Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Just wanna see a game mate!

Monday 14th August to Thursday 31st  August 2017

What have I been doing all this time?

For some of it I have actually been on holiday from work – it is such a lovely experience I may do it full time, but not just yet.
It was lovely to not have to get up to walk that incredibly long journey to the dinette and see what emails I have from customers.

But I have not been idle – all of the packed boxes have been despatched and soon will be on their way back home; our daughter Sam has sorted out my return flight – I will be air testing Royal Brunei Airlines this time - she assures me that she is not getting any payback from RBA but when have you heard of a daughter not using their dad as a guinea pig.
Apparently it is much easy for receiving the boxes if I am actually the one to pick them up or at least sign for them, so that is all sorted.

There have been a vast number of things – some of them small, others not so small – that have needed attention.

Most of the boat is cleared and ready for a full de-camping, with simply enough to carry on here until I go.

One thing I do know is that I have thoroughly enjoyed mooring here on the river – it is simply glorious.

I have spent a fair amount of time with Gary and Carolyn (nb Inca) and have enjoyed their company but careful to be able to have space as well.

After telling them about the T20 match last Friday there was a deal of enthusiasm on their part to go to the next match which just so happened to be on Friday just gone (last night). There were no problems in being able to get tickets – plenty available and it was sit where you like (except for in the members area).

There was a suggestion about going to see the Championship match on Staurday between Nottingham Forest and Middlesborough, but when we rocked up at the ticket office it was like we were asking for some unbelievably difficult task to be performed.
“Do you have a customer number?”
“No, we simply would like to see a match”
“Have you purchased tickets from us before?”
“No, we simply would like to see a match”
“Do you know someone who has purchased tickets from us before?”
“No, we simply would like to see a match”
“We can’t sell you tickets, you may be away supporters trying to (infiltrate) get amongst the Forest supporters”
“We understand your position, but we are all on narrowboats moored down on the river and we happen to be in Nottingham and thought that it might be nice to see a game”
“I will go and see my supervisor”
…a minute or so later…
“Yes, we can sell you some tickets”
Whatever went on in the back room, we have no idea, but we got the 3 tickets that we wanted.

So, Friday night at Trent Bridge – Nottingham Outlaws v Leicestershire Foxes in the T20 contest – I have said before that T20 is not my preferred version of the game, but it was an exciting finish and with few overs left we thought that it was all over and an easy foxes win would occur – but some solid hitting by the outlaws meant that just 9 runs were needed off the last over – the result? A two-run victory to the foxes and 10,000 outlaws fans trudged out of the ground; I was pleased with the tight result.
A perfect night for a game 
By golly we had a bit of a coolish Friday night and Saturday morning was quite cold.

I had been told earlier in the week that there was a pretty popular market on Saturday morning, to which Carolyn was keen to go; I had a double look when I saw that Gary was also ready to go.
We headed off using the directions that I had been given and as we walked it began to look like I might have been wrong/hoodwinked/tricked, but we found the place.
It was a typical trash’n’treasure market with lots of the former and little of the latter – we wandered around it all and left with our money intact heading towards ‘spoons for Gary and Carolyn to have breakfast and I simply had a latte.

Back to the boat to catch up on things that needed to be done (at least for me) – just to make sure that I would not have any problems with my suitcases heading back, I did a practice pack and with nearly everything packed the weight was just 18kg (out of a total of 30kg in the hold and 7kg carry-on) – so no problems there – always good to know before hand.

Before long it was time to head off to Forest where the seats were to be in The Brian Clough Stand.

Like all clubs, the Forest supporters were incredibly passionate about their team, but like all supporters they also, as a group, could not get along with the other teams lot – such a great pity and a blight on this game that supporters find it impossible to sit together and enjoy the game – every other sport that I know has the fans all mixed in together without any problems.
By golly, they let just about anyone in these days - who's that scruff on the right

There was also a game of football going on which was entertaining
- and sunshine as well

Still it was an enjoyable game – Forest did end up winning 2-0 over Middlesborough.

Sunday morning arrived and it was time for me to head off – early as a I am used to – it was very nice to have the help of Carolyn and Gary for the first lock, which was shared with a hire boat – they were experienced boaters, just without their own boat.

