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JUNE 2017

Thursday 29th. We were going to move on today but as it was wet, cold and windy, again, in fact so chilly I lit the stove...whats going on, a fire at the end of June!, we decided to stay put as the river was near to being closed to craft due to flooding after all the rain. We stayed indoors until 3ish when the rain stopped, we then filled with water, I also filled Lion as they had gone shopping, sorted my locker of items for sale as I sold two fenders this morning and it needed a tidy up.
Lion left us as they didn't want to accompany us into Sheffield, preferring to spend their time while we are away at Strawberry Island Boat Club where Michael is intending to do some work on the boat, mind you he has been saying that for the last month, so I told him if the jobs hadn't be done when we got back I would slap him, he liked the sound of that!
Dave and walked into town for tea at a pub called the 'Tut and Shive', apparently they are parts of a beer barrel.

Tuesday 27th. I washed the side of the boat so she is nice and clean all over now, just how I like it. While I was washing the boat two men from a hire boat stopped to ask what the etiquette was about opening the road lift bridge which was close to our mooring, I said there wasn't any. One of them was most impressed when I asked if that was a Canadian accent, which it was, most people think he is American, so browny points for me We left our mooring at Barnby Dun in the dry but it soon turned to wet but not to bad so we kept going. We were passed by an oil tanker which absolutely drawfted us, we had to laugh as the captain stepped out of the wheel house to tell me he liked my hair, result!

When we arrived at Doncaster it was full of boats with a sign suggesting breasting up be implemented on the visitor moorings as it was very popular. There were many people off the boats watching us as we tried to find a berth, I asked a woman if we could breast up to her narrow boat and she said 'no, I don't want it scratching' I replied that like her we were all fendered up and it wouldn't happen, I also confirmed our boat was much smarter than hers, what made it even worse was, she was only there to go shopping and we wanted to stay for two days, however another boat decided to leave and we slid into his space and Lion breasted up with us. When we were all tied up and settled, Michael said 'I need a cup of tea', I said I needed a chill pill, that woman has wound me up so much!

Saturday 24th. Very windy, so bad I put the roof pots in the cratch for safety, or I could see them going for a swim. Through three swing bridges today, I did two and Gaye and Michael did one. Theirs wouldn't work because the barriers hadn't been engaged properly, so by the time they had fathomed out the problem there was a queue of traffic, we sailed through and left them to it. Next stop was for diesel, where we both filled up, this was right next to the linear visitor moorings but no room, so I walked down to ask a barge if we could breast up with them as there was no where else to stop, anyone would think I had requested they cut their right hand off, they made it clear they didn't want us, so I waked off in discuss. There were two finger moorings close by but at 60ft we would be sticking out about half way across the canal, but we thought 'what the hell' and thats where we are, its not busy here so hopefully no one will run into us.

Dave and I walked into town for provisions and I spied a hair dressers that was £5 for me and £3.50 for Dave, our kind if prices, so in we went, and not a bad cut either.

Friday 23rd. Very windy making it chilly. The first swing bridge today was for the railway, so operated by the signalman. We had to wait for three trains to pass before we could navigate through the sliding bridge, one of only three in Europe.. Gaye and Michael did their first swing bridge today, which pleased them, at the second Michael ended up on the wrong side, with the bridge open and the boat on the other, so we passed through, they then had to shut the bridge, let the traffic through and then open it again with Michael on the same side as the boat so he could take it through before re shutting the bridge yet again. A learning curve, indeed! Finally as wind and boating don't gel we were glad to pull over and moor up after seven plus miles, right before the next swing bridge.

In the evening we played three card brag aboard 'Lion', we were well up by the end of the evening. We had a great night with lovely nibbles of strawberries, crisps and olives, what good hosts.

Thursday 22nd. Six narrow boats and two Dutch Barges caught the tide at 7.15am, we went very sedately, they all flew past us and were lost in the distance, whats the hurry? We were in the lead, much to Michaels annoyance but Gaye insisted, so he had to obey. The weather started off overcast but warm, so the water was fairly calm apart from the strong current of the incoming tide, however, the tide turned and we were chugging along at a whopping 7mph at one point. As the day wore on it got windier and choppier, so we were glad to reach todays destination of Keadby Lock, just goes to show what a difference a day makes. The turning into this lock is blind, so we passed the lock, turned and slid in from the other direction but still managed to graze the wall as the tide was running so strongly. We tied up with the help of the lock-keeper who sends down a hook for our mooring rope and then pulls it up and around a bollard before passing the end back to us, Lion tied to us as it was much easier and quicker. A slow filling lock with water cascading over the gates in front of us making it quite scary, finally at the top, I could then see directly in front of the lock, a swing road bridge, lock-keeper operated, through this and onto the sanitary station and linear moorings where we will spend the night. We had just got tied up when the heavens opened, thank goodness we were off the river and in the dry as it would have been the final 'nail in the coffin' after the  tempestuous ride we had getting here.
Lion was not so lucky as they were filling with water and got a good soaking.
Later in the evening about 9pm, I set too washing the boat roof, it looks so much better after a good scrub. I had a good natter to a fisherman, who I thought was Cray fishing but it turned out he was dragging up weed to clear a patch to bait up to entice the fish so he could catch them, he was also a born again biker so we talked bikes.

