Greetings to all our chums, both land lubbers and those with webbed feet. As you can see we are back in the country and more importantly back on the water, albeit still at our moorings at Trent Lock, where we have been watching the weather get progressively colder for the last two weeks.
Today is the first day of spring but my new Samsung Galaxy reports that it is a chilly two degrees outside and probably colder than that when you take the wind chill in, so somebody needs to tell whoever is in charge of the weather that this is not on. Our tans are rapidly disappearing.
We had rather an uneventful journey back from Dallas and caught the Picadilly line from Heathrow to Cockfosters where my sister and brother-in-law picked us up and we moved back into their house in Potters Bar for a couple of days. Kev popped over as well, and it was good to see him. He looked well, and happy.
The lure of the water was too much though, and we were soon back on board TCW. Like most modern narrowboats she is all steel and that needs a lot of warming up. I reckon it took a good 48 hours to get her warm and we are having to keep the fire going nearly all the time.
Our original intention was to leave Trent Lock, immediately after Easter, but we have a birthday party to go to in Welwyn Garden the first weekend in April, so the revised plan now is to leave on or around the 8th April, weather and river levels permitting. The Trent has just come off a red warning, so we will have to see how things go. Last April we had to wait three weeks to get on to the river, so we could connect with the Trent & Mersey, but there is nothing we can do, if that happens but wait.
|Roger gets to work cutting wood - for next winter|
We have a nice mooring here and if you were at our launch last April, you will be familiar with it, against a grassy bank, between the two pubs here at the Lock. The Kingfisher boys have serviced the boat, done all the remedial work we asked them to do, and kindly connected us up with some power. The water point and loo emptying are on the opposite bank, so we have everything we need and the Steamboat now sells local Shardlow-brewed ale and is having a beer festival over Easter. We get a good TV reception and the only fly in the ointment is that we have a weak internet signal. I have even found a good source of wood behind the pub car park and been cutting up large branches all week, to lay down and dry out for next winter.
The days seem to fly by. I am sleeping a lot better in our bed than last year – not sure why. We have been into Nottingham a couple of times and Derby once. We quite like the centre of Derby and there is the classic pub “The Brunswick Arms” just a minutes’ walk from the railway station. I think we are giving Lincoln a bash next week.
My ukulele playing is coming along OK. I have got most of the regular chords down OK, and there are a load of tutorials and on-line lessons on the PC, if and when we get a decent signal. I have been checking and there are quite a lot of ukulele clubs on or near the canal system, so I hope to be able to visit a few on our travels and sit in for a “plonk”.
|Roger tackles a tricky B flat maj 7th on his Hawai-bought ukulele|
While we have been away the premises next to Kingfisher Narrowboats has been taken over by the Underwater Search and Rescue people. This, it appears is a charity, but they are obviously funded by Notts police as well. All week they have been cruising up and down the cut in their little boat, training a spaniel to react to different scenarios. They threw a gun in and the dog got it straight away and they also practice by throwing in a joint of meat and getting the dog to react when they pass over it. They have sonar and underwater cameras and all sorts of gizmos on board. It’s quite impressive and good fun to watch, though if it were for real, it would be quite daunting to witness.
|Pat waits for the water to fill while the rescue team launches opposite|
|The underwater search and rescue team and sniffer dog on patrol|
And that’s it for us. If you want to visit us we will be travelling down to Kidderminster, Worcester and Gloucester through April and May. Then it’s back to Birmingham and on to the Coventry canal, before we slowly head south on the Grand Union during July and August into London. We are hoping to find a winter mooring in or around Hertford, but that all might change over the next few months.