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  • clivenmel

Feb 26th

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 have escaped!  We are free!   Yes we have actually done it, we have finally left Foxton!  Clive was back to fighting fitness this morning so after breakfast we cruised into Foxton basin and filled up with water. Clive has been getting rather concerned at the amount of water getting into the engine compartment.  There is an ingenious little device down there which senses when there is water in the rear part of the engine room and it automatically pumps it out into a watering can, which has to be emptied regularly.  However, the front part of the engine room also gets water in it but this doesn�t get pumped out and it is beginning to build up to quite a large amount.  So, before we left Foxton he went into the shop to ask Tony�s advice and came out with a very clever piece of kit.  (What Tony doesn't know about boats and boating isn't worth knowing!)  It is a boat hook but it also has a piece of tubing attached to the top of the hook, the bottom is placed into the bilge and then you pump it up and down and it creates a vacuum, thus sucking the water out of the bilge, through the tube and over the side � brilliant!  Once this was stowed in the engine compartment Clive went to check that there were no boats coming down the flight, there weren't so I opened the bottom lock gate and we were off!   We had a very uneventful trip up the flight, especially as Tony came to give me a few hints and tips for dealing with a staircase lock flight and making it less rough for Clive on the boat.  We were soon at the top, well it took about an hour!  Whilst I was doing the top lock three guys sauntered over to say hello and ask the usual questions: do you live in board, how come you are doing all the work instead of him etc etc.  I was telling them the story and mentioned that our first port of call had been Huddersfield.  �We were there yesterday� said one of the guys "oh really" I said, "my sister works for the police in Huddersfield" � �how did you know we were police!?� said one of them, "oh I just knew, police are a bit like rugby players, you can tell them a mile off!"  (actually I think the black ties hidden under their jackets and their boots gave them away really!).  One of them then said, �well actually we are the narrowboat police and it has been brought to our attention that you have been speeding on the canal�!  We all had a good giggle, Clive had risen up out of the depths by this time and caught the tail end of the conversation.  It turned out that two of them were on an advanced police driving course and the third guy was their instructor.   Once we had waved goodbye to the cops we were off, free and easy again � the world our oyster.  Oh what a lovely feeling.  As I have said before, Foxton was a great place to be marooned, but it really was time to leave.  Do you realise we had been there for 26 days in all, we descended the flight on 1st February � its almost a month ago!   We retraced our steps (or wake!) back through the Laughton Hills, where we had moored weeks ago, through the Husband�s Bosworth tunnel and the Welford Junction.  The open countryside is lovely here and Spring is most definitely springing now, we are regularly seeing snowdrops, and catkins and today we have seen pussy willow buds just beginning to open � lovely.  We had also caught sight of pheasants in the fields and then one walked right along the towpath just by the boat! It a bit cloudy most of the day but just after we had moored up opposite a ploughed field the sun came out and it was a really lovely end to the day.  The forecast augers well for the next few days, so we are quite looking forward to some pleasant cruising.

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