Sunday, 29 August 2010

Tipping, old boats & large fish

We woke up this morning with Lisa claiming to be hanging on to the bed sheets by her fingernails trying to stay on the bed. Since I am on the outside I found it a little hard to believe. Once up she let out a yelp as some bottles rolled across the floor. I reluctantly got up as Lisa told me we were at 45 degrees. I loosened the ropes and we recovered back to normal from our 5 degree tilt. We're on a river you idiot and the Soar has tendency to go down as well as up (a bit like investments). In this case it went down (a bit like investments over the last year). I keep forgetting things. Not the proper actions of Captain Canal.

Below bridge 25 this boat is slowly being overgrown, at least it looks that way. When I look at this, and the new housing development behind it, I imagine a 'Local Hero' moment. The developer wants to buy the land and wharf and the grizzly old boat/land owner doesn't want to sell. Burt Lancaster enters Fulton Mackay's cabin and they enter into negotiations. Unfortunately real life never ends up like the films and, in this case, the development went ahead anyway and a fence was built to obscure the view of the old boat from the new homeowners.

As I write this, a fisherman has just pitched up to the front of the boat, threw his line in and hauled out a thirteen pound pike. I tried to take a photo but, as expected, the battery failed on the camera and this was the only photo I got.

Lots of pirates around today. Might be the weather.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Freedom & new coal boats

Heads it was, so we've decided to turn right. The Soar is a little in flood with some locks in the red and most in orange. Someone (can't remember the name of the boat) said that they had an aggressive bollocking from a BW employee for going through on red as they didn't have the right insurance. That really is the modern 'don't do anything 'cause it's too dangerous' excuse for not doing anything. Anyway, they were reluctant to go too far with the flood situation (and the agressive BW employee situation I should imagine). I do wonder if the chap had been steering instead of his wife, would the BW geezer would have been so aggressive. Past experience with bullies suggests not. Last year I ignored all the red lights and had a whale of a time on the Soar.

Freedom for Pickles No2

We left at around midday and found our way to Mountsorrell where there is a brilliant pub called The Swan. Below the lock we met up with a new coal boat. This was Star Class Carrying run by pleasant chap called Mark and his family. Apparently he bought the boat, nbCallisto, in February and did all the work to get it ready for carrying and serving diesel and coal and is currently on the way to the Shakerstone Festival before starting in earnest the winter run. Currently diesel at 69p so I got some.
As it says on the sign

He has plans to do the coal run on the Grand Union to Wigrams Turn, Leicester Section, Soar, Trent and Mersey to Fradley and Erewash. That is a large network and I have no idea what his turnaround would be, but good luck to him. I know that nbHadar was trying to to the Soar last year before bad luck prevented it.
It's a working boat that actually works, 'init.

I think we'll stay here the night as the weir at Silby Mill is running quite fast and winding Pickles may not be such a good idea in fast flowing water as we have both forgotten how to work things on the canals. Today Lisa stood by a lock gate unable to work out what to open first and I was appalling at steering nearly hitting a boat at Barrow. It can only go downhill from here. Here's hoping.
 Bit long though.


Well we're back. I said, we're back. Do I hear any cheers. Of course not. Big Brother's blaring in the background and I can't hear myself think.

It's all a bit of a shock, mostly around Sainsburys where we were a bit baffled by it all and couldn't remember how to shop British style. But there are good things too. At the till, customers tend not to be surprised to find that they have to pay when their stuff has been put through the scanner, then fumble through the purse looking for their cheque book whilst having a superficial but intense conversation with the cashier. It drives me mad(er). Fortunately we came back with 70 litres of wine and that should ease us into the mould. Well, it should last until after the weekend anyway.

No idea where my camera is as we haven't unpacked yet. Lisa actually never unpacks until we are off on the next trip to wherever. So no photos yet. Lisa didn't break very much when I wasn't here so there isn't much fixing to do, well none that I've found anyway. Even the engine started first time.

We are leaving with Pickles in the morning but don't know whether to turn right or to turn left when we get out onto the canal. Towards Leicester or towards Loughborough. Who knows, who cares. I think I've got a coin somewhere. There's a beer festival hereabouts in a month and a half and we have to be around these parts so shan't be moving far. Anyway we don't have much diesel.

Pillings Lock has been good for us and, as I'm sure I mentioned before, Lisa enjoyed her time here.

Life's a little uncertain at present as I'm sure you can tell. It'll all be much clearer tomorrow, I'm sure. I think.