Monday, 21 August 2017

Pictures will tell the story

Lots of photos were taken over the last couple of weeks. And as I have been busy with new stuff, old stuff, driving etc, I thought best to use the photos instead of a long wordy post. However don't think there won't be captions - and they won't be single words ...

The first few are from when Leonie and Paul were with us on the Llangollen Canal.

Not the first time we have had an artist on board (little Neill is our other) but the first from NZ ...

Paul is steering and Leonie is sketching him
Leonie and Mel are paying attention, I was sorting the TV. Note that I can put the chardonnay down ...

 And then there's photos of the motorhome experience.

This is Luke, the Caravan Manager at Michael Jordan's in Gomshall - be aware this is a selfie when we had asked him to take photos of us - narcissistic or what!? I think his surname may be Trump, and his hair is the right colour ...

An easy vehicle to drive and I love being up so high!

The Hindhead Tunnel on the A3

Only one lane open. A car had broken down on the left and the family were out of the car waiting to be rescued - little kids too, so a real stress for the parents.
Here we are 'moored up' at Riverside Holiday Park. You can see Gordon and Sharon's awning in the background, plus lots of yachts up on the hard in the marina next door.

The little shelf above the bed - fits a cup of tea and a couple of biccies!
On the way down to Hamble le Rice, the view down to the river. Lots of boats (mainly yachts and gin palaces) around here - and therefore plenty of money! Gordon tells me every river on the south coast is similarly endowed.

I think this was at Banana Wharf - Gordon is trying to do rabbit's ears behind my head - a big fail!

This is a move I learned way back in judo classes back when I was 16 - Note that I have a good memory for important things. It's a very simple and effective choke hold. I cannot think of anyone who deserved it more than Gordon - at that particular moment anyway!
David's dinner at Banana Wharf - chicken fajitas. A very classy way of serving it. Just not enough fajitas and they were a bit small to make easy to hold parcels...

The galley - you can see the only element that works ...

A decent sized fridge freezer. Two bottles of chardonnay and no alcoholic ginger beer in cold storage - this was just before we left so don't feel sorry for David as he had drunk all 6 of the bottles I brought with us - note that I brought them (I packed them, stored them safely for travel, kept them in the fridge ...) so yes, it was I, not he ...
While we were out on Gordon's boat we came past this - these boats are in storage. I cannot believe they are not strapped down in case of high wind! They would not still be in situ after a Wellington northerly or southerly!
There are so many boats here - it is hard to escape the knowledge that there are a huge number of people with lots and lots of money!
Walking down Pontoon E to Gordon and Sharon's boat. There were at least 60 boats on each of the pontoons and 5 pontoons, so at least 300 boats. Some quite modest, but many very posh and expensive.

Gordon was very trusting and let me steer for the whole trip - apart from back into the jetty at the end. Of course we were only going 6 knots as there were so many moored boats.

Sharon up front. She had swapped places with David by the time Gordon made sure to cause a giant splash over the bow. And of course she was at the back when Gordon thrust the throttle forward to warp speed when we were out in the bumpy bit of the river ... Bastard.

Gordon and Sharon went home for one night and I did some work - a fair chunk of reading project documents. The table and the captain's chair make a good office, I think. Galley is handy for cups of tea, the toilet is close - what more could I want?
We met these lovely people at Riverside Park: Steve, Phil (who had come to see if he could help with the gas fitting on our first evening), Kim and Ali. The sleeping bags are so de rigueur in posh caravan parks!
When we dropped the motorhome off at Gordon and Sharon's, where it'll stay till we take it down to Southampton next month, we went to stay with Gordon's mum, my Aunty Molly. Not far from her place is The Plough which has a really great Thai restaurant . Yummy food! Molly and I shared mixed starters and then shared a main course of shredded duck and pancakes. Yummy and there was enough left over for Molly to take home for the next day's dinner!
By the way, Molly is 89 - she certainly doesn't look it, eh?

There's our shredded duck and pancakes with cucumber and spring onion plus hoi sin sauce. David's beef salad was apparently very yummy too.

The next day we drove the rental car back to Swanley Marina to rejoin Waka Huia who had been on adventures of its own without us (see below).

The trip back was a bit slow
  • After High Wycombe we avoided motorways and went on all sorts of little back lanes and went through and past lots of villages I recognised from when my Aunt Daphne lived in Soulbury - Wing, Stewkley, Great Missenden, ... We had to call in on Mick and Julia at home in Desborough - there was a box of chardonnay to collect (Julia had shopped at Lidl's for me based on a tasting with the crew in the photo above), and we had to uplift our extra gas cylinder that they had stored for us. 
  • From Desborough the only real option was the A14 and on to the M6. However, as luck would have it, we got on the A14 and passed the Welford exit only to come pretty much to a halt for about half an hour - accident somewhere ahead on the M6. Once we were past that, we kept the radio on to hear traffic news - Mmmm, M6 closed between Junctions 19 and 20 due to accident. No worries for us as we were getting off at Junction 16. Then, fortunately because we were approaching Junction 14, we saw the overhead notices saying that there were long delays between Jcts 15 and 16 due to an accident . Off we went at Jct 14 and I headed for Stone while David re-programmed the GPS - avoiding motorways again. So through Stone, through Stoke on Trent, on towards Nantwich - all at slow speeds as it was approaching rush hour (Why is it called that? It is the last thing we do at that time!!) I was meant to be dropping the rental car off at Crewe but we decided that was a hiding to nothing in the congestion, so went back to Swanley Marina. Car was taken back at 6am the following day, no extra charge and a much more peaceful trip with a lovely taxi ride back to the marina.
Waka Huia's adventure:

We lent Waka Huia to Ed and his family while we were off motorhoming and they trundled at a much faster pace than we do, all the way up to Trevor, I think. They had a great time, and left the boat in beautifully clean shape - it is (was, it's not now) the cleanest I had ever seen it inside!
I think Ed got to drive a little bit ...

Esme had a good time and looks super-cool in Karol's life jacket and her sunhat

Lisa was the champion steerer and won our hearts because she said Waka Huia handles very well!

Right! Job done! I don't have to go across the aqueduct because Lisa has done it for me. OK, Mick? No need for singing Eye of the Tiger, and you won't be at risk of being pushed off the side.

 Back on our boat now:

This statue is outside Nantwich Marina - we like it!

OK, we have moved on from Nantwich, although I was beginning to think we were taking up residence there. After 3 days of strenuous boating (not) we are currently nearly at the top of the Audlem Flight, after about 2 lock-free miles and 13 locks today. On Saturday and Sunday we were moored out in the countryside, and Sunday was a work day for me but David spent most of it in bed watching movies, listening to the radio, snoozing - a strange kind of role reversal as that's generally my Sunday at home. Well, snoozing and reading, but not movies and radio...
Friday's sunset at Nantwich

OK, this tells you where we moored for two nights over the weekend.
Evidence - see daylight coming in the window towards the stern?
David has reviewed and discarded his policy of not stepping across the gates. I am fine with it as long as it's dry. Julia, you can see he has both hands out to catch on to the bar if he stumbles ... And the bike was beside the lock too!

Approaching Lock 12 of the Audlem Flight - 4th one of the day, after we had emptied the loo, cleared the rubbish (yes, I did recycle the bottles, Julia) and filled with water

Moored up and David wanted a hug, but he desperately** needed a shower ...
** in my view. Hug accomplished with olfactory equipment closed! And the shower has now been taken.

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