We enjoyed a walk and explore of Burton upon Trent yesterday and as we have to be back here and plan not to stray far, we noted some buildings and places of interest that we could check out another time, rather than seeing everything at once. The walk included attractive bridges and passing carefully through some swans plus some glittering sculptures without explanation.
Having not moved yesterday, we decided a short charge was required. Normally Shane has set off going before I have my shoes on ( actually I occasionally help cast off in my slippers) but today I thought I should be trying to improve my boat handling and winter set off has an extra step of prewarming the engine which I have not yet internalised. Today though there was an extra consideration to the start up and cast off process: the wind. As soon as we untied, in stead of needing a shove, Bartimaeus was heading off sideways towards the boat moored opposite. I had not got diesel and electric switch on in the right order, so while the engine was running fine there was an error display flashing to distract me while I was setting off too. Anyway we didn’t hit anything, but it wasn’t increasing my confidence.
Shane carried on with the driving and despite the wind, it was not too cold as it was very sunny. We passed a boat that I remembered from before with its distinctive tropical fish tank window decoration.
Driving at a decent speed is less problematic in the wind than low speed manoeuvres. Balancing slowing down for moored boats with not being blown on to them was a consideration. When a lock came into view I decided I would get off and do it and Shane could deal with the wind. He stayed in at the side until the lock was ready since hugging the bank was the boat’s preferred position with the wind blowing us to the towpath side and he didn’t want to have to hover or approach very slowly. Working the lock was straightforward. On coming out though I could see the wind was catching the bow on exit and steering Bartimaeus towards the bank. I tried giving a big shove off and could feel the boat swinging back again as soon as I eased off. I tried again. Shane decided we should swap and let me drive while he gave a bigger shove. Still we got blown back. One more try with stronger steering and acceleration and we made it back into the channel – fourth time lucky.
We decided to moor soon after. It was lunchtime and though not at 100% the batteries are doing okay. Mooring was easy and we are hugging the bank tightly but we are feeling quite strong gusts every so often as it is not a sheltered spot. We have swapped the side of a football park for a rugby park, and again have some neighbourly moorhens. I don’t expect any players on the pitch but two magpies used the hedge for shelter from the wind for a bit.
We are also near the shop so the afternoon has been usefully spent with Shane giving himself a haircut, with the slight finishing touch from me, shopping in Branston and communicating with Ortomarine over the bleeping Shane was getting from the system ( I won’t expand…software and firmware have been discussed) and this seems to be getting resolved. Plus we have news on some hardware. Our joystick is now in the country so a replacement is seeming possible. It will be handy for windy days.