Friday, 2 November 2007

October Cruise - Part One

This was a week of two halves (albeit unequal halves).

Friday 26 October

I had a slower than usual journey to Stockton Top, on my own, thanks to the M27 being closed. But once I was there I collected our Tesco delivery from the OwnerShips office and loaded our things onto Debdale. She was moored outside the marina, outside another boat, and was, of course, facing the wrong way. After turning around, I set off through Bridge 21, and promptly moored up after just a couple of hundred yards.

It was 7.30 before Adrian arrived, having come straight from work. Fortunately he'd remembered to bring a torch.

0 miles, 0 locks.

Saturday 27 October

The day of the annual owners' meeting. We set off in the car at around 8.30 bound for Birmingham where the meeting was to take place. It was good to meet the other owners of Debdale (ten of the twelve owners were represented), and I was impressed at the way decisions were made. Nothing had to come to a vote: on each issue there was some discussion before a consensus emerged. Among the decisions made was that Debdale will spend another year at Stockton Top, but we hope to move her for 2009.

On the way back to the boat, we stopped for something to eat at the Two Boats at Long Itchington as we hadn't been there before. The meal was rather ordinary, so we won't be rushing back.

0 miles, 0 locks.

Sunday 28 October

Having changed our clocks, we set off in grey and gusty weather at about 9am. By the time we reached the Calcutt Locks it was raining and the waterproofs were on. There were plenty of boats coming down, but we had to go up alone. Noticed that Silhouette was among the Calcutt based OwnerShips boats going unused this week.

Once up the locks we crossed to the water point, where we discovered that part of the hose attachment was missing. Presumably, the bit that screws on to the tap has been left on a tap somewhere. The chandlery at Calcutt boats doesn't stock the plasic fittings, so instead I bought a brass one and a jubilee clip to fix it to the hose pipe. It works well, and has the added advantage that nothing can be left behind!

Turning right at Wigram's Turn, we found the steam boat Adamant coming towards us, making good use of its whistle.

We winded by the Bridge Inn at Napton, moored up, and went for lunch. Strangely they don't do a Sunday roast, but the food was pretty good nonetheless.

On the return to Stockton Top, we shared the top Calcutt lock with a returning Calcutt hire boat, and the bottom two with a single handed man who'd just picked up a boat he'd bought from the brokerage there. It has to be said that he didn't seem to have much idea, and appeared to expect us to do all the work. But by now the rain had cleared and the sun had come out and it had turned into a lovely afternoon.

We winded the boat in the marina entrance and moored up in almost exactly the same spot we'd left that morning. Adrian packed ready to return to home and work. Before he left, we had a quick walk down the Stockton Locks (where the single handed boater from earlier was working down in the gathering gloom, apparently unaware how many locks were ahead of him), and enjoyed the sunset.

6 miles, 6 locks (6,6)

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