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MAY 2017

Wednesday 31st. Sunny and warm which brought out the Gongoozlers, dog walkers and mums trying to entertain bored children over half term, so plenty of chatting as we descended down the locks as Dave did four and I did two. We stopped where we had moored on the way up at Sandiacre by the busy main road while Dave went to get his daily paper and I nipped to Lidls which was bigger than usual and had a self check out, which I used, much better than queuing at the manned tills. As it was so noisy at this mooring we moved on a bit to the country and found a lovely spot with rings but the water was a little shallow, so we are sitting on the bottom one side.

Tuesday 30th. Mild, mostly dry with some showers and a fair breeze. I did the shopping at Lidls with the trolley and its wonky wheel, which managed to stay attached. We then washed the starboard side of the boat, used the sanitary station and then set off for the return journey back down the Erewash Canal. We passed C.A.R.T securing the bank and planting reeds but we managed to squeeze by their boats and digger. An uneventful trip this time, so far! Dave did three locks and I did two, mainly because they are so bloomin hard, anyway the exercise will do him good.

Monday 29th. Wet start and overcast. Jody and her family came for the day yesterday and Tiny spotted an electrical plug hole outside the pumping station next to where we are moored, so on the off chance that it was working Dave plugged the boat electrics in and hey presto, we are now on a land line but would we get caught out!
A man knocked on the boat and Dave said ' now we're in trouble thinking it was about the electric, however, the chap was just warming us that he was about to start the pumps to fill the canal and it was right by the boat and would be running for an hour. Dave mentioned that we were using their electric and the bloke said if it was working, good luck to us and to carry on, so we did. Dave got a tour of the pumping station which he found very interesting.

Saturday 27th. Rain, then red hot sun until 3ish and then it was like winter again. After and uneventful night , or should I say it was eventful but we were left alone, we had moored very close to a 'dogging' site which was very busy until the early hours.
We set off when the sun came out, through two locks to the Basin, Landley Mill the end of navigation where we found a lovely spot and moored up for the next two days as we are expecting visitors tomorrow and there is a car park right by us. Also we are right by a KFC, MacDonalds, Lidls and Asda. Also close by, sanitary station, rubbish dump and water, fantastic.

I noticed that we still had egg on the boat which was discolouring the paintwork, so I wash the roof and port side down and Dave hosed it off, a luxury we are not used to, I usually use a 2 litre bottle.

Friday 26th. Hot. We moved up to a mooring nearer the town so Troy could find us easily. He arrived about 12 noon, the traffic on the M1 was awful with roadworks bring it to a standstill every few miles, luckily he was on his 500cc motorbike, so progress was quicker than it would have been by car.
He had spotted a mill not far from our mooring, so we walked there, it sold everything from clothes to homeware. I treated myself to some denim shorts. Next stop was Iceland as Jody and family are coming for the day on Sunday and I needed to stock up on food to feed them.

Troy left at 7pm and as we were not in a very desirable area, decided to move on. Much later than we would normally be on the move but we wanted to get to the country. We came to the first lock where a gang of people and children were all over the lock, as I operated the lock they all slunk off. The water was so high and fierce that it was running over the top of the gates and over the by wash, Dave had to push the gates with the boat to help me as I couldn't open them due to water pressure. There were no places to stop, so on we went to the next lock, again lots of youths all over the lock, I then noticed that all the paddles were up and locked, this explained why the water was so fierce lower down. I shut all the paddles and opened the gate to let the boat in, although all these people were milling around, they were friendly and helpful. When the lock was full Dave went to exit, only the boat wouldn't move, there was something wrapped around the prop. So down the weed hatch he went to unravel some clothing that had got caught up. As he exited he asked the youths if they would like a ball, we had a nice one we had picked up a day or so ago, they said they would. So off we went with them shutting the gate for thing we are being pelted with raw eggs, I was so angry but Dave was impressed that they could throw so accurately from the distance that had now been made.
Now of course we are in the pound that has been drained so the water level is down about a foot or more and the area is still bandit country, so on we went through another lock, at last it looked a lot better so we pulled over and moored up on the end of the lock landing. Its country here and seems quiet and theres plenty of water, so fingers crossed for an uneventful night. The down side, no TV reception.

