Sunday, 24 April 2011

Welcome Visitors

What a wonderful Easter weekend it has been for me...   and it isn’t yet over. The weather is still set fair though it has been overcast for most of today. And yesterday evening we experienced a violent thunderstorm for about an hour; but more of that later.
Today is also my birthday and looking at the number of years I’m celebrating, I just cannot believe I have managed to stay around for that long. Though the coincidence is quite likely to happen with my birthday being fixed so close to Easter as a moveable date, I cannot ever remember us being on the same day before.
I didn’t get up that early this morning but when I did, and it was timed beautifully just after my shower, so I had to receive it very appropriately in my birthday suit, I had the first greetings phone call of a morning that was filled with happy birthday tidings. It is satisfying that my phone has such an excellent signal here and I was able to pick up every one of them.
My love and thanks to my dear family for their kind thoughts.

A peaceful scene on the river at Normanton-on-Soar

You know.... I’m getting used to this life of soft living around marinas and no doubt you will be surprised to hear that I am still at East Midland Boat Services near Kegworth, when you know me as a man who generally likes to cruise. I haven’t moved very far now in almost a fortnight, except in playing a nautical version of musical chairs, by dodging from one berth to another as their more permanent occupants come and go. And the whole ambient atmosphere here seems to encourage relaxation, notwithstanding even being directly under the flight path of the East Midlands Airport. It is as if time stands still and it’s most infectious.

A foggy morning at Kegworth

As I have already mentioned I am awaiting the fitting of a solar panel and control box and though I received delivery of the former very quickly over a week ago, the controller only arrived yesterday after being sent to my billing address in Wiltshire by mistake. The yard is fitting it all up for me on Tuesday, so we should be cruising again on Wednesday. And though I am relaxed here I also feel we do need to move on with our odyssey....
Sometime anyway!
However ‘Futurest’ and I have not been that quiet over the holiday weekend.
On Thursday afternoon I received a phone call from Rob, my good friend from Essex to enquire whether it would be convenient for him and his wife Penny to visit me on Good Friday. I was thrilled to hear from him and invited them to stay the night aboard.
Originally they were a couple of gongoozlers (inquisitive sightseers) that I met last year while I was tied up at Victoria Park on the Regents Canal and they made such flattering remarks about ‘Futurest’ that immediately I was drawn towards them..... couldn’t help it! 
They had arrived there on a Harley Davidson motorcycle and returned to visit me a few weeks later on the same machine whilst I was moored at Hertford. They are a lovely couple and are planning eventually to sell their house and live on a boat. 
Early morning on the River Soar

Bluebell Time

Misty Reflections

It was lovely to see them on Friday afternoon and they are so easy to get along with that their stay with me was not a bit stressful, as it is often with some visitors. That evening we went to eat first at ‘The Otter’, a riverside pub next door, where we enjoyed a very good meal and then after returning to the ship, we consumed a couple of bottles of wine without even realising it, whilst gaily chatting on about old times, new times and every other time.  Conversation is always easy with Rob and Pen.

Cattle watering (and toilet!) hole

Yesterday we left the mooring at 0930 and cruised southwards, through three locks to Loughborough and back, which both Pen and Rob enjoyed very much I think. After we had returned they had to leave in order to visit another friend before the weekend finished. So I went with them to the car park and after our goodbyes they shot off in Pen’s Smart Car.

Skippers Mate. Unfortunately only temporarily.
Thanks Rob for the loan for a little while.

The weather that had been wonderful all day, as it has been for so long, suddenly changed after they left. Thick heavy cumulonimbus, as angry looking as darkness, encroached the sky from the east and very soon we suffered a severe thunderstorm which lasted about an hour altogether. The storm moved overhead as the clatter of deafening thunder and harsh flashes of lightning clouted us simultaneously. However afterwards the icy rain had not cooled the air at all and it remained muggy and humid after it had passed.

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