I cannot believe that our efficiency at getting ready to leave the boat meant that, within a few hours of the departure time, we had done all of the key tasks. I fully expected that there would, as always has been the case, be a mad rush to finish the last few things. But crossing fingers worked and it wasn't so. The last morning was restricted to packing the car, sweeping and washing the floor, putting the heat retaining coverings inside the windows and portholes, draining the water, wrapping the pumps, leaving taps open, setting frost heaters up for the expected cold winter, locking up and leaving.
It's been an interesting boating season, taken all round. On the one hand it feels like we have filled the 5 months with plenty of boating days and distance. On the other there is the knowledge that we 'lost' a few weeks of boating because of the drama of the capsular phimosis in David's right eye and the preliminary appointments, the surgery and the post operative appointments in Birmingham. It has certainly cost us a fair amount, savings-wise - I reckon at least £10,000 including medical costs, car hire and accommodation.
But his sight in that eye is all that the NZ ophthalmologist was aiming for when he did the cataract surgery back in April. And Pete Shah and Imran Masood in Birmingham are very pleased with the results of Imran's surgery.
We had intended to do the Grand Circle this year, but had to cancel because of the eye problems. However we got down the Grand Union as far as Berkhamsted, went to the environs of Birmingham (Alvechurch and Edgbaston) a couple of times - the former at speed and the latter twice at a more leisurely pace. We've been up and down the Knowle flight - magnificent: if you haven't done it, do!
We've spent fabulous boating time with old friends
- Mick and Julia,
- Salvi and Ann,
- Neill and Neil
- Laughing John
- Bernice and Roy (oops, I did forget to include you - but you're certainly not forgettable, darling! Apologies big time!)
- Liz and Barry
- Colleen and Mark
- Lyndon and Karen
- Nigel and Liz, and
- the other members of the Lockkeeper's Rest Support group and Dave and Catherine, the owners
- Kai (our boat dog)
- Enzo (N&N's jack russell)
- Maggie (Wendi's foxy)
- Olek steering and working locks
- Karol and Krysz doing locks under David's supervision.
We had three lovely weeks with our son Tim coming to join us each night while working not too far away - I was able to take on being a mum again to provide:
- dinners, and
- cut lunches, and
- on one occasion, cheese scones for his workmates.
- moved the battery charge level indicator inside to the switchboard
- shortened the hugely long solar panel cables that were squished behind the switchboard
- started replacing the florescent light tubes with LED strips
- fixing the pumpout toilet by fitting new bolts to hold it in place (it had got very wobbly ...)
- webasto heat exchanger replacement
- replacement of all engine hoses (the old ones were probably original and so needed to be replaced even though they were still functioning happily
- doing an engine service.
|Everything is in the car and we are ready for the off. See the fabulous tonneau cover? And David is smiling so clearly the departure was not too stressful.|
|You will note that I and smiling too and I have started wearing looser T-shirts ...|
|And the cratch cover. Note that the table is folded up inside.|
We have no idea how many miles we have done, or how many locks we have ascended or descended, or how many hours boating that makes. We have no idea how much we have spent on boating or food or wine or diesel or mooring fees or dinners out over the 5 months.
And I have lost count of the number of batches of cheese scones I have made ...
I also don't know how many kilos of weight we have put on over this season, but I know we both have - David has a bit of his pot tummy back and I am finding my jeans are significantly tighter. We gave up being careful about what we ate at about the time of David's eye drama, and never got back to good eating patterns. The only saving graces were that we often didn't have dinner if we'd had lots to eat at lunchtime and we had limited binges on pre-dinner (or dinner replacement) nibbles. Now we are home, we cannot weigh ourselves as the battery on the scales has died ... But once jetlag has been conquered and I buy a new battery for the scales, we will start being disciplined, I promise!
What we do know is that
- overall, it has been lovely,
- the weather has been a mixture and that has been totally acceptable (I like it not being constantly too hot)
- we have finally sorted how to have David get off the boat without the need for me to bump the bow or the stern on the bank - it's only taken since 1990, so we are very clearly slow learners!