16 miles, 1 lift bridge, 4 tunnels
A rash of new blogs - we were moored at the top of Tardebigge for a while, so waited until we were off before publishing. Today sees the start of our first longish trip - well long to us, but I am sure once we really get going next year, this will be a very brief trip. We are heading for Stratford in the first instance and are meeting up in Wooton Wawen with Boatwif and the Captain from nb Cleddau on 18 Sep and we can play host to them on our boat for the first time. An appropriate place for us as it is where we took our first hire boat from more years ago than I care to remember.
Yesterday we moved Tentatrice from the non tow path side (we were with Pinders for a while), to the water point to fill up and load the boat with a car full of 'stuff', we winded (turned around) and moored up on the tow path side of the canal. The weather was dire and we got very, very wet.
This morning our daughter and her family came to join us for the first part of our trip to Withybed Green. This was a first for our youngest grandson (J aged 22 months and yes I know he should not be wearing pink with flowers, but it is a borrowed lifejacket from nb Cleddau and he is too young to notice!) and our son in law.
A final wave
We are off!
It was dry and as the day wore on the weather got better and better, so we continued as far as possible as we have seen the forecast for tomorrow!
So to the lessons learned there were many!
1. The floor is like the Forth Rail Bridge before they acquired long life paint. It was swept 4 times and mopped once!!
2. When you get off to walk the dog along a muddy footpath - change your shoes when you get back on board - see above!! Guilty as charged I am afraid.
3. There are some curmudgeonly folk out there - why would anyone go past in a boat and ignore a 22 month old waving like mad?
Monty does not like them. Tardebigge and Shortwood were okay as we still had the family, so we were all in the bow. When we got to Wast Hills I thought I would go inside with him and clean the floor. No chance. He cried and whined, so there was nothing for it but to sit and 'hold his paw'!
5. Having seen more rubbish than we are used to we realise how lucky we are with the two stretches we litter pick for C&RT. They are brilliantly clean compared to the places passed today. Is that because we do a good job and people keep clean places clean, or because we work in rural areas? A mixture of the two we feel.
6. When you light the fire the sun comes out!
7. Steering - I am very much in need of L plates, but did okay today apart from nearly sweeping Chris off the gunwhales with a tree when he was changing the chimney! More practise needed I fear, but I will win through - just give me a wide berth if you see me coming!!
8. There are loads of places to moor between the northern end of Wast Hills Tunnel and where we moored.
9. Monty does eventually lie down whilst we are motoring, but he fights sleep.
10. Having paddles, but no canoe!
11. Meeting a boat on a bend with a tree stump on our side of the canal is 'interesting' to say the least (no I was not in charge at the time!).
12. Anyone need a bike? Not quite up to the standard of the one Graham from nb Jannock fished out some years ago.
10. We will have quiet evenings from Monty whilst we are doing this boating lark.
Questions asked: Just three:
1. Fishermen - we always thought that part of going fishing was to get away from home for the day, so fishing from the end of your garden seems to negate the reason for dangling a bit of string in the water? Also there is no excuse to go to the pub on the way home?!
nb Cleddau went past here on 24 June there was water tumbling down these steps, but today it was bone dry.
Forgotten things - well what we have discovered so far:
Mayo, salad cream, sandwich spread (all used to make egg sarnies), ketchup, mustard, horseradish sauce, butter - all left in the fridge at home.
A really old pair of trousers and kneeling mat for getting down to clean the floor
The clothes airer
Poker and tongs for the fire
A small bin to keep the dog bags in until we find a 'dog box' - definitely non existent round here.
How many other things will we discover we need before we get home in around three and half weeks time? We have to be back by 11 October (Grandparent duties) and then the 15 October when Chris and I (if there is space) are going to the Museum at RAF Cosford for the unveiling of the German Dornier Bomber that was raised from the Goodwin Sands in June. It is very likely that Chris' father was the gunner in the Defiant that shot it down.