This is Steve & Viv Carter's log of the trips and travails on the narrowboat Adagio – liveaboards from October 2015. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." (Mark Twain)” firstname.lastname@example.org
Bit of a murky start but the forecast is set fair later, so off we go. Batteries down 106Ah or 77%, depending which gadget you look at, so on with the engine and TravelPack – which played up a bit today. It just stopped working after half an hour – got too warm I suspect as it returned a few minutes later. It was trying to pump 91 amps or 1250 Watts into the batteries. Must get it serviced – recommended a place in Atherstone – Cox Autos. Just as good as we’re passing thru there end of the week. There’s always sommit to worry about on a boat.
Plan today is just to chug down past Hillmorton locks and then moor up. We go past Barby marina – where Mark has his boat – now on his own outside, inline mooring.
I know Saturday was the Grand National & Sunday is the boat race but it seemed racing wasn’t confined to those sports – the starting gun had gone off here too. Dozens of boats all hurtling along – not one doing the “slow for boats – idle speed”, all in a rush to get somewhere. Well, we stayed put. We’ll toddle off on Monday. A few chores need doing and then we walked back to Braunston for a beer. We tried the Plough, hmm Doom Bar, Hobgoblin or some Derby Bitter – which we tried, not bad but not good enough. TV on loud but no one watching – not a great welcome. We moved on to the Wheatsheaf and lo, our eyes popped – Bath Gem, Hook Norton Old Hookey and Dark Star, Hophead – hmm, much better!
Remind me not to drink three pints at lunchtime, for the rest of the afternoon flew by!
The sun did peep out briefly and fed the batteries a few amperes but it rained around four and so that was that. Nice a warm though. Tomorrow is another day.
Off by 0915. Looks a brighter day. All very quiet. Down to the Norton Junction, sound horn once, turn to starboard, avoid other boat and on to the Braunston Tunnel. Luckily, we didn’t meet another boat in this rather kinky and long tunnel. No one around at the 6 locks, so we descended . . some guys were coming up, which helped. Although the Muppets behind them didn’t wait for us and started refilling their lock, ho-hum. We moored up in the extremely busy Braunston – hire boats were being prepped and moored THREE abreast! Hire boats were getting their instructions. Hire boats were being driven backwards down the whole Braunston straight – bonkers. We stopped for 30 minutes, whilst Steve marched off to shop in the Butcher’s – triple smoked, dry cured bacon! Best in the land plus a huge pulled pork & chorizo pie and two smaller, steak & kidney pies! Pie, mash n beans tonight. We moved off to pause at the Chandlers, for yes, you can moor outside – we needed some more Fertan to zap the odd rust spot. Then a short hop to beyond bridge 87 and one of our favourite spots – Willoughby. A quiet, rural spot for the night . . . or two. Just might let all those other boaters sail by . . .
The weather took a turn for the worse this week with gales & frosts but by Friday it seemed to have calmed down and so we scheduled our departure for the 5th April. Last year we had that Beast from the East and delayed our start until 4th May. Steve’s been itching to get out but the ointment has taken care of that!
We said our farewells – to Gail and our new neighbours. And cast off. Seemed a bit reluctant – maybe we’re getting a bit lazy and landlubbery? It was cold too. However, we’re off. Down those Watford locks – not too long to wait and on to moor just outside Weltonfield marina. 3.5 hours – that’ll do for Day One.
British Summer Time has started. The reeds are growing; the birds are singing and it’s time to prep the wee ship for the Summer Cruise.
But where shall we cruise? Plan A is to return to the Llangollen – only cruised on a hire boat some, ooh, thirty years ago?
So, here’s the plot . . .
Ignore the dates but it should start soon. One idea is to cruise the Llangollen plus a diversion down the Montgomery Canal. And then go back to the Trent & Mersey and down the Anderton Lift to the River Weaver – hiding away during the school summer holidays.
John, Christine & Tilly came up for the day – for lunch, for walkies and for afternoon tea. They used to be our close neighbours on Poppy Eyebright and have returned to since the land – being closer to their ever growing family – how many grandchildren?
We always said we’d go out if the weather was agreeable and lo, it came to pass! After days of icy cold and high winds – the Met Office relented and said, “Oh, alright, if you must, here’s some sunshine!”. With the forecast of low winds, full sun and rising temperatures, we gaily slipped our moorings and crept out of the marina for the first time this year. Heading for bridge 27 and maybe beyond for a few days . . .
The gales of Sunday now seem a distant memory. We plan a trip to St Davids and then a walk from its small port, Porth Clais around the coastal path to Porth Lysgi. A gloriously sunny day. Cold but warmish in the sun.