24. Aug, 2019


And it’s raining again folks. What with this and the wind this summer is not turning out to be great for cruising, but hey ho we make the most of it.

So taking you back a few days, we were still making our way down the staircase locks into Leeds, and this is where another near disaster happened.

After a night in the middle of nowhere, we headed to the locks at Apperley Bridge were we met up with Lunar Princess, Knot so Fast and Uhuru once again.

Lunar Princess had winded and was now heading in the opposite direction, so we decided to pair up with Uhuru (which means freedom in Swahili, a bit of Star Trek knowledge coming in there) to go down the double staircase lock, all the paddles were checked and double checked and in we went, down we went and into the bottom lock, everything seemed to be going smoothly and the Captain cruised out of the bottom lock no problem, however nothing is ever that simple. Unfortunately Uhuru was a longer boat and couldn’t move back far enough to allow us to open the gate on their side, and its Captain didn’t seem able to move the boat over to the side of the open gate. To make matters much much worse, the leaking back gates were soaking him to the skin. Never mind what we tried or suggested he simply couldn’t get out of the lock, and was getting wetter by the minute. We had now been joined by the crews from Knot so Fast, Lunar Princess and finally the brave Captain of an unnamed boat, who scurried down the ladder in the lock and physically pushed Uhuru over far enough to allow its Captain to escape his wet prison.

We went on our way, but the Captain of Uhuru seemed to blame my Captain in some way for his wet adventure (maybe it was the picture he had snapped of him getting soaked before realising the seriousness of the situation) and he went ahead of us without a backward glance. We did nickname him playfully Mr Drippy, with no offence intended.

We moored at Rodley for the night and tried the 3 pubs, The Railway, The Rodley Barge and the Owl, nothing to write home about to be honest.

Next morning and a wet early start as we were rudely awakened by CRT, they needed our mooring space to crane equipment in and out of the canal so we had to move. We were going anyway so didn’t really bother us.

So we set off and the weather brightened, but there were still quite a few swing bridges and locks ahead. It made a long day of it, even when we paired up with NB Mab. Eventually we hit the last lock into Granary Wharf and Leeds. I was truly knackered. We had intended to go down on to the river, through 2 more locks to the pump out machine at Leeds lock, and back again, but it was not to be.

This is where the Captains excellent planning comes in, and he had allowed a few days grace on needing a pump out, this turned out to be a godsend.

I went to check the river level board, this is used to tell boaters when it is safe or unsafe to use the river. It was well into the amber, which means proceed with caution, and the river looked to be running very fast so I went back and said it wasn’t safe, so we managed to moor in one of the finger mooring, right beside a very interesting restaurant called Fazenda, but more of an interest was a place behind us called The Hop, owner by Ossett brewery, so we had to give it a try.

It was when I was getting changed to go out I notice a small blob of blood on my calf and what looked like a pin prick. It didn’t itch so at the time I though nothing about it.

The Hop was great, if a little pricey, but they had an excellent Cherry Choc Stout on from Bridgehouse brewery, and Birra Moretti for me. We sat in a lovely seat in the window to watch the world go by.

We were staying a Leeds for a few days, as we needed to catch the train back to Derbyshire to attend the funeral of my Auntie Eileen, she was the last of my father’s siblings, so it is the end of an era for our family. I am sad, but she was nearly 90 and had been poorly for some time.

So on the Saturday, we headed into Leeds and Kirkgate market, I love proper indoor markets, and this has everything. After ordering a bouquet we wandered round, but I was starting to feel that all was not right with my leg.

And oh boy was I right about that, when we got back I could see the original pin prick was now an angry red bruise and my leg was starting to swell. Not good, but I like to leave things to play out so off for a pint we went.

Next morning and wow the pain when I first got out of bed, it felt like something hot had raced down my leg to the bite, and my leg and foot was burning, I could not walk properly at first, the sensation wore off after a time, but the swelling continued.

It was Sunday and the Captain had planned to go down the river for the pump out, but the river board was now on red, which meant it was too dangerous to go on the river, so I cooked and we went for a pint.

Luckily for us the rain had stopped and next day the river had fallen enough for us to head down, for now what was an urgent pump out. Going down wasn’t too bad as we were running with the flow of the river. We called in Leeds dock, which is where the Royal Armouries are based, and CRT also have an office here. Whilst the Captain popped into the office to pick up a few bits I rested my ever swelling leg.

The return was not so easy with the river running against us,  the Captain excelled in getting the boat across the running river and into the lock, and back into Granary Wharf.

We had to pick the flowers up and I decided I needed to see someone about my leg, so following the advice given by the NHS I headed for Boots and a pharmacist. She assured me I was doing everything I could and it would just take time to heal.

Tuesday and we caught the train and went to the funeral, it was a lovely service and I got to see my family, but it was a sad occasion.

Now back to the weather. Wednesday and it rained yet again, so we decided to stay put and have a quiet day. After the sadness of the past few days the Captain treated me to lunch at Fazenda, this is a Brazilian all you can eat steak restaurant. It was an interesting experience, the food was fantastic and there was an incredible choice. The staff where lovely and made us feel very welcome. At £20 each it may sound expensive, but the choice of meats included 4 cuts of steak, lamb, chicken, gammon and little Brazilian sausage. And for me there was smoked salmon and sushi on the salad bar. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm

We said goodbye to Leeds the next day and continued on our travels, that’s for next time folks