Sunday, 12 June 2011

To Lincoln and Back

It was a lovely day yesterday when my friend Janis came to visit. Originally from New Zealand she now lives aboard and skippers her own narrow boat ‘Roots and Wings’. We met recently at one of the locks on the River Trent and promised that we would meet up again.
I invited her for yesterday and Janis had texted to say that she would love to travel up to see me. I suggested that she arrived early so that we could fit in a cruise possibly, which she happily agreed to.
As ‘Futurest’ was already heading towards the east I thought a visit to Lincoln and back we would be able to fit in with ease and when she arrived the weather was perfect even though showers were forecast.
When we left, I’m sure the ship was happy to be on her way again, as if she had been idle for far too long.  The slow ‘chug chug’ from her gleaming brass banded funnel seemed very positive and merry as we wended our gentle way along the Fossedyke under an almost clear blue sky. There was no breeze and the water was glassy and smooth, almost undisturbed by the ripples that we made as we passed slowly along.
In spite of the lack of rain the sides of the waterway were very lush and green, liberally clothed with tall Nettles and white plated Hogweed. Though the Irises were now dull and listless, past their prime, the yellow Water-lilies were beginning to burst open to the beckoning rays of the Sun.
We were sad to see a mallard family with only one chick remaining, though he had grown very perky and large. We also met a much healthier looking family of Greylag Geese. Mum and dad still had a litter of five, who looked very fit and well.
Janis and I chatted all the way to Lincoln; we had not had a chance to do so before and we talked at great length of New Zealand about her life and my happy visits there so many years ago. The time passed quickly and we were soon arriving at Brayford Pool in the centre of Lincoln, surrounded these days by posh restaurants, pubs, cinemas and marinas filled with expensive white cruisers. Gone are all the commercial buildings, ships and cranes of old.
There was no space available at the visitor moorings here so we pressed on through the ‘Glory Hole’ and tied up under the weeping willow, by the footbridge, outside the ‘Witch and the Wardrobe’ pub. We enjoyed a beer there before returning to the ship for lunch, which Janis had brought with her and which now she warmed up on the hob.
We enjoyed a delicious Thai chicken Soup with soft bread rolls which she had supplied too, to be followed by her mouth-watering homemade blackberry and apple crumble topped with double cream. It was all absolutely scrumptious!
Conveniently during our lunch a black shower cloud leaned heavily over us and briefly dropped its deluge but by the time we were ready to begin the return journey to Saxilby, the rain had stopped and the Sun was shining again quite radiantly. However it was cooler going back as the breeze had picked up from the west in the meantime and we had to head straight into it. It became necessary for us to put on our coats.
As we arrived back at Saxilby there were no moorings available again. Of course it was the weekend and everybody was out, but in this respect we'd not had much luck that day.
In the end one of the boats said we could breast up to him, which we gladly did. It was about six thirty and I had enjoyed a wonderful day.
It was time for my companion to collect her belongings and travel home but not before we had promised to meet up again. She was a lovely lady and a very competent boat master. She had been at the helm of ‘Futurest’ for most of the day and I felt very confident at being able to leave her to it, as I frequently volunteered to make cups of tea.

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