We called in to Debdale and stayed overnight on the boat so we could collect the things we needed to take up to Scotland for Marta and the boys.
While we had been away Wal, on the Debdale team, had unblocked the outlet pipe on the pump out toilet tank, and refitted the hose that fed the toilet flush system - it had been removed over the last couple of years to limit the frequency of pump outs. Wal informed us that the blockage was easy to sort. I take some credit for that because I poured hot water and toilet blue down the pipe - that helped soften the paper blocking it... TMI, I know, but it does pay to keep yourselves informed, OK?
Because the team are so helpful, I made cheese scones in the morning and took them over at morning tea time. I could only make a 3 cup of cheese mix as that was all the cheese we had left! But fear not, there were enough for David and me to have scones for a late brekkie. 👍👍
One of the things we are taking to Scotland is a large suitcase with Marta's photos in it. We brought them over from NZ with us as they have been in our keeping since Tim, Marta and the boys left for the UK back in 2011. Now we have moved into the villa at Parkwood, there just isn't space for them.
The suitcase is wedged between the seats/beds in the motorhome and we are pretty good at stepping over it to get to the cab. I also use it as a table for my cups of tea in the morning.
We have a big bag of the boys toys that have been left on board, some when we were here between 2014 and 2019, and some while Tim was living on board.
And I have 3 pots, each with a rose cutting, taken from our Caitlin's memorial rose at Rata Street and carefully nurtured by Shona, packed with Clinton's help and transported across the world. The three pots are wedged in a bucket and have taken up residence in the shower cubicle for travelling northwards.
|Looking very healthy!|
Once again, we packed in sunshine and as we got into the motorhome, it started to rain. The forecast had said thundery showers, but they certainly weren't that at Debdale at that point. However as we approached Market Harborough it had clearly been hosing down.
A first stop was at Waitrose (I parked the motorhome in the Sainsbury/Homebase carpark as there is more space for manoeuvering in there... I had forgotten that one is meant to Pay and Display though. So it added insult to injury that I parked but didn't shop there and that I didn't pay - how crass!
The second stop was in Titchmarsh - we were heading off to stay overnight outside Jan and David's place. They are former boating friends who we met on the K&A back in 2002, I think. We first saw them when we were stopped (not moored) waiting for Melita and Mark to join us at a non-existent wharf mooring... We came across them the following night at the pub in Wootton where we both were having dinner. There was a couple of NZers there from whom we were pleased to escape and distance ourselves from - they were on a crop circle investigation trip and were absolutely sure crop circles were the work of aliens ... So we gladly stopped by David and Jan's table and joined them in conversation. We went back to their boat for hot chocolate (not coffee) and the friendship was born.
When we bought Waka Huia, Jan and David came with us for the first few days to help us as nervous new owners. Experienced with hire boats we may have been, but owned boats are more complex and less intuitive. For example, this boat has 12v, 24v and 240v. Most of the hire boats we were on had one cigarette lighter plug for a shaver and we were growled at once for charging a phone with the socket. The laptop had to be charged at pubs - how things have changed...
So a catch up with D&J was overdue, and it was fun. We had dinner at their local, the Wheatsheaf. Yummy food. Lots of laughter.
|Before we went for dinner - they haven't changed a bit!|
|On our way back from dinner - sunset over the church. We have fond memories of attending the church fete there one June with the flying teddy bears parachuting down from the tower ...|
We had breakfast together in the morning, David filled our water tank and I washed the windscreen - lots of kamikazed insects which I am sure have superglue innards - the little buggers stick fast once they've splatted...
Then we were off. We needed to find a place to swap a gas bottle as the previous day, one of the bottles had been emptied. Jan suggested Oundle Marina which was nearby. I phoned, they had a 6kg bottle in stock, so off we went.
And it was a chandlers, so of course we bought other things we were in need of on the boat:
- a 15 metre centre rope
- a stool for me to stand on for steering and to assist me in hoisting myself on to the stern structure so I don't have to stand all the time
- 3 buffers - ours seem to have done a disappearing trick...
- a life jacket for me - one without back straps because I find them dangerous. Each time I have worn one, the straps catch on the tiller. To me that seems more dangerous than not wearing one at all.
We were happy shoppers and I think the chandlery owner was probably happy too!
Then we were off to visit Laughing John at his mooring at Tansor. He met us at the gate and led us down to his daughter's lovely piece of land on the river, where she and her partner live on their boat and John lives on his. The dogs, the ducks and the chooks and the housing for them all, plus a couple of sheds and woods complete an idyllic setting.
It was so cool to see John again - we've had a couple of
convoy/flotilla trips with him and Mick and Julia. He is always great
company and a very appreciative eater of ciabatta...
meet his daughter Elena too. She is under instruction to keep giving him
a hard time. She assured me she would do so with great pleasure...
|Elena and Lloyd's liveaboard boat - no engine so it goes nowhere. Apparently the licence is much cheaper without the means of travel!|
|Guess which one is Laughing John ...|
|One of Elena's very cute chickens|
|Nelson - thinks he's in charge apparently ...|
When we left them we decided we wouldn't travel far, just enough to get us on our way north east on the A1. We got to near Newark, stopped for diesel (Have I told you how expensive it is here? Between £1.45 and £1.55 a litre!! No complaining about the prices in NZ, please, NZers) and decided we would find a nearby spot to stay overnight even though it wasn't late.
David is cunningly using a combination of the OS maps which show campsites and the campsite apps. He found one in Cromwell and phoned them to book a site. The place was fine but quite noisy with the A1 quite close... But it didn't matter. With the windows closed we could hardly hear it, but we weren't up for sitting outside like many others were. It reminded me a bit of fishermen who sit just 50 metres away from the M1 on a length of the canal near Buckby - I wear earplugs travelling that section, as well as the section alongside the A38... Different expectations about a peaceful environment, I guess.
David had discovered that there was a takeaway curry place not far from the site, so he went off to buy his dinner (half dhal and half saag and paneer - paneer, he doesn't eat paneer! Oh yes he does, now! I am thrilled with the additions to our diet since we arrived! Aubergine, zucchini, paneer ...). I had breakfast for dinner: fruit (plums, strawberries, blueberries) with yoghurt and a nut mix.
Then an early night - again! It's become a habit!