Monday 15th to Sunday 21th March 2010.

Steve left us after breakfast for a long drive up north, leaving his sloe gin behind – oh yes!!

We did the usual at the Harbro’ services, or rather I did while V went to the city to buy shoes, and after buying some ‘blue’ from Hadar I my goodbyes to Keith and Jo and motored off to the edge of town to await the bus from Leicester carrying the bride’s mother and new shoes for the wedding.

Picking up the old lady I pointed the boat at Foxton and drew alongside Black Horse Bridge in the number one slot on the towpath, ready for tomorrow’s Tesco delivery.

Tuesday morning all bright and early I popped up the Farm Shop for a butchers (a look-see) and a newspaper.
Incidentally, if you’re looking for the place then start at the car park entrance to the Black Horse pub and take the door on your left to the skittle alley, it’s the shop. You can throw a Dutch cheese at the ketchup bottles to remind you of where you are if you like.

There’s little, if anything, to tell you there’s a shop but persevere and you’ll find it.

Feeling a bit nosey I wandered along to see whose shiny boat was parked in front and who should it be but Derwent 6. Knocking my knuckles on the roof brought Del out with the news that they were waiting for Tesco too, how about that for a coincidence.

We weren’t in a hurry so we took up their offer of coffee (and hot cross buns, yummy) after storing the goodies from Messrs T E Stockwell and Cohen.

I was wondering how to propose a photo when Del’s camera flashed. Aha, get ‘em back, said I, and whipping my camera out I grabbed a shot of Del and Al against the bow doors.

We motored another half mile on after seeing Derwent 6 through the sticking swing bridge and did our customary shop at Foxton Boat Services for Beta filters and oil.

We wondered if Anastasia was still in the area so took a walk on the Debdale towpath. Sure enough Mike was here and offering coffee, not just any coffee but Indian Monsoon Malabar from So wonderful is his hospitality that he gave me a bag of it and we’ve been enjoying it ever since. He’s a nice guy.

Took a walk to the Foxton Services building later in the day, about 5.30pm I think, and was dismayed to find the water turned off at the elsan point. Just what is going on here? Must call HQ and find out.

Wednesday and we’re off, not back to Harbro’ as you might think, no we’re off to pastures new – The Summit.

We’d just taken water and chucked a ‘load’ down the elsan hole (it didn’t want to go) when Mike and Jo off Sarah-Kate arrived to help us up the locks. Mike was in a tender state, don’t ask why, so he and I did the stern deck watch while the ladies lifted the paddles and swung gates.

There are a couple of new lockies on the flight, really nice guys. There were no other boats around so we got our name at the top of the sheet of paper. They were busy painting but made time for a chat because we could have been new at this lark. It will be hard work so we wish them well.

Up the flight in no time at all and when I asked for orders was told “We’ll stop above the locks” (by the plastic horse).
plastic horse

Big mistake – contractors were strimming the grass and the hedge and everything under the hedge, so much so that the boat was plastered in grass, thorns, stones and unidentifiable squidge. I was not amused and made it quite obvious that I wasn’t having them come past doing a second run. “We are allowed to cut up to the boats” he said. “That means stop at the boats not strim right up to the paintwork” said I. “We are allowed to stop cutting when we are asked to” said he. There were sticks on the ground, good job he was wearing goggles.

After lunch with Mike and Jo we amused ourselves with the ducks. Talk about tame, they try to get in through the doors, the windows, the roof vents, anywhere, as long as they can smell human food.

Thursday was a nice day so the paint brush came out of hiding and went to work on the strimmer’s side of Balmaha. One had to watch the jolly ducks didn’t run off with the paint rag.

Got chatting to Pat (or is it Pam?) from Molly May 2 and remembered after she’d gone that we saw their previous boat on the K&A last year. Small world innit.

The paintwork isn’t what it used to be but she’s afloat.

Kept a promise to myself and phoned HQ. Received the news that the elsan point water supply has to go off at night (there’s no separate stock cock for the elsan point) so if boaters keep chucking their stuff after 4 o’clock then BW will have to find a way of locking the facility overnight.
Now that will take resources and effort, so why can’t that be applied to solving the first problem?

Friday was nice so the roof got washed, first time since I don’t know when. A liberal coat of baby-oil and she shone like a baby’s bottom.

Made some good progress with the water-to-fuel project which I’ll tell you about another day.

I’ve had enough of the plastic horse, said V, can we go a bit further?
Up-sticks we did and on we went under two bridges and settled again.
It’s nice here she said, we’ll stay said I.

It rained and rained. It rained so much that England lost to France in the Six Nations. Doohh.
We’d have won that if it had been sunny, said the commentator (my version of his sentiments).

8.35am and the anglers arrived, one, two three hundred of ‘em. Well there were about ten all camped around the boat.

I’ve had enough of the fishermen, said V, can we go a bit further?
Up-sticks we did and on we went under one more bridge and settled again.
It’s nice here she said, we’ll stay said I.

The sun came out and so did my shorts and T shirts. Couldn’t find my flip-flops so had to do with whatever I could find in the shoe chest.

It was so sunny that we could have won the Six Nations. Why couldn’t we play today?

And to complete the day we spotted the Cheese Boat heading for her Easter appointment at Foxton and someone we haven’t seen for a while – Harnser, prancing down the canal in the Foxton direction.
Hello says V, thought you were on the Oxford. We were, said he, but now we have had to come back here.
Catch you later. And they were gone.