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Thursday, 1 May 2008

2008 Cruisng Starts

Since last Posting............sorry it has been so long


Well, after a winter in Debdale Wharf we are glad to be back on the cut.


We were often asked how did we keep warm, most days we were too warm despite the stove being on its lowest setting. We were frozen in for a few days, but fortunately had enough diesel fuel to keep the fire going, and it only took a little hot water on the water tap to get it flowing. We were not sure how we would take to it, well we loved it. The only thing we didn't do was any cruising, we went out on New Years Day, intending to cruise to Market Harborough, but we me friends on the way and only got as far as Foxton! In early April we did make it as far as the Harborough basin, but it was overall a very static winter, mainly because Ian was busy working to improve a flat we let out, as well as working part time back at Blaby Council.


We also had our youngest grandchildren and our daughter to stay for a week. It was lovely having them but the weather was cold ( only 4 degrees as we left Twycross Zoo! ) and it was very tiring. We had hoped to be around Birmingham by this time but delays in finishing work off at the flat and more doctors visits made us decide to stay put, would we ever set off?


Over winter we managed to catch up with our friends, both those living ashore and those other cruisers who were back at base for the winter. We intended to set off at the beginning of April, but things conspired against us, what with doctors check-ups and tests and a few other things, but we were ready to go on Monday 21st, except I had sold a car and it was to be collected the following day. Not only that but we found we had a water leak that was affecting the wooden floor. Great! it was not easy to get at and was caused by a hefty brass fitting developing a crack..........how? It has been in place 4 1/2 years and is not subject to vibrations or impact, but it was dripping fast. What a good job we were still in the Marina & I was able to isolate the fault & readily replace it.


Ducklings arrived a few days ago, Carol feeds them.


So we waited, and or neighbouring boaters decided that Tuesday 22nd was so lovely we ought to have drinks on the towpath at lunchtime. What a great way for me to kill time till my buyer came, then we could set off.................she never came, but we had a very enjoyable time and gave a good send off to a friend who was having a knee replacement the next day. So we stayed put that night, and then it hammered down with rain on Wednesday morning, but cleared at lunchtime & we were off.


We cruised as far as the lovely mooring above Wistow Park that featured last August. I'll put in another pic later. In the morning we walked across the fields to the Wistow Rural Centre, about 1/2 mile away, which was a place we had said we would visit many times as we ad driven past. It is well worth a visit with a very good garden centre, minature village, farm shop, a good cafe and a load of other shops selling things we didn't need! From late July they also have a maze cut through a field of maize. Try it.


Returning to the boat we cast off and Ian walked to Newton Top lock to set it and commented to a noisy crew of youths that they were supposed to close gates as they leave a lock. They said they left them open for us...............they must have had wonderful eyesight as we were round the bend ( but you knew that anyway ). So we were rapidly in the lock, dropped the level, and then Ian started to try to open a gate, then the other, then the first one again. Carol climbed up to help, but still no joy. There was a boat moored above the next lock, but no-one in but eventually a CanalTime boat with a crew of 6 came and we managed to open it & we were away........are we ever to get away? We reported it to BW who said they found a large piece of wood trapped under the lock gates, it was almost certainly wedged there by the youths slamming the gates shut by drawing the paddles hard.


We were off and stopped briefly at Kilby Bridge to top up with water and empty the loo, and we cruised on to Aylestone, mooring just below Kings Lock. We had all sorts of weather this day, lovely sun, sharp showers, downpours and hailstorms, we loved it. Aylestone was our home for 30+ years so we knew the Chinese takeaway was good. Got too much, it is still in the freezer.


Our next stop was at Castle Gardens in Leicester. We wanted to get some fish from the Fish Market and Ian needed to have a word with someone about the DVR we had just bought. We wondered about stopping there the night but decided to move on to Memory Lane. There is a water point here that is not marked on the guides, we stopped here the night & filled the tanks again, it was a lovely quiet night once the youths at the nearby college had finished wearing out their tyres showing off.


Boaters beware, as you approach Lime Kiln lock there are many welcoming mooring bollards, sadly the silt is very deep and the water very shallow. One boater on Saturday took at least 15 minutes to get free. Moor close to the lock only.


We cruised through to moor alongside a friend above Mountsorrel Lock and stayed several days. With our delayed departure from Debdale the planned trip around the Leicester Ring did not materialise, and we are due at Loughborough Canal Festival this May Day weekend. We had said to our grandson that we would take him to the British Grand Prix this year, but it clashes with a Race Night our other daughter is arranging which we had promised to go to. Ian then noticed a Vintage Sports Car Club meeting at Silverstone last weekend and we arranged to go with Sam on Sunday, picking him up at 9am. We got there in good time.....................except it was a day late!! We had a fun day anyway, visiting Donnington Motor Racing Museum and then taking him kart racing. He was apprehensive before he started, that last about 1/2 a lap, the he loved it and is desperate to go again, what ave we done?


Today, Thursday 1st and we returned Carol's car back to Debdale yesterday & used our bus passes to get back from Harborogh, took my car to a friend's farm awaiting a buyer and we are ready to set off with friend Beryl to Loughborough...........except the river is in flood! Boats have passed through both ways, and we have dicided to try it carefully after lunch.

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