Wednesday 31 July 2013

A tramp 's just nicked my umberella

Returning from an evening of Cuban Salsa at the horse tunnels in Stables Market, Camden; G took the dogs out for a pee and narrowly avoided Muttley peeing on a tramp in a nearby doorway - in the process of preventing Muttley's instincts to pee on anything rising from the ground, he recognised our parasol nestling amongst the tramp's possessions. It had been residing on the roof in my kayak when we went out and is now  back,residing inside MRs cabin for the night.
Indignant from Camden

Having got that off my chest I will resume the story of our early morning eviction from Paddington Basin.
So oiked out of bed, unwashed, hungry and wet we headed down the Regents Canal towards the three Camden Locks resigned to the fact that we would miss out on the London experience. We tried to appreciate the posh houses and the zoo through the rain but, to be honest, we were both a bit glum.
Just as we approached the first lock landing a chap with a windlass walked back to us and asked if we were going down the locks or looking for a mooring as he was just leaving a mooring on his widebeam. Karma. He pulled out and we snuck in. Nothing to attach the stern rope to as we were longer than the WB, but we used the mud weight again. Brilliant. A quick shower and dog walk and we were off for a massive full English and an explore.

We returned to MR mid afternoon to walk and feed the dogs and the rain stopped and the sun appeared. We then dined out on Tapas courtesy of our Tastecard before ending up in the Cuban Club. A very long day.

We shall sleep well. Oh, and there are a few noisy surprises around MR if Mr Tramp decides to make any more incursions.

 Someone went to a lot of trouble to differentiate between the ladies and the gents in this establishment

Update Wednesday am - tramp still asleep, hopefully not cuddling anymore of our possessions, and we were only briefly woken once during the night.
 Despite giving the impression of being party animals last night,we were actually back on MR with our cocoa by 9.30 last night - I just wanted to look a bit cool to Dougie and James for once, instead of the bumpkin I really am

Tuesday 30 July 2013

A riotous afternoon aboard No Problem and an eviction from Paddington

Sunday saw the Sunday lunch club reconvened for one of Sirs renowned Sunday dinners on No Problem plus Les and Jaq from NB Valerie. Actually, Les and Jaq were actually invited - we just muttered, 'apple crumble' and turned up!
 Jaq giggles as we  I rib her unmercifully about her inability to speak English like wot we do
 We all seem to be looking a bit worse for wear by this stage
Sue wearing the only possible expression when you're eating one of Jaq's Angel Bars - and yes Vic; I did spot you hiding the last two!

 Sadly we could only stop the one day so yesterday morning we pulled pins getting to Northolt ish about I stayed with MR whilst G walked to his Aunt's for a quick visit and to collect our fuel filters we'd had delivered there. We pulled pins as soon as he returned, eating supper on the hoof, and arrived in Paddington Basin about 8.30. The last available space was outside the M & S Cafe and I promised myself a treat of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs in the morning - little did I know!
 We tied the front of MR to the last of the bollards and the back to a pontoony bit at the end of the basin
 and then let Daisy out to play for a while
I was just crawling, exhausted, into bed when there was a knock on the boat from the local security blokes (not C &RT).
 10.45pm, "you can't moor that barge here mate".
"Why not?"
"Because that pontoon is private property"
"We'll untie it then"
"Then I'll report you to C & R T for blocking the navigation"
"please do, because we're not blocking anything"
"You can't stay here"
"Where do you expect us to go at this time of night?"
"you can't moor that barge here"
"why didn't you tell us earlier?"
"you can't moor that here"

Bored with the circular 'jobs worth' conversation, G untied the stern rope from Mr Stroppy knickers' pontoon and slung a mud weight out and we went to bed. There was another knock 15 minutes later but we ignored it.
 7.00 am this morning I was woken to the bleep bleep of a reversing lorry and there's another knock on the boat - this lorry with a dredger on was parallel to MR waiting to be put in the water where we were moored - why didn't the bloody idiot tell us that the night before. These guys were very pleasant and gave us 5 mins to drag on clothes and get MR out of the way - so much for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs - we didn't even get a cup of tea or clean our teeth!
With no other moorings available (we could hardly breast up on someone at that time of day - and anyway signs say it's forbidden) we had no choice but to continue on towards Camden Locks. It was, of course, chucking it down with rain. Two soggy, thirsty, hungry and unhappy bunnies

Sunday 28 July 2013

A bit of a eureka moment - men are from Mars...

