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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.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Rescue mission

No point in rushing this morning. Forgot several things on my shopping list yesterday, think the brain has gone on strike! Thought we would have another BBQ tonight as last nights chops and lamb burgers were delicious so had to get more salad stuff. No sooner had I stepped off FS's front deck when the rain started. A quick dash back inside for brolly and I was good to go.

The trains were a bit noisy last night and Ian got woken by men at work on the railway shouting orders to each other at  1am!
But that rain never let up. At one point a fine drizzle was all we got so thinking the weather was on the turn we did no more than set off. First things first though, call into Better Boating for diesel. At 84p litre that wasn't bad but adding on the duty made it more expensive than we would have liked. To add fuel to fire, going past Caversham Boat services we noticed the diesel was also 84p litre but the duty was only £1. 15 not the £1. 34 paid at Better Boating.

Destination today was Beale Park, roughly 4 hours cruise away. Apart from a brief dry spell the brolly was up most of the time.

Only two manned locks and one self service to do today. It was at the self service (Whitchurch) that we met Sancerre, a wide beam hire boat. They were just going into the lock but as far as they were concerned, we wouldn't fit so gave us the crossed hand signal. Apparently Ian thought we would have got in but it was fortuitous in away that we stayed behind. I noticed a young lady with a Greyhound X getting off that boat. Sancerre then left the lock leaving her behind and it wasn't long before she discovered there was no way to get to the town because the bridge across the weir had a gate padlocked at the end and the lock keepers house had 'Private no entry' written on the wall. Now panic set in. She had no idea how she was going to join her friends. Along comes us to the rescue. Ian suggested we take her and the dog to where Sancerre was moored. A very grateful and relived lady got onto FS and we set off to find the boat. Not to far ahead as it turns out. They had moored by The Swan pub at the end of the weir. There we found the rest of her friends already seated at a table with their drinks. I'm wondering how long it would have been before they noticed one of the crew members plus dog had gone missing?

After leaving the girls we went in search of No Problem and Still Rocking. A brief conversation by a chap on a cruiser said they had seen them moored at the park. Apparently he reads their blogs and because of our chance comment asking if spaces were available at Beale Park, that this came up.

This boat was just leaving a mooring so we did no more then take it's place. As you can see the weather was still miserable.

No sign of Sue and Vic or Carol and George. As soon as the weather improved we went in search and finally came across them further along the moorings.

Sue greeted us like long lost friends, (The girls, Meg and Penny, seemed pleased too) Isn't it great  about our way of life? We all seem to know each other although most probably have never met, just one big happy blogging family. George and Carol gave us equally as lovely a greeting, inviting us on board 'Still Rocking', a very impressive widebeam and I can see the attraction of all that space. Of course toilets came into the conversation....don't they always amongst us boaters? Anyway tea and biscuits were forthcoming and Vic came in to join us a bit later. Couldn't believe how quick the time went, conversation never stopped but we know it could be months or even years before we see each other again so get as much said as possible. Lovely to meet you all and what a shame we are all going different ways. Until our paths cross again we will keep track with the blogs and hope you all have wonderful summer.

Carol and George at the back

And with Sue. Vic had left to feed the girls. Will have to get him in a photo next time.

And wildlife today shows the brutality of Swans.

The attacker was a lone swan with cygnets. Unusual not to have a pair but this unlucky swan must have strayed into it's territory.

Even the cygnets were having a go.

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