Sunday, 14 July 2013

There and Back

8 locks, 3 swing bridges, 4 miles

Just a quick catch up on the bow thruster - it would appear to be a manufacturing fault, so they are in negotiation – it is a ‘watch this space’ situation.
A note before I start – as I am sure all dogs are – Monty was really suffering in the heat on our first trip, so we have bought him a ‘Cool Coat’.  It is brilliant and really stops him panting.  He was not too keen to start with and tried to wriggle out of it

 but has accepted that he feels better with it than without.   

You soak it in water, wring it out and if it dries out (which it was doing in around 45 mins) we just pour a beaker of water over his back and he is cool again.  His fur does not get wet at all – we get clammy legs as he goes past, but it is worth it to have a happier dog.
Yesterday Chris, Monty and I returned to Droitwich Spa Marina to take Tentatrice back to Netherwich Basin, Droitwich.  The plan was to meet our daughter, son in law and two grandsons in Vine Park for the boys to have a picnic tea and a play.  Then our son in law took the little one (20 months and for the purposes of our blog to be known as J) home and our daughter and the very nearly five year old (he will attain that great age next Saturday! Aka G) came aboard for a sleep over and to help us take Tentatrice back to Droitwich Spa Marina today.

I must add a note about Vine Park which, for the most part, is a fabulous place.  Plenty of grass, a good play area
please note - this was a pirate ship!
plus it is informative about the town's history with a central point being a 'replica' of a Wych Barge (from the days when Droitwich was a salt town) being made into a picnic site 
with the sails being used as information boards

but I fear this is a sign of the times

It must have taken some shifting, but we did hear that boats moored in the park for the St Richard's Festival at the beginning of May had to call the police for help with yobs throwing things at them, so we are assuming this is down to blantant vandalism.  I would advise mooring in Netherwich Basin which is secure and free for 48 hours.

Our journey to the Basin was uneventful except for the fact that we really made the low bridge sign at the M5 bridge swing as we passed.  We had been warned that it was not as accurate as the one the other end and as he water level was the same as Tuesday we risked it and went.  It was very close to our cratch, but we survived unscathed.  
The swing bridges were all much easier today – practise makes perfect, or so my Nana used to say.
Our daughter and G shared the cross bed (amazingly G went off to sleep relatively quickly despite the heat) and Chris and I tried out the dinette.  We were amazed how wide it is (or appeared to be, but it is just 4 foot we were told) and we both slept as well as could be expected in the heat.  I found it a little firm, so I think we will get a mattress topper to help things along.  It was relatively easy to make up and then dismantle and stow away this morning.  

First thing this morning Chris took Monty out to do what every good dog has to do and there was an urgent whispered request (he did not want to wake the neighbours) 'to come and have a look'.  Our daughter, G and I did as requested and this is what we saw:

We left our mooring at 09:00 to move to the water point.  Nb Iron Duke was about to fill up, but when he saw me waiting for Tentatrice to position herself he very kindly told me we could go first as he was in no hurry.  I turned my back to look at our boat for a second and two guys from a hire boat nipped along with their hose and nicked our spot!  They were moored near enough to fill up without moving.  The really annoying thing was that they were not even ready to go!  Still this is narrow boating and we are supposed to do things slowly, so a deep breath was taken and we waited our turn.  We finally set sail around 09:30 with our two extra crew members.  G was kitted out in his life jacket (with whistle that you can only use in emergencies!!  He has been well schooled). 

The trip back was hot, but went without a hitch.  G has learnt how to open swing bridges, put keys into and out of the padlocks, open and close lock gates and wind paddles. 

 After a while he got too hot and went back on board to help Grandpa and Monty steer the boat.  The extra pair of hands made all the difference (plus meeting two boats coming down, so two locks were ready for us) and we did the journey in just 1 hour 35 minutes.  It took Chris and I 2 hours 15 minutes on Saturday.  We had taken the cratch down this time, so we went under that bridge with room to spare – well a few inches.  Chris said having the extra adult and child in the bow made a lot of difference - now just what is he trying to say to us?!

It was a great success – I think we will have a crew member quite often.   This picture is posted for the benefit of Boatwif and The Captain on Cleddau - someone has pinched Chris' beard!

I am afraid we had tears (his not mine!) when G’s Daddy and young J came along to collect him and his Mummy and take them home.  Another bonus for us – an evening of ‘adult conversation’ with our daughter.  

G's Uncle Mark (Ecologist and Ornothologist) would be proud of this picture, but I think G was looking at boats not birds!

Now we start the big job of clearing our bedroom and the kitchen before the fitters arrive on Monday 22nd July.  Only we could chose a heat wave!

One other point of note - I keep looking at my arms and wondering if they belong to me!  I am a pale English rose who rarely changes colour even when overseas, but 6 days of boating has given my arms a better tan than they have had for years!

Our second trip has been completed and we are delighted and cannot wait to go out again, however we will have to wait as our next trip on the boat (weather permitting) will not be until 25th July when we have a day trip planned with some friends, their granddaughter and black lab.  Now two young dogs on the boat could be interesting.


Carol said...

Hi there, please can I ask where you bought the dog’s cool coat from?
Many thanks from Molly NB RocknRoll patterdale terrier. x

Jennie said...

Hi Carol, How nice to see you drop by - I have been reading your blog on and off for a while and hope we meet you on the cut one day.

I got the coat from Amazon ( They do different sizes. We got the medium (length of back 58cm) which is correct for Monty, but it is a little wide as Monty is a slim young thing. Go to the Easidri site for measurements ( I could not see them on Amazon. It was not cheap, but it does the trick and please if anyone out there finds them cheaper - I really do not want to know!!

If ever you are coming down Tardebigge, let us know and if we are around we will come and wind a few locks for you.