Wednesday, 24 July 2013


An apology - i forgot to mention in the blog yesterday that we had had a visit from Jennifer and Peter on nb Mactra's Filia - well we would have seen them if only we had been on the boat - we were in town doing some shopping and found their note when we returned .

This is the second time that we have missed them - we were out again when they were in Liverpool,

We are hoping for 3rd time lucky guys, so we hope to see you both pretty soon

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Window shattered, right-handed kettles and thunderstorms

Saturday 20th July to Tuesday 23rd  July 2013

Whilst it was nice and comfortable moored in the shade and not really a problem with the heat, the plan emerged to move a short distance and spend a couple of days in Willington which allows us to miss Burton on a weekend – not something of which we had any warnings, but about the only place out of the full sun is also near a couple of pubs and we thought it best not to tempt fate.

In any event we want to visit B&Q as well as Brewers – the latter being for some Timber Bleach as advised by Elly and Mick (nb Parisien Star) – Monday would be better than the weekend.

It also gave us time to get the front corner ready for the fireboard to be installed.

So we moved the short distance – about a mile and a half – Diane making the final decision on where exactly.

Fortunately the weather for the weekend is a lot cooler with a bit of cloud cover.

Immediately after mooring up I went for the paper – the Saturday ritual for Diane; upon my return Diane shows me the remains of the lounge hopper window – it had been reduced to a pile of shattered safety glass – there was no mystery surrounding it.

We had seen another boat with hopper windows placed in the channel of the window for safe keeping – problem with this one is that whilst the engine was running the harmonics set up a rattle on that window and whack – it went.

Now for finding a replacement one.

After a bit of paying work we set about the lounge corner – please to say that we have the base down and fixed to the floor; the panelling is back in place and supporting the battens for the fireboard; window and other trim back in place; all of the wiring now out of the way; and a plan of the final look

Saturday was certainly a day of achieving – we were both pleased with the result.

Whilst we are on the move cruising along, the electric kettle is unplugged and until recently had a spot inside the cupboard to be stored so that we didn’t use it from the inverter; one of the other kettles was then on the hob for regular use – yes, I know – “one of the other kettles” – we have three in total and that will be the maximum number.

I have discovered this week that the smaller of the two hob kettles – as they are used – is a bit strange.

Whenever I make the morning coffee for D to have in bed, I have usually poured the water in whilst holding the kettle in my left hand – each time the copious balloon of steam rises rapidly and burns my hand – this week I use my right hand and interestingly there was the usual volume of steam but my hand escaped unscathed.

Careful study of the slow motion replay and using hawkeye it was easily observed that the passage of the steam plume follows a different track when pouring with a different hand – a bit like the path of smoke in the wind tunnel when testing a new aeroplane design.

The makers stamp proved the clincher – stating quite clearly that it was a right-handed kettle and not to be used by molly-dukers.

So when making a new kettle purchase check the makers mark and buy accordingly.

With the rising humidity and the change of wind direction the weather forecasters have been predicting a chance of rain or a chance of cooler conditions – all weather-speak for we are not really sure about what you will get.

This morning, moored up in Burton however, they got it correct and the prediction of thunderstorms came true – we haven’t had a good loud thunderstorm for such a long time – we were both happy about it – poor Banjo on the other hand hates them and was shivering with fright.
He found comfort on the bed snuggled in between us – it took about an hour for him to calm down, but for us, the sound of heavy rain on the roof, the flash of the lightning and the boom of the thunder was all very pleasant.

Have just finished watching the telecast of the new royal baby leaving hospital – no name as yet and with all of the speculation about what it might be, here are a few that it will definitely not be used – Ebenezer, Brian or Bruce – probably also none to do with any wartime leader from Germany.

6 Miles, 1 Locks

Totals: 1930 Miles, 1412 Locks, 61 Tunnels, 29 Lift Bridges, 141 Swing Bridges

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Belle and the Bell

Thursday 18th Juy to Friday 19th July 2013

Another early start again to beat the heat, but rising through the first lock out of Shardlow, a kindly person had advised about a problem ahead with a rather large tree and an equally large branch which was in a precarious position – personal inspection and a look-see was advisable.

Sure enough – it could easily be seen where the branch was peeling itself away from the trunk and if it came down it would cause some havoc.

