Sunday, 5 October 2014

The end of our " City Tour " and some TLC for the boat.

Last Sunday saw us commence the final day of our cruise for this year.  The weather was once again kind and we made an early start in order to tackle Watford locks.  We had anticipated something of a bottleneck here, but on arrival, not a boat in sight.

Ali walked up to book in with the lock keepers and as she was doing this, a bow wave announced the arrival of a Napton narrowboat crewed by a German couple. They thought these were wide locks, so with difficulty, I explained the procedure.  By the time Ali arrived back, I think he understood and we were the first up.

What a pleasant and uneventful passage up the locks we had, aided by the keepers.  Our early arrival had paid dividends, as there were four boats waiting to descend as we left the last lock.  Then a chug through some really pleasant countryside towards Crick tunnel, hard to believe the M1 is so near.  No boats in the tunnel, so an easy passage through and thence into Crick Marina. 

Miles 4.5
Locks 7
Tunnels 1528 yds

We had contacted Pip and Rog from N.B.Windsong and arranged to meet them.  We had just moored to our pontoon when they arrived.  So nice to meet up once again.  So off to the Wheatsheaf did we go and enjoyed a Sunday roast and a drink or three, and a good chin wag, then back to the boat. In the evening, Lizzie from N.B. Panda came over and we finished off a few bottles of wine together.  How she managed work the next morning, gawd knows! Her boat, upon which she has spent many an hour repainting, is looking fantastic.  An incentive for us to get washing and polishing.

For us, it meant a somewhat later start than planned.  Got the car started, checked the tyre pressures and fluid levels and then a trip into Rugby.  By lunchtime, we were back and set to with avengence. Roof and port side washed and polished, then turned her around and set to on the the starboard side.

By this time we were both shattered.  But our purchase earlier of a 12v polisher and extension lead paid dividends in making the job a little easier.  It was 1900 and getting dark when we finally called it a day.  Slept really well that night!

As if all the remedial work on the paintwork, the washing, then polishing was not enough, Ali decided further work was needed. Having already varnished the Cratch, she decided to repaint the engine room!. Not an easy task at the best of times, but our cocooned engine does not leave a lot of room for manoeuvre.  I cleaned it out as best as I could, and then Ali set too.  The result is fantastic, looking better than new.

On Wednesday after an internal tidy up, we went to Jane and Paul's for a family get together and visited Grahams new house.  Plenty of potential and work there, but it will be worth it.  After a lovely meal and of course after viewing the "Great British Bake Off", back to the boat for our final night onboard.
Ali took her project for the summer for Helen  Mark, 
she had knitted them a blanket for their new baby

Thursday was spent emptying the boat, loading the car and tidying up.  The time flew by and it was late afternoon before we set off for home.  I will be returning to the boat later this month when she is due in for blacking, but sadly, that is the end of our cruising for this year, I think!

Although somewhat shorter than usual, due to my knee op, we have had a wonderful summer. With Liverpool, Leicester, Chester, Birmingham and parts of Manchester visited, we have done many a mile through urban areas, which are full of interest and contrast with the rural stretches we have travelled.  The weather has been more than kind to us and allowed us to really enjoy the river Soar without the worry of water levels.  A really good year, so already planning for next years cruise.

But for now, sorting out the house!

Totals for this summer
583 miles, 429 locks, 37 swing bridges, 5 lift bridges and 12743 yards of tunnel