Sunday, 2 November 2014

Rainy Stoke Bruerne

We lit the fire last night, and again this morning, as it was a bit chilly.  It was our first use of the ecofan since it was serviced in the summer.  It now not only starts turning much more easily, it's also silent rather than ticking like it used to.

It rained in the night and on and off through the morning.  After breakfast, both Adrian and I did some work.  Then around 9.30 our visitors arrived: my second-cousin Catherine, Nigel, Grace, and Matthew.  They've just had a week on their shared boat, but always seem to be up for a bit more boating.  A little later, the boat moored behind us set off towards the lock, so we said we'd go down with them.  The lady seemed particularly pleased with having plenty of extra lock workers.  Unfortunately we did all get rather wet, though.  At times the rain was really heavy.

Our good run down lasted only two locks, because at the third one we caught up with a boat going down in front; we were able to send someone ahead each time to give them a hand, though.  At the penultimate lock, we encountered a problem which happens from time to time on this flight because of the lack of proper by-washes: there was too much water in the pound, and the filling lock just wouldn't make a level.  Nigel had everything under control, though, and ran some water down through the lock to reduce the pound a bit.  He then had to go down and do the same at the bottom lock.

Once the seven locks were complete, we moored on the completely empty moorings for cups of tea and chocolate chip shortbread biscuits made by our visitors.  We said our goodbyes after an hour or so, and while Catherine and co headed home, we set off back to the marina.  While I steered, Adrian got a chicken and potatoes in the oven to roast.  As we travelled, the skies began to clear, and while there were still some threatening looking clouds up ahead, behind us it was a different story.

In spite of the sunshine there was a stiff breeze.  It made the turn into the marina more difficult than it sometimes is, but actually helped with the spin and reverse into our berth.  The wind was straight down the pontoons, and helped blow the bow into the right direction.  Even though I do say so myself, it was probably one of my best entries into our space.

By the time we were secure, the roast was ready.  After eating, Adrian headed home; I'm staying for a few more days as I have another boat test planned for midweek.  It's been a very short trip on very familiar waters, but a welcome escape all the same.

6 miles, 7 locks.  (12 miles, 14 locks)

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