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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, 21 November 2015

Sun Dance hand over, day 9

Blooming 'eck it blew a holey last night. Even the rope fender Ian made from the center rope didnt give much respite. The life ring was in the well deck because it had been removed from the hatch slide as we were in danger of losing it in the wind. Ian thought the rope fender would be sufficient but by the time he thought about tying the ring to the cladding, it was gone 10pm and too blooming cold to venture out. Then about 2 pm we both woke feeling cold. The blasted gas had run out, what a time to be without heating. Minus temperatures and that wind whistling through the gaps in the hatch. Nothing for it but bury heads under the quilt and cuddle up. So as soon as it got light enough for Ian to see, he dressed rather hastily and changed the gas bottle, then it was  undress again and get under the covers, but not before relighting the boiler, turning the dial to it's maximum and putting the kettle on!

We left around 8 30ish. Only a few miles and a tunnel to do and had arranged with them at Tardebigge that our arrival would be between 9am and 10. What we hadnt built into the equation was how shallow that last section was and how much prop clearing was neccesary from leaves and branches that kept being attracted to it. The cutting up to the tunnel was scary. Those trees swayed alarmingly toward us and at one point a crack was heard. Nothing fell on us thank goodness but how releived were we to get into the tunnel, out the otherside and back into open countryside.

Our noisy neighbours arrived at droves at 7. 30am  

Shortwood tunnel

Glad to get away from these.
 Soon the yard came into view. Slightly later then anticipated but still within the time. Only one space available and that was by the paint dock. One of the workers came out and said Sun Dance needed to be winded before coming in. I looked on incredulously! 'In this wind' says I. Anyway he took the helm and after loads of forward and reverse in very high revs, cussing like mad because the wind refused to let the bow swing round and with Ian at the bow and me at the stern acting as fenders as she inevitably hit the moored boats, he completed the turn and we got moored up. Then it was wait for our lift to get us back to Oxford (turned up at 10. 30am) and and by 11.30am we had collected our car and was making our way home. We did a quick detour to daughter Christine to collect post and was amazed by the amount of snow that had fallen in Derbyshire. I cant remember the last time snow fell in November. None at Langley Mill and once on board a freezing FS, the Fire Log was thrown onto the fire and diesel hearting switched on. Now toasty and warm and looking forward to Christmas when we move Merlin from Great Hayward back to Bunbury.

Sun Dance needed to be in that gap by the paint dock, facing with her bow to the entrance.

Heading for the gap and then told she needed turning round.

2.5 miles, one tunnel.

Only one on route photo a rare sight on the canals,

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