Monday 25th to Sunday 31st January 2010
Its time to up-sticks and pull in the shore line at Market Harborough.
Weve been here long enough to want to stay and thats too long for the likes of us.
It was goodbye Keith and Jo (hope weve got enough coal to last us until were 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 hadnt known they sold gas to the public, I thought their gas was only for hire boats.
Theres bad news, Ive done what I said wed never do, put coal bags on the roof. I hate doing it but there, its done, were now proper liveaboards. But Im 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 Ive 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 clocks reading against the engine hours counter and hey presto an accurate record of the diesel percentage used for propulsion, just in case Her Majestys R&C pays us a visit.
We couldnt 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 wasnt 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.
At Kilby we were met by Jo and before sitting down to eat we digested the results of Jos newest revelations on our ancestors. Just as you think youre 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 aunts but their first names dont fit into the families weve 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 Im 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 wed 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. Im 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. Were 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 Im hoping we dont get a repeat of Wednesdays 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 weve gone and finding no food. Something tells me weve more than birds in these bushes at night, stale crusts stuck on twigs yesterday had all gone by this morning. Thats something we dont get out in the countryside so Im guessing weve got tiny four legged friends living nearby.