Wednesday 21st. Hot. Did the last bit of shopping in Newark then set off for Cromwell Lock the gateway to the tidal Trent. The lock keeper was useless and had given us bum information on the tidal times, so we were late leaving. You go with the tide so by the time we were half way to Torksey there was hardly any water left as it was low tide. Twelve years ago we did the same trip and got grounded, this time we were more knowledgeable and didn't cut corners, I took a photo of the spot of our grounding, which was easy to see as there was no water covering the sand banks, but low and behold the next thing we are dragging the bottom on the other side of the river but managed to keep going and cleared it but the passage was so narrow we didn't know if we could get through, Lion who was following did a quick maneuver when he saw what was happening to us, so he was OK. At last we turned into the cutting for Torksey lock and moored on the pontoons outside for the night. The trip had taken three and a half hours.
Dave and Michael went to see the lock keeper for the time we should leave for the rest of our journey; Dave had a huge bust up with him as he was unhelpful, rude and spiteful. When asked about tide times he replied that, 'I know but I am not telling you' in a very nasty manner, when Dave called him a wanker he really got the arse and said he was putting us in his black book. Ooh, scarry!

In the evening we played Rummykub and had some nibbles, but an early night was needed as our tidal time is 7.15am. One and a half hours against the tide and then it will turn.

Monday 19th. Hot, hot,hot. We left Gunstorpe through the lock after using the sanitary station. cruising side by side with Lion. The scenery was lovely, so far we have enjoyed the River Trent. We found a mooring right in the town center and adjacent to supermarkets and as we need to stock up with provisions it is most welcome.

Sunday 18th. HOT. Our friends from last night departed, leaving space for Lion who appeared at midday, so we are back together at last and ready for more adventures. I sat with my feet in the river trying to call down. Dave and I walked to the lock to see where the sanitary facilities are for our departure in the morning. We sat on deck talking to new neighbors and Michael and Gaye. We spent the evening outside on the pontoon playing Rummykub until 10pm, Gaye and Michal had improved greatly as they purchased their own edition for practice before meeting up with us again.

Saturday 17th. Hot, infact, very hot. A new lock-keeper today as we passed through the lock for the third time. Again he advised forgetting Gunthorpe and going on to the pontoon after the next lock, but when approaching Gunthorpe we could see a space on the inside of the pontoon, with a depth marker of 2ft 6in and as we are 2ft 3in draft in we went, result!
Spent a very pleasant afternoon sat under the shade of our brolly talking to two other boaters with others passing and giving their two pennys worth.
Dave and I sat with our feet in the river which was most refreshing, we even had entertainment as there were people water skiing, wake and paddle boarding.
We sat outside with other boaters until 10.30pm when the midges got bad and it turned a little chilly for some, a great time was had by all.

Michael rang to see where we were and when I said Gunthorpe he wasn't that far away and will join us tomorrow, so they have made good time, they would have come today but he had mutinous crew as Gaye was hot and tired.

Friday 16th. A lovely cruise, windy and warm witch turned to hot later in the day. We were in the last lock of the day when Dave got talking to the lock-keeper, telling him we intended to stop at Gunthorpe for the night, to which the term 'no chance' was uttered. At weekends boats flood out of the marinas and take up residence on all moorings, with this in mind we had to make a decision on what to do. I had spotted a very nice country pontoon mooring just above the lock we were in on the way down stream, so as the lock was emptying we decided to go back to said pontoon. Out the lock we went did a tight turn and entered it again and went back the way we had come, turned in the river and tied up to the pontoon in the last space.
The lock-keeper kept asking 'are you alright captain' which made us smile as in reality I am the weakest link, but he cant be all bad as he told me what a lovely boat we had and he loved the colour choice.

