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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Saturday 23 March 2013

A total wash.... no...white out

 Last night we had the traditional games evening at the lock cottage, Dominoes, Uno and Mexican train. The attendance was abysmal. 12 boaters in all, 10 of which came from the 5 boats that made it to Sandiacre and one couple from Long Eaten who came by bus and then had to battle with the elements on foot for the last half mile. Although it was snowing heavily and the wind chill factor felt more like  -6, no snow had settled on the ground. What did challenge us all, though, was having to walk across the back decks and gunwales of the breasted up boats with no light ( torches forgotten) at 11pm. No frozen surfaces to contend with but the slush was just as lethal. We all made it safely but not without the odd cuss word as we slithered about. On waking this morning the world had turned white. This caused a few issues from Dennis and Margaret on Icing as they had to walk the length of the gunwale to get onto the other boats back deck just to get onto the bank. Another treacherous journey that could have resulted in a slip between boats ( Health and Safety would have had a fit) so the decision was made to wind Icing and Bracken. (Dave's and Heathers boat) This would mean that Bracken would now be on the outside facing toward the bridge and Icing would be reversed in, to line up with all the other boats stern deck.

Cover over Icings foredeck makes it difficult for Margaret to get off the boat

Both Bracken and Icing remained breasted together and with Dennis on the helm of Icing and Dave on the helm of Bracken, did a very neat pirouette, winding the two boats round as if they had two glorified bow thrusters at each end.

Nifty bit of rope work by Margaret
You may wonder why Dave didn't reverse Bracken in.  Well firstly the bottom was to near the top at the very edge and the back end would have bedded itself into the silt, and secondly Heather finds it easier to get off Bracken at the front.

Snow has been steadily falling all throughout the day. Its the wet variety though, more like sleet, and a slow thaw had begun making life even more difficult underfoot . The roads appear clear so there should be no excuse for people not turning up tonight. Carole has gone for the Steak pies and the ovens are on ready for the cooking. No doubt I will take a few photos of the fun tonight. We expect another ECP&DA member, who is also a singer, to entertain us later in the evening after we have eaten all the pies. He is coming from Oxford so I reckon if he can make it then so can everyone else!! So until tomorrow......

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