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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 5 September 2023

Boat prep and ice bucket challenge?

 September 4th

No lie in for us any more, well, not while we travel with M&D anyway. They take great delight in the early starts, anything later than 7 am is, in their opinion, the middle of the day! So with the tiller on, engine started, ropes untied Ian pushed the bow out into the channel. But then, groan, an oncoming boat was seen. Centre rope thrown to Ian, pull FS back to the mooring. Well, for heaven’s sake it wasn't just the one boat (Paul's and Vivee, Three fellow Carrying historic in the lead) but that procession of boats that we had been told about when on the Ashby. So we waited and waited and finally the last boat went past.


 Pushed the bow out for the second time, Ian stayed on the bank because FS was only going as far as the water tap! And what a tap!!! When Marilyn arrived with Waka Huia and started the fill with the second tap, it was a question of flow???What flow! 

Eventually we could get going. FS first and the turn at Hawkesbury Junction completed in one. I got a 'well done' from a bystander. Ian rather spoilt my moment of glory by saying if she hadn't done it well he would have been very disappointed!

Waka Huia followed, I'm not sure if Marilyn did do the turn in one, Waka Huia is that bit longer and therefore not as easy to get around. Anyway I stopped at a vacant mooring for them to catch up and Marilyn took the lead. Her one mission was to get to Rose Narrow boats to see if they had a rubber surround for their porthole windows.

The light was lovely this morning. There is a certain appeal to setting off at a silly hour after all.

Rose Boats came into view. A small pedestrian swing bridge has to be moved for any boats to proceed. Marilyn managed to moor Waka Huia by the water point. I was not so lucky and had to go through.

  Ian was off the boat helping M&D with the enquires and my plan was to hold fire mid-channel until their enquires were complete. Its always the way that another boat arrives just when you don't want one and such was the case by the Rose hire boats. It came out of the gloom from under the bridge and I had to move over pretty sharpish. Anyway Ian managed to leg it to the bridge and be picked up from there, the enquiries came to nothing as what was wanted, rubber window surrounds were not part of Rose's stock. Onwards then towards Old Oak Wood with the plan to moor up before the heat really set in. At the outside temperature a good 28 degrees, it was blooming hot!

I deposited Ian off the boat near to the visitor moorings to pace out a length of mooring for both boats. And success, FS and Waka Huia fitted in nicely. Only downside, no shade!

My man that can was put to good use after lunch. With him having a sander and angle grinder on board and with M&D asking if he could help remove the rust and paint flakes from behind Waka Huia's handrail and roof so it could be painted, he was more than happy to oblige. A meal was promised in return, Thai Green Curry one of Ian's favourites so he didn't need much persuading!  While that was going on David also got stuck into chores and Marilyn followed the men with a brush to clean off the fillings. As for me...well I was the photographer and tea lady, a very important job!

The afternoon wore on, more work to do on Waka Huia because all those spots now free of rust had to be furtaned to stop any more appearing. That was Marilyn's job. Meanwhile more handrail rubbing down from David and just to prove I did do some work, Marilyn took this photo.

I was washing down the roof to get rid of the sanding dust.


Gosh, it got hotter. Marilyn's idea of cooling Ian off was to remove his T-Shirt, soak it in cold water and then hand back to put back on! After the initial sharp intake of breath, he felt lovely and cool but when it came to my turn, forget removing MY T-Shirt.... I just had water poured down my neck and over my back. Blimey...the shock...remember the ice bucket challenge? Anyway it did do the trick, amazing!

Dinner was everything we knew it would be, Marilyn is an amazing cook...have I mentioned that before? The green curry had both of us going back for seconds and to end the meal, I brought out my raspberry cheesecake. It was not a late night. In fact by 7.30 pm we were all yawning, it had been a long day.

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