Monday 18th to Sunday 24th October 2010.

This week we are mostly in Loughborough.

When the shovel reached the bottom of the coal bunker I knew it was time to leave our cosy spot on the edge of town and go in search of fuel.

A clear evening sky produced lovely colours over Luffy town, hard to capture with a compact camera, but it contrasted nicely with the chimney.

Tuesday started bright but, as sometimes happens, it all changed after lunch.

Chugging upriver we were pleased to see people waving but on closer inspection it was nothing to do with us, just another pennywort appreciation society meeting at the weir above Pillings lock.
wot pennywort problem

The 1860 bridge at Mountsorrel was getting its missing bits seen to as we approached and although well above our heads they raised the crane jib before we passed underneath. And what a beautiful job they’ve made of it, looks brand new again.

The sky turned a filthy grey as we pulled up alongside the diesel barge at Sileby Mill and the rain came in at 45 degrees within minutes of opening our filler cap. Water in the diesel, I hope not. What was 75p/ltr last week had gone up to 82p, thankfully it’s self declare. A couple of gallons of antifreeze and four bags of coal pushed the bill to £264, phew, who said this lifestyle was less expensive?

I hate complaining but our bottom blacking at Sileby Mill a year ago lasted 5 months before the rust started appearing again. By the time we got to Liverpool in June there were hundreds of rust spots the size of pennies all over the hull sides and even along the crevice between baseplate and sidewalls. Something had gone wrong but there was no answer given, just a suggestion that we pay the extra for a two-part epoxy coating next time. I really thought our £530 would have lasted longer than 7 months. Somewhat disappointed, we see no alternative but to get our problem fixed elsewhere.

Barrow- by-the-weir was our port in a storm and as the clouds lifted so the colours changed from greys to browns and fresh breezes blew the leaves in circles.

By Wednesday morning the frost had turned the roof white and yesterday’s wet ropes had gone rigid. Captain’s orders said we return to Luffy, so we chugged downstream to the boat basin via the obligatory overnight stop at bridge 34.

Claire and Ter popped over to eat with us Thursday evening, which was nice, and not being complete slouches we threw snake skinned maple on the fire. Not exactly your everyday firewood but we just happened to be passing a couple of tree fellers doing their bit and relieved them of the ‘waste’. We love recycling and if there’s anything we can do to reduce the appalling nitrogen levels in the atmosphere then it’s all worth it.

On Friday we popped into Pillings Lock Marina for a couple of nights so we could meet up with Roger and Babs, our southern cousins on nb.Megan.

Isn’t it nice having a shoreline, thoroughly spoilt we are.

There’s only so much sitting down talking we can do so Saturday became cruising day. Down to the boat basin we went, with Roger steering, but it was full of boats so he reversed down to The Albion for lunch.
And back to Pillings for the evening, me taking the day off duties apart from a spot of umbrella-holding when the heavens opened during the cruise back to base.

I think Roger and I covered most things including loos, pumps, propellers, electricity and a million other things. He has always impressed me with his ingenuity, even at the age of eight he was building go-carts using his Dad’s best woodscrews “because they didn’t come out like nails”. What I didn’t know was that you shouldn’t knock screws in with a hammer when nails were a lot cheaper.

And so we arrived at Sunday. I guess we’re off towards Luffy again sometime this afternoon where we have a date with Mike and Jo off Sarah-Kate. It will be lovely to see them again and catch up on all the news since our Spring cruise to Liverpool.

After Luffy? I guess we’ll slowly head back to Leicester and clear off the Soar before the winter rains.