On the basis that we had been through the same place just the day before and that the breeze would have trouble blowing out the flame on a candle we proceeded.

Gently we went, taking the precaution of life and limb – Diane and Banjo were inside the boat – I am pretty sure she made the phone call to the insurance company to increase my life insurance payout – just in case !

Everything passed without incidence – we did make the comment to each other that if we had waited for CaRT to arrive and inspect, they would be sure to close the canal – later in the morning that is exactly what they did – closed until sometime on Friday.

We had observed on Wednesday a boat using that very same first lock up and the lady on board needed to use the bow thruster to get into the double-gated lock. We sniggered a bit about all of that, but as we found there are reasons why some people need to use the button.

It was this very same boat that we met and shared the next 4 double locks with on our cruising on Thursday.

Diane was on the boat and was chatting with Jo and it transpired that she has to steer the boat – only into the locks whilst Danny sets them and works the boat through.

With some medical problems she is not physically able to open and close lock gates and therefore must do the boat; she feels more comfortable with the button and Danny said that without it they simply wouldn’t be able to enjoy cruising – no longer will I make any comments about bow thrusters and the people that need to use them – they help people feel more confident and help them get out and enjoy the canals.

Danny did go onto say that Jo is improving with the steering – Well Done!!

The sun was getting hotter and we were both getting ready to moor up – so after Stenson Lock we were looking for the first available spot – which fortunately arrived just after bridge 20 – in we went and there we stayed – in the shade; in the cool of the day; out of the heat.

And here we stayed for another day.

Despite some railway marshalling yards nearby and the distant presence of the hum of the A50, it was quiet, peaceful and cool.

Diane was comfortable in her chair out on the towpath; the bell was nearby and a simple ring caused the neurotransponders in the brain to make my feet move toward the sound – the body followed as well –

“Yes dear, what would you like for me to fetch for you?”

“Coffee, croissants, water, foot massage, back rub - Your wish is, as usual, my command, oh queen of the boat”

Tomorrow we may head off, but for certain it will be for another shady spot where the bell works and the response is the same.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Heat, heater, bloody hot

Sunday 14th July to Wednesday 17th July 2013

I cannot understand how anyone enjoys this hot weather – even the locals that we have spoken to will be glad to see the end of it.

We dared to spend one last night in Alrewas – it was a lovely mooring and we have left mines in the area so that no-one is mooring there when we come back.

The correct way to keep an eye on the barbie

and the correct way to cook - get someone else to do it

We have readily opted for the Manly Ferry cruising options – start very early and moor up early – we certainly do – before it gets too hot – problem was that on the first day of this new regime the skipper had re-prioritised the day to becoming as dehydrated as quickly as possible whilst walking a ridiculously long way.
do you think they want us to go left?

not that way on this river section

this looked a rather narrow bridge hole - it took a little while to
realise that the towpath wasn't there
the mother-in-law was with us in effigy

a bloody armada of geese - about to attack en masse

On our approach to Burton she decided that we would find a nice mooring point and she would just nip off to the supermarket for just a couple of things.
Well firstly the shopping precinct was almost 2 miles away; secondly the temperature was over 25C and getting hotter; thirdly she didn’t confine it to just the supermarket but expanded to anywhere that was likely to sell a smallish folding rotary clothes line; fourthly she went without suitable headwear.

When she returned after 3 hours it was a fatigued beetroot that struggled aboard and then flopped into the lounge – but as she would say – she had achieved – I just think that the 2 gallons of milk on special was a step too far.

After the ice bath and sitting in front of the air conditioning – read that as a bit of a breeze blowing through the boat which was in the shade, she recovered somewhat – very silly girl is that wife of mine.
I was ok throughout all of this – sensibly I volunteered to look after the boat and the dog and get some work completed.

We re-entered the movement on the canal system and carried on northwards seeking more shade in which to moor up – sadly we didn’t find any that was well clear of both busy road and rail – ending finally at Willington on a mooring outside the pub and in full sunshine.

Someone managed to sleep very well that night.

The following day, in order to beat the heat again, we set off early; quick rubbish drop-off; a pumpout and diesel top-up at Mercia Marina – and a chandlery cruise and buy.
This time we found a suitable mooring in the shade at Hill Farm – the focus of attention after that being to setup the washing line and begin utilising it immediately.

proud owner of a new washing line - she could have waited
until Xmas - now what will i get her

even the cows knew how to cool off - shade and cool water
Banjo was feeling the heat more than us

This section of the canal was showing signs of being much like the Macclesfield and Lancaster canals – the side being shallow and mooring opportunities limited as a result.

