Saturday, 21 April 2012

What hurts more...

Hail in the face or injections?

Early morning for me. The evening before I had had a massive (mainly ocular) migraine and had difficulty sleeping. By 4.00 I was feeling quite sick with it and by 5.00 it was either stay upright or pay a rapid visit to the bathroom. Although it was a bit chilly in the lounge I wrapped up in my woolly dressing gown (or smoking jacket depending on time of day) and sat up reading until the sun came up and started warming the canal into a serene, calm, mistiness. 

Mum and dad managed to find us without too much difficulty, after all I had moored right outside one of the best known marinas in the heart of the canal system (mum had actually asked the previous day for our postcode for the sat nav....)

It was a good job mum had heeded my advice to wrap up warm because the wind was pretty keen again today. Deb gave the visitors a very thorough guided tour of LJ, including all the electrical/monitoring systems, storage spaces and instructions on how to use the loo (no really it's more complicated than you think!)... 5 minutes later we were ready for a cuppa and off on our day trip.

We had decided to head south on the Oxford canal because there was a couple of options on winding holes (nothing to do with the complicated loo system) that would enable us to turn the 60ft LJ round and get back to the marina/car. If we had headed north and missed the only local winding hole the day trip may have turned into a weekend away.

The Oxford is a very different canal to the grand union. Most of it is much narrower and the locks and bridges are wide enough only for one boat at a time and it runs through some very peaceful countryside. As we meandered through fields and under disused railway bridges I could see that there was a rather nasty weather front that we may clip the edge of. Deb got my jumper and waterproof coat just in case and carried on her preparations for lunch. 

It started to rain a bit and dad headed below and shut the hatch to the aft deck, mum came in from the fore deck and watched the progress of the journey from behind the safety of the french/stable doors.

It started to rain a lot, I wished I had put my waterproof trousers on as well.

It started to hail...hard. 

My tiller hand was getting numb, my other pocket was filling with water, we were heading rapidly towards the winding point past bridge 107 and there is no easy way to pull over and stop a narrowboat so I was committed until we had managed to turn and find a suitable patch of bank to moor at.

HAIL OR INJECTIONS! - it was a close one but after a few months of far too regular jabs, I'll say hail in the face with no where to hide is worse!

By the time we had stopped I was soaked and freezing, below decks lunch was ready, the stove glowing warmly in the corner and the kettle getting ready to let out a whistle on top. It would have been a great location to picnic beside the boat, the towpath was little walked and we were on a wide corner of freshly cut grass, willow trees and a church spire finished the ideal rural scene. 

The journey back was much more relaxing with warm sun on my back and a good natter. We moored up only a few hundred metre's from where we had started but kept to the Oxford rather than going back on the Grand Union. The slight drop in water levels have meant that sometimes we can't moor right up against the bank and the only way from ship to shore is via the plank!

Parent made to walk the plank following washing up refusal
We were now looking forward to popping into Rugby a few miles away for something to eat (it's amazing how the fresh air and weather can build an appetite.)

All I will say about dinner until I get a photo from mum to post is that you have never experienced a curry until it has come with a 'family' size nann.


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