Join me as I take Olivia on her latest adventures.
Daisypath Vacation tickers
Saturday, 20 May 2017
I have completed my first proper week's cruising and it has been good fun despite a couple of very wet days. I started out from Tamworth after having a nice walk along the River Tame and around the castle and the park there. I moved on up to Fradley village and the next day I went to visit the National Memorial Arboretum, because I had never been there despite passing this way two or three times. It is so much bigger than I imagined and really pleasant to walk around. The central memorial is stunning. I am sure it is a peaceful place for those who have lost someone through hostilities. The next morning I met one of my single handing boater friends on her way down to Gloucester via Braunston and Hatton and the River Avon. Sounds like one to put in my schedule for another year. I am, at the moment, on canals which I have done before so I tried to stop at places I like and hence I moored at Great Haywood where I bumped into another of my single handing boater friends!! Only a short hop the next day, stopping at Weston and from there onto Stone, where I met one of the canal traders, Lorraine that I had bought a hat from at the floating market. I also just missed Phil and Jackie whom I have known since I first got the boat. They left early before I had surfaced. I have tried to walk over the 10,000 steps recommended but some days I couldn't quite make it. Looking back though I averaged 10,000 a day so that's ok then.
I started out from Braunston a few weeks ago but I always make a slow, considered start as I work out what needs fixing or updating before the main event. I also had a couple of distractions as I met up with Heather in her beautifully newly painted boat for a short trip and a pub meal. Her boat now sports fabulous artwork by Andy Russell in the style of Steampunk iconography. I omitted to take pictures but if you see a boat emblazoned with cogs, clocks, compasses and so forth it will be Heather. The next day we picked up Tench and took her from Sutton Stop to Rugby where she was making her way down to London for this: Alarum Theatre's recreation of the Idle Womens' journey from London to Birmingham and back.
Back to odd jobs, I found I had a leaking kitchen tap and was very pleased to fix it myself using O rings, especially after two hardware shops could not figure out what was needed. The tap is from the 1980s which was probably before the shop assistants were born!! I am also about ready to install new deckboards courtesy of my son, Tom, who was able to source some Buffalo Board, cut it to size and fit a lifting ring. I will try to put up before and after photos but be assured that the old boards were well past their use by date. Anyway I am currently heading North through Nuneaton, Atherstone, Tamworth and shortly arriving somewhere around Stoke on Trent. Although I travelled this way in 2013 I have not done Heartbreak Hill since 2008 so that should be fun.
I haven't seen her in real life yet, that treat is on Saturday. Here is a taster:
The window wall will separate the bed area from the living area and is something I have planned for ages. I bought the stained glass, from Weedon Antiques Village, about five years ago!! I have to save up to replace the deckboards now as they look really scruffy.
I spent another day with Luke in Henley followed by a meal in Wargrave. The next day we both headed to Sonning as Luke decided to take The Record Deck down the Kennet and Avon for the first time. I then continued up river stopping at Pangbourne meadows, in the trees above Day's lock, Abingdon, Opposite Christchurch meadows, Oxford and Osney Bridge, Oxford.
I caught up with Heather at Abingdon and we spent a good few days indulging in their Open Heritage events. We met up with Gill who moored near us in her beautiful wooden boat and went to visit Nuneham estate. We also walked the boundaries of medieval Abingdon in the company of the town crier. At Oxford, I spent a couple of hours at the Pitt Rivers museum which I had failed to get to on previous visits. What an interesting place. I had only bought a month licence for the river so had to leave at Oxford. I will need to get back to go up to Lechlade another time.
While I was at Runnymede I noticed water was gushing from the cooling system. Luckily I was moored next to a boatyard so an engineer came to have a look and we discovered all manner of brittle hoses, kinked hoses and inappropriate hose clips, so I paid another small fortune to have most of the hoses replaced plus, of course more antifreeze to replace that lost!
Back on track and with weather set fair, I moved up to Windsor and a very nice mooring on Baths Island. It cost £8 but worth it for the ambience and convenience. I spent the next morning mooching around Windsor and getting supplies. I even watched the changing of the guard! That afternoon I moored at Maidenhead and the next day I aimed at Marlow. However all the moorings there were taken (after all is was Bank Holiday weekend) so I had a long day and moored at Medmenham (£6). From here I could hear Reading festival, but not good enough to be enjoyable just bff bff bff. Yesterday I moved up through Henley to moor next to Luke at Wargrave. He wasn't onboard as he had popped to his friend's birthday do. Today I hopped on a train to Henley for more supplies but I think I will go and do a bit more cruising while the weather holds.
After what seems like an eternity Olivia is back cruising. In effect it was seven weeks to the day since the breakdown which was followed by a catalogue of poor service, miscommunication and downright porkies (or at least unfulfilled promises). I would like to thank the engineers who eventually rescued me by providing a safe mooring with facilities and then taking on a BMC engine that had been left in pieces by the previous guy who could not remove the cylinder head. He was replaced by an organisation who could not provide the promised service so I, in desperation, visited several boatyards and looked their engineers in the eye. I found one who was happy to rescue this "damsel in distress" and was as good as his word even though it took three weeks. Of course,the past seven weeks has been the most excellent cruising weather and this weekend is rain and strong winds! Never mind it feels good to be back on the move.
Today I visited Runnymede where I used to be taken by my parents when I was a young thing. Really enjoyed a bit of reminiscing despite the wind and rain. I had never been to the Air Forces memorial and found it quite moving. The views from the top are worth the climb.