We have spent the weekend making a leisurely trip back to Kings Bromley in our new boat. It was sad to leave Blue Moon behind yesterday morning as we pulled away from the jetty at Mercia Marina. She is now on brokerage here and will make someone a lovely boat, (although they are asking far too much !!) The sadness was soon replaced by a real sense of excitement though as we start to get to know 'Fiona' as we will call her, until we officially rename.
We had a short cruise with just a couple of locks before we moored at Branston near to the water park. We welcomed our first guests aboard in the evening as friends Steve and Mave popped in for drinks. They live in Branston and came bearing alcohol and so were very welcome indeed.
We left this morning about 8am in bright sunshine, passing a long line of moored boats. The engine on 'Fiona' is sooo quiet and at tick over it's difficult to hear at all, much to the surprise of the four anglers in their tents at the side of the canal. They certainly hadn't heard us coming and only some last second panic and speedy reeling in of lines prevented us from dragging some very expensive carp tackle into the cut.
Our first lock of the day was Tatenhill Lock, which always looks lovely as you approach from this direction. We used it to take our first picture of 'Fiona"
Onwards to Fradley in quite a strong wind. Nev from nb Percy was busy laying some decking at his mooring but spotted us as we passed. We moored on the visitor moorings at Fradley and he popped up to see us for a drink and guided tour. Great to finally meet up after so many near misses.
Fradley was busy with gongoozlers, motorbikes and the like, but these two 'Rollers' were absolutely fantastic to see.
Louise got some help doing the locks as is usual on a busy day at Fradley. She was particularly grateful at Shadehouse Lock where the bottom gates are so very heavy. The American 'tourist' was more than willing to help and surprised just how heavy the gate was to close. But how he let himself down as Louise started to open the top paddle as he called down to me "Do you ever risk letting your wife do the driving?"
I politely told him that Louise was in fact quite good at the helm, but preferred the locking which seemed to come as quite a surprise to him !! If looks could kill, Louise would have had a victim.
So 'Fiona' is now safely tucked up at Kings Bromley. Early impressions are very good and we can't wait to head off out next weekend for the Macclesfield and Peak Forest. Well Chuffed.