Sunday, 2 June 2013

Weather and Swizzels

Sometimes, you are just too busy enjoying yourself to blog, but we should reflect on our first real taste of boating in what felt like summer.

Captain's mother, Daisy, is in her 91st year. She lives comfortably in a bungalow, and naturally at her age she doesn’t go out that much. She has no need to really.

She has long driven us mad by beginning every telephone call with a discussion about the weather. I don’t know why. The level of detail and prolonged debate about what the weather has done and might still do yet, is staggering. 

We had little or no concern for weather forecasts before owning a narrowboat. It all changed when  moved out to the Peak District, where we live at just 1,000 feet above sea level and can be easily  trapped in by snow. We somehow became much more in touch with the elements as they impacted on our ability to get about. Before then, as urbanites, if it was raining or cold we just slung on a coat: we travelled in climate controlled cars so it was a minor issue. We feigned interest in Daisy’s conversations.

The problem now, now we have a boat, is that it is US who talk constantly about the weather. Rain, sunshine, snow, and worst of all for boaters: wind. 
     “It’s been a bit blowy,” we hear ourselves reporting as if other boaters haven't noticed. Things like “there's been a few sharp gusts now and again.”

Daisy must now be very tired of the weather conversations. Revenge is sweet.

But, on the subject of weather, the sun shone last weekend, and we made the most of it. It was quite simply glorious being on the water after all the trials of the journey home. And the penny dropped. This is what it is meant to be like. You are meant to bask in the sheer loveliness of sunny boating - not count the minutes to the next respite from the freezing cold! Ah hah! This is why people do it. We saws lots of sights on the water that we would have missed otherwise. Some of them quite alarming. Like the whole family of little urchins who ran up and down the roof, jumping onto tow paths, scrambling back on and all this whilst some poor guy was trying to steer. We still don't know how he could see anything. Still, at least he held onto his can of Stella and that must have dulled the pain.

Goyt Mill, Marple
On Friday evening we arrived in Marple where we ate good and 'authentic' tapas at Murillo’s. It scored a ten out of ten. Saturday night we were at Sutton Hall on Gurnett Aqueduct. It was mad busy on the tow path but a fellow boater helped to pull us into the tightest mooring you've ever seen. It was sheer brute force and pig-headedness that got Lucy Belle into that space. She was touching, not to say kissing, the boats either end. Nobody seemed to mind. We ended up by the steps down to The Kings Head but the smell of stale fat wafting up from the fryer was unappetising. Somebody told us they had a rack of lamb with no lamb. We just had to go back to Sutton Hall as it scores ten out of ten for setting, but as before, the food is always a bit of a let down given how gorgeous the building is. Sunday night back to Marple and we found Marple Spice just round the corner from the lock flight. The decor is stylish and crisp, but like one or two Indian restaurants lately - everything was a bit too sweet. 

Perhaps it was a younger chef with a sweeter tooth? Perhaps he just lost concentration worrying about the weather.

Jemma had a splendid time. As we cruised along, she kept herself busy patrolling the rear deck. First one side, then the other, then to the rear. Her efforts were successful as we arrived home safely. This despite seeing a father and son towing a plastic alligator head on a fishing line near High Lane. Perhaps it was the weather for it. 

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