Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mixed Emotions

A far too brief trip down to the boat this weekend, combining installing a new set of leisure batteries with some much needed quiet time.

We have had problems lately with the Victron inverter/charger as it has been putting too much charge (15 volts plus) into the batteries. Some investigation has pointed to one of the leisure batteries going down, so the best thing to do was to replace the lot as they were all installed at the same time. So out with the old and in with the new. Never a cheap thing to replace, but a lot cheaper than replacing the inverter, so fingers crossed.

We headed out of the marina yesterday afternoon dodging the showers, and moored in a peaceful spot near to bridge 56 approaching Handsacre. This week has been difficult due to the unexpected death of one of our friends and we just wanted to get away and quietly reflect. There is no better place for us to do this than the solitude of the boat. We had a lovely few hours sat in the sun filled cratch raising a glass to 'Tiz'.

It was lovely to see our first ducklings of the season. This proud Mum was proudly displaying her 12 babies.

We spent the evening getting to grips with our new 'toy'. We treated ourselves to an iPad so we can have decent internet access whilst we are away. It also gives us the option of an extra tv if we can't get a satellite signal or want to catch up on iPlayer etc. Like all new gadgetry, it takes a bit of getting used to, especially for us 'technophobes' but so far we are VERY impressed. 

Unfortunately we had to return to the marina mid morning due to commitments, but our brief trip was much needed and enjoyed. The wind made mooring tricky and certainly meant we couldn't reverse into our berth as normal. Next weekend we will be hoping for some decent weather as we enjoy a short bank holiday break aboard. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

All good things come to an end.

We had a lovely last few days aboard as the weather improved, especially over the weekend. We made the short trip up to Branston on Friday having said goodbye to Luke and Annabelle and picking up a few bits from Midland Chandlers. We passed Nb Royden at the aqueduct over the River Dove She is owned by Guy, a good friend of Johns, as they coached Derbyshire County rugby together a few years ago. We gave Guy plenty of water as his boat is much deeper draughted at almost 3 feet and said a quick hello as we passed. We moored by the water park, before we were joined by a couple more friends, Karl and Gemma, who live nearby and their two young boys who were excited to be aboard. We had a lovely night and a good meal at The Bridge Inn, although sore heads were felt the following morning !!
Pre dinner beers on board.
A delayed start to Saturday as our toilet decided it didn't want to work !! We have a Vacuflush system which unfortunately is now discontinued. It is a fabulous system, but we have always had it in the back of our minds that it may one day decide to give up the ghost and we would have to find an alternative. Having checked it wasn't blocked and fiddling about for a couple of hours we decided the sun was too good to miss and headed off, trying to forget about the sanitary situation. We had a really enjoyable run up to Fradley which happened to be unusually quiet. Three volunteer lockies on duty and apparently we were the first boat to go up beyond Fradley Junction all afternoon and it was now gone 3pm !! Plenty of folks sitting about outside The Swan enjoying a beer or two - amazing what power the sun has.
The lovely setting at Tattenhill Lock
We had intended to head back to the marina at Kings Bromley, but the lure of one of our favourite spots at Ravenshaw Wood was too good to miss in the sun. We moored up and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the location with only two or three boats heading towards Fradley passing us. I was in the Scouts and Louise was in the Guides, so despite our lack of a working toilet, shall we just say, we managed!!

We woke to the sound of woodpeckers hammering at trees and had a good lie in on Sunday morning  before we reluctantly made the short trip back to Kings Bromley. What a shame the weather came a week late, but we still enjoyed the trip.

In the car on the way home we had a phone call from one of the couples who have a share in one of our old shared boats, Marbury. Peter and Sue were aboard and had passed a 'Blue Moon' moored on their way to Fradley earlier in the morning...."would it have been you" they asked. Of course, it was, and we were sorry to have missed them, but made up for it by meeting up with them on Monday night at The Waterfront at Barton Marina for a nice meal and catch up.

The toilet situation has improved after a phone call to Lee Sanitation who were very helpful and it would appear to be a sticking vacuum switch that has caused the problem - what a big relief.

Not wanting to wish my life away, but two years today I shall be retired. Now that really is a lovely thought.

Trip total 93.5 Miles  64 Locks

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A bad case of wind...

....of the meteorological type of course. The last couple of days have been hard going in the strong winds. At least we can wrap up warm and it has remained dry. Luke and Annabelle have been great company and are leaving us in the morning. They have been a great help at the locks and have made wonderful breakfasts the last couple of mornings and Luke has kept the fire in well.

The Soar has been very quiet but enjoyable. As we approached the junction with the Trent, we passed James and Amy on nb Willow travelling in the opposite direction. They read our blog and it was a shame we couldn't stop and say hello...maybe some other time. We were glad to finally moor up at Sawley cut for the night and enjoyed a lovely homemade chilli. 
Lovely view of the church at Normanton-on-Soar
This morning the wind was just as strong. Louise decided to walk the dogs up to Derwent Mouth rather than ride the waves of the river. We had a brief respite from the wind at Weston as we passed below the Ukranian Centre but unfortunately it was short lived. At Stenson, Luke and Annabelle stopped off at the coffee shop for hot chocolate and cake and we continued on to Findern and moored behind Nadee again and tonight we have enjoyed a fabulous Indian meal. 

Tomorrow we plan to call in at Midland Chandlers at Mercia Marina for some bits and bobs as they have 20% off everything for the day, before we head to Branston to meet up with friends for a few beers. Let's hope the wind finally relents and we can have some enjoyable cruising.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A dash to Loobaroo.

Yesterday we collected our 'crew' at Sawley and now have Luke and Annabelle with us for a few days which is nice. The wind yesterday was very chilling and on the exposed parts of the river was unpleasant. Although a Bank Holiday, the lack of boats is quite strange.

The levels on the Soar are fine with all the boards in the green, although some of the floodgates are still closed. The wind finally beat us into submission, and we spent the night at Zouch cut with an average meal at the Rose & Crown. 

Unfortunately, Jasper, our Border Terrier, has not been 100% this trip with a dose of 'the runs'. It has lasted four days so far and despite a diet of rice and eggs for a few days, he is no better. What did we ever do before 'Google' ?? A quick check for nearby vets pointed us to Meadow Lane Vets in Loughborough and they had an appointment at 10.10am. The engine was glad of the opportunity to be opened up on the river passing the lovely village of Normanton on Soar and we moored just below Loughborough Lock and set off walking using good old Google maps, arriving with five minutes to spare. We left twenty minutes later with two sets of medication and a much lighter wallet, but received an excellent service and had peace of mind that we had been. 
Jasper keeping watch
We had a good run up to Barrow and the sun has been lovely. We went as far as Sileby Mill before winding and mooring above Mountsorrel Lock. The sun on our backs sitting in the cratch has been very welcome this afternoon and tonight we ate at The Waterside Inn right next to the lock. A lovely meal and clearly very popular with the locals.

The Waterside Inn