Monday, 20 February 2017

She who must be obeyed returns!

Friday 10th February to Friday 17th February 2017

I had a very important engagement on for Friday morning and certainly could not afford to be late – simply to make it to Birmingham Airport to pick up my lovely wife – nothing could be easier – could it?

In my defence, just let me say that when I arrived she had only just come through from Border Control and Customs – the plane arriving 30 minutes earlier than scheduled – but all appeared forgiven (and the bruising has now subsided to a dull yellow).

Naturally Diane was a bit tired after coming all the way through from Brisbane in the 23 hours – but with some sleep on the first leg of 14 hours – she had managed about 5 hours, being able to stretch out in her unoccupied row.
She was remarkably awake and lucid – more so than usual – but we had a busy weekend planned, with a trip to Manchester; a two-night stopover; a visit to Old Trafford and catching up with Paul Macey.
 
A frosty and cold sight to wake up to - it had snowed during
the night, but we were snug and warm inside the hotel
There certainly was snow on them thar hills

Macclesfield behind us and the snow had melted away to leave a bit of slush around


Even the local constabulary got into the swing of things -
there's Paul between two nags

just part of the action on the field

and some after match celebration - at least Paul was happy

It was just so great to see Paul again - it didn't matter about anything else

It really was a super weekend and we had a great day on Saturday – well at least Paul and I did – with ManUnited beating Watford 2-0 (we didn’t say too much in the car on the trip back for fear that we would have each got a good clip around the ears from the lone Watford supporter in the back seat – Diane – but she was a good sport about it all).
Follow that match up with a lovely meal out at Paul’s favourite Thai restaurant in Macclesfield and it was a great day.

Paul’s main visit back to the UK started out as a desire to see a game at Old Trafford, but it was tinged with sadness to begin with – his mother was in hospital and would not have too many more days left (as it transpired she passed away on the following Thursday morning).
We had met Margaret on a number of occasions whilst we were moored in Bollington a couple of years ago and got to know her reasonably well and understand how determined and strong willed she was – a trait that Paul had with the women in his life – and now she is no longer with us.
It has not been a good start to the year.

Sunday came and this meant the trip back down to Rugby where we had left the boat – we didn’t meet up with Paul – he was already on the road to see his mum – but we took the opportunity with having a car to pop in to meet up with Dot and Gordon at Aston Marina where they were moored up for a couple of months.
An obligatory trip to The Echange in Stone and a couple of drinks (sitting at the old table in the window – our favourite) before back to their boat for a wonderful meal and just simply enjoying the company of two very good and lovely friends.
 
Back in their favourite seats The Exchange
There never seems to be enough time and so it was again – we needed to get back in time to run the engine and charge the batteries on the boat before the 8pm curfew – which we made.

Monday and Tuesday were occupied with mundane things like Diane unpacking and putting stuff away; shopping to more fully replenish the pantry and fridge; sorting out a few things in town before the inevitable cruising would begin.
We said our goodbyes to Carolyn and Gary (nb Inca) who had kept an eye on the boat and again compared our cruising schedules for the year to see where we could catch up again (and there are times and places in there).

Finally we untied on Wednesday morning and started heading south, making it as far as Braunston for the day, where we moored up – took a walk up into the village for Diane to visit the butcher; Thursday we continued on our travels, turning right at the junction, filling with diesel along the way and negotiating the Calcutt Locks and moored up outside Ventnor Marina – we had never moored here before – such a lovely, nice and quiet place – would like to do it again; finally Friday and we were off again, this time down the Stockton locks before settling for a mooring below the end of the flight.
Back cruising again - it was still quite chilly out

She hasn't lost it - still able to control the boat as usual

Just a lovely shot of the sun over Braunston, the church
on the right and the tree reflected in the canal


Some years ago we were in the village for their annual beer festival, which I think no longer happens, and wandered around taking in the sights – it has been a while and took us a little time to sort out where everything was but it was a lovely day anyway with the sun shining just to wander and enjoy.
It sadly is just another village to us without the hustle and bustle of a festival and something for the locals but we enjoyed the walk and the drink at the pub before retiring back to the boat.

Our intentions are to head into Birmingham, so we will be heading that way – how long it will take us we cannot be sure; how long we will stay there we cannot be sure; where we will head to afterwards is something we do know.
Our cruising schedule for this year will be the tidal Trent taking in the canals and waterways that run off from it; we will be heading further northwards to York and then west over the Pennines (somewhere) to do the Ribble Link (and the Lancaster Canal) before a last trip into Liverpool docks – after all of that we are not exactly sure, but we do intend to be somewhere around Stone for Xmas.


19 miles, 16 Locks
YTD:  60 miles (97 km), 21 Locks, 2 Tunnels, 2 Swing Bridges
Total: 4692 Miles (7551 km), 3172 Locks, 126 Tunnels, 66 Lift Bridges, 174 Swing Bridges