Summer in the City

We had quite a busy day in Leicester yesterday. We had started by setting off and I was driving while Shane went to get the first lock. I hovered outside getting lined up for the lock, when Shane signalled that there was a boat in the lock so I needed to get myself out of the way. It was pretty breezy too so I was relieved to have managed to get back the right side by the time they came out. Once in we realised that THIS was the tricky lock that we had been warned about before with “lots of graffiti” and could only be opened in a certain order. There were all hands off deck trying to get it open with no result until Shane remembered the advice about the order and then they managed. I was glad I had chosen to drive after all.

After lunch we went to the museum to see the local dinosaur, and it turned out a lot of other dinosaurs and green screen Dino animations. Having been steeped in the middle ages yesterday we were keen to see “I grew up in the 1980s upstairs – lots of familiar sights and songs there. We still have a duvet cover very similar to the designs on display. 

Who was longest at number one each year?

Shane was up for a snack but we went to the cafe via ancient Egypt and the art gallery, where I found further evidence that Leicester is as obsessed with wool as I am.

Woman knitting in the art gallery

Visiting the church, St Mary’s de Castro (by the castle) where Richard the Third’s body was taken, I had the chance to take a photo of the organ to see if my friend could place it. He is often very good at recognising them but was defeated by my poor pictures perhaps.


Organ pipes at St Mary de Castro
Organ pipes at St Mary de Castro

Shane headed back while I took a more leisurely turn of the gardens nearby. On the way back, as I was crossing a bridge, I saw one boat towing another, but not the pair we had seen two days ago. I got a bird’s eye view.


On tow

It reminded me that I had wanted some pictures of the bridges we had seen, as I was driving in, but hadn’t my camera to hand. Walking along the towpath, it was easier. The river bridges are sometimes more elaborate than the canal ones built for industry.

Tower on the bridge

We moved on out to a more rural mooring. This morning we went up to walk to the shop as these may be few and far between for a few days. We took another look at the quaint Horsepack bridge.

Packs of horses by the Packhorse bridge

Having been promised a scorcher, I got suncream on before getting ready to set off. People were about to leave the lock ahead so I went up to ask them to leave the gate open for us, while Shane cast off. When I got there, someone asked if we needed both gates open and I said no so she shut her far side gate and hopped on. And that would save me walking round. Then I looked for Shane to see another boat was coming in and was ahead of Shane. They had not been in sight when I set off. I apologised that we had a shut gate and offered to walk round but the driver said she could “shimmy over” so she got tucked in behind the closed gate and let Shane in. The man helping me work the locks momentarily worried me and himself by looking a bit dizzy at the lockside. He explained he was getting used to new varifocals he had got the day before. Everything ran very smoothly and feeling they had jumped ahead they let us go out first and he said he would deal with closing the gates. I thanked him very much for his help, making the lock nice and easy for me and he said, “you need to learn to drive then” I said I did drive sometimes. We expected to share the next few locks with them but at the next one a lone boater was preparing to go in and eagerly signalled we should share the lock, so it was good bye to the one behind, having allowed us ahead, and the rest of the afternoon we shared with James, who had just started out on his boat two days earlier and was thankful for help through the locks and any advice we had for him.

He was in a hurry to get to London and so Shane worked the next locks as he would be quicker than me.j He jumped off the roof on to the wall about 4 foot above. I said I wouldn’t be able to do that, he said “No risk, no fun!” I said I just couldn’t lift myself. He has done climbing he told me so was agile and strong, that will be a real help handling the boat alone. He had a very much “can do” attitude. He said our boat looked like one he had seen recently called The Silver Fox.

I exclaimed, “Oh have you met The Silver Foxes? “

“Oh they did say they were quite well known!” he replied casually. I would definitely recognise them if I saw them. They didn’t have the same boat builder, though Shane tells me they did speak to Ortomarine and loved the Weintek display screen. I would have enjoyed meeting the Silver Foxes, though would have had to admit to not having subscribed to their channel. We enjoyed helping out James on his new adventure and Shane gamely opened both gates so I didn’t need to do major shimmying!

Having had poor WiFi recently Shane decided we would moor wherever there was good connection. So we let him go ahead and pulled in. We had a summery afternoon mango snack and Shane set about a job iof clearing the drainage channels on the self draining deck above the engine. Mainly I did knitting while he swept the guttering, but I did have to stand and press and hold a button to pump the bilge. I had to swap hands when my finger got sore! How exhausting it is pressing a touchscreen! I was more comfortable driving.

Pouring water in the drainage channels