Monday, 25 April 2016

Just remind me why we do this?

Well, we are off.

Basking in the spring sunshine then?  Nope! Typical British weather. Thus far, it has been cold interspersed with heavy showers and even with the threat of snow! What a strange winter it has been. Mild but damp. The boat has survived it's hibernation well. A few drawers sticking, but soon sorted once some heat and a dose of dehumidifier was added.

Living so far from our winter mooring does add a few logistical problems though. No quick pop to the boat for the odd job, it's a two hour drive for starters. Once again, thank you to Jane & Paul for putting us up when the need arises. As usual, always a list of jobs/projects to complete over winter. This year, it was upgrading our WiFi and solar panel. Both jobs completed, thanks to Matty (Old Friends boating services) for assisting with the solar. The fitting of a Mimo aerial and routing the twin cables I did myself. Not without some difficulty I should add and perhaps a little cursing. But job done and is works! Nobody was more surprised than me! We have also purchased a new Huawei mifi, with twin ports to match the aerial and up to now, great reception.

After a wash and polish and full engine service a few weeks ago, we were just about ready. Just Ali to finish work, the house to sort, cars to sort and one hundred and one other jobs to complete! After a manic few days, with the car groaning under its load, we set off for the boat last Friday. Once we had found a home for all our belongings and Ali had made a last use of the car for a mega shop, we were set to go.

Sunday morning dawned crisp, but bright. We chugged from our berth and up to the marina services. Topped up with fuel, and began the journey north. Hang on, we are doing the Thames this year. Just a small deviation, up to Normanton on Soar for the gathering of Beacon Boats, next weekend. Having therefore an agenda, we made a fair dent in the journey on the first day, completing the summit pound to the top of Foxton locks. A really pleasant trip, albeit very familiar. Few boats moving apart from hirers and we were surprised to find ourselves on our lonesome at the very popular moorings above the locks. Twas a chilly day though, with a biting wind.

This morning we were ready for the off as the locks opened at eight. We were more than surprised to find that we were the only boat approaching from either end. So, with the aid of the lockys, we were down the flight in a leisurely 45 minutes or so. More sensible people must have seen the forecast and stayed put. But we soldiered on. The skies darkened, the rain lashed us, but on we went. The whole day, we saw two boats moving, and they were together, exiting the second of the wide locks as we approached. Think they were tough Northerner's though!

Between the downpours, the Wind howled. The bottom gates of every lock had to be closed by Ali, before we could fill the lock and as we exited, every attempt to close them failed. Were we disheartened? Well a tad and chilled to the marrow, but we made our intended destination for the day, just after three. Battened down, fire on and chilling (?) out. We aim to traverse Leicester tomorrow. Lots more wide locks. You never know, we may even meet s fellow traveller to share them with!!!

So yes. The weather is not behaving, but we still love it. looking forward to the meet this weekend. Please let the sun shine on us, occasionally!

Miles 28
Locks 22 (10 narrow)
Tunnels 2 (2226yds)