Last night we successfully ordered the takeaway from the Indian restaurant, that had been cancelled the night before as they were too busy to take any more orders. They looked busy again but we ordered early.
Today the wind has dropped and though frosty at first, the sun was out and the jetties became safe to step on. I was having a go at setting off today, and taking a fender in from half way along the boat (due to the short jetty) are not the usual start to the day, since we are not normally in a marina. I have learned not to try to lift the fender over the side while standing on the gunwale as it will wet your trousers and you can’t step away.
We had also struck it lucky with the electricity payment. We had bought £10 of power cards and £1 is included in the first night stay anyway. Our meter had leftover payment from a previous user so we got a reimbursement on the cards we bought and Shane popped our £1 card into the next boat . We had happened to be directed to moor up next to one that we had met twice before around Fradley junction. We had a chat with him in the marina and he had not much power and needed to get his boat fixed. He seemed to be having a run of bad luck so thought he could do with a little extra power.
There was a small aqueduct over the River Dove from which you can see an old road bridge. The A road does run alongside for quite a bit of the route, so that was an extra factor for choosing when to run diesel and when to run on electric.
We had passed a person who had shouted that he recognised us, remembering we had an electric boat. Then, when we stopped for lunch, we recognised that both the boats moored up at that spot were ones where we already knew the occupants. We didn’t see the boat owners today but it seemed like we were getting to know more people. We did chat to the people who arrived and moored in front of us in a very smart looking boat with cream leather cushions at the stern. We will recognise them if we see them again.
We only had one lock today and Shane asked me to drop him off so he could get it ready. I could not see the lock yet as it was round a corner but I took it slow to give him time to get there ahead of me, then I could hear the sound of the cogs clanking as he wound the paddles. As I turned the corner I saw there was a group of people at the lock with children with a man telling the children to watch the boat coming in to the lock. There was a weir washing in from the side and a bend on approach but both pretty gentle. As I went in it was gratifying to hear him say to me “you’ve done this a few times!”. In general, yes, this particular one I hadn’t done before as we have never come through in this direction and Shane drove while I worked the lock when we had come the other way. It has a low bridge over it and Shane was at more risk than me of bumping his head, it just brushed his hair. The family were keen to watch the whole proceedings and help with gates, allowing Shane to get back on early as they closed the gate and waved us off. Turning round to wave I noticed another couple with a woman videoing us. If I had known I was going to be on film I might have tried to adjust my hair a bit!
Shane spotted this sign just after the lock. The forest doesn’t look very dense but Shane has researched since and found it was a government scheme where new trees have been planted to connect with older ones to create a new forest. The city of Edinburgh is a forest as there are enough trees within the area to constitute a forest by the official definition.
We reached our mooring spot next to a park. Yesterday I had tried to do the Big Garden bird watch – I saw lots of birds on the water (5 mallards, 17 Canada geese, 3 coots, 27 black headed gulls, and 2 mute swans) and a pair of pied wagtails in a jetty. None of these birds are included in the species studied in the garden bird watch so I had just enough time before dusk to try another hour at the park which ignoring all the water birds yielded a good variety: blackbirds, woodpigeons, long tailed tits, magpie, great tits, blue tits and a robin. While I was doing that Shane went a trial walk to the hospital to check his journey time.
We had enough of last night’s curry left over for a reheat and repeat tonight. A change for me today to have definitely spent more time driving than cooking and perhaps more driving than Shane.