The locks changed from singles to doubles and the depth from “we can see the bottom” to “canyons with echoes”.

We moved along and at Weston Lock we found the friendly CaRT guys working the locks  there had been a minor breech around bridge 13 which was now repaired, but a gate left opened further down overnight had caused some serious water loss with some boats moored up now being on the bottom.
So a little bit of water was needed to be let through – we must say that there was no delay for anyone moving down – they had been on the job early and saved the situation – why aren’t these guys better looked after by the people running CaRT.

We carried on – carefully staying in the centre and occasionally scraping the bottom and on trying to exit from Aston Lock we found ourselves not progressing at all – stuck in the lock – the level of the pound was down too far to give us clearance over the bottom cill. The lockie opened the gate paddles and we literally were surfing out of the lock on the waves.

Our companions in this lock and the final one were returning after their eight days away from wives and seemingly not looking forward to being under management control again, but they were able to help us immensely with directions to where we needed to be – Lockgate Stoves.

A discussion followed by an inspection of the boat; measurements made; more discussion; more options; pricing; more discussion; checking at the heater options; on and off the boat on a rickety pontoon and a final decision arrived at.
The end result which needs just a finalisation of the total cost means that the installation will be about 40% of what we had previously been quoted and it will all be done within a day – just could not believe it – how nice to get good pricing and being told that what we thought was possible could actually be done.
Only thing will be is that we need to bring the boat back again towards the end of August (we have a booked time on this) and we will need to look after the calcium silicate boards and tiling ourselves – the rest will be looked after by Lockgate Stoves.
The only price we are waiting for is for a stainless steel diesel tank.
We could not be happier at the moment.

Still very hot here so we were happy to find a mooring spot in the shade and allowed the boat to cool down – afterall it had been out in the full sun whilst all of the heater stuff was being sorted out.

the final marker...

... and the basin

A side note – the shuddering noise that had been a worry to us appears to be the effect of the engine revs being too low – we have upped the stationery revs and this has sorted it out – we still feel it marginally sometimes but it is only when the revs drop down too low – this may be the effect of a worn governor – we will keep an eye on that for the future.

23 Miles, 11 Locks

Totals: 1915 Miles, 1406 Locks, 61 Tunnels, 29 Lift Bridges, 141 Swing Bridges

Saturday, 13 July 2013

More planned cruising changed..

Monday 8th July to Saturday 13th July 2013

We stayed at Fradley Wood for a further two nights such was the peace and tranquillity of the moorings – so very lucky to be here.

There is a lovely walk around the nature area at Fradley -
peaceful and cool

the heron..

the dog ...
We didn’t lol around here – apart from my normal daytime job there were a great many things that we managed to get done – none more important than sanding down the boat pole and giving it a couple of coats of varnish and 3 or 4 more coats of stain to the plank.

the hired help at work - don't stop and talk to her - I have
had a hard time getting her started
Luckily I could call upon my off-sider to get the job completed and a magnificent job she did – she now warrants another few weeks on the boat.

even the sheep were hard at work -well not this lot
the artist in careful concentration

so who's up for an ice-cream guys?

Wednesday came and we headed down to Streethay wharf to find out  more about the diesel heater; how it can be installed; and most importantly how much lighter the bank account would be.

I have to say that it got a thorough going over by 4 people – each proficient in their own area of expertise. I do however have to say that there was just a little bit thinking about problems that then demanded more complicated solutions than really existed in the first place.

After about 90 minutes we were on our way with the pricing left top be done and texted through later – meanwhile we headed for Hopwas and hopefully some very pleasant moorings.

Diane spotted this on a passing boat - guess what has now
made it onto the shopping list?
Not long after mooring up we received the pricing from Nick – we did expect that it would be more expensive than a solid fuel stove to install but the end prices were a bit of a shock – are we meant to be paying off the trade deficit ourselves? – we couldn’t accept it and a response was sent back.

We adjourned to The Tame Otter for a quiet drink and Nick phoned – we discussed the situation and he was advised that our fallback was simply replace our present Mykuni – a far cheaper option than his price for the diesel heater installation.

