Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A goodbye to many….

Friday 8th September to Sunday 17th September 2017

For both weekends encompassed within this period I have spent quite a few hours on the road and quite a few miles disappeared under the cars that I hired, but it was very important to go and see as many of the special people that we have met and shared our lives with during these past 7 years – and, I must say, with whom we will be wanting to stay in contact with as much as possible in the future.

First weekend, it was back to Stone to see both Lynn and Phil and also Roly and Bev – we all caught up at The Exchange along with Emma (Lynn and Phil’s daughter, who we know very well also) and special thanks to Lynn and Phil for putting me up that night and feeding me in the morning;

Freddie, Lynn and Bev - I think Phil and Roly
are certainly punching above their weight

speaking of whom - here they are in their natural habitat - Phil and Roly
after that it was a decent trek up to Garstang to say a Hello/Goodbye to Janet and Howard – it would never do to not see this lovely couple with whom we have shared some very funny moments – Howard moored along side us in Aston Marina and we had barely been there when he knocked on the boat to borrow some milk, and Janet is just lovely – long-suffering better half.

hey you two - the camera is over here - Janet and Howard in deep conversation
- probably about a new app

It was a long trip back that night after sharing a lovely dinner at the Tithe Barn in Garstang (listening to a jazz band) but it was necessary as on Sunday I was off to Stoke Bruerne to see Dot and Gordon – it also coincided with the “Village at War” weekend which we had to get through just to get to the pub – we avoided the £7.50 per person charge – I did get to enjoy one of Dot’s world-famous pasties – ostensibly this was to pass on some items that we could not leave on the boat and was an additional visit to the one originally planned for the next Sunday.

It was a busy weekend but there was another equally busy one coming up again in just 4 days time.

Monday was a much quieter day, but simply lovely – a lunch date with a very charming lady – Vanessa (ex nb Balmaha) – a quiet meal at The Waterfront and just a wonderful time with a special person – we met Vanessa and Mo so many years ago before we had even bought our boat and after that a few more times over the years – until the next time that we can catch up.

The few days until the next round was taken up with the tasks of sorting out the remainder of the items left on board and would return with me and what would ultimately be left behind – the limits of the luggage had set the upper limit.

Thursday came and I was off again – another rental from Enterprise and an upgrade from “B” to “D” – must be my good looks and smile that did it all – all the girls are seriously affected by that – afterall they are only human.
So off down to Watford for a day with Maggie and Paddy and to drop off a full suitcase that I will pick up next week; see how all of the renovations are progressing – I have to say that within the last 6 weeks they have gone a long long way and looking very good –about another 8-9 weeks and it will all be done  and things will settle down to something resembling normalcy again.

After an overnight pitstop, I was away for a ‘relaxing’ drive down Brighton way to Shoreham-by-Sea – well it would have been except for the M25 parking station – travelling at between 0 and 10 mph is not what is expected of a motorway.

Eventually I made it to see Tone and Julie – again very dear friends from our very early days of boat hire (4th day in fact). It was simply like old times again and we both love them very dearly – of the people we have met through boating, we have known them the longest.

I suspected that we would be partaking in a little bit of drinking but we were a bit more subdued than normal and I simply had a great time with them – we value their friendship very much.

Tone, as member of the local RNLI, pulled a few strings and I was allowed into the RNLI station there and even aboard the vessel used for outer harbour work – you know them – the big 31 tonne boats that cruise along at 26 knots – it was an experience that I very much appreciated and would not have had the chance otherwise to get.

Just glad that the holding pin was firmly in place -
or else 31 tonne down on both of us

the power house - imagine one of these in the back of a narrowboat - bit fast
and burning 376 litres per hour it may mean bigger fuel tanks would be needed

The seat on the left in the picture is for the coxswain
Where else would we be on a Friday night

After dinner and just a couple of drinks, it was a good nights sleep and I was off again to Abingdon, but via the dreaded M25 again – surely the SatNav knows other ways than via this motorway – once again it was 0-10 mph for a long long way.
Eventually I got there and very pleased to see Sue and Andy – we have both enjoyed the cruising time we have had along the Thames with this intrepid couple and the pub time and owl spotting and did I say the pub time.
Yet another pub picture - I am blaming Andy and Sue for leading me astray

Lunch was nice but no where as nice as the time to talk with Sue and Andy – it will be a while before we can do all of this again – at least not until the end of next year.
It was all too soon before I had to say farewell and head back to the boat – the rain had started to set in so the trip back was a little longer than earlier expected and there was a need to be just that bit more careful – it still didn’t stop cars whizzing past as though the roads were safer than they really were – just do not understand the thinking of these drivers.
Being moored at Foxton I could use the car park overnight with no problems at all and after a chance to have a good nights sleep back in my own bed (at least for now) I cleared up a few more chores that needed doing and then it was time to be off again.
This time I had another visit to Dot and Gordon – the long standing arrangement to meet up for a Sunday roast at The Greyhound at Hawkesbury Junction.
The chance of a passing thunderstorm was always likely and suddenly appeared before we had had a chance to enjoy our first drink fully, but fortunately we made it inside in time.
Lunch, as usual, was great and Dot stuck to her revised eating plan, except for the chocolate pot with the coffee – the look on the face of the waitress who came along to enquire if everything was OK – I said it was all fine except that Dot had spat in my chocolate pot – she made the face and then realised I was only joking (or was I?).
Gordon in a typical Gordon pose

Dot decided to sit next to me to pinch my dessert

Not the one that she "spat" on

Another weekend finished, car returned to Corby (closest Enterprise to Foxton) and I was preparing for a eventful few days ahead of me.

5 Miles, 1 Swing Bridge
YTD:  780 miles (1271 km), 382 Locks, 20 Tunnels, 13 Lift Bridges, 33 Swing Bridges

Total: 5422 Miles (8726 km), 3533 Locks, 145 Tunnels, 79 Lift Bridges, 205 Swing Bridges


  1. We crossed only once I think, at Weston Lock on the Trent and Mersey, in August 2013. Diane hailed us, expecting to see us as she'd been reading our progress via the Cleddau Boatwif blog...
    Though your canal adventures in the UK are coming to an end we wish you both all the best back home in Australia. An occasional update on your Ferndale blog won't go unread!
    Safe journey and best wishes,
    Sue /Boatwif / nb Cleddau

  2. Brilliant of you to get round so many friends, a reflection of happy years boating. Going to miss these posts.
    Best of luck Ray.

  3. Just to wish you and Dianne all the very best in your next adventures. Will take you up on the offer if we can make it to OZ next year or the year after. Have really enjoyed you company over the years. Keep in touch!!