On Saturday we left the boat moored in Sawley Marina - we'd got there the day before and had a hell of a job finding the correct mooring spot. The numbering system is visible from standing on the jetty but not from the water, and any numbering on the electricity/water stands does not coincide with the number of the jetty/mooring position. Dumb or what!?
I should have known it was going to be a struggle as the young guy in the office had shown me on the site map that 'it is around about here' with a hovering pencil ... At least I got to keep the pencil!
I'd collected the rental car on Friday arvo and then we had a slightly raucous drinks and dinner session on board. One of Pauline's colleagues/friends had passed her exams that day, so we had to have a drink, and then we had to take photos of us celebrating and then, and then, and then ... (See previous post titled ' Boys on the booze, ...' for the evidence.)
We were dropping Pauline and Barry off at Hatton Cross on Saturday so they could make their way back to Hammersmith via Teddington where their grandchildren live - their son and daughter in law live there too, but the key residents are the grandkids. Naturally - any grandparent feels the same, eh?
Our trip south was to get the motorhome (Vangelic is its name) to Southampton to be loaded on to a ship bound for NZ. So dropping B&P off on the way seemed sensible as Vangelic had taken up residence at my cousin Gordon's place in Abinger Hammer near Dorking. Lovely place, Gordon's house. He is such a clever clogs as a designer and builder., and not just the house but the whole setting. I can give him this praise without him getting bigheaded as he doesn't read the blog ...
We stayed overnight at their house, having dropped the car off in Dorking and getting a cab out to Abinger; and while Vince (Gordon's brother who lives on site too) offered to take us to any restaurant/pub/takeaway in the vicinity, we were both too knackered to bother. So we had toasted home made bread and marmalade for dinner - that was all the food I had taken. Doh!! Breakfast was the same ...
We had the house to ourselves apart from Gordon and Sharon's lovely dogs - they were NOT lovely at 10pm and 10.10pm and 10.20pm when they saw rabbits or foxes or leaves moving outside the lounge and barked madly! David took them into the laundry where their official beds are, closed that door and the 8 foot long 8 foot high glass door between the kitchen and the hall … They may have continued barking but I didn’t hear them, and it’s not likely they did as they had limited vision through just one door.
I had cleaned out Vangelic and wiped the floor throughout on Saturday arvo, and then David decided to tromp on through after the rain and with wet dirty shoes. GGGRRR!!! So on Sunday I decided to not bother doing another clean inside until we were parked up in Southampton on Sunday night, ready for delivery to the dock on Monday.
We drove down to Southampton on Sunday and even using the GPS managed to get lost! We were staying in a hotel at the motorway services area - I should have known something was wrong when the GPS directed us off the motorway … but who am I to argue with technology? Anyway, we finally found it and checked in. David then found the only muddy patch in the entire carpark, splodged around in it, got both shoes covered and then climbed in Vangelic. A bit of a mutual tantrum ensued, but I'm sure mine was justified.
Anything that had to travel in Vangelic was boxed and the contents inventoried in case of theft in transit or on the wharf at Auckland. Ray and Leonie Eddington shipped their motorhome back to NZ and the radio/GPS was removed before they picked it up. And we had been advised by the shipping agent not to send any personal items home in it. So the only stuff inside is movable bits that came with it - powercord, spare cassette, squabs for the spare bed ...
David put the wheel clamp on a rear wheel - Gordon, Barry, Mick and John had freaked us out about theft of motorhomes and caravans by travellers (gypsies, to NZ readers). And then at midnight David woke me to ask me what was happening in the carpark - he’d heard noises so got up to investigate. There was a tow truck out there between us and the motorhome, and the driver and his companion were loading a car on to it - flashing lights and all. I looked around and David was nowhere to be seen - he’d raced off, in his pyjamas, to reception to ask if they knew what was happening! Madness. So that was the end of sleep for me for the next 4 hours, dammit! Toss, turn, read, toss turn, sudoku, toss turn, read, finally drop off.
On Monday we went to a hand carwash place and the guys did a stunning job - we told them we couldn’t have any insects, spiders, seeds, UK dirt on or in it, for it to be allowed in by NZ Customs. The guys were Albanian and all of them took turns coming inside to look it over - then the head guy told me it was beautiful and better than the house they lived in.