Thursday 25th. Red hot. After a noisy night due to heavy traffic we moved on through six locks. Hard going in the heat and not helped by the winding gear which I really struggled with, in the end Dave took over, even he found them daunting; also we were following a pair of slow boats, so all locks were against us, and no where decent to stop. In the end the pair of boats stopped but we plodded on but the locks were still against us.
We did, in the end find a nice new mooring with freshly installed rings and a made up tow path, theres even a car park close by which is good as Troy is coming to visit tomorrow.

Wednesday 24th. Hot. I wore shorts for the first time this season. We passed through three locks today, they are hard work, the paddles need sorting as they took all my strength to turn, they really made me sweat. I did a lot of walking today, I need the exercise. Dave went for a bike ride, he found a pub doing reasonably priced food for seniors, so we went there for tea.

We were sitting in the lounge when the boat rocked, Dave went to the stern to see what it was, only to find three young men looking very shifty standing by the boat. He stood and looked at them. they then turned tail and legged it, he then noticed that they had been trying to steal my bike which hangs on the back, its difficult to get off, luckily. Later he spotted them, hoodies up, loitering about in the distance but heading our way, when they got closed he pulled out the camera as though to take their photo, they put arms up over their faces and again made a hasty retreat. Another lesson learned, even when on board, make sure the bikes are chained up.

Tuesday 23rd. Chilly start then hot sun. We left our mooring after a nice sausage and egg sandwich which slid down a treat and set us up for the day ahead. Traveled through two locks, both were hard work, stopping on route for diesel @ 63p, the cheapest we have seen for a long time.
We crossed over the River Trent, passing through Trent Lock onto the Erewash Canal, used the sanitary station and then moored up in a nice spot opposite some house boats, so nothing notable to report, but thats what I like, a stress free life.

Sunday 21st. Sunny and warm with a breeze. In the night I was startled awake by the bolt on the stern doors opening, it was Dave, I asked what was going on, he had got out for a wee and found the boat was leaning wildly to one side and wanted to see if the other boats were in the same predicament, (I nearly said in the same boat!). They were, the water had dropped by about 2ft leaving us at least 10 inches out of the water and at a precarious angle.
In the morning when I got up, the boat was indeed listing dramatically to one side. We spoke to other boaters, who, like us didn't know what was going on, we rang C.A.R.T who were aware of the situation and told us to sit we had an option. A trip boat tried to move and grounded in the bridge hole and stuck fast, at least we could get off the boat which was more that they could do. Eventually about 1pm the water started to deepen and we were on our way by 3pm. Apparently a weir had got stuck in the open position leaving us without a water feed. The one thing I can say about the this incident, it brought the boaters together, we were all like old friends by the time we left. Its an ill wind etc, one chap made use of his boat leaning over out of the water by painting the bit that is usually submerged.

We stopped on route for water, rubbish and cassette disposal but the elsan was no longer there, although still in the book, so we need to get a wriggle on to reach the next sanitary station before the second cassette is full. As the forecast is good for the next week, I have cleaned the stove out and put the coal in the front locker, hopefully this will not be needed again until the end of the year.

We passed 'Lion' on her temporary mooring at Normanton Boat Club, awaiting the return of Mike and Gaye in eleven days time, so we can set off together for the rest of the summer. Mike did make me laugh, he texted to say he is awaiting the delivery of his own game of 'Rummikub', so they can get some practice in before we meet up again.
We passed an unusual sight today, a 'chain ferry' across the river at Normanton on Soar.

Saturday 20th. Sunny spells with heavy rain, more rain than sun! Still in Loughborough, we walked into town, it was market day so managed to get some fruit, did the charity shops and Dave got some cider with berries; we also got wet as it chucked it down.
In the late afternoon we walked to Sainsburys for lemonade and bread, having a KFC on the way back, so Daves a happy bunny.
I polished some of the internal chrome so the boats looking good. Dave sorted out the CCTV, so we now have it displayed on the TV.

Thursday 18th. Sunny and warm. By morning the river had receded and by ten we were notified that the river was now open to navigation. We were starting to get ready for the off when a lady appeared to present me with a certificate acknowledging my flower pots display for 'Boats in Bloom'.