The following day I spoke to the suppliers of the Reflecs stove and they quote us a considerably lower price just for the stove and flue than we had received before – and generally a better outlook on getting it all done with money left in the bank.

So guess what? We have changed course and now heading back north again heading for Shardlow.

On route it was necessary for a mandatory mooring at Sutton Road Bridge and some shopping; and then after winding we were Fradley bound again – this time spending a night at Huddlesford and a visit to The Plough.

This pub has reopened in the last two years – it was firmly closed the last time through this way for us – food looks good (although we didn’t partake); the beer tasted fine as did the cider – so we will pop in for a meal next time.

No need to stop at Fradley this time apart from the obligatory water fill and then we turned right to head towards Shardlow , but first we moored up at Alrewas, and though we had briefly been here to wind and return we are now on uncharted waters for us.

The village is lovely and the moorings are as well – Diane had managed to spend money before we had even moored up – the gentleman on nb Duck Duck Charlie Brown (sorry, but I didn’t catch your name) was setting up his tiller pins for sale when she asked “You don’t happen to have a dragon, do you?”

“Why yes indeed I do” was the reply

That was it – he set about polishing it whilst we moored up.

It looked good and my wallet was lighter – how does that all work?

the new tiller pin - a perfect likeness
of the mother-in-law
The weather has been so warm this week that we have been setting off very early to beat the heat – the trip to Alrewas commenced at 7am – that’s right Paul – the other 7 o’clock in the day – Banjo, had missed out on his beauty sleep, so he just nodded off on the seat out the back.

lazy, lazy ......and did I say lazy?

We have made the edict now that we will not be partaking in anymore fish and chips from a local chippy – they all seem to be just too oily/fatty for our taste – we have both struggled after a Friday night visit.

Way too hot to be moving on today and we continued with more jobs on the boat – yesterday it was tidying up all of the wiring from behind the cupboard that we had to move and today it was sanding away some rust and priming some small areas of lifted paint – now ready for the topcoat

it looks like I know what I am doing
Saturday is maintenance day, so batteries were checked – not sure how I managed to do this without a battery management system – but there were just two cells that needed just a little water; the oil levels and radiator were checked – all fine; a small amount of water was in under the back seal – it had been there for 3 weeks and not increased – it’s not there anymore.

such was the heat the Banjo burrowed in under the bushes to
get some relief
After all of that it was time to collapse and watch le Tour and generally stay as cool (or is that less hot) as possible.

22 Miles, 7 Locks, 2 Swing Bridges

Totals: 1892 Miles, 1395 Locks, 61 Tunnels, 29 Lift Bridges, 141 Swing Bridges

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy !!!

Saturday 6th July to Sunday 7th July 2013

With the promise of a weekend and longer of very fine weather, the dramatic reduction in the worklist and the fact that we need to get the boat down to Streethay Wharf, it was just natural that we would be pushing off sometime.

Saturday was Farmers Market Day in Stone and too many times in the past we have missed it – the other times that we have gone there has always been nice things that found their way into the bags.

We embarked on the walk into Stone, with dog in tow – Banjo was in his usual way of constantly looking for shade; we were just going one foot in front of the other.

Diane had suggested taking the boat but we both had thought that the Stone Music festival was on – which as we found out was not for another week – but of course we found that after walking into town.

The market was good as usual and there were yummy things in the bags going back – there was a timing issue – we had to be back in time for the tennis and luckily we were, so that was the management's afternoon sorted out.

The match did not live up to the expectations and finished pretty early so it meant that we could up ropes and drift away quietly from the mooring – and after a pumpout we headed out and south.

It was still quite warm and whilst most would have been quietly contented to be somewhere and conserving their energy, the flying pests were being their create best – creative enough to be annoying – one causing an itching bite on the back of Diane’s leg – I offered sympathy; the bug was presumably dead somewhere; the leg was sore.

Late evening - a hot air balloon; cruising along - perfect!
We made it as far as Great Haywood and past the junction and down through the lock – just after Bridge 22 we spotted Julie and Tony (nb Damper Van) and Sue and Dave (nb Cockney Sparra) and Sue and Kevin (nb Caraillon) so we moored up a little bit down and we all ended up at the Clifford Arms for a few hours – stories, all true of past tales and frights, were regaled – some seriously putting one or two off going near some waters; others causing eruption of laughter.