Then it was follow the GPS directions down to the docks, where we safely delivered Vangelic after a bit of a struggle to find the right place - there was a cruise liner (HUGE) at the dock we should have gone into so we couldn’t get to Berth 40 at the sign. When we left Vangelic, David was concerned that it was precious and worried about whether it would get to NZ safely and intact. I’m not worried - it’s fully insured and replaceable. It’s only a thing, not a person, or Mel.
|Vangelic in august company.|
|I don't think David was aiming to get on board that ship - luggage wasn't posh enough!|
On the way back by rental car, we stayed overnight in a lovely Cotswold village Coln St Aldwyn. We have been there before but David didn’t remember it until we looked at the walks pamphlet - we had done a long walk here one weekend and stayed at the hotel - in fact in the same room - when we lived in Church Enstone. It is the only time I have felt nostalgic for living over here. The village was beautiful. We know because we did the pamphletted walk around it - just the short one, mind, as we hadn't brought walking boots.
|The river on the way out of the village - an old bridge|
|Up a long drive that is a public footpath ...|
|to the turning for the path past Mill Cottage and the Mill Stream|
|The Alms cottages in the village - quite generously sized by the looks|
|The gate to the churchyard. The sign over it means Death, the door to life. The sign I would put there under it is What a load of tosh!|
|However the church is rather beautiful, and obviously a hub for the community. I am not sure of its provenance but it does look to me like a mix of styles. Any architectural info would be gratefully published, please and thanks in advance.|
|The first 4 of the 10 commandments. Christopher Hitchens described these ones as throat clearing, and making sure that whatever else they did the most important thing was that people should only attend to god.|
|I thought these organ pipes were lovely. No idea what it sounds like though.|
|This is Woody's car (see below). The front passenger seat is obviously Woody's as it has a large duvet on it plus a cover for the seat back ... A well loved dog.|
|At the rear are the former stables and carriage house for|
|this house. I think it was the manor house.|
|And this is much much bigger. Didn't see any signage about what it is|
|The gates to the place above|
|A bit hard to see, but this sign says NO! - I am going to see if I can find a couple of them to place on the towpath at each end of the boat when we moor up - I wonder if it would work?|
And on our walk around it this time, we met three interesting people:
- the first was a lady whose place we mistakenly went into as we followed the pamphlet directions but didn't allow enough distance between them - she set us on the right path, and then we saw her again when we went into look at the church
- the second was a woman called Claire who was walking a couple of dogs, one of whom I declared was lovely. 'No' she said, 'he's not. He's rolled around in something very smelly and is disgusting.' When she found out we were staying at the New Inn, she flourished the menu and said 'That's me - I'm the Claire in the name of the apple crumble.' She'd delivered apples to the pub and was immortalised in print
- the third was a man mowing lawns at the church - his beautiful elderly boxer named Woody was very friendly. We had quite a chat with the man and David gave Woody an extensive amount of tummy scratching, as you do. The guy said he didn't know what he would do when Woody died as they spend all day every day together.
The hotel was lovely.
|As soon as I saw this I knew we had been there before. The front was covered in virginia creeper and looked lovely.|
|The bedroom with David on the computer - what else?|
|The view from the window|
And the BUT is that the fire alarm went off at midnight. It was not connected to the nearest fire brigade. And no staff live on site. If David hadn't gone downstairs to the bar area looking for lights etc and unknowingly triggered the intruder alert, no one from the staff would have turned up to turn both alarms off. And the guy didn't check that there was no actual fire, just turned the alarms off, offered a very perfunctory apology and then buggered off again, leaving us all to climb up the rickety unlit fire exit back to our rooms. So another night to toss turn, read, toss turn, read ...
We had thought about staying on another night or at least coming back to do another walk between Bibury and Coln St Aldwyn, but the fire alarm incident put us off. The seal on not coming back was the brekkie - not up to our former B&B standard, and certainly not up to Jan's Cafe in Paraparaumu standard, by a long shot.
|Nowhere near the best eggs benedict we've had. We chose this option as the full english that was delivered to the table next to us looked awful ...|
Today we have left the marina and come down to Kegworth. I have done some sanding and painting, so am feeling just a little bit virtuous - not too virtuous as there is still more to do. I am probably about a third of the way through it. And on leaving the jetty today, I managed to scrape against the mooring stand and took a fair amount of paint off, bugger it. So more to be sanded and touched up. It's meant to rain tomorrow, so it could be a rest day - but the painting task will keep, I am sure. Painting update: the rain overnight did not harm my new paint - I am very pleased about that, as I had visions of having to do a Tom formerly of nb Waiouru and re-do it ...
OK, time to cook the marinated salmon for dinner. It's been a fasting day today after a week and a half of over-indulging. I blame Barry and Pauline! However, out of fairness, I also blame Mike and Julia and Mick and Julia - they are all extremely bad influences and make me provide lots of nibbles and yummy food!
Update re blaming: Mick of Mick and Julia fame, tells me by phone that I am the common denominator (oops! I typed demoninator ... Freudian slip or what?) I say that guests are the common demoninator and this is not a Freudian slip ... They make me provide lots of food - well, if they don't make me, I do it cos I love them and loving means feeding ...