So early morning on Thursday saw us make the gruelling trip from Willington and into Mercia marina. All of half a mile in fact. The forecast for later that day and all of Friday was truly dire, so we set about giving the boat a wash and brush up prior to the deluge. A few hours hard work saw the boat gleaming inside and out, especially after Ali's work touching up the wounds below the gunnel. (Doug & James please note.) It was late evening before the weather turned, and Friday was awful, so glad we sought refuge in a marina.
This gave us the opportunity to complete several wash loads on the boat and then dry using the marina's excellent and very reasonably priced dryer's. Whilst Mercia is huge, it has matured so that it has lost the somewhat stark look. The trees and now verdant periphery certainly enhance the outlook.
Whilst on our mooring, we watched, through the drizzle, the launch of a wide beam. Nice boat, and I am sure the owners will enjoy living on her, but if our experience has anything to go by, it will rarely leave the environs of a marina. They are too wide to navigate even the broad canals in this area, without stress. Just my opinion!
On Saturday, the sky cleared and morphed into a beautiful day. We said tara to the marina, the wended our way back to Willington. A quick wind and reverse saw us moored right outside The Dragon, where Claire and David were to stay overnight. They arrived at lunch time and we sat on the bank enjoying a nibble and the sunshine, mayhap a drink and then went to the pub for an evening meal and a drink or three! Finished off by a tipple on the boat...
On Sunday we made a short cruise with them to Stenson and back, and then would you believe, went out for Sunday lunch. I of course had lemonade....
So nice to see them both and we hoped they enjoyed their sojourn and have now, an appreciation of what canal living means for us. ( hic !)
On Monday we bade farewell to Willington. Still descending we made our way to Aston lock, moored up and walked into the village. My ex neighbour from Haxey has moved here and so we decided to pay her an unannounced visit! Enid is lovely and used to iron all my shirts when I was in the job. Now closer to family, she has a very desirable new residence to suit her advancing years, but you just cannot hold her back. As we walked into her close, we bumped into her walking to the shop. She was somewhat surprised shall we say, but we all had tears in our eyes as we met up once again. Indestructible is Big E.
After an afternoon nattering, we walked back and as it was such a temperate evening, we decided to move on to Shardlow. It is surprisingly quiet and descending the lock we managed to moor right outside the historic clock warehouse, whose clock does not work! Always annoys me when a public clock is left to wind into stasis. As we were moored outside, we just had to visit to maintain the imbalance of our livers and digestion
On Tuesday, it was the Rivers. Ali hates weirs, so out with the anchor and off we go. No mean feat that, as it resides buried in the bow locker. Well the weather and rivers could not have been kinder. The broad waters gave us the chance to blow out the engines cobwebs. So nice to be on deep water again. Passing the entrance to the Erewash Canal, sharp right and we were on the beautiful river Soar. The more we have navigated this river, the more we are jealous of Ian and Karen (N.B.Serenity). They moor on this fantastic navigation and are members of the Soar Boating Club. The clubs base is at Normanton and a more idyllic location would be hard to find, anywhere! As they were at the club, they invited us to join them. How could we refuse?
Onto the Derwent
Under the M1 (now where would you rather be?)
On the River Soar
Waiting for Kegworth Deep Lock
Moored with NB Serentity
Apart from Karen having to go to some place called work every day, we enjoyed their company and hospitality for the next few days.. I just wish Ian would moderate his drinking, as he is an awful influence on Ali, whilst Karen and I remained, as usual, almost teetotal. (I lie!)
So thank you both once again, for your company and generosity. Lovely to see you both again and looking forward to the meet next spring, all being well. Hope the club house has lost the Asiatic aroma!
Our parting was saddened because Karen had to go to this work place once again, before we had even winked an eye at the dawning day. So a not so quick farewell to Ian, and with a heavy heart, we were off. What a beautiful location. The river and environs put the Thames to shame.
We had a problem at Barrow lock and had to empty it and refill as there was something
in between the gates which was stopping them closing
no problem second time around
Why? They had a very large field but liked it under the bridge
I am glad there was water between us! He was a big fella
without the signs sometimes it would be easy to go the wrong way
This afternoon, after passing through Leicester, we have moored in Kilby. A hard day, so to the pub went we and very nice it was too. Leicester has something of a reputation amongst boaters, I am sure undeserved. It has cleaned up its act, the towpaths are clean and we'll maintained, but still people are fearful. It would be nice to be able to tarry in this fair city one day as it has much to offer.
Leicester Space Centre (or space station as Ali likes to call it!)
Its a bit narrow
all the bridges along this stretch come with the Leicester graffiti,
which is a shame as they are lovely structures.
37 broad locks.