After hugs and goodbyes, I was back on my own again – I will miss the company of two lovely people – hope that they enjoy the tidal Trent as I have done.

I had a couple of locks to do by myself; I passed by nb Pendle Warter, knocked on the side but alas Richard was not in, and then moored up above Cranfleet Lock for a pleasant evening which was both very quiet and extremely peaceful.
I did however make contact with Richard and we agreed to meet up the following day – he was coming this way anyway.
So lunch and a drink it was to be at the pub by the lock.
We have known Richard from our early days in Aston Marina and I know that it is true of most people we have met who have boats, but he is such a lovely man and it is a pleasure to know him and to enjoy his company – not sure when we will meet again, just hope it is not too long.
The next 4 to 5 days I spent some of the time at Sawley, moored and enjoying the sunshine, the free power and the wide space that is afforded above the lock and then I made a beeline back to the TrentLock junction where it is just as lovely in a more rural sense, even if there is the occasional train.
Just at TrentLock
After discussion with Diane – usual phone call so that she can check that I am still alive and she doesn’t have to call the insurance company just yet to collect -  I decided that we (Ferndale and I) would head up the Soar and make our way south through Loughborough and down towards Crick.

Setting off up the Soar - early morning and the power station in the background

Just for Diane

Imagine my shock at this - I thought ours was unique
but this boat also had a kangaroo tiller pin

From our past experiences, we simply enjoy Loughborough – some would say to avoid it – but there has been no problems for us in the times we have moored there – so it was a couple of nights there and then further south to Syston, where I encountered about 6 or 7 Fire Brigade chaps – two in the water – so slowed right down in case they were looking for something, but it was just a training exercise, which meant that I could moor up there, which again is quiet and peaceful – a lake being just on the other side of the towpath – allowing people the chance to just walk around it or fish or put a boat on there for a fun day out.

The following day was the trip into Leicester and despite the forecast of bad weather I headed in there anyway.
Sunrise on a lovely morning as I head into Leicester

So many people will tell you not to moor in Leicester; or make sure you go early and get through there as quickly as possible; don’t look at anyone there or they will sink your boat – silly stories indeed and generally told to you by someone who has never been there themselves.
This is the third time that we have moored there – twice on the castle moorings and now on the Friars Mill moorings, which are very new – not once has there been a problem mooring here.
Getting there without getting rubbish around the prop is another thing – every time we pick up some rubbish – but it is getting better, this time I was only stopped the once and even then it looked like very old rubbish that was caught.
The only problem that I have is the poor TV reception but I can live with that, but anyone wanting/needing to watch their Corrie or Eastenders might be in for a problem or two.

I was quite taken with this board
- my superpower? Selective hearing

...and this one too - beware parents the owners are out to get you

We simply love Leicester with it’s huge pedestrianised area in the city centre, the quirky back streets and one-way traffic system to get the traffic through easily and quickly.

Do yourself a big favour and visit Leicester – just remember that you are not likely to run into Jamie Vardy along the way.

39 Miles, 23 Locks
YTD:  761 miles (1225 km), 358 Locks, 19 Tunnels, 13 Lift Bridges, 30 Swing Bridges

Total: 5393 Miles (8679 km), 3509 Locks, 143 Tunnels, 79 Lift Bridges, 202 Swing Bridges


  1. It was an absolute pleasure to spend time with you Ray , just a shame that Diane was so far away and couldn't be with us. I just hope that I can persuade Carolyn to travel down to Melbourne one day and catch up with you both down under . Many thanks for your company we had a great time....

    1. The same from both of us and we have a room waiting for when you make the trip; it would be great to see you both again in our home town

  2. Exciting news re the sale subject to survey, Ray! Well done, you!
    We didn't moor overnight in Leicester when we went through last time (only time) but are planning to on our way back to Debdale this time. We did moor in Loughborough (not the basin) and really enjoyed it. If I remember rightly I managed to score lots of blackberries there beside the towpath.
    It looks like we won't see you here in the UK again, but will have to find you in Melbourne or in Waikanae - plenty of room at our place, so I do hope you get to come over to visit!

    1. Marilyn, you will be doing yourself a favour by having a look at Leicester; who knows where we will meet up again; it has been great to meet both you and David