Thursday, 4 December 2014

Winter drawers on!

Blimey! It’s getting a bit cold now. December has arrived and with it has been some pretty cold night. But we have been nicely tucked up, snug as a bug, in our little steel tube, though our solid-fuel fire has been on permanently of late.

A cold morning at Mercia Marina. Spot TCW. We are right in the centre of the picture. Our more affluent neighbours, in their wide beams are to our right

Many of the residential boats in the marina have festooned their roofs with Christmas lights and our next door neighbour has a full-size reindeer and sleigh on his roof, along with a Christmas tree and presents. He finally switched them on today. The marina has a competition each year for the best decorated boat, and I think John, next door, is definitely in with a shout.

Our next door neighbours Christmas lights

On reflection, we haven’t been on the boat much over the last week or so. We hired a car from our friends at Enterprise last Friday and whizzed down to see our pals Dave and Caroline in Gloucester (great meal Caroline) and all their dogs. Pat really likes Gloucester and we were able to stroll around the quay again.  We spent almost a week there last summer, waiting for the Severn to subside . Then on Sunday morning we drove to Leicester to see some boating pals, Dave and Angie, who we met and cruised with on the Leeds and Liverpool this summer. They are in the process of building new houses for themselves and their daughter on a plot of land in their village. It’s an exciting project, that has not been easy to pull off. And while I recall our time in Liverpool, our mate Fred on “Chyandour” found this professional photo, taken while we were in Salthouse Docks in July. I think I am going to get a copy made by the photographer, who seems to specialise in Liverpool city scenes.  Here it is. Thanks Fred.

Anna-Jane Nielsson's shot of TCW at rest in the centre of Liverpool

Pat and Toby (star of next year's national Jack Russell calendar) get better acquainted, down in Gloucester

It’s a real novelty for us going anywhere by car, let alone having one at our beck and call, but last night I resisted the temptation of driving into Derby to the great ukulele club there, and caught the bus, despite lots of hanging around. The chap I sat next to was very useful and nimble up and down the fretboard and sang well. It transpired he used to play guitar in “Wishbone Ash”, a respected Seventies rock band, who, if my memory serves me well, had two lead guitarists. His daughter is also a member.

We both remain fairly healthy, though I always seem to have some sort of niggle. My gout came back late last week, though not nearly as bad as the last time. Pat is convinced it is self-inflicted, due to too many pints of beer, and she may be right, though the medical jury is still out on what it is caused by. Dave, in Gloucester, gets it regularly, and had some “super-douper” anti-inflamitory’s handy, which seemed to do the trick and it seems OK now.

Our pontoon pals from Jay and Ibis at The Green Man, Willington
And for a last hurrah, our pals on the pontoon went out on Tuesday evening into Willington for “Pie Night” at The Green Man. This was a bit of a mis-nomer, for the pub had just one pie on the menu, but it was very good, I must say. We aim to return to Mercia next year, which, at the moment, might be early September so we can immerse ourselves in the social scene more. And after a visit to our builders at Kingfisher Narrowboats on Tuesday, we have decided, all being well, to take the boat out of the water and into their dry dock next autumn to have it “two-packed” again. This will protect the boat, below the water line, for another three years, or possibly more. It also gives us the chance to touch up the paintwork and possibly replace our batteries, but that’s a long way off.

The boat is currently full of bags, boxes and cases. We have one case of winter clothes, for whatever, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia can throw at us and one of summer clothes, for Southern California, and New Zealand.

We leave the marina tomorrow and travel back down to Welwyn Garden City for dentists (fear a filling is due) and the doctors to get a bumper load of prescriptions, then it’s out for a major Chinese feast with our my male mates, most of whom I have known for 40 years, while Pat is joining a smaller ladies group at an Italian restaurant, both in Potters Bar.

We then have the weekend and next Monday and Tuesday to visit lots of family and friends before flying out to LA on Wednesday. I suspect the next blog will be before Christmas from Vancouver Island. We’ll wish you a Merry Christmas then.



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