I am afraid we are still having problems putting photographs in the blog! This is being sorted out but is taking time I'm afraid! I can still put photos in the gallery so I will put the ones in that relate to this blog. I do apologise for this hiccup and hope normal service will be resumed in the not too distant future - please bear with us!
Well Clive took the TR6 back up to Huddersfield as planned on Saturday, fortunately it was a sunny day and he had a lovely drive but it took him all of five hours! He did take the scenic route and got caught up in Matlock by some kind of motorbike gathering, he said there were hundredsof bikes! He finally arrived at my brother Nick's and reported that the clutch was slipping quite badly and the diff was banging - oh dear - sounds expensive to me!!!
Clive got a lift back down to the boat with his sister Carol and her husband Ivan. They were coming down to collect our big old TV from Vicki's. They went straight to Vicki's and managed, with some help from Vicki's boyfriend, Ben, to get the TV downstairs and into Carol's car. No mean feat I can tell you, it really is an enormous TV and is very, very heavy! When they finally arrived back at the boat I had a meal ready, which was just as well, we were all starving! Gareth and Indy turned up to visit us too but they had had lunch already so didn't stop long.
Carol and Ivan were intending to stay the night on the boat, however it was such a lovely evening and they are very busy at home at the moment decorating so they decided to drive back home that evening. So, we were on our own again!
We are now somewhat marooned at Buckden Marina without transport - well apart from the boat that is. What am I saying - who needs a car! We have managed for 11 months without a car so we don't need one now do we! The only trouble is there is no shop at the marina so if you run out of something you're snookered! Well, the only thing we were likely to run out of was bread and I had a secret weapon! Ben (Vicki's boyfriend) very kindly gave us a small bread maker that he didn't require several weeks ago. Up to press I hadn't used it so now was the time to get it all set up and give it a whirl. I had bought a couple of packetsof bread mix a few weeks ago. We have to be very careful using electrical equipment on the boat when we are on battery only as if the appliance uses too much power it just blows everything. You may recall that way back in September last year when we set off, I tried to use the electric kettle (doh!) and it blew everything out! However the bread maker only requires 600W and this is well within the capabilities of our inverter. When I tried it on Saturday of course we were still plugged into the mains electricity at the marina so it wasn't a problem. It worked a treat and produced a lovely big loaf. Well that was easy but I wanted toknow if it would still work OK when we were running on battery power. So, yesterday we went for a cruise!
There was a good reason for our cruise, not just to try out the bread maker. Our engine is due for a service, which can be done here at the marina except that they don't stock the correct oil filters for our engine. We were supposed to have called at Hartford Marina near Huntingdon whilst we had the car but never got around to it so we decided to go by boat - well why not! So we set off around 10.00am yesterday morning and as we were leaving the marina I switched the bread maker on and kept my fingers crossed!!
It was a beautiful morning yesterday, the sun was shining in a bright blue sky, well it was till about ten minutes before we were due to set off then it suddenly clouded over and just as we were pulling out of our mooring we felt a few spots of rain - not good! Well it rained on and off for the rest of the morning, but only drizzle. We had two locks to negotiate on the way and were amazed at how busy they were. We shared both locks with two other boats, both cruisers. Well it is the summer I suppose (not that you would know it!) and people who aren't lucky enough to live on their boats like we do, take the opportunity to go out on the river to enjoy a bit of cruising.
The cruise took us about two hours and forty-five minutes and as we were approaching Hartford Marina the smell of baking bread was wafting up through the hatch - yummy! Yes I am delighted to report that the bread maker had worked perfectly well on the batteries - with the engine running. I don't think I would try it without the engine as it would drain the batteries far too quickly. Well at least we know that we never need to be without bread now - must stock up on strong flour and dried yeast!
We bought various bits and pieces at the chandlery; a new coolie hat for the chimney as our old one had completely rusted away - in less than a year! We also needed a newfender and some wet & dry sandpaper and primer. We need to rub down and repaint a few areas on the boat that have been scraped and need a bit of attention. Then we set off on our journey back to Buckden. Once again we saw several boats out on the river and shared the locks with another couple of cruisers on the way back.
Just before we got back to the Marina I got a phonecall from one of our folkie friends, Moyra. She was out for a drive with a friend of hers and wondered if they could call and see us. They eventually turned up after getting a bit lost (well it's not an easy place to find!). Unfortunately her friend Vi wasn't feeling too good when they arrived and as it is rather a long walk to the boat she decided to stay in the car. Moyra is also looking after her friend's little dog Susie, the same one that had visited us on the boat when we were moored in Cambridge. Susie and Clive got on very well indeed and she insisted on coming down to the boat to say hello. They couldn't stop long and when they had gone we decided to pop over to the Clubhouse for a drink. It is a very nice place really, besides a bar and restaurant there is a swimming pool etc It's a shame we haven't really taken more advantage of all the facilities here, there just doesn't seem to have been time.
We are having more visitors tomorrow evening. Vicki and Ben are coming over for dinner, which will be nice. Then on Thursday we are going out for a meal with our friends Jim and Jean so we are looking forward to that too. Then on Friday our time is up, we are leaving Buckden and heading off on our travels again. I can't say I'm sorry. It is very nice here in the marina really but I am getting itchy feet again and we are ready for pastures new. We are thinking of heading down to Bedford and the end of the navigation - just to say we've been really! After that, well who knows - we haven't made our minds up yet. We are thinking of staying in East Anglia fora little while and there are plenty of places we have not been to and of course, there is no rush!