The undercoat we did the day before yesterday was good enough to protect the metal from rusting, but the boat does look a bit of a mess in that state. Today promised to be sunny again, and warm enough (for February) that we could paint a top coat. We needed to get to somewhere we could easily turn the boat round though, so we headed for Willington again in the bright sunshine. We arrived at about lunch time, so instead of starting painting, I popped to the shop (other shops are available) for some bread and we had lunch.
We painted the sunny side of the boat and drove to the marina entrance to turn round. I did the turn on electric, and so was able to chat to a gongoozler who was impressed by my graceful spin. I told him I’d been doing it for decades (though not continuously), and that it really helped to have no wind. I was sufficiently pleased with my turn, that I decided to cap it by continuing in to the closed section of canal – in reverse of course. This has the dual benefits of a peaceful mooring, and no need to wind again to get in to the marina tomorrow. It also puts us a few boat lengths in to canal we haven’t travelled before. In stronger winds I wouldn’t have dared try the reverse without the bow thruster. It all went smoothly and we finished off the painting.
That was all the activity originally planned for the day, but while I was in Willington I’d popped in to the station to collect the tickets for our train to Edinburgh on Tuesday. That is when I discovered that Willington doesn’t have a ticket machine! There were a number of ways to resolve that, but none of them appealed to me more than a bike ride. So once we’d put away the painting stuff, we started getting ready to go. I had a few panicked moments when I thought I’d already posted some vital bit of cycling kit to Edinburgh. They were all false alarms – I just needed to look in the rucksack.
In the late afternoon we set off for the station in Derby. I’d found a different route to our previous ride, diverging at the first bridge – less than half a mile away. The station building at Derby has two large crests on it, but otherwise all we saw of Derby this time was housing estates. We did raise a few smiles from a number of residents.
We got back to the boat as the sun was setting. We were within sight of the boat as we caught up with a wee girl cycling ahead of her parents. Rather than negotiate passing them, I stopped to capture the sun behind the trees on the other side of the canal. More than seven months in, we are still being surprised and awed with our canal life most days.