It may seem forever since we got to the UK, but we haven't travelled far!
We are now at Radford Semele, quite close to Leamington Spa, and that is quite close to Warwick; in fact, all three towns form a rather large conurbation which stretches along the canal and outwards.
Radford Semele is slightly away from the canal where we are, as there is a big park beside us on the towpath side (not readily accessible from it though as there is a bit of a river in between) and a farm across the cut. The only disturbances are cyclists and runners ripping past on the towpath, and walkers who are more sedate and don't expect you to move aside based on some whacky notion that speed equals right of way. For heaven''s sake, they are right next to a waterway where the slower your craft, the higher your priority! But I guess, we are not that far from roads where the very nature of speed and the power it bestows on heavy moving objects assigns it right of way simply through the common sense of slower moving objects keeping out of their way ...
Still and all, I do rather enjoy the fantasy of being nuts enough to poke the handle of my windlass through the spokes of the more aggressively 'speed has the lead' brigade on the towpath.
But to be honest, we have spent most of our time for the last two days either in the boat (yesterday as it was decidedly a rest day with occasional showers of rain, bread to bake, an opus for David to complete and a report and memo for me to finish off) or doing out and back trips from Wetherspoons in Leamington Spa on Saturday.
We needed the rest day yesterday as we had a couple of days of harder work than we have done so far this season. Well, that is not surprising as we are now on a journey in a convoy with Mick and Julia on Unknown No 3 and Laughing John on a truly unknown/unnamed (as far as I can tell) boat. And Mick and Julia are FAST!! That Julia is the most efficient lock wheeler we've ever met, and she still has time to chat and laugh and encourage hire boaters and help single handers. It's the bike and the strong right arm, I reckon ...
We left Jaq Biggs after sharing lunch on the towpath in the reaches between Braunston and Napton on Thursday and got all the way to Long Itchington by 6pm. That was a long afternoon - 13 locks, I think. John and Mick shared the locks and David and I were ahead of them and there was no other boat for us to share with, so David did all 13 on his own apart from the help Julia gave him as she cycled backwards and forwards between and ahead of us and back to the guys behind us, sorting us all out.
Dinner was wine/beer and nibbles and lots of laughter on board Waka Huia - lunch was so huge that none of us could face another meal.
On Friday it was a shorter journey here to Radford Semele. Julia organised a hireboat who had somehow managed to get between Mick and John to come and share with us. That made the locking much easier - the guy was a good steerer although it was his first time, and the two 12 year old boys on board were good on the locks with David. I was impressed that the woman was still wearing make up and had manicured nails - them with the white tips and high polish. I did have to go and get my clippers to cut my ragged talons and clean the rope grubbiness and general grime out of them ...
John had to go back and help his son in law demolish a chimney over the weekend, so we fetched up here on Friday arvo, and here we have stayed! The weather was meant to be pants, but actually it's been OK most of the time, although a bit chilly first thing in the morning. Lots of snuggling together in bed as the summer comforter is not quite warm enough and the winter duvet is too hot. Goldilocks, where are you?
Saturday was our Leamington discovery day. I had read on Tony and Helen's blog (nb Holderness) and on Ray and Diane's blog (nb Ferndale) about Jephson Park and wanted to visit there.
We set base camp up in Wetherspoons on the Parade. The first visit was to have a coffee (I wasn't allowed to order a plate of sustaining chips) and plan the day. From not knowing what we wanted to do apart from the park visit, we quickly established a comprehensive list of shopping needed (Holland and Barrett, somewhere - turned out to be Trespass - to buy hiking sticks [plus a pair of purple sandals like Julia's - we are now twins like Danny de Vito and Arnie, and a lovely red T-shirt and a game for the grandsons], Poundland, and a camera shop for a monocular that will fit in David's pocket and hang around his neck and not get dropped on the side of the lock and break one lens... Julia and David did the google maps thing and found all of the emporiums (is that emporia?).
The first out and back was after the shopping that involved all of us, then Mick, Julia and I waited finishing a sustaining drink while David went to the camera shop, having first established by phone that a monocular was available.
Then it was off to the park - but first we went to the park on the other side of the road and I bought a pack of lettuce seeds - a great variety that will fill 5 trays - yay!! I am going to poke a few seeds in to the current trays where some of my current crop are going to seed already, dammit. Salad till October is my plan ...
Then Jephson Gardens - well, they are beautiful, and we didn't explore them as much as I'd have liked so we will have to come back at a later date.
|We saw this guy resting his knees. I think he may have been the model for the guy Gary Philips always photographs somewhere on the side of the cut.|
|Lots of people out enjoying the sun|
|We couldn't find anything that explained this - esp not the boy on the elephant and why he was looking tired/distressed. Must look it up online.|
|An unencumbered elephant. Tim and Kirsty, we love you 40 million of these - did you know?|
|These roses smelt lovely|
|David did dinner - cheese and tomato on homemade bread toast|
The whole of Leamington Spa centre needs a greater level of exploration, and now we know where to catch the bus from Radford Semele into town, we will be doing that trip again. Perhaps on our return journey, methinks.
|Yesterday was haircut day for David - this is before. I will have to get one of after - looks good though!|
Then tomorrow it's the Hatton Flight - I wonder if we will do it as fast this time as we did last time? We will need Julia's assistance to even approach that warp speed!