Monday 6 May 2013

Out of Africa

This will be shortish blog by way of return to terra-firma. As previously stated the Trent and Mersey canal is not the most picturesque I've seen. This photo of a dead tree adjacent to our first overnight mooring spot was the scenic highlight of the weekend. Adorned with vultures it could be anywhere in the wilds of Eastern Africa rather than the tranquility of Derbyshire..........In summary the weekend cruise was a great experience, enhanced by tropical heat today, Bank Holiday Monday, and reasonable weather prior. Healthwise Saturday and today were incident free, whilst Sunday was a disaster. A morning fit whilst steering created on-board havoc as I grimly held on to the tiller attempting to stay upright whilst Lynne tried to wrestle control of the boat from me. In the meantime we gently cruised into the canal bank and stopped whilst I regained my composure. Onwards we silently went to the next lock where I hopped-off Tardis Two to operate the paddles, only to suffer a "blank moment". Friends we were cruising with (Wegonandunnit)spotted my problem and helped with the lock until I got back on board. From thereon things went reasonably well until I was approaching a suitable night mooring spot very slowly. A sudden gust of wind forced me to make a glancing blow on the fenders of a moored tuppaware boat, the owner of which was justifiably very upset. It turned out he had a chip on his shoulder (or rather a box of lagers) regarding what he called "weekend cruisers". To say he was intoxicated would be an understatement but once he had vented his fury on us Lynne and Phil became firm friends, which saved us moving to another mooring spot. Wildlife-wise we spotted 4 swans on nests, one with four eggs. a skylark, cormorants and umpteen ducklings of various sizes. One strange sight was a World War two machine gun turret on the junction of the canal and the River Dove. Was this to prevent the invading German army following the river/canal to blow up the breweries of Burton on Trent, or the Luftwaffe using them as guidance to destroy the same vital war support factories? Being a long Bank Holiday weekend all the loonies were out on the water. One attempted to reverse moor on a particularly narrow section of the canal, blocking access to us and two other boats causing complete chaos. Another strange old boy was attempting to tow a boat stuck on a shallow canal edge, similarly blocking the canal. One lock we entered from the canal and emerged the other end into the River Trent without noticing too much difference, apart from road signs and bollards to segregate traffic. Following my fits the Wegonandunnit crew and Lynne discussed the best way of upholding my cruising dream in a safe way. Things looked bleak until this morning when Lynne offered to undertake most of the "driving" whilst I operate the locks and any "difficult" parts of canals/rivers. This arrangement worked well today, further improved by lunch at the Dragon. I have to say all this relaxation is knackering so I'm off for an early night.

No comments:

Post a Comment