Monday 24th to Sunday 30th January 2011

Monday – Steve left for Glasgow after a cooked breakfast, one of my ‘never-twice-the-same’ fry-ups.
I modelled it on an East European hotel breakfast where everything was cooked together in a tin with two handles. I went a stage further by putting toast under the bacon and eggs and crowning it with sliced potatoes and mushrooms. If I’m distracted then it doesn’t look too pretty but it still tastes alright. Sorry Steve, no mushrooms for you.

Tuesday V went up the shops and returned with aching knees. Doesn’t look good for lock duty does it. I’m losing sleep about this, should I stick with her or get another, or worse still, should I do the locks myself? I might pop down the next boat jumble and see what’s on offer at the lady paddle partner stall.
Ter and Claire came to tea, which was nice, and I broke the news that I had quit Tribal Wars. I resigned my tribe, restarted and abandoned the new vill’. There, I’ve done it and I’m feeling better already, there’s even time to read books again.
Does anyone else find it totally absorbing, stealing every spare minute of the day? I’ve even been known to send my troops out on raids at 2 am when I’m up for a night call. I’m not sure V knew that, but she does now.

Wednesday was moving day and we popped in to Leicester Marina (that’s Raynsway to you and me) for bits and bobs. Didn’t see Bob but we did see Dave and had a chat. Didn’t see Dil this time either but we passed on our love.
From there it was a cool cruise (2Deg C and a freezing breeze) down to Thurmaston Lock where V tested her knees again. I could tell she was hurting a bit because the gates took forever to open. Not that I’m complaining, I can hover above the weir as long as the next bloke.

Once through Thurmaston we had only a mile to go to our next mooring. Buuuut, (that’s how you say it in Leicester) we couldn’t get too excited because the canal was blocked at bridge 18 outside the Hope & Anchor.
bridge 18

Charitable Waterways, or whatever it’s called these days, were loading gennies, fence panels, timber and tools for their scheduled work at Kings Lock in Aylestone.
The thought occurred to me that they could have saved a lot of time and inconvenience to pub visitors by loading at Memory Lane Wharf in Leicester. Buuut, what do I know.

To be fair they came to tell us they would only be a couple of hours. Their rep then made us smile by saying it was unfortunate but they weren’t expecting us. There was no (polite) answer to that.

There used to be a working water point here a couple of years ago, jolly useful too when you have to go miles around Leicester before you can find another one.
Rumour has it that it was disconnected to discourage permanent moorers but why should all boaters suffer when a little bit of ‘persuasion’ could have moved them on. If this were to become normal practise then where would you find a water point 5 years from now?

We used the time wisely by taking lunch and watching the crane move stuff from the waiting trucks to the work boats.
There’s a sign on the bridge parapet telling us not to run off with fish or cook them in pans but the third one foxed me, I still can’t work out the meaning.
fish notice

Two hours later we pulled over at Junction Lock – V pointed out that it’s not called Old Junction Lock as I am used to calling it, just because the boatyard is Old Junction Boatyard.
This is the junction of the River Soar and the Wreake that has come all the way from pork pie country, Melton Mowbray.
I’m rather fond of pork pies, in fact we had a couple the other day, and it cheered me to see Michael Portillo stop there on his recent Bradshaw guided train journeys though I didn’t get a hand made porky like the one he was making, shouldn’t think we could afford one of those. Even MP didn’t ask the price.
Back to the Wreake. Wouldn’t it be fun to cruise up to Melton. Some say there’s a move to get the river opened again to navigation and while the little voice in my left ear hole says “yes” the louder one in my right ear says “dream-on”.
junction lock

This is a smashing mooring for a couple of days. Peaceful, if you don’t count the weir, and fascinating if you’re into counting coconuts. Three enormous mushrooms floated past on their way to the lock (could have done with those on Monday), chased by an estate agent’s ‘For Sale’ board and a number of brittle plastic containers, the sort that make worrying screeching noises when they get crushed between the hull and the lock wall.

Temperatures went minus over night and a thin film of ice lay on the water as we set off a couple of days later. BW were kind enough to set the lock for us as their inspection launch came upstream. One guy steering, one noting licence numbers and one watching the other two.

Three locks later we were safely below the weir at Sileby Mill. Here we’ll stay until they call us in for bottom blacking.

Gave ourselves a scare Saturday evening. We were both reading and enjoying the heat from a wood and anthracite fire when I noticed the room was a bit smokey. Our downlighters looked like searchlights with tunnels of white hanging below them.
When I broached the subject V remarked that her eyes were stinging and looking across to the stove she spotted one of the nearby logs was smouldering. Specks of red glistened around the edges of the log which brought shouts of fire-fire, abandon ship, women and children follow the captain.
Well maybe it didn’t happen quite like that, but we were quick to open windows and chuck the smouldering log into the fire and afterwards we wondered why neither of the smoke detectors had sounded. Both are Fire-Angel optical smoke detectors and both tested OK when checked on the button.
This morning we smell like bonfires, everything is coated in that distinctive smokey pong. It’ll soon change when V starts cooking but meanwhile I wouldn’t want to have to explain to visitors how close we were to disaster.

Otherwise the only other boating news is that my experiment with electro-plating the hull is showing some promise.
Dangling a magnesium anode over the side and connecting it to a battery has turned red rust to white in a matter of hours. There is an element of alchemy involved which I may publish later along with the results of experiments with zinc and a bag of silver plated nickel silver from the charity shops.