Our lovely son Jack bought Roger and I a White Water Tubing experience for our birthdays this year, on the basis that we might be bored and need entertaining in our retirement, and the booking duly arrived. Fortunately it was bright and sunny as we arrived booked in and got changed into our flattering wetsuits, buoyancy aids and helmet. After some basic instruction we were off. All this took place at Nene Whitewater centre, Northampton and we shared our session with a group of small girls on a birthday party and a handful of other adults. We had great fun backing up to the waters edge with our tube arranged around our bottoms before falling in backwards and going with the flow down the course. The course took us through fairly tame rapids, less tame rapids and into a stopper, but we bravely took on every challenge throw at us and had a great time. Unfortunately we didn’t take photos due to lack of a waterproof camera, and being too mean to pay the required £20 for those shot by the staff. We’ll have to leave this to your imagination.
After that we trundled up the road to the boat, our midway spot for a lovely 5 nights aboard. We set off turning right from the marina again towards Burton on Trent, cruising through Willington and finally did Dallow Lane Lock, our first one as boat owners. We spent the first night at Shobnall fields a lovely big public park being used by lots of groups playing football. 3.5 hours cruising and 1 lock.
Day 2 saw us travelling from Shobnall to Alrewas where we stopped for lunch. A beautiful little village with a fantastic butchers where we bought ourselves supper. Being Wimbledon fans we put up the TV ariel and watched Andy Murray win his first round. We then moved up past Fradley junction and past the southern most point of the Trent and Mersey canal before mooring up just past Wood End Lock. 6.4 hours cruising and 13 locks.
Day 3 we went further up the Trent and Mersey before turing around at Kings Bromley Wharf to start our return journey back to the Marina. We moored at the Branston Water Park from where we were able to support a local 10K race in the evening. We didn’t make it into the water park, but I’m sure we’ll pass through this way again. 6.2 hours cruising and 12 locks.
Day 4 saw us cruising gently back down to the marina. We stopped at Willington, which has more pubs than you can shake a stick at. It does however have a very useful train station with a line that links between Birmingham and Nottingham which may come in useful for visitors… Back at the marina we did the jobs of pumping out and filling the water before relaxing. 4.2 hours cruising 2 locks.
Day 5 was spent cleaning up ready to leave the boat and go north to collect Jack. We arrived in Durham at about 5 in the evening and shared a lovely evening with him over a meal and then we opened a bottle of wine with two of his house mates. After much laughter we headed for bed before a long journey home on Friday. Durham is so beautiful, but such a long way from Chandlers Ford, and it always seems such a long journey. We did get back in time to start a very brassy weekend.
The weekend consisted of band practice on Friday and on Saturday we were at St Cross Fete Winchester which is usually such a sunny and warm event. Just right for a brass band to be playing at. Unfortunately this year it rained and so we played inside the church at St Cross. Still lovely and some quite nice playing. We even met up with friends and shared tea and cake between the storms. The stalls were all worth a good look and some bargains were obtained including a measuring jug and a lovely wooden bowl.
Sunday saw the band playing at church and then sharing tea and coffee with friends out in the sun. It was so lovely to see people that we hadn’t seen for a while and catch up on all the news. I do like this coffee/tea arrangement if any of the church stewards are reading!
An afternoon in the garden cleared out a few weeds and gave a chance to pick some produce. Gooseberries, Blackcurrants, rhubarb and potatoes all harvested. Cakes cooked with the rhubarb and some of the gooseberries, ice cream made with the blackcurrants, surplus put in the freezer and potatoes for tea. No courgettes yet, but they’re coming. What a lovely week.
n.b. No photos this time due to the laziness and not very strong internet. Normal service next time honest!