I fancy I might have just broken a world record. I mean, how long does it take you to light a fire? Can you beat 18 months? Thought not.
We had Herbie's new stove fitted last March on the very day that the first Covid lockdown was announced. The same day we rang up Wigrams Turn marina and asked "Can you take us in for a few weeks until all this blows over?"
Well our stay at Wigrams turned out to be 18 months and all that time we weren't near Herbie in weather cold enough to light the new fire. And here we are today barely a hundred yards from where they fitted the stove in Braunston and it's just about cold enough so I dug out the old kindling and some coal and after three attempts we have a fire going. It always takes a little while to learn the foibles of a new stove.
The canals are a little bit quieter now the schools have gone back but the hire boat companies are still doing well. Kate Boats seems to have a Monday start. Loads of them came past last night as we moored up just a spit from Wigrams Turn. Most seem to be doing well but one poor chap really hadn't got the hang of the tiller at all and was paying frequent visits to the bushes. I helped out when he ran aground just past Herbie and then he got going only to repeat his error another twice. Bless!
Kath popped in to Calcutt Boats to buy a couple of ice creams while the top lock was filling. The lady in there said that this year had been their best ever for hiring and quite a few punters immediately re-booked for next year when they got back. Staycations rule OK.
Our new mooring at Ventnor Marina continues to be a delight. Over the weekend they held the annual moorers' barbecue
which was a good chance to make new friends, and next morning the Moorers' Association breakfast with as many bacon rolls as you could manage to eat and more new friends made.
We took a stroll round both basins, picking blackberries as we went. All nicely landscaped with lots of attractive sitting out areas on the banks. We were surprised to find that the walk was over a mile when we got back, so that gives some idea of the scale of the marina.
We're just out for a few days before our Peter joins us at the weekend when I fear we will tackle the run down to Warwick and back if the 44 big heavy locks (22 each way) don't kill us. I hope my pacemaker keeps working.
Speaking of which, I went in for a pacemaker check last Wednesday. Very straighforward now I'm bluetooth enabled. All was fine. The man asked how I'd been and I said fine apart from just a couple of occasions when I felt breathless after exertion and my pulse dropped to 60 bpm. (pre pacemaker I was running at 38!). "Aah yes", he said, peering at his computer screen, "I see you had a couple of episodes, one on August 27th and one on September 4th. Nothing to worry about. Mild fibrillation which the pacemaker dealt with." Clever or what?