Monday 17th to Sunday 23rd January 2011

Nothing much has happened this week if you don’t count the body in the river, two empty pounds and yoofs stomping on the boat.

Monday began with an early start to Debdale for diesel (73.5p/ltr self declare) and an easy cruise through Saddington Tunnel to Kibworth locks.
Our boat doesn’t like damp canals, it likes ‘em wet, at least 20” wet and Pywell lock was the last bit of water for several yards.

Someone had nicked all the wet stuff during the night.

Mike, the nice BW man, filled the pound while nbs.Paris and Balmaha made tea. A short wait and it was off again enjoying the company of Stewart, his lady and Jess the collie across the plains to the last fort before indian country, better known as Kilby Bridge.

Tuesday – an early morning mist was clearing as the breakfast dishes hit the sink and we filled the camel’s hump ready for the long journey to our next watering hole.

Stopping at Blaby Bridge and the County Arms, soon to be developed (yeah,yeah) we took the evening off to see Paul and Dawn. A great evening, thanks you two, and V’s haircut is just the ticket.

Wednesday morning we signed on new crew. Mike and Jo joined us for the cruise across Leicester which made the experience so much more enjoyable.

Everything had gone well up to Freeman’s Lock where we waved at Sven in his office at the Fox’s ground.
freemans lock

But before we got half way down the mile straight we were pulled over by the Police. Going too fast perhaps, no, there’s some sensitive equipment in the water looking for a body below the bridge.

Nothing found, we were released and the search moved to the bridge we’d just passed under.
We later heard that they’d found what they were looking for, we probably missed it by inches. I’m glad I didn’t have to visit the weed hatch, it doesn’t bear thinking about does it.

North Lock to Limekiln was a pain, water was so low that I couldn’t get near to the bank to pick up the crew. We’d heard through the grapevine that a car was pulled out a few days earlier and perhaps the water was drained at that time, more body searches perhaps?

Theodora’s skipper hailed us as we reached Limekiln and reminded us of our first meeting on the Thames a few years ago. What fabulous memories other people have, it puts me to shame.

Ahaa, another boat at Birstall, that’s always encouraging, means it’s probably a safe mooring.
We tied up and wished Mike and Jo well for their bus journeys back to Blaby. Thanks guys, where would we be without you.

Visitors come and go through the night. Most sit nicely on the wooden bench seat a few feet away, talking for an hour or so, oblivious to our open porthole and straining ears. They disappear as suddenly as they come, sometimes leaving a little present for the pixies, a useful plastic bag or half empty drinks bottle.

Colin, a local guy from the Neighbourhood Watch, collects the rubbish that the pixies can’t use and pops it in the bin at the top of the lane. I wonder if I should try leaving a week’s worth of boat rubbish to see if the system can cope.

Birstall is a very acceptable place to moor as far as views and wildlife go. Mornings and evenings produce wonderful hues of pinks and blues across the wetlands to Thurmaston and geese, ducks, swans, coots and gulls honk, quack and shriek throughout the day, flocking to the towpath to fight for bread.

The day ended brilliantly, Claire and Ter dropped in for dinner so we ate well and slept like logs. This is what boating is all about isn’t it.

Our neighbour quit the moorings this morning, breaking ice in the still waters outside the lock.
I wonder where he’s going and whether the approaching weekend has something to do with it.

No matter, we’re happy, well we were until V twisted her knee and took to sitting down again. She now has two dodgy knees, looks like I might have to find the shops.

Graham (G8LUV) did us a kindness bringing a car boot full of wood from his garden after which we ‘rested’ a while at the White Horse. Ter called in while I was away and took V to the grocers at the top of the lane so I’m excused fetching and carrying for the time being.

Saturday drew the locals to the water along with dogs, pushchairs, toddlers and toys. If you’re ever short of company then this is the place to be, you can learn lots of interesting things about barges and the people that drive them.

The evening went well until our ‘friends’ on the bench seat introduced themselves by stamping on the roof. It was more of a goodbye than hello because they vanished in the darkness when I opened the doors and hollered.

Sunday revealed the evidence, footprints across the paintwork. I’d almost finished washing them away when I realised this was evidence, all we have to do now is find our Cinderella.

V could probably give us the perpetrator’s profile, she’s a woman and knows a great deal about shoes.

Another lovely surprise, Steve dropped in on his way from Devon to Scotland. We ate well and slept like logs yet again. It just gets better and better.