Tuesday, 26 July 2016

It's heavy man

This weekend we took the boat for our first serious spin out. Boy is she heavy compared to our Princess Lucy and it is a matter of guessing where the front is. Still, we have to get to know her funny little ways and come to terms with a longer, faster and heftier boat. We can't enjoy the extra space on the inside without having to move it about on the outside. Alas she isn't a Tardis.

We had actually already been to the local pub on the boat, but that was a very short run, and this was a whole three nights away with a smattering of locks (four), a very bendy and busy canal, and a good chance to test our skills (or lack of) and to test the boat's systems properly.

On the first night we tied up in Fazeley and after deliberating about going for a curry and leaving Mr Jones in charge, we eventually settled on  the fish and chip takeaway option. We gave full marks to the Fazeley chippy. If you do go there don't be frightened by the long queues on the pavement as the army of staff shift the people through at a cracking rate. And don't be put off by the gongoozler's shouting across the canal from their balconies in the flats opposite the tow path. They are only curious as to whether you chose peas or curry sauce.

Chertsey heading in the direction of the South Pole
On night two we got to Alvecote to meet up with Jim, Sarah and Rocky our ex rescue greyhound. In the picture above, he is trying out our new rug. It was just wonderful to see what a special bond he has formed with Jim. They are quite inseparable but we still got a proper licking (from Rocky that is.) Although it's two years since he lived with us, he still seems to remember how to make himself at home. We had dinner in the Samuel Barton to begin a slightly premature birthday celebration for young Sarah. Last year we were together in Bugsworth Basin and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. On the Sunday morning they set off on Chertsey to the Basingstoke Canal. The Basingstoke Canal is a ridiculous distance away and would take us until Christmas. But Sarah and Jim (and Rocky) got 9 1/2 hours under their belts (and collar) on the very first day.

On the same day, we set off slowly back towards King's Orchard, mooring overnight along side the cool, refreshing and tranquil Hopwas Wood to get a few little boat jobs done.

We used to moor on the Peak Forest Canal and we were always slightly amused by the 'Danger Giant Hogweed' signs at New Mills, but as nasty as the Hogweed can be, the large red signs informing us that Hopwas wood was a military firing range added a different angle to the word 'Danger.'

We were fairly pleased with our first outing. We didn't hit anything despite not being able to see the bow, the batteries performed well, the calorifier surprised us - still delivering piping hot water at midnight and after a evening shower! The black water tank filled at an acceptable rate, and the fresh water tank lasted 4 days (despite being 120 litres smaller than the boat builder claimed.

Back in King's Orchard Marina, Jonesy was knackered and seemed more settled. So after a nice walk, a play session of fetch, and wolfing down his dinner, we put the radio on and crept out to Lichfield for a cheeky curry.

A bewildered Jonesy waking up
When we came back a bit later, we peeked in the bedroom porthole and Jonesy was sparked out on our bed (which he knows he his not supposed to do). He was so deeply asleep when we woke him that we decided to forgive him. Fortunately, our new bed survived as he had confined his furriness exactly to Captain's rather fragrant two day old tee shirt.



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