Monday, 28 July 2014

Good boating

We reckon three hours Branston to Alrewas, so off we went at 7.30. It turned out to be an excellent run, Sheila steering, Bruce locking. It was quiet at first, but traffic soon built up though it never became a problem.

What was a bit of bother was CRT boat Chubb across the cut above Tatenhill lock with her bows on the weir. We hauled her back to the towpath and tied her as best we could with the tatty bits of blue string hanging off her. I went to give the Fazeley office a call to let them know, but found I didn't have their number in my phone book.

The CRT website only gives the generic number, 0303 0404040, these days. I gave it a ring, but as it was before office hours, it just rang out, not even a message about using the emergency number. I wasn't about to do that, it wasn't that kind of call, but it would make sense if it reminded you of the option.

I did call again after nine and was dealt with both efficiently and courteously. Mind you, it's a bit scary when the call handler knows your name without asking. Presumably, they have number recognition and a database of licence holders' numbers.

We got to Alrewas in good time despite the delay and found loads of room to moor. Visitor moorings really do seem to be better used these days, much less obstruction by the usual suspects.

It's been a quiet afternoon on another very warm day. We've done letters to the surgery with our change of address from the PO to the marina, tackled last Saturday's general knowledge crossword and otherwise pottered about.

Tonight, steak from Coates's, a belated wedding anniversary celebration.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Staying put

Thought I'd post this now in case I'm asleep later.

We've decided that getting a mooring Alrewas on a hot Sunday in July might be a tad problematical, so we're going to stay here today. We'll walk over to Morrisons for ten and otherwise keep our heads down.

Elanor and Sal came over yesterday afternoon. Elanor had been shopping for us, some new napkins from Dunelm, and there were a few bits of post.

They didn't stay long as Sal was feeling very uncomfortable in the heat and wanted to get back into the air conditioned car.

I'll probably blog from Alrewas tomorrow...

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Branston but not (yet) pickled

We'd reckoned two hours to Branston from Bridge 25, but had failed to allow for the traffic, so took just a bit longer.

On the way we caught up with an interesting boat, namely Tesla. She was moving quite slowly and loosed us by before we'd got to Horninglow. She later tied in front of us here and I had a chat with her crew.

She's an ex-horse drawn trip boat from the Montgomery Canal, now converted to run on electricity, hence the name. She still has her butty like hatches and 'ellum, and a lot of solar panels on the roof. She's on her first serious cruise in what must be ideal conditions for her.

We've not done a lot else bar the basics today, it still being uncomfortably hot. Apart from anything else, it's hard to get a decent night's sleep, even with the Houdini and stern doors wide open.

No matter, it's forecast to cool down a bit tomorrow whilst we boat on to Alrewas.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Off Again

Things have gone largely to plan today. Admittedly, the Ocado driver only gave me two minutes notice of his arrival instead of the ten that his instructions ask for, but he had a spare seat in his cab and gave me a lift round the marina.

All our order was present and intact, as usual. Once we'd checked and stowed it, we ran out the water hose and filled the tank. Sheila had earlier run a last washload and we'd disconnected the shoreline and stowed away the isolation transformer and cables.

As soon as we'd eaten lunch, we were off. Sheila steered Sanity Again round the marina to the service wharf, where Jules was already supplying diesel to a wide beam, Uriah Heep (no, I don't know either).

I topped up the tank and walked over to the office with Jules to pay. That done, we could head off. We've had an email from Susan at Braidbar asking us to be there by the 18th of August, so we're not exactly under time pressure. Sheila distinguished herself by turning out onto the mainline without using reverse, something I have yet to achieve. I will for give her for it, though.


It continues very warm, though a bit cloudier than before, giving some cooler interludes. We've just come as far as Bridge 25, a relatively peaceful towpath mooring. You can still hear the A38, but the railway is far enough away not to be a nuisance, as it tends to be in Willington itself.

Tomorrow, on to Branston, then Alrewas on Sunday.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

And another change of plan

Elanor and Sally came round first thing, whilst it was still cool and overcast. We went round to field three and had a tyre throwing session; the tyre is starting to look tired where she's chewed it. We'll have to have a look for a replacement in the hardware shop in Stone where we got it when we pass through there.

Elanor then gave us a lift to the Royal Derby, getting us there in excellent time. In the event, I wasn't seen until just after my appointment time but wasn't all that late, despite it being a very busy clinic.

The good news is that my visual fields and optic nerves continue to be in good condition. Unfortunately my eye pressures remain too high for comfort. The answer is to be a dose of laser treatment, but not until late September, so we have time to get up to Poynton for the Braidbar Owners' Weekend at the beginning of that month.

We'll need to leave straight afterwards, though, so if we want work done on the boat, we will have to head up there now, with no diversion to Stourport, shucks.

Oh well, if the laser does its job, we should have more cruising time next year.


It's continued very hot this afternoon, so we've been hiding in the boat. At least that's meant that I've been able to get the Pub Guide updates finished.

Tomorrow, an Ocado delivery in the morning, then we'll set off after lunch, stopping to fill the fuel tank on the way out.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014


...and the livin' is easy. I finally succumbed to temptation (like Oscar, I can resist anything but) and bought the Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong version of the classic Gershwin track that invariably infests my ears in this kind of weather. Isn't iTunes wonderful?

I'm thinking of teaching the parrot next door to whistle the first few notes of Satchmo's horn as a change from the intro to Tears of a Clown with which it's obsessed at the moment.

We've had a pretty easy day in the heat; Sheila did a bit of crochet before her hands got too sweaty and I've done some solidly Independent reading. Elanor came over after lunch for a natter on her way to an interview in Derby.

She kindly ran me down to the pharmacy to pick up a medication top up, saving me a bit of a slog in the hot sun.

We've had a ramble round the marina and a nice cream from the shop.

It's all go.

Tomorrow, into Derby to the Eye Clinic and fingers crossed that they give me a clean bill so that we can get away for a couple of months.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Still hot and likely to remain so

It's staying pretty hot here, mostly to the pleasure of the moorers, though Stewart on the ground staff is not too amused. We'd planned to wash and polish the side of the boat this morning, but at nine it was already too hot to do so, both because the hot side of the boat would have cooked the polish and we would have been courting heat stroke.

So we had a quiet morning after a wander round the marina. After the mid morning drink of squash rather than coffee, I decided to catch up with some IT work, like bringing the Braidbar Boat names list up to date and putting a load of entries into the pub guide.

The first of these tasks took longer than expected as the file which I had been keeping updated on the iPad wouldn't transfer properly to the Mini. It may be because the Mini is running Snow Leopard and most of the iPad software expects at least Lion and preferably Mountain Lion.

In the end, there was nothing for it but to make the changes all over again on the copy of the spreadsheet I had on the Mini.

I got a start on the Pub Guide before eating and carried on afterwards. I'd had a lot of new entries from Graham as well as some entries and comments from Rob and Charley. I haven't got them all done yet; they'll have to wait until tomorrow to finish off.

This is because I've spent a good chunk of the afternoon over at Elanor's, helping to do some sorting out and taking away some books and a ridiculous talking fish to put in the laundry. The fish wasn't in there above a minute before someone went off with it.

A bean curry, tonight, methinks and more sweltering to do tomorrow.