Tubing, Canals and Banding.

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!

 

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Eunoia’s maiden voyage (with us) and CWG training

Monday 9th saw us up early and away to see Eunoia for the first time since she was ours. On our arrival it took a few journeys to and from the camper to load on all the goodies that we’d brought in order to make Eunoia into a home from home, but we were really pleased with the result. Definitely homely.

The galley with wine rack.

The galley with wine rack.

The dinning area

The dinning area

 

The Saloon

The Saloon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bedroom

The bedroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cratch

The cratch

We spent the afternoon and evening just gently finding our way around the marina and the boat and discovering things that we hadn’t realised were there when we’d viewed her.

Tuesday arrived and we asked Justin from Aqua Narrowboats (the builders) to come and give us a run through of what did what and how. After a very useful time we felt brave enough to set off out of the marina, turning right toward Burton on Trent. We had a lovely first cruise in the sun, admiring the view and gaining in confidence. Only a few scary moments! Lots of people recognised the boat and we proudly said that we’d just bought her. Happy days. It was beautiful and sunny for most of the trip, but we did have a shower or two on the way back when I left Roger to get on with it. He is the one with the ‘skipper’ hat! Here’s a picture before the storm.

Before the storm

Before the storm

Wednesday was the day of farewell. We had a few tasks to sort out before we left and so i decided that I’d have a go at some of the portholes. I think this brass polishing is going to be a task!!

Brass polishing.

Brass polishing.

We then set off to Glasgow to do our main training for the Commonwealth games and to collect our accreditation and uniform. The uniform was first and the staff were so efficient and speedy that both Roger and I got through in fairly quick time. I had two sessions of training on Friday and Saturday, both of which were pretty good on the whole. Met some lovely people and found out what task I’ll be completing during the games. Just got to confirm where I’ll be now so that I turn up at the right place. Roger had his training too and knows both what he’s doing and where he’s doing it. If we can get the public transport sussed we’ll be on a roll.

We left Glasgow on Saturday night to start our journey south so that we could collect Polly from Sheffield university to bring her home on the Sunday. We packed the van to the top with all of Polly’s stuff and then had a trouble free trip home. Just got a 36 hour turn around with her now ready for her flight to Singapore on Tuesday – but that’s another story….

 

 

 

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Our virgin TOG-up

Last November Roger and I bought tickets to attend the Children in Need performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Whilst at the champagne reception we were introduced to Hellen and Norm, two of Sir Terry Wogan’s Old Geezers (TOGs). Who would have known what that would lead to. Since then I’ve kept in touch with them (and the other Facebook TOGs) and we decided to go on one of their TOG ups to the Manor House Hotel in Devon. Well what a wonderful weekend we’ve had. The hotel works on the basis of it being all inclusive of meals and has a full range of craft and sporting activities that are included in the cost. The only extra charge was any materials used or alcohol! There were 9 of us in the group for the whole weekend, with two visitors for tea on Friday. We’d travelled from across the south of England, and the number included 9 TOGs, 1 TYG and the gorgeous Rog. 

During the course of the weekend I took part in a range of activities including enamelling, patchwork, porcelain painting, wooden sign making, Kurling, tennis coaching, pedal kart racing, 10 pin bowling, snooker and swimming. Others also did silk painting, glass engraving, went on a lovely walk, air rifle shooting and played in the children’s funhouse – I don’t have any photos of this, but I do know that they are available, just ask the right people…. I’ve learnt new skills, eaten a huge amount and laughed a huge amount.

This is what Roger and I made over the course of the weekend. Roger contributed the Eunoia sign, which will have pride of place when we go aboard tomorrow for the first time.  

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Other highlights of the weekend include Gissa and Hellen both attempting the lotus position in the bar (one more successfully than the other), Gissa announcing that the shower in our room was very hot when Rog and I had missed him trying this out, Norm taking over as photographer during the pedal cars when apparently we were travelling a tad faster than he predicted, a waiter who we realised hadn’t quite mastered the skills of silver service as he carried the vegetable bowls stacked on top of each other which when the top bowl was removed resulted in very flat veg, Ruth and Carol competing to give the tip to Charlie, one of the other waiters and the formation of a new TOGs subgroup, the ‘TT’s’. Still not sure I entirely (or even vaguely) understood this last point, so any TOGs wondering if this is for them should probably speak to one of the others for a fuller explanation. We realised that some of us are naturally more competitive than others and others just don’t really care and go with the flow. Altogether a lovely time, with lovely people. A treat to be repeated I hope (if I’m not thrown out for being too harmless!)

A few other photos just to show the fun we had.

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ImageNorm merging into the background whilst bowling!

 

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