''Lion' is parting company with us for a two week break, so we cruised with them down two locks, said our farewells and waved them off; I later found they had left us a food parcel of all sorts of fruit and veg which was gratefully received. We stopped in Loughborough where I sat on deck to enjoy the sunshine.
Dave changed the diesel and air filter after slopping out the engine compartment that had filled with water from yesterdays downpour; he then disappeared down the tow path to talk to the boat in front, it took a good half an hour before he sauntered back, just in time for tea.
I washed the bed linen which dried in record time hanging in the cratch, so a good day all round.

Wednesday 17th. Rain all day, the really wet stuff, so we hibernated. By evening the river was rising, we were then told it was closed to navigation; by bedtime I was getting worried as it had risen by 2 ft and I didn't want to wake up to us stranded on the bank.

Tuesday 16th. The forecast was wet but we awoke to sunshine. The terrible twosome have to be at Normanton on Soar Boat Club on Friday to leave 'Lion' for two weeks while they return home as Micheal has a boys sailing adventure, a yearly event, to go to. We are doing our own thing while they are away. We were going to stay in Leicester for another day but decided that as the weather was good we would travel a bit further with them.
The sanitary points here are none existent and we were worried both cassettes would be full before we reached the next one, so as we had done once before, emptied ours, very carefully, into the toilet in a park as we passed. 'Lion' has a pump out and was sweating on finding one that worked, so we pushed on further than we had anticipated to Sileby Mill Boatyard where the job was done. We in the meantime went on to find a mooring at Mount Sorrel where there is room for three boats but right in the middle was a plastic pig and a narrow boat just tying up. I untied the plastic pig and moved it to the end, leaving room for us to fit in, so when 'Lion' arrived they breasted up with us.

I walked to the pub by which we are moored to see if it could tempt me to eat there; it couldn't as a burger was £10.95 and the cheapest item.
We spent the evening aboard 'Lion' playing Rummikub and putting the world to rights.

Monday 15th. Up late as it was raining, it stopped about 2pm so we ventured into town. Looked in all the shops, Dave got a rugby shirt in a charity shop, he then bought a USB cable for my phone from the pound shop when I said not to, and guess what, it didn't fit.
We went into Weatherspoons for lunch and met up with Michael and Gaye and luckily for Dave, Michale bought the cable off us for his phone which it did fit, I also sold him a 12 volt connector, so everyone was happy.

I made new signs and laminated them with my items for sale to put in the windows and then put velcro on the dinette cushions to hold them in place; small jobs that had been hanging around.
In the evening the terrible twosome, aka Michael and Gaye came aboard for their evenings entertainment. This time we played' seven card brag'; Gaye who wasn't familiar with the game managed to deplete our pot of money by over £1.00, quite a lot when the stake was only 5p, is she a hustler!

Sunday 14th. Warm and sunny with a light breeze. We traveled through five locks today, on both canal and river. Another pair of boats also going our way but not stopping at Leicester. We pasted our usual mooring spot at Castle Gardens, even though there was plenty of room proffering to go to the new moorings further on. There were already two boats in residence but when asked one moved up a little so both 'Lion' and 'Iron Butterfly' could fit in.
Dave was most upset that there was no TV reception and the Grand Prix was on today, he spent ages trying to coax it to work; in the end he turned the boat around and managed to get the satellite working. As this is a new mooring Dave went off on the bike to see where we are.
We walked into town, a fair stroll uphill but nothing to taxing. Being Sunday the shops were shut but as a treat we had tea in MacDonalds which was heaving with every colour and creed imaginable.

We went aboard 'Lion' for a tea and chat to discuss their request to accompany us on our travels, Michael was very keen but Gaye was reserved, as she feels unable to contribute fully with the locks, so I suggested I get her driving so she can stay aboard and Michael can do them.
Later in the day they came aboard the Iron Butterfly, armed with booze, for an evening of entertainment and fun. We showed them how to play 'Rummikub' which they both enjoyed immensely, they left us about 11pm, very late for Gaye as she's not one for late nights but I can see a few of them emerging as we tour the country.

