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  • clivenmel

Oct 28th

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 had a great weekend.  Vicki arrived on Friday evening around 8.45pm having driven up from Cambridge and after a lovely warming stew and a good chat we all went to bed.  The following morning we battened down the hatches, checked that the boat was totally secure then left her all by herself on the two path � bless!  We had an uneventful drive up to Huddersfield, though it did seem a bit scary going at 70 miles per hour when we are used to going at about 4!   We had a really lovely time at the party, especially as we had lots of babies to cuddle!  Ali and Mike�s little boy, Harry, James and Carmen�s little girl, Ella and Joanne�s twin baby girls, Emma and Isobel � it was amazing.  We celebrated Thelma's birthday and also wished Ali, Mike and baby Harry Bon Voyage - they are flying to New Zealand on 3rd November - we wish them all the very best in their new life.  We also got chance to visit Clive�s family too, so all in all it was a great weekend.  We drove back to Audlem on Sunday afternoon and it was a huge relief to see Lady Arwen still safe and sound.  It was good to be back on board � its amazing how she has really become our home in such a short time � we aren�t missing the house at all!  We had to say goodbye to Vicki though, she had to get back to Cambridge as she had to be at work on Monday morning, shame.   We got up and had a leisurely breakfast on Monday morning and as we were now down to our last drop of water decided we had better move up a couple of locks and fill the water tank.  This we did and then up one more lock which brought us to The Shroppie Fly � we managed to get a mooring just outside the pub, which was brilliant as we were going to the Folk Club there on Monday night!  Once we had got moored up and sorted out we went for a walk into Audlem itself.  It�s a sweet little town and it was nice to have a look around.  We found a nice little caf� and stopped for a lovely bowl of homemade soup and a coffee, then back to the boat for a quick practice for tonight!   The Folk Club at the Shroppie Fly was brilliant.  Quite different to ours at The Red Lion in Whittlesford.  This one was a bit of a free for all really � more like a session.  Somebody would start a tune and everybody would join in if they knew it.  There were also some people singing, but it was a bit weird not having any kind of order to it, you literally had to dive in and start singing whilst the applause for the previous performance was dying down, if you didn�t you would be too late, somebody else would be playing or singing!  Finally Clive managed to sing a song and then I sang one after him, by then we realised it was after 11.00pm and time for bed!  We had really enjoyed ourselves, its great to visit different folk clubs because you get to hear new tunes and songs but also all our material is new to the people we meet.  Several of them were boaters and they all wished us well on our adventure - we may well bump into some of them again along the way.   We had a surprise too during the evening.  We are actually on our way to Market Drayton, where Clive�s mum�s family is from.  Clive�s father had been on the phone to one of the cousins and told her what we were up to � they only turned up at The Shroppie Fly last night!  We had seen a couple come into the bar during the evening and when Clive went to the bar to replenish our drinks the guy came up to him and said �Hello Clive�!  He of course had recognised us from our website photos!  It was Clive�s cousin Jean and her husband Glynn � Jean and Clive haven�t seen each other since they were children so it was quite a reunion!  We are hoping to meet up with them again when we get to Market Drayton,  hopefully we will have more time to chat � its always difficult to hold a conversation with anyone at a folk club!   Tuesday - We had a lie-in this morning as we weren�t in a rush to go anywhere.  We had a leisurely breakfast then got togged up in our waterproofs as it was raining.  Whilst we were having breakfast several boats had gone past us in both directions � it was like Piccadilly Circus!  Anyway we finally got underway but didn�t get very far, about 100 yards in fact, before we were in a queue for Lock No 12 of the Audlem Flight.  However it wasn�t long before it was our turn.  There were lots of boats going up and also coming down so it was actually quite sociable.  There were lots of people doing the locks, everyone helps each other as it speeds the whole process up.  We had got to about Lock No 8 when I suddenly noticed the raindrops were getting bigger, in fact they were snowflakes! Yes it was actually snowing and it got heavier and heavier!  Unbelievable � we only put the clocks back on Saturday night and its winter already!!  It continued to snow for quite a while and was actually settling, which was making the lockwork quite treacherous!  It is no joke trying to traverse a lock on an 8� wide ledge when its covered in snow � I was beginning to think today was going to be the day I would fall in � fortunately it wasn�t!  It certainly all looked very pretty though, as you can see from the photograph.   I was OK, totally warm and dry in my waterproofs and boots, apart from the fact that by now my gloves were sopping wet � however I have picked up a trick from a fellow boater I met at a lock, she wears surgical gloves inside her gloves and although the outer gloves get wet her hands are warm and dry � I�m gonna get me some of those!  Clive on the other hand was miserable � because I am hurtling up and down the tow path doing the locks etc I keep nice and warm but Clive is standing still on the boat and he got really chilled � he was covered in snow and was really not a happy bunny at all � bless!  Only one more lock to go to Lock No 3 and we knew there were visitor moorings just beyond and this is where we are now, just watching the sun going down in blaze of red � its just 4.35pm!  We now know that during the winter months we cannot cruise beyond 3.30pm as it gets dark so early.  We will need to plan our days carefully from now on to ensure we can get to a reasonable mooring in the allotted time.   Clive soon warmed up with a cuppa soup and a sandwich sitting in front of our lovely warm stove � plus he had put the central heating on about 45 minutes before we moored, so we had a lovely toasty warm boat!   That�s it now then � until tomorrow����!    

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