Saturday, 2 July 2011

Washing and Water Points

I have mentioned earlier a couple of new friends Peter and Jeanne who live at the moment locally but are in the process of selling their home to live on a Steve Hudson narrowboat; the build should be completed very shortly. While I’ve been moored here they have frequently been along not only for tea and coffee but also to admire ‘Futurest’ which, though not a Hudson Trad is very similar in design to the one they are having. They too will be the envy of the waterways with their boatman’s cabin and a Lister JP3 in the engine room. Obviously they are very excited and are counting the days till they can move aboard.
They are a fine couple and since we’ve met they have been excellent friends towards me. First of all they looked after Janis’ car while we were on our trip and now they have offered to do a big wash for me in their machine. I could have managed the wash okay and obviously would have done under normal cruising circumstances but the drying is always a challenge on board so I was easily won over by their offer. Furthermore today when I took the large laundry bag to their house balancing precariously on my bike, they offered me the use of their bath, which I am unable to resist.
But maybe they were trying to tell me something, politely that I should be aware of! I have to admit that because of having to keep my heel dry, my current ablution routine is a bit haywire so could well do with the bath anyway, with my left heel stuck outside somehow! But it doesn’t bear thinking about as the imagination could run wild!
Jeanne also offered to cut my hair when I said it needed doing so I am going back to them on Monday for a right old session altogether. They have been really very good friends to me.
Thank you very much Peter and Jeanne.

A Large fish in the canal. One of a shoal of many more

When I noted the forward draft yesterday, it showed that the fresh water level in the tank was getting low. It would soon need replenishing.
So as we were heading in an easterly direction, I set off on my bike along the towpath in the same direction to reccy the water point situation. The nearest one is at the ‘Hop Pole’ public house about a mile and a half from where we are moored. But then the nearest winding hole after that for returning to the mooring in town was a further mile and a half along the canal, at the ‘Gate’ public house. So ‘Futurest’ and I would have to travel six miles in all to top up the tank and the way she struggles on this canal to drag herself over the bottom, not to mention stops for clearing weed, it would take us all day, with the possibility of losing our mooring to somebody else when we returned into the town. If we are here for some time while my wound continues to be seen by the nurse, I felt there must be an easier way of acquiring fresh water.

The delightful Chesterfield Canal

Just below Retford Town Lock is the RMBC (not sure what the initials stand for but it’s a boat club) so I thought I would ask if there was any possibility of filling my tank at their water point. Then I could turn round at the winding point just beyond the nearest bridge. I gave the club commodore Jake my sob story and he willing agreed to me using their fresh water, which was most kind.
So this morning I took ‘Futurest’ down through the lock and got the bow as close to one of the moored boats as the silt would allow and managed to secure our bow line to it. It was then no problem to top up the tank in no time at all and to reverse back into the lock and subsequently the mooring still heading in the same direction. The whole procedure took an hour and a half, which was nothing at all. I am very aware that I have been well served by good friends in Retford.

The Comma Butterfly

Yesterday the weather was warm and when I reached ‘The Gate’ I sat outside in the pleasant sunshine and enjoyed a pint before setting off back to the ship. Took some interesting photos, some of which I show here. Wild flowers are now profuse and for the first time in a long while there were plenty of butterflies happily flitting about; brightly coloured Peacocks who settle with their wings open displaying their beautiful plumage as do the light brown Commas, while the Meadow Browns and the darker Ringlets are happy to keep their wings closed for camouflage purposes presumably. It was wholeheartedly a beautiful day and good to be outside.

Trumpets of Hedge Bindweed on a Stinging nettle host

Ringlet Butterfly

Common Ragwort just coming into brilliant bloom

Great Willowherb