Woke up this morning with the sun streaming through the windows from a blue, clear and cloudless sky. Moored up this evening with a heavy, grey and foreboding sky, a howling wind, freezing temperatures and spits of rain!
A leisurely morning after a few fried bits for breakfast and a quick polish down the moored side of the boat using my new waterless 'shine and wax'
formula that I got for Christmas, (it dun 'arf do a good job guv'nor,) and we were off. A brief panic as a telephone call from our monitoring station confirmed that the intruder alarm at school had been activated, the Head was in Gloucester and I am No 2 on the list! Several phone calls later, and I had found a key holder in the area to check it out, confirmed that it was probably just a gust of wind blowing a blind chord and phoned the Head back to give him the 'all-clear'! Stopped at Trinity
to see their advertised, 'new and extensive chandlery' and came out laughing about the few ends of rope and brightly painted scrubbing brushes on sale. We also tried to use their 'one stop grocery store' and came out with 2 out of the 4 items we wanted! The bonus is that I did manage to obtain a new bottle of 'Fuel set'
additive for the diesel tank. I swear by this stuff and a UK importer seems to be lacking at present so it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.
Passing through the Lime Kilns pub, (sorry - no weblink found!) and this curious object caught my eye along side a very appropriate sign which I only spotted after I downloaded the image onto my computer!
and yes, I did slow down for it! A great fun way of exercise and using the water. Not sure how it stands with the BW licencing bureaucrats though!
Moored at Trinity, it was clear just how much the area was changing. Industrial units were being built on every small space of green land available and even a Premier Inns Travel Lodge was well underway.
I tip-toed past the online moorings on my way away from the marina and towards more rural pastures, with the engine on exactly tick-over. The reason for my slowness? I wanted to see the boats I recognised, hold a passing conversation with someone who recognised me and see if others were about. One gentleman was. An old chap with grey dwindling hair who popped up from a tiny, and extremely old, bright red boat that I had never seen before. "Take yer time!" he shouted as I passed, "I'm sorry?" I replied in a questioning and somewhat confused manner, "Take yer b****y time!" he repeated. I informed him of the fact that my engine was only on tick-over, that it was people like him which were the cause of me moving out of that particular marina and that I suggested he did some research into boat/engine speeds and ratios before yelling at people...... and I managed to do all of that before I had even 'sped' passed his boat!!
I was having a discussion with my father over the dinner table yesterday evening as to whether the numbers of people coming onto the waterways would eventually self police or not and the conclusion came out that we didn't think that would have the biggest impact but that sadly the numbers of 'new' boaters coming onto the waterways with little or no interest or knowledge in the waterway system and way of life would, and who then bring on their land-based anger, speed and rudeness would probably be the biggest cause of boaters leaving the water. The problem is, that it might well be the wrong type of boater who leaves, which causes our rich heritage of waterways traditions and cultures to become little more than 'hiding holes' for the drop-outs of society. As if to demonstrate the fact, in January's edition of Canal Boat and Inland Waterway magazine, a sad letter is printed which tells of an experience couple of boaters who, not being able to get the waterways out of their system since moving to Spain, re-kindled the passion with a hire boat holiday and then scuttled back off to Spain after being so disillusioned by the attitudes of other users. I then met the gentleman in the red boat which simple re-enforced my feeling together with the gentleman who pulled in behind us proudly telling us that he could no longer drive as he had had his driving licence revoked after being caught intoxicated, (my word - not his!) by Cocaine. Come to the waterways; you'll meet the friendliest community ever.....but for how long??
(Interestingly, I have now noticed from the survey on my main site, that for almost 2 years the thing that annoys people most on the canals was unlicenced craft. Recently the 'attitudes of some users' section has overtaken with 31% now saying unlicenced craft and 34% saying attitudes - more confirmation!)
On a cheerier note. Our cruising itinerary this year seems to be identical to that of NB Everso! I mentioned in a previous post of our continual meeting and passing of this boat starting with the River Weaver in the summer and then more meetings on the Grand Union Leicester arm. Well, we did it again and it was lovely to wish them a 'passing' happy new year as they passed us going south on the Ashby earlier today.
Tomorrow, another lazy day! A trip up to the end, turn and back to the Battlefield mooring where we will stop for the new year - weather permitting!
T-Mobile V Orange
Tonight it is 1-all! I have fluctuating between 1 to 2 bars of T-Mobile 3G signal and only 2 to 3 bars of GPRS from Orange.