Sunday, 15 October 2017

Foxton to North Kilworth and back to Foxton

But first pikelets! Jennie Gash of nb Tentatrice commented that she had looked up pikelets after I referred to them in a previous post. They are the grandsons' favourite breakfast when with us - at home with their mum it's waffles, but it's been pikelets for them since I first made them for Olek when Marta asked me to make pancakes for him. As I don't do pancakes much, I did pikelets and he has loved them since. And Karol took to them with gusto as well - well, he would esp when he can have them with nutella! None of that on the boat, so he had them with a pot of Aero chocolate mousse. He told me it was yummy.

OK, so pikelets. They are like pancakes but smaller and slightly fatter. The recipe I use is a modification of the Edmond's cookbook (it used to be that very few NZ households were without an Edmond's cookbook, and many young NZers who came to the UK had one put in their backpacks by their mums - I know I gave one to Tim).

1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk soured with 1tsp of vinegar
1 dsp butter - melted

Sift dry ingredients, add egg and soured milk, and beat with a whisk (as I do on the boat) a hand beater, or electric beater (at home). Add the melted butter and briefly beat it in.

Heat a frying pan to pretty hot and drop in about 1/2 tsp butter and coat the pan. Drop tablespoonsful of the mixture from the point of the spoon on to the surface. When bubbles start to burst on the top of the pikelets, turn them over and cook the second side until golden. Place in a clean tea towel to cool. This mix makes about 16 - 20 depending on the size; it feeds David and I plus the boys for brekkie; it is only just enough if I am making them for morning tea when Luke is working at our place. 😜

For the boys I put maple syrup and jam (and Aero chocolate mousse 👍) on the table. If there is no maple syrup, then it's golden syrup. I like them with just butter - either hot or cold. They are often served in NZ with butter, jam and a dollop of cream for morning or afternoon tea. When we were B&Bing I used to serve them with bacon, banana and maple syrup with a side of plain yoghurt 👍👍👍.

Olek in the limelight,

and then Karol.

On Sunday after pikelets and when Tim and Dana picked up the boys, David and I walked up to the top of the locks to meet John who had brought our hose reel back for us. Kind man! Then back down to the boat and a decision to proceed up to the top to moor up. There was a bit of a wait for a boat to come down, and then up we went.
Into the second lock, I think.

In the 5th lock, about to enter the passing pound. There is a boat coming out of the lock ahead of me, and they will pull over and I will go straight in. Easy peasy.

David working - paddles on staircase flights have to be done in a certain order: Red before white and you'll be alright; white before read and you'll be dead. Not sure what is fatal about it, but clearly it matters ...

David was assisted by three quite small children (the eldest was about 6) - I am sure he got them to help as that way he could make sure they didn't fall in. We were both frit, as John would say, that so many little ones were allowed to wander/toddle/totter near the locksides ... I know Tim thinks we are super cautious, but we were both on tenterhooks as we made our way up, David from on a level with the kids and me from well below them. I was watching them like a hawk as I moved from one lock to the next as several kids seemed to be racing to watch, and I knew I'd be hard pushed to stop if one of them fell in. But safely to the top we got without casualties but several more grey hairs for David - too late for me, all of mine are grey!

There was only one boat moored at the top when we arrived - it was Bob (and Oliver the lovely dog) on nb Inanda, both of whom we met at Kilby Bridge and we've been leapfrogging since.

There is a large apple tree on the offside at the top of the locks. It is accessible and apparently part of an orchard. I only saw the one tree fruiting and there were loads on the ground (and in the cut). So of course free food had to be taken advantage of. They cooked up beautifully and tasted great with greek yoghurt and muesli.
On Monday Bob kindly drove us into Market Harborough for some shopping and for me to get a haircut. I found a small place just off the square and across the bridge from the (expensive) Toni and Guy place. The Polish woman who works there did a great dry cut and it only cost £11.50 - about a quarter of what I paid in Woodstock a couple of months ago ... As a thank you for his driving us around, we invited Bob to dinner on nb Waka Huia - BBC GoodFood Saturday Night Curry (Ginger Chicken but with the addition of heaps of veges).

On Tuesday we moved on to North Kilworth having first filled with water - said operation required that I reverse back past Bob's boat and past a hireboat who'd stopped for lunch on one waterpoint (GGGRRR!!!). There was much laundry to be done as we had avoided doing any while the weather was pants and although we'd got some done on the journey from Kilby Bridge to Newton Harcourt to Fleckney, somehow the stack did not seem to diminish! I am not sure why this occurs - any ideas, anyone?

