On Friday our son came down from Scotland to collect his nephew Krzys and pick up our lovely grandsons and his mother in law from Manchester Airport. It was lovely to have Tim with us, even for such a short time. We hope that he and Marta will bring the boys down before we head off back to NZ. Karol and Marta haven’t yet been on the boat and that needs to be rectified.
On Saturday David and I drove down to Nottingham to the garden party of the year at Colin’s place. It was in honour of our friends Paul and Nigel who are over in the UK and Europe. Paul is an organist and is on a concert tour that is becoming an annual event – much like the garden party. I gather that originally Paul and Nigel used to host the party when they were living over here, but Colin has assumed the mantle since P&N moved to NZ. I went to it last year and enjoyed it hugely. This time it was also lovely to see familiar faces. The journey to Nottingham was painful though – roadworks and a football game in Nottingham meant that traffic was nose to tail for the last 20 miles. Well, maybe the last 10 miles but it felt like 20. On Sunday we returned early instead of going to breakfast at Colin’s (Paul was cooking kedgeree) as David was feeling poorly and needed to be in bed. On the way back, the traffic was much less and we had a straight run through. The trip over the Derby Dales was lovely and in places it reminded us of Taranaki. Leek is a lovely town with very attractive buildings, and it’s much bigger than we thought – we have only ever approached it from the canal before and were very surprised at its size when driving through it.
Since we came back to the boat last week, we have been attending (or others have on our behalf, given we are non-DIYers) to the continuing list of required modifications and repairs.
A lovely couple that we met at the marina have been most helpful. Jimmy (of Jimmy and Jeannie Walker fame - he specialises in poo, he tells people - see his website www.walkersafetycabinets.co.uk and you'll understand) welded the duck hatch hinge back together. Today, after we’d moved off the marina, Steve came and did a check of the electrics as well as identifying what the unlabelled ones did. He has also sorted out the horn (which had repeatedly failed and, when working, sounded like a slowly strangling goose) having diagnosed (through application of first principles – he is now David’s hero because David is addicted to first principles) that there was a significant voltage drop in the wiring between the batteries and the horn which is about halfway along the roof of the boat. As the self pumpout wiring needed to be decommissioned, it has been brought in to use to power the horn. There is some talk (Boy’s Own stuff, I believe) re putting in a relay but my only interest is in whether Usain Bolt will be involved. (I am trying to see how many sets of brackets for asides that I can fit in this paragraph – have I reached the limit yet, do you think?)
Now it is time for the weather update:
Yesterday when we arrived back at the boat from Nottingham, it got rather chilly. After putting on my socks and my hooded sweatshirt (I was already wearing jeans instead of shorts as I have been almost since we arrived in May), I checked my weather app. Much to my horror I found that it was 12 degrees here in Macclesfield, Derby, Manchester and Dalry (Scotland where my lovely grandsons are), and it was 13 degrees and the middle of the night in Wellington NZ! To add insult to injury, David decided to sleep in the saloon, alone, without me, on the single bed, ostensibly to allow both of us to sleep better as he is still poorly with the cold (man flu) he arrived back in the UK with. That meant I was cold in bed as he is generally the overnight central heating unit. And the additional blankets are stored in the lockers under the saloon bed and, as everyone knows, I am too kind to rouse him out of his warm slumbers to hoik bedding out from under him, so to speak. So I made do with adding my dressing gown and my hooded sweatshirt to the 4.5 tog duvet to try to limit my shivering … (Of course, if I’d thought about it, I could have got the feather duvet out from under the double bed that I was in. However that would not be quite so dramatic or self sacrificing.) And I wasn’t cold enough to bother. You know what it’s like when you’re sleepy: it’s easier to stay in bed than move, get cold and then have to warm up – totally destroys the restfulness that has been conjured up since getting into bed with the kindle and camomile tea.
Today it has been a mix of seasons. It started off sunny and a little bit warm, then the wind came up and was especially strong as we moved down to Gurnett where we moored for Steve to do the electrics. It was so windy I felt as though the boat was barely moving even though I had the engine at 1200 rpm. As we were putting up the pram cover, the black clouds opened up and there was a short but very heavy shower, then sun out/sun in/sun out. Currently: clouds over. I had been saying that I was keen for a day or so of cooler weather. Now we have had it, I am ready for more warm sunshine. I may be out of luck for a bit.
Earlier this arvo I pre-boiled the jacket potatoes and now have them in the oven to finish off and crisp up. It is chardonnay o’clock and time to prepare the coronation chicken to go on the potatoes for our dinner. This will be a nostalgic meal for me – when I worked in London at the Home Office (I worked in the Reform and Change Team but quickly realised they would do neither, so departed before my contract was up) I used to go to a place in Strutton Ground and get a coronation chicken jacket potato for lunch reasonably often. Yummy!! I will keep you posted on how these ones turn out and if they are good with chardonnay. I am reasonably confident they will be, as what doesn’t go with chardonnay, I ask?