Friday, 13 May 2011

Slow Boat High and Dry

Day Five; 7 July. Dayboat to Loughborough
...and guess what - with all the fuss I'd nearly forgotten it's my birthday!
So.. They turned up about 0915, with the AngloWelsh guy who has the spares, and we disembark to the (very nice, with free WiFi) cafe. The boat is hauled up onto the trolley and is out for inspection. They reckon 3-4 hours, but the AW guy is looking for a bigger welding kit; they're replacing the entire assembly, which means cutting a chunk out of the hull. I try not to think about it.
We have coffee, and then sort out the dayboat.
'Kittywake's a small fibreglass cruiser, rather elderly, and very twitchy on the steering compared to the stolidity of Jupiter. Drew's steering is tested several times on the way to Loughborough (that's Luffburra, not Lugaboruga) - as we exit the marina, an enthusuastic springer spaniel leaps off the bank in pursuit of a passing swan, landing practically under the bows! A little further up, we encounter a small narrowboat-style dayboat crewed by a gaggle of females (looks like a hen party!) who seem to be navigating by bank-braille....
We make it to the City wharfe unscathed, and the shoreparty head off in search of supplies, while I catch up on my diary.
'Kittywake' is due for some TLC. Not long after being repainted last winter, she was stolen, and recovered in rather a sad state. Now she has a shiny, and very efficient, new engine, and is due a lot of bodywork improvements, a new screen and a seat for the helmsman. Nice to know she's going to be cared for.
I make contact with Tracey (who now lives near Nottingham) and organise a meet-up with her and the clan for dinner at the marina tonight. The shoreparty returns, and we head back to the marina.
Jupiter is still up on the cradle, so we set up in the cafe for a beer or two. Eventually we're joined by the AW guys, who have finished 'one of the more major jobs we've had to do'... The boat is back on the water with a whole new propellor and shaft, and a welded section in her hull, and Paul from the marina gives us a very convenient-for-the-facilities (especially the bar) mooring.
Back on board to inspect the work (very impressive) and a short snooze before meeting Tracey and Co for dinner. The food was excellent and the company wonderful, so a lovely evening, apart from the whole bar singing 'Happy Birthday, Whoever You Are' as they brought the birthday cake in (thanks T!)
5 miles/0 locks/0 tunnels/River Soar

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