We wandered back to the boat well after 11pm and certainly way after our bed time.

The late night put paid to our original thoughts of getting away very early and we finally pulled pins at 7:30am – it was already quite warm in the sun and just coolish in the shade.

Where have we been transported to – this isn’t England – for one, there is great big yellow ball in a blue sky; and secondly there hasn’t been rain for a good week or so.

A stop at Rugely for the paper and cooked breakfast and then we were away again, finally mooring up just before Fradley junction – luckily we were in the shade and luckily before the tennis started.

A walk down to the junction in the afternoon showed it to be busy with boat traffic; busy with people wandering around – even a choir singing away entertaining everyone.

Boats moving up and down the locks - about a 30 minute

Fradley Junction - must be the busiest junction on the system -
not just with boats but people and cars

Entertainment for all with this choir

Even down from Fradley there were plenty of boats moving

And The Swan..

Gladly moored in the shade.
What a wonderful place to spend a Sunday afternoon!!

19 Miles, 6 Locks, 1 Tunnel

Totals: 1870 Miles, 1388 Locks, 61 Tunnels, 29 Lift Bridges, 139 Swing Bridges

Friday, 5 July 2013

Lottery Win makes Dutch Barge closer

Tuesday 2nd July to Friday 5th July 2013

When I look back on this week it is surprising how busy it has been – there has been more work on the boat from multiple directions.

Chris Jones was back on Tuesday to change over two of the engine mounts – the old ones were worn a bit but not completely, but we believe this will benefit the situation. There is still some concern over the engine revs at low speeds and with some adjustment there should be a better outcome.

Wednesday came and we realised that we needed to start work on removing the cupboard in the lounge so that we can get a complete idea of the space we will have for the new heater and also allow us to be able to make the adjustments to power cables and TV cables.

Before ....

and after
It wasn’t an easy job to get it out and as always there were a few screws that were simply refusing to play the game and come out easily, but in the end we got there.

After the cupboard was out there was still the little matter of finding out exactly where the cables went to behind the covering board – that was nearly as hard to remove as the cupboard.

Finally with everything removed we could rationalise what we had and what we needed to do – fortunately we have a bit of time to get it all done – this first step is just to arrange for the quote.

We still wanted to finalise the varnishing of the doors and the front doors were next – so out they came on Thursday, sanded and 2 coats of varnish applied – thankfully they did dry enough for them to be put back in that evening.

In no small way was the completion of the varnishing due to the very warm weather we are experiencing and on Friday we started to see how good it really can be.

A nice gentle walk into Stone for just a few things we needed – 7 in total – but somehow that expanded to be three bags full as well as a backpack – I am definitely reinstating the strict list adherence – not much hope of that happening.

There will be some who know of my desire for a Dutch Barge – Diane has been against it from day 1; the only leeway was that it could happen if we were to win the lottery.

Last week, unbeknownst to Diane I bought a lottery ticket and had almost forgotten about it – I went into check it out – it was a winner and I could not believe the amount that it won.

I shall be checking the phone numbers for the dutch barge brokers, but sadly it will not be to buy one – I will still have to wait - ₤50 will not get the whole boat, but we are on our way – a few more wins and it will happen – now to check the runners at Cheltenham !!

No travel this week

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

How far did you go ??

Saturday 29th June to Monday 1st July 2013

It was another busy day of travelling on Saturday – we had a leisurely breakfast and then drove over to see Maggie and Paddy again and this time we were also able to catch up with Phil, David and Jessica.

Phil and Jess - a very rare photo of Phil

Diane, David and Maggie
They are all well – we caught a bit of the Lions match against the Wallabies – what a pity that the Lions couldn’t hold onto that 15-9 lead that they had amassed – do I feel unhappy about the Wallabies winning – not one little bit – Go you Wallabies!!

We were then off for another long drive to Ely – the thing about driving in this country is that it is not the distance that you have to travel – it’s the time it takes to get anywhere – another few hours to finally get to Ely.

The purpose of the visit was to catch up with Dot and Gordon and to celebrate her 60th -  although her official birthday is not for a few weeks – a bit like the Queen celebrating hers in June when it really is in April – so here is to Queen Dorothea.

