We proceed, it is lovely being on the water, We overtake a hire boat with an elderly couple (I think they were older than us) and their son who said they were not enjoying it really – not relaxing and lots to learn and remember. The sky gets darker, and darker, and then as we come into Branston Lock the rain comes chucking down – straight down and really heavy and hard. For some reason, after all of the morning stress, it just made us laugh. There was no point in stopping, as we couldn’t really linger in the lock and we were already wet. So on we went, the sun came out brilliantly hot again, we steamily dried out, and it was lovely.
At Barton Marina the instructions were to moor up at the Waterfront Pub and find the warden. I had hoped the pub was beside the cut. No such luck! It is a big marina, and the pub is straight ahead at the furthest point from the cut, with a balcony full of people enjoying being out in the sunshine. So in we go slowly, slowly. I manage to turn and gently come alongside without embarrassing myself, we tie up to a ring with the middle rope and off David goes to find the warden. Comes back, not having found him but having been told where the visitor moorings are, and that the warden will find us. So we walk over to look at the said moorings, choose one that is a good length for us, discuss how I will get the boat there – a fair amount of reversing required as we need the stern to be at the base of the jetty to be able to hook up the shore power. The wind has come up by this time. I get the boat turned around, and steer up past the jetty to commence reversing (remember that there is no steering in reverse as no water goes past the rudder and we don’t have bow thrusters). The wind is stronger and blowing broadside across the boat. I can get the boat across the end of the jetty but I cannot get its nose to come round so I can be anything approaching parallel to it - right angles are the best I can do. It keeps getting caught by the wind. I have two or three goes at it – forward, bring nose around, reverse, blown by the wind. Each time I go forward noisily on high revs to contend with the wind, I am heading, with the full force of my 16 tons (that's the boat, not me!) for moored up plastic boats. Two owners come out looking alternately concerned and joyous that a woman is messing this manoeuvre up.
David is not on the boat, so we resort to my reversing (in)to the adjacent jetty (they are resilient, I discover, and forgive myself, thinking they will have suffered this before and will again) and I hand him the stern rope. I get the midpoint of the boat past the end of the jetty we are going to moor in (hopefully – I am not entirely sure I can get it there!) Now that the pivot point is past the end of our jetty, he can pull on the rope while walking down the jetty, and we are nearly there. He runs out of rope length and isn’t keen to walk down the side of the boat moored there, so has to throw it back to me (in the heat of the moment I didn’t think to release it from the boat and leave it with him…Doh!). He runs to our jetty which I am finally coming alongside, and takes the middle rope to hold me steady while I tie up at the stern.
It has been a mission, and much as I want a drink, there is no way I am going into the Waterfront Pub, unless disguised. My height, my voice and non-existent accent (surprisingly, there was a reasonable amount of high volume swearing going on at one point…) would give me away, even if I went in dressed totally differently. Chardonnay, dinner, 2 loads of washing on shore power, marital discord brought on by stress of the day and inhibition release effects of chardonnay on both of us, and then bed. Chamomile tea at 3am because neither of us were sleeping.