We left Mercia at about 7.35am, 5 minutes after our intended departure, but Mike C came to say goodbye and to make sure we actually left – such cheek!
On Friday arvo we had spoken with Tony and Helen of nb Holderness and arranged to see them at Shobnall, so, come rain come shine, we were moving – it was too good an opportunity to meet up with people whose blog I’ve been reading and enjoying, as well as being on the move at last with a boat that is functioning as it ought.
|I am being tall, looking to see if anything is coming down the cut|
I couldn’t stop smiling as we left Mercia, listening to the engine performing well with the alternator switched on, and the calm still weather – overcast, but clear and only slightly chilly. And what’s more, I got out of the marina entrance without touching the sides of the cut! Now that’s a first there for me! As we came down the narrow channel to the exit/entrance, the family of swans came out hoping for an early morning snack. No chance today – we’d not eaten breakfast so there were no leftovers on offer.
As we made our way to Shobnall it started to rain but we didn’t care. On with the coats and keep on boating – it was only water, after all. We arrived there at about 10am and found that Tony and Helen had phoned (hard to hear the phone when it’s inside the boat and you're steering outside!). So I called, we met Helen at the entrance to Shobnall Marina and it was wonderful - like seeing someone I’d known for ages as I have seen her in so many photos on their blog. Then I saw Tony – another familiar face. He is as tall as I’d thought and Helen is beautifully short – always such a good choice to be short, I think. BTW, she is probably a bit taller than me but I am hopeless at judging that – people who are about my height always seem shorter than me as I am so used to looking up to see people’s eyes, that when I look straight ahead it feels like I am looking down …
|Tony, Helen, David, Marilyn|
We had lovely lemon drizzle cake (made by Helen) and tea cake as well as some yummy chocolate biscuits she’d managed to put a lovely pattern on … Helen wasn’t aware that she was feeding us breakfast, as we still hadn’t eaten. Their boat is very lovely and modern – quite different from ours, however just what we would have chosen if we’d been buying new, I think. And Macy the cat is a beaut. They gave us some rhubarb that Tony had brought back from his visit home. Then they came to see our boat – interesting to see it through others’ eyes. Our boat is very David and me, in terms of its style – anyone who has seen our house wouldn’t be surprised that we chose this boat. However, when we were looking at hundreds of them on the net, I was more interested in a modern style than the cottagey one we actually ended up with!
It was really lovely to meet them and I forgot to get Tony to teach me to splice a rope – it was only after we left them that I remembered – Doh!
After we said goodbye to H&T we walked down into Burton to the B&Q and bought a hose reel, a plastic shower curtain (as the cheap way to prevent water cascading on to the floor and down into the cabin bilge, rather than a piece of glass and framing), some electrical insulation tape, some gaffer tape and cable ties (3 things that are always useful to have on hand, I think), as well as a few other bits.
We moved on after that and decided, on looking at the maps (we have 3 paper ones – the GEO Projects map, two copies of the relevant Nicholson’s and the canal map app on the iPad – you can guess who uses which ones, but no prizes). We were agreed that we most certainly, decidedly and definitely did not want to moor up alongside the A38, so David identified that the area furthest away from it was in the environs of Tatenhill Lock, either before or after. Before was the water park – lovely moorings, Armco, waterfowl and paths. No, that was too crowded as other people had already moored up, says David; so on we go through the lock. No Armco, only concrete bags, so stakes (pins) are required. We find a reasonably nice place (opposite a big industrial yard, but hey, it’s Saturday afternoon, so no work noise, the A38 is away in the distance, and we moor up. However, every time anyone goes past us, we scrape slightly on the bottom.
OK, after a couple of hours the scraping is annoying and we decide to move, so we go for a walk looking ahead for a better place. There’s a short length of Armco but it’s on either side of a very tiny weir which hardly merits the name. Can we moor there? We decide to try. We pull the boat along by hand and crunch – it’s too shallow, probably to discourage nitwits like us … So we start up and move to another place that had looked OK when we were walking. I pull gingerly over towards the bank, and suddenly the boat tilts alarmingly – we are grounded on stones again. Oh b*gger. This time it takes some pushing and pulling and a lot of reversing. I am stressed and hot – off comes the sweatshirt, out come the grumpy words (mine) and we decide we have to keep going to find a decent mooring. Eventually we find a place – Armco, no other boats (by this time it is about 6pm) and we moor up – and we are right beside the A38 – in fact we are in the fifth lane of a four lane dual carriageway. We cannot help but laugh. And what’s more, after all our stressing about it, it wasn’t particularly noisy – it was Saturday evening so the traffic was light, and we did find a spot where we were sort of protected from the worst of the noise by a CRT building. Also we were distracted from traffic by the last 40 minutes of the Brazil v Chile football match, plus chardonnay, pear cider and nibbles. After that, nothing much mattered …