Thursday, 17 November 2011

A trip to see the seals

We are settling into life at home, John is feeling much better, his cold has nearly gone!

Yesterday we went to Donna Nook to see the Grey Seals, it is one of the largest seal colonies in the UK.  Its a seal watchers paradise at this time of year as the seals come in to give birth and the bulls also come in to mate, so there are lots of seals on the dunes.  We saw lots but there are still many more to arrive so we may go back in a couple of weeks.  Its an amazing sight, but its not just the sight, the sound is also very eerie, we saw a couple of bulls fighting as well as many pups, some which were only hours old.   As the tide was coming in, we could see more arriving in the distance.  Whats weird is this is a bombing range for the RAF, as you can see on some of the photos below (they do stop at this time of year).

Lunch time

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Ended the season as we started it

Yesterday we had a quick trip to Beacon to see their latest narrowboat Post combustion, which is nearly finished.  Again they have achieved another lovely boat and I am sure the new owners will be very pleased.

We then travelled to Brinklow Marina to meet up with Doug and James (Nb Chance).  We met Doug and James on our first day on Triskaideka, and travelled for part of the day with them back in June.  We spent a lovely afternoon onboard Chance, enjoying some wonderful home made cake, (by Doug), we met some of their friends Janet and Gerald from NB Toulouse, we then all went into Rugby to an Indian Restaurant, Titash, for a superb meal, we had a really good evening with lots of chatter and laughter.  A wonderful way to end our season.

Today we topped the diesel up this morning and then spent the day winterising and cleaning the inside of Triskaideka.  We left the marina at 4pm and travelled back home.

James, Doug, Ali, Gerald, Janet & John

Triskaideka, winterised

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Beginning of November

On Monday we made our way back to Debdale Wharf and were lifted out again ready for Sam on Tuesday morning.

Sam and Neil arrived and after discussions about the gear box Sam checked it and then replaced the prop shaft, stern gland and cutless bearing.  There was groves on the prop shaft and the graphite surface on the stern gland had small chunks out of it.  Beacon have arranged for these to be tested to see if a cause can be ascertained.  I will update the blog later when we know more.

After Sam had finished Triskaideka was returned to the water and we went on a test run.  Everything seemed ok so we dropped Neil back off and returned to Foxton.

We spend the evening in Bridge 61 as it was quiz night.  We had a good night, just what we needed, and Sam makes a good quizmaster!

On Wednesday we cruised to Market Harborough, its was very quiet and we only passed one boat coming from Harborough.  We used the services in the basin and whilst waiting for the water to fill, I rang, as the office was closed, to see if we could have a mooring, we were told we were ok to moor so we did right infront of the Waterfront 

Whilst mooring up a couple we met whilst coming up the Atherstone flight came across to see us, they have a permanent mooring in the basin.   We did the usual catch up and they invited us over for a drink later.  We walked into Market Harborough, had a wander around found a lovely Bisto Cafe for lunch, if we had realised how large the sandwiches were going to be we would have shared one, they were huge, with a side salad and coleslaw, but really tasty.  After doing a bit of shopping, John having a hair and beard cut we returned to the basin, I felt terrible by the time we got back, John has kindly shared his cold with me.  I really couldn't be bothered to cook and we were so close to the Waterfront we decided to eat there, five steps from the boat and we were inside.  The food is really good, we had eaten there before and again we had a lovely meal.

On Thursday we returned to Foxton as everything still seemed to be ok, no noise or banging we decided to go up the locks.  I opened the road swing bridge for us and the Canal Boat behind us, they had been charging us down over the last couple of miles so we thought we would let them go ahead.  It also meant they would get to the swing footbridge in Foxton first so could open that for us!  On arrival in the basin the coal and diesel boat Callisto was just going into the first lock, after a chat with Mark & John who was helping Mark up the locks they said they hadn't been able to find the lock keeper, I wandered up a couple of locks and could see him at the top of the flight, so walked up to book in.  He told us to go up next, but when I got back down the Canal Boat was at the lock gate, so we let them go up in front of us although I did tell them they needed to book in with the lock keeper.  We had a good run up the locks, there was a boat coming down who had to wait in the middle pound and another behind us.   Once at the top we moored up.

On Friday our plan was to head back to Yelvertoft, but when we got up it was throwing it down, really heavy rain, so we decided to wait and see what it was like later.  It cleared about 11:00 so we decided to head off but only to go half way, or if it started to rain again stop.  The colours of the trees are fantastic, and this is a lovely stretch of canal, the views are lovely, the photos don't do it justice as it was still cloudy.  We got to Welford Junction where we were planning on stopping and John suggested we carried on to Yelvertoft, so we did, we did have a couple of rain showers, one which was quiet heavy so I retired inside for a while, we made it back just as it was getting dark.

So that is our first season aboard Triskaideka, we have had a fantastic time (if we ignore the last few weeks), there is nothing that we would change about the design, so we don't think we have made any huge blunders, it works well.  There are somethings we bought on board that have never been out of the cupboard so they will be going home and not returning (but not many).

We have done 830 miles,   542 locks, 23431 yards of tunnels and most importantly met some really lovely people along the way, we have travelled canals we have not done before and had time to enjoy everything along the way.  Did we make a mistake, do we regret it, never - can't wait to get back out in the spring.  Triskaideka is booked in to be blacked at the beginning of April and then we will be off for our next cruise.

We will spend the next few days, cleaning polishing and getting Triskaideka ready to be left for the winter, I will then drag John, kicking and screaming back home, where I will try to find some work for the winter, or at least do some voluntary work, while John enjoys his first winter as a retiree!

Our last few photos for this year.  Our blog will return with us in the spring.

Sunday 30th October

Whilst doing very little on Sunday we had a surprise visit from Dave & Angie from NB Lady Esther, they were out for their Sunday walk and as they thought we were around Foxton came to find us.  We met them in the summer on the Grand Union.  We had a good natter and catch up, unfortunately they were a bit early for the cake as it was still in the oven!   It was lovely to see you both and thanks so much for coming to see us, hopefully we will meet again next year, when you will have your new paint scheme, which we need to see on your blog!!

On Sunday evening Jane and Paul came to meet us and we had a lovely evening with them, eating at the Foxton Locks Inn with a little drink to wash it down!