Thursday 15th. Windy but sunny and warm. Troy came for the day on his Honda 500cc motorbike. He brought lots of computer goodies as he had been invited to a show by a company that wants to sell computer security to one of his contracts. We went for a long walk along the tow path, visited shops, then ate tea in Weatherspoons. We saw some people 'slack lining', good exercise but I would be afraid of breaking my limbs. After a lovely day Troy headed for home late evening.

Michael and Gaye contacted us to say they are back on 'Lion' and will probably catch us up on Monday if all goes well, by then we will be at Newark.

Wednesday 14th. Sunny and warm. We both put on shorts today as it was such lovely weather. I walked to pick up last minuet provisions before we set off for the River Trent. Only one lock today which we shared with two plastic pigs, one of the captains was so impressed that I did the lock while they stayed aboard that we said ''do you want a beer'', in jest I said ''I would rather have a coke'', with that one appeared and was put on our roof for later consumption, thats the only payment I've had this season!. After exiting the lock we did a hard right up stream as we wanted to moor on the town hall steps, the wrong direction but we can turn round before we continue on our way to Newark over the next four days.

A man tapped on the window after some horse brasses, I was still getting up so Dave had to deal with him but a sale was made although a little cheaper than I would have sold it for,a sale is a sale.

Tuesday 13th. Dry and no wind. After breakfast we set off for the 'City of Caves' Nottingham is built on a network of hundreds of man made caves. Broadmarsh shopping centre is the unlikely entrance to one of Nottinghams prime visitor attractions. The caves were used for all manor of things, cave houses, tannery, storage, air raid shelters, dungeons, breweries, cock fighting pits, a bank even had its strong room in a cave. Interesting and enjoyable.
Next we moved on to the 'Galleries of Justice', Nottinghams former court house and prison. For centuries this was the only site in thecountry where you could be arrested, tried and imprisoned or executed.
A trial was acted out, they had actors dressed up as 'defense and prosecution' taking people from the ordinance for, judge, jury, defendant and witness's. Dave was chosen for the chief witness, the employer. This was a true story of a man accused of smashing up an automated stocking knitting machine, trying to get his job back but being caught in the act by his old employer and in the following struggle the employers gun was discharged, wounding him but not badly. Dave spoke up well for all to hear and acted out the character with zest, more than I say for most of the others. The defendant was found not guilty, as the case against him was so weak, but at the real trial he was found guilty and hanged.
The prison punishments would work well today, hard labour, whipping, solitary confinement in cells with no light at all, treadmills and turning the screw to name but a few. This was well thought through and enlightening, a very good attraction.
After all this excitement we were exhausted so had a burger in MacDonald's, mainly for the sit down and drink, walked around more shops, then made our way back to the boat for a rest before having tea at Weatherpersons as it was Tuesday steak club, which was very tasty.

I got the plant pots off the roof, fed them and took off the dead heads, my last job of the day. Now we will chill out in front of the TV as we both ache all over from all the standing and walking.

Monday 12th. Windy and overcast but dry. I walked to Sainsburys for provisions, on my return journey a man on the tow path asked if I was on a boat, I admitted I was, he then proceeded to tell me how two youths had been on a cruiser which had been moored by where we were standing, spun it round, taken it to the other side of the canal, rammed it into the bank, jumped off and run away and left it adrift. I said we would be moving shortly and I would retrieve it and tie it back up, although I suspected it would probably return on its own with the water current. Out of the blue he said ''are you off ''Iron Butterfly'', I confirmed I was, he then went on to tell me how great the web site is and how him and his wife had enjoyed reading it and that he was having a boat built which was also late for delivery. So my quick nip to the shops turned into a marathon and I knew Dave was itching to get on, still as I am always saying, if you are in a hurry you are in the wrong place.
We walked into and round town, its large, so by the time we got back to the boat, armed with tourist information, we were knackered.

Saturday 10th. Overcast but mild. Backed up to use the sanitary station before setting off for Nottingham outskirts as its Saturday and we didn't want to be in the town centre. An uneventful cruise until we were mooring up...shouting and a man running with two others after him towards us, we tried to contain the runner but on seeing he was armed with a knife decided against it; he had been pilfering in Sainsburys, and need I say, surprise, surprise, he was foreign.
I had a treat, tea at MacDonald's!

Friday 9th. Yesterday was wet and windy so we stayed put, it was also our 39th wedding anniversary. Today was sunshine and warmth. Jody and family came on their way home from a holiday near Grimsby. The girls were very pleased to see us and as the weather was so good we walked along the tow path and bought ice creams all round; we then went for a long walk around Beeston nature reserve, which worked up an appetite. Back at the boat I made a meal with trifle to follow as the children love it. They left about 5.30pm and I went and had a long chat with the boat moored in front of us. They had a Staffie called Sid, named after Sid James, who was a right old softee.

