Monday October 31st to Wednesday November 9th 2011

So what’s happened to the Blog? Sorry but the brain hasn’t been up to it.

Writer’s block, laziness, lack of sunshine, who knows, but we are talking about a “4 out of 10 – See Me” pupil at senior school.

We’ve mostly been touring the Trent and Soar since last we spoke.
Mother-in-Law (MiL) has been Honorary Commodore, taking over the owner’s suite while the crew slept in hammocks next to the galley. Last week’s fine weather brought her to the bridge to take the air and sample the autumn colours. The river Trent couldn’t help but behave itself after months without rain and, sheltered by dense woods, the breeze was reduced to nothing more than a moorhen’s cough.

Nearing journey’s end at Nottingham we found Beeston Cut stacked with boats and even rafted up in places but nearer town (Sainsburys) we were spoilt for choice with bollards or rings for another half a dozen boats.

Shopping done and another sleep ticked in the diary I decided to try turning around for the journey back up the river. The cut looked wide enough and if we’d been a couple of feet shorter we would have done it. Nose against the offside wall and stern on the towpath I noticed a photographer pointing his lens at us. Wondering why the stern wouldn’t kick out from the bank I got off with a rope to pull the back end straight but it dawned on me that the canal has a flow on it. Darn, this will take some pulling and while I tried to make it look easy the camera shutter went into overdrive.

We eventually did what all boats over 57 feet do, we turned outside the Courts, below the next lock.

I’m now on the lookout for one of those infrared measuring things that estate agents use when deciding the size of rooms in houses.

On a completely different subject, have you ever tried to feed the birds only to see them fighting?
I’m always soft when it comes to feeding moorhens and coots and make sure they get their share of bread. But this morning every bird and his dog wanted to steal the moorhen’s food and while she kept her distance the ducks and gulls fought for the scraps. What made me laugh was seeing a drake getting a ducking as a gull (or maybe it was a tern) dived at the same time.

We’ve done well for visitors this last week and a half, Mike and Jo, Ter and Claire and yesterday Geoff and Maggs.
We knew she was in these parts so it was no surprise to hear the parp-parp of Seyella heading our way. It didn’t take much to persuade them to stay for a cuppa and as the day went on it made sense to stop-over and empty a few glasses in the Albion Inn, Loughborough.

I’m afraid this wasn’t my first visit to the Albion. Last week I was Home Alone while V went off with the commodore to pay her old school friends a visit at the Commemoration Service in Bristol Cathedral. My mate Graham (G8LUV) was up for a chat so we spent the day both on the boat messing with the wireless and in the Albion eating. I discovered that brown bottles, pub food and radios do not constitute a recipe for Blog writing, boat fixing or shopping.

Prior to Loughborough the weather was amazing. Sunny days, cloudy nights and we probably could have managed without the fire. We found a lovely spot above Kegworth Lock on the River Soar. Deep enough at the bank side, clips instead of pins and far enough from civilisation to get a peaceful night.

Or so we thought.
We’d pitched right under the flight path for East Midlands Airport.

Great if you are interested in looking into the wheel bays of aeroplanes.

Back in Loughborough our thoughts turn to the events at the end of the year.
Only 7 weeks to go, no I don’t mean Christmas, I mean boat licence renewal. Should we go for the economy (?) version at £832 or should we splash out on an all-singing, all-dancing Gold licence at £1093?
Housers (people who live in houses) think we get off lightly on boats but comparing floor area boaters pay well over the odds for their space on this earth.
On the other hand boaters probably do better for libraries than housers, because many marinas, pubs and service points along the canal offer free lending or book swapping. Swimming pools aren’t a problem either, we’re surrounded by opportunities for a quick dip at any time of year, ask my cousin Roger (nb.Megan) he thinks nothing of swimming with his clothes on.

Apart from boat licensing there are two other concerns – Christmas and ice. Christmas is a certainty but what about the ice?