Friday, 9 June 2017

The very BEST Indian restaurant and a rest day

A few days ago, the day started with a Naval Strategy Meeting** onboard Unknown No 3. David was not in attendance. I seem to remember he was involved in faffing onboard Waka Huia  but I couldn't tell you what it was. **Admiral Mick - as befits his senior boating status - also necessitates the meeting being named with due ceremony.

It was generally agreed that it wouldn't be a long boating day as we only had to come up from Radford Semel to the top of the Cape Locks. However there was a fair bit of shopping faffing and watering up faffing to be done on the way.

As is probably unusual in any armed forces strategy meeting, there was a fair amount of democracy involved, and we all decided to shop at different supermarkets along the cut in Leamington Spa.
  • David and I stopped at the Coop - used to be Somerfields. Not a big shop but then, for a change, I didn't need much. 
  • John stopped at Morrison's which involves mooring up next to, and then crossing, a busy road but the shop is MUCH MUCH bigger. But even so it didn't have some of what he was looking for (the right bread, I think) so he stopped again at the Tescos.
  • Julia had cycled to one supermarket (Aldi perhaps?) and then walked off to Lidl - she is so FIT!!
David and I arrived at the water point below the Cape Locks before the others, but then we had set out first. We were going to fill with water there, but while I walked up the locks to check out moorings above them, and reported to Mick on the phone, David determined we'd be there all day filling as the tap was so slow. So I was summonsed back to get the boat in the lock so we could ascend the dizzying heights and take as long as we liked to fill at the top tap. Once there, we had hoped that the hoses joined together would reach from the first mooring back to the tap, but no. We SHOULD have checked that first, before mooring up, but a certain someone thought it would probably reach.
  1. Note to self: buy a MUCH MUCH longer hose!
  2. Note to self: first tie only with middle rope to establish location is correct rather than trusting statements that contain 'probably'
As we finished watering up, while the washing was processing and I showered, Mick, Julia and John arrived and the convoy was safely moored up once again!

A group trip to the Cape of Good Hope pub quickly followed - I was allowed in as I was (at last, and once again) clean - a state that had not been achieved for a few days, while we were moored up without access to more water... It was lovely to be in the pub, still run by kiwis - but what! shock, horror! the chardonnay was from South Australia!!! And it was unoaked!!! Still it was a better choice for me than the sauv blanc even though that was NZ's Villa Maria.

The new bar staff have been there only 3 weeks - 2 NZers (Palmerston North and Hawera) and one South African from Durban. I think they may all be feeling a bit homesick for familiar accents, as there was much chat in between their duties.

The next group trip, after a nap, was to a restaurant that Julia had seen recommended on Derwent 6's blog. So off to the bus stop, and into Warwick, then a trundle around following the map on the phone to St John's - to the absolutely wonderful Castle Balti.  Seriously, it is the very best Indian restaurant I have ever been to. Mick and Julia lived in Leicestershire which is renowned for great Indian eateries. But I understand this came near to topping those, in their opinion too. So take that as a serious recommendation, folks, and make your way there.
One of the great things about this restaurant is that you can take your own wine or beer, so John took his chateau cardboard ...

Now THAT is a naan bread

We got a taxi back to the Cape Locks pub and at £2 each it was a bargain, esp for David and me, as we were the only ones who would have paid a bus fare (well, to be honest, Mick paid our bus fare, as we had taken a card only and the other three all have a bus pass - we are travelling with seriously OLD people).
  1. Note to self: next time see if flourishing the NZ Gold Card will get us free bus rides.
Because the taxi driver dropped us at the pub, it would have been rude to walk past without calling in for a nightcap. They still only had Sth Australian chardonnay! Some things take a while to change, I guess. Then back across the lock gate to the boats and to bed.

We had planned to do the Hatton Flight of locks on Tuesday - 21 locks I think. But we woke to quite heavy rain, a forecast for it to continue and for quite strong winds to develop. So a rest day was agreed upon.
It rained and rained. And at times, much like in Taranaki, the sun shone at the same time. I am sure it must have made Dylan (the new barman from Hawera) feel at home.

Adam from Briar Rose had texted the day before offering to come and help us lock up, and while I texted him as soon as the decision was made, he didn't get the text until he arrived - no bad thing as I had invited him to join us for cheese scones instead.

I was up and baking by about 7am (scones, bread) and then working on finishing/amending reports and emailing with the lovely Fiona back in Hokitika. All the while, I had not got dressed and was working in nightie and dressing gown. Adam arrived while I was still working and attired as noted, and David was still in bed ... However both situations were soon remedied.

Mick and Julia arrived shortly thereafter and characters were assassinated and championed, boats were praised and denigrated, amid a great deal of laughter and scone consumption. Adam was very helpful with a lot of knowledge about places to moor, sights to see, things to watch out for on the journey we are embarked upon.

As we sat there watching the rain falling outside we noticed much dripping from one of the light fittings above the dinette window - Yikes, I hate the confluence of water and electrics!

Some boffining and investigation followed and it was realised that the fact that the pigeon box would not properly close on one side (seized/rusted hinge) had allowed water to get in below the the roof and it had made its way to the lowest point, i.e.the light fitting.

Mick to the rescue with gaffer tape! Adam to the rescue decoupling the light fitting from the ceiling and emptying the water collected there. Then later in the day, David to the rescue constructing a hat for the pigeon box.

Meanwhile, I stayed inside and did some construction of my own - a loaf of ciabatta. never made it before and it came out OK. Laughing John, who loves ciabatta, told me it was an absolute pass. And I have to say it was consumed in short order by the rest of the convoy later in the day.

The ciabatta. This is going to become a regularly produced item, I can tell.

I made it again the yesterday and it wasn't quite so good - I think I varied the amount of water and the mix was a bit drier and therefore less airy when cooked. However no problems were encountered in the eating of it, either with olive oil and balsamic or when slathered with garlic butter and toasted under the grill as part of our election night fare of lasagne and salad from the allotment on the roof!

And what a result - no increased majority for Theresa then! But I was disappointed that SNP didn't do very well.
I promised a photo of David's new haircut. I prefer to look at this photo than the non-stop coverage of the election results ...

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