Saturday 13th. Windy and chilly start with one shower, then by 2pm, warm sunshine. When we emerged this morning NB Lion was moored in front of us, we had met them last year and traveled together, they were pleased to see us and we were them.
We made use of the sanitary facilities and then set off to pair up for the seven locks ahead. At lock six there was a problem, two boats wanted to come up but there wasn't enough water, they were on the bottom. Dave to the rescue, he let water through from the pound above until they floated into the lock. When we went down into the pound below it was at least 18 inches below the usual level, we were scrapping the bottom. Dave went back to let more water through, at last we were afloat and it was deep enough for us to moor on a nice length of armco in the country, much better than going into Leicester, although thats what we will be doing tomorrow.
Michael and I walked to a corner shop for papers and goodies, a long route there but much shorter return led by his sat nav.

I went aboard 'Lion' to colour Gays hair, she chose, mauve, green, aubergine, pink and burgundy. Even if I do say so myself, it looked really good, both she and Michael thought it so good they want it doing all over, not just the fringe. They bought a windlass and would have had a companion set but mine is silver and their boat is all brass, shame.
'Lion' is a 'Hudson' build, so a nice shape and tasteful fit out and like ours is kept spic and span, inside and out and not cluttered. They have their own end of garden mooring in March, on the Middle Level.

Friday 12th. Warm and sunny with occasional downpours. We left later than usual after waiting for the rain to stop. We only saw four boats on the move today, one of them commented on how quiet the waterways are at the moment. We passed through 12 locks, which seamed like 112 as I didn't have much 'go' in me today, I am also trying to take care of my knee. At one lock the heavens opened, as we were already in the lock we went inside until it passed, after-all the boat couldn't go anywhere.
We moored up by the Navigation pub, Wigston but on inspection found it a little pricey, so we gave it a miss.

Thursday 11th. Sunny and warm start turning to windy and cool by 2.30pm.
A day boat with about ten women aboard were getting instruction before they set off alone, luckily, as they would have steamed straight into a wall if not for the instructor. Amongst lots of laughter a waving of arms they set off leaving us at the services point as both toilet cassettes and rubbish had accumulated and needed emptying and dumping in that order.

We set of for a leisurely cruise enjoying the sunshine until we rounded a corner and there was the day boat, grounded, with a bloke on the tow path trying to push them off with a plank of wood. They shouted to us, 'we are stuck, can you help', Dave shouted back that he would pull alongside so I could go aboard and help. I soon had it free and steered it until a place for me to get off appeared. As I got off and started to trot past to get back on the Iron Butterfly, they were cheering, shouting and clapping their thanks as well as complimenting me on my coloured hair. I felt quite the hero!
We came to a road swing bridge, I jumped off the boat and opened it, Dave went through, he said to wait for the day boat, which I did but they were so slow traffic was building up, at last they sailed through shouting did I need help shutting it, I didn't.
Next we arrived at Foxton swing bridge but the day boat had fallen so far behind I didn't wait for them and shut it. As we sailed away about five of the ladies went to operate the bridge, this included the captain, so once the bridge was open she couldn't get back to the boat as it was the other side of the canal, we then went round a bend and lost sight of them, so I don't know the outcome, I assume one of the non steerer's had to do just that!!

Ahead are a lot of locks which we didn't want to do today, so we found a nice country mooring from where Dave can walk to the village shop for his paper in the morning, or if it's wet we can just stay put.

Wednesday 10th. Hot sun, I sat on deck in a thin shirt, lovely! Dave and I walked into town, a good selection of shops with Sainsburys, Waitrose, Lidl and Aldi within a short walk of each other. We did the charity shops and then I went to Lidls, exiting with a loaded trolley. We caught the bus back, using our bus passes for only the second time, a perc of getting old; unfortunately Dave let the trolley roll off the bus platform without helping it down, so now we have a very wobbly wheel as the plastic has cracked, who knows how long it will last.

