Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Sunday, Monday, goodbye and hello

Sunday was sunny after a rainy night. Well, I think it was sunny, but my memory cannot be relied upon - after all that was 4 days ago, for heaven's sake!

Our intention was to get to Welford for lunch at the Wharf Inn. But in the meantime, little Neill had to retrieve the car from Foxton. But he also wanted to go through the Husbands Bosworth tunnel. No worries, both could be achieved without any hassle for me, at least ...

Getting ready to enter the tunnel was a bit of a chuckle, as both Neils thought it looked too narrow for two boats to pass in it. They were reassured when I was able to read to them that the sign at the entrance clearly stated it was two way. Good thing too, as we did meet another boat in it - a hire boat whose steerer was rather cautious and pretty much stopped as I approached - I don't think I was intimidating, but I remember my first few tunnel traverses and being reluctant to keep moving at much more than a crawl as I approached another boat.

After the tunnel, we pulled over and chatted with a man with a very familiar face - the barman and server at the Bell Inn at Gumley - where we'd had lunch with Mick and Julia last week. We stopped after the tunnel mainly though so little Neill could cycle back, the 7 miles to collect the car, do a bit of grocery shopping in Husbands Bosworth, and join us at Welford. But the conversation with the Bell Inn man was a bonus!

As the three of us (plus Enzo) proceeded at slow pace towards Welford, big Neil booked a table for lunch, for which we gave ourselves a fairly careful margin. The journey was faster than we'd thought though, so we all had time to get cleaned up before heading for the pub. I'd winded (turned) the boat,  David filled the water tank and we pulled forward to the mooring we would occupy for the night.

A good thing too, as lunch was at least 50% liquid and all but a pint of that was alcoholic (water for me to wash chardonnay down with). We didn't leave the pub till 3.45 and then just sat out in the sunshine on the towpath.

However there was some activity - little Neill repaired a puncture on his folding bike, big Neill covered the other bar stool. However I don't think I did much of anything at all.

Dinner was cheese and salami on toast made with my bread. Bloody hell, I have ODed on gluten recently!

Early bed, then a walk into Welford in the morning before brekkie for little Neill, Enzo and me (I think the others were still in bed ...) - David Carrington had texted asking if we could get him a paper. That was the first I knew there was an actual village and an actual shop! Welford is lovely! And there I was thinking it was just a pub ...

A second and more extensive walk (after brekkie and cake baking) with all of us, then back to the boat for:
  • big Neill doing the dishes and polishing the brass taps (yay!!)
  •  some packing up (N&N), 
  • re-filling with water (D), 
  • selling David the folding bike (N&N, & a willing buyer in D) and 
  • leaving by car (N&N) and 
  • leaving by boat (D&M). 

The contrast - hot is polished with Barkeeper's Friend, the cold is about to be.

Neil standing with feet about a metre apart so his head doesn't reach the ceiling.
N&N were off back to Bude, D&M were off to just past the junction of the Welford Arm to meet up with Dave and Jan Carrington - boaters we met way back in 2002 on the Kennet and Avon. To be honest, they probably wouldn't have talked to us back then if they had known we were on a hire boat - but the one we had had no branding identifying it as such. However they may have guessed we were hiring as I did some daft things based on there being no mooring possible where it said there was a wharf and where we had arranged to meet Melita and her boyfriend.

But talk to us they did, and we became firm friends - we have boated together, stayed at their home, they have stayed with us in NZ. So catching up this season was always going to be a given.

After an eventful hovering at the lock (grumpiness and swearing by two, one of whom was me and the other of whom was not David), we found the Carringtons exactly where we had agreed - I do like it when a plan comes together. A cup of tea on their boat, then off I went back to ours to prepare dinner - 3 courses no less and all very yummy:
  • thai salmon fishcakes (courtesy of Waitrose - defintely will get them again if I can find them) with a homemade sauce garnish of yoghurt, mayo, chilli flakes, chilli chutney, lemon juice, coriander and chives - the last two from the pots on top of the boat;
  • a cassoulet-type dish with a few additions and every vegetable onboard included, accompanied by fresh warm homemade bread
  • rhubarb and cinnamon cake, baked that morning, served with pouring double cream.
A fair amount of wine was consumed by all (natch) and I retreated to bed before the Carringtons left - I did continue to participate in the conversation for a wee while though, but my contribution petered out ...

We spent last night (Tuesday) with the Carringtons too after cruising through the showers to Crick - the route is very attractive, but needs to be taken at more of a sedate pace than we did it - it was boring as there were no locks and David spent most of the time in the cabin. Let's face it, I was lonely!

We all went to dinner at the Red Lion in Crick - lovely food, lovely place, great service and understandably very popular - it got very full from about 7pm on.

We said good bye to Dave and Jan this morning - they had decided to stay put as it was hosing down.

In all of the time we spent together, I didn't take one photo - how slack is that!!!???

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