Herbie now rests in its old slot adjacent to our favourite grassy knoll in Crick marina. Its been such a good trip up from Iver via London, and so sociable. On board we have entertained Sheila Rob and Val from our occasional band For Pete’s Sake, Towpath ranger Alan, regulars Rick, Marilyn and Rainman, and old friends Maureen and Ray. Then we have spent happy hours with Richard and Sue for a day on Indigo Dream, Graham and Jill for dinner on Matilda Rose, Adam and Adrian for a dinner on Briar Rose, and last but not least Kathryn (Lady Stoke Bruerne) at her lovely cottage for breakfast cheese scones. There, don’t you wish you were us?
On top of all the human kindness, the dear old met office has also been kind in sending us such good spring weather. Since we left Iver on March 7, spring has come on in leaps and bounds. The towpaths have here and there been smothered in violets, coltsfoot, daffodils, celandines and daisies and there have been lots of lambs fooling about in the meadows and at Stoke Bruerne fourteen ducklings. Quite a few swans are now sitting on nests, some surprisingly in amongst the oilseed rape. I hope they don’t get hay fever from it. Poor old Adrian was really suffering from it on Sunday evening. I felt slightly less sorry for Adam, whose headache was I think the result of a good night at the Walnut Tree the previous evening. I’ll let him off though as he left a big piece of his chocolate birthday cake on Herbie’s rear deck when they stole quietly away on Monday morning. I’m sure he will be pleased to know we passed on a bit of it to Kathryn.
When you moor at Crick you get a free boat wash every time you bring the boat home. This is not a marina service, but comes courtesy of the generous roof leakage in Crick tunnel where it rains 365 days a year. This year however, the Crick Tunnel was soundly beaten in this respect by Blisworth tunnel. It was like three thousand metres in a dark car wash. Some waterfalls I managed to avoid by swerving the boat out of the way, but in one place there was a total curtain of pouring water from which there was no escape. It was a bit like passing through Niagara falls. Luckily we had been forewarned and had our wet weather gear on. I also deployed the tactic of driving as fast as I dared, getting through the tunnel in a record (for us) twenty five minutes.
We got a friendly welcome back at Crick marina. They’re a nice bunch. Harbourmaster Noel was even kind enough not to dwell on the fact that we made a complete pig’s ear of getting into our mooring. How do you turn right angles into a narrow slot when the wind is blowing down the slot. Before you can turn the boat you are blown across the entrance sideways on across the backs of the adjacent boats. The wind there usually blows up and down the marina, which is bad enough, but I lave learned how to deal with that. Yesterday it was blowing across. Something I had not seen before. Suffice it to say it took several very undignified attempts before we got in.
Oh one last thing. Some who know him will be sorry to hear that our favourite lock keeper Terry who used to look after Watford staircase locks has hung up his windlass and taken a job on land. He will be missed, not least by Kath for his aroma. No that is not a euphemism, he genuinely did smell nice using his own secret formula man perfume. Apparently he is still living on a boat through, at Hillmorton.
I’ve got some more photos to post but that’ll have to wait. I’ve just found out that the car MoT is out of date so I’m off to get that done before we get nicked.