Tuesday 10th to Sunday 15th November 2009

We start the week at one of our favourite spots on the Harbro’ Arm, just out of range of the bone factory between a row of trees and open fields sloping down to the A6. When the wind is in the right direction this is as peaceful as it gets. We get our share of walkers, some in a hurry and some that love to chat like the fella who wanted to talk about our way of life and his sorrow at not having a boat. People like that remind me that we are very privileged.
Of course, the topic changes when it’s pouring down or we’re deep in snow, but today the sun is doing its best to disperse the mist and the birds are singing and the colours of autumn are amazing.

The solar panel is doing nothing these days (as little as 1 or 2 amp-hours a day) and the batteries call for 4 to 5 hours of engine running each day. We might as well move while the engine is running so we upped-sticks and pottered on down to Market Harborough, to the visitor’s moorings at Union Wharf.

I keep thinking how nice it would be to find a silent running generator that uses gas, runs for a month on a cylinder and is small enough to fit in the engine compartment.

Dreaming done I dived below the deck and changed the oil and filters while V popped down the shops. We’ve clocked up 5600 engine hours in under 4 years, perhaps half the life of this engine if oil change intervals correspond to 6,000 miles on a car.

There were lots of familiar faces in the wharf but a couple of boats are missing, one owner is rumoured to have gone to Spain, permanently. Half the hireboats were missing too though no mystery there, they’ve gone for repainting.

Thursday brought us sunshine in the form of Mike and Jo from Sarah-Kate. Though we haven’t seen them for months we’ve followed their travels on the other side of the country and imagined ourselves cruising with them into Liverpool docks. Memory sticks and TVs are marvellous things and after sharing news and experiences we sat glued to the screen in a guided tour of the old docks, regenerated warehouses and, best for me, ships of every kind.

Though the summer wasn’t too hot and sunny this year we can’t complain about too much rain up until now. The downside is that the reservoirs are still low on water and our winter cruising could be affected.
There is a rumour that the Foxton Locks closure will starve the canal of water between here and Leicester and our pre Christmas cruising plans will be scuppered. That’s unless the gales predicted this weekend work wonders on Saddington reservoir.

Our 48 hours are up so we’re on the move again. While V did the shops I did the necessary at the services and cruised to bridge 14 where we met again.

Later on Claire and Ter popped in for a meal and a mail drop, leaving early evening just before the rain fell.

What a night it was, thought we were going to lose everything from the roof. I’ve two sets of legs for folding chairs up there (don’t ask, it’s a project) and wouldn’t have been too happy if those had gone over the side.

Fishing match day. There are voices on the towpath before 8.30am and sure enough there are anglers taking up position with their armchairs, drinks dispensers and tubs of coloured nibbles.

Sun’s out and so will be the paint brushes. We use the BrushMate system of keeping used paint brushes fresh and ready for action. There’s been quite a bit written about it recently what with Herbie, then Granny Buttons and now Bones talking about the usefulness of BrushMate boxes with vapour pads for keeping paint soft. Best thing since sliced bread I reckon. I only wish there were Brushmate reps on the cut, they do seem to be few and far between.

We’ll probably stay here a couple of days, me tickling the paintwork, V listening to her library ‘talking’ book.

Only trouble is that while we’re sitting here someone else is picking up all the fallen wood from Friday night’s gales. We’ve seen a few wood burning boats on the Harbro’ Arm, I just hope they leave some for us.

On a completely different subject we were horrified to hear about Sue and Vic’s dog Meg cutting herself badly this week. Hope she mends quickly. And talking of mending, we’re keeping an eye on a boat build at Kevin’s, looking especially for gimmicks and fancy new ideas for me to copy. There’s a challenge for you Kevin.