blogger, canal, canallife, Travelling, writing

Day two… Pirates!

After a good sleep apart from waking up to the welcome sound of a little sprinkle of rain. For those not in the UK, we’ve had some pretty hot days recently – I think the hottest ever recorded here since records began ((you probably made that up!)) I was also woken up by the sound and feel of my head, headbutting the gunnel at some point in the night ((A gunnel is basically a lip inside the boat where most of the wires and pipes and bits and bobs run along)) one of the jobs we want to do is extend the bed so I don’t constantly headbutt it or bash it with my arm. Most nights it’s fine and I don’t connect my head with the boat but when I do, the boat always wins!

After breakfast we move the boat over to the other side of the river to fill up with water and get chatting to a guy who was our neighbour for a few weeks in the Marina. We were going to buddy up and meet them but they are going for a nice sedate pace and it’s not that we are rushing but this is the longest stint of cruising time we have and we will have loads of time to explore this area when we can only go away for a weekend ((Come on Peachy, you need to write a best seller so you can go continuously cruising)) I’m trying Brackets, I’m trying. Where was I? Ah, so we want to ‘crank it’ as Robbie Cumming’s would say, and get as far as we can before we have to about turnabout and head home. I’m mean, it’s not as if we are rushing at a sedate 3mph or maybe we are going a bit faster on the river. I was also complimented on my rope tidiness – thank you very much!

Right, that’s you up to date and me about to get stuck into my fantasy novel whilst the Captain steers the boat up the River Trent…

Made it through Holme Lock and had a lovely chat with the lockie after a bit of struggle to tie up when the wind caught the boat. These big locks have blue tubes set into the lock walls which you can tie your rope too, as they are way too high for the ropes to reach to tie to on the landing lock – is that the right term? Any experts out there, feel free to correct me! The Lockie and I were chatting about the different kinds of boats. We haven’t been liveaboards for very long but already we have discovered there is a ‘bit’ of a thing between the different boaters.

I love the fact that apparently Narrowboats are also called pencils cases – lol. And people have who have Yoghurt Pots (cruisers!) seem to have a pre-formed opinion about each other. I think this probably stems from the fact that I would say most ((She doesn’t know this for a fact)) cruisers are generally someone’s hobby/weekend thing rather than living aboard and maybe, mostly, a narrowboat is a home. Obviously, I have nothing to base this opinion on and I’m a writer so I can just make stuff up! We were also talking about Widebeams as I asked what the ‘nickname’ for those was if our boat was a Pencil Case and cruisers are Yoghurt Pots, he said they are called BB – I will let you decide what that means!

Anyway, through and past the lock and we moored up so we could empty the toilet at the Elsan. We have decided that whenever the opportunity comes to fill up with water or empty the toilet you might as well do it while you can. Past the lock there is a nice low landing on the left to moor up and it’s only a short distance to the Elsan. They also have bins and toilets and it’s where we picked up a couple of old tyres when we came through the first time. These are really useful when mooring up in some areas and keep the boat still when those pesky ‘speeding boaters’ go past.

As we continued up the river we came across some sailing boats which was all a little tricky as I’m not sure they have any more control than we do when the wind is blowing. But we all navigated successfully with no ‘rubbing’ required.

As we cruised through Nottingham, we went under a train bridge as a train was going over and waved at the train driver, who waved back – made me think of Colin from Foxes Afloat – traiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. ((These are YouTubers for those who don’t know them. Vlogs are well worth a watch)) As I’ve said, I never like turning up to the Nottingham lock as there is café/pub right next to it so you have a few Gongoozlers and the paddles can be a bit stiff. It was really windy as we made our way into the lock but luckily there was another narrowboat which is a charity, and they take people on free trips, so they did the locks – result!

We moored up shortly after and had a lunch and a mini power nap before making use of the Sainsburys which is only a couple of minutes’ walk. It was then it was back to the boat and onward up the canal. It was nice to be back on a canal after so long. As we cruised along, we were treated to kingfishers following us up the river and of course the grumpy heron’s hiding along the river banks.

We made it to Beeston after a lovely cruise. There were no free moorings, so we filled the lock – all of about 1 foot of water. These locks already have their windlasses/handles attached to them and when you leave you have to leave the two red paddles open. Every lock seems to have a slightly different way of operating them even though they have the same function, to let water in and out. We did have one moment when we came across a rope strewn across the canal and my mind went straight to pirates and we were going to be boarded – they would have to fight me if they want my crisps, coffee or biscuits! Turned out they were just pulling a boat across to moor with their other one. Panic over.

It’s surprising how many people you see living along the rivers and canals. It makes you wonder about their story and also how the heck do some of them get water, fuel etc as they don’t seem to have moved for decades? It feels like a life removed from society, a completely different world but running parallel to land life.

We finally find a mooring on one of the landing locks outside Cranfleet lock. I don’t think strictly you should moor there but we know Cranfleet lock can be a little tricky and takes time to fill, so we didn’t want to risk getting to the other side to find no moorings so late in the day. It was windy on the pontoon but what a lovely mooring with views up and down the River Trent. Sublime. The promised rain came later in the night, it’s lovely to be nice and cosy in bed listening to the wind and rain – as long as you have double checked your ropes are tight of course and you have no leaks!

After dinner we went for a wander up the tow path for a sneaky drink at one of the pubs – which had a full sized Dalek in it! We then strolled back for an early night. We’ve had two full on days of cruising, which have been great but it’s quite physical activity. I put my pedometer on today and managed 8,500 steps which isn’t bad for saying I haven’t walked the tow path today other than to the pub. Amazing how many times you walk up and down a 60ft boat! Right, time for bed! Although we still haven’t decided which way to go tomorrow!

I’ve made some great progress on book three in my fantasy series and can taste the end near by! ((Peachy’s books are available from Amazon #justsaying…)) Thanks Brackets, I’m not very good at promoting my own books hence why my sales look a bit sad!

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