Monday 1st May
Not a lot going on today, so diddled about in the morning before going to the prize giving at 1pm. It was good see Mark Saxon win the boat handling cup and another prize as first time entry in the illuminated parade, so he was really chuffed. Mark was waterspace manager for several years, so never could take part previously. Another prize winner was Helen Dobbie of the volunteer group, who won the novice boat handling and The Idle Women’s Cup (ladies only) for boat handling; another delighted boater.
I decided that I would pay a visit to The Warwick Castle for a change from the boaters’ bar. When I got there, there were only four people outside, whereas they are normally overflowing into the roadway. The outside was covered in scaffolding and inside there were only two guys serving, whereas there are usually four or more. I waited to be served for at least five minutes, at the end of which enough was enough and I walked out. Maybe the place has changed hands, but whatever has happened, it needs to shape up. I went to the boaters’ bar after all, despite the prices at £4.80 per pint, before going back to the boat. Lunchtime drinking is not my scene really and I need to knock it on the head.
Later in the afternoon, we were asked to move to Delamere Terrace, which I did and moored four abreast outside Zavala. I stayed on board for the remainder of the day.
Tuesday 2nd May.
Having written up the blog and talking to neighbours, I made the move back towards Bull’s Bridge, which took all of four and a half hours. Much less rubbish around the blades this time, all of which I managed to dislodge by chucking back or just taking the engine out of gear. I watered up again, did a little shopping at Tesco and chatted to Helen and her friend, after which I moored up on the towpath side for the night or maybe longer.
Wednesday 3rd May
I decided to spend the day on the same mooring, so not much to tell apart from reading and surfing the net for a decent pub around here. I have to say there are very few; the best being The Paddington Packet Boat in Uxbridge, where they also do Thai food, but not a good place to stay according to Trip Advisor.
Thursday 4th May
I had difficulty getting off the mooring this morning, because my stern was aground, but I did eventually.
I moved across to the Tesco mooring as soon as there was room and did a little shopping in that ubiquitous store. Moving further north towards Packet Boat Marina and beyond. I had toyed with the idea of cruising the five mile pound along the Slough Arm, but with nothing particularly attractive at the end, decided against it.
On approaching Cowley Lock I met up with Phil Bassett and wife and had a few words in the lock while being waited upon by volunteers. His boat nb Persephone had also been to Cannie Cavalcade and was moored just a few boats away from me. His home mooring is at Hunton Bridge, where I need to stop to photograph a pub I wrote about for The Steerer. There are in fact two pubs there and I could do both at the same time.
After about three hours in a chilly north wind, I tied up outside The Swan and Bottle on a 24hr mooring and was checked off by the CRT mooring checker, who asked if I wanted to be registered on the visitor moorings or on the length. I should have asked what he meant by that. It was difficult mooring, because the strong north easterly wind was blowing the boat off the bank, but with considerable effort on the centre line I managed to pull the boat in.
I went for a pint at the Swan and Bottle and was somewhat surprised to see the changes that had taken place. The pub was taken over and refurbished by Chef and Brewer about five years ago; the bar was in a different place; all new furniture and fittings; an extensive menu, which was superior to what was there before; well served real ale, despite being pressurised on hand pump. I had two pints of Sharps Atlantic, which was very welcome after so long without.
While I had access to free wi-fi, I contacted my friend Richard to see if he wanted advice on looking at a sail away narrow boat on sale at Ebay. The outcome is that he is collecting me on Saturday on his way to Peterborough to view the boat. Richard is looking for a boat as a project and this one seems to fit the bill.