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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.

Monday 11 September 2023

Who picks up after a horse?

 Sunday 10th

 Today we had deliberately delayed our start so we could have another breakfast at The Lounge by bridge 66, Clifton Cruisers. Instead of leaving the mooring by bridge 69 at 8 am it was nearer to 8.30 before ropes were untied. I had enquired about the cost of diesel when M&D had bought us that yummy breakfast several days ago and at £1 litre thought it reasonable. So we felt we could kill two birds with one stone. At two minutes to nine we had pulled up to the pump. No sign of  anyone about so walked to the office. A Closed sign was on the door! Hmm, Ian was sure they were open today, he had looked at the website, he tells me he is seldom wrong and we just have to wait until they open!  I walked to the café, the doors were open and a lady came out to ask if I needed anything. My enquiry did not bring the response I wanted. Not only was the Office closed on a Sunday, but they didn't open the café until 10 am! I think I swore and then apologised! I took a secret delight in telling Ian he was wrong in his assumption, so no breakfast and no diesel for us. We left for Rugby hungry and disappointed but we did have the bread Marilyn gave us yesterday. Ian was dispatched to make toast, Marmalade topping for him and Peanut butter for me.

The view through the bridge approaching Clifton Wharf.

The diesel pump on the right.

As we pulled away from the side, on the towpath was a chap with a lovely Lhasa Apso. This lovely doggie was having a dump! The owner stood by and watched and then went to walk off. Well, not one for letting that go I called out and said I hope you are going to pick that up. The answer absolutely dumbfounded me. Why should I when no one picks up after a horse! I cannot possibly write the response I gave him, there was a matter of questioning his parentage and I do remember calling him an arsehole! 

At the junction with the farm moorings a boat was just reversing out.

Farm moorings by the narrows

 Wow, we recognised the couple on board. The first time we met Lindsay and Paul, nb Happy Daze, was on the Rochdale. Locks were shared and we spent some time travelling together. At first, I didn't recognise the boat, it was still the striking mauve I remembered, but new sign writing adorned the sides and wonderful colourful designs covered the doors. If only I had the presence of mind to pick up the camera! Jade was still alive then and our daughter's dog Echo was on holiday with us. Their 2yo spaniel Jack was quite lively,  tried to play with our elderly dogs but they were having none of it!  Lindsay told me today he was still alive and considering we met back in August 2014, that's a good age. Anyway there was no time for a natter, unfortunately that's part of our travelling life, could be years before we meet again.

Rugby was even more of a nightmare coming from the Hillmorton direction. Wall to wall moored boats and overhanging branches making it very challenging to see what was coming.

One vacant mooring on a bend was all there was. Even the one-day moorings on the offside were taken. I slotted FS into that mooring, that would do for a quick shopping trip then straight onto the water point.

By the time we returned every man and his dog wanted that tap! It was a waiting game, Ian was sent ahead with instructions to phone me when a boat pulled off. You have to be quick to get the mooring, especially as busy as it was today. One boat pulled away, a phone call from Ian and I brought FS to the vacant spot and just in time as another appeared moments later. 

The flow was abysmal, funny that because the chap sitting on a bench said how good it was. I had a light bulb moment and that doesn't happen very often, so was quite proud of myself at the time. Could our hose in the reel be kinked? And this turned out to be the problem. Amazing what a difference an unrestricted flow will have and within 10 minutes the tank was full!

A boat had moved off the one day mooring, it was so near to lunchtime that we pulled FS back. Our intention was to stay until lunch was finished and then leave. The sky looked ever so black in the distance, should we then stay instead? How glad were we that we did stay because the first rains that had fallen for ages was prolonged and heavy.

There is to be a rematch with Quiddler tonight. Telly has been non-excitant the last few nights due to a poor signal so the cards came out last night. Ian won by a massive 100 points. Cant be having that…he gets too big-headed if he wins all the time.

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