After limping through much of Cheshire and Shropshire, the Cat’s Whiskers now sports a brand new, sparkly bronze propeller, fitted at Norbury Wharf on Sunday. I can’t say it has made an enormous amount of difference to the boat’s performance, but at least we go in a straight line now,
|The Cat's Whiskers waits by the wharf on Sunday morning to go into dry dock|
|Back she goes down the small arm to the white building at the end|
|We slowly back in beside the other boat|
It was the first chance we have had to look at the boat below the water line, since she was commissioned, nearly three years ago now. Generally all is well, but there a few places around the water line where you can see a bit of clear metal and the boatyard at Norbury has advised us to re-cover it at the earliest opportunity. So we are now planning some time in dry dock around Easter time, to “two-pack” it, and tidy up the bits of paintwork that I can’t get to easily. I am hoping it will be at Trent Lock, where the boat was fitted out.
|With the water all gone we could have a good look around her below the water line|
|The new propeller is fitted. Thank goodness we got insurance cover to cover this eventuality|
A real feature of the weekend has been the opportunity to meet up again with Fred and Lisa on “Chyandour” who are the owners of the boat built by Kingfisher Narrowboats after “The Cat’s Whiskers”. Unlike me, Fred is very practical, and we have been able to resolve a few issues with the boat, especially the central-heating system, that neither Pat or I had ever been able to fathom. It involved getting an engineer in eventually, but seems to be OK now. And while the ladies enjoyed “Strictly” on Friday and Saturday night, Fred and I repaired to the pub for a pint or two, though I was conscious that my gout would suffer if I imbibed too much, so kept my consumption to a sensible level.
|With Lisa and Fred on Chyandour, just before we left Norbury Tuesday morning|
Norbury Junction is really in the middle of nowhere - somewhere in Shropshire - but you certainly wouldn’t know that from the level of activity around the basin. There’s a thriving pub/restaurant, and the wharf offer a huge range of boating services, a cafe, a small hire fleet and some of the cheapest diesel around.
The day we took the boat into the dry dock turned out to be a very warm, sunny day for the most part, and the pub garden round the corner was full of families, dog walkers and others, drawn to the waterside, by the good weather. It didn’t take long for the engineer to change the prop over – about an hour or so. It took longer to empty the dock and then refill it. We had Sunday lunch in the pub and by 3pm I was pulling out of the dock and mooring up. It all went very smoothly.
|Pat's Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding. It was "deelish"|
I continue to hobble around, though I must say, compared with a week ago, my gout is much improved. So it looks like that is going away slowly, thank goodness. Pat’s got a small problem with one of her ears though. So, when we get to central Birmingham next week she will seek out a “drop-in” surgery, and get that sorted out.
We spend an hour or so Sunday night, putting together a schedule that will get us back to Mercia Marina at Willington, for 1st November. We have decided to spend a whole week in central Birmingham next week. We’ll probably have to move a couple of times, but there are several places to moor in and around Gas Street and we really like the area. From there we are doing a circular route around Birmingham, taking in the Stratford-On-Avon and Grand Union canals, before returning to Derbyshire, via Fazeley and Fradley Junction.