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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.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Not all plain sailing to the Isle of Man

A Yesterday we traveled to Swad, Derbyshire to drop Jade at boot camp (daughters) before heading to Sandiacre and The Best Western hotel. Our hopes for a meal in their restaurant was dashed when we found it to be closed due to a "incident" involving the Police, No idea what and the staff weren't forthcoming with any information. Good job we still had the car so a short drive to the Bridge Inn and a £10 for two meal deal went down well.

So next morning, after a cooked breakfast in the  restaurant (now reopened), we waited for the coach to pick us up. Collection time was 8.50am but at 8.30am we had a call to say the coach had a puncture and was in the process of changing the tyre. Finally by 9.30am the coach arrived and all 18 of our ECP&DA Gadabout party were bundled in ASAP and we were on our way. The ferry from Heysham was a 2pm sailing and with another 4 people to pick up from Stoke, the driver, Brett, was beginning to wonder if we would make it. Thankfully the traffic flowed, all the other 4 Gadabouts safely ensconced on board and terminal made by 12.45pm. We expected the rest to be plain sailing but we are talking about the Jameison curse now, because before we could board the ferry security pulled the coach over and had a thorough search around and under the chassis. What they expected to find was a mystery, after all I cant see why any illegals would want to go to the Isle on Man. Nothing was found but suddenly some of the passenger names were called out. Bags were off loaded and searched. After a good 30 minutes and literally minutes before the ferry was due to sail we were given the all clear and away we went. Then the next problem arose. Coach couldn't get over the ramp without seriously damaging it's under carriage. So another delay while more ramps were brought in and finally we were on board. No sooner had we got off the coach then the ramps lifted and engines roared into life.  Leaving the gloriously sunny and warm shores of the Uk the weather slowly deteriorated until 90 minutes later the wind picked up and the rain lashed down. Ferry rocked and rolled a bit in force 4 winds but not enough to cause anybody any real distress. After another 90 minutes the port appeared out of the mist but, such was the weather, that to go out and take photos was impossible. Anyway we all bundled back on board the coach and within 10 minutes we were dropped at the Hotel in Douglas. Our room isn't brilliant in fact I should say it's dismal. Still it's only a place to rest ones head so we will have to put up with the kitchen extracter fans humming away and sending cooking smells around our room as well as all the rubbish piled up below the bedrom window. Where is the sea views when you want one????

Leaving Heysham in glorious conditions

Me taking a picture of him taking a photo of me etc etc....
Passing Blackpool
The ECP&DA Gadabouts.
A very dismal and drizzly look to the Tower of Refuge on the approach to the port.
Boarding the coach on the ferry.

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