Saturday, 14 June 2014

Now this is what it's meant to be like!

Yesterday was lovely. We started off reasonably early for us at about 9am, and headed from our mooring outside Mercia Marina to Swarkestone. Mel was up on the cabin roof and elicited several comments, as is his role as a conversation starter.
I sewed a hankie to the cap to protect my neck from the sun

We shared the Stenson Lock with another boat but as only one paddle worked for emptying it, it took ages to empty – not helped by the leakiness of the top gates which seemed to be letting water in almost as fast as the bottom paddle was letting it out! The two labs, one black one brown, were happily on the stern. They ignored Mel which was a bit rude …

The way down to Swarkestone is quite rural but does have the railway beside it for most of the way. Not terribly noticeable when cruising as our engine noise sort of diminishes the noise of trains. The same cannot be said for the noise of trucks and cars tho; but the road hasn’t been that audible today.

We saw the Edna May moored just outside Swarkestone and we stopped to chat with Lindsay. No cherry cake this time, but that was probably because we weren’t having problems and were not so obviously in need of comfort food … (she doesn’t know, bless her, that we ALWAYS need comfort food!)

I remember Mum and Dad talking about the sea of rippling wheat
This photo is for David's favourite ...
We tied up on the first of the 48 hour mooring rings at Swarkestone, had a chat with the CRT guy we’d spoken to at Wychnor on Tuesday. Told him about the broken lock gear at Stenson.
Off we walked across the field of wheat (public pathway) to the village. Had to cross the mainline rail tracks (which has trains screaming past at about 70mph) with a sign that said Look and Listen for Trains. Lovely! Had lunch at the pub – nice place, food only average – then walked a bit further to see the 5 arched bridge we’d walked over. 

Back to the boat along the road, and didn’t turn up the lane, so the traffic noise was pretty horrific – I think we have already got out of the ‘habit’ of traffic and roads, so the noise seems noisier than we remember!

Came across our first inconsiderate boating crew at Stenson Lock on our way back to the marina. Their crew definitely heard our tooting and saw us coming past the dredge, ignored us and closed the gates when we were about 100 metres away. David did comment to the steerer when they also closed the gates as another boat was coming towards the lock after they left it …

We moored up at the same place as the previous night, but facing the other way – only a short hop to the marina entrance. Fed the swan family, the dad of which tapped on the window to remind us of our call to duty. Listened to The News Quiz with Sandi Toksvig – if you haven’t listened to it, try it. I know we used to get it as a podcast at home in NZ. It’s on at 6.30pm (UK time) on Fridays on Radio 4. When we were living here, I used to listen to it driving back to Church Enstone from Birmingham airport after flying in from Amsterdam. I’m not sure it’s dignified to be laughing out loud in a car on my own on the M40, but I used to. An example from last night, (news item re doctors changing their minds about the efficacy of statins, I think) Sandi was talking about what a number of drugs are useful for: ‘…aspirin is good reducing risk of strokes, ibuprofen is good for pain relief and Viagra is very useful if you’ve got washing to hang up.’

We walked along the towpath to the Nadee Indian restaurant – very lovely food and a bottle of Australian cherdonnay. On the way we spoke to Bill and Carol whom we first met on the Kennet and Avon around the same time as we met the Carringtons. We have made arrangements for them to come and join us for a couple of days on the boat when we are back from Scotland. They are now land-based but lived fulltime on their boat for a number of years. It will be great to see them.
An early night and I didn't need much rocking.

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