Wednesday 6th. Yesterday was a howling gale and wet, today bright but still extremely windy and with all that rain would the River Trent be in flood, so do we go or stay? We decided to move on as there is nothing at Sawley within walking distance except boats and we need a few provisions. We waited until mid morning hoping the wind would die down but it didn't, so with roof pots safely stored in the cratch we set off. As we passed through the first lock Dave asked the Lock-keeper what the river conditions were like, fast flowing but not in flood, but it would be tomorrow when the River Derwent emptied into it. We made a run for Beeston, through another two locks, stopping at the last for services, another reason to move, the bog was nearly full., finally reaching the safety of Beeston Cut and the last empty mooring. The weather forecast for tomorrow is wet and windy so we may be stuck here for the day but at least theres more going on.
As we were cruising along, Dave asked if I had moved the door mat, I looked around and it was definitely missing, another casualty of the wind now residing in Davy Jones Locker.

Monday 5th. Very wet start to the day and windy. When the rain finally stopped we set off but of course there were intermittent spells of rain and the wind was increasing as time went on. At the one and only lock today a boat went in from the other direction as we arrived, so as usual I walked down to help them through...thank goodness we were not going in our direction as they hadn't got a clue and it wasn't a hire boat. Once in the lock they put the centre rope around a bollard, the woman was driving and the man locking, as soon as he opened the paddle the woman couldn't hold the boat and let go of the rope, so the paddle was shut while the man got the boat hook to retrieve the ropes to tie both bow and stern ropes. The bow rope was spliced so as he tried to get hold of it it caught in the fiarleed and was stuck. which formed a loop which he put round a bollard but it was to long, so when the paddle was opened the bow swung out. This was all taking so long Dave walked down to see what the hold up was, neither of us said anything but we were both thinking the same!!!! Finally the man got hold of the bow rope and I operated the lock, at last the lock was full and they were on their way, all be it, to fast past moored boats.

All this faffing about had let another boat catch us up so we were able to pair up for the lock with a hire boat returning to base. Again the woman working the lock didn't have a clue, so I assumed it was their first day and was amazed it was their last. Firstly she didn't put the ratchet on the winding gear, so when she let go of her windlass it spun round and nearly knocked her teeth out. There were other things I had to talk her through but they were a pleasant couple but I don't think they will go boating again.
We were soon enjoying the rain and very angry wind as we joined the River Trent, at last Sawley came into view and we slid into a mooring opposite the marina, pulled the plant pots to the side of the roof before the wind sent them swimming and settled down to sit out the rough weather.

Sunday 4th. Sunny and warm start which deteriorated as the day progressed to windy showers. We moored just above a lock last night that had a notice saying 'no winding in the canal arm entrance', I suspect it was due to the live aboards that are moored down the now defunct arm of the Derby canal which used to join up to the Erewash canal. However, rules don't always apply to Dave and he had decided that we would turn there regardless...the next winding hole was three miles and one lock away. While he turned I set the lock for a quick exit, but no worries, no one said anything and we were soon on our way. Lots of boats on the move in both directions, we managed to pair up for one lock only, they were only out for the day and soon moored up while we carried on to Shardlow hoping to moor in the only place where we could get satellite TV, there was already a boat there but they offered to move to let us in as they were not staying the night.

While in a lock, three men, aged between 20 and 30 bought a windlass as they were on a hire boat and had dropped theirs into the canal, of course ours were much cheaper that the hire company's, so everyone was happy.

Friday 2nd. Sunny and warm start and then rain by 11.45am as predicted. We stopped for sanitary services at Trent Lock before exiting the Erewash canal. We did a sharp right turn upstream onto the River Trent as Dave wants to go to Shardlow Chandlers. Our aim is to go downstream to Nottingham but we don't want to be there over the weekend, so are losing time by this little diversion. Its very busy here with boats all over the place, we were lucky to get such a good mooring.

Thursday 1st. Bright sunshine but not to hot, just as I like it. We meandered down the last of the Erewash Canal. stopping just short of Trent Lock.

Our friends on NB Lion rang to say their Aunt had died and as Mike was executor they would be unable to re join us as planned, adding another two weeks before they were free to continue. Although they wanted us to wait for them, they realised that it was a big ask, so have left us to make a decision.
We have decided to continue on our way but slowly, so maybe they will be able to catch up if they get a wriggle on once the Aunts estate is in the hands of a solicitor for probate.

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