We woke up bright and early, having set the alarm for 7.45! Clive made a cuppa then nipped out to have a word with the lock-keeper to see what time we could go down the flight. It gets so busy at this time of year and as boats cannot pass in the locks it all has to be arranged very carefully. There are two lots of five locks with a pound in between where boats can cross. There were two boats coming up the flight already and one on its way down and he told Clive that as soon as the second boat had come up it was our turn. We just had time for a bit of breakfast then we were off.
It only took about an hour to get down the flight and there was just enough space in the basin for us to moor up, almost in the exact spot that we had moored during the "ice age" last February! Later on, after lunch, we decided to pop over to "Bridge 61" (the pub!) for a wee drink and to have a chat with Tony the landlord if he was about. He was and he came and sat in the bar and had a chat, bringing us up to speed on all the alterations he was making. It was good to be back - we like Foxton! I also took advantage of Bridge 61's launderette to ensure that we have plenty of clean clothes to take on holiday!
We like Foxton so much we stayed another day! I had contacted on of my Burwell friends, Jayne Stanton, who lives not far from Foxton, to let her know we were around and she very kindly invited us over to her house for Sunday dinner - wonderful! She came and picked us up and took us back to her house, complete with guitar and flute. We had a wonderful lunch and a really lovely afternoon with Jayne and her husband Dave, it was really good to see them both again. Jayne had an orchestra practice at 8.00pm so she took us back to Foxton on her way. What a lovely day! We have promised to get back in touch as soon as we get back from our holiday and hopefully will get together again whilst we are still in the area. We never did get the instruments out, not a single note was played, we were too busy chinwagging! Maybe next time!
On Monday, we headed off to Market Harborough in the afternoon. It is only about an hour and a half's cruise. I stayed inside most of the way after opening and closing the two swing bridges as we left Foxton. We reached the basin and turned the boat around then found a mooring not far down the towpath. We had to be very careful not to leave the engine on beyond 8.00pm because we were almost in the same place where the boat was cut loose last year! Some miserable householder had taken umbrage because our engine was running a bit late in the evening and instead of knocking on the boat and simply asking us to turn it off he cut through our ropes and cast us adrift! Nice!
We were up bright and early on Tuesday morning as we had booked a taxi to collect us at 8.30am. It arrived on time and we were soon at the car hire place. Then a short while later we were in a Ford Focus heading down the A14 to Cambridge! It only took us about 45 minutes to do the trip and we turned up at Gareth's door at 9.45am - he was still in bed fast asleep! We had a quick word with him then went in to town with a promise to see him later.
You may be wondering why the mad dash to Cambridge - well the reason is simply Clive's dental problem! We had contacted several dentists in Market Harborough to see if he could get an appointment. It was an NHS dentist who extracted his tooth last year but he couldn't fit him in as he was fully booked for the Easter holiday, so he tried the two local private dentists. Both of them could have fitted him in but the amount it was going to cost for the appointment then the work to repair his tooth on top of that was an absolute arm and a leg! So he found our own dentist back in Cambridge. They offered us both an annual check up plus the time to fix Clive's tooth. The NHS cost of this plus hiring a car for a day, including the petrol to get there and back actually worked out at half the cost of seeing the private dentist - no contest!
During the afternoon we had had several telephone conversations with our daughter Vicki - she has been having big problems with her car recently and that morning it had taken 45 minutes to start!! She and Ben had finally got to work and she had contacted her local garage to arrange for them to have it in to diagnose the problem and fix it. They agreed to take it in that afternoon and would lend her a courtesy car, as soon as it came back in. By the time the courtesy car finally arrived back at the garage Vicki couldn't get the car to start at all and in the end had to call out recovery to take it back to her village! We were now all getting worried! Vicki didn't know how she was going to get over to pick us up on Friday to take us on holiday, plus get to work for the next couple of days and all the other running about she needed to do before Saturday!
We went back to Gareth's after our dental appointments and had a Chinese take-away with him, then we drove back to Market Harborough. It was dark when we got back of course and it was also after 8.00pm which meant we couldn't put the engine on. The stove was out and the battery was already dead so we couldn't put any lights on! Clive lit the stove by candlelight and we had a cuppa then we went to bed and read our books by torchlight!
On Wednesday morning we cruised back to Foxton and moored up in the same spot again and just spent the rest of the day relaxing.
Today we started sorting out our clothes and things to take on holiday and then after lunch we cruised up to Debdale Wharf where we are leaving the boat for the duration of our holiday. She was actually booked in from tomorrow morning but as our berth was already available it was suggested we brought her in today, so we did and are now hooked up to mains electricity supply, excellent! We have more or less finished our packing now, just the last minute things to stick in the bags when Vicki arrives tomorrow lunchtime.
There is one thing that is marring our holiday I'm afraid. The whole idea of this holiday was for the family to spend a week together. Clive and I, Vicki and Ben, Gareth and our granddaughter, Indeia who is four and half. Indeia is going to be emigrating to the USA later on this year with her mummy, sister and step-father and this was to have been an opportunity for us all to be together. Unfortunately Indeia is not now able to come with us because her passport is still being held at the American Embassy in London whilst they process her American visa! The application was made back in January and has taken much longer than anyone anticipated. We are all very upset about it. I personally was really looking forward to spending a whole week with her as it has been a long time since we saw her. We are all going to put a brave face on it and try to enjoy the holiday anyway but it is such a shame. Poor Indy was looking forward to her holiday too!
So, there will be no blog now until we return to the boat after our holiday - don't go away, be patient - we'll be back!!!