Thursday, 29 May 2014

Winter in May? - it must be Crick

Saturday 24th May to Tuesday 27th May 2014

The day didn't start particularly well with rain failing - but hey, this is Crick and rain is expected - isn't it?

We wandered with Sue and Andy up to the ticket office to collect our tickets - no hassles - tickets were available and we were in.

We all had a list of things that we wanted to see and find out more about - the rain came back and there was a plethora of umbrellas - all their owners dealing with a bit of mud which was making an appearance.

One of the eye-catching exhibits was the land-based dutch-barge - view by appointment only. We made the time for the following day.

Anyone who has been to Crick may think that a wander around the area and you see it all in a couple of hours.
This time we had many more questions about things that we had either seen before but not been interested in or there were new exhibits that may not be useful to us yet, but which may be more interesting in a year or so.

For us we had things we wanted from the Chandlers; maybe a new hob; we were looking at bathrooms and changes we could make - especially the vanity; there was the question about paint for the bilge and gas locker; the question about painting the whole of the boat; LED fluorescent lights; moorings in the London area; and a few things more.

These are not things which we could trifle about; the talking and the questions all took time.
There was the need for coffee and sustenance - and then the need for some rest.
We wandered into the refreshments tent for somewhere to sit and came across Meagan and Peter (nb Moonshadow) with whom we had travelled last year - so a good chance to catch up with what has been happening - they were both looking very well - I suspect as a consequence of this relaxed lifestyle.

We  had exhausted our attention spans for the morning and headed back to the boats for some lunch and a bit of a rest before the evening's entertainment, but not before we came across another one known to us - Mike (nb Isobel) with whom we have shared a lot of time and hangovers.
He was wandering around with the new lady in his life - Charlotte and her 2 daughters - Bethany and Emily - very polite and well behaved.

Not long after we returned, our mooring partners were heading off to go through the tunnel and wind so that they were facing the right way whenever they headed off.

Just on their return we were hit with an almighty hail storm - loud and louder.
Hail, hail everywhere - winter was here again

...and the trees took a beating as well - the mess left over all boats

We did feel some sympathy for them breasting up in this storm - but not enough to go out into the cold and risk personal damage from the hail.

We did however find enough energy to go and see the effects of it all once it had passed.

We all reconvened later to head to the beer tent for an evening of entertainment - the headliner being Toyah Wilcox - apparently someone of note and of whom we were in the dark.

Available seating and tables were at a premium; the outdoor ones were being brought in - we commandeered ours and settled in.
Seems that there were a great many who were of the mind that they could simply walk in about 10 minutes before the main act and somehow people would be moving and making way for them to have seats - as that didn't occur the next thing was to just stand in the middle of the main walkways (making it difficult for everyone else) and blocking the view of those directly behind them.

We were joined later by Andy's brother David (aka Bob) and his wife Marilyn - we had managed to grab chairs for them as well - in the process we met Dianne and Colin who are members of the IWA and also the St.Pancras Cruising Club so we had a good chat about a lot of things based down in London.
Marilyn, Sue and Diane

Andy, just cannot get enough of Sue's flatbread's 

Toyah Wilcox

The entertainment came on and was all quite good - Diane and Sue were down in the mosh pit not doing their knees and favours, and we all seemed to be a bit tired as we headed home at midnight.

Sunday was a brilliant day - sunshine and blue skies - was there really a storm yesterday - the water-sodden ground and the mud would tell you yes!

We rolled up for our allotted time to look through the dutch barge.

What a cracker of a boat - if only those lottery numbers would come up, this would be the boat for us. This one was only the one-bedroom option, but it comes in a 2 bedroom and also a 3 bedroom version.

The engine room was a boys room with space to sit, easily have a beer or two, talk about the engineering; how well the 5 kW generator was performing and maybe find time to tinker with the engine as well.

The sundeck was lovely to sit down and enjoy the day - just a bit of dreaming about it all to be done.

After that it was back to the mundane items on our list and finalising what we would buy and not.

It was getting on a bit so we headed up into the village for a Sunday lunch at the Red Lion - meals stopped at 2pm and it was already 2:30 - no luck, so a few paces more to The Wheatsheaf - could not possibly complain about that.

We all needed a bit of a rest - Crick is just so exhausting and we needed to be back for the evening session, which this time was a tribute band to The Travelling Wilbury's.
In anyone's mind it is difficult to do one legend well, but to find five people to do five legends well would be impossible - and so it came to pass.
The music was good and the performance was passable but it really was a hard act !

A slightly earlier night for us - we left Andy and Sue with "Bob" and Marilyn and headed back to the boat for some much needed sleep.
intense concentration from Sue as she and Andy move Fiesta Lente
to allow another boat out.

Monday and rain again - the towpath after a brief semi-dryout in the Sunday sunshine was back to mud and mess again.
It being the last day we needed to look through a few boats for bathroom ideas and also just to let our imaginations run wild for a bit.

We saw another dutch-barge which you couldn't pay me to take - it was woeful; after that it was a couple of wide-beams which were back up to our imagination-standards - a lot of luxury and without a huge pricetag.

The last items that we had on our list were either purchased and crossed off, or simply crossed off with the wallet closed.

We had seen it all - or at least enough - we had come and walked and talked and spent.

A restful afternoon; then a walk up to the Red Lion for dinner - this eating out has to stop - it isn't helping the number on the scales.
Plans were made and confirmed for the Tuesday getaway.

It was a bit of a mixed bag on Tuesday morning - the sun was trying but the clouds and rain were winning, and we needed to head off.

Just about to untie and go but we had a boat approaching so we decided to wait and let them go first.

In what seemed the blink of an eye as we finally pushed off, the passing boat had found itself almost across the tunnel entrance - no idea what went wrong - help was offered but they said they were OK.

Entering the tunnel and adjusting your eyes to the darkness, we could easily see (and hear) that things were not completely OK - they were bumper boating with the sides of the tunnel and appeared just like novices.
Eventually we noticed a distinct lack of light in front of their boat - no tunnel light and consequently "flying" blind.
Diane, now at the front of Ferndale, offered help again and indistinctly heard a response that sounded like circuit-breakers - help was again declined, as the tunnel exit loomed large in front of them.

We were able to speak with them at the top of Watford Locks - they had just picked up the boat (new) from Crick show; she had no experience at all and he had a little but many years ago; all of their lights went out after they entered the tunnel and they couldn't find the circuit breaker(s) to fix them.
After helping them through the first lock, the lockkeeper helped them through the rest of the flight, whilst we along with Festina Lente just behind, followed them through.

A quick stop for water at the bottom before resuming; Norton Junction easily negotiated, as was Braunston Tunnel and the Braunston flight of locks and we moored up just after the waterpoint - a bit wet from the misty drizzle which had permeated through some of the outer layers.

Definitely time to not move any further.

What of the travellers with light problems - we saw them pass later on, with friends aboard, someone else steering and there was a bit of paint missing - she didn't look like a new boat anymore.

9 Miles, 13 Locks, 2 Tunnels

Totals: 2500 Miles, 1809  Locks, 81 Tunnels, 32 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges

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