Monday 25th to Sunday 31st January 2010

It’s time to up-sticks and pull in the shore line at Market Harborough.
We’ve been here long enough to want to stay and that’s too long for the likes of us.

It was goodbye Keith and Jo (hope we’ve got enough coal to last us until we’re back on their patch), fill up with water and beat-it down the ‘Arm.

Changed a gas cylinder at Union Wharf before we left. In the four years of visiting here I hadn’t known they sold gas to the public, I thought their gas was only for hire boats.

We stopped a night, at our usual spot in the country, just out of reach of the glue factory.

There’s bad news, I’ve done what I said we’d never do, put coal bags on the roof. I hate doing it but there, it’s done, we’re now proper liveaboards. But I’m definitely not growing flowers up there.

Through Foxton (for eggs and bread) and up to Debbers for diesel (61p).

The guesswork has gone on claiming our propulsion/power split for diesel duty because I’ve connected a £2.50 battery clock to the gear control. Every time the engine goes into gear the clock notches up the minutes.
All I have to do now is ratio the clock’s reading against the engine hour’s counter and hey presto an accurate record of the diesel percentage used for propulsion, just in case Her Majesty’s R&C pays us a visit.

We couldn’t pass Debbers without seeing Ian and Carol (Lily Pad) and spent a lovely evening with them onboard Ballymahaha.

Mike (Sarah-Kate) had already volunteered to crew on the cruise down to Kilby but what a day it turned out to be, freezing cold and rain. It wasn’t going to be the fastest cruise either, we hit an empty pound below Kibworth and spent an hour and a half fetching enough water to lift us off the bottom of Pywell Lock.

Backtracking a bit, it was good to see dredging progressing south of Saddington tunnel, we could use it, and those guys get my admiration working outside in the muck in this freezing wind and rain.

At Kilby we were met by Jo and before sitting down to eat we digested the results of Jo’s newest revelations on our ancestors. Just as you think you’re getting to the end of the research even more pops up. I have discovered five memorial cards and two wedding invitations from the late 1800 and early 1900s for surnames that match my great aunt’s but their first names don’t fit into the families we’ve found so far. I can see another library visit coming on and several hours ploughing through census returns.

Kilby Bridge was almost empty when we arrived but I’m amazed at how many boats are on the move in and out of Leicester. Even the weekend was busy, two days we never travel through town if we can avoid it.
While V did the shops by bus I did something useful and watched the waterways guys lift a boat from the water. The crane was a whopper and had I got my shoes on I might have taken a shot of it from the other end of the wharf.

Mike and Alison, Kilby Bridge wardens, came round one evening so we caught up on news and, as usually happens when we meet other boaters, I went into ‘improvements’ mode. If only we’d known about under floor heating when we planned this boat. That will be a must on the next build, if there ever is a next one.

Another improvement will be avoiding varnish on porthole woodwork. Moisture is still getting under the varnish and staining the wood even after my sanding and varnishing marathon last summer. I’m experimenting with teak oil where the varnish has failed, hoping my troubles will disappear. Somehow I doubt it.

Ice has returned to the canal making life difficult for those on the move. We’re grateful for those going through on Sunday because it should make things easier for us when we set off west on Monday morning. Mike and Jo have volunteered again (smashing people) and I’m hoping we don’t get a repeat of Wednesday’s weather.

Must remember to take the bird feeder with us even though it breaks my heart to think of our feathered friends turning up after we’ve gone and finding no food. Something tells me we’ve more than birds in these bushes at night, stale crusts stuck on twigs yesterday had all gone by this morning. That’s something we don’t get out in the countryside so I’m guessing we’ve got tiny four legged friends living nearby.