Excuse the smeary side of Herbie, I ran out of polish. Anyhow I'm beginning to enjoy our plastic magnetic lettering. I've taken to changing the message daily. Above shows Sunday's message when we only got out of the marina by the skin of our teeth after backing out of our pontoon and doing a 180 and almost getting blown into a lee shore corner. Yesterdays message was a more cheerful MAY CONTAIN NUTS.
Miraculously we managed to get two days of fair weather in between the storms. We were planning to go out on the Saturday evening but the wind was far too strong to attempt the difficult reverse and turn out of our pontoon. We had also intended to return on Tuesday morning, but with storm Francis coming in I had visions of all manner of calamities as we attempted to get back into our marina slot, so we opted for Monday afternoon instead.
Not to worry though, in the hours we were out, the weather was fine and although I was fearful of Claire's dogs Ronnie and Rosie running amok they were as good as gold and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Grace (a glutton for punishment) had requested a run up Napton locks and back which in retrospect was perhaps not the best choice as they are getting short of water and there is restricted opening of 10 am to 5pm causing long queues, particularly up at Marston Doles top lock where we heard that people were waiting three hours. It was just as well then that we stopped and turned at the old engine arm and moored there for the night before coming back down next day ahead of the pack.
These delays must be a nightmare for hire boat companies and their customers with delays like that, especially with days of severe wind causing boats to lie up. Either boaters would not reach their intended goal or they would get back late and cause all sorts of problems for the boatyard. Having said that, all the hirers we met were very cheery and having a good time.
Coming back down was a breeze, about as good as a descent of a flight of locks could be. I think we had a boat coming up at every lock so the work was easy, and we arrived back at the Folly well before lunch.
Miraculously there was virtually no wind when we got back to Wigrams Turn, so it occurred to me that if ever there was a time to attempt the difficult turn and reverse into our pontoon, this was it. The geometry of the place makes it really difficult with boats and pontoon posts close all round us, fore, aft and sideways, but I'm happy to say I did it. Here we are almost back in with Grace preparing to leap to the pontoon with the rope while Ronnie and Rosie keep a close eye on my performance. (No I wasn't holding a camera while doing that, I think Claire took the photo from her perch on the gunnel.)
Of course , in the time honoured manner, sod's law prevailed and no one was watching, unlike when we made a pigs ear of getting out at the start of our cruise when we had a couple of horrified onlookers from the pontoon opposite..
So a short but happy cruise capped off nicely when Claire and Grace did all the hard work of loading the trolleys of stuff to taking all our gear back to the car and loading it up.