It was a breezy day and I managed to get thoroughly cold - for some reason I didn't pause and get my thermal top on and just got colder and colder and colder - methinks that incipient hypothermia  affected my brain. We stopped at North Kilworth to get diesel and to re-fill with water and I managed to thaw out a bit in the sunshine. I did decide I needed to moor up and so we attempted to do so about 100 yards past the wharf. What a bloody disaster! 😡😰😱 David couldn't jump off the boat as the grass was too long for him to see if there were holes in it (sensible), there was a boat coming along behind us, and once David did get off with the front rope, the stern went out past the middle of the cut and it didn't matter what I did we still splayed out across the canal. Bloody hell, I HATE that!!! And what I hated more was the laughter on the faces of the hirers coming along behind us ... I do HATE looking stupid! And it's definitely worse in front of hirers!

And the mooring place was crap. So in a tantrum, I said that as soon as I'd eaten my Magnum (when cold eat something colder to make you realise how warm you are really) I was moving to a better place. David was valiantly trying to make me feel better but I was past being comforted/cared for/attended to/reasoned with - David seemed to know without being told that the last would have sent me into orbit!!!😱😱😱

So we moved on about 400 yards, moored up successfully and I retreated for a lie down/nana nap with a strengthening cup of tea and magnesium. What a wuss I am! (My sister Dee and I have talked in the past about how I go from full steam ahead to hitting the wall in about 5 minutes flat - she knew I did it, but hadn't seen it really until she came to help me in the B&B when David was in Opunake helping Marta out when Karol was due - she was meant to be resting up, but getting her to do that was not easy ... ) Anyway, I notice that I hit the wall that day and it was after a very poor night's sleep.

Bob moved up too and moored a couple of hundred yards behind us and through the bridge. He has been for cheese scones and to help with a range of tasks - another very helpful boater with all the tools/equipment on his boat that anyone could possibly need!

Bob taking advantage of a selfie.

Oliver the dog is very lovely - but good heavens, he can shed hair! Following Bob's example, I guess ...

Yesterday (note before posting on 15/10: I now have no idea what day that was, OK?) before David did a Hammerite paint job in the cabin bilge where we'd had overflowed washing machine water gathering off and on since we bought the boat, I managed to wash and paint (with said Hammerite) the starboard gunwale. And this morning we cruised to the entrance to the Welford Arm and winded (it was a bit windy and I messed it up, so David had to get off the front and pull the boat around until I could complete the turn, doh!!😡😡) and then we moored up in exactly the same place but facing the other way.

Since then, David has walked to and from Welford to do a shop for the last supplies we'll need this season, and I have:
  • made cheese scones
  • made two loaves of bread
  • cooked a piece of gammon for tonight's dinner
  • done three loads of dishes
  • washed and painted the port side gunwale
  • painted the sides and hinges of the gas locker
  • painted the deck cover for the weedhatch area.
 I sense that wall approaching ...

And today we have cruised back to Foxton in beautiful sunshine - a stunning morning indeed. It was chilly though so I had 5 layers on:
  • camisole
  • long sleeved merino thermal top
  • shirt
  • my dad's jersey
  • my coat
plus my silk scarf, David's dad's leather and lambswool driving gloves (only flaw is that they are domed and have an elegant keyhole gap at the wrist) and my fedora. And I was still quite cold by the time we arrived ...

We have done some painting - I let David loose with the Hammerite and the paintbrush and he insisted on wearing rubber gloves. When I went out to do a smidgen of painting on the roof, I realised why the gloves - he manages to cover the brush from bristle tips to the tip of the handle in paint, and he seems to think that wiping the brush off is done on the outside lip of the tin. Hence I picked up brush and tin and was instantly messy. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

However he has painted the front deck and the gas locker lid in and out, and the engine cover, and I didn't have to do them, so that's the payoff for me.

If he promises to accept the coaching about dipping only the tip of the bristles in the can and wiping the excess off on the inside lip, I will let him paint the back counter - he'll have to be very well behaved though!

Note later: he did do a great job on the back counter. He may be promoted to painter-in-chief of unimportant-how-they-look bits (acting) for the next season.

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