Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Newbold Crown, Rugby and Hillmorton

On Sunday we were very much in need of a pumpout - we had tried at Rose Narrowboats on Saturday but of course, they were on hire boat turnaround day and we would have had to wait for at least a couple of hours. Instead we decided we could cope for another day and moored up in a fabulously sunny spot between Brinklow Arches and All Oak Wood. I tried to buy a new tiller pin but the hole in our tiller arm is imperial and the pins are metric, so the little owl had to stay in the display box. Not to worry.

A bigger worry was the gloom on board that night when the rugby was over. Lesley still needed consoling in the morning so I cooked a recovery breakfast and she had hugs from both of us.

So a walk to help the breakfast on its journey was deemed to be sensible. We decided to head into Brinklow, thinking we could attend to the pumpout at the marina later in the day. But as we came up on to the road by the arches, the phone rang and it was the marina manager responding to a voice message we had left. A call to the guy on duty provided the knowledge that the marina services are closed by 12.30pm on Sundays, so back to the boat I went by myself so David and Lesley could continue their walk. I successfully got all pins out, fenders up, boat pushed off and away I went. Dammit! I hadn't noticed the phone/internet aerial was still up. A reverse back to the bank and the kind man on the tiller pin boat came and held my middle rope while I took the aerial down. He was happy to help as long as we didn't discuss rugby ...

Eric was waiting when I got to Brinklow Marina and was very helpful and efficient. I had to turn the boat around to get the outlet on the jetty side, and of course, as is the case whenever a boat has to be reversed, the damn wind came up. Not a lot, just enough to stop the bow staying in the right place. Eventually, with Eric instructing me (more reverse throttle required - I am too girly about it I think) I got the boat to the jetty. It did require both of us to lean on the middle rope though. The pumpout was accomplished at speed and David and Lesley had arrived at the marina entrance as I was exiting it. I thought I botched that up but a passing walker was most impressed - mainly because I didn't hit the far bank or the entrance and managed to get the crew onboard at different times ... I am really liking the judicious use of reverse to keep the turn happening while not moving forward much. It's a technique new to me and it is very effective in those tight situations.

When I phoned Eric to sort out the pumpout, he had said that he would be in the pub by 12.30, so while he was doing the job we discussed local pubs. He frequents the Newbold Crown and said if we turned up he'd buy me a beer. So with all crew back on board, we had a discussion - well, I suggested lunch at the pub and leftovers for dinner and the other two said 'whatever you want'. Given I'm the cook, I do get to make these decisions - good, eh? Seems fair to me!

The chardonnay was pretty good, the roast lunches (pork for me and Lesley, lamb for David) were scrummy and very reasonably priced, and the desserts were yummy. So The Newbold Crown joins our fairly short list of pubs to return to. And if you need a pumpout, the Brinklow Marina is the place to go. Give Eric a hug from us. He also sings at the Crown on occasion - next time we will make sure to be there for that.

We came through Rugby yesterday with a short stop for a visit to Tescos. Two very full granny trolleys were trundled laboriously back to the boat by Lesley and me while David got washing underway. It was our last opportunity to do supermarketing before collecting Barry and Pauline at Norton Junction on Friday. So plenty of wine and lager were on-boarded, along with a fair amount of veges and fruit - a balanced diet is so important, I believe.
While I was steering, Lesley defrosted the freezer. She is a pretty good guest really.
Lesley steered from Rugby and did a good job, even past the very full Clifton Cruisers base. She nearly met her downfall when we arrived at Hillmorton. She pulled up to the side as requested and then I went to explore if there was a space further up. Yes, a boat was just leaving, so David pushed off and she came towards the space. Oh no!! A boat coming from the locks was aiming for the same space-ish and approached on the wrong side, forcing her to the left. I stood my ground and said to the other skipper 'We are mooring here. But I think there's space for two.' Lesley did wonder if she would get into the side, but using reverse, listening to instructions (delivered calmly of course ...) she got the boat in without hassles.

So we were moored up by early afternoon at the bottom of the locks at Hillmorton within cooee of the waterpoint - the hose can be deployed without moving the boat. While I got out the scraper, sanding block, rust-killing Fertan, primer and undercoat, Lesley and David parked themselves in deck chairs on the towpath and watched me work. The boat now has a mix of red and white acne, and darker spots where the Fertan is doing its job. As the weather is looking OK, we may stay put today so I can get another coat of paint on. I may also enlist Lesley's help in cleaning the cratch cover - it seems to be a bit green-ish with algae. I had to ply her with a sumptuous breakfast first at the Canal Chef cafe which I had read good things about on Sue and Vic's No Problem blog. We are back from brekkie (very good and excellent price) so I should be able to set her to work after the next cup of tea!

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