HAPPY DAYS AND WE’RE OFF
Picture of Col and Henry on Regal Romantic bidding us farewell.
After the sombre tone of my last blog this one couldn’t be more different.
I must first apologies for my tardiness of not blogging earlier, but I have been working full time until just before Easter, and we have had many family celebrations to attend, including my sons 30th and the Captains sister’s 70th birthday bashes. Time has just flown.
As I have said before, life on the wharf in the winter can be very quiet, but the very good weather at Easter brought on an impromptu cruise. Thursday night, and the Captain and I were sat quietly watching TV, when a message popped up from our neighbours and fellow boaters ,Col and Mags on Regal Romantic, enquiring if we fancied a little trip down to Atherstone.
Well they didn’t have to ask twice and we set off next day, but only made it as far as Hawksbury junction and the very good pub there the Greyhound, the weather was glorious and the pub was heaving. We were joined later by a Sam and Jenny, also from the wharf who cycled down to meet us as a surprise.
As I have said the pub was heaving, and the queue for the bar was sooooo long we decided after the first couple to head back to the boats, where we had plenty of beer on board and a stew I had made which went down very well with our visitors.
Next day and a reasonably early start for us, we headed for Atherstone, unfortunately ahead of us was a very slow hire boat, now don’t get me wrong cruising is not about speed, that is for sure, but there is slow, and then there is slow, and this boat was slow.........
But it did not detract from the beautiful sunshine and the wonderful scenery. The Captain put some music on and I happily bopped and boogied on the back of the boat stopping for the occasional kiss and cuddle, (I know too much information).
The hire boat pulled over for lunch and we sped up a little. We got to Atherstone early afternoon and of course off to the pub we went. We treated ourselves to an Indian meal at the Raj Mahal, it was very good and I would highly recommend giving it a try.
So back to the boat. It was such a lovely evening ,so we sat on the towpath chatting again. The crew on the hire boat passed us and stopped for a chat, they were from Texas and had been boating for 3 years and loved it.
We headed back next day, but once again the call of the Greyhound was to strong once again and we stopped and had a couple of pints. A wonderful way to end a fantastic little cruise.
Our main reason for coming back on the Sunday was the next happy event in this blog, the wedding of my daughter Jess to Stuart in Cornwall. We still had a few things to sort out before heading south on Wednesday.
The wedding was wonderful and went without a hitch. Jess looked stunning and I was a blubbering mess throughout the ceremony. The nice thing about the venue is that everyone is together for 3 days, there is accommodation for 40 people, and all your meals are included from the evening before the wedding, to breakfast on the morning after. It was lovely to be with our lovely family celebrating such a special occasion (pictures to follow). The food was amazing and the Captain was a very happy bunny with an excellent Cornish stout.
However the trip back was a nightmare, which started when our car wouldn’t start, this took about 1 ½ hrs to sort out. Then we hit the M5, it was stop start for miles and miles. The journey which took us 4 ½ hrs going down took us 7hrs coming back. The Captain has vowed never to return to Cornwall.
After a magical couple of days it was back to the reality of preparing the boat for our summer cruise, lots of cleaning, washing and planting our little garden. In the midst of this we also organised a wharf BBQ for the May Day bank holiday.
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t as kind as at Easter but the rain managed to hold off and everyone who came a great time.
Then sitting round the brazier toasting marshmallows the conversation turned to our imminent departure, which was set for Monday (this was Saturday), and a plan started to emerge of a convoy down to the Greyhound to see us off the next day.
Col and Mags were definitely up for it, as was Jenny on Fleur, and Sam cadged a lift with Jenny. So after a mad rush round finishing off all our little jobs and shopping we set off from the wharf mid afternoon.
The Captain and Col swopped boats for part of the journey, as Col was complaining how heavy his tiller was and wanted the Captains thoughts on it. He thought our tiller was a dream, as steering our boat is quite light and it is very responsive. We lost Jenny and Sam who were bringing up the rear, as she got a lot of crap round her prop (one the joys of cruising in urban areas, people use the canal as a tip). But she caught up with us shortly after we moored up. We headed to the pub, but it was much too cold to sit outside, and inside was very busy, so after a few pints we headed back to the boat and Sam headed back to the wharf (Jenny only has a small boat). Everyone came round to ours which meant it was very cosy but it was a great send off for us.
As I just said Jenny has a small boat, only 30ft, so next morning it meant she could spin it round where she was moored, but Col had to go down to the winding hole about 20minutes down the cut. We set off and met up with Col after he had winded and we shouted our goodbyes.
We didn’t travel to far before mooring up as the wind was quite biting, but tomorrow we will be in Atherstone, and we will be getting faggots from Bates Butchers, and a pint of good real ale in the Angel before batoning down the hatch for the rain, which is forecast for Wednesday. Thursday we will start out cruise in earnest which will start by going down the Atherstone flight of locks.
We still have Sam, our old lady cat, but unfortunately she did take a swim just before we left. I am happy to report that she has suffered no ill consequences from it. It was her own fault as she had taken to sleeping on the gunnels which aren’t very wide. Hopefully she has learnt her lesson.