Thursday, 7 September 2017

Going, Going, Going ……..

Friday 1st September to Thursday 7th September 2017

I guess the news this week is that we have acceped an offer on the boat and subject to a survey, which will be on 19th/20th September, Ferndale will pass onto a lovely couple – more to come.

All of that took place whilst I was moored in Leicester – see what I said in the last blog – Leicester is a lovely place.

It has been a thoroughly exhausting week – I left Leicester on Saturday morning earlyish for some but not by my standards – but early enough to catch the rowers on the river.

By the first lock I was joined by another boat, whose name I forget, but by the time I was approaching the third lock I had to say goodbye to – the reason was quite simple.
Something was wrapped around the prop so badly or large enough to almost stall the engine – in fact it easily would have if I had pushed it at all; so a bit short of the lock mooring and no power, but I did have a pole to get me close enough that I could jump off to the bank.
That would have been fine if not for the tumble on landing into the nettles – my arms and hands itched and tingled for the rest of the day.

Anyway, I managed to get the boat to the lock mooring and set about freeing the prop – as soon as I lifted the weedhatch I could see what it was and armed myself suitably for the task.
After about 45 minutes the said item was freed – traffic cones are useless in canals and this didn’t wash down with the last downpour.
No need to traffic control on the canal 
Free now to move on, it would be single handing through the heavy double locks and by the time I have made it through Lock 32 I had had enough and moored just past the lock moorings for the night.
It was at least a very quiet mooring and the TV signal was good – good enough to see the Spain v Italy game on ITV.
I did sleep reasonably well – I can tell you that.

Sunday and it was only just the additional two locks down up into Kilby Bridge where the services would be handy; it would also allow me to start the much needed repainting of the inside bottom of the gas locker – a good coat of Fertan was applied and the rust conversion would be completed by the following morning.
After all my exertions I thought that a Sunday lunch was in order and so it was over to The Navigation, where the food was quite good, the Guinness was excellent and the rugby was on the screen.
Another lovely quiet place to moor – definitely a favourite with us on the times we have been through here.
The following morning, I simply pushed across to the services block – only water to do – I had emptied the cassette the previous day – trollied it around – and after that I was off.
The first lock was a portent of things to come – I arrived and another boat that had left some time before was still in the lock – when I went up to see them the reason was self evident – the pound above the lock was practically empty – John the male half of the crew had gone ahead to let water down; I rang CaRT; Mark the CaRT guy turned up not too long after and I held firm where I was (in the lock by this time – enough water had come down to allow boat out and then boat in) – no problem for me- it became breakfast time.
After 30 minutes later the level had risen and other pounds were OK.

Mark suspected that someone had let water down to the Kilby Bridge pound because that had dropped a bit, but it was not CaRT sanctioned and this is what happens when people don’t think about it.

Anyway, Tanya and John aboard Tardius Tarde (Slow Slow) aka Stumpy along with dog Elijah shared the locks until we reached Lock 23 and I had reached my destination for the day.
There has been a great delight in meeting lovely people along the way; sharing locks with them; and for a small portion of your life you are with people whom you have an affinity with – today was one such event in my boating life and it was simply very nice.

Mooring was at Newton Harcourt; TV reception was good; internet was good; train proximity – very; but it didn’t seem to matter that I was moored right along side the trainline, I slept soundly until my normal time, which these days appears to be closer to 4am than the desired 6am.

Today would be possibly the last day when I would be locking the boat through – these 5 locks would most likely be the last – was I sentimental about it – NO – doing these locks on your own knackers you, so not to have to see another lock was a bit of a relief.

It does raise the question which people have asked – Will I/we miss the boating life?

Without doubt, we will miss being on the boat – but in some ways it’s the same as other choices that you make through your life – there are always T-intersections that we come to and have to choose a path to follow – we have decided that looking after Diane’s mother is more important to us than staying on the boat – we had also decided that it was important to spend more time with our daughter and see more of Australia (although we have already seen more than most Australians anyway).

We will however miss the friends that we have made and they have been very important to us.
Last lock......

....and she behaved as well

Enough of that sentimentality – Paul will kick me out of the Aussie blokes club with talk like that.

I finally moored above Smeeton Westerby for the night – again very quiet and lovely – it is such that the tranquillity of the countryside, free from the noise of urban life has a dramatic effect on you disposition.

The following morning, I had a target and a couple of obstacles to overcome along the way, but first a stop at Debdale Wharf to top up with diesel – I could not believe that everything was finished and done in just 15 minutes – the young lad who was blacking the boat out of the water made the simple enquiry did I want diesel (as I had moored up) – he set off and got the key as I tied up completely; was back; set the pump; filled the tank; and had a chat as well; up to the office and paid the bill – just went smoothly and I was away.
My two obstacles for the day were two swing bridges on the way into Market Harborough – being a single hander I have been concerned about a day like today and how would I cope.
Well the first was dead easy – I followed another boat through; for the second I managed to tie up on the off side and open the bridge and would have been through except three (yes, three) other boats turned up and we got them through first, though one of them obviously forgot about slowly past moored boat and practically pulled Ferndale across to the other side of the canal; in the end I got through and it will be easy on the way back knowing that it can be done.
Moored up in Market Harborough for a few days, it was time for a bit of shopping, emptying the cassette and a bit of work and a rest, all of which have been achieved.

As exciting as life on the canals can be, it isn’t half as exciting as what has been happening to Diane back home. The mother-in-law has a cat which roams during the day (no bell, which annoys me) and the other day he decided to bring home a friend as you can see in the picture below.
Not your usual invitee to the backyard for a BBQ

A six-foot brown snake – which is amongst the three most venomous snakes in Australia – fortunately it was only a baby but it could still kill you with its bite.
Diane stayed relatively calm underneath the panic, and called a neighbour and between the two of them dealt with the visitor – there were no friendly gestures on their part and the snake was gone.

24 Miles, 24 Locks, 1 Tunnel and 2 Swing Bridges
YTD:  785 miles (1263 km), 382 Locks, 20 Tunnels, 13 Lift Bridges, 32 Swing Bridges
Total: 5417 Miles (8718 km), 3533 Locks, 145 Tunnels, 79 Lift Bridges, 204 Swing Bridges

1 comment:

  1. Great news about the offer on Ferndale. Hope the sale goes through quickly and you can get back to the lovely Diane. xx