Saturday, 27 October 2012

Back to base

So that’s it for year one of our sojourn around the waterways of England and Wales. Some 850 miles and around 600 locks I make it, which is a ridiculous figure really, and I reckon we will halve that next year.
We are now back at Trent Lock on the Erewash Canal, from where we departed in April and I think we are quite pleased to be stopping now. As much as we love the life, the cold and damp are starting to seep into this “soft southerners” bones, and my lower back, which is held together with mechano, is aching more that it has of late. The system is looking lovely though, with the reds, yellows and browns of autumn being very much in evidence.
Our journey up the River Soar from Leicester saw us cruising into Loughborough last Saturday lunchtime. After a shuffle around the shops to look for suitcases, Pat went off to have her hair cut and I adjourned to “The Swan In The Rushes”, which is an outstanding pub, and close to the basin. I was only going to stay for one, but the beer was so good, I had a couple more before Pat joined me for a fourth. “Strictly” was a bit of blur that evening and Pat assures me that I slept through most of it.

A cracking pub
The Soar goes up and down like a yo-yo, and we were acutely aware of its reputation. The weather forecast seemed to change whenever we checked and the river levels on the Environment Agencies website see-sawed wildly. We had built in three to four days of possible hold-ups but we were only held up at one lock where the red traffic light advised us not to proceed, and that was only for 24 hours. Some boaters chose to ignore the warnings, but having never cruised the Soar, I was not going to take any chances. The Soar certainly has a lot of charms, but both of us would prefer to be on the canal network.
At one lock we had our photo taken by the Leicester Mercury, a daily paper serving that area. Volunteers from The Canal & River Trust were out maintaining a certain stretch of canal north of the city, and the photographer from the paper who was taking pics wanted a boat in the background as we approached the lock.
From Loughborough it was a slow meander north where the Soar meets the Trent. The river got wider and when the cooling towers of the Radcliffe Power Station emerged through the mist we knew we were nearly there.

A local landmark
As soon as we crossed the Trent and entered the lock the skies opened and it poured most of the afternoon. What a welcome back.
It was good to see Mick and John again, who built TCW. We have a bit of a list for them to go through while we are away, which they can do at their leisure. And we now have our "Mythical Manual", for the boat. Hooray!
“Chynadour” arrived at back at the  lock on Thursday. This was the next bespoke boat built here after ours. Now two weeks old it is looking fabulous and Fred and Lisa are very proud owners. They left Saturday morning for a trip up to Nottingham, and I did a bit of painting while Pat got to work cleaning the boat from top to bottom.
We now have under two days left on the boat. Monday lunchtime we head south to my sisters in Potters Bar for a few days before we depart for Thailand on 1 November. As much as we are excited at the prospect of our travels to come, we will certainly miss life afloat. TCW has become our home and we wouldn't want to be living anywhere else. I am sure come next March, we will be itching to get back to her. The Boating blog will resume then, but I expect I will put the odd posting up as we travel round the world.
Thanks for all the comments, by the way.


  1. Hi Pat and Roger,
    Glad you made it back to base okay. The Soar can be very temperamental at times especially this time of year! Have a wonderful holiday in Thailand. At least your missing most of the cold weather!! If all goes well with Ian we hope to see you at Kingfishers in March when we are due to black Freespirits bottom!
    Irene & Ian

  2. Hi Rog and Pat,
    Have really enjoyed following your blog,go and enjoy the sunny weather down (way down) south.
    Look forward to meeting up somewhere next year and hopefully for more than just a day,even though it was wonderful to see you both especially Pat looking very fit!! must be all of that running around for you Rog!!
    Anyway look after yourselves and have a good break away from blighty.
    Love Sid n Mave.xx

  3. well Roger - you said it "soft southener" !!! Enjoy your abroad travels and give Amy a big hug and kiss from me if you bump into her in Chaing Mai !!
    Dai says he hopes he can get another of those "disgusting" sweatshirts to greet you next year!!
    Do blog from time to time and let us know how you're getting on.
    Take care, love Janice and Dai