I swilled the boat roof as it was sticky from the sycamore tree we had moored under a few days ago; this was a slow process as people kept stopping for a chat.
The toilet is a vacuum cassette which works really well but the seal had gone and it was making 'going' awkward as it couldn't be left switched on. Today Dave took it apart, I cleaned some of the bits and so did he, then it was put back together and hey presto, all is well in the loo department thank goodness as it was very inconvenient before.

Tuesday 9th. Cold but not windy, so it felt warmer. Glyn our friend since our youth, came for the day. We started with hot bacon rolls and tea, then got in the waiting line for the lock flight. There were two already waiting but they hadn't moored right at the end, so Dave started to move round them, explaining they were first in the queue and we were mooring there so we didn't have to keep moving forward but would wait our turn. The boat in the lead got stroppy, he didn't want us going in front of him for whatever reason, so while Dave and Glyn reversed back, so as not to upset him, I went below before I punched him, ignorant pig.
Due to Glyns health he was only able to help with opening and closing the lock gates which was still a great help and again when a road bridge had to have the barriers down while I opened it, he came into his own. We had a lovely cruise into Market Harborough, and who was there but Mr Stroppy NB Sunrise, it gave me great pleasure to cut him dead. After a sandwich we walked with Glyn to the bus stop for his return journey home.
We filled with water, sorted out the front locker to get to the bag of coal and settled down for the evening.

Monday 8th. Bitterly cold. I swept the roof as it was covered in leaves, then put the pots back and off we went. Although well wrapped up the cold seeps in when you are not moving about, so we took it in turns to walk the tow path helping to keep us from freezing. Not many boats on the move, they have more sense, tucked up in front of the fire like we should have been. An uneventful cruise to the top of Foxton lock flight where we had a choice of moorings as no one else was there.
I lit the stove for the first time this year, which we will keep going until the weather improves

Sunday 7th. Cold start but by lunch time it was warm and sunny, I even took my coat off. When we moored up yesterday it was in front of a boat named Wairo, which has become a star after the boat builder tried to steel it, there was a court case and all sorts. Just before we left the chap from aboard was wiping the side down and we got into conversation. They are New Zealanders and we got on like a house on fire, unfortunately they are going home and putting the boat on brokerage with ABNB, hoping that it will sell as Crick Boat Show is held there and is later in the month and will generate a large audience.

We stopped at Crick for Dave to cycle to the shop for his daily paper, as the weather was good I decided to wash the port side as this still had not been done this year. He wasn't long, so he helped leather off while I washed, a much quicker job with two. Now looking very smart we set off again with Welford Junction as our port of call, however, we stopped short when a rather nice spot came along, allowing us to moor in the sun.
A probable frost tonight so I put the plants in the cratch out of harms way.

Saturday 6th. Overcast and a bitter wind with the odd shower. Left our mooring to go to the bottom lock of the Watford flight to meet Jody and family, who were coming for the day.
Dave did a recce of the area to get a post code and a place for them to park. When they arrived Dave went to meet them as it wasn't straight forward for them to find us.
The children were very excited, Poppea loved her life jacket as it was the first time she had needed it and Willow proudly wore hers as usual.. They all helped with the seven staircase locks, and driving the boat. There was a lock keeper on duty but he left us to it as he could see we knew how to operate them.
We had some bread to feed the ducks but only saw one and he wasn't interested. Walked back to the car with the family and waved them off, I don't suppose we will see them again for a while.

Friday 5th. Windy and sunny. We moved on today, leaving our friends at Braunston behind, up 6 locks, meeting lots of boats coming down but we were on our own. I did the locks but my painful knee is a worry. One of the boats going down was a single handed man, who shouted to me, 'I know you', I said in a very surprised voice. 'do you', as I didn't know him; it turned out we had moored close by him sometime last year.

As we did the really tight turn onto the Leicester arm, we could see there were no spaces where we normally moor, so on we went until we found a nice spot by Weltonfield marina.
I got the plant pots off the roof and gave them a good feed and water, leaving them to drain so as not to mark the roof as the plant food is blue.

Thursday 4th. Windy but sunny. Dave and I walked to the marina to view a new boat for sale at £120000.00. There was nothing we liked about it except the colour! No wonder its been for sale for a while, poorly designed and half the features unusable, for instance the dinette table had draws, making it so low there was no room for your legs, you also had to be a contortionist to get in the bathroom as the door hit the loo, the corridor was so narrow, even walking sideways it was very tight, the unusable the list goes on...!