Due to all this 'going to France' stuff we have to have an ICC (International Certificate of Competence); part of which is the 'Inland Waterways Helmsman's Certificate'. Thursday was the day that this happened and the excellent Phil from Canal Experience came out to MR to spend the day with us - as did Sue from No Problem as it was a fixed price for up to 3 people. Now, as most of you will be aware, I don't do helmsmanning (because I'm crap at it and it's bad for our marriage) - I do do locks, swing bridges and dog walking (which I'm quite good at).
I could, of course, have ducked the whole issue as only one of us needs it but I have long been frustrated at my inability to drive it given that I live on the thing and should I ever hit G over the head with a mud weight should anything ever happen to G, I would still want to live on a boat (although preferably one I could see over the top of).
I was not looking forward to making a pratt of myself - especially in front of 2 such experienced helms people. The first question was, 'do you have a visual image of how the tiller works?' followed by the statement,  'to day you are going to practice doing it the way you SEE it,  not the way G does it because you are wired differently and he's always going to try and make you do it his way which is the only way he knows.
Eureka! Ok, I'm still crap but I now have a way of doing things and enough confidence to get it wrong and put it right. A number of you passed me today and may have been a bit shocked to see me sitting up here
 Just in case I became over confident, G put another obstacle in my line of vision
 but the dogs were quite chilled
Travelling down to the last lock of the day with another boat, Sue and Vic were there to open the gates for me so I couldn't practice my single gate entry skills (just as well I would be bound to have cocked it up in front of such a revered audience).

Before I go, I must just tell you that the Phil asked Sue to wind MR (which she's never driven before) in a bit of a swamp and in a very tight spot - Sue quickly realised that she was in for a multi multipoint wind and was going to have to wind  MR in thick mud and then reverse back through a bridge hole.
G and I were watching from a distance when MR's tiller caught in the silt and Sue tried to reverse the tiller across. Woops, off it came in her hand (your honour).

"Oh dear," said G, "I forgot to warn her about that" 

Friday 5 July 2013

It's going to be a rocking weekend

The purveyor of G's new musical instrument has arrived in his motor home as he is in the same band as Bruce, our newly made friend on the boat opposite who has been kind enough to feed us lots whilst we were busy with the painting. G will be back on the train tomorrow and a large B B Q and musically rocking evening is likely given the excellent weather forecast.
 Meanwhile I continue to enjoy the weather and potter around this lovely countryside with my boys

 I don't think, in our five and a bit years of travelling, I have ever met such a warm and welcoming bunch of folks as these guys in the two small marinas down the Welford Arm and the inhabitants of the village 
 It's such a great spot, but it will be more than time to move on on Sunday

This little convoy came passed today - very pretty. You wouldn't want to be stuck behind them though.

The man in the white van who was (stuck behind them) had the decency to have a big, fat, resigned grin on his face

Tuesday 2 July 2013

On the tenth day - let there be light

We're out. All put back together this morning and brushes given their final clean. Doesn't look a great deal different really with everything back on top. We know it's done though.

So what now? A good meal (hopefully; I'm cooking) for a new mate round tomorrow. Delivery of a new musical instrument for himself Thursday. A trip to his Mum's Friday/Saturday. Off to catch up with a long overdue meet with Richard and Sue on Indigo Dream starting Sunday - no mucking about, we're getting down there at a much faster pace than we normally travel.

Well ..... that's today's plan wnyway

Monday 1 July 2013

We're done - knackered but done

Never again. Tomorrow morning I will start a new savings account for the next boat repaint. I am NEVER  doing this again.
Even my rubber gloves fell to bits
 tonight we are re-assembling our roof stuff
having stuck bits of rubberised carpet under the feet of the roof boxes and scrubbed down the cratch and top box covers

We are keen to move on now, but have made some terrific new friends.
OOh; and G is about to take possession of his new banjolele - now where did I put those ear plugs? 

Just a little time today for some r'n'r