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  • clivenmel

Dec 21st

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} We stayed overnight at the mooring by The Black Horse then in the morning decided to push on further into Milton Keynes.  We were very pleasantly surprised with Milton Keynes really, having only seen it from a driver�s point of view before, it was amazing how tranquil and peaceful it was on the canal, and pretty!  It is very hard to believe that this photograph was taken in the heart of Milton Keynes!   We finally moored up opposite the Peartree Bridge Inn as it was a convenient spot for Vicki to find us in the morning.  Once we got settled I started on my major cook-in!  I managed to produce a large pot each of Bolognese sauce, a beef curry and chilli which were all cooked on the top of the stove (not all at the same time!) and a steak casserole which simmered away in the oven for three hours.  The Bolognese, curry and chilli are all boxed up and in my little freezer under the bed but we ate the steak casserole for dinner last night.  They do say that the way to a man�s heart is through his stomach so I know for a fact that our son Gareth will be really pleased to see me!   Vicki duly arrived at the Peartree at lunchtime and after a quick cup of coffee she and Clive set off to drive to the marina.  They had a chat with the proprietors and ascertained where we were to moor the boat on our arrival.  Willowbridge Marina is evidently a bit of a misnomer, it is actually a working boatyard but they have moorings along the towpath with hook-ups provided, but it definitely isn�t one of those newfangled marinas we have seen up and down the country with all mod cons!  However, it has what we need, the main things being security for the boat whilst we are away and an electric hook up.    Once they had everything sorted out, Clive and Vicki left the car in the car park and got a taxi back to the Peartree.  This means that Vicki gets to cruise down to the marina with us.  When they got back to the boat we had a bite of lunch then set off again and meandered down to another mooring � we had been a bit concerned that it might get a bit rowdy at the Peartree with all the Saturday night revellers, especially the ones outside having a smoke!  We spent a very peaceful night at the new mooring, with no disturbances whatsoever � well apart from a bird which was still chirruping away to itself in a tree near the boat at about midnight!!  It wasn�t a Nightingale either!   I got up this morning bright and early and sorted the stove out � it had got a bit low and needed a bit of coaxing with a strategically placed firelighter to get it going again!  Vicki and Clive were still fast asleep!  I took them both a cuppa and left them reading their books, but eventually we set off again and mosied on down to a very strange lock.  It was only a foot deep and had a swing bridge in the middle of it, between the lock gates!   Sorry there isn�t a photograph!  I had walked down the towpath to the next bridge to see if there were any moorings available and then went for a walk up into the town to suss out the local eateries.  I finally found a very promising Indian/Thai restaurant called Caf� Ganges, that does an all-you-can-eat Sunday buffet.   So Vicki had to sort out the lock and swingbridge herself, by the time I got back Lady Arwen was just entering the lock.  The bridge itself had to be swung round to the side of the lock first of course � Vicki said it was extremely stiff and kind young man helped her to open it.  Whilst we were shutting the gates once the boat had gone through the same young man very kindly shut it for her and returned the BW key.  You see, the age of chivalry isn�t dead after all!   We finally got the boat moored near to the bridge and then we all trooped up to the Caf� Ganges and had a really wonderful meal � we are all stuffed!  The food was fantastic and very good value - �8.50 a head!  I think we might come back this way again!    So tomorrow morning, bright and early, we are going to cruise down to the marina and get the boat moored and hooked up.  We better make sure she is really secure as there are gales forecast for Christmas Day and Boxing Day!  Then it is just a case of packing everything into the car and heading for Cambridge.  It�s going to be a bit weird for us being back after nearly four months, especially as we won�t be at our own house of course, we will be at Gareth�s, which is in the same village, just around the corner.  It is going to be a very unusual Christmas indeed but the important thing is we will all be together as a family.  As yet we haven�t totally decided whether I am going to attempt to cook Christmas dinner at Gareth�s or whether we will all troop back to the boat and have it here.  Either way, we won�t starve!   We may well come back and stay on the boat between Christmas and New Year � it will give Gareth a break!    I think this will probably be the last proper blog until after Christmas and the New Year as we won�t really have much to report.  But once again, don�t go away � we�ll be back.   Again � we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all:   and Thanks to all of you who are continuing to follow our adventures aboard the Lady Arwen and please keep your emails, guest book signatures and comments coming.  We really enjoy reading them.  We have been so delighted to discover how many of you are actually following our exploits, especially those people with whom we have had little contact, other than Christmas cards, for many years.   So if you are reading our blog but haven�t yet left us a message, please do � its fun finding out who is reading it.   For all our friends at The Red Lion Folk Club � all being well we hope to be there on 2nd January 2009!  Looking forward to seeing you all again.

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