I stopped at 'Gongoozlers Rest' to see if Avril wanted my left over plants, she did, so we swapped two cups of tea for them. While enjoying said tea I managed to sell a child's life jacket to a couple for their grand daughter at a nice profit, result!

I was once again on the roof polishing the mushroom vents when Jenny rang to see if I wanted to go shopping in Daventry. We went in her car to Aldi and Tesco, so the only carrying of heavy bags was along the tow path, Dave met me half way to act as pack horse.

We ate tea at the 'Boat House' again, another delicious meal, then made out way back to the boat to retire for the evening.

Wednesday 3rd. Cold wind. Jenny, (ex Gongoozlers Rest) came for morning tea, cake and a good old chin wag as shes just returned from Thailand after 4 months away. She has bad asthma and was a huffin and a puffin by the time she had walked to our mooring, I was quite worried about her.

I washed the starboard side of the boat, it needed to be done after the grime and soot of the winter months, I now have more back ache and a poorly knee but the boat looks spiffing! After a rest I set off to the book swap, on route I met Jenny with her coal bucket, 'what are you up to' I asked, she had bought a bag of coal which was in the boot of her car but with her asthma so bad she couldn't lift it to take it to her boat and was going to get a bit in her bucket. I insisted on carrying the sack to 'Hephzibah' so she wouldn't have to keep going out, my good deed of the day!
I then went to the book swap at the Braunston Marina, having a look at the boats for sale on the way, I wouldn't have swapped mine for any of them, not even one at £120000.00.

Dave and I had tea at the 'Boat House' again, I could get used to this, no cooking, lark. Back at the boat we settled down for the evening with the central heating keeping us warm and cosy.

Tuesday 2nd. Sunny start, but a little nippy. I had another migraine, but recovered after a pill. After a nice hot shower and with the newly planted pots on the roof and looking very smart we set off for Braunston. We got a super mooring on the tow path opposite the Boat House, so will be going there for tea. Dave set off for the shop for a daily paper and milk.

As the sun was out I decided to wash the boat roof. Armed with bucket and mop I climbed up, OK so far, then I stood up, still OK, then a boat passed, still OK but it was a bit nu-nerving with the rocking but I lived to tell the tale. Finally finished and with an aching back I got down without getting wet, which was a bonus. It looks so much better, so tomorrow, weather permitting I shall wash down the tow path side, the other side will have to wait until we can change mooring sides.
After all this cleaning, I had worked up an appetite, so we ate tea in the 'Boat House', yum yum!

Monday 1st May. I woke with a migraine, not a good start to the boating season, but after a pill and a rest, I was running on all cylinders again. We had a delicious boiled egg and soldiers breakfast. I ran the vacuum over all the floors. Dave fixed the water gauge for the tank as it was giving a wrong reading and sorted out the stove as the door was stuck shut. We filled with water and were on our way by 1pm to start the new adventures of 2017.
We didn't go far today because we want to stop at Braunston and we thought it would be full of weekender's over the bank holiday, leaving no space for us, so we will cruise in tomorrow.

Once moored up I decided to plant up my roof pots which took most of the afternoon as people passing kept stopping for a chat. Job done but I will overnight them in the cratch for a few days until the chance of frost has passed. Dave decided to nod off in his chair for the afternoon, its so nice to do what you want when you want, the slow pace of the waterways suits us very well.

Sunday 31st April 2017 Packed the car, which was totally stuffed, with the things we will need for the next 6 months. Troy was with us as we had a few jobs for him and to return the car home. Luckily a nice sunny day although a little windy, so I put the mattresses out on deck to air while we unloaded the car. I went off into Daventry to do a shop at Aldi's as we will not see another good shop for many days, and I don't like the prices charged in the little canal side ones.
While I was away Troy tinted the bedroom windows to stop people seeing in but we can see out, except at night when the reverse happens, but thats when the curtains come into play.
After Troy had gone home, I made up the beds, turned the central heating on, Dave tuned in the TV's and we settled down for the evening.


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