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  • clivenmel

Feb 17th

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;} Sunday was a very lazy day. Well, Sunday�s are supposed to be aren�t they? We didn�t really do much in the morning and then after lunch I watched the Wales/Italy rugby match and a bit of the FA Cup football catch-ups. Mel didn�t, needless to say and spent most of the afternoon on the laptop using MSN to �chat� with friends and family.   Having been cooped up all day, I went out for some fresh air and found myself back in Bridge 61! As I looked through the window, I could see two ladies with Melodeons playing away in the bar. I poked my head round the corner and got invited to an impromptu session, so back to the boat for the guitar and Mel!   We had a great time and met Dave & Val, also boaters, marooned in Market Harborough by the ice. They had got a lift to Foxton from their friend Sue. Dave is a fellow enthusiast of traditional English folk music and Val is a mean Melodeon player. Sue had only been playing for about a year but she�s very good. All in all, a great afternoon. The problem was that when we looked at the time it was nearly 8 O�clock and we were hungry! We said our goodbyes and went back to the boat and as it was too late to cook we just had sandwiches.   Monday - Well we actually moved today! Not a lot, but we did move.  We went for a walk first of all around lunchtime just to see how far the ice had melted up the Leicester Arm and it actually looked pretty clear so we decided to give it a go.  About 2.30pm after we had popped over to the shop for some bread, milk, eggs and butter, just to make sure we had all we needed, then we set off.    Sure enough the water was ice free, it was nice to see green fields again instead of white ones! We managed to make it up to the Debdale Wharf Marina, about half an hour�s cruise up the Leicester Arm.  Getting into the marina however was a bit hairy! It�s a sharp left hander around parked boats and into an entrance only about 12 ft wide. Normally, it can be done by just taking a run at it; timing is a bit critical but manageable. However, today a stiff westerly wind was blowing (left to right) and as soon as the boat slowed to try the turn we got pushed hard against the RH bank and that was it.   A steady reverse to get back under a bridge and into the lee of a parked boat gave us another chance. This time Mel was out on the bank at the critical corner and, catching the centre rope, intended to haul away as I turned left to assist the turn. However, if it wasn�t for the help of a friendly boater walking in the Marina (one of the same guys we had met at the folk club!) she would never have held it. With their combined pulling power, we finally managed to get in.   We had a pump-out and filled up with diesel (great price here � 55p/L) I always feel better when I�ve got full tanks of diesel and water and an empty loo!!   A much easier reverse out and we were heading back to Foxton Locks and arrived back at our mooring again by 4.30pm.   We walked up to empty the bins and called into the pub again just for a swift one on the way past. Got into conversation with a great bunch of guys; reminiscing about the best and worst of British Cars over the last 30 years or so. (Mel read the paper!!) It was fun to recollect old Rover�s, Sunbeams, Triumphs (I have an old TR6 and this guy had a really old TR2!), Mini�s, Imp�s and a whole host of shockers e.g. Allegro�s, Maxi�s etc..   Anyway, back for dinner (pork chops � yum) and watched Rick Stein�s �Who do you think you are?� Quite good.   Today, Tuesday, dawned quite bright and surprisingly warm considering what it�s been like over the last two weeks; we didn�t even bother to put the central heating on this morning. By 9.00am the first moving boat appeared, followed by two others! By this time, we were ready to go ourselves so set off through the swing bridge in the basin and headed off up the Harborough arm and finally said goodbye to Foxton! This a dead end about 4 miles long lined with some really impressive houses near the end, with long lawns, summer houses, elegant trees etc..very nice too. At the end of the arm is a lovely basin, encircled by renovated apartments and restaurants; a really nice place. It is also the home of Canaltime, a major hire boats outlet. We had heard a rumour that a host of Canaltime boats were raring to go, just waiting for the ice to finally thaw enough for them to break out. Well, it wasn�t long before the first one appeared and in the run up to the basin in Market Harborough, a total of 9 hire boats came past.                         It must have been like an old Le Mans start!! Still you can understand the frustration/ disappointment if someone had booked a week�s holiday and found that the whole week had been spent in MH basin because of the ice!   We, of course, were literally going against the tide of boats and arrived at the basin with no incident. We moored up next to Dave & Val on Tickey, the couple we had met at the Sunday session who were in the last stages of getting their engine working (dead battery!) They said bye-bye again as they were heading off for Foxton and we set off on foot into town to do a spot of shopping; lunched at the local Wetherspoons and ambled back to the boat around 4�ish.  Mel took a detour to Argos and bought a dustbuster sort of thing (hand held vac) and is all excited about sucking up dust! Oh, well�Bless!    

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