Tuesday 25 August 2015

A tiring day

We are now moored up in Birstall. We have decided that 7 hour days do not suit us, at all. I get tired by about 5 hours and the last couple of hours are stressful, such that anything that can go wrong, does, and my steering skills degenerate markedly. And my patience - well, enough said, cos it has gone down the toilet.

Yesterday was a blobby day though because it rained and rained and rained. We moved over to get water at about 8.30am and were back on the mooring about 40 minutes later, in time for the precipitation to begin. We did lots of laundry - sheets and towels from the weekend mainly - and the boat was draped as tho it was a fancy house shut up with holland covers over everything!

This morning we were up early to re-fill with water and then move on. I think we'd gone over for water at about 7.30 and were approaching the locks about 8. The first test (failed) of my patience was as David put the bike back together. I am not sure why he had removed the front mudguard, but getting it back on was proving time consuming. It is not a quick task if I can mix and cook an omelette, make tea, slice tomatoes and run water for dishes in the same time span, now is it?

We were joined at the locks by John and Vanessa on nb Swift and Low. We were all quite efficient, esp when David was biking between locks and starting or getting them set for us. The time saved is in the dropping him off and picking him up at lock landings, and in his being there before we arrive. Even if it's only 5 minutes saved at each lock, it soon adds up.
This tree looked sort of spooky with its dead branches mixed with living ones - would have looked even spookier on a grey day ...

There were loads and loads of these flowers growing along the canal/river. I don't know what they are but they look very pretty. The flowers look like legume flowers.

David and I were going to moor for a couple of nights in Leicester at Castle Gardens but there were already 5 or 6 boats there and it didn't look very welcoming. So on we came. That was probably our mistake, as the following two hours to Birstall seemed very long and I started being clumsy, losing concentration, being unable to moor up effectively - part of that was because I tried a technique I read about on the Canalworld forum yesterday. The technique which I clearly cannot do was to bring the stern of the boat in to the side, tie it loosely and then rev the engine in forward gear a bit and the bow is meant to come around. Ah, no. So I am missing something, methinks. And one thing I didn't take into account is that trying new things when I am tiring is not wise. But that's another feature of my tiring - silly decisions as well, dammit!!

This is a weir - one of two the same on the way through Leicester. Certainly a trap for the unwary or tired. As I was approaching the first one I thought it was a bridge and I was trying to work out which span I should go under. Doh!  Both of the weirs are on corners, and their lower levels aren't far below so it's visually confusing, but it's far enough to be a real problem. There is NO signage and no barriers to prevent boats cannoning off the top level. A narrowboat wouldn't fit under the span, as can be seen when you get closer, but until then it's deceptive.

So now we are moored up, it has rained, stopped raining and we have both had a nana nap. We were going to go out for dinner, but have decided to postpone that until tomorrow night. Instead we have had a Gu pudding each - no main course, just dessert. Sounds like my best decision today!


Anonymous said...

Himalayan balsam is the weed that you saw.

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Thank you for that. It is lovely, but is it counted as a noxious weed on the waterways?

Herbie Neil said...

It is indeed. In fact some places have balsam bashing working parties. It has to be done before the seeds set though as they are explosive as soon as they are touched. The first seeds landing on other plants set them off and soon you have waves of exploding seed heads. It's great fun actually and before we realised this was an invasive species our kids would love to set them all off.
Kath (nb Herbie)

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Hi Kath, Thanks for that info - it has me looking at it with jaundiced eyes ... In NZ we have a plant imported from the UK that has similar characteristics, ie gorse. In the UK it grows in a limited range of climactic conditions, and is used as hedging. In NZ, given the more temperate climate, it grows everywhere! It is a curse for farmers. They cannot burn it off as the seed pods pop and it propogates fiercely. So it has to be grubbed out or kept in control with chemicals. I find it strange over here to see gorse and scotch thistles growing freely - at home they would be removed. I have the same feeling re rabbits - an absolute nightmare for farmers in NZ so the thinking there is the only good rabbit is a dead one. I am no longer admiring of the Himalayan Balsam, regardless of how pretty it looks!
Cheers, Marilyn