all I still have a job to get all of the things packed that would head back to Australia – the people at Pack and Send delivered the boxes to just about where the boat was moored; I managed to be able to store them under the mattress (which raised the bed up quite substantially - almost touching the roof) - after that we headed out.

First up was the bar for the micro brewery Just Beer – which was rather nice and then after that we avoided what Paul was saying was the gay bar (but really wasn’t), and headed around the corner to a lovely pub (whose name I cannot remember).
The ladies on the next table recommended the pizza, which was what we had fancied anyway (the pizzas) and a couple of pints and it was a lovely night.

Now that we were on the canalised part of the river, the situation was very different and heading off times were self-imposed and not tide-dependent.
After walking the dogs for a bit and enjoying a lovely morning coffee we finally moved off, through Newark Lock and beyond.

Paul using the zoom in facility - that is, walk up closer 

Market Square Newark

Heading off - approaching Newark Town Lock

Again today the locks were all slow filling and this coupled with a desire to hope for Nottingham we pushed ourselves a bit longer than perhaps we should.

It is a lovely trip through this part of the country, but after 9 hours on the go (and it had been a rather warm day as well), we finally moored up at County Steps very much exhausted and not at all interested in cooking – in fact not much interested in eating – but we could handle a drink or two – course of action – head over to The Brewhouse and Kitchen – just on Trent Bridge.
Another micro brewery – we sampled a couple which were to our taste – then, as often happens – a lovely plate of nachos will never go astray.
Back to the boat, both knackered, both reasonably quick to bed and we slept through.

We had decided the previous night, that rather than try to move on and for Paul to then retrieve his car, which had been left with Kevin Too, he would simply leave from Nottingham and come back for the dogs and all his gear before making the trip up to Macclesfield, where he would be for the weekend to catch up with Elaine’s family and others that he needed to see – that all went well and I was a bit sad to see Paul depart – it had been a great few days and I really enjoyed the company and just being able to chat away, but Paul needed to be where he needed to be – and I had things to do.

Not long after, just as I was about to start paintng, nb Inca turned up – Carolyn and Gary aboard with grand-daughter Abbey (Curley to some) – they had been just a bit further along on the canal and decided to come down. With the wind blowing quite hard, Gary did a very good job of getting the boat in without any fuss; tied up; and ready to relax.
Approaching and then a perfectly executed mooring up.

We talked a bit – well for quite a while – and with their thought of being here for at least a couple of nights, we would talk some more – and I could get to the painting.

Way back at Newark Lock, some days earlier, the lockie advised that it we were in Nottingham on Friday night there would be a T20 cricket match, if we fancied a bit of ball against willow – with Paul gone northwards in the Jag, I decided that it might be a nice way to spend a Friday night and so I went.
T20 is not usually my cup of tea, but as I had so far not been able to get to a county ground to see any cricket during these 7 years, it was a chance to scrub that off the list of things to do.

Up against the Birmingham Bears, the outlaws were quite good and it was a good competitive game, but the home side triumphed a bit convincingly for this form of the game – it was a bit on the coolish side but also with a bit of humidity in the air – all in all I was felling a bit tired by the time I was back on the boat – a combination of the tiring day the previous day and the cold air, it was not long before I was sound asleep.
Waking on Saturday to some glorious weather (again), it was a day with plenty to do – there were boxes to pack, and more boxes to pack, and did I mention about the boxes; and still some more painting to carry on with – not sure that I was doing myself any favours with all of this, but when the job is done it does bring some relief that it is finished – unfortunately that was not the case on Saturday night, but the end was in sight, and so I simply settled down with something that appeared on my plate – cannot remember cooking anything – and watched a bit of the IAAF championships and then Match of the Day; went outside about 11:45pm to see if I could see any of the promised meteor shower, which I couldn’t and then it was time for bed before I turned into a pumpkin.
Walking along the river on Saturday morning - absolutely glorious

Somewhere up there on the right we are moored up

Obviously the French have feelings about Brexit

69 Miles, 8 Locks
YTD:  722 miles (1162 km), 335 Locks, 19 Tunnels, 13 Lift Bridges, 30 Swing Bridges

Total: 5354 Miles (8616 km), 3486 Locks, 143 Tunnels, 79 Lift Bridges, 202 Swing Bridges


  1. Thank you Ray for the comment about my boat handling skills . Good job no one was around to see what actually happened !

  2. Gary
    as much as I tried to be able to photograph any awkward angle that you may have got to when coming in, I didn't find any mirth in how you moored up - I still say well done