We had a great day with nibbles on the boat; drinks at the Cutter Inn and then dinner at The Boathouse Restaurant.

The scene of dinner
The food was well received and Dot had a wonderful time.

Glass in hand - the classic photo of Dot

Take a deep breath - luckily not too many candles or poor Dot
 may not have had enough breath to blow them all out

Gordon, Dot, Elly and Jenny

Diane with cake - "I like cake!"
The weather has been tremendous whilst we have been away and Sunday continued the trend – we had a bit of a walk around the market, a bit of a look at the Cathedral (a magnificent edifice and one we will return to visit again); we went over to say our goodbyes to Dot and Gordon and the others who had been there – we will catch up with D&G just as soon as we can.

Photos of Ely Cathedral

A visit to the markets - couldn't resist the bread and the cakes

Which bag do you like best dear?
The one in the middle of course!

The quintessential English river scene

Almost like sisters - down to the frames of their glasses
The most pressing appointment that we had for Sunday was to see Nick at Streethay Wharf and discuss diesel heaters.

We thought, yet again, that we had enough time to drive from Ely to near Litchfield, but we fell foul of the Grand Prix – the A14 blocked with traffic diverted onto it when other roads are not accessible, so that meant further travel along minor roads and further south to the M1, but we were still only 10 minutes late – not really a problem.

I am definitely getting older – Nick seemed like he was just out of high school, but he knew his stuff and seems to run a good business there – we discussed all of the options; viewed a couple of different boats to show what can be done.

It will be down to looking at Ferndale and finalise the details and the pricing – this we will do about mid next week – we will need to cruise down to there – you could see Diane smiling about the prospect of needing to take the boat out for a bit of cruising, but we know it will be enjoyable, so now we will sit down and work out an itinerary to encompass this short cruise into a longer one – we have a few ideas about it already.

We had been searching for some time to find a place where we could buy some solid oak timber pieces to replace some of the oak-faced MDF which had swelled up from water leaks around the windows – now that we had resealed the windows we were ready to replace this pieces – well, we found a place in Stoke who were able to do it for us – at a price, as is always the case – but we needed to pick them up on Monday morning whilst we still had the car; then it was off to pick up Banjo from the kennels – he seemed pretty happy to see us.

But this was not the extent of our Monday – a few weeks ago Howard and Janet had arranged to pick up some new ropes for us and they also arranged to have them delivered to us – we had agreed that when we had the car we would catch up with them – at that time it was estimated to be somewhere on the Llangollen Canal.

No problems really – they were coming up the Frankton Locks today and we arranged to meet them at the bottom and give them some help to work them through.

There was a return call from Howard to us, but I think he mixed up the numbers and thought he was ringing the Tesco home delivery service – “Can you pick up some bread, milk, cigarettes, oh and the paper on your way”

It must have been desperation stakes for Janet for the cigarettes and we know that Howard loves his paper, so it really was no problem.

At the services at the bottom of the locks we caught up with them and had some lunch, before heading up the flight.

As usual you always meet someone who thinks that they know more than the lockie – a boat coming down seemed to think that we should wait until they cleared the bottom lock – they had some type of fear that the pound would be drained by taking a lock full of water from a pound that was flowing over the bypass -  not likely.

Next it was a cruiser coming down and you could see a certain amount of fear in the eyes as the steel vessels hovered around it – bless them!

As well as Howard and Janet coming up, there was Betty and Dave also coming up – so two boats and 4 people locking them through – no delays at all.

Both boats moored up at the top on the 48 hour moorings that are there – the lockie had said no problems to that; but to the boater who arrived at about 2:30pm for the passage down at 12 noon tomorrow, he was a  bit concerned about the two boats mooring there – “what about all of the other boats going down tomorrow?”

Moor them on the other side – which is allocated for additional boats – you idiot.

He was so concerned that you could see him discussing it with the lockie who apparently gave him no joy.

Wake up and read the signs which say 48 hour mooring and stop being a dill.

from left to right - Dave, Betty, Howard (with Rosie), Janet and Ray
A pleasant trip back via Audlem where Diane wanted to visit the Mill, but I am glad to say that it was of some relief to see the boat; park the car; and get back on board – some 500 miles during the 4 days was enough for me and I will be happy to not be driving for quite a while.

How for do you